What are the top 5 motivational movies one must watch?

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Before we dive into our list of the top 5 motivational movies that you should watch, it first pays to take a step back and consider what kind of motivation it is that you are looking for. Do you want to achieve a specific lifestyle, hit a personal goal, or simply motivate yourself to enjoy and live the best kind of life every day?

Of course, the best motivational movies out there make you feel energised and buoyed up no matter it is you are trying to do – but what is it about these movies that really motivates you? Is it the words spoken by the characters, or their actions?

And can you be sure that everything you remember and use as inspiration is entirely accurate?

How the Mandela Effect changes the way we watch movies

Think back to those movies you watch that you remember, and which inspire you. When you recall the movies that changed your life, do you remember everything that happened word for word – or do you recall a version of what was said?

All too often, we believe that we remember a quote accurately, and yet we have got some part of it wrong – for example in Star Wars where Darth Vade tells Luke Skywalker that he is in fact his father. Fans all over the world would have you believe that the line is “Luke, I am your father”. However, the line is actually “No, I am your father”.

Now, this may not be explicitly motivational in nature, and it may not be a motivational movie on our list. But it does spotlight our tendency to recall movies with variations on exact quotes – or with differing details to the original.

As we go through our top 5 motivational quotes, consider other movies you remember and love – and then ask yourself if you’ve really pinned every detail and memory down correctly, or if you’ve created a few false memories of your own.

Top 5 Motivational Movies

The Shawshank Redemption

This movie is all about friendship and perseverance and encourages and motivates us to see the world around us as the central character does – one to be reached for and chased. As a story of hope and faith, The Shawshank Redemption is famously motivational and showcases the different lifestyle face by those who live inside Shawshank. Any discrepancy in the story can be explained by the novella that the movie is based on, with viewers claiming different lines and titles in a blurring of the written tale and that shown on the screen. Nevertheless, there are lines in the movie that have been linked to the Mandela Effect, including a belief that the central characters are welcomed to the prison when in the movie they are not.

127 Hours

This is a movie that not only motivates and inspires, but also makes the viewer feel grateful for what they have. It throws difficult decisions in with impossible situations, and leans on a very minimalist surrounding environment to hit home the isolation faced by the central character.


On the outside this is a sporting movie that motivates sports fans. However, the story of boxing and sport is combined with a tale of perseverance and hope, and the struggle to succeed for someone when the odds are against them. This is considered one of the most inspiring films with everything from the theme tune to the most quotable lines from the movie making it into modern culture today. This can sometimes mean that out of the context the lines are misinterpreted, however for most people the theme song immediately spotlights a feeling of hard work and inspiration.

Forrest Gump

A movie doesn’t have to be entirely serious to become motivational, with Forrest Gump a great example of a character who overcomes the odds against him and embraces his childish innocence to draw people towards him. Forrest Gump touches on some big themes and momentous events but through the eyes of someone who doesn’t wholly understand – making for a motivational and inspiring movie which can change the way you look at the world.

A movie full of relationships and the importance of embracing those closest to you. This is a movie that motivates us to be kind – with a ton of famous quotes thrown in for good measure and to keep the movie relevant years after its release.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Typically, a family movie watched at Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life is sad, happy, emotionally draining, and incredible touching – drawing out a multitude of emotions to encourage the viewer to empathise with every character and then go on a journey with them. This is an example of a movie where you buy into the happiness and safety of every character, so much so that the ending motivates and inspires you to reach for those around you and hug them tight.

The Takeaway

Movies are designed to take us to a different place and encourage us to sympathise with – and join forces with – different characters as they face a multitude of adventures and situations. These 5 motivational movies use motivation in different ways, making us feel grateful, humble, inspired, and driven – all at once.

When it comes to the Mandela Effect and the way it impacts movies, it is interesting to note how the way different people watch and interpret movies can often be perceived as the Mandela Effect regardless of the discrepancy – and how it can change the tone of the entire movie.

Have you got any examples of movies that boast a completely different meaning when you know about the Mandela Effect links?

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