Incredible Movies To Inspire Leaders

If you want find fresh inspiration for your leadership, life and team then you will love this post featuring 15 of the most amazing and inspiring movies ever…

As we watch a certain movies they seem to tap into our spirit and deepest motivations. I have noted below a few qualities that resonated with me, in order to guide you on movies you might not know. When you watch the movies, it would be great to think about and capture the qualities and emotions that they stir in you.

I hope that the trailers draw you in… they are also great videos to share with your team, friends and family. Enjoy!

Gladiator (2000)

Synopsis: When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an emperor’s corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.

Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen

Why it resonates with me: Strength, duty, courage

Men Of Honor (2000)

Synopsis: The story of Carl Brashear, the first African American, then also the first amputee, US Navy Diver and the man who trained him.

Starring: Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding Jr., Charlize Theron

Why it resonates with me: Honor, message of never give up or give less than your best

Moneyball (2011)

Synopsis: Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Why it resonates with me: Draw on unique strengths (misfits!) within a team

The Untouchables (1987)

Synopsis: Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team.

Starring: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Charles Martin Smith

Why it resonates with me: Team fighting for a cause

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Synopsis: Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton

Why it resonates with me: Friendship, resourcefulness and getting back up again when you get knocked down

Glory (1989)

Synopsis: Robert Gould Shaw leads the US Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates.

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes

Why it resonates with me: Fighting for rights, freedom and glory

Life Is Beautiful (La Vita È Bella) (1997)

Synopsis: A Jewish man has a wonderful romance with the help of his humour, but must use that same quality to protect his son in a Nazi death camp.

Starring: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini

Why it resonates with me: Love, family and imagination

Click (2006)

Synopsis: A workaholic architect finds a universal remote that allows him to fast-forward and rewind to different parts of his life. Complications arise when the remote starts to overrule his choices.

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken

Why it resonates with me: Work-life balance and reminder that life is not a rehearsal

Schindler’s List (1993)

Synopsis: In Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes

Why it resonates with me: Finding the right path and humility; keeping your individual integrity in the face of evil and flawed groupthink

Rocky (1976) & Rocky II (1979)



Rocky I: A small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight the heavy-weight champion in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

Rocky II: Rocky struggles in family life after his bout with Apollo Creed, while the embarrassed champ insistently goads him to accept a challenge for a rematch.

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young

Why it resonates with me: Never ever ever give up

Braveheart (1995)

Synopsis: When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier whom tried to rape her, a commoner begins a revolt and leads Scottish warriors against the cruel English tyrant who rules Scotland with an iron-fist.

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan

Why it resonates with me: Freedom, defiance and cause

Seabiscuit (2003)

Synopsis: True story of the undersized Depression-era racehorse whose victories lifted not only the spirits of the team behind it but also those of their nation.

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Tobey Maguire

Why it resonates with me: Hope, talent and spirit

Coach Carter (2005)

Synopsis: Controversy surrounds high school basketball coach Ken Carter after he benches his entire team for breaking their academic contract with him.

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Rob Brown, Robert Ri’chard

Why it resonates with me: Power of a great coach and team discipline

The Lion King (1994)

Synopsis: Tricked into thinking he killed his father, a guilt ridden lion cub flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future King.

Starring: Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons

Why it resonates with me: Claim your destiny and appreciate the circle of life

The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (2001-3)

Synopsis: A meek hobbit of The Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring and the dark lord Sauron.

Starring: Elijah Wood, Sean Bean, Orlando Bloom

Why it resonates with me: The power of a fellowship to deliver on a quest

Source of all synopses & cast lists: IMDb




Over To You

Hope that some of the movies are new to you, along with some old favorites to revisit. I encourage you to share and discuss them with colleagues to build up that team spirit.

Of course, the above selection is not exhaustive, and with your help, I’m really keen to build up the All-Time Top 50 Most Inspiring Movies For Leaders & Teams. So is there a movie that you should we add, and why did it inspire you?

Do follow me here on LinkedIn to get weekly updates on CEOs, ongoing inspiration and the latest leadership insights.


By Steve Tappin

Chief Executive, Xinfu, Host BBC CEO Guru & Founder, World Of CEOs

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