There's something to be said for inspiring soundtracks, and the Chariots of Fire soundtrack from Greek composer Vangelis is one of the most inspiring of them all. Try not to think of it while running. You can't, which is why it won an Oscar.
These days, the state of U.S. politics can make even the most patriotic person feel pretty low. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington can fix that right up. The magic of Jimmy Stewart's "everyman" persona is so powerful that it can still make you believe that one man can do the right thing and make a difference.
Bill Pullman is the greatest U.S. President every portrayed on film and better than most real life ones, too. I don't even need to mention his speech before the final battle. You have it memorized. Throw in Randy Quaid's heroic goof and you've got a recipe for a summer blockbuster with the heart of a lion.
Everyone's felt like their whole world was falling apart at one time or another. It's A Wonderful Life is an annual reminder that there are always things to be thankful for, no matter how dark things look.
There's a reason you read this book and watch the movie in grade school. The message of equal rights and justice is unmatched. Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch was voted the greatest movie hero of all-time by the American Film Institute, and I don't think anyone would dispute that.
Everyone loves an underdog, and Rocky is the biggest underdog of them all. For Rocky, it was never about winning the fight, it was just about going the distance and showing everyone that he could go farther than anyone ever thought he could. You know a movie's inspiring when it completely changes the way society looks at something completely simple, such as stairs.
The Right Stuff is a precious reminder of a time when humanity yearned to push its limits far beyond anything it had ever achieved. Space exploration is one of mankind's greatest achievements and The Right Stuff perfectly encapsulates the intensity and magic of the Space Race era.
Leave it to Steven Spielberg to make the definitive movie about possibly the most-defining event of the 20th century. Saving Private Ryan shows us exactly why those who fought in WWII earned the well-deserved title, "The Greatest Generation."
Spielberg wasn't just content with one perfect movie about World War II. Schindler's List is a case study of compassion and what it means to do the right thing, no matter the cost. Movies about world-changing events should only be given to 90s-era Spielberg.
Featuring a masterful performance by Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man shows us how the innocence of someone like Hoffman's Raymond can have a transformative effect on those who experience it. Tom Cruise's character Charlie goes from selfish to loving simply by spending time with his brother, and it warms our hearts every time.
If you've ever been bullied, then you know what it's like to be Daniel LaRusso before meeting Mr. Miyagi. Brought to you by the director and composer of Rocky, The Karate Kid still succeeds in making you feel like you're the best around and nothing's ever gonna keep you down.
Prejudice is a powerful concept. 12 Angry Men is a shining example of people using reason and compassion to overcome their prejudice and demonstrating that the legal system can work if people are willing to do the right thing. Henry Fonda's "Juror #8" is right up there alongside Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird in the list of great movie heroes.
Regardless of your thoughts on the New York Yankees, any baseball fan worth his salt acknowledges that Lou Gehrig is one of the greatest players to ever take the field. The fact that "The Pride of the Yankees" is almost entirely a true story makes it all the more compelling. If you don't tear up hearing his final "Luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech, you might be a monster.