Inspirational Movies Based on True Stories | Daily Inspired Life

Inspirational Movies Based on True Stories

Inspirational Movies Based On True Stories




The United States vs. Billie Holiday is a film inspired by the life of Billie Holiday, one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time.  While Billie's popularity rose (and her desire to sing her song "Strange Fruit), the Federal Department of Narcotics targeted her with an undercover sting operation.

Here are some meaningful take-aways you'll get from this movie ...   

  • In 1937, an anti lynching bill was considered by the Senate, but did not pass. Billie Holiday rose to fame in part due to her song “Strange Fruit”, casting a spotlight on lynching.  It shows the power of the arts and the need for people to stand collectively with artists who make a stand against injustice (especially when authorities are trying to silence the voice of justice).

  • Stories presented by the media will only tell part of a story, and at times are shared with a political agenda that will influence our thinking... we therefore need to consider there is more to a story, and that media may be used as a propaganda tool to create a narrative to spread a particular idea.

  • You'll get an insight into what contributes to a life of addiction and the challenges women face when they experience violence and abuse. 

  • The image a person presents to others isn't always reflective of what they enduring or suffering in life.  Look beyond the surface, look for the whole person and practice showing empathy to others.

  • The stories of our lives are created  within external cultural and social contexts ... ie. gender, race, socio-economic etc.    These factors all play a part in how we experience life.  Unless we have lived in the shoes of another, we can never fully understand what they have experienced.  

An epic biographical film based on the life and writings of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, the exiled political and spiritual leader of Tibet.

Here's some of the lessons you'll learn by watching this movie ...

  • The movie will expand your awareness of Tibet and her people.   The atrocities Tibet endured at the hand of another nation calls out for a global conscience to stand-up for love, peace and compassion.  Why should one person pick up a gun, or pick up a sword to slaughter another just because an authority has told them to do so?

  • The 14th Dalai Lama is one of the most famous people on our planet.   The movie gives us insight into the man behind the title, how he came to be called His Holiness the Dalai Lama and what he experienced leading up to exile in India.

  • Though now living in exile the Dalai Lama continues to teach compassion and kindness across the globe.  “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Selma is a movie based on the true story of the 1965 voting rights campaign in Selma, Alabama.  In the face of violent racist attacks, Martin Luther King Jr. leads a protest that culminates in a historic march from Selma to Montgomery.  This event played a crucial role in the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a monumental moment in civil rights history.

Apart from the brilliant story, acting and cinematography, here are some key take-aways from the film ...

  • Great change will not be achieved alone.  By joining  hands and walking together as one tribe, we can effect necessary change as a strong collective... even against strong and powerful adversaries.  

  • It is possible to achieve necessary social change through peaceful protest and non-violent action.  

  • We get to choose how we personally respond to injustice.   There are political agendas at play, and how we see a situation may only be part of the story.   Listen to the people actually living the story.  Let those personally affected tell their stories.  Look at a situation from different perspectives, rather than simply accepting propaganda from commercially and politically driven agendas.  
  • Those not directly affected by a social issue play an important part in bringing about change  by showing support and solidarity for those campaigning a cause. We do not stand by and watch our fellow humans suffer, we stand together as one, strong for what is right for all.

  • We are making progress.  We see how far we have come and are inspired to continue expanding our awareness and consciousness of what greater change needs to happen now and in the future.

This inspiring movie tells the story of Michael Oher, an American football offensive lineman who overcame an impoverished upbringing to play in the National Football League (NFL) with the help of his adoptive parents Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy.

Here are some of the beautiful life lessons you'll take away from this movie.  

  • It only takes one person, in one moment of time to present an opportunity that could change the headline of your life.  Be open to that opportunity  and stay open to you being the person who provides that opportunity to someone else.

  • Don't allow the expectations and opinion of others to stop you from doing what you dream of doing with your life.  You are the author of your own story - don't give anyone else the authority to write your script.

  • Step-by-step keep going after your dreams.  Work through the challenges.  Don't give up.  With commitment, tenacity and the right support system you can achieve what you once thought impossible.

  • In an era where racial and social conflicts are headlined across global media channels, The Blind Side offers a different narrative - one where people of different ages, race and socio-economic backgrounds support each other as one loving family.

  • If you've been born into or found yourself in difficult circumstances - your experience does not have to define you.  We each have the power to change our story.  The story of our childhood doesn't have to be the story of our life.  With a willingness to change, the right guidance and a support system you can re-write the story of your life.


An inspiring true story about the rivalry between Ann Atwater, a fearless and outspoken civil rights activist, and Ku Klux Klan leader C. P. Ellis and their fight over a move to school desegregation in Durham, North Carolina, in 1971.

Here are a few brilliant take-aways you'll get from this movie (would love to hear some of yours)  ...

  • When we seek to understand a person, and the deeper story behind their actions, it’s possible to overcome long-held prejudice and hate.

  • Even the most difficult and complicated problems can be resolved with consistent effort, consultation, collaboration and negotiation.  

  • Being an initiator and champion of change can be difficult, requiring great courage to face intense opposition and resistance.  But never give up hope for a good cause. Eventually love will prevail.

  • One act of loving kindness can be the catalyst to turn bitter enemies into the best of friends.  But it takes one person to make the first move, then it takes another to respond to it.  

  • In an interview with Aliya Faust, of GospelGoodies the lead actors said they hoped people would take these lessons away from watching the movie:

    Taraji P. Henson:  I think what I really want people to take away from the movie is that when someone matches you with hate, just know it's coming from a place of pain. It's coming from a very broken place and it has nothing to do with you, so don't be offended. Try to understand it. If you're really about change and are humanity-forward, you can't fight that fight with hate. You have to try a different approach.

    Bill Riddick:  We walk around with a lot of biases we don't even recognize we have. I would hope that the movie would force everyone, even myself, to have a relook at ourselves and look at what we bring to the table that's just not fitting for people around us and people of this country.


At a time when it was Australian government policy to train aboriginal children as domestic workers and integrate them into white society, young Molly Craig decides to lead her little sister and cousin in a daring escape from their internment camp.

The film follows the Aboriginal girls as they walk for nine weeks along 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of the Australian rabbit-proof fence to return to their community at Jigalong, while being pursued by white law enforcement authorities and an Aboriginal tracker.

Here is some of what you'll learn from this film ...

  • The history lessons taught to you in school will likely be incomplete, presenting you with only one perspective of the story. It's up to us as individuals to educate ourselves as to the true history of our nations.

  • The First Australians, Aboriginal people have showed incredible tenacity and fortitude as a people.   They have survived great hardship, forced child removal and assimilation. They are a people who show great respect for their culture and traditions.   We should honour their heritage and listen to their stories.  

  • We are responsible for how we treat other human beings. People should not defer to authorities to make  decisions on their behalf.     The Australian Government has since apologized for the grief, suffering and loss inflicted on the Aboriginal people. They got it wrong.  Governments get it wrong.  

  • Many other brilliant life lessons about not giving up, trusting your instincts and helping others when they need you.  

The film is based on the autobiographical book Long Walk to Freedom by anti-apartheid revolutionary and former South African President Nelson Mandela.  Here are some of my take-aways from this film ... 

  • There are people  who lost their lives fighting for freedom they themselves were never able to experience.  If we are a beneficially of their sacrifice,  then let us work to appreciate and preserve the freedom those before us fought for.  

  • We may look for support and approval from our parents, closest friends and family,  but they may never see the world as we do.  They may never understand or agree with our life choices.

  • There are times when big actions make for slow change, but big change will come if we keep taking action.  

  • Let's learn from the lessons of our past.  Equal rights for all humans.  Together we are strong.
  • "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

    ― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom  

The King's Speech is based on the true story of King George VI's quest to find his voice.  The King and his unconventional speech therapist become unlikely friends as they work together to conquer the King's stammer - a condition he's struggled with since childhood. 

Here are few lessons you'll take away from this movie ...

  • No class of society is immune to personal struggle.  We never know what someone is dealing with behind closed doors - even if they appear to have everything.

  • Stay open to new ways of handling problems in your life.  If one method hasn't been effective, keep trying, seek help to find a way that works for you. 

  •  It's not always the person with the most letters after their name, or the person with the highest qualifications that can achieve the best results.  

  • Passion for what you do,  natural talent and a genuine love for the people you help is just as important as official qualifications.

  • When it comes to overcoming our fears, it helps to have a mentor to guide us through the difficult times.  


The inspiring true story of three black women who worked at NASA as mathematicians during the space race.

These  incredible women were instrumental in one of history's greatest operations - the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.

Here are few of the life lesson highlights ...

  • For too long black women who have made significant contributions to advancement have been kept out of our history books.   Films like Hidden Figures brings their stories out into the open, so these women can be honored as they should be.  

  • When we work together, raise our voices together, any movement forward is a move forward for all.  
  • In Katherine Johnson's own words, "Go see 'Hidden Figures,' and take a young person! It will give a more positive outlook of what is possible if you work hard, do your best and are prepared."

  • We need a balance of masculine and feminine energies when it comes to governance and decision making.  Would we have the problems we see in the world today, if that balance had been honored, and more women invited to leadership and decision making tables?  

  • As you move forward toward your dreams and start rising up, there will be some people (even those closest to you) that may become 'threshold guardians' to your success.   Remember, there is more than one way to achieve our goals and there will be a way. Don't give up.  

Million Dollar Arm is based on the true story of a struggling sports agent who comes up with an 'impossible idea' ... to find two promising cricket players in India, and turn them into star baseball players,  via a reality TV show.  

This is an inspiring film the whole family can enjoy together.  Here are some take-aways ...

  • There's always a way.  When things don't seem to be working out, when your plans aren't coming to fruition, when doors close, then look for new opportunities. Walking a different path, doesn't mean you quit walking.  

  • Even if someone says, "This can't be done", or "That's impossible", or "That won't work" ... doesn't make it true. Sometimes the so-called crazy ideas and impossible dreams work out the best.

  • We are all influenced by our backgrounds ... cultural, religious, socio-economic, childhood etc. Remember this especially when dealing with someone who responds to a situation differently to us.  Doing so helps promote peaceful and rewarding relationships with others.  

  • Stay hopeful - circumstances can change.   One person coming into your life, at the right time, with the right opportunity, can change everything...  and there will be times where we can be that person for someone else.    

Born with an eye condition that eventually leads to his blindness, Andrea Bocelli pursues his ambition and becomes a famous singer, songwriter.   Whether you're a fan of Bocelli or not, this movie teaches so much about overcoming obstacles and going after your dreams ... 

  • You may be born into circumstances that seem incompatible with your dreams. But the challenges you must overcome will be the very thing that makes you strong enough to reach them.  

  • Not everybody will believe in your dreams, but there will be those who show up for you.  They will give you the motivation, strength and encouragement to keep going - a friend, an uncle, a mentor.  Someone will show up for you, be open to them when they do.
  • Not all experts will give you the right advice.   Even if you experience rejection by so-called "experts", keep pursuing doing what you love.  
  • When we see a "successful" artist, remember there is always a story behind their success.  They have experienced many disappointments along the way.  After every bout of depression, every fall, every fight they have got up and continued on the path toward their dream.

The film Green Book is inspired by the story of a true friendship that transcended race, class, and the 1962 Mason-Dixon line.  The film takes you on a comedic (yet meaningful) tour of the Deep South with African American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley and Italian American bouncer Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga who served as Shirley's driver and bodyguard.

You'll experience a whole range of emotions, and learn  powerful life lessons watching this film  ...

  • Two people from completely different backgrounds -  culture, education and socio-economic, can become life long friends by accepting each other's stories, learning understanding and showing mutual respect for each other.  

  • When we are open to share in each other's experiences we can learn empathy.  We can see life from the perspective of another person.  When we do that,  we recognize the the powerful force empathy can be in bringing people together.  

  • It is possible to change.  We can go from having strong prejudice and judgements, to accepting others, learning from their viewpoints to the point of mutual respect and admiration.  

  • Try not to judge someone by outward appearances.  We have all been through "stuff".  We all have a story to tell.  When we share our stories, show vulnerability, and approach life with a desire to connect rather than condemn, we do our part of make the world a more loving, compassionate place.  


15 Inspiring Movies Based on True Stories  


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