6 inspiring movies with powerful leadership lessons

"Movies can and do have a tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood." - Walt Disney


It is often said that a true leader is someone who understands people, listens to them and knows what they want. Strong leadership has always been a bedrock upon which civilization has climbed towards greater heights. During tough times, the world needs leaders and good leadership is always inspiring.


Movies promote ideas, engage creativity and share powerful aspects of life with an audience. A good movie should be fun and well worth your time. With movies available in almost all languages, the world of cinema is saturated with great content. Movie making is considered an emblematic showcase of eccentricity, culture and art. In many cases, movies allow people to feel better about themselves, to achieve more and to engage with ideas that are integral to society. The fact is that watching a decent movie creates a profound impact on perceiving the concept of leadership.


In case you are wondering, here is a list of 6 inspiring movies about leadership that are definitely worth a watch.



1. Hacksaw Ridge


The story of an army medic in WWII, Private Desmond Doss is narrated in the movie, where his leadership inspires viewers engrossed by Andrew Garfield's portrayal of the character. Emotional and nerve-racking, the depiction of the battleground is pivotal to the experience, as Desmond Doss saves lives in the face of extreme adversity. Paired with a way of keeping himself motivated to save soldiers on the brink of death, the young medic is determined to salvage every ounce of hope amidst heavy enemy fire.


During initiation training Doss reminds us all of the struggle we face many at times, "My values are under attack and I don't know why." The dialogue paves way for a movie that unfolds into the value that one man can bring to an entire army.


The movie is a testament to Desmond Doss and his unwavering faith in God. Doss takes his faith to war, determined to save as many lives as he can, and succeeds. It takes courage to admit that the saving grace of God can guide us through the toughest of battles. The movie is a reminder that spirituality is a crucial aspect of leadership.



2. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest


Jack Nicholson is in the leading role as Randle McMurphy, a new inpatient at a mental asylum who befriends other patients in a power struggle against the hospital management. The story revolves around a psych ward, where the very motives of survival are under the scrutiny of Nurse Ratched. Randle McMurphy is a strong character that inspires other inmates to rebel against the authoritarian impositions of Nurse Ratched who often ill treats and punishes inmates.


"He who Marches out of step hears another drum." - a powerful quote by Randal McMurphy reminds his fellow inmates the importance of standing up for themselves to enjoy life.


The movie is perhaps one of the greatest portrayals of a fragmented society, showcasing the many struggles that people go through. In the face of tyranny, friendship and regard for one another proves to be a valuable asset. Jack Nicholson engages viewers with breathtaking performances and nails the catharsis that shadows a theme of mental welfare. The movie made in 1975 is based on a book by Ken Kesey with the same title. It is a must watch for anybody with spare time on their hands.



3. Good Will Hunting


A story about a talented kid on the path to self-destruction, Good Will Hunting sheds light on the intervention of four people trying to haul the kid back. Will, the key character is played by Matt Damon. Stellan Skarsgard plays professor Lambeau who vows to bring Will's focus on track. Robin Williams plays Sean McGuire, a major influence on young Matt Damon in a journey of self-discovery. The movie is a testament to taking the right initiative to nudge a young society in the right direction. The movie talks about the many influences that young people face across the sphere of time, the drawbacks of ignorant systems and the need for strong values.


"Maybe you're perfect right now. Maybe you don't wanna ruin that. I think that's a super philosophy, Will; that way you can go through your entire life without ever having to really know anybody." Robin Williams makes this statement while counselling young Will, an eye opener that stresses on a longing for goodness. After all, healthy relationship's can bring about the right kind of change for anybody.


A childhood friend in Chuckie, played by Ben Affleck is a strong addition to Will's life, emphasizing the various channels that influence a young man's relationship with the world. Ultimately, taking charge of life and sharing revelations stand out as the main message of this movie that takes viewer's through the life of a troubled youngster and the influences of strong personalities. It is always great to see powerful roles come together to create a string of engaging concepts that meddle with the inner philosopher. Good Will Hunting is one such movie that deserves much applause.



4. Schindler's List


Set in the time of Hitler's Nazi regime in Germany, Schindler's List narrates the story of Czech born Schindler who witnesses the atrocities against Jewish people and turns his factory that previously employed Jewish labor into a safe haven for 1,100 refugees. Schindler, played by Liam Neeson is a charismatic, affluent member of society who takes the bold step to fight against the current in seeking justice for refugees under the knife.


"Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don't." A powerful quote by Oskar Schindler simply brings to light, the atrocities against Jews during Hitler's regime. A timepiece that reflects the extreme nature of human beings, this movie is an ode to doing the right thing at the right time.


The leadership invoked in this movie is unparalleled, as viewers constantly sympathize with the drastic measures taken by Schindler himself, staking everything to save the lives of the Jewish people. We often think about the right measures, rarely acting upon them when the time comes. The story of Schindler reminds us that no matter the circumstances, there is room for improvement with the will to preserve our common humanity.


Beautifully put together, an element of suspense always lurks beneath the camera as Schindler moves through the hate crimes of a Nazi regime, with the undying hope of helping others to safety.



5. Dead Poet's Society


Robin Williams in a role that resonates with true enigma and warmth, Dead Poet's Society is about a group of students and a new teacher who changes their lives. Robin Williams plays John Keating, an unconventional educator who redefines the boundaries of education by indulging the students in the liberalism and philosophy of poetry. Complete with heavy focus on the need for good literature, the movie reminds viewers of how convention can often be a limiting factor in the pursuit of expanding one's knowledge of the world.


The movie shows Todd, an aspiring writer, Neil, who dreams of being an actor, Knox, a hopeless romantic and Steven, an intellectual with the heart of an angel, mentored by John Keating, their English teacher. Elevating focus to the needs of each student and their eccentric approach to life, the movie shines light on the importance of compassionate, vocal and enthusiastic mentor-ship. A plot that resonates with the struggles of many young people, the movie goes on to showcase the bond between teacher and pupil, in an attempt to explore the expanse of literature.


Exceptional storytelling and vigorous exchanges between the characters make for a masterpiece that leaps beyond the confines of strict education and embraces the thirst of liberal learning. It is magnificent to witness the pairing of literature and leadership, as forces that guide mankind towards better days.


"No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world." This quote by Robin Williams is a reflection of his artistic expression and passion for literature in a movie that explores the depth of literary expression.



6. Coach Carter


Coach carter is the classic example of setting goals, team ethics and aspiring to be better together. Ken Carter, played by Samuel L. Jackson forms a strong bond with his basketball team of students that are often discouraged by society and even their family. The story unfolds into the taking up of newer responsibilities and how working together has a profound impact on goal setting. The movie explores various aspects of leadership that are crucial to setting up a vision for the future.


Filled with turning points and engaging dialogue, a strong message from one of the students Timo Cruz is, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." It is to remind us that most limitations in life are a byproduct of the awe at being human, the finest specimen of nature.


Under the guidance of Coach Ken Carter, the students begin to expand their horizons and aim higher. Despite the constant dismissal of their parents and others, Coach Carter is determined to show the world what his students can achieve. Bold decision making and strong team chemistry make way through this movie to instill within viewers, a sense of urgency to realize, reflect and reinvigorate the passion for dreaming big.


It goes without saying that movies stick around when the message is strong and can be easily related to by people. There are countless movies to keep inspired at an age where binge watching shows is the new norm. There are many movies that instill a sense of togetherness, reminding us all of a common humanity. The list above is a mere fraction of those titles that changed the world of cinema through simple expression and exceptional talent. Hope you enjoy it and have a wonderful day!

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