A List of Films that Inspire Me

A List of Films that Inspire Me

Share your favorite films by commenting!!

I’m a film watcher, a movie lover. Yes, I am always reading a book, but I love sharing an evening with my husband and sometimes my entire family as we watch a film. Sharing a movie always leads to great conversation. Films can teach, inspire, and get that healthy experience going–out and out laughter. Laughing keeps us healthy and so does following a plot, guessing about the ending, and analyzing characterization. It’s all brainwork. So I’m eager to share this list with you.  The films are vastly different and span the decades.

Manhattan 1979 Director, Woody Allen, starring Diane Keaton, Woody Allen, Mariel Hemingway This black and white film with background Gershwin music is a stunner, the scenes of Manhattan art at its best. Both Allen and his best friend fall for Keaton, while Allen fails to realize that a 17-year-old-girl enamored of him is beyond her years in understanding what relationships really mean.

Carousel 1956 Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones  Billy Bigelow (MacRae) tells his story to convince heaven’s gatekeeper that he needs to go to earth and help his daughter. He married Julie Jordan but in doing so lost his job as a carousel barker. Worried about supporting the child Julie carries, he turns to crime and is killed. The music has songs like June Is Busting Out All Over, You’ll Never Walk Alone.  The film was a favorite of my family, since we too had lost our father early on in life.

Philadelphia 1993 Director, Jonathan Demme, starring Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington Hanks, a prominent Philly lawyer, has AIDS and is fired from his conservative law firm. He hires a homophobic lawyer, Washington, the only one who will handle his wrongful dismissal suit. Filmed ten years after AIDS was identified in the U.S., this film underlines the fragility of life and humanity of each of us. A scene showing Hanks listening to opera and wanting Washington to find the same beauty he does, is classic and unforgettable.

Dr. Zhivago 1965 Director, David Lean, starring Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin  When asked what my favorite all-time film is I answer Zhivago. A young doctor and poet from an upper-class family begins his medical practice as the Russian Revolution is beginning. Married to a woman of his stature, he becomes obsessed with Lara, the wife of a revolutionary. Their love affair plays out against the backdrop of the revolution: his house is taken over by the new government, he is forced to serve in the army, and the society that was once familiar and kind to him is totally changed. It’s a history lesson made palatable by an engaging love story, based on Boris Pasternak’s novel.

Schindler’s List 1993 Director, Steven Spielberg, starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley  Based on true events during the Holocaust, the film recounts how Schindler, a business man, saved numbers of Jews by employing them in his factory during WWII. Spielberg does not whitewash what survivors have related of life and death in the camps. He followed this with his work on the Shoah, filmed interviews with survivors that will impact our history.

To Kill A Mockingbird 1962 Director, Robert Mulligan, starring Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall, Frank Overton  Based on the novel by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch, father of Jim and Scout, defends an innocent black man accused of rape. The story paints a picture of life in the Depression-era South and forever underlines the importance of paternal love and honesty when raising children.

It’s A Wonderful Life 1946 Director, Frank Capra, starring Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed Stewart, George Bailey, gets to see what the world would be like if he never existed. A film I hope you have all seen during the Christmas holiday season.

The Wizard of Oz 1939 Directors, George Cukor, Victor Fleming, starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger  This just has to be on the list for breakthrough technology, a wonderful story and an incredible cast. Back in the day, people in movie theaters oohed and aahed when you enter Oz and the film turns from black and white to color.

All the President’s Men 1976 Director, Alan J. Pakula starring Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden  Woodward and Bernstein, intrepid reporters from the Washington Post, uncover details of the Watergate scandal that lead to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Kramer vs Kramer 1979 Director, Robert Benton, starring Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep Based on Avery Corman’s novel, the film looks at divorce and custody battles from the viewpoint of the father. Hoffman learns to care for his son in order to keep him. No list would be incomplete without Streep, one of the greatest actors of our time. Coming into prominence, she portrayed a new woman, the working mother.

My list could be much longer!  Now a few more just for fun, no inspiration needed:

Must Love Dogs 2005 Director, Gary David Goldberg, starring Diane Lane, John Cusack

Feast of Love 2007 Director, Robert Benton, starring Morgan Freeman, and Greg Kinnear

It’s Complicated 2009 Director, Nancy Meyers, starring Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin

As Good As It Gets 1997 Director James L. Brooks, with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt

Father of the Bride 1991 Director Nancy Meyers, starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton

Laughter, tears, fright–we often experience all of these emotions as we watch film and move from the story’s beginning through the complications to the climax and denouement. Stories reflect life. They can be feel-good or glad that’s not me.  Some of my choices may inspire you and some may not. Would love to have your comments and your own list of favorites.

PS Some of the films on my list as also on this list: AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies 

Thanks to Google Images

A List of Films that Inspire Me





15 thoughts on “A List of Films that Inspire Me

  1. Two of my all-time favorites are Love Actually and Defending Your Life. I watch them over and over again!. And hey, don’t forget Rudy!

    • This is so much fun. We just saw Love Actually again about a week ago. Love the scene when Hugh Grant is kissing her in the middle of the Christmas pageant. I am putting Defending Your Life on my Netflix list right now!! Thanks, Katie Beth

  2. This is a great list. It makes me want to go back and see many of those movies again…….. I might add “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” another great Capra, Jimmy Stewart moment.


    • Love Capra. We just gave that one to Christie so we can check it out next time we are there. This was a fun post, thanks for your comment. Beth

  3. Hi Deb, Thanks again for the list on FB. I too felt that TIME TO KILL was a life changing experience when Mathew McGonaughey says “Now picture that she is white.”
    There are so many wonderful ones to choose from. Thanks again, Beth

  4. Great list, Beth. Thanks for sharing. A few I have not seen. I will check them out. I would add “Gone with the Wind”

    • Hi Mary, I love it when people comment. Thanks so much. GONE WITH THE WIND is great. I remember a reshowing on a big screen. It was absolutely my mother’s favorite film. Beth

  5. Beth,
    What a fabulous post. I too, always have a book in hand but movies are a close favorite of mine. Sitting in front of the big screen and getting lost in another person’s world makes me forget, for a while anyway, the troubles that plague my world.
    Through movies and books I’ve been all over the world, met so many people and cultures, found new meaning in bad situations and most of all lost myself so that I can not feel so overburdened…. your list is impressive and covers the ages but more importantly cover the essence of life!
    Thank you for sharing and giving me a few moments of nostalgia on an otherwise long day.
    Might I add a few of my own inspirational titles: Forrest Gump, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and War of the Roses.

    • Thanks, Natalie. I too have traveled through film and seen things I won’t see in person–but it enlarges my world and it makes me contemplate other lives. I think you can take away from the problems and conflicts from film too–make decisions about how you would handle a situation or make a choice. Thanks for your added film ideas. Down the road I am going to put all of these into the post. Have a great day, Beth

  6. Funny, this must be movie night! I just commented on another blog about movies.

    We share similar tastes in movies, Beth. There’s some on your list that I have not yet seen.

    One of my favourite sing-a-long movies is Mama Mia. I watch it each time it’s on t.v.

    I prefer to read the book before watching the movie, though. How about you?

    • I totally agree about reading the book first. Mama Mia is lots of fun. I will watch anything with Meryl. Thanks for your comment. Always love hearing from you. Beth

  7. Loved your list. I’m a big movie fan like you. I’d add Love Actually, the meet-cute movie with Hugh Grant. And, The Truth About Cats and Dogs with Uma Thurman and Jeanine Garafolo, the ultimate, brains or beauty movie.

    • Hi Dina,
      I know THE TRUTH was a big hit, but I don’t think I’ve seen it. I promise you I will. I also love MUST LOVE DOGS and FEAST OF LOVE. They just make me smile. And one cannot forget AS GOOD AS IT GETS.
      I sooo appreciate your comment. Makes my day, Beth

Comments are closed.