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5 Films to Inspire Your Courage

  • Ryan Duncan blogspot for and Ryan Duncan, Entertainment and Culture editor
  • Updated Apr 07, 2019

It’s difficult to write about pop culture when so many terrible things are happening in the world. Try to pen something funny, and it just feels inappropriate. Try to be serious, and the darkness outside only spreads farther. Besides, why should anyone care about movies in the aftermath of a tragedy? Perhaps it’s because at their core, movies are more than light and film, they’re stories.    

Stories don’t just entertain us, they inspire us. They remind us to be brave, to have compassion, and to persevere. So when life grows bleak and the road turns fearful, use these five films to help you find your courage!

The Lord of the Rings

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” 

Amidst all the wonder and majesty of Middle Earth, it’s easy to forget about Tolkien’s humblest creations; the Hobbits. Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin are some of the most unlikely heroes imaginable. They’re not strong like Aragorn or wise like Gandalf, but they are good, and loyal, and ultimately the fate of the world rests on their shoulders. Many of us can probably relate to the Hobbits; we’re not particularly tough or bright, but we can choose to be good. It may not seem like much, but it’s often the small acts of kindness and love that keep evil things at bay.

When we discover this truth, we learn how to do the impossible.


“Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.”

Our world believes in drawing lines. “Us” vs. “Them”, the “good guys” against the “bad guys”, and we’re only too happy to go along. No one knew this better than the people of South Africa, who spent years living under a brutal system of cultural and racial segregation. When Invictus begins, Apartheid has finally been defeated and the stirrings of change are at hand. Instead of celebrating petty revenge though, Nelson Mandela urges his people to show forgiveness. He reminds them that hatred will only perpetuate the cycle of violence, but by coming together, they can build a new future for their nation.    

Forgiveness truly is a powerful weapon, one which restores instead of destroying. All we need is the grace to wield it.


“I have to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. Have courage and be kind.”

Fairytales hold more conventional wisdom than we give them credit for, and this is particularly true of Cinderella. Disney’s foremost princess has received her share of criticism, but the recent live-action remake demonstrates just how empowering simple virtues can be. Cinderella shows kindness where many would choose cynicism, and she endures mistreatment with grace instead of lashing out. More importantly, she doesn’t let her circumstances define her. No matter what trouble life throws her way, Cinderella holds fast to her belief in a better tomorrow.

Many readers can probably relate to Cinderella; trapped in a terrible situation with no easy way out. The valuable lesson of this humble princess is that instead of wallowing in anger and self-pity, we can still choose to have courage and be kind.

Saving Private Ryan

“I hope that, at least in your eyes, I've earned what all of you have done for me.”

Steven Spielberg’s classic film never sugarcoats the horrors of war. From start to finish, Saving Private Ryan is a grim spectacle of violence, tragedy, and loss. Yet, among this dark imagery, viewers will discover a fundamental lesson about life: That some things are worth fighting for. Freedom, justice, equality; these things can only exist if people are willing to defend them. While the sacrifices are heavy, we can still push forward with the knowledge that a single act of faith can ignite the fires of hope in our friends and neighbors.

It is a comforting truth to know, even in the worst of days.

Howl’s Moving Castle

“A heart is a heavy burden”

Sometimes, our greatest adversary can be ourselves. Howl’s Moving Castle is a whimsical tale about a young woman named Sophie who crosses paths with a wily wizard by the name of Howl. Sophie is a fairly exceptional girl; she’s resourceful, hard-working, and sympathetic toward others. However, she spends a good portion of the movie believing the opposite. In fact, it’s only after Sophie is cursed, and face-to-face with her worst fears, that she discovers how strong she truly is.

Many of us go through life the same way; comparing ourselves to others while overlooking our own gifts and talents. Howl’s Moving Castle is a gentle story about what God has always told us, “You are special because I made you.

What movies inspire your courage? Do you agree with this list? Be sure to leave a comment in the space below!

*Published 4/22/16