15 Emotional Movies That Changed the Way We Look at the World

Cinema has the unique power to transcend mere storytelling, influencing our emotions and altering our perceptions. In the vast expanse of cinematic history, certain films have emerged as more than just entertainment. They are profound narratives that challenge our perceptions, stir our emotions, and leave an indelible mark on our hearts and minds. Let’s look into 15 emotional movies that have entertained audiences and changed how we view the world.

Forrest Gump: A Journey Through Time

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Forrest Gump is not just a film; it’s a journey through the pivotal moments of American history, seen through the eyes of a man with a heart of gold and an IQ that doesn’t define his wisdom. It teaches us that life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’ll get, but each bite is worth savoring.

The Pursuit of Happyness: The Essence of Perseverance

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This biographical drama encapsulates the essence of perseverance. It’s a testament to the undying spirit of a father who, against all odds, strives for a better life for himself and his son. It’s a powerful reminder that happiness is a journey, not a destination.

The Shawshank Redemption: Hope is a Good Thing

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Set against the backdrop of a prison, The Shawshank Redemption is a compelling tale of hope and friendship. It teaches us that hope is a good thing, perhaps the best, and no good thing ever dies.

A Beautiful Mind: The Complexity of Genius

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In A Beautiful Mind, we witness the poignant struggle of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician grappling with schizophrenia. The film beautifully illustrates the delicate line between genius and madness, showing Nash’s complex journey toward recognition as a Nobel Prize winner as he battles his inner demons. This film is a tribute to the resilience of mankind’s intellect.

Slumdog Millionaire: Destiny and Determination

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Slumdog Millionaire is a testament to destiny’s intricate dance with determination. It tells the story of a young man from the slums of Mumbai whose life’s hardships have prepared him for the ultimate test of fate on a game show. The film celebrates perseverance, love, and victory over all odds.

Dead Poets Society: The Rebellion of Poetry

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Dead Poets Society ignites the spirit of rebellion through poetry, challenging the status quo of education and conformity. This inspiring story urges us to seize the day with passion and integrity. The film is a tribute to the transformative power of words and the courage to be different.

An Autumn Afternoon: The Subtlety of Change

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Yasujiro Ozu’s Autumn Afternoon is a delicate exploration of the subtleties of change and the passage of time. In this serene narrative, a father’s realization of his daughter’s need for independence is portrayed with gentle poignancy, reflecting Ozu’s mastery in capturing life’s quiet, transformative moments. It is a reflection of the impermanence of life.

The Best Years of Our Lives: The Aftermath of War

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The Best Years of Our Lives offers a profound look at the aftermath of war, portraying veterans’ emotional homecoming. It examines the challenges of reintegration into civilian life and highlights the personal battles that continue beyond the battlefield. The film is a touching reminder of the lasting scars from war.

Life Itself: The Critic’s Lens

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Life Itself celebrates the legacy of Roger Ebert, a titan among film critics. The documentary traces his profound impact on the film industry and his battle with illness. It is a tribute to Ebert’s love of cinema and his belief in the power of cinema to shape our experiences and beliefs.

Schindler’s List: The Courage to Save

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Schindler’s List is a harrowing yet inspiring depiction of Oskar Schindler’s courageous rescue of Jewish workers during the Holocaust. The film confronts the horrors of war and genocide while celebrating the profound impact one person can have through acts of bravery and compassion in the face of unspeakable evil.

Into the Wild: The Call of Adventure

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Into the Wild captures the essence of adventure and the pursuit of freedom. The film follows a young man’s journey into the Alaska wilderness, seeking life without societal constraints. It is a poignant exploration of self-discovery and the raw beauty of nature, inspiring a call to the wild within us all.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: The Imprint of Love

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind unravels the complexities of love and memory. It is a powerful narrative that questions whether pain and grief can be forgotten from our past. The film makes an excellent point that love leaves a lasting impression on the soul, shaping who we are and what we’re becoming.

The Color Purple: The Strength of Women

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The Color Purple is a stirring portrayal of the resilience and solidarity among African American women in the early 20th century. The film’s emotional depth speaks to the strength of women in times of adversity and their quest for self-worth based on this journey from oppression to empowerment.

Boyhood: The Art of Growing Up

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Boyhood is an unprecedented cinematic journey that captures the art of growing up. Over 12 years, it follows a boy’s development into a man, reflecting the universal but unique experience of adolescence. The film is a touching reminder of the fleeting nature of childhood and the formative power of time.

Manchester by the Sea: The Weight of Grief

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Manchester by the Sea vividly portrays the weight of grief. The film deals with the complex emotions of loss and struggles for forgiveness and reconciliation. It is a raw and honest depiction of the human condition, showing the lasting impact of tragedy and the road to recovery.


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The power of cinema to evoke change is undeniable. These 15 films testify to the medium’s ability to touch our souls and alter our perspectives. They remind us that every story holds the potential to change the world, one viewer at a time. Have these films changed your perspective? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below.


  • Ali Van Straten

    Ali Van Straten is the founder and journalist of Champagne and Coffee Stains. She is a Peloton expert, certified running coach and certified nutrition coach. Champagne and Coffee Stains provides information and resources on Peloton Interactive, running and recipes.

    View all posts https://www.champagneandcoffeestains.com

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