25 Most Inspirational Movies to Restore Your Faith in Humanity

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These are the 25 most inspirational movies. Whether you need a boost of motivation, a dose of optimism, or a reminder of what matters most, these movies are here to help you.

25 inspirational movies for the whole family

Movies have the power to move us, inspire us, and make us feel alive.

They can also teach us valuable lessons, challenge our perspectives, and motivate us to achieve our goals.

Whether it’s a true story or a fictional one, a comedy or a drama, a classic or a modern film, there are many movies that can restore our faith in humanity and ourselves.

In this article, we will explore 25 of the most inspirational movies ever made, and why they are worth watching. These movies will make you laugh, cry, think, and most importantly, feel.

These movies are suitable for the whole family, so gather the kids and lets make it a movie night! (except the 3 that are Rated R, the other 22 are PG or below)

We hope these 25 inspirational movies will touch your heart and soul.

For more information about any particular movie, you can visit:

  • IMDb – For movie reviews, where to stream, ratings, trailers and lots more.
  • Common Sense Media – For movie ratings, reviews and comprehensive content warnings. This is a go-to source that parents trust.
  • Vid Angel – This is a paid service for parents to filter out the stuff you don’t want to see or hear in your streaming movies & TV shows, like profanity, nudity, violence & more.

Who is this list of inspirational movies for?

  • Parents looking for an inspiring movie selection for movie night
  • Anyone looking for a dose of generosity, honesty, and kindness
  • Someone who’s struggling and in need of a reminder that better times are right around the corner
  • Inspiration for a life change

What information is provided about each inspirational movie in this selection?

  • The movie title and release year of the movie
  • The YouTube Trailer
  • Director
  • A list of actors in the movie
  • Genre
  • The MPAA rating
  • Link to the movie in IMDb – For movie reviews, where to stream, ratings, trailers and lots more.
  • A movie summary

25 Inspirational Movies for the Whole Family

1. It Could Happen to You (1994)

This movie is based on a true story of a New York cop who promises to share his lottery winnings with a waitress as a tip. When he actually wins, he keeps his word and splits the money with her, despite his greedy wife’s objections. Along the way, he falls in love with the waitress and realizes what truly matters in life. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of generosity, honesty, and kindness, and how they can change someone’s life for the better.

2. Pay It Forward (2000)

This movie is about a young boy who comes up with a simple idea to make the world a better place: do a good deed for three people, and ask them to do the same for three others, creating a chain of kindness. His idea spreads across the country, touching the lives of many people, including his troubled mother and his scarred teacher. This movie is inspirational because it shows how one person can make a difference, and how a small act of kindness can have a big impact.

3. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

This movie is a classic Christmas tale of a man who wishes he had never been born, and an angel who shows him how his life has affected others. George Bailey is a good hearted but frustrated businessman who has sacrificed his dreams for the sake of his family and community. On the verge of suicide, he is visited by Clarence, an angel who grants him a glimpse of what the world would be like without him. George realizes how much he has to live for, and how much he has done for others. This movie is inspirational because it reminds us of the value of life, and the importance of gratitude, friendship, and love.

4. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

This movie is about a timid and bored photo editor who escapes into his vivid fantasies, where he is a hero, a lover, and an adventurer. When his job is threatened, he decides to take a real life adventure, following the clues of a mysterious photographer across the globe. Along the way, he discovers himself, and finds romance, courage, and joy. This movie is inspirational because it encourages us to pursue our dreams, and to live fully and authentically.

5. Yes Man (2008)

  • Director: Peyton Reed
  • Cast: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Rating: PG-13
  • ‘Yes Man’ on IMDb

This movie is about a negative and lonely man who attends a self help seminar that challenges him to say yes to everything. He agrees, and soon finds his life transformed by a series of unexpected and hilarious events. He gets a promotion, a new girlfriend, and a lot of fun. He also learns to be more open, adventurous, and spontaneous. This movie is inspirational because it shows us the power of positivity, and how saying yes can lead to amazing opportunities and experiences.

6. Wild (2014)

  • Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
  • Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski
  • Genre: Adventure drama
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Wild’ on IMDb

This movie is based on the memoir of Cheryl Strayed, who decided to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone, as a way to heal herself from a series of personal tragedies. Along her journey, she faces the challenges of the wilderness, meets other hikers, and flashes back to her past. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of nature, courage, and self discovery.

7. Rocky (1976)

  • Director: John G. Avildsen
  • Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young
  • Genre: Sports drama
  • Rating: PG
  • ‘Rocky’ on IMDb

This movie is about a small time boxer named Rocky Balboa, who gets a rare chance to fight the world heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed, in a match that is supposed to be a publicity stunt. Rocky trains hard with his mentor, Mickey, and falls in love with a shy woman, Adrian, while preparing for the fight of his life. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of determination, resilience, and underdog spirit.

8. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

This movie is based on the true story of Chris Gardner, a struggling salesman who becomes homeless with his young son. He refuses to give up on his dream of becoming a stockbroker, and enrolls in a competitive internship program. Despite facing many hardships and challenges, he perseveres and eventually achieves success and happiness. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of determination, resilience, and fatherhood.

9. Seven Pounds (2008)

  • Director: Gabriele Muccino
  • Cast: Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: PG-13
  • ‘Seven Pounds’ on IMDb

This movie is about a man named Ben Thomas, who has a fateful secret and a mission to change the lives of seven strangers. He carefully selects people who are in need of help, and tries to improve their situations in various ways. He also falls in love with a woman named Emily, who has a heart condition. He ultimately sacrifices his life to save hers and others. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of redemption, compassion, and sacrifice.

10. Schindler’s List (1993)

This movie is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who saved more than a thousand Jews from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories during World War II. Schindler, who initially joined the Nazi party for business reasons, gradually becomes aware of the atrocities committed by the Nazis and risks his life and fortune to protect his workers. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of humanity, courage, and conscience.

11. Dreamer (2005)

  • Director: John Gatins
  • Cast: Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Kris Kristofferson, Elisabeth Shue
  • Genre: Sports drama
  • Rating: PG
  • ‘Dreamer’ on IMDb

This movie is inspired by the true story of an injured Thoroughbred racehorse named Mariah’s Storm. It follows Ben Crane, a horse trainer who loses his job after one of his horses, Soñador, breaks a leg during a race. He decides to keep and breed Soñador, with the help of his daughter Cale, who forms a bond with the horse. Together, they nurse Soñador back to health and enter her in the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Classic. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of dreams, family, and perseverance.

12. Free Willy (1993)

  • Director: Simon Wincer
  • Cast: Jason James Richter, Lori Petty, Michael Madsen, August Schellenberg
  • Genre: Family adventure
  • Rating: PG
  • ‘Free Willy’ on IMDb

This movie is about a young boy named Jesse, who is caught vandalizing a marine theme park. As a punishment, he has to work at the park, where he meets and befriends Willy, a captive orca whale. When he learns that the park owners plan to kill Willy for the insurance money, he risks everything to free the whale and reunite him with his family. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of friendship, compassion, and freedom.

13. I Am Sam (2001)

  • Director: Jessie Nelson
  • Cast: Sean Penn, Dakota Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianne Wiest
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: PG-13
  • ‘I Am Sam’ on IMDb

This movie is about a neurodivergent man named Sam, who has a daughter named Lucy with a homeless woman who abandons them. Sam raises Lucy with the help of his friends and neighbors, but faces a custody battle when the authorities deem him unfit to be a parent. He hires a lawyer named Rita, who initially takes his case for her own selfish reasons, but eventually learns to care for him and his daughter. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of love, determination, and acceptance.

14. Patch Adams (1998)

  • Director: Tom Shadyac
  • Cast: Robin Williams, Monica Potter, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bob Gunton
  • Genre: Biographical comedy-drama
  • Rating: PG-13
  • ‘Patch Adams’ on IMDb 

This movie is based on the true story of Hunter “Patch” Adams, a medical doctor who uses humor and unconventional methods to treat his patients. He challenges the rigid and impersonal system of the medical establishment, and creates his own clinic where he provides free care to those who cannot afford it. He also faces personal tragedies and professional difficulties, but never gives up on his vision of healing. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of humor, compassion, and innovation.

15. Gandhi (1982)

  • Director: Richard Attenborough
  • Cast: Ben Kingsley, Edward Fox, John Gielgud, Candice Bergen
  • Genre: Historical epic
  • Rating: PG
  • ‘Gandhi’ on IMDb

This movie is a sweeping biographical film that covers the life and achievements of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement against the British Empire. It depicts his philosophy and practice of nonviolent resistance, his campaigns for civil rights and social justice, his imprisonment and hunger strikes, his role in the Partition of India and Pakistan, and his assassination and funeral. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of peace, justice, and courage.

16. Stand and Deliver (1988)

  • Director: Ramón Menéndez
  • Cast: Edward James Olmos, Lou Diamond Phillips, Rosanna DeSoto, Andy García
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: PG
  • ‘Stand and Deliver’ on IMDb

This movie is based on the true story of Jaime Escalante, a high school mathematics teacher who inspires his underprivileged students to learn calculus and pass the Advanced Placement exam. Escalante faces many challenges and obstacles from the school system, the students’ families, and the testing board, but he never gives up on his vision of academic excellence. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of education, motivation, and overcoming stereotypes.

17. Freedom Writers (2007)

  • Director: Richard LaGravenese
  • Cast: Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: PG-13
  • ‘Freedom Writers’ on IMDb

This movie is based on the true story of Erin Gruwell, a novice teacher who works at a racially diverse and violent high school in Long Beach, California. She uses unconventional methods and assigns her students to write journals about their lives, which reveal their struggles and hopes. She also introduces them to literature that relates to their experiences, such as The Diary of Anne Frank. She helps them to overcome their differences and pursue their education. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of tolerance, empathy, and self-expression.

18. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)

This movie is a remake of a Japanese film based on the true story of Hachikō, a loyal Akita dog who waits for his master at the train station every day, even after his death. The movie follows the bond between Parker Wilson, a college professor who finds Hachi as a puppy at the station, and the dog, who becomes his faithful companion. The movie also shows how Hachi touches the lives of other people in the community. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of loyalty, friendship, and devotion.

19. Cool Runnings (1993)

This movie is loosely based on the true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics. The movie follows four Jamaican sprinters who fail to qualify for the summer games and decide to switch to bobsledding, with the help of a disgraced former coach. They face many difficulties and ridicule from other teams, but they also have fun and make history. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of humor, teamwork, and underdog spirit.

20. Front of the Class (2008)

This movie is based on the true story of Brad Cohen, a teacher who has Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary vocal and motor tics. The movie depicts Brad’s childhood, where he faces misunderstanding and discrimination from his family, teachers, and peers. It also shows his adulthood, where he pursues his dream of becoming an elementary school teacher, despite being rejected by many schools. He finally gets a chance to prove his ability and inspire his students. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of courage, determination, and acceptance.

21. Lean on Me (1989)

  • Director: John G. Avildsen
  • Cast: Morgan Freeman, Beverly Todd, Robert Guillaume
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: PG-13
  • ‘Lean on Me’ on IMDb

This movie is based on the true story of Joe Clark, a tough and unconventional principal who takes over a failing inner-city school in New Jersey. He uses strict discipline and high standards to motivate his students and staff, and faces opposition from the school board, the parents, and the state officials. He also has to deal with a personal crisis involving his estranged wife and son. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of leadership, courage, and education.

22. Soul Surfer (2011)

  • Director: Sean McNamara
  • Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid
  • Genre: Biographical drama
  • Rating: PG
  • ‘Soul Surfer’ on IMDb

This movie is based on the memoir of Bethany Hamilton, a teenage surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack. Despite the physical and emotional challenges, she decides to pursue her dream of becoming a professional surfer, with the support of her family, friends, and faith. She also travels to Thailand to help the victims of the 2004 tsunami. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of resilience, courage, and compassion.

23. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)

This movie is a portrait of Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the children’s TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It explores his life, his philosophy, and his impact on generations of viewers. It features interviews with his family, friends, colleagues, and admirers, as well as archival footage and clips from his show. It also examines the challenges he faced in dealing with social issues, such as racism, violence, and death. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of kindness, empathy, and understanding.

24. Chef (2014)

  • Director: Jon Favreau
  • Cast: Jon Favreau, Sofía Vergara, John Leguizamo
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Chef’ on IMDb

This movie is about Carl Casper, a talented chef who quits his job at a prestigious restaurant after a negative review and a public meltdown. He decides to start his own food truck business, with the help of his ex-wife, his son, and his friend. He travels across the country, serving delicious Cuban cuisine and reconnecting with his passion and his family. He also learns to embrace social media and his online reputation. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of creativity, friendship, and happiness.

25. Hidden Figures (2016)

  • Director: Theodore Melfi
  • Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe
  • Genre: Historical drama
  • Rating: PG
  • ‘Hidden Figures’ on IMDb

This movie is based on the true story of three African American women who worked as mathematicians at NASA in the 1960s. They were Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, and they played a vital role in the space program, especially in the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. They faced racial and gender discrimination, but they also proved their skills and intelligence. They also inspired other women and minorities to pursue careers in science and engineering. This movie is inspirational because it shows the power of intelligence, determination, and justice.


We hope you enjoyed this list of 25 inspirational movies that can restore your faith in humanity.

These movies are not only entertaining, but also uplifting, empowering, and enlightening.

They show us the best of human nature, and the potential we all have to make a positive difference in the world.

They also inspire us to overcome our challenges, pursue our passions, and live our dreams.

Whether you need a boost of motivation, a dose of optimism, or a reminder of what matters most, these movies are here to help you.

And remember, these movies are family friendly and kid approved (minus 3 that are Rated R).

We hope you pick a movie from this list, and let it inspire you today.

Free Movie Checklist

Click on the button below to get your FREE “Inspirational Movies” checklist that you can print or check off directly on your device!

So, what are your thoughts on the movies included in this list? What additional movies would you have included? What movies would you have left off?

We encourage all comments and discussion!

Everyone is welcome!


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