Special Report

The 30 Most Inspirational Movies of the Last 100 Years

Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures

10. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
> RT critics score: 93% (143 votes)
> RT audience score: 95% (993,591 votes)
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10 (1,292,653 votes)
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore

Steven Spielberg won the Oscar for Best Director (the film won four more, too) for this inspiring account of a group of GIs in WWII. The soldiers push into enemy territory to save a paratrooper whose three brothers have been killed in action.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

9. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
> RT critics score: 96% (47 votes)
> RT audience score: 87% (47,635 votes)
> IMDb rating: 7.9/10 (44,092 votes)
> Directed by: George Seaton
> Starring: Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne

This heartwarming holiday favorite is about a department store Santa who insists he is the real St. Nicholas and is institutionalized as a result. The movie features the first starring role for Natalie Wood as the child who is the first to believe the man really is Santa Claus.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

8. Breaking Away (1979)
> RT critics score: 95% (41 votes)
> RT audience score: 88% (9,357 votes)
> IMDb rating: 7.7/10 (22,679 votes)
> Directed by: Peter Yates
> Starring: Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern

“Breaking Away” is a coming-of-age movie about a cycling enthusiast in Indiana who dreams of riding with a team of renowned Italian cyclists while he pursues his love interest who has gone away to Indiana University. The film featured emerging stars Dennis Quaid and Daniel Stern.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

7. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
> RT critics score: 100% (48 votes)
> RT audience score: 88% (24,341 votes)
> IMDb rating: 8.1/10 (89,505 votes)
> Directed by: John Ford
> Starring: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine

The movie based on John Steinbeck’s classic novel tells the story of a poor family who lost everything during the Great Depression and is looking for a better life in California. Otis Ferguson of The New Republic describes the Oscar-winning film as “the most mature picture story that has ever been made.”

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

6. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
> RT critics score: 98% (133 votes)
> RT audience score: 72% (32,314,349 votes)
> IMDb rating: 7.8/10 (387,356 votes)
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote

In “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” a young boy helps an alien return to his planet. The movie grossed more than its production budget during its first wide release weekend and proceeded to spend a total of 17 weeks at the top of the box office. The film won four Oscars.

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