April 26, 2021

17 Profound & Meaningful Movies.

“Art is the closest we can come to understanding how a stranger really feels.” ~ Roger Ebert


I love exceptional storytelling.

I especially love when you come away from finishing a book or a movie feeling completely different. The world around you feels changed. Your perspectives have shifted. Your heart is either broken or made whole again. (Often, it’s both.)

I am constantly seeking out that kind of storytelling. Books, television, movies, blogs—I can’t get enough of it.

A little while ago, I asked our readers what movie had changed their life a little, and how. The response was amazing—not just the list of movies I’m about to share, but also, the connection between people.

Because what’s better than being totally moved by storytelling? Being moved together with someone.

Anyway, here’s a list of the top movies that seem to have changed a life or two. I was pretty surprised by the one people mentioned the most!

1. Jaws

“At first it terrified me of the ocean. Growing up in San Diego, this was life altering. Later, it motivated me to learn more about sharks and marine life in general.” ~ Paul

“Never swam in a pool or lake the same for years!” ~ Stacy 

“Was a little Gold Coast grommet at the time!” ~ Andrew

“Never went in ocean the same again.” ~ Carol

“I’m now chicken of the sea. I’ll sail on it, but I will not swim in it.” ~ David


2. The Pursuit of Happyness

“If you try you can succeed even though you will make mistakes. If you stop trying you will definitely fail. Hardships in life shape our character and define our commitment and determination. This movie taught me to never give up, to be patient and persistent while pursuing my life goals.” ~ Dimitra

“Believe in your dream no matter where you come from.” ~ Rabeena

“Reminder of the important of being resilient, grateful and believing you can survive and do anything.” ~ Sean


3. Schindler’s List

“I went to the theater to watch it with my boyfriend at the time and his family. They are Jewish. I am not. Let’s just say it was a lot to try and process.” ~ Stinna

“It made me realize how truly horrific the Holocaust was. It opened my eyes to the fact that evil can overtake humanity as we know it. It made me value EVERY human life even more. It also showed me that even in the darkest times, there are always courageous, unselfish people willing to sacrifice their own safety to save the lives of others.” ~ Anna-Marie

4. The Shack

“Felt truly loved as an individual by the spirit/source/universe/god.” ~ Cindy

“I lost a child to cancer and was so fricken angry with God for taking my son. This movie changed everything for me and my beliefs. Not looking to debate anyone’s beliefs, just commenting about mine.” ~ Jennifer

“God hurts when we hurt.” ~ Sarah


5. Life is Beautiful

“It was the best story I ever saw, I left the theater by myself and had to hold it together til I got to my car. See it if you haven’t. It’s better with subtitles.” ~ Jeneen 

“Taught Strength and resilience through unimaginable hardships.” ~ Allison


6. Dead Poets Society

“Seize the day! No matter what anyone tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” ~ Adam

7 . The Notebook

“My Mom and Dad’s story.” ~ Vickie


8. What Dreams May Come

“I lost the love of my life to suicide and people always said that suicides don’t get to go to heaven and spend eternity in hell. I never believed that and this film let me to see that my thoughts are right on.” ~ Sioux  

“I never thought of love within the same parameters after he was willing to give up his place in paradise to stay with her in hell.” ~ Heather


9. Good Will Hunting

“The scene where Robin William’s character teaches self forgiveness…very healing.” ~ Sabrina


10. Life of Pi

“It is such a great story of people, nature and God.” ~ Shane

“One of the few movies that I saw that was based on a book that I loved and didn’t disappoint me.” ~ Barbara


11. The Shawshank Redemption

“Saw it as a teenager. Made me re-consider the value of solitude and the possibilities for holding to one’s values in a hostile environment.” ~ JT  

“Just about anything is possible if you are patient enough, and think long term.” ~ Aysha


12. The Green Mile

“I’m tired, boss.” ~ Jamie

13. Into the Wild

“Happiness is real when shared.” ~ Meghraj

“We are so caught up in our rat-race & running after what counts as success, we forget to live & forget how arbitrary & strange the world around us is. ~ Faryal


14. It’s a Wonderful Life

“Reconsidered my self concept.” ~ Dick

“(And The Florida Project.) Both taught me to be very grateful for the things I have, the latter also opened my eyes to a very broken system and the people who are the real victims. ” ~ Courtney

“Accepting the life you have instead of the life you dreamed of.” ~ Mairi


15. What the Health

“…and [just] like that I am vegan. ;)” ~ Jaime

16. The Razor’s Edge

17. Click

A couple of movies that didn’t quite make the top list, but that I fell in love with personally and highly recommend:



And some honorable mentions:

Star Wars

“…fell asleep three times in the theaters trying to watch it. I learned I don’t need to like and know about something because everyone else does.” ~ Britt

The Exorcist

“I’ll never eat split pea soup again.” ~ Judith

Eat, Pray, Love 

(This actually did make it into the top list, but we’ve heard so much about it at Elephant Journal, I’ve added it here instead.)

“It helped me heal and let go of many things. Plus the scenery is spectacular!” ~ Gio 

“Delicious food lol wine, Travelling, living through tumultuous breakups and finding self love.” ~ Joanne

“Just helped me open my eyes up in a new way. My life was in turmoil and it touched my heart like I needed it to.” ~ Chris



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