Entertainment

10 Inspiring Movies on Netflix That Could Change Your Life

Christian Cawley Updated 17-03-2020

Are you planning to kickstart a new phase of your life? Or maybe you need motivating for a new career or new relationship? Then why not start by watching these inspiring movies on Netflix.

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Movies are more than just popcorn flicks. They can change the way we live, love, and even think. From kids rushing out of cinemas slinging webs from their wrists to adults realizing their greatest fear is holding them back, movies can be uplifting, inspirational, and even motivational.

Why You Should Watch Inspiring Movies on Netflix

Perhaps you’re kicking back on the sofa with the TV remote in hand. Or perhaps you’re checking your Netflix library on your phone or tablet while travelling.

You could binge-watch that comedy series you’ve seen three times. But wouldn’t it be better to watch one of these inspiring movies on Netflix that could motivate you to improve your life?

If so, you’ve come to the right place, as we have compiled a list of inspiring Netflix movies.

We thoroughly recommend you watch these films whether you’re feeling inspired or need some extra motivation. Just remember that you should never watch movies on your smartphone Why You Should Never Watch Movies on Your Smartphone There are countless reasons why you should never watch movies on your smartphone. Read More .

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1. Saving Mr. Banks

In Saving Mr. Banks, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) is desperate to adapt PL Travers’ much-loved children’s novel Mary Poppins. Mrs. Travers (Emma Thompson), however, is less keen, expecting the the movie maker to produce a trivial cartoon.

Thus begins a back-and-forth tale of persuasion and realization as Disney and Travers each jet back and forth between the UK and Los Angeles.

Why you should watch this:

Interspersed with flashbacks of Travers’ childhood in Australia, it soon becomes apparent (if you hadn’t already realized) that Mary Poppins isn’t what you think it is.

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Saving Mr Banks is as amusing, heartwarming, and feel-good as Mary Poppins itself.

2. The Theory of Everything

Essentially the biopic of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), the film explores his life, career, and debilitating illness amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or motor neurone disease).

After being given two years to live while researching his thesis on black holes, Hawking carves out the most remarkable career possible, becoming a world-renowned physicist. He achieves this despite his steadily worsening condition, which eventually results in the end of his first marriage.

Including the impact of his groundbreaking book A Brief History of Time, The Theory of Everything is the closest we’ll get to knowing the real Stephen Hawking.

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Why you should watch this:

Professor Hawking achieved so much under unimaginable physical hardship. How can anyone not be inspired by this?

3. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

William Kamkwamba fixes radios in his spare time while not at school or helping his family. But when crops fail and famine strikes, he feels he must act. Kamkwamba devises a way to build a windmill-powered water pump using the electrical engineering skills he has learned at school.

Overcoming opposition from his friends and family (who largely doubt the practicality of the plan), Kamkwamba eventually harnesses the wind.

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Why you should watch this:

The impact William Kamkwamba’s actions had on his people is incalculable. Who among us can say we’ve been able to save our community in such a way? There was nothing accidental about this—the technology was there, Kamkwamba just saw the opportunity, and overcame adversity.

4. Summer of ’92 (Sommeren ’92)

In 1992, military conflict threatened Eastern Europe as former communist state Yugoslavia fell into civil war. As a result, Yugoslavia was disqualified from the Euro 92 soccer tournament scheduled for the summer.

No one expected much from replacements Denmark; only manager Richard Moller Nielsen believed they could win. Summer of ’92 tells the story of how Nielsen dealt with the press, players, and the Danish Football Association.

Why you should watch this:

This isn’t about the soccer. It’s about taking the opportunity, embracing it, and running with it. Sure, be prepared, but overcome the opposition with passion and drive. Note that this motivational Netflix movie requires subtitles for non-Danish speakers. 

5. The Pursuit of Happyness

Starring Will Smith and son Jaden Smith in his first role, The Pursuit of Happyness is a heart-wrenching tale. It is perhaps best defined by this quote, from father Chris Gardner to his son:

“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves; they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.”

Having lost his home, wife, and job, Chris is left with his son and a dream: to become a successful stockbroker.

Why you should watch this:

The adversity Chris and his son overcome is an inspiring demonstration of a father’s love for his son and determination to succeed.

6. Jersey Boys

Directed by Clint Eastwood, Jersey Boys is a cinematic adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. It tells the story of New Jersey pop group The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi.

At times heavy, you’ll learn about the group’s early brush with crime, and their path to stardom.

Why you should watch this:

It’s the story of four kids from a bad neighborhood who could have fallen into organized crime. Instead they became one of the biggest pop groups of the 1960s.

7. Steve Jobs

Not to be confused with Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher, this biopic of the visionary co-founder of Apple stars Michael Fassbender. Joined by Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, the movie charts the launch of three products: the Apple Macintosh 128K’s voice demo, NeXT Computer, and the iMac.

Covering a 14-year period, it charts not just the development of Apple but Jobs’ relationships, particularly with his daughter.

Why you should watch this:

You’ll learn about Steve Jobs’ impact on the digital revolution. Most importantly, you’ll see that despite lacking coding and design skills, he had the vision to shape the modern world. If that isn’t inspiring, we don’t know what is.

8. Same Kind of Different as Me

Art dealer Ron had an affair and confessed all to his wife. As penance, he volunteers at the local homeless shelter. Ron and Debbie meet ex-convict Denver and befriend him, learning about his life. Overcoming challenges such as bereavement and reconciliation, Ron and Denver’s friendship changes them both for the better.

Why you should watch this:

We really don’t know what we have until it’s gone. But friendship can come from the most unusual places and inspire you to success. This is one of the most uplifting movies on Netflix.

9. The Shawshank Redemption

Life is tough and for many it is punctuated with hardship. But things don’t get much tougher than discovering your wife is having an affair and then being framed for the murders of her and her lover.

This is the starting point for The Shawshank Redemption, based on the Stephen King novel. It stars Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, falsely convicted of murder. Yet despite his early struggle to adjust and scenes of violence, this is a movie about hope and friendship. Helped by Red (Morgan Freeman), Andy survives against impossible odds—and he’s not the only one learning lessons.

Why you should watch this:

Considered the greatest movie never to win an Oscar (despite seven nominations) and for good reason. Shawshank teaches us that hope can see you through the worst of circumstances.

10. The Karate Kid

Dre Parker (Jaden Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness) is wrenched from his home when his mom gets a new job. Not unusual, but this one is in China, and Dre is completely lost. After making friends with a girl, a jealous school bully attacks Dre at home, stopped only by the maintenance guy.

In his spare time, the secret Kung Fu master Mr Han (Jackie Chan) teaches Dre to defend himself and overcome his challenges.

Why you should watch this:

Hidden in this tale of overcoming adversity, achievement, and adjustment is another vital message: is kung fu for violence or for peace?

Be Inspired by These Inspiring Movies on Netflix

It isn’t every day that you get the chance to sit down and choose from such a selection of uplifting movies.

Sure, you might prefer a shooter; Tom Cruise’s latest Mission Impossible is always a strong option. But instead of the crash-bang-wallop of beating bad guys, why not kick back with a movie that has the capacity to change your life?

After all, if you’re ready to be inspired, these Netflix movies could prove to be truly life-changing.

Looking for something a bit more light-hearted? Then why not try the best British comedies on Netflix The 8 Best British Comedies on Netflix Here are the best British comedies on Netflix for indulging in the UK's eccentricities, awkwardness, and wit. Read More right now.

Related topics: Inspiration, Media Streaming, Movie Recommendations, Netflix.

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  1. Matt
    January 6, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Living in the Material World - Netflix says not available in the U.S.

  2. joe lee
    December 19, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Transformation is a huge concept to try to get your head around, and so using films as the jumping off point for your transformative scheming can be an excellent place to start. From animated classics to deep-dive documentaries, these movies about transformation physical, mental, emotional, and more will challenge you to see the world and your evolving place in it in new, broader ways.

  3. Dave
    September 1, 2019 at 2:26 am

    I'd add "Instant Family" to the list.