Movies About Life Lessons

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Movies About Life Lessons

So many creators have reported on Movies About Life Lessons. We assembled 25 of our favorites.

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 drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the 1982 Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The film tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murder of his wife and her lover despite his claims of innocence. Over the course of the film, he befriends a fellow prisoner, Red, and finds himself coping with his new life by acquiring various privileges and influence within the prison. As Andy's friendship with Red grows, he gradually gains hope and the will to fight for his freedom. The film also shows how Andy's friendship with Red and his determination to get out of Shawshank affects the other inmates, ultimately leading to his redemption. The film stars Tim Robbins as Andy, Morgan Freeman as Red, and Bob Gunton as Warden Norton. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and has become a cultural phenomenon, with its memorable characters, themes and dialogue often quoted.

The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather
★★★★
★★★★
3.7 out of 4 stars

From Francis Ford Coppola, starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton
Rated R

The Godfather is a classic and timeless crime drama from 1972. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the film tells the story of the Corleone family, a powerful mafia family living in New York City. At the start of the film, Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the head of the family, but following his death, control is passed to his youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino). Michael must now take control of the family business, while also keeping his enemies at bay. The film follows the Corleone family as they battle rival gangs, face corruption, and attempt to keep their family together. Throughout the story, Michael must learn to balance his loyalty to the family with his own ambitions, while also maintaining the code of omerta, the mafia’s code of silence. The Godfather is an iconic and iconic classic, and has become one of the most influential films in American cinema.

Schindler's List (1993)

Schindler's List
★★★★
★★★★
3.6 out of 4 stars

From Steven Spielberg, starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall
Rated R

Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg. The film is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. It stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Göth, and Ben Kingsley as Schindler's Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern. Set during World War II, the film depicts the struggles of Schindler to save his Jewish workers, as well as his gradual recognition of the Jewish people's plight, which eventually leads to a moral awakening. The film received universal acclaim, earning twelve Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score, and winning seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score, making it the only film in history to sweep all five major categories. It also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, the BAFTA Award for Best Film, and the Cannes Film Festival Palm d'Or.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp Fiction
★★★★
★★★★
3.6 out of 4 stars

From Quentin Tarantino, starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis
Rated R

Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American crime film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The story is an intertwining tale of crime and redemption, involving two hitmen, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits. The story is split into different parts, and follows the characters as they experience violent scenarios of redemption and retribution. The movie is noted for its quirky dialogue, non-linear storyline, and iconic performances by John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman. Pulp Fiction has been widely acclaimed by critics, and is often cited as one of the greatest films of all time.

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 starring Tom Hanks as the titular character. The plot follows a man named Forrest Gump (Hanks) who, due to his low IQ, leads an extraordinary life with the help of his close friend, Bubba Blue. From an outsider perspective, Forrest's life is seen as an intriguing and unpredictable journey. As a young man, he enlists in the army and is sent to Vietnam, where he experiences the horrors of war and becomes a war hero. Upon returning home, he meets the love of his life, Jenny Curran (Robin Wright), and they develop a complicated relationship as they go through life together. Along the way, Forrest finds himself involved in several significant historical events, including the Watergate scandal, the Vietnam War, and the civil rights movement. Forrest's life is told through a series of flashbacks, and the film ends with him sitting on a park bench, content with his life.

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 heist film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It follows a skilled thief who is offered a chance to regain his old life as payment for a task considered to be impossible: planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. To accomplish this, he must assemble a team of specialists with their own unique abilities, including a forger, an extractor, an architect, and a chemist. Together, they use dream-sharing technology to enter the mind of the target and perform the corporate sabotage. As they delve deeper into the mind and the layers of the dream world, they must confront their own regrets and secrets, and keep one step ahead of those who are trying to stop them and their mission.

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 thriller film directed by David Fincher and written by Chuck Palahniuk, based on his 1996 novel of the same name. It stars Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. The film follows an unnamed narrator (Norton) as he struggles with his increasing disillusionment with the lifestyle of white-collar workers in American society. He is soon joined by Tyler Durden (Pitt), a soap salesman who agrees to teach him how to fight. The two quickly become friends and form an underground fight club, which soon becomes immensely popular. As the club grows, the lives of the two men diverge, and a conflict between them arises. The film portrays their struggles with the harsh realities of life and their struggles to find meaning in it. It also explores themes of masculinity, identity, materialism, and existentialism. The film was a commercial and critical success, and has since become a cult classic.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
★★★★
★★★★
3.5 out of 4 stars

From Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè
Rated R

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a 1966 Italian-American epic Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone. It follows the story of three gunslingers, each with their own unique moral code, as they compete to find a stolen gold shipment in the midst of the American Civil War. Starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach as the titular trio, this classic Western adventure is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time. Through stunning cinematography, enthralling action sequences, and a rousing musical score by composer Ennio Morricone, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly paints a vivid portrait of the Western landscape in all its beauty and brutality. As the three men strive for the fortune, their paths cross in an unforgettable showdown.

The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix
★★★★
★★★★
3.5 out of 4 stars

From Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
Rated R

The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction action film written and directed by the Wachowskis. The story follows computer programmer Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) as he is drawn into a mysterious underground hacker network led by the enigmatic Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and the rebellious Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). Anderson soon learns that the Matrix is a simulated reality created by intelligent machines as a way to control humans. With the help of Morpheus and Trinity, Anderson must join forces with other rebels in an effort to overthrow the Matrix and free the human race from its mechanical oppressors. The Matrix features groundbreaking special effects, dynamic action sequences, and a mind-bending blend of science fiction and philosophy.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
★★★★
★★★★
3.5 out of 4 stars

From Irvin Kershner, starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams
Rated PG

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back is the 1980 sequel to the original Star Wars film, directed by Irvin Kershner. The film follows Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and the rest of the rebel alliance as they continue their fight against the Galactic Empire led by the evil Darth Vader. The film follows Luke's journey as he travels to the planet Dagobah to learn the ways of the Jedi from the legendary Yoda. Meanwhile, Han and Leia continue their fight against Darth Vader, who captures them and subjects them to torture in an attempt to turn them to the dark side. The film culminates in a thrilling climax in which the rebels must destroy a giant Imperial Space Station. In the end, the heroes triumph and manage to escape the Empire. In the aftermath of their victory, Luke discovers the shocking truth about his relationship with Darth Vader.

Life Is Beautiful (1997)

Life Is Beautiful
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Roberto Benigni, starring Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano
Rated PG-13

Life Is Beautiful is an Italian comedy-drama film written and directed by Roberto Benigni. In the film, a Jewish-Italian book shop owner named Guido (played by Benigni) is separated from his wife and son when they are taken to a concentration camp during World War II. Guido uses humor and imagination in order to protect his son, Joshua (Giorgio Cantarini), from the horrible reality of their surroundings, pretending that the camp is a game and that the prizes are a tank and a real live unicorn. Despite the horrors of war, Guido and Joshua's bond remains strong and ultimately leads to a moment of triumph at the end of the film.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From James Cameron, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick
Rated R

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 sci-fi action classic directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, and Edward Furlong. The movie is set in a post-apocalyptic future where a cyborg assassin named the T-1000 (Robert Patrick) is sent back in time to kill John Connor (Edward Furlong), the future leader of the human resistance. The T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a reprogrammed Terminator sent back to protect John, is forced to battle the T-1000 in a chase across the state. During the course of the movie, John and the T-800 form an unlikely bond as they attempt to prevent Skynet, the computer system responsible for the apocalypse, from going online. Along the way, they enlist the help of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), John’s mother who is determined to save her son’s future. In the end, they must make a difficult decision that will determine the fate of humanity.

Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Hayao Miyazaki, starring Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino, Rumi Hiiragi
Rated PG

Spirited Away is a 2001 animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The story follows a 10-year-old girl, Chihiro, who is separated from her parents and must work in a bathhouse for spirits to find a way to free them and herself. Along the way, she meets a host of unique characters, including the mysterious and powerful Haku, who helps her on her quest. Along the way, Chihiro learns the importance of courage, loyalty, and hard work, and discovers that the power of friendship can overcome even the most daunting of challenges. With its imaginative plot, captivating animation, and inspiring messages, Spirited Away is widely regarded as one of the greatest animated films of all time.

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 American epic war film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat. Set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II, the film follows United States Army Rangers Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) and a squad (Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, and Adam Goldberg) as they search for a paratrooper, Private First Class James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), whose three brothers have been killed in action. The film begins with scenes of the Omaha Beach landings on June 6, 1944, during which Miller's men suffer heavy casualties. Later, the surviving members of the squad move deeper into enemy territory, eventually locating Ryan with the aid of an elderly French woman. On their return journey, they again face great danger while trying to break through German lines. The film ends with a scene of Miller and Ryan standing in the American cemetery at Normandy, mourning the loss of the men who died for the cause. Saving Private Ryan was one of the first films to be released on DVD and has been widely acclaimed for its realistic depictions of battle. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won five, including Best Director for Spielberg.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Jonathan Demme, starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons
Rated R

The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological thriller directed by Jonathan Demme and based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris. It follows Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), an FBI trainee, as she seeks the advice of the imprisoned Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, to help her track down another serial killer, "Buffalo Bill" (Ted Levine). As Clarice works to uncover the killer's identity, Lecter provides cryptic clues and insights into the twisted mind of a murderer, while also manipulating and deceiving Clarice in order to serve his own ends. The Silence of the Lambs was a critical and commercial success, winning Academy Awards in five of the top six categories, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Foster), Best Actor (Hopkins), and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Seven Samurai (1954)

Seven Samurai
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Akira Kurosawa, starring Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki
Rated Not Rated

Seven Samurai is a classic 1954 Japanese samurai epic directed by Akira Kurosawa. It tells the story of a small village in 16th century Japan that is threatened by a band of marauding bandits. Desperate for help, the villagers enlist the help of seven unemployed samurai, who agree to protect them in exchange for food. The samurai devise a plan to defend the village, training the villagers to fight and leading them into battle against the bandits. In the end, the samurai are successful in repelling the attack and the village is saved, but at great cost. The film is noted for its dramatic battle scenes, complex character dynamics and moral ambiguity. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made.

Gladiator (2000)

Gladiator
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed
Rated R

Gladiator is a 2000 epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe. The film tells the story of a powerful Roman general named Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed when the Emperor's ambitious son, Commodus, murders his father and seizes the throne. Reduced to slavery, Maximus becomes a gladiator and rises to fame in the arena. He ultimately seeks revenge against Commodus and restores the honor of his family name. Along the way, he is supported by a senator, Gracchus, and his former loyal commander, Juba. In the end, he finds redemption and peace.

Léon: The Professional (1994)

Léon: The Professional
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Luc Besson, starring Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello
Rated R

Léon: The Professional is a 1994 French action crime thriller film written and directed by Luc Besson. It stars Jean Reno as the title character, a professional hitman, and Natalie Portman as Mathilda, a young girl who seeks his help after her family is murdered by corrupt Drug Enforcement Administration agents. Together they plot revenge against the corrupt agents, ultimately leading to a climactic shootout. Along the way, Léon and Mathilda develop a father-daughter relationship that helps Mathilda cope with the pain of losing her family.

The Prestige (2006)

The Prestige
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine
Rated PG-13

The Prestige is a 2006 British-American mystery thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as two 19th century magicians who engage in a bitter rivalry to create the ultimate magic trick. The film follows Alfred Borden (Jackman) and Robert Angier (Bale) as they use any means necessary to outdo each other and become the greatest magician in the world. Along the way, Angier discovers a secret machine that allows him to clone himself and perform the ultimate feat of teleportation. Borden must then outwit Angier in order to discover the truth behind the mysterious machine and its creator. The film also features Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and Piper Perabo in supporting roles.

3 Idiots (2009)

3 Idiots
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Rajkumar Hirani, starring Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Mona Singh, Sharman Joshi
Rated PG-13

3 Idiots is a 2009 Indian comedy-drama film directed by Rajkumar Hirani, based on the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat. It tells the story of three friends at an Indian engineering college and how they take a stand against the flawed education system of the country. The three protagonists are Farhan (R Madhavan), Raju (Sharman Joshi) and Rancho (Aamir Khan). They are best friends, and all three have their own unique personalities and outlooks on life. They challenge the status quo and strive for excellence in their chosen fields, despite the resistance of their peers, teachers and other authority figures. The film deals with the pressures of academic excellence, the social stigma attached to failure, and the power of true friendship. It is a story of courage, hope and friendship, which is ultimately uplifting and inspiring.

The Shining (1980)

The Shining
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers
Rated R

The Shining is a psychological horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. It follows Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), a recovering alcoholic and aspiring writer, who takes a job as the caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in the Rocky Mountains. His wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) accompany him, unaware of the terrifying supernatural forces that had driven the previous caretaker insane. As Jack slowly loses his grip on reality, his descent into madness leads to murderous consequences. The film is renowned for its visuals, soundtrack, and its exploration of the psychology of paranoia, violence, and isolation.

Amélie (2001)

Amélie
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Jean-Pierre Jeunet, starring Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta
Rated R

Amélie is an eccentric and imaginative young woman living in Paris. After the death of her mother, she decides to help those around her and make the world a better place. She sets out on a journey to bring joy to those she meets, all while searching for true love. Along the way, she learns to value life, friendship and her own self-worth. Amélie's magical journey of self-discovery and newfound love is a truly touching and captivating tale.

Up (2009)

Up
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, starring Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger, Christopher Plummer
Rated PG

Up is a 2009 American computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, and co-directed by Ronnie del Carmen, the film centers on an elderly widower named Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) and an earnest young Wilderness Explorer named Russell (Jordan Nagai). By tying thousands of balloons to his house, Carl sets out to fulfill his dream to see the wilds of South America and complete a promise made to his late wife, Ellie. The film received critical acclaim, with many critics praising its animation, musical score, and themes of friendship and adventure. The film was nominated for and won several awards, including five Academy Awards, making it the second Pixar film to win the Best Animated Feature Award. The film also became the first animated film to gross over $700 million and only the third film ever to do so.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Lawrence of Arabia
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From David Lean, starring Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins
Rated Approved

Lawrence of Arabia is an epic historical drama directed by David Lean in 1962. It tells the story of T. E. Lawrence, a British Army officer who is sent to the Arabian Peninsula during World War I. Lawrence is tasked with uniting a large number of warring tribes and leading them in a revolt against the Ottoman Empire. His journey takes him through the hostile desert and brings him into contact with the people of the region, from whom he learns the language and customs of the Arab world. The film follows Lawrence's journey as he leads the tribes to victory and ultimately changes the course of history. Along the way, Lawrence must confront his own inner demons and failings, making for an emotionally powerful and visually stunning cinematic experience.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

To Kill a Mockingbird
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Robert Mulligan, starring Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy
Rated Approved

To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The film is based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel of the same name. It stars Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, an idealistic lawyer who ably defends a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. The story takes place in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930s, when racial tensions were high. Atticus Finch's defense of the accused man earns him the scorn of the local community, but it also serves as a lesson in courage and morality to his two children, Scout and Jem. Despite the controversy surrounding the case, Atticus stands firm in his beliefs and ultimately proves the accused man's innocence. The film also addresses themes of racial injustice, courage, and morality. The film was a critical and commercial success, and is regarded as a classic of American cinema.

 



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