Movies are a great way to inspire kids and teens. In fact, when kids connect with the characters in the movies they can teach important life lessons, introduce new ideas, and motivate young people to achieve their dreams. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 50 inspiring movies for kids of all ages. These family-friendly films are sure to encourage your children and get them excited about the possibilities that life has to offer!
Inspiring Movies to Watch as a Family
As parents, there are so many lessons that we want our kids to learn.
From responsibility and gratitude to cleaning up after yourself and being a good friend. there is so much to teach and so little time.
That’s why we love inspiring movies for kids!
Movies can serve as great conversation starters to help teach important life lessons in a fun and entertaining way that is non-confrontational.
While watching a movie, children can learn essential lessons from the experiences of the characters without having to go through the actual hardship and challenge themselves.
Films also serve as a great way for kids to connect with others in order to realize that they are not alone in the challenges they face.
They are also much more likely to be receptive to relaxing and watching a movie than being preached at by an authority figure.
If your kiddo is going through a tough time or is heading into a challenging situation, then consider one of these inspiring and motivational movies to watch as a family.
These 50 inspiring movies for kids are sure to fill your children with hope, courage, and determination!
Our Favorite Inspiring Movies for Kids
Below you will find a list of the most inspiring movies for kids,
We’ve included a mix of both newer films and classics, as well as a few animated options because we know that not all kids are ready for live-action just yet.
The list is organized by rating from G to PG-13 and they also include a recommended viewing age, based on personal beliefs and experiences as a parent and teacher.
As always, we recommend that you watch the movie first to determine if it is appropriate for your child and aligns with your family’s beliefs and values.
In The Rookie, a high school teacher named Jim Morris (played by Dennis Quaid) gets a second chance at his dream of becoming a professional baseball player. Despite being over thirty years old and out of practice, Jim makes the team and becomes one of the best players in the league. Jim's story is an inspiring tale of never giving up on your dreams, no matter how old you are.
Inspiring Messages: It's never too early or late to chase your dreams. Determination and hard work can lead to success.
Woody, a wooden cowboy doll who is owned by a young boy named Andy, feels his position as the favorite toy being jeopardized when his parents give him a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Woody is initially jealous of Buzz, but the two eventually become friends. When Andy's family moves to a new house and accidentally leaves Buzz behind, Woody and the other toys go on a mission to find him.
Inspiring Message: Change is hard, but it's also a part of life that we can embrace and accept.
Wilbur the pig is dreading the end of the season because he knows he will be served for supper once it arrives. To prevent this from happening, Charlotte hatches a brilliant plan to let everyone know what a special pig Wilbur is.
Inspiring Messages: Everyone is special and has something unique to offer this world. Kindness is its own reward.
In the movie Cars, a young racecar named Lightning McQueen is trying to win the Piston Cup Championship. He gets lost on his way to the championship race and ends up in a small town called Radiator Springs. While he's in Radiator Springs, McQueen learns the importance of friendship and family.
Inspiring Message: It's okay to slow down sometimes. You don't always have to be the best.
In the movie Finding Nemo, a clownfish named Marlin is trying to find his son Nemo, who has been taken by divers. With the help of a memory-challenged fish named Dory, Marlin travels to Sydney and meets a group of colorful characters who help him on his journey.
Inspirational Messages: Your family will do anything to help you when you're in need. Just keep swimming!
The Lion King tells the story of Simba, a young lion who is heir to the throne of his father, Mufasa. When Mufasa is killed by his evil uncle, Scar, Simba is forced to flee the kingdom and live in exile. Years later, Simba returns to Pride Rock to take his rightful place as king of the jungle.
Inspiring Messages: You can't run away from your problems. It's never too late to make things right.
Recommended for ages 6+
Inspirational Movies for Kids [Rated PG]
The following inspiring films are rated PG and are appropriate for older elementary-age children.
These movies have more intense themes that may not be suitable for younger children, but they offer great messages of hope, courage, and determination.
As a young girl, Jessica Watson has always nurtured the dream of sailing around the world. She laid out an intense training routine for her parents to consider, conveying her desires with such clarity that they allowed her pursue them. Even securing help from a renowned former sailing champion who agreed to advise and guide her! Yet as she prepared to set sail on an ambitious journey alone at 16 years old, doubts began rising amongst those around him; news outlets fuelled this further by creating a media stir. But nothing could stop the determined spirit within Jessica - come what may...she was ready!
Inspiring Message: Persevere even when faced with doubts and criticism.
A guardian and his children partner with a has-been boat captain for the chance to win a fishing competition and save their struggling orphanage. This movie is based on a true story and is one of our favorite family-friendly picks.
Inspiring Messages: There is strength in numbers. Never give up hope.
Bethany Hamilton is on her way to becoming an impressive professional surfer when she loses her arm in a shark attack. Unstoppable, is the inspiring story of all that Bethany has gone on to accomplish in the years since her attack.
Inspiring Messages: You can achieve anything you set your mind to, no matter what obstacles are in your way. Never give up on your dreams.
This musical tells the story of P.T. Barnum, the founder of the circus. Barnum was a visionary who believed that anything is possible if you dream big and work hard. This film is sure to inspire kids and get them excited about the possibilities of what they can achieve in their own lives.
Inspiring Message: Dream big, anything is possible
In Dreamer, a young girl named Sofi is trying to save her horse, Dreamer, from being sold. Sofi's father is struggling to make ends meet, so he sells Dreamer to a man who plans to use her for racing. Sofi follows her horse to the racetrack and tries to find a way to save her.
Inspiring Messages: Determination is key. Family is important. Animals are worth fighting for.
In Miracles from Heaven, a young girl named Anna has a near-fatal accident and is healed by a miracle. After she recovers, Anna tells her family and friends about her experience in heaven. Her parents are initially skeptical, but eventually, come to believe her.
Inspiring Messages: Love is a powerful source of strength. Through faith, anything is possible.
This family-friendly film tells the true story of a group of African American women who played a vital role in NASA's space program. The movie is an inspiring reminder of the power of intelligence and determination.
Inspirational Messages: Intelligence and determination are powerful tools. Success is not determined by race.
The Jungle Book is a 2016 live-action remake of the 1967 animated film of the same name. The film tells the story of Mowgli, a young boy who is raised by wolves in the jungle. When the jungle is threatened by a fearsome tiger, Shere Khan, Mowgli must discover his own identity and learn to survive in the wild.
Inspiring Messages: Finding your place in the world. Be brave enough to be yourself.
The inspiring true story of Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer who loses her arm in a shark attack and returns to the sport she loves. This movie is sure to encourage kids to never give up on their dreams.
Inspirational Messages: Challenging doesn't mean impossible. Let your faith be bigger than your fear.
Becoming tells the inspiring story of Michelle Obama's journey from young girl to First Lady of the United States. Michelle faced many challenges along the way, but she never gave up on her dreams. Her story is a reminder that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
Inspiring Messages: Just because someone has authority doesn't mean their right. It's important to stand up for yourself.
Based on the beloved children's book, this film set in the beautiful French Alps and follows a 6-year-old boy and a stray dog who become superheroes when they defend their occupied village from the Nazis.
Inspiring Messages: Bravery comes in many forms. Friendship can be transformational.
Akeelah is a young girl from a poor neighborhood who has a gift for words. She enters a spelling bee in order to win a college scholarship and learns some valuable lessons along the way. This film is inspiring and educational.
Inspiring Message: Hard work pays off. Don't allow false barriers to limit your success.
Vince Papale is a 30-year-old bartender who has no football experience when he tries out for the Philadelphia Eagles and makes the team. Papale's teammates and coaches are initially skeptical of him, but he proves them wrong by becoming a valuable player on the team. The Eagles make it to the playoffs, and Papale's story inspires people all over the country.
Inspiring Messages: Age is just a number. It's never too late to chase your dreams.
Inspired by actual events after a Jamaican sprinter is disqualified from the Olympics, and turns to bobsledding, Cool Runnings is the story of an unlikely team of athletes who go on to compete in the Winter Olympics. Despite the fact they've never seen snow before, the team doesn't let that deter them from giving it their best shot.
Inspirational Messages: Through determination, anything is possible. Don't let the doubt of others convince you to give up on your dreams
Michelle Payne's victory in the Melbourne Cup is an inspiring tale of ingenuity and perseverance. In a sport dominated by males, Payne's story is the epitome of girl power. Despite having odds of a 100 to 1, she became the first female jockey to win the race.
Inspiring Messages: Girls can do anything boys can do. Success isn't always easy.
The Karate Kid is a classic film that tells the story of Daniel LaRusso, a young boy who moves to a new town and is bullied by the local karate studio. With the help of his maintenance man, Mr. Miyagi, Daniel learns karate and prepares for a tournament in which he must face off against his bullies.
Inspirational Messages: Practice makes perfect. No matter how many times you fail, if you get back up, you still have the chance to succeed.
Matilda is a story about a young girl who is extremely intelligent but often misunderstood. She is frequently bullied by her classmates and parents, but she finds solace in books. With the help of her teacher, Miss Honey, Matilda begins to explore her powers and stand up to her bullies.
Inspirational Messages: Knowledge is power. It's important to stand up for yourself.
In A League of Their Own, a group of women are recruited to play professional baseball during World War II. The team is led by Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks, who is a washed-up former player. The team struggles at first and is doubted because they are women, but eventually begins to win games and develop a following.
Inspiring Themes: Anyone can be a leader, regardless of their past. Gender doesn't define ability.
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a young boy named Harry Potter learns that he is a wizard and is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. At Hogwarts, Harry makes friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger and begins learning about the magical world. Harry also begins training to defeat the evil wizard Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents.
Inspiring Messages: Friendship is powerful. Love is stronger than hate.
In a galaxy far, far away, a young farm boy named Luke Skywalker discovers that he is the son of the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, who was believed to have died in battle years earlier. When the evil Empire begins a massive attack against the Rebel Alliance, Luke joins forces with Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca to help save the galaxy from the Empire's tyranny.
Inspiring Messages: Good will always triumph over evil. Sacrifice is sometimes necessary for the greater good.
In Remember The Titans, a high school in Virginia is forced to integrate after the state orders it to do so. The football team is made up of white and black players, and they must learn to work together if they want to win games and make their community proud. Coach Boone (played by Denzel Washington) is hired to lead the team, and he must overcome his own prejudices as well as those of the community in order to create a winning team.
Inspiring Messages: Change is possible. Cooperation can lead to success.
Dorothy awakes after a devastating tornado to find that she has bee transported to a magical land called Oz. While there, Dorothy meets a Scarecrow who wants a brain, a Tin Man who wants a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage. Together, the group sets off on a journey to find the Wizard of Oz, hoping he can help them get back to Kansas.
Inspiring Messages: Sometimes, you have to look inside yourself to find what you're looking for. There's no place like home.
Recommended for ages 6+
Inspiring Movies for Teens and Tweens [Rated PG-13]
The following inspiring films are rated PG-13 and are appropriate for tweens and teens.
These movies have more mature themes and may include mild violence or language.
However, they also include some powerful stories that are sure to inspire kids and adults of all ages.
This inspiring film tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball. Robinson faced racism and discrimination throughout his career, but he persevered and became one of the most successful athletes in history. This movie is a great reminder that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
Inspiring Messages: Self-control is a strength. When you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Elle Woods is a sorority girl who follows her ex-boyfriend to law school in order to win him back. Despite being underestimated because she's blonde and doesn't come from a privileged background, Elle proves herself to be a talented law student. After going through many challenges and setbacks, Elle accomplishes her goals and learns that success isn't defined by what others think.
Inspiring Themes: You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Don't let anyone else define your success.
The movie Freedom Writers is based on the true story of Erin Gruwell, a teacher who inspires her students to write about their lives and experiences. Despite coming from difficult backgrounds, the students are able to find hope and redemption through their writing.
Inspiring Themes: If you're willing to put in the work, anything is possible. You can turn negative experiences into something positive.
The Blind Side is a heartwarming movie based on the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless teenager who is taken in by a wealthy family, the Tuohys. Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock, mentors Michael and helps him develop his skills in football. Eventually, Michael earns a full scholarship to play for Ole Miss. The movie is inspiring and uplifting, with a message that anyone can succeed if given the opportunity.
Inspiring Themes: You are not defined by your situation. Hard work and making good choices is a winning combination.
In School of Rock, a down-on-his-luck musician poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school and turns his class of straight-A students into a rock band. The kids are initially resistant to the idea of learning about music from someone who doesn't know anything about it, but they eventually come around and realize that he's actually a pretty good teacher.
Inspiring Themes: Everyone has something to offer. You can accomplish more as a team than you can by yourself.
In Pay It Forward, Trevor McKinney is a seventh-grader who comes up with a plan to change the world. Inspired by his social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet, Trevor comes up with the idea to do something good for three people, and then ask them to pay it forward by doing something good for three more people. Trevor's plan catches on, and soon enough the whole world is affected by it.
Inspiring Themes: You can make a difference in the world. Kindness and generosity can be powerful tools for change.
Coach Carter, a high school basketball coach (played by Samuel L. Jackson) challenges his team to excel both on and off the court. Despite initial resistance, the players eventually come around and start winning games. The team's success leads to some big changes in the community.
Inspiring Themes: Winning isn't everything. Education is important. It's never too late to turn your life around.
The Pursuit of Happyness tells the story of Chris Gardner, a man who is struggling to make ends meet. Despite his struggles, Gardner never gives up on his dream of becoming a successful businessman. He eventually gets a job as a stockbroker, but the company goes bankrupt and he loses everything. Gardner perseveres and eventually becomes a very successful businessman.
Inspiring Themes: Never give up on your dreams. Hard work pays off.
Recommended for ages 12+
Animated Movies that are Sure to Inspire
We created a special category just for animated movies with a variety of ratings.
Each of these inspiring animated movies has unique messages that kids and adults can enjoy and learn from.
In Turbo, a snail named Theo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) dreams of becoming the fastest snail in the world. With the help of his brother, Theo trains hard and eventually qualifies for the Indy 500 race. The other racers are skeptical of Theo's chances of winning, but he's determined to prove them wrong.
Inspirational Messages: Never give up on your dreams. Tune out negativity.
A koala named Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) owns a theater that is struggling to stay open. In order to save his theater, Buster decides to hold a singing competition. There are multiple inspirational storylines throughout the movie, including a pig named Rosita (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) who is trying to support her 25 kids, and a mouse named Mike (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) who has always wanted to be a singer.
Inspirational Messages: It's never too late to chase your dreams. Do what you love no matter what others might think.
Trolls tells the story of a group of well, trolls who live in a utopian forest. The trolls are happy and carefree until the day they are captured by Bergens, creatures who hate happiness. In the end, the trolls are able to escape and teach the Bergens the importance of happiness.
Inspirational Messages: Happiness is important. Being different is okay.
In How to Train Your Dragon, a young Viking named Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is trying to find his place in the world. He's not very good at fighting like the other Vikings, so he feels like he doesn't fit in. One day, Hiccup comes across a dragon that he's able to subdue. He decides to take care of the dragon and names him Toothless. Hiccup and Toothless form a special bond, and Hiccup starts to see dragons in a different light.
Inspirational Messages: Let your light shine bright. Don't let anyone define who you are.
In the movie Inside Out, young girl Riley is trying to adjust to a new life after her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. The movie follows Riley's emotions - Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear - as they try to navigate her new life.
Inspiring Message: It's ok, to not be ok. All of our emotions are important.
In Frozen, two sisters, Elsa and Anna, are trying to adjust to a new life after their parents pass away at sea. Elsa has the power to create ice and snow, and she accidentally hurts her sister with her powers. Elsa runs away from home to protect her, and Anna goes on a quest to find her.
Inspiring Messages: There is strength and power in what makes you different.
In Moana, a young girl named is trying to find her place in the world. She has always loved the ocean, and she eventually sets sail on a journey to find a fabled island. Along the way, she meets Maui, a demigod who helps her on her quest.
Inspiring Messages: Don't let other people's fears stop you from reaching your goals.
In Zootopia, a young rabbit named Judy Hopps is trying to become the first police officer in the city of Zootopia. She eventually solves a big case, and learns that anyone can be anything they want to be.
Inspirational Message: You can become anything you want to be.
In Brave, Merida is a skilled archer who aims to pursue her own goals in life, despite the fact that she is the daughter of Scottish King Fergus and Queen Elinor. She defies an age-old custom, enraging the Highland lords and causing mayhem in the kingdom. Merida seeks the help of an eccentric witch, who grants her a doomed wish. Now, she must discover the true meaning of courage and undo a beastly curse before it's too late.
Inspiring Messages: Don't let fear stop you from accomplishing your goals.
A heartwarming Pixar film about an elderly man who fulfills his lifelong dream of seeing the world by tying balloons to his house and floating away. This movie is sure to inspire kids and adults alike with its message that it's never too late to chase your dreams.
Inspiring Message: It's never too late to follow your dreams.
Recommended for ages 6+
In this list of inspirational for kids and teens, we’ve highlighted some of the best films with positive messages that will resonate with young people. Whether you’re looking for a movie to watch on a family night or you need something to give your kiddo motivation and courage in difficult times, these films are sure to inspire.
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Hi, I'm Lauren Tingley; a working, teacher-mom of two who tried to "do it all" and ended up losing myself in the process. Determined to find joy in modern motherhood I discovered simplifying was the answer. Now I share tips for fun family activities, minimalist homemaking and simple parenting advice on Simply Well Balanced for families looking to create more balance in their homes. My ideas and advice has been shared by Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping and Women's First.Read more about me! Or follow me on Pinterest or Instagram
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