Films can take us through the who spectrum of emotions. They can help us to feel happy, to feel sad or to feel scared. While all these things can be pleasant, or engaging, it is the films that make us feel motivated that are really useful and by being inspired by the heroes on the big screen you can get the urge to start making positive changes and to work harder in your own life. Some of these stories were themselves inspired by real life events, while others are just believable and related enough to still strike a chord. Here we will list some of the top motivational movies that you can watch to get your spirits ablaze and help you achieve your ambitions – whether it's short term in the gym or long term in your career.
Rocky: 'The greatest underdog story of all time' – Rocky has to be the ultimate motivational film and it helps that it comes complete with the ultimate motivational soundtrack. 'Gonna Fly Now' by Bill Conti is such an iconic tune that it is used in almost every parody training scene ever filmed (and even then it still gets you pumped). The story is about a 'bum' who gets one shot at the title and manages to survive against the reigning champion Apollo Creed (everyone's seen it so there's no threat of giving the plot away). The other films in the series are just as inspiring – number 3 is responsible for the equally iconic song 'Eye of the Tiger', while number 6 is incredibly inspiring in that it shows you're never too old to succeed and as the tag line says 'it ain't over 'till it's over'.
Hercules: Hercules is so inspiring because it channels Rocky (with lots of references to it, particularly in the form of Phil who may as well be Mickey). It's all about the hero's journey and what it takes to make someone a hero and that of course is all very motivating and emotional stuff (as is the song 'zero to hero').
Braveheart: While this story is not technically that historically accurate, it is nevertheless very inspiring and still essentially based on a real person. Mel Gibson is charismatic as ever in the leading roll, and his shouts of 'freedom' at the end are spine chilling.
Slumdog Millionaire: Slumdog Millionaire is an incredibly uplifting film about a homeless boy who wins the Indian equivalent of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (but of course it's really about a girl). The story is told in Flashbacks which explain how he knows the answers to the questions and you are left wondering if there is an element of fate involved. Either way you leave emotionally charged and believing anything is possible.
K-Pax: A film starring Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey (a good start already) that features 'Prot' who claims he's an alien. Of course the ending is ambiguous but there is something hopeful and uplifting about the entire process and you're left at least wanting to believe that Prot is who he says he is.
Iron Man: Iron Man is a film about the entrepreneurial spirit and about using your smarts and creativity to overcome adversity. If you're ever in a situation that you can't fight your way out of, it's almost always possible to go away and think, and to come back with a plan of action – which is exactly what Tony Stark does when he finds himself trapped in a cave.
The King's Speech: A recent English film (that just won every Bafta going) about the real life story of a king learning to over come his speech impediment so that he can step up and deliver a rousing war time speech to the country.
Ali: Another film about a Boxer – this time a real one. Part of what makes Ali so inspiring is the simple fact that it happened – a life that seems just as extraordinary as any Hollywood script. Ali triumphed against all adversity and you can get just as much motivation from watching old footage of his real fights – try the Rumble in the Jungle out for size and see how you feel afterwards.
Defiance: More overblown historical fare in the mould of Braveheart, but this time it seems a lot more believable (as well as being a more recent, and thus more relatable, setting) and is given a lot of gravity by Daniel Craig's performance.