Whatever we want to tackle in life – with a good portion of will and lucky coincidences, each of us can achieve extraordinary things! These 45 films inspire, give courage and ensure perseverance in difficult times.
1. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Chris (Will Smith) just has bad luck. After he invests the family savings in distributing a new x-ray machine, it turns out to be a bust. Two years later, Chris is almost ruined. His wife Linda (Thandie Newton) is annoyed by increasing double shifts, and his son Christopher (Jaden Smith) suffers. When Linda leaves him, Chris insists on being allowed to keep his son.
But the social decline can no longer be stopped. An odyssey through homeless shelters and soup kitchens begins for Chris and Christopher. On the side, Chris starts an unpaid apprenticeship as a stockbroker. Although bad luck follows him at first here as well, he manages the big twist.
How many injustices and setbacks can a person endure? The true story of Chris Gardner gives courage in difficult situations. Perseverance is the name of the game!
2. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
“It’s all good in the end. If it’s not good yet, it’s not the end!”. This is how neurotic young hotelier Sunny explains to his first guests the lack of doors, windows, and telephones in his Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Old and Beautiful. Sunny specializes in outsourcing seniors facing old age poverty in the UK.
In squeaky-clean and exciting India, Evelyn (Judy Dench), Madge (Celia Imrie), Muriel (Maggie Smith), Douglas and Jean (Bill Nighty and Penelope Wilton), Graham (Tom Wilkinson) and Norman (Ronald Pickup) really get going again.
There is flirting, arguing, and dying. The plump life with a lot of wit and charm – and the moral of the story is “It’s never over!”.
3. Forrest Gump (1994)
How stupid can you actually be? Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) is still the most lovable jerk in film history – and undoubtedly the most successful one! Even as a young boy Forrest falls in love with Jenny (Robin Wright). But after school, their paths lose each other. Forrest ends up in the military, eventually in the Vietnam War, and Jenny goes astray on drugs with the flower power movement.
By dumb luck, Forrest keeps experiencing fated coincidences and just does as he’s told. He incidentally becomes a cult icon of his time, along with a medal for bravery and a career as a ping-pong player and crab fisherman. But he doesn’t care; he just wants to know where Jenny is!
A classic of courage films… and please don’t forget: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never really know what’s inside”!”.
4. The Intouchables (2011)
Wealthy Philippe Pozzo di Borgo (François Cluzet) has been paralyzed from the neck down since an accident. His wealth allows him to live with a court of supply staff. Yet Philippe is bored. That changes when Driss (Omar Sy) shows up at a job interview. Driss is actually only after a signature and wants to continue receiving his unemployment benefits. Driss immediately wins Philippe’s goodwill with his cheeky, impudent manner. Against all warnings, Philippe hires the African-born ex-convict.
An inspiring encounter of cultures and social classes begins. Philippe gains the courage to face life, becomes a stoner, and after years finally dares to meet his longtime pen pal Éléonore. The film is based on a true story. The real Philippe and his former Algerian nurse Abdel remain friends to this day. Both live in Morocco, are married, and have children.
5. About a Boy (2002)
Will (Hugh Grant) is a boring thirty-something who lives off royalties earned from a hit song by his father. Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) is the loser of his school. As the son of weird and depressed hippie mom Fiona (Toni Colette), he doesn’t have it easy. His haircut is a disaster, and his clothes are organic. The day his mother attempts suicide, he meets Will. He actually just wanted to hook up with Fiona’s girlfriend, Susi. Marcus stalks Will and finally exposes him as a liar. But instead of exposing him, he would much rather watch TV with him and finally have a buddy.
Wonderfully quirky ensemble and gives a lot of courage that every pot still finds its lid in the end!
6. Avatar (2009)
The former U.S. Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is on a mission to replace his deceased brother. This was part of the expensive Avatar project to explore the natives of the world Pandora. In an unknown future, big industrialists mine Pandora’s mineral resources on a grand scale. The indigenous Na’vi people get in the way of the machinations. The researchers transfer their minds into gigantic avatars in order to get in better contact with the locals. Daredevil Sully gets lost on the very first away mission and eventually wins the heart of the Na’vi and fighter Neytiri (Zoë Saldaña).
If you don’t feel like hugging a tree after watching this movie, you simply don’t have a heart!
7. Dumbo (1941 / 2019)
Dumbo is born in the circus. His mother is mighty proud of her son at first. But then a mishap happens to him. Dumbo has to sneeze so hard that his ears inflate to gigantic proportions. When Dumbo’s mother defends him against insults, she is labeled aggressive and locked up. Dumbo, unfortunately, at first. But he gets distracted by his mouse friend Timothy and becomes the main actor in some crazy circus acts. By chance, Dumbo and Timothy find out that ears bring a great advantage – Dumbo can fly!
In the end, he becomes a big star, frees his mother, and gets his own circus wagon. One of the most beautiful courage films from Disney!
8. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Will Hunting (Mark Damon) is actually a genius. Nevertheless, he works as a cleaner at an institute for mathematics. Professors take notice of him when he can’t resist completing a mathematical formula that has been unsolved for years. First and foremost, Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) would like to encourage Will. But he comes from a socially deprived area and proves to be aggressive.
After a fight, Will gets restrained and must meet with psychologist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) once a week. An emotional encounter between Will and Sean eventually frees both men from a long nightmare. Ultimately, love triumphs over mathematics, and Will follows his great love to California. Career and knowledge are not everything.
Beautiful and touching, especially considering the fate of the popular performer Robin Williams!
9. Coco (2017)
Twelve-year-old Miguel dreams of becoming a musician. But his family is critical of his career aspirations. Miguel’s great-grandfather Ernesto de la Cruz, once a great musician, left his wife and children for music. When Miguel finds his great-grandfather’s guitar in a chapel one day, there’s no stopping him. He begins to play and ends up in the world of the dead. There Miguel begins to unravel the mystery of his family. When he finally returns, he is able to use his great-grandfather’s music and guitar to take long-held shadows away from his mother, Coco, and his great-grandmother.
Why grieve when we have music and life?!
10. Wild (2014)
The film follows 26-year-old Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) on her hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. On about 1600 kilometers through the states of Oregon, Washington, and California, Cheryl finally wants to come to her senses again. Their life was turbulent from childhood. She has taken drugs and already has a divorce behind her. Rock in the surf was for them always mother Bobbie (Laura Dern). Whose early death from cancer has finally thrown Cheryl off track.
On the trail, she reminisces about phases of her life, enjoys care packages from her ex-husband Paul, and meets all kinds of strange people. Arriving at the Columbia River one morning, at the Bridge of the Gods of all places, Cheryl finally finds herself and is satisfied.
Reminiscent of Hape Kerkeling on the Way of St. James – makes you want to start hiking right away too!
11. The Greatest Showmen (2014)
P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) is initially a jinx, but he doesn’t let it get him down. After the son of poor people loses his job, he starts a cabinet of curiosities and eventually America’s most famous circus – the Ringling Bros. and Barnum& Bailey Circus. With his troupe, he even makes it to the court of the British Queen Victoria. But intrigue within the performers, his penchant for alcohol, and marital problems don’t make things easy for Barnum. Support in all situations is his best friend, Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron).
With love, bite, and patience, Barnum manages to make the best of all life’s situations and always gets back up after bankruptcies. Watch and sympathize!
12. Step Up 2 The Streets (2008)
Andie West (Briana Evigan) is in crisis. After her mother dies and fosters her mother, Sarah causes her problems and gets kicked out of her hip-hop dance crew. The reason – she went to school rather than show up at practice! In the process, the Maryland School of the Arts is Andie’s last chance to start a regular life. Initially prejudiced, she soon meets the charmingly quirky Moose (Adam G. Sevani) and girl crush Chase (Robert Hoffmann).
Along with some of the school’s other misfits, Andie and Chase form their own dance crew to compete in the legendary “The Streets” dance competition. The final dance is brilliant, and the main characters’ kiss is award-winning!
13. The Help (2011)
Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone) is very unconventional for a young Southern woman; she wants to be a writer and cares little for prevailing social norms. The film tells how Skeeter gets the idea to interview African-American maids in 1960s Mississippi.
The idea is not only crazy but also against the law in the USA at the time. At first, only a few servants open up, but eventually, more and more due to a bad incident. Although Skeeter puts herself and her witnesses in serious danger, they go through with the project. Her collections eventually turned into successful books.
Makes courage to be different, to whistle on rules, and just do your own thing!
14. Mona Lisa’s Smile (2003)
Massachusetts’ prestigious Wellesley College is considered an elite hotbed for women. In the 1950s, Californian Katherine Ann Watson (Julia Roberts) hires on as an art historian within its venerable walls. At first, she is fascinated by the traditions, but soon she encounters a make-believe world that is difficult to understand.
Although highly gifted, most of her students (including Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Ginnifer Goodwin) aspire to marry soon and be mothers and model wives. Frustrated, Katherine throws herself into an affair with her colleague Bill Dunbar (Dominic West). When the latter lies to her, Katherine realizes that she herself must live the life she would like to impose on her students.
After this film, every woman is glad to live in the 21. Century to live!
15. The Family Stone (2005)
The Stones stick together like peanuts and brimstone. For the slightly neurotic Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker), the Christmas inaugural visit to her future in-law family turns into a fiasco. Mother Sybil (Diane Keaton) doesn’t think much of her son’s choice, and the rest of the family is also cagey to unfriendly.
When Meredith’s sister Julie (Claire Danes) rushes to help, the chaos of emotions and prejudices escalates. In between, the Stone children (Dermont Mulroney, Rachel T. Adams, Luke Wilson, and Elizabeth Reaser) also learn that her mother is terminally ill with cancer. When the situation finally comes apart at the seams, the couples shuffle, the tears flow, there is laughter, and finally, celebration, after all! Heartwarming with a dash of bittersweet tragedy!
16. Snow Cake (2006)
A taciturn outsider, Alex Hughes (Alan Rickman), is on his way to Winnipeg when he picks up young, talkative hitchhiker Vivienne (Emily Hampshire). Just as the two are getting closer, a terrible thing happens. A truck rams the side of Alex’s car, and Vivienne dies instantly.
In shock and with only a scratch, Alec rushes to Vivienne’s mother’s house. He wants to bring her some weird light balls that Vivienne had bought for her along the way. When Alec meets Linda (Sigourney Weaver), his world is further thrown completely out of whack. Linda, being autistic, can’t muster any understanding of Alex’s feelings but keeps him in the house for the time being so he can take the trash out the door next Tuesday.
Beautiful round dance with top stars and a rather unusual story! Must watch!
17. What Dreams May Come (1998)
It’s already tragic – first, Annie and Chris (Annabella Sciorra and Robin Williams) lose their two beloved children in an accident, and then Chris is killed as well! Annie stays behind. Addicted to alcohol and depression, Annie eventually commits suicide.
Chris, meanwhile, has long since found both of his children in the world beyond the horizon. Here he learns that nothing is in truth in such a way as it imagines humans on earth. Everyone lives on after death, just as they wish or always dreamed they would.
Annie has ended up in a kind of dark limbo because of the suicide. Alone, she will hardly be able to extricate herself from this hell. So Chris sets out to save his love!
Beautiful for crying, tissues out, and deep sigh at the end – it goes on and on!
18. Finding Forrester (2000)
Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown) ends up as an African-American outsider from the Bronx at a posh private school. His exceptional writing talent has won Jamal a rare scholarship. By chance, he meets the reclusive William Forrester (Sean Connery), who helps him with his writing. When Jamal submits one of the text exercises he did with Forrester to a contest, he gets in trouble.
Supposedly, this text was published by a great writer who has been missing for several years. Jamal begins to suspect who he has as a mentor and asks Forrester for help. But he hasn’t left his apartment for years due to a social phobia and doesn’t want to meet his old colleagues and critics now either.
Finally, Forrester overcomes himself and celebrates the last great success of his life. Gorgeous duo with Sean Connery in a wholly unusual role!
19. Love Actually (2003)
The film gives insight into the loosely entangled lives of several people in pre-Christmas London. Washed-up rock star Billy Mack (Bill Nighty) attempts a comeback and drives manager Joe almost insane. Juliet (Keira Knightley) marries Peter and has no idea that his buddy Mark is in love with her. As a newly minted prime minister, David (Hugh Grant) falls in love with his maid, and Daniel (Liam Neeson) must cope with the death of his wife.
This entertaining episodic film shows the strange entanglements of life and that the search for love always has a purpose!
20. Blind Side (2009)
One night, the family mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), picks up homeless Michael (Quinton Aaron). Leight Anne thinks she has recognized something special in the boy, gives him a home, and promotes him. Michael is not particularly intelligent but has a strong protective instinct and a soft spot for football.
Timid, at first, develops into an excellent player under the guidance of Leigh Anne. Meanwhile, Leigh Anne will stop at nothing to get Michael better grades and eventually a scholarship to the University of Tennesee. When Michael prefers to return to his old home in Mississippi, he and his mentor clash.
The film is based on the true life story of football player Michael “Big Mike” Oher.
21. The Social Network (2010)
22. Moneyball (2011)
23. Rocky (1976)
24. Nightcrawler (2014)
25. Hidden Figures (2016)
26. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
27. On the Basis of Sex (2019)
28. Milk (2008)
29. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
30. Wonder Woman (2017)
31. The King’s Speech (2010)
32. 21 (2008)
33. Lady Bird (2017)
34. School of Rock (2003)
35. Lion (2016)
36. Erin Brokovitch (2000)
37. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
38. The Theory of Everything (2014)
39. The Snow Queen (2012)
40. Legally Blonde (2001)
41. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
42. Creed (2015)
43. Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
44. Joy (2015)
45. The Kings of Summer (2013)
Whether true story or fiction, life is always good for a surprise and can make dreams come true!