I am a great fan of those inspirational movies, yes ‘the human spirit’, ‘battle against odds’ stories which make you feel good after and make you sit through the movie many times over, later on. So when I saw that Mouthshut had a review section called Five Best Inspirational movies of Hollywood, I decided it was time to make my list of five. The list of five I have compiled may not cater to everyone’s tastes, as I am no movie connoisseur and may not have watched the wonderful movies you have liked. So here goes my list of five movies.
Rudy(1993) Director: David Anspaugh Starring: Sean Astin
This is the first movie which really inspired me and to this day it remains my favorite. The tag line of the movie encapsulates the essence of the movie remarkably well. “When people say dreams don’t come true, tell them about Rudy”. The movie is based on the life of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger and who chases his dream of playing for his favorite college football team, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Most of the people around him did not give him whiff of a chance as he was really small for an average person, let alone a football player and did not have the athletic ability to be a top sports person. Mind you, we are talking American football here and players,especially at college level are huge and are top athletes. How Rudy battles his self doubt, dyslexia which becomes an obstacle in getting into the college and doubts of most people around him by drawing energy from some close friends and more importantly by his sheer determination and willpower forms the crux of the story.
The Shawshank Redemption(1994) Director: Frank Darabont Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
This would be a shoo-in to any list of inspirational movies. It was not a commercial success and barely missed out on an Oscar to Forrest Gump. Tim Robbins plays the lead role, that of a prisoner, Andy Dufresne(pronounced Due-Frain) in the Shawshank prison where he has to go through a tough ordeal, the usual challenges that a prison throws up and also the brutalities of the corrupt and effete prison authorities. He strikes a chord of friendship with Red( Morgan Freeman) and their relationship through the long years at the prison, the changes that come in their lives and those around them as a result of Dufresne’s work at the prison progresses the story but the climax is what really knocks you off your feet. Brace for it is all what I can say now.
October Sky (1999) Director: Joe Johnston Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal
This movie is inspired by the life of Homer Hickam, a young boy from a rural mining town, who on seeing the Russian satellite, Sputnik, streak by on a starry October sky, decided that he himself was going to reach for the stars by building his own rocket. He and motley group of three friends, with due encouragement from their teacher proceed to build rockets. However they have to overcome many a hurdle on their way including a father who believes that football is the only way to get out of the coal mines and other paths should be given short shrift, their schoolmates who make the rocket boys the butt of all their jokes and even a brief altercation with the police who accuse the rocket boys of causing a wild fire which started near by. Homer Hickham and friends survived those tough times and became successful in life. Watch how “One dream lights up the sky”
The Pursuit of Happyness(2006) Director: Gabriele Muccino Starring: Will Smith
Another real life inspired movie, Pursuit of Happyness, pursues the life of Christopher Gardner a traveling salesman, in his quest for happiness. After his wife leaves him, Gardner has to take care of his young son Chris and make both ends meet at the same time. He then chances to meet a stock broker, who is quite successful and Gardner decides to learn the tricks of the trade from a stock broking firm. However, he has to pass an unpaid internship at the firm in order to become a broker. He also had to go through a few days when he is homeless and once even had to spend a night with his son in a restroom at a subway station. This pursuit of happyness will leave you with tears of joy at the end
Life is Beautiful (Vita è bella, La) (1997) Director: Roberto Benigni Starring: Roberto Benigni
It took me a lot of attempts to complete watching this movie, mainly because of the fact that I wrongly interpreted Roberto Benigni to be hamming it up as Guido. At first, I felt many of the scenes were over the top and closed the movie window out of frustration. However one day, when I thought I had nothing better to do I sat through the movie and I was glued on to my seat by the brilliant storyline and incredible performance by the entire cast. In the initial part of the movie Benigni was building the character brick by brick and Guido’s mannerisms and antics are used to explain the man’s persona. The latter part of the movie set in a concentration camp has some heart rending scenes, captured beautifully without shedding a drop of blood. Life is Beautiful is a directorial masterpiece if ever there was one.