40 Inspirational Movies to Watch on Amazon Prime

40 Inspirational Movies to Watch on Amazon Prime

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With so many movies marketed as “inspirational,” it’s important to note that inspiration can come from anywhere—while still trying to weed out the films that don’t really have much hope or motivation to offer. To make sure that you make the right decisions on what to stream or what to purchase or rent through Amazon, we’ve put together a list of lesser-known, high-quality films available through the service that should give you the boost you’re looking for. But again, remember that these inspiring films aren’t just feel-good fantasies; some can inspire empathy, others can leave you on a high from the creativity and passion they display. Either way, a healthy dose of inspiration is always good for your streaming rotation.

40. Late Life: The Chien-Ming Wang Story (2018)

7.0

Country

Taiwan, United States of America

Director

Frank W Chen, Tommy Yu

Actors

Billy Connors, Brian Cashman, Chien-Ming Wang, Frank W Chen

Moods

Easy, Inspiring, Instructive

Though it doesn’t delve too deeply into any pressing issues in baseball or into its protagonist’s Taiwanese roots, Late Life: The Chien-Ming Wang Story still makes for interesting viewing, mostly for its extremely specific discussions on baseball. Part sports documentary and part study on physical therapy, the film rejects any narratives about innate talent and greatness and aims to depict most great players as they really are: athletes who have had to train hard and maintain their progress through sheer force of will. And at the center is Chien-Ming Wang himself, a gentle and humble giant who makes for an unlikely but refreshing sports celebrity.

39. Pleasantville (1998)

7.0

Country

United States of America

Director

Gary Ross

Actors

Andrea Baker, Danny Strong, Dawn Cody, Denise Dowse

Moods

A-list actors, Discussion-sparking, Feel-Good

When David and his sister Jennifer fight over the TV remote, they are suddenly transported to David’s favorite sitcom, Pleasantville. They’re told by a spirit guide that their best bet at getting out is fitting in, but their modern sensibilities prove to be too much for the genteel ‘50s town. Soon, the residents learn about sex, art, criticism, and politics, and it’s up to the twins to control the ensuing mayhem and guide them to the right path. 

In hindsight, Pleasantville seems ahead of its time, preceding Marvel’s WandaVision as the ultimate, deconstructed homage to 20th-century television. But unlike the series, Pleasantville dives deep into personal and social politics, all while maintaining an impressive balance of wisdom and humor. Equally notable is the film’s transformation from black and white to Technicolor, which, aside from being a symbolic and technical feat, is also a piece of pure, mesmerizing cinema.

38. Becoming Astrid (2018)

7.1

Country

Denmark, Germany, Sweden

Director

Female director, Pernille Fischer Christensen

Actors

Alba August, Björn Gustafsson, Henrik Rafaelsen, Magnus Krepper

Moods

Inspiring, Lovely, True-story-based

This Swedish movie is the story of Astrid Lindgren, one of the most translated children book writers of all time. Her work of over 100 books includes Pippi Longstocking and The Brothers Lionheart.

Away from the quiet existence of the characters she would later create, Astrid had a turbulent life. Her troubles start when she falls for the editor of the paper she worked at when she was young, a man 30 years her senior. This results in an unwanted pregnancy and Astrid is pushed to immigrate.

37. Maiden (2018)

7.2

Country

United Kingdom

Director

Alex Holmes

Actors

Frank Bough, Howard Gibbons

Moods

Inspiring, Uplifting

This documentary charts the challenges faced by sailor Tracy Edwards and her 12-woman crew in the wake of their decision to participate in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, the grueling yachting competition that covers 33,000 miles and lasts nine months. Director Alex Holmes recreates their adventure using archival footage shot by the women themselves on their voyage, and interesting interviews with the crew members as well as the men who criticized and ridiculed them at the time. Maiden is an interesting bit of documentary filmmaking that is also inspirational and empowering.

36. Wild Rose (2019)

7.3

Country

Canada, UK, United Kingdom

Director

Tom Harper

Actors

Aly Bain, Ashley Shelton, Atta Yaqub, Benny Young

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, Inspiring

A simple movie about a Scottish country singer with a dream to go to Nashville, U.S.A and reach stardom. It starts with her leaving prison to return to her mom’s house, where her kid was being raised in her absence. Heavy stuff, but this girl is determined to let nothing get in the way of realizing her dreams. Will she make it? At what cost? Wild Rose answers those questions with a warm script that’s designed to make you feel good without completely misleading you. Think of it as a more grounded A Star is Born.

35. Janis: Little Girl Blue (2015)

7.4

Country

United States of America

Director

Amy J. Berg, Female director

Actors

D. A. Pennebaker, Dick Cavett, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin

Moods

Inspiring, Raw

Amy Berg’s documentary offers an insightful account of one of the most revered and iconic rock and roll singers of all-time, from her musical rise in the 1960s to her battle with alcohol and heroin addiction. Janis Joplin’s independent spirit and sense of not fitting in are meticulously presented in the film through archival footage, rare personal letters, and interviews with her school friends, family members, and fellow musicians. Powerfully narrated by musician Cat Power, Janis: Little Girl Blue presents a profoundly nuanced and very personal portrait of Janis Joplin, in a well-curated homage to an artist who changed music forever.

34. 20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

7.4

Country

United States of America

Director

Morgan Neville

Actors

Bette Midler, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Botti, Darlene Love

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, Heart-warming

For the background singers featured in 20 Feet from Stardom, music is a vocation. It is not merely an occupation or a pastime; it is a way of life, a “higher calling,” as the legendary Lisa Fischer would say. For 90 minutes, director Morgan Neville superbly maps out the development of back-up singing in the US throughout the decades, exploring its deep connection with African-American culture and women’s history. It’s fun to finally put names and faces on the oohs and aahs we hear on records aplenty, but the film always finds its grounding on the singers’ own unique voices, where its true soul lies.

33. Till (2022)

7.5

Country

United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Chinonye Chukwu, Female director

Actors

Al Mitchell, Brendan Patrick Connor, Danielle Deadwyler, Ed Amatrudo

Moods

Character-driven, Dark, Depressing

Till is a very political film. It’s charged with the kind of rage and electricity that enables thousands to mobilize for a cause. But before it explodes into something grand, it begins with the small details of everyday life. A mother admires her son as he dances to his favorite song. She buys him a new wallet and goes over the things they’ll do over the summer. These things seem trivial, but they reveal the humanity that sometimes goes overlooked in telling epic stories such as these.

To be sure, Till is a necessarily brutal film about grief and justice, but it’s also about how political movements are borne out of small and personal devastation. This nuance, along with a jaw-dropping performance by Danielle Deadwyler, makes Till a standout: a powerful entry in a long line of social-issue dramas.

32. Entre Nos (2009)

7.6

Country

Colombia, United States of America

Director

Gloria La Morte, Paola Mendoza

Actors

Andres Munar, Annie Henk, Anthony Chisholm, Clem Cheung

Moods

Depressing, Discussion-sparking, Emotional

A mother and her two children move from Colombia to Queens, New York to join the father. Once there, he abandons them and moves to Miami.

With no family to fall back on, barely speaking English, an inexistent social welfare system and two little kids who require care; the mother quickly runs out of options. At first, she tries to sell empanadas in the street, then tries to become a temporary worker, but a mixture of obstacles keeps getting in the way.

Entre Nos is about the precariousness of the immigrant experience: about how quickly things can go wrong. But it’s also about how survival instincts and motherly love can stand in the face of complete desperation.

31. Tomorrow (2015)

7.6

Country

France

Director

Cyril Dion, Female director

Actors

Angela Merkel, Anthony Barnosky, Barack Obama, Cyril Dion

Moods

Inspiring, Instructive

When filmmaker and actress Mélanie Laurent (Breathe, Inglorious Basterds) was pregnant with her son, she learned about a study that predicted that climate change would cause human civilization to crumble by 2050. Like many soon-to-be parents, she worried about what it means to bring a child to a world where that’s a scientific forecast.

Instead of despairing, she chose to make this movie about solutions. She traveled the world with an activist friend documenting how human ingenuity is getting in the way of the situation worsening. The documentary goes to 10 countries to investigate solutions on five levels: agriculture (food), energy, economy, education, and democracy.

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