Make a list: Inspiring Movies

Movies have important life lessons for us to learnI really love movies. I remember the first movie I ever watched on the big screen at the age of 11. My dad used to have a second job selling movie tickets in the small town we lived in. He could never let us in for free but he would make cones out of newspaper and give us free popcorn.

Movies have always been a source of inspiration for me. As an author, I see the stories I write unfold like movies in my head. I think an author is kind of like a director, only an author has to do all the aspects of production in their head.

I get a lot of inspiration for my writing from the people in my life. Lucky for me, my profession allows me to meet lots of them, which means I can mix and shuffle their stories to create new situations, scenarios, and outcome for my books. This is something I can do entirely in my head, and when everything is arranged just right, I write down on paper the story I saw in my mind.

Other sources of inspiration for me are the books I read. I started reading in grade 3. My childhood friend and I would ride our bicycles to the library once a week to borrow books. The library was a half hour ride from our house and we could only borrow 3 books at a time. I would read my books so fast I would have wait patiently for the next time we went to the library. When I was in middle school, I developed a close relationship with the librarian. She was a gentle woman who always kept some books aside for me. I would read for 2-3 hours every day and the only way to make myself go to bed was to tell myself, “Leave some for tomorrow”. I learn lots from books and they are still a major source of inspiration for me in my work and in personal life.

Movie filmPeople are also a great inspiration to me for how I want to live my life. I have made a point to learn something by observing the lives of the people around me. Each of them has something to share.

My third source of inspiration is movies. 23 years ago, when Eden was born, we decided to go out to the movies at least once a week. We still do this today.

Movies have a great ability to manipulate our minds in any direction we desire. Some movies are cruel so that we appreciate the moments of joy. Others are funny so we know that even pain is not forever. Personally, I like those movies that stay with us longer. Those that plant ideas in our heads that will make our lives better in the future.

Making a list of the movies that inspire me started when I was 16. This was a turning point in my life and opened me up to new possibilities. Before then, I thought life was always happening to me. I realized then that I have the power to control my life by being attuned to messages and ideas that will empower me to excel, to be confident, kind, just, happy, determined. This was when I made the decision not to watch horror movies (this was after I watched “Aliens” and could not sleep for a week). I decided to focus only on those things that keep me moving forward in my life or in my thinking.

Hands holding ends of tangled string

I have a list that is 32 years old. I have found that I change my list from time to time. When I become an educator, I loved movies about inspiring people. When I become a parent, I started getting inspiration from movies about family and parenting. When I travelled the world, I loved inspiring movies about justice and culture. It is natural to change our sources of inspiration, but it is important to keep a note of them, to remind us of an idea, a thought, a feeling that was triggered when we watched a particular movie.

You can learn a lot about people from the movies they like watching or get inspiration from. It does not mean we only watch the movies that inspire us. Sometimes we go to the movies just to have a nice evening or to be in someone’s company or to pass the time. Not everything we watch has to be fully inspiring, but if it makes us think about it for a long time afterward, maybe it made an impact on us.

Tips to making a list of inspiring movie

  1. Aim for 100 but do not limit yourself to 100. As I have said in the past, the first 10 sit on the surface of your consciousness. We want to reach the subconscious. The deeper you go, the more insights you will discover about yourself and your choices.
  2. When you find the movie, write the year of the publication next to it. That is the easiest way to find the same movie again.
  3. Think of childhood movies. I have listed films but you can at the same time use TV shows and series. I remember being highly inspired by “Little House on the Prairie” and even “Poldark” and “I Claudius”. If you remember them, it means they gave you something.
  4. Equilibrium film coverSearch for science fiction movies. I am not talking about things that have strange creatures and lots of killing. Rather, something not realistic that can take you to a different time but shed light on the way we live today. In my list, I have included many science fiction movies. I love these movies because they have a way of telling us something about our lives. In my book “Be Special Be Yourself for Teenagers” I wrote a science fiction story called “Boje’s Magic Powder” about a time when everyone wants to gain weight rather than lose weight. Sometimes I think taking us away from our daily life in an imaginary movie, is the best way to get an idea across.
  5. If you want something in your life, search for movies on this topic. If you want more love, search for movies about love. If you want justice, search for movies about justice. If you want more laughter, watch movies with humor. If you want to be inspired, find true stories about strong, courageous, persistent people. My list is full of them and I get lots of inspiration from them.
  6. When you compile your movie list, write down 1-3 key messages you took from each movie. This is your inspiration message. The more you have the better. Remember, any message that will support you in life is healthy. Any message that will make you anxious, worried, fearful, angry, scared or inadequate is not a good message to carry with you. Your brain cells are very precious and they occupy space to keep your thoughts, feelings and ideas. Most of your energy goes to keeping them alive and functioning. Why would you use up space in your brain things that hold you back? I have seen movies I liked watching but they have made me scared (like when I watched “Taken” while my daughter was overseas). I did not add that movie to my list. Remember, it is not movies you liked watching or in which you think the acting was fabulous, or that the actors were famous. It is about movies that give you messages you can take for life.
  7. Cover of the film WaterAsk friends and family about their lists. You will get a lot of good ideas and it will trigger your memory of movies you have seen. If you hear about a great movie and you have not seen it, borrow it from the video store. We can borrow movies at our local store for only $1 on Tuesdays. We have found that it is much better to come armed with a list of movies to borrow, rather than spending time browsing the endless number of DVDs. You can use my list to start yours.
  8. Search for movies about the human spirit. I find such movies to be amazingly inspiring. It gives me hope and trust that there are good people and that love, caring and courage is out there. It makes me feel that one day it is sure to touch many lives. This is why I chose to include “My Left Foot”, “Untouchable”, “Patch Adams” and “Amelie” in my list.
  9. I personally find inspiration in foreign movies. There is a cinema dedicated to foreign films in our city where we regularly go. I know that many people find it challenging to read the subtitles but foreign movies are a great way for us to examine a new culture, thoughts and ideas.

I hope my list will help you make yours.

Tuck EverlastingRonit’s list of most inspiring movies

  1. Tuck Everlasting (2002)
  2. Untouchable (2012)
  3. Crush (2004)
  4. Babel (2006)
  5. Equilibrium (2002)
  6. Pay It Forward (2000)
  7. The World’s Fastest Indian (2005)
  8. The Constant Gardener (2005)
  9. The Illusionist (2006)
  10. The Bucket List (2007)
  11. Patch Adams (1998)
  12. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  13. Billy Elliot (2000)
  14. Red Cliff (2009) Film cover of Battle of Red Cliff
  15. My Left Foot (1986)
  16. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
  17. Pursuit of Happiness (2006)
  18. August Rush (2007)
  19. Touching the Void (2003)
  20. Life is Beautiful (1997)
  21. What the Bleep Do We Know? (2004)
  22. Schindler’s List (1993)
  23. Amelie (2001)
  24. Ray (2004)
  25. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
  26. Philadelphia (1993)
  27. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  28. Gandhi (1982)
  29. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
  30. Forrest Gump (1994)
  31. The Color Purple (1985) Film cover of the movie The Color Purple
  32. Dead Poet’s Society (1989)
  33. Rain Man (1988)
  34. Erin Brockovich (2000)
  35. Thelma & Louise (1991)
  36. Amadeus (1984)
  37. JFK (1991)
  38. Good Will Hunting (1997)
  39. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  40. American History X (1998)
  41. Contact (1997)
  42. Hair (1979)
  43. Avanti Popolo (1986)
  44. Good Morning Vietnam (1987) Logo of Good Morning Vietnam
  45. FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
  46. The Princess Bride (1987)
  47. Revolutionary Road (2008)
  48. The Life of David Gale (2003)
  49. The Green Mile (1999)
  50. Lorenzo’s Oil (1992)
  51. Iris (I) (2001)
  52. The Ten Commandments (1956)
  53. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
  54. The World According to Garp (1982)
  55. Butterfly Effect (2004)
  56. Evelyn (2002) Film cover of the movie Evelyn
  57. Dune (1984)
  58. Holy Smoke (1999)
  59. I Am Sam (2001)
  60. Planet of the Apes (1968)
  61. Sophie’s Choice (1982)
  62. Total Recall (1990)
  63. The Matrix (1999)
  64. The Help (2011)
  65. The Boys From Brazil (1978)
  66. Munich (2005)
  67. Water (2005)
  68. Prozac Nation (2001)
  69. K-PAX (2001)
  70. Charly (1968)
  71. Love Actually (2003)
  72. The Interpreter (2005)
  73. Awakenings (1990) Film cover of the movie Awakenings
  74. Face off (1997)
  75. District 9 (2009)
  76. The Notebook (2004)
  77. In Time (2011)
  78. Ordinary People (1980)
  79. Music Box (1989)
  80. Jakob the Liar (1999)
  81. The Reader (2008)
  82. Gran Torino (2008)
  83. Dead Poets Society (1989)
  84. A League of Their Own (1992)
  85. Cast Away (2000)
  86. American Beauty (1999)
  87. Being There (1979)
  88. Australia (2008)
  89. Being John Malkovich (1999) Film cover of the movie American Beauty
  90. Witness (1985)
  91. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008)
  92. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  93. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
  94. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
  95. Music of the Heart (1999)
  96. The Truman Show (1998)
  97. The Experiment (2010)
  98. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
  99. Oranges and Sunshine (2010) Film cover of the movie Oranges and Sunshine
  100. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
  101. Christiane F. (1981)
  102. The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
  103. Valkyrie (2008)
  104. Incendies (2010)
  105. The Source Code(2011)
  106. Easy A (2010)
  107. The Soloist (2008)
  108. Conviction (2010)

Wising you lots of inspiration,