I’ve got a whole list of movies I love to watch over and over. They’re on my list because they motivate me. They help me move higher. Or they help me get out of a low spot.

I’m going to list a few of them here. Then I want to hear about your list.

1 – Rudy – This is, without a doubt, my favorite motivational movie. I’ve watched Rudy well over 40 times. I’ve met Rudy on a few occasions and I’ve heard him speak. The end of this movie always chokes me up, regardless of how many times I’ve seen it. When I travel I bring the DVD with me. A good dose of Rudy will help anyone who’s feeling down or needs a shot of motivation. In addition to the movie being great, the true story about how Rudy got the movie made is equally as good!

2 – The Rookie – Another incredible, and true, story. I love “champion” movies and this is one of the best. And the little kid is so good! He’s the same kid from Two and a Half Men.

3 – The Greatest Game Ever Played – A fantasic movie about a golf legend, Francis Ouimet. He’s a come-out-of-nowhere kid who makes it to the top on sheer determination.

4 – A League of Their Own –  Funny, inspiring, motivating. This is another one I’ve watched dozens of times.

5 – My Cousin Vinnie – This one may surprise you. It’s funny. No, it’s hysterical. But the best parts of the movie are where Vinnie and his girlfriend Mona work together against what seem to be insurmountable odds. Another choke-up movie at the end.

Don’t be put off by the four sports movies on this list. Each of them actually has very little to do with the sport. They aren’t on my list because they’re sports movie (actually, I don’t know the first thing about golf and I have no interest). They’re on my list because they’re all champion movies. And except for My Cousin Vinnie, they’re all true.

I read motivational books. I listen to motivational audios. But I seem to get the most out of motivational movies. They drive me on. They set my goal posts further out. They put my “problems” in perspective.

Now I’d like to know about the movies that motivate you. And why they motivate you. We’re all looking for more juice in our lives. Your movie suggestions may be just what we’re looking for.

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  1. Ben Settle Says:

    Hey Paul, I’m with ya on all these (except I have never seen A League Of Their Own).

    In fact, we just watched “The Greatest Game Ever Played” again this last weekend.

    I’d also add Rocky parts 1, 2 and 6 and “Miracle” (about the US Olympic Hockey team).

    All for the same reasons, they show the underdog(s) overcoming extremely difficult obstacles and winning not on talent, but heart and sheer guts alone.


  2. Andy Moose Says:

    I’ve seen and agree with the movies on your list (your’s too Ben, except for Rocky).

    Two other movies that’ll get you going…
    We are Marshall and
    Remember the Titans

    Yes, they’re both football movies but again, but again the sport is simply the medium to show the underlying message.


  3. Jillian Gotlib Says:

    “The World’s Fastest Indian”, an amazing true story about “The World’s Fastest Indian”: Story about :Burt Munro,
    A New Zealander who raced his customized vintage “Indian Scout”
    Motorcycle on the Bonneville Salt Flats, in Utah .
    It was 1967 when he set world records over
    183mph, without the use of all the fancy gear and technology
    available even then….
    But perhaps even more surprising:
    he did this when he was 67 years old!

    It’s a great story and inspiring!
    He was a real problem solver, and always polite,
    Even in the face of many challenges, obstacles, and unyeilding
    He had a burning mission!! And graceful charm, innocence at the different cultures.

    A wonderful story, and the DVD shows original footage of Burt Munro & his bike
    On the road and at Bonneville.

  4. Robert Seay Says:

    You are one awesome dude Paul. You kick a little hiney when you have to, but to be so honest

    about your motivators is special. Thanks

  5. Andy Iskandar Says:

    Hey Paul,

    I concur with all your choices. I have one more recommendation for you. ‘Door To Door’ with William H. Macy in it.

    It is a motivational must for sales people. Based on a true story too. It’s about a salesman’s rise to become the top sales person in his company… oh yes, he had cerebral palsy too.

    Definite motivator.


  6. Gina Parris Says:

    Awesome movie choices named by all. Kudos to Andy for remembering “Door To Door.” Call me sappy, but I LOVED:

    -The Sandlot -Never could remake the magic of the original
    -August Rush
    -The Ultimate Gift (Was this an obscure movie?)
    -Cinderella Man

    And I also give a thumbs up to
    -The Great Debaters (even though it raised plenty of painful issues)

    I’m looking forward to being reminded of and learning of some I never saw. Thanks for posting,



  7. Nino Says:

    Hi Paul,
    How about Wall Street? Showing how both worlds work. The evil money hungry white collar businessman, and the hard working Naive blue collar worker.

    If you can split both lives adding the “positive” from each.

    You’d have a work smart not hard businessman with integrity.
    The perfect balance to create a Successful “Bionic Businessman!”

    It’s not what you know- it’s what you do with what you know!
    Kinda simple – don’t ya think?

    Nino Cruz

  8. Robert Lehrer Says:

    Great list Paul,

    I’d add Rocky I, II and III.

    Also–how about Chariots of Fire?

    One more–The Graduate.


  9. Yves Marie Danie Says:

    I submit the following flicks;

    -Hustle & Flow (starring Terrance Howard)…I can’t remember the
    last time I cheered so hard in a movie theater. It was truly AMAZING. I knew Terrance Howard would become a big star the first time I saw him on screen in a previous film.

    -The Color Purple (WOW) I can watch this over and over again as if seeing it for the first time. The woman playing “Suge Avery” should have won an oscar for her role.

    -Shawshank Redemption (Go Tim Robbins!) I was hoarse after seeing this one and became an instant fan of his.

    -A Beautiful Mind (HooOrAY!) Loved R. Crowe.

    -Ellen Brockovich – Julia Roberts….wonderful!

    -Pretty woman (okay – I occasionally fall for the sappy) Not your typical hooker movie. And um I sure wouldn’t know what ‘your typical’ would be. hehehe.

  10. Brian Kathenes Says:

    What about the Frank Capra classic: “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
    We are rarely aware of the good we have done in our day-to-day lives.
    It’s great reminder to thank others that have helped us and makes us reflect on our own contributions.

    Oh, by the way — Thanks Paul!

  11. Tim King Says:

    I think my most motivational movie is The Lake House. (Seriously.) Because of the climactic scene: That sense of urgency that she had at the story’s pinnacle, that sense of urgency I continually need to be inspired to.


  12. Tanya Says:

    I would add The Pursuit of Happyness to the list.

  13. Note Taking Nerd Says:

    I thank you Paul for the list. I’m motivated to get a couple of these movies I haven’t seen now.

    Ever since I’ve heard Jim Rohn say “I want a movie to make me laugh, make me cry. Just don’t leave me the same as when I walked in” movies have had to pass that test for me also.

    I’m a boxing and Denzel Washington fan so of course the movie “Hurricane” is on my list. This show definitely wet my eyes.

    Anyone who likes Denzel and enjoys having their spirit lifted with “Based on a true story” flicks must see this.

    Note Taking Nerd Numba 2

  14. Jonathan Crabtree Says:

    Thanks for the topic Paul. I’d have to add the tear-jerker “Pay it Forward”. The idea in this film is so beautiful! It stars Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment.

  15. Sara Brown Says:

    Working girl with Melonie Griffiths is my favourite motivational film, my son bought it for me for my birthday. I also think the Lassie films are wonderful, dogs are inspiring and great teachers!

  16. Rebecca Says:

    I saw the making of the Rudy story -that was an amazing lesson in perseverance.

    For getting over the bitter craziness that comes with being unexpectedly downsized I recommend ‘Fun with Dick & Jane.’

    ‘A Beautiful Mind’ – favourite quote “You have no respect for cognitive reverie!”

    Favourite dog movie with Jeff Daniels about growing through change into a new community of friends is
    ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ – really heartwarming.

  17. john mazzara Says:

    Harold & Maude is a classic from the 70’s. I actually own a personal VHS copy. I saw the movie when I was 10(I’m 44 now). It was a great film that inspires you to live life to the fullest so that you know what it’s like to really be alive. It stars Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon. It is semi anti establishment but fits in with the times. If nothing else, you’ll enjoy the scenes from the 70’s and the Cat Stevens soundtrack.

    Trust me-you’ll love this cult classic!

  18. Darren Stamos Says:

    A particularly inspirational movie for me is : “The Shawshank Redemption”.

    It’s a movie that powerfully demonstrates how heart-wrenching, potentially debilitating obstacles and hardships can be overcome with creativity, incremental persistence, and friendship. A++

  19. Rachel Young Says:

    I have four that I could watch from beginning to end, over and over again, reciting all the words, and never get tired of them:

    1. Singing in the Rain (Yes, I’m 34 and am in love with black and white movies)
    2. Three Little Words (Red Skelton and Fred Astaire)
    3. The Count of Monte Cristo (with Jim Caviezel)
    4. Bridges of Madison County (I had to get a sappy one in there)

    No redeeming qualities whatsoever, but when I need to just unwind, they’re my go-to guys!

  20. Spiritual Movies Says:

    i have always love Last of the Mohicans the music is amazing and it motivates me.

  21. Joy van Hemert Says:

    My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Very funny! The heroine starts out frumpy and depressed, takes a few steps to do what she wants for herself and changes her world. Very believable – lets you believe that anyone can enter his or her dreams even without oodles of persistence and without overcoming impossibly high barriers.

    I’m with you on My Cousin Vinny. Hilarious and inspiring.

  22. Paul Hartunian Says:

    I have two more to add to my list:

    Four Minutes – it’s the story of how Jim Ryun broke the four minute mile. Brought tears to my eyes it was that good.

    Drumline – This is a movie about a battle between the marching bands of two schools. Sounds geeky, doesn’t it? Watch it and see if you don’t get a heart rush when you see the actual competition in action. It’s a real champion movie.

  23. Rod Davis Says:

    I think “Shawshank Redemption” is one of the most
    inspiring movies Ive ever seen.

  24. Rich Hopkins Says:

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Hollands Opus, & Finding Forrester all get me going in the right direction, as well as many other listed before me.

    Rocky is always good for an adrenaline rush.

  25. Don Gutridge Says:

    Thanks for the Movie Motivation, Paul.
    I love Rudy too. He’s always been one of my favorite.
    Here’s a winner you may have seen; “The Bucket List.”
    I watched it with my grand kids and two days later jumped out of bed in the morning to complete and 18 year old procrastination project with my father. Powerful stuff. Let me know what you think of it.

    Happy Landings,

    Don Gutridge II – CEO Synergy Coach

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