Great movies are like great books. They have the power to change you — the way you think, your aspirations, and your outlook on certain aspects of life.
Once you see a great movie, it resonates with you long after the final scene. Here are five inspirational movies every teen should watch, or in some cases, re-watch.
1. Soul Surfer
Soul Surfer tells the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a teenage girl who lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing near her home in Hawaii. Everyone thought her dreams of becoming a pro surfer were crushed, but Hamilton proved otherwise, and she’s now one of the greatest and most respected professional surfers in the world. This movie shows us that with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible, even against all odds.
2. Remember The Titans
Remember The Titans is another powerful true story about a high school football team at a newly racially integrated high school in the early 1970s. Viewers see firsthand the obstacles that the players and their families faced, and the ways they were able to overcome adversity.
From this movie, we are reminded of the overwhelming power of friendship and kindness even in the most trying of times.
3. Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting centers on a young man working as a janitor at the prestigious MIT. After jokingly solving one of the most difficult math equations in history, he becomes a protege, but his pent up anger and aggression constantly derail his progress because he thinks that he is not worthy of the great things that are happening in his life.
The most important lesson in this movie is that no matter where you’re from, or what your circumstances were growing up, you have the ability to do and be anything you want, as long as you set your mind to it.
4. Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society is a slightly older movie that most teens probably haven’t seen, and that is precisely why it’s on this list — because every teen should watch it. The movie is about a group of privileged teens at an all-boys boarding school, and they’re introduced to an unorthodox teacher who pushes boundaries, often to the school’s discontent.
This is a great movie with a valuable lesson — think for yourself, and never conform to the thoughts of those around you when your heart is telling you otherwise.
5. The Lion King
The Lion King is the greatest movie ever made. Yes, that’s a biased personal opinion, and you certainly don’t have to agree. However, there is no denying that this movie is quite powerful, especially when you watch it as a teen or adult. The cute lions and fun songs sort of fade away, and the life lessons become clear.
What we learn from this Disney classic is that, in order to truly understand yourself and what is right for you, you might need to get away for a while to explore the world, make new friends, and learn that the world is much bigger than you think. And even if you stray a bit from the path you’re expected to take, what’s meant to be will be — it just takes time.
My guess is that most teens have seen one, two, three, or maybe even all five of these movies. But, regardless of whether or not you’ve had the pleasure of viewing these great films, you should definitely take some time to watch them again, especially if it’s been several years since you’ve seen them. You’ll be glad you did!
Contributed by Ashley Welter