40 Best Motivational Movies for Students Across Hollywood, Bollywood, Netflix, and South Cinema

Vidushi Gupta

Movies are not just a form of entertainment; they also have the unique ability to motivate, inspire, and transport us into a different world. For students navigating the challenging journey of academics, motivation can be a driving force that propels them towards success. There are a plethora of films that cross genres and language barriers to provide inspirational stories that connect with students everywhere.

In this article, we have curated a list to explore the 40 best motivational movies for students. Whether you’re a fan of Hollywood’s iconic storytelling, Bollywood’s musical spectacles, the gripping narratives of South Indian cinema, or the contemporary offerings from Netflix, there’s something on this list for everyone.

Sr.No.Movie Name & Year IMDb Rating
1.Good Will Hunting (1997)8.3
2.The Great Debaters (2007)7.6
3.The Paper Chase (1973)7.2
4,21 (2008)6.8
5.Forrest Grrump (1994)8.8
6.Theory Of Everything (2014)7.7
7.42 (2013)7.5
8.The Social Network (2010)7.7
9.The Breakfast Club (1985)7.7
10.Freedom Writers (2007)7.6
11.Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)8.2
12.Dangal (2016)8.3
13. English Vinglish (2012)7.8
14.Gully Boy (2019)7.9
15.Mary Kom (2014)6.8
16.Pad Man (2018)7.9
17.Panga (2020)6.8
18.Super 30 (2019)7.9
19.Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara (2011)8.2
20.12th Fail (2023)9.1
21.3 Idiots (2009)8.4
22.Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl (2020)5.5
23.The Sky Is Pink (2019)7.6
24.Skater Girl (2021)6.7
25.14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible (2021)7.7
26.The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (2019)7.6
27.A Beautiful Life (2023)6.4
28.Taare Zameen Par (2007)8.3
29.Manjhi: The Mountain Man (2015)8
30.Lagaan (2001)8.1
31.Manam (2014)8
32.Businessman (2012)7.2
33.Vedam (2010)8.1
34.Oopiri (2016)8
35.Srimanthudu (2015)7.5
36.Rudra Veena (1988)8.6
37.Happy Days (2007)7.9
38.Leader (2010)8
39.Siva (1989)7
40.1940 Lo Oka Gramam (2008)7.5
41.Invincible (2006)7
42.Never Back Down (2008)6.5
43.The Damned United (2009)7.5
44.The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)7.3
45.Black Swan (2010)8
46.Everest (2015)7.1
47.Schindler’s List (1993)9
48.Robin Hood (2010)6.6
49.Whiplash (2014)8.5
50.Pele: Birth of a Legend (2016)7.1
51.Saving Private Ryan (1998)8.6
52.The Theory of Everything (2014)7.7
53.Life of Pi (2012)7.9
54.Slumdog Millionaire (2008)8
55.The Aviator (2004)7.5
56.Moneyball (2011)7.6
57.Creed (II) (2015)7.6
58.Gandhi (1982)8
59.Goal! The Dream Begins (2005)6.7
60.The Hurricane (1999)7.6
61.Southpaw (2015)7.3
62.The Blind Side (2009)7.6
63.Million Dollar Arm (2014)7
64.The Greatest Showman (2017)7.5
65.The Bucket List (2007)7.4
66.Raging Bull (1980)8.1
67.Lincoln (2012)7.3
68.The Intouchables (2011)8.5
69.Rescue Dawn (2006)7.3
70. Crimson Tide (1995)7.3

Best Motivational Movies for Students in Hollywood

1. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Will Hunting is a genius in mathematics and can solve difficult mathematical problems. When a professor discovers his genius, he faces a choice between pursuing a path of intellectual achievement and dealing with his troubled past.

2. The Great Debaters (2007)

Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at a historically black college in Texas, forms and coaches a debate team. The movie explores themes of racial inequality, the power of education, and the resilience of individuals striving for justice and equality. This is one of the most appropriate motivational movies for students.

3. The Paper Chase (1973)

James Hart is a first-year law student at Harward Law School. As Hart navigates the competitive academic environment, he forms a complex relationship with Kingsfield, balancing his academic pursuits with personal growth and relationships.

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4. 21 (2008)

Jim Sturgess, a brilliant MIT student, is recruited by his math professor to join a team of students skilled in card counting. The team, led by Mickey Rosa, travels to Las Vegas on weekends to use their mathematical skills to win big in blackjack.

5. Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump, a kind-hearted man with a low IQ, achieves incredible success and narrates his life story while waiting for a bus. He recounts the early years of his life when he found himself in the middle of key historical events. His lifelong love for his friend Jenny remains constant, and he wants to reunite with her. This is one of the best Inspirational hollywood Movies.

6. The Theory Of Everything (2014)

It is about the life of the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. The story explores his early life, his academic achievements, and his struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

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7. 42 (2013)

It tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. It portrays how he faced racism and decided to fight against it.

8. The Social Network (2010)

The film is based on the 2009 book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich, which chronicles the founding and early development of the social networking website Facebook. It explores the creation of Facebook and the legal battles that ensued among its co-founders.

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9. The Breakfast Club (1985)

The film depicts five high school students from different social backgrounds who spend a Saturday in detention together. Throughout the day, they break down social barriers and become close buddies.

10. Freedom Writers (2007)

Erin Gruwell, a high school teacher in California, inspired and empowered a group of at-risk students through the power of writing. Through their shared journey, the students learn to break down stereotypes and rise above their challenging backgrounds.

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Best Motivational Movies for Students Bollywood

11. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

The film is based on Milkha Singh, an Indian athlete and former national champion in track and field. It tells how he overcame many obstacles to become one of India’s most iconic athletes. This is one of the best motivational movies for students.

12. Dangal (2016)

The film is inspired by the true story of Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former wrestler who is determined to train his daughters in the sport while challenging traditional gender roles. The film portrays the rigorous training the girls undergo and their subsequent achievements in the world of wrestling.

13. English Vinglish (2012)

Shashi, a homemaker and middle-class Indian woman, often gets mocked by her family for not knowing English. Determined to prove herself, she enrolls in an English language learning course during a family trip to the United States.

14. Gully Boy (2019)

Murad Ahmed, a young man from a humble background, aspires to become a rapper. His life changes drastically when he meets a local rapper, Shrikant, alias MC Sher.

15. Mary Kom (2014)

This film is based on the life of Mary Kom, a renowned Indian boxer and Olympic bronze medalist. It chronicles her journey from childhood to her rise as a successful boxer on the national and international stage.

16. Pad Man (2018)

Laxmikant Chauhan, a social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu, gets upset when he sees his wife Gayatri using an unhygienic cloth during her menstrual cycle. Therefore, he creates a machine that can make affordable sanitary napkins and perseveres in his mission to improve menstrual health for women.

17. Panga (2020)

This is one of the best motivational movies for students in Bollywood. The film follows the story of Jaya Nigam, a former national-level Kabbadi champion who gave up her career to focus on her family. The film explores Jaya’s journey as she decides to make a comeback to the world of professional Kabbadi, defying societal expectations and challenges.

18. Super 30 (2019)

The movie is inspired by the life of Anand Kumar, who is a mathematician from Bihar who started running the Super 30 program for IIT aspirants in Patna. It portrays the challenges he faces in his mission to empower economically disadvantaged students.

19. Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara (2011)

Three friends, Kabir, Imran, and Arjun, take a road trip across Europe years after drifting apart. The trip allows them to mend fences and learn valuable life lessons.

20. 12th Fail (2023)

This film follows the story of IPS officer Manoj Sharma, who juggles menial jobs to survive while realizing his dream, with his mentor, friends, and girlfriend Shraddha Joshi’s support.

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Motivational Movies on Netflix for Students

21. 3 Idiots (2009)

Farhan and Raju form a great bond with their fellow roommate, Rancho, due to his unique outlook on life. However, they drift apart after finishing college, only to be reunited due to an absurd bet.

22. Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl (2020)

This film is based on the life of Gunjan Saxena, who became the first Indian female air force pilot in combat during the Kargil War in 1999. Despite the challenges, she displayed courage and determination, and her story is an inspiration for many.

23. The Sky Is Pink (2019)

Aisha Choudhary, a motivational speaker and author, was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. The film follows the journey of Aisha’s parents, Aditi and Niren Chaudhary, as they navigate the challenges and joys of raising a child with a life-limiting illness.

24. Skater Girl (2021)

It revolves around the story of a young girl named Prerna, who discovers her passion for skateboarding when a skatepark is built in her village. Against the backdrop of traditional societal norms and gender expectations, she defies conventions to pursue her love for skating.

25. 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible (2021)

The documentary follows the remarkable journey of Nirmal Purja, a former Gurkha and British Special Forces soldier, who set out to climb all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks in just seven months, breaking the previous record of several years. This is one of the best motivational movies on Netflix for students.

26. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (2019)

It follows the real-life experiences of William Kamkwamba, a young boy from a farming family. Despite lacking formal education, he teaches himself about physics and engineering from library books and, with his resourcefulness, builds a wind turbine to generate electricity for his village.

27. A Beautiful Life (2023)

Elliott, a young fisherman with an extraordinary voice, gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is discovered by the successful and well-known music manager Suzanne. He must decide if he’s ready to open himself up to stardom—and love.

28. Taare Zameen Par (2007)

Ishan Awasthi, an 8-year-old dyslexic boy, struggles with academics and is sent away to boarding school. His life takes a turn when an art teacher, Ram Shankar Nikumbh, joins the school and understands his artistic talent.

29. Manjhi: The Mountain Man (2015)

Dashrath Manjhi, a laborer in Gehlaur village in Bihar, decides to carve a path through the mountain using only a hammer and chisel after his wife dies due to a lack of medical care because the nearest town is separated by a massive rocky mountain.

30. Lagaan (2001)

The story is set in the late 19th century when the British colonial rulers imposed a hefty land tax, known as “lagaan,” on the villagers. To relieve the tax burden, Bhuvan, the protagonist, proposed a challenge: if the villagers win a cricket match against the British, they would be exempted from paying the lagaan for three years.

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Best Motivational South Movies for Students

31. Manam (2014)

Bittu, a six-year-old, loses his parents in an unfortunate car accident. The film takes a turn when, 30 years later, he comes across two collegians who look exactly like his late parents’ young selves.

32. Businessman (2012)

Surya aspires to become a powerful and influential businessman and moves to Mumbai to achieve his goals. However, he falls in love with a police officer’s daughter, and things start to take turns.

33. Vedam (2010)

Raju, Saroja, Ramulu, Vivek Chakravarthy, and Raheemuddin Qureshi, five individuals from different walks of life, get entangled with each other when they are victims of a terrorist attack that occurs in a hospital. The story highlights the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of the characters.

34. Oopiri (2016)

The story revolves around the friendship between a quadriplegic billionaire, Vikram Aditya, and his caregiver, Seenu, who is an ex-convict on parole. Together, they help each other with their struggles and develop an unlikely bond.

35. Srimanthudu (2015)

Harsha Vardhan is a wealthy and philanthropic young man who decides to adopt a village to bring about positive change. He becomes involved in the development of the village and works towards providing basic amenities like education, healthcare, and infrastructure. This is one of the best motivational South Korean movies for students. 

36. Rudra Veena (1988)

Surya is a highly principled and passionate young man who is deeply committed to classical music, specifically playing the veena. He opposes his father’s views on caste discrimination and becomes involved in social issues.

37. Happy Days (2007)

The story revolves around a group of engineering students and their experiences during their college days. The film captures the friendships, romances, and challenges faced by the characters as they navigate through the ups and downs of college life.

38. Leader (2010)

Arjun Prasad is an idealistic and educated young man who returns to India after completing his education abroad. Influenced by his father’s principles and motivated by the desire to bring about positive change in society, Arjun decides to enter politics.

39. Siva (1989)

The story revolves around Siva, a student leader who takes on a corrupt and violent college administration. The film explores themes of student politics, corruption, and the fight against injustice.

40. 1940 Lo Oka Gramam (2008)

The story revolves around a village named Kolluru, situated in West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh, during the pre-independence era. The narrative explores the impact of the socio-political conditions of that time on the lives of the villagers.

Join us as we delve into the world of cinema, where each frame carries the potential to inspire, educate, and motivate.

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