Tossin’ It Out There: What’s YOUR favorite “Human Spirit” movie?

It’s almost cliché to use the phrase “testament to the human spirit”.

So many movies attempt to inspire, be uplifting, speak to the potential and courage of the human being.

Due to today being the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, I struggled to find an appropriate topic. I knew that I didn’t want to focus on the tragedy, although I did consider briefly just stepping out of the confine of movies and discussing that day directly. When I thought about the films associated with the tragedy, however, the “Human Spirit” element came into focus. Even though that day was incredibly tragic, there was also an incredible demonstration of bravery, courage, and compassion during and following the events.

So what movies best illustrate the power of the human spirit for you? Are there any films you find inspirational? It can be sports films, if you like. “Rocky”, “Rudy”, “Breaking Away”, all great examples. “Apollo 13” perhaps. Maybe in honor of the Chicago Teacher’s Strike, you’d like to pick a classroom movie “Stand and Deliver”, or “Lean on Me”. It can be anything… “The Shawshank Redemption”, “The Pursuit of Happyness”. The world has no shortage of movies that inspire.

People are capable of tremendous things, and many incredible movies have tried to draw on that. Let’s hear it. What are YOUR favorite “Human Spirit” movies?


89 thoughts on “Tossin’ It Out There: What’s YOUR favorite “Human Spirit” movie?

  1. Hmm…I’m actually finding this quite tough to answer, given my predilection for depressing, downbeat and grim films. Harold & Maude, perhaps?

    I’ll have to think over this further.

  2. Tough to answer because there is so many movies that could fit that category. AFter, aren’t all movies about our humanity in some way, shape or form? 😛 But recently, Moonrise Kingdom’s celebration of young love was a highlight.

    • [Bitterness over STILL not having been able to see Moonrise Kingdom rising]

      GAHAHAHAHHHHHHHHH!!!! Must. See. Moonrise. Kingdom!!!!

      😀 LOL

      I can’t believe its still a month away on blu, Cap. Seriously. It’s killin’ me!

      And yes, I guess technically any movie with a person in it invoves the human spirit… but you know what I meant, dammit! 😛

  3. “It’s a wonderful Life”, is I suppose a good place to start,
    “The Fountain”, is a recent one that manages to appeal to me.
    “The Twilight Samurai”, “When the Last Sword is Drawn” and “The Hidden Blade” a trilogy of “samurai” movies that centre around a reluctant hero, or a family man, these movies are a world away from the classic histrionics of Japanese samurai movies like 7 Samurai, Sword of Doom etc, and give a softer, more tender portrayal of family love and human spirit, (the still have some decent swordplay and action tucked away in there too)
    That’s all I can think of at the moment!

    • The Fountain is a good choice. I was puzzling over whether it fit the ostensible definition of ‘human spirit film’ here, however. It certainly explores humanity and mortality but it’s uplifting, feel-good potential is quite subjective.

      • LOL, yeah, the fountain wouldnt make my list of top ten “Feel Good Movies”, thats for sure. LOL

        But in terms of the question as it was put, you’re right. It may very well be one of the greatest. What is it about if not the spirit? I think it’s a clever way to go at answering it. Very good choice.

        I want to rewatch that one soon, I’ve only seen it once, and that’s not enough. Maybe in advance of “Noah”, I’ll have an Aronofsky marathon or something. LOL

      • You should check a few of these Samuai movies, whilst not exactly Lone Wolf slasher epics, or 7 Samuai, it does cast a warm, low key glow, worth checking out on a wet sunday

  4. I would go with John Wayne’s “The Alamo”. Here’s a small group of men fighting for freedom and independence against overwhelming odds. Does anyone quit? Not only do they stay and fight to the last man but they had respect for their enemy as well.

    • Ok. If you come back…. is that your favorite movie of the Duke’s? Always interested to get people’s takes, cause he did so many good ones.

      I… at the moment… am gonna say I’m partial to “The Shootist”, though I certainly haven’t seen them all, and if you catch me another day I might say “The Searchers”, “Rio Bravo”, “The Sons of Katie Elder”…. you know how it can be. LOL

      • That is my favorite movie of The Duke’s, although his other film are great, too. Except for the film where he plays Ghengis Khan. Bad for the audience and the stars. (This is the one where the radiation in the filming area gave them cancer.) The Alamo is in my all time top 20 at #4.

  5. I’d probably go for In The Name Of The Father where Day-Lewis and crew finally get their sentences rescinded and allowed to walk free after years of struggle in clearing their names from the Guilford bombings. Love that movie man.

  6. Human spirit….the two that come to mind is Michael Clayton where he finally does the right thing and the beauty of it is that there really isn’t much coming out of it except his realization that he did good – he will be in trouble after doing so, his life won’t be better, but he did the decent thing and that’s what counts.

    Another is A Beautiful Mind, purely for Jennifer Connelly’s character – the way she fiercely stood by her husband though it wasn’t easy.

    • Yeah, I like that last choice, that’s kinda cool. Plus, Jennifer Connelly is gorgeous and then some. 😀

      I’ve only seen Clayton once… when it came out. And my recollection is giving me trouble fitting it into a “human spirit” type movie. But I’ll take your word for it Sati, I trust you. LOL 😀

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