Meaningful Movies About Life

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Meaningful Movies About Life

Several directors have talked about Meaningful Movies About Life. We wrote about 25 of the top ones.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption
★★★★
★★★★
3.7 out of 4 stars

From Frank Darabont, starring Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler
Rated R

The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American prison drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. It tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker who is wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in the Shawshank State Penitentiary. Over the course of his stay at Shawshank, Andy forms a strong bond with fellow inmate Ellis "Red" Redding and together they attempt to find hope and freedom in a world of despair. Through determination and faith, Andy is eventually able to outwit his captors and escape from Shawshank to a new life of freedom. Along the way, he leaves behind a legacy of hope and redemption.

Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump
★★★★
★★★★
3.5 out of 4 stars

From Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field
Rated PG-13

Forrest Gump is a 1994 American comedy-drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Eric Roth. The film stars Tom Hanks as the title character, a naive and slow-witted but good-hearted man from Alabama who witnesses and unwittingly influences several defining historical events in 20th century America. Sally Field, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Bob Penny also star. The story is told primarily through Forrest's point of view, with his unique perspective and wisdom. Throughout his life, Forrest is surrounded by a series of individuals who impact his life, including his childhood friend Jenny Curran, his first love and Vietnam War comrade Lieutenant Dan Taylor, and his loyal friend Bubba. Despite having a low IQ, Forrest is successful in many endeavors, including college football, business, and shrimp fishing. He meets many famous people from different backgrounds and walks of life, both bad and good. Through his experiences, Forrest learns to accept and appreciate life for what it is, and to be content with himself for who he is. Despite being a simple man, he has a profound effect on the people he meets and the events he witnesses. In the end, Forrest is able to find true

Inception (2010)

Inception
★★★★
★★★★
3.5 out of 4 stars

From Christopher Nolan, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page, Ken Watanabe
Rated PG-13

Inception is a science fiction action thriller film written, co-produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. Set in the near-future, it follows a group of thieves who use a dream-sharing technology to perform corporate espionage. Dom Cobb, a thief, is offered a chance to regain his old life in exchange for planting an idea in the mind of a CEO. Cobb and his team of specialists create an elaborate dream world in which they must work to manipulate their target. As they delve deeper into the dream world, they encounter the unexpected and risk losing their grip on reality. Ultimately, they must use their skills to navigate the dangerous dream and implant the desired idea before they wake up.

Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club
★★★★
★★★★
3.5 out of 4 stars

From David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf, Zach Grenier
Rated R

Fight Club is a 1999 American psychological drama film directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. It follows a depressed insomniac office worker who, seeking a way to change his life, forms an underground fight club with Tyler Durden, an enigmatic soap salesman. The two become embroiled in a series of violent acts of anarchy, and the story eventually culminates in a surreal, mind-bending twist ending. The film explores themes of masculinity, mental health, and consumerism in a darkly comic manner, and is widely considered a cult classic.

Se7en (1995)

Se7en
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From David Fincher, starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker
Rated R

Se7en is a 1995 psychological crime thriller film directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey. The film follows two homicide detectives, Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt), as they investigate a series of gruesome murders inspired by the seven deadly sins. As the detectives piece together clues, they discover a hidden connection between the victims and a diabolical killer (Kevin Spacey) driven by a mysterious motive. As the killer's plan for revenge is revealed, the detectives must race to stop him before he can complete his dark and twisted mission.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Saving Private Ryan
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns
Rated R

Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 war film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks. The story is set during World War II and follows a group of U.S. Army Rangers led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) as they search for a paratrooper, Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), whose three brothers have all died in combat. The mission is both an act of patriotism and a highly personal quest for Miller and his men. The Rangers must battle an entrenched German army while attempting to protect Ryan and the other civilians they encounter on their way. Through their perilous and harrowing journey, they form a unique brotherhood, and ultimately must make the ultimate sacrifice to save Private Ryan.

The Green Mile (1999)

The Green Mile
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Frank Darabont, starring Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt
Rated R

The Green Mile is a 1999 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The film stars Tom Hanks as a prison guard on death row in the 1930s and tells the story of his relationship with a man on death row who possesses a supernatural gift. The film follows the guards, who are initially skeptical of this mysterious man's powers, as they gradually come to believe in his innocence and work to save him from execution. Along the way, the guards must cope with the harsh reality of the death penalty and the moral implications of their actions. The film was a critical and commercial success, and was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

American Beauty (1999)

American Beauty
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Sam Mendes, starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley
Rated R

American Beauty tells the story of the Burnham family and their struggles with the frustrations of everyday life. Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), a depressed middle-aged office worker, is facing a mid-life crisis and decides to make some drastic changes in his life. He quits his job, starts working out, and strikes up a relationship with a teenage girl. Meanwhile, his wife Carolyn (Annette Bening) is growing increasingly unhappy with their marriage and is beginning to seek fulfillment outside of it. Their teenage daughter Jane (Thora Birch) is dealing with her own issues, including her attraction to her best friend's father. In the midst of all this, Lester's acquaintance Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley) moves in next door and introduces Lester to a whole new world of beauty and possibility. All of these stories come together in a powerful climax, ultimately showing how beauty can be found in the most unexpected places.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Gus Van Sant, starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgård
Rated R

Good Will Hunting is a 1997 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, and Stellan Skarsgård. The film follows a young genius, Will Hunting (Damon), who works as a janitor at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). When his incredible mathematical skills are discovered by a professor, Will is offered the opportunity to study at MIT and to pursue a better life. But Will struggles to overcome his difficult past, and finds himself caught between his obligations and his potential for greatness. The film focuses on Will's relationships with his old friends, his new mentor, and the woman he loves, as he discovers the purpose of his life.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Michel Gondry, starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson, Gerry Robert Byrne
Rated R

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 romantic science-fiction drama film directed by Michel Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufman. The film follows a couple, played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, who undergo a procedure to erase memories of each other following a break-up. Along the way, both characters realize the importance of their shared memories and choose to keep some of them despite the process. The film received critical acclaim, and was awarded with the Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress (Winslet). It is widely considered to be one of the best films of the 21st century.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From M. Night Shyamalan, starring Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams
Rated PG-13

The Sixth Sense is a supernatural horror-thriller film directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film follows the story of a child psychologist, Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), who is trying to help a young boy, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), who claims to be able to see and talk to the dead. As Crowe helps Sear, he begins to realize that the boy's powers may be more real than he originally thought. As the story progresses, Crowe discovers that the boy's unique ability is linked to a connection between the living and the dead, and ultimately, the power of belief. Through the journey, Crowe must confront his own fears and understand the true meaning of death, faith, and love. The Sixth Sense is an iconic film that has been praised for its use of Hitchcockian suspense and its powerful story.

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

A Beautiful Mind
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Ron Howard, starring Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer
Rated PG-13

A Beautiful Mind tells the story of Nobel Prize-winning mathematician, John Nash, and his struggle with schizophrenia. After a promising start to his academic career, Nash begins to experience hallucinations and delusions and eventually has to be hospitalized. With the help of his devoted wife and a caring doctor, Nash eventually learns to cope with his mental illness and is able to continue his work, eventually earning him the Nobel Prize in Economics. The film is a powerful and inspiring story of resilience and determination in the face of extreme odds.

Stand by Me (1986)

Stand by Me
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Rob Reiner, starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell
Rated R

Stand by Me is a coming-of-age drama directed by Rob Reiner and based on a novella by Stephen King. It follows the story of four pre-teen boys on an adventure to find the body of a missing boy. Along the way, they share experiences and bond over their friendship. Along the way, they confront danger, including a violent gang, a train, and raging river. As the boys grow closer, they learn the value of loyalty and friendship in the face of adversity. In the end, they realize that life is more than just adventure and that friendship can be the greatest gift.

Gran Torino (2008)

Gran Torino
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Clint Eastwood, starring Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Christopher Carley, Ahney Her
Rated R

Gran Torino is a 2008 drama film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. It tells the story of Walt Kowalski (Eastwood), a recently widowed Korean War veteran who is alienated from his family and his neighborhood. He becomes involved in the life of a local Hmong teenager, Thao, who is being pressured by his gang member cousin to help steal Walt's prized Gran Torino. In the process of defending his property, Walt forms an unlikely friendship with Thao and his family, and discovers a newfound sense of purpose and inner peace. The film is a poignant exploration of social issues such as racism, gang violence, and intergenerational conflict, as well as a celebration of the power of redemption, courage, and friendship.

Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Sean Penn, starring Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener, Marcia Gay Harden
Rated R

Into the Wild is a 2007 drama film directed by Sean Penn and based on the 1996 non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer. It tells the true-life story of Christopher McCandless, a recent college graduate who decides to abandon his possessions and go on a journey of self-discovery in the wilds of Alaska. The film follows McCandless on his journey, as he meets different people and learns valuable life lessons. Along the way, he confronts the harsh realities of nature and struggles to survive. He eventually finds himself in the unspoiled wilderness of Alaska and makes the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of his freedom. The film stars Emile Hirsch as McCandless, along with Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener, Kristen Stewart, and Hal Holbrook. It was met with critical acclaim and won two awards, including an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Guaranteed" by Eddie Vedder.

The Help (2011)

The Help
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Tate Taylor, starring Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard
Rated PG-13

The Help is a 2011 drama film directed by Tate Taylor, adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel of the same name. Set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s, the film tells the story of a young white woman named Skeeter who decides to write a book from the point of view of the African-American maids who work in the homes of white families in the area. Through her interactions with the maids, Skeeter discovers the unfairness of certain societal practices and the power of friendship, ultimately leading her to join the civil rights movement. The film stars Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard, and features a talented cast of actors portraying the many characters of Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. The Help received four Academy Award nominations and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer).

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt
Rated R

12 Years a Slave is a 2013 period drama film directed by Steve McQueen. It is based on the 1853 memoir of the same name by Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South. The film follows Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, as he is subjected to unimaginable suffering and cruelty by a series of slave owners, including an especially vicious plantation owner, Edwin Epps, played by Michael Fassbender. With tremendous courage, fortitude and perseverance, Northup struggles to survive and maintain his dignity in the face of such injustice. The film also stars Lupita Nyong'o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, and Brad Pitt. 12 Years a Slave won the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 86th Academy Awards. The film was praised for its historical accuracy and powerful performances, particularly those of Ejiofor and Nyong'o. 12 Years a Slave is an emotionally charged and often harrowing account of America’s dark history of slavery and a powerful reminder of the importance of freedom and justice.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Slumdog Millionaire
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan, starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla, Anil Kapoor
Rated R

Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British drama film directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan. Written by Simon Beaufoy, the film tells the story of Jamal Malik, a young Muslim man from India’s slums, who is chosen as a contestant on India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and becomes a national phenomenon. Despite being illiterate, Jamal is able to answer every question correctly and win the show’s top prize. As the authorities investigate how Jamal was able to do it, the story of his life is revealed: a story of hardship, love, and incredible luck. With strong performances from Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, and Anil Kapoor, Slumdog Millionaire was an immediate hit, winning 8 Oscars at the 81st Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

The Pursuit of Happyness
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Gabriele Muccino, starring Will Smith, Thandiwe Newton, Jaden Smith, Brian Howe
Rated PG-13

The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on entrepreneur Chris Gardner's nearly one-year struggle being homeless. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the film features Will Smith as Gardner, a homeless salesman. Gardner's story takes him from the streets of San Francisco to a life of financial security and stability. After a series of setbacks, Gardner works as an unpaid intern at a prestigious brokerage firm, Dean Witter Reynolds, and eventually goes on to become a highly successful stockbroker. Along the way, Gardner and his five-year-old son, Christopher, struggle with homelessness, poverty, and family strife. Despite these struggles, Gardner never loses sight of his dream of providing a better life for his son and himself. In the end, Gardner's hard work and dedication pay off, and he finds financial success and a loving, stable home.

Rain Man (1988)

Rain Man
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Barry Levinson, starring Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, Gerald R. Molen
Rated R

Rain Man is a 1988 American drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass. It tells the story of an abrasive and selfish young wheeler-dealer, Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), who discovers that his estranged father has died and bequeathed all of his multimillion-dollar estate to his other son, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), an autistic savant with whom Charlie had never even been acquainted. Charlie is then forced to take Raymond on a cross-country trip to prove that the inheritance should be rightfully his. Along the way, the two brothers grow closer as Raymond helps Charlie to open up emotionally and see past his own selfishness. In the end, Charlie realizes that he has formed an unbreakable bond with Raymond, and decides to not pursue the inheritance and instead find a way for them to live together and take care of each other.

Titanic (1997)

Titanic
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From James Cameron, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates
Rated PG-13

Titanic is a 1997 epic romance-disaster film directed, written, co-produced and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage. The film follows the story of Jack Dawson (DiCaprio) and Rose DeWitt Bukater (Winslet), who are from different social classes but fall in love aboard the ship during its voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. As the ship sinks, Jack and Rose must fight for survival as their love for each other is tested. Titanic was a critical and commercial success and became the highest-grossing film of all time at the time of its release. It won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Cameron, and earned 14 nominations. The film is widely regarded as a landmark in cinematic history for its spectacular visuals, emotional power, and epic scale. It has become a cultural phenomenon, with the song "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion becoming an international hit.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Stephen Chbosky, starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd
Rated PG-13

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 coming-of-age drama film directed by Stephen Chbosky and based on his novel of the same name. The film follows Charlie (Logan Lerman), an introverted freshman who is taken under the wing of two seniors - Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller). With their help, and the support of his teacher and family, Charlie experiences a newfound freedom and acceptance as he learns to navigate his way through the joys and pitfalls of high school. Along the way, Charlie discovers the power of true friendship, the ability to let go of the past, and the courage to be himself.

Awakenings (1990)

Awakenings
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Penny Marshall, starring Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Julie Kavner, Ruth Nelson
Rated PG-13

Awakenings is a 1990 drama directed by Penny Marshall and starring Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, and Julie Kavner. It is based on the true story of British neurologist Oliver Sacks and his work with catatonic patients in a psychiatric hospital in the Bronx. He discovers that a drug called L-dopa can awaken them from their state of paralysis, allowing them to live a normal life. However, their time outside their deep sleep is limited, as the drug's effects wear off after a while. The film follows the struggles of the patients, their families, and the doctors as they attempt to make the most of their newfound freedom. It is a heart-warming and inspirational story of courage and hope in the face of adversity.

Cast Away (2000)

Cast Away
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Paul Sanchez, Lari White
Rated PG-13

Cast Away is a 2000 survival drama directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks. The film tells the story of Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive who is stranded on a deserted island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific. For the next four years, Chuck is forced to survive on the island with only a volleyball named Wilson as a companion. He must learn to cope with solitude, construct primitive tools and weapons, and make life-or-death decisions in order to survive. The film also follows Chuck's life back home as he attempts to reunite with his fiancée after his rescue from the island. Through his journey of survival, Chuck learns the importance of life and how to appreciate the small moments.

The Notebook (2004)

The Notebook
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Nick Cassavetes, starring Gena Rowlands, James Garner, Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling
Rated PG-13

The Notebook is a romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and released in 2004. It is based on the novel of the same name written by Nicholas Sparks. The movie stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as two young lovers in the 1940s, Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton, who form a passionate and romantic relationship despite their conflicting social backgrounds. The story follows Noah, a poor but ambitious young man, and Allie, a wealthy young woman, as they fall in love and struggle to keep their relationship alive despite her family’s objections and the pressures of war. As they try to stay together, they both experience changes and life events that test the strength of their relationship. Years later, Noah is still in love with Allie and he must reconnect with her despite the fact that she has a new life and new memories. The Notebook is a timeless love story full of heartache and joy that is sure to touch the hearts of all who watch it.

 



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