Special Report

The 30 Most Inspirational Movies of the Last 100 Years

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

20. Philadelphia (1993)
> RT critics score: 81% (57 votes)
> RT audience score: 89% (183,439 votes)
> IMDb rating: 7.7/10 (232,142 votes)
> Directed by: Jonathan Demme
> Starring: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell

Jonathan Demme’s “Philadelphia” was the first major Hollywood movie to tackle the topic of AIDS. The film tells the story of lawyer Andrew Beckett, who believes he has been fired from his law firm because he has been diagnosed with the disease and takes his case to court. He ultimately wins a judgment, but dies soon afterwards. Exceptional performances by Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington help to make “Philadelphia” one of the most moving films of the early 1990s.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

19. The Right Stuff (1983)
> RT critics score: 96% (51 votes)
> RT audience score: 90% (22,982 votes)
> IMDb rating: 7.8/10 (59,492 votes)
> Directed by: Philip Kaufman
> Starring: Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris

Based on Tom Wolfe’s book of the same name, “The Right Stuff” recounts the true story of test pilots such as Chuck Yeager and Gordon Cooper as they break the sound barrier. The 193-minute film has been critically praised since its release, despite not doing well at the box office in 1983.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

18. The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
> RT critics score: 79% (19 votes)
> RT audience score: 77% (27,964 votes)
> IMDb rating: 7.4/10 (12,447 votes)
> Directed by: George Stevens
> Starring: Millie Perkins, Shelley Winters, Joseph Schildkraut

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, which itself is based on the diary of Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who was forced to live in hiding in Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

17. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
> RT critics score: 94% (83 votes)
> RT audience score: 96% (279,963 votes)
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10 (954,449 votes)
> Directed by: Milos Forman
> Starring: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman

One of Jack Nicholson’s most acclaimed roles is also among his most emotionally moving. Dealing with themes such as power, control, and conformity, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” follows Randle McMurphy — played by Nicholson — as he is sent to a state mental hospital. There he attempts to bring joy and recklessness to the other patients, much to the dismay of the authoritarian Nurse Ratched.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

16. Norma Rae (1979)
> RT critics score: 89% (28 votes)
> RT audience score: 79% (7,199 votes)
> IMDb rating: 7.3/10 (11,112 votes)
> Directed by: Martin Ritt
> Starring: Sally Field, Beau Bridges, Ron Leibman

“Norma Rae” follows the story of a young single mother who works in a textile factory. She becomes the force behind the push to unionize the mill’s workers, against the will of her family, finance, and many of her colleagues.

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