Need Motivation? Top Empowering Success Movies You Must Watch

Whether you’re working on a great idea, an entrepreneurial venture, or the career that you love, surely there are times when you just don’t feel motivated at all, feeling hopeless and uninspired and questioning yourself if you’re really doing the right thing in your life. And on top of the hopelessness, there are those daily real life obstacles and bottlenecks that’s sure to put you down.

There’s always that nagging feeling, right? I swear I feel this at least once a day. But during those rough times, a great motivational movie (especially if it has that rags to riches story) that’ll leave you feeling good inside could be all that it takes to get us back in our feet, ready to take over the world again – only this time, with a full-on bring-it-on game-face and attitude.

Why not, right? Motivational success films have the power to inspire us and inluence our life’s decisisions, on top of actually motivating us to do something really awesome. And yes, most of the time, a movie can be our guide and motivation to get us to the success we truly desire – movies can be our bridge to finally taking action.

So pick a movie from below list (we’ll be constantly updating this list with new entries so feel free to bookmark this page for easy future reference), watch ’em, and get recharged and all turnt up to conquer the world. LET’S DO THIS PEOPLE!!!

*list is in random order

1. Joy (2015)

Aside from having the already successful Jennifer Lawrence in this entrepreneurial film, “Joy" hits the spot in most of us who live normal boring lives wanting to get our own little piece of success, one way or another.

This real life story revolves around the struggles of an American single mother named Joy Mangano, who invented the self-wringing Miracle Mop however struggled to create, market, and sell her product to curious but unconvinced customers while struggling to make enough to meet the financial requirements of being a single mom.

Her perseverance eventually pays off as she struck a deal with a TV network to showcase her products, which allowed herself to create a business empire of her own. If she can do this with all those extra baggages, then so can we.

Notable lines

Joy: Christie, look at me. I want you to remember something, because a lot of times people get nice things and they start to think differently. We got here from hard work, patience and humility. So I want to tell you, don’t ever think that the world owes you anything, because it doesn’t. The world doesn’t owe you a thing.

[showing them her drawing of the mop she wants to invent]
Rudy: I don’t get it.
Joy: This is the only idea that I have right now, and I think it has a chance to change all of our lives!

2. Nightcrawler (2014)

Unemployed and pennyless, Los Angeles denizen Louis “Lou" Bloom (perfectly portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal) survives by mere scavenging and petty theft. But he was resourceful, keen to learn, and focused on changing his life for the better.

The thing is, noone else would give him an opportunity because of his petty crimes. Things started to change when Louis Bloom, armed with a cheap camcorder and second hand police scanner, saw a nocturnal opportunity to cover accidents, and grisly crimes in the city of Angels in exchange for hefty sums from a small time TV news network who’s also struggling to get the ratings up.

Feel his focus, his objectivity, his determination, and his readiness to do whatever it takes to build his own media empire while watching this movie. This heartstopping flick tell us that we must create your own opportunities and open your own doors, not to leave our success in somebody else’s hands. We just have to do it, and we have to do it no matter what it takes.

Notable lines

Lou Bloom: Do you know what fear stands for? False Evidence Appearing Real.

Lou Bloom: I’m a hard worker. I set high goals, and I’ve been told that I’m persistent. Now, I’m not fooling myself, sir. Having been raised with the self esteem movement so popular in schools, I used to expect my needs to be considered. But I know that these days, our culture no long caters to the job loyalty that could be promised to earlier generations. What I believe, sir, is that good thinks come to those who work their asses off. And that people such as yourself, who reached the top of the mountain didn’t just fall there. My motto is, if you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy the ticket.

3. View from the Top (2003)

Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, “View from the Top" is actually a comedy movie with an inspiring story to tell.

The story is about a young small town girl (Donna Jensen) who was taken for granted by her parents but instead of feeling sorry for herserlf, she had high hopes for a successful future as a flight attendant on international first-class flights.

Despite her fear of heights (she was never able go aboard a plane flight before) and an envious back-stabbing friend who betrayed her, she persevered and worked hard more than anyone to become the successful woman she had always hoped for.

This movie tells us that things may not always work to our advantage, and unexpected events might unfortunately slow us down in our pursuit of success, but we must never stop and keep working on it as eventually we’ll see success come right at our doorstep.

Notable lines

Sally Weston: [to Donna Jensen who’s watching on TV] No matter where you’re from, no matter who people think you are, you can be whatever you want. But you’ve gotta start right now.

Co-Pilot Steve: You’re a pro. You’re going places.
Donna Jensen: Ya think?
Co-Pilot Steve: I’m a pilot. It’s my job to know where people are going.

4. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Nothing like a tear-inducing, real-life rags-to-riches story to motivate and inspire us movie-goers. In a turn of events, single father Chris Gardner (Will Smith) and his young son (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) are left homeless, having no money left to pay for rent.

The duo struggled to live in shelters while Chris managed to get an internship at a brokerage firm but with no salary. Determined to prove himself and his ability to become a successful salesman, Chris was eventually able to create a better life for himself and his son.

This film shows that we should never give up on ourselves and to not allow circumstances to destroy our dreams, all while still having the heart to love and care for those who matter most to us during the most extreme of circumstances.

Notable lines

Chris Gardner: [after playing basket ball] Hey. Don’t ever let somebody tell you… You can’t do something. Not even me. All right?
Chris’ son: All right.
Chris Gardner: You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

As if Leonardo DiCaprio’s intensely empowering acting isn’t enough to motivate us, “The Wolf of Wall Street" managed to inspire us all and encourage us to live our dreams and do something to make that happen and of course, to not forget to enjoy the fruits of our hardwork and the finer things in life.

The real life story of Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, started as he takes on an entry-level job at a Wall Street brokerage firm, eagerly knowing the ins and outs of the industry to eventually apply in his own business. While still in his 20s, Belfort established Stratton Oakmont, his own investment firm where he and his best friend (Jonah Hill) manage to make a huge fortune huge fortune by fraud.

Now of course we do not want to achieve success by illegally fooling others, alright. But the movie prompts us to reevaluate what we currently have in life and to ask ourselves this one question: How bad do we want success? And what are willing to go through to achieve that same thing?

Notable lines

Jordan Belfort: Let me tell you something. There’s no nobility in poverty. I’ve been a rich man and I’ve been a poor man. And I choose rich every f*cking time.

Jordan Belfort: At least as a rich man when I have to face my problems I show up at the back of a limo wearing a $2,000 suit and a $40,000 gold f*cking watch.

6. Office Space (1999)

Nothing like a movie that all of us who are stuck in their 9-5 office desks and fearing of losing their jobs can totally relate to, right? Totally.

The movie starts with corporate drone Peter Gibbons (brilliantly portrayed by Ron Livingston) being stuck in traffic on a frustrating Monday morning – just by seeing this part you know you’re in for a truly relatable movie.

For those who are in the same situation, you understand that “your day job" and “freedom & happiness" are two phrases that just wouldn’t fit in the same sentence – not to mention having an ass of a boss that makes you ‘want to kill your soul’ everytime you step in that office of yours.

If you say yes to all of the above, then this is the perfect movie with a totally satisfying plot for you that you can seriously relate to. The adventures of Peter Gibbons just makes you want to look at the brighter side and force yourself to take action and vow to never have to go through the same soul-killing experience again of having a not-so-nice day job – of course by taking a positive action in your life (hopefully by entrepreneurship).

Notable lines

Peter Gibbons: Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements.

Bill Lumbergh: [to Peter] Oh, oh, and I almost forgot. Ahh, I’m also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too…

7. The Social Network (2010)

Now this is the interestingly empowering story of Mark Zuckerberg and how our favorite social network came to be.

The film shows how Zuckerberg himself began work on a new concept that would eventually turn into the global social network known as Facebook, and how it made him one of the youngest billionaires ever in just a few years. With all those successes, Zuckerberg also struggled with both personal and legal battles that is centered around the ownership of Facebook.

It was great how the film portrayed a young Zuckerberg who, just like us, aspired of becoming someone by doing something cool and awesome – this also teaches us that someone who was previously a nobody can seriously take on anything, innovate, and change the world.

Notable lines

Mark Zuckerberg: Ma’am, I know you’ve done your homework and so you know that money isn’t a big part of my life, but at the moment I could buy Mt. Auburn Street, take the Phoenix Club, and turn it into my ping-pong room.

Mark Zuckerberg: If you were the inventors of Facebook. you would’ve invented Facebook

Sean Parker: A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s a cool? A BILLION dollars.

8. Limitless (2011)

Whenever you’re mindlessly procastinating or you really wanted something to get done but you’re suffering from a mental block, doesn’t it suck and doesn’t it feel like you’re waste precious time that you could’ve spent more productively? I feel ya, because I feel it almost every single day.

If only there was a pill that would make our minds work full throttle, right? This film not only satisfies that, it makes us want to think we’re in the same realm, doing our own thing in full capacity as well.

This is the story of writer Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) who is facing unemployment due to his constant brain drains and is also going through a sour rejection by his girlfriend. Enter Eddie’s old friend who gives him a newly developed drug that produces enhanced mental acuity, allowing Eddie to rise to the top and attract the attention of a mogul (played by Robert De Niro). Of course as with any drug, there are terrible effects and Eddie also needs to face the fact that the drug is limited in supply, affecting his chances at making a fortune.

Now the film is purely fictional so we cannot do anything about that miracle pill, but the film’s surreal intensity and favorably successful outcomes just makes it very empowering for us viewers to at least try to become more productive, and in turn, earn more wealth in the process.

Notable lines

Eddie Morra: You know you should really be glad about this. Cause me working for you? You’d end up as my bitch.

Eddie Morra: Not many of us know what it’s like to become the perfect version of ourselves.

9. The Shawnshank Redemption (1994)

Ever had that feeling like as if there is no other way out, but you want out?

If yes, tell that to Andy Dufrense (played by Tim Robbins) who, as an innocent man, was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover. He forms a long lasting friendship with Red (Morgan Freeman), another inmate who became his best friend during the trying times they were in prison, which they managed to make the best out of.

Tough life you have, ‘eh? This movie will make you thankful for all the blessings that you have and all the misfortunes that you do not have. This movie also tells that we have all the opportunity to get up and do something productive, because some are having the toughest time trying to.

Notable lines

Andy Dufresne: I guess it comes down a simple choice: Get busy living, or get busy dying.

Movie byline: Fear can hold you prisoner; hope can set you free.

10. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Quick question: What were you doing in your life when you were 18? Or what have you already accomplished by the time you turned 18?

Nothing much, eh? Well not Frank Abagnale, Jr. He did more than just nothing.

Another satisfyingly empowering film by Leonardo DiCaprio is this true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. who worked as a doctor, a lawyer, and as a co-pilot for a major airline – all before his 18th birthday. At the age of 17, Frank Abagnale, Jr. became the most successful bank robber in the history of the U.S.

Impressive, right? Thing is, he’s a master of deception and a brilliant forger which allowed him to do all that and more. Aside from his skills, it was his attitude and smarts that ultimately allowed him to choose the life he wanted at such a young age.

Not saying we should all do illegal stuff to get things our way, but watch this empowering movie that’ll at the same time make us think of all those times we’ve wasted and that we all could’ve done something cool by the time we’re 18. See people, the movie subtly teaches us the value of time.

Aside from making us feel bad of all those precious times we wasted (hence making us want to do something awesome snap! snap!), the film also motivates us that, given our resourcefulness, focus, strategic thinking, street smarts, and attitude, we can be anyone we want to be in life.

Notable lines

Frank Abagnale Jr.: My name is Frank Black from Monroe High School I have an interview with Mr. Harrison I wanna know everything there is about being a pilot.

Frank Abagnale Sr.: Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse.

Frank Abagnale, Jr.: [In a letter] Dear Dad, you always told me that an honest man has nothing to fear, so I’m trying my best not to be afraid.

11. Erin Brockovich (2000)

The real life story revolves around Erin Brockovich (superb acting by Julia Roberts), who as an unemployed single mother from a small town with no legal education whatsoever, worked her way to become a legal assistant and with challenges and bottlenecks along the way, persevered to almost single-handedly win a lawsuit against a California utilities and power company that is accused of polluting the city’s water supply.

Her can-do, no-nonsense attitude combined with having a heart that goes out to the illness-stricken residents of the affected small town made Erin Brockovich do all that, and ultimately cut a generous cheque from the law firm that she worked for.

It’s another rags-to-riches story that tells us time and time again that, combined with the right attitude, perseverance, focus, and a can-do outlook in life, you’re in for a great and successful future ahead.

Notable lines

Erin Brockovich: Not personal? That is my work! My sweat! My time away from my kids! If that’s not personal, I don’t know what is.

Theresa Dallavale: Erin, you don’t even have phone numbers for some of them.
Erin Brockovich: Whose number do you need?
Theresa Dallavale: Everyone’s. This is a lawsuit Erin. We need to be able to contact the plaintiffs.
Erin Brockovich: I said, whose number do you need?

Erin Brockovich: [to Ed, trying to persuade him to hire her] Now, I’m smart, I’m hard-working and I’ll do anything… and I’m not leaving here without a job.
Erin Brockovich: Don’t make me beg. If it doesn’t work out, fire me… But don’t make me beg!

That’s all, folks!

Let’s do this! Did above list get you all fired up to do something awesome or what? Do you have your own favorite to add to this list? Please add them in the comments below. As mentioned above, we’ll be constantly updating this list with new entries from time to time so feel free to bookmark this page for easy future reference.

Now go ahead, do something awesome, and enjoy the finer things in life. Cheers to success!

Stay awesome,