Our young people have put their heads together and come up with their top 12 movies to watch to keep ignited. Whether they’re a source of motivation and inspiration for you, or just a way to keep warm this winter and school holidays, we hope you enjoy these suggestions! If you have any more suggestions, do send them to us so that we can update our list.
# 1 Coach Carter
In 1999, Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to his old high school in Richmond, California, to get the basketball team into shape. With tough rules and academic discipline, he succeeds in setting the players on a winning streak. But when their grades start to suffer, Carter locks them out of the gym and shuts down their championship season. When he is criticized by the players and their parents, he sticks to his guns, determined that they excel in class as well as on the court. Coach Carter approached the team in various ways in an attempt to motivate them to be the best that they could possibly be. He used techniques such as encouragement, discouragement, second chances, teamwork, punishment, respect, commitment, history, inspiration and a contract to motivate his athletes. Coach Carter often encouraged his players during games, reminded them their various skills, what they are capable of, and how their training is exactly what will help them win.
# 2 Pay It Forward
A little boy named Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) comes up with the concept of paying kindness forward rather than back as part of a school project. His idea is simple: when you receive an act of kindness from someone, rather than paying the person back and thereby closing the circle, instead do something good for three other people and encourage them to "pay it forward" as well. It's a benevolent pyramid scheme that inspires thousands, and it's something we should try to apply in real life as well.
# 3 Freedom Writers
A dedicated teacher (Hilary Swank) in a racially divided Los Angeles school has a class of at-risk teenagers deemed incapable of learning. Instead of giving up, she inspires her students to take an interest in their education and planning their future. She assigns reading material that relates to their lives and encourages them all to keep journals.
# 4 The Pursuit of Happyness
Chris Gardener is a family man struggling to make ends meet. Despite his valiant attempts to help keep the family afloat, the mother of his five-year-old son, Christopher, is buckling under the constant strain of financial pressure. No longer able to cope, she reluctantly decides to leave. Chris, now a single father, continues doggedly to pursue a better-paying job using every sales skill he knows. He lands an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, and although there is no salary, he accepts, hopeful he will end the program with a job and a promising future. Without a financial cushion, Chris and his son are soon evicted from their apartment and forced to sleep in shelters, bus stations, bathrooms, or wherever they can find refuge for the night. Despite his troubles, Chris continues to honor his commitment as a loving and caring father, using the affection and trust his son has placed in him as an impetus to overcome the obstacles he faces. This is a powerful story of perseverance and persistence and the need to keep on moving towards ones dreams no matter what.
#5 Dead Poet’s Society
English teacher John Keating (Robin Williams) has an unorthodox approach to literature; he encourages his students at the Welton academy to rip off the pages of their books, stand on desks, and shout "Carpe diem!" At first glance, you may think this movie is about secret clubs and poetry, but it's really about standing up for yourself and your beliefs and liberating yourself from the deadened constraints of tradition. Dead Poet's Society focuses on the magic and freedom education brings to young minds willing to embrace its wisdom.
#6 Bend it like Beckam
Jesminder "Jess" Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) is an Indian girl who lives in London. All her parents want is for her to marry a nice Indian boy, but Jess has other ideas. She just wants to bend it like Beckham. She defies her parents to pursue her dream of playing football. This is a story about staying true to yourself and not conforming to the wishes of others unless they coincide with yours, no matter how much pressure you may feel from your culture, your friends, and even your family.
# 7 The Blind Side
In yet another movie based on real life, this film tells the story of Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a boy with a troubled past and an equally challenging present who is taken in by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her family. Their unwavering support and affection teaches Mike to love and trust his newfound family in return, and this helps inspire him to focus on his studies and learn to become a great football player--he eventually signs with an NFL team.
# 8 The Karate Kid
In this coming-of-age movie, young Daniel (Ralph Macchio) struggles with loneliness and a poor sense of self-worth, and while this is may be common to most teens, things are made worse by the bullies from the Cobra Kai dojo. An eccentric old Japanese man named Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) steps in, promising to teach him karate--which, he discovers, is as much an emotional and spiritual discipline as it is a martial art. Daniel not only learns karate, but he also gains a father and a friend.
# 9 Eight Mile
Young Detroit factory worker Jimmy "Rabbit" Smith blames others and himself for being stuck in a go-nowhere existence and for living in a trailer with his alcoholic mother. Focusing on his potential future as a rap singer gives him hope.
#10 A Wonderful Life
It's a Wonderful Life is perhaps the most inspirational movie ever made. It basically explains that through dedication, sacrifice, and hard work, you'll end up a hero in your own way.
#11 The Might Macs
In 1971, Immaculata College finds a new coach, Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino), to head its women's basketball team. Right from the start, Cathy faces an uphill battle at the tiny, all-women's school -- with little support from Mother St. John (Ellen Burstyn). There's no gymnasium on campus, no uniforms, and there might not even be enough players to field a team. With help from a spunky assistant and a booster club of elderly nuns, Cathy sets out to achieve the impossible.
#12 The Shawshank Redemption
Favorite Quote: “Get busy living or get busy dying”Rated as one of the best movies of all time and also one of the most inspirational movies I have ever seen. Shawshank Redemption is the story of Andy Dufresne who gets sentenced to prison accused for murdering his wife. The story takes you on an emotional journey about Andy’s life, his encounters and challenges in prison. Shawshank Redemption teaches you that hope is one of the most important things we can possess in life and once we lose hope, we lose ourselves.