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50 Best Inspirational Movies For Kids, Students, & Teens

best inspirational movies for students, kids, and teens

Most Inspiring Kids Movies For Family Night

Often these days, we find shows empty of morals but bursting with language or violence. There’s so MUCH to watch on our streaming services. But not all of it gives the same value.

Instead, use this list of inspirational movies for kids and teens to uplift and motivate them. To teach them to reach for the stars, be kind, and build grit.

Let’s show kids that they CAN make the world a better place.

That’s the kind of value everyone will love on family night!

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most inspiring family night movies for kids

These motivational kids movies have been carefully curated. They teach life lessons while delivering a potent punch of inspiration.

Age recommendations are based on reviews over at Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that helps parents navigate media content. It is only a guide. Use your own judgement to determine if a movie is appropriate for your family.

55 Inspiring Movies for Kids & Students

Inspirational Animated Family Movies

First, these are the best movies for families and make for excellent options for young children.

1. Dr. Suess: The Lorax (2012)

Rated PG : Recommended Ages 5+

The Lorax: short educational and motivational movies for children

The Lorax tells the story of a 12 year old boy who is trying to win the affection of a girl by discovering the Lorax. The Lorax is a mysterious creature who is set on protecting the world.

Takeaway Message: Everyone must take responsibility for themselves and their actions.

See the Lorax here >>

2. Encanto (2021)

Rated PG: Recommended Ages 6+

Encanto: best inspirational movies for kids

This is the beautiful story of a young girl surrounded by talent and beauty in her family. While she feels like a nobody, it turns out that she is the only one who can save the miracle that binds them.

Takeaway Message: The miracle is not some magic that you’ve got. It’s you. All of you.

See Encanto here >>

3. Finding Nemo (2003)

Rated G : Recommended Ages 5+

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo is the story of a small fish wanting to adventure into the big beautiful ocean. His terrified father, having suffered earlier loss, ventures out to save his son.

Takeaway Message: Life is beautiful when you stop trying to control everything and just trust.

See Finding Nemo here >>

4. Inside Out (2015)

Rated PG – Recommended Ages 6+

Inside Out: best inspiring movies for students

Follow Riley as she manages the bumpy road of growing up. Everything is fine until she moves away from her childhood home. Guided by her emotions–Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadness–they’ll (try to) help her adjust to this new life. 

Your feelings exist and deserve to be acknowledged (all of them). 

See Inside Out here >>

5. Zootopia (2016)

Rated PG – Recommended Ages 8+

Zootopia: good inspirational family movies for kids

Judy Hopps is a bunny rabbit from the small town of Bunnyburrow. All she wants to be is a big city police officer. But prejudices are everywhere. Follow as Judy finds herself on the biggest case, with a sly fox as her partner.

You can be anything if you work hard and don’t quit when obstacles block your way.

“Life’s a little bit messy. We all make mistakes. No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.”

Watch Zootopia here >>

6. Up (Inspiring Kids Movies 2009)

Rated PG – Recommended Ages 6+

Up film

Carl Fredricksen is ready for his last adventure. He ties thousands of balloons to his house and makes his way to Angel Falls. But his plans are disrupted by a friendly Wilderness Explorer, Russell.

Sometimes life’s biggest adventures are not always the ones you are looking for.

See Up here >>

7. The Lion King (1994)

Rated G: Recommended Ages 6+

Simba, a young lion is heir to the throne of his father, Mufasa. But when Mufasa’s evil brother murders the king, Simba is forced to run away from everything. He’ll meet new friends and discover that you can’t run away from the past.

You have to face your problems head on. 

See The Lion King here >>

8. Frozen (2013)

Rated PG: Recommended Ages 5+

Frozen : inspirational movies for students and kids

This super popular Disney movie has two princesses. And one who has a magical power! With amazing animation and catchy songs this will be on repeat. 

Sibling love is a powerful form of true love. What makes you different makes you special.

Watch Frozen here >>

9. Trolls (2016)

Rated PG – Recommended Ages 6+

Trolls film

When the Bergens come and take their troll village, two unlikely companions embark on a journey to save them from being eaten.

Happiness is found inside of you.

See Trolls here >>

10. Storks (2016)

Rated PG – Recommended Ages 6+

Storks

In this movie, storks no longer deliver babies. Instead, they deliver packages for a global internet company. But when an order for a baby appears, the best delivery stork embarks on a new adventure to fix the error.

Family drives you crazy, but they make life most meaningful.

See Storks here >>

11. Sing (2016)

Rated PG – Recommended Ages 7+

Sing: best motivational movies for kids, students, tweens

Koala Buster Moon is in danger of losing his old grand theater. But then, he has an idea. He takes one final leap to restore the theater by holding a singing competition. Five very different contestants emerge, and the story follows each one as they struggle and ultimately find their groove.

Don’t let others tell you what you can and can’t do.

“Don’t let fear stop you from doing the thing you love.”

Watch Sing here >>

More Inspirational Movies For Kids & Families

If your kids are older and prefer non animation, these are great inspiring movies.

12. Miracles from Heaven (2016)

Rated PG – Recommended Ages 10+

Miracles From Heaven

After a near fatal accident, Anna is healed by a miracle. She tells her family about her experience from heaven. Despite family and friend reactions she stays true to her faith.

Love, faith and family are powerful healers.

See the movie here >>

13. Babe (1995)

*Oscar winner* Rated G- Recommended Ages 6+

Babe: classic inspirational movies for kids

Babe is about a little piglet who arrives at a new farm. He meets the friendly farmer and barnyard friends. He is taken in by the border collie and her pups and begins to think he is a shepherd dog!

You can be anything you want to be. 

See Babe here >>

14. Annie (2014)

Rated PG – Recommended Ages 7+

Young orphan Annie escapes her manipulative caretaker. She charms her way into the life of a New York tycoon, who doesn’t have such a stone heart after all.

Where you come from doesn’t determine where you’re going. Hope and optimism can be life savers.

See Annie here >>

15. Evan Almighty (2007)

Rated PG – Recommended Ages 8+

Evan Almighty family night films

A fun family film that follows ordinary Evan who is given an extraordinary task. Can it be done without losing his family, career and social standing?

One person can change the world with faith, perseverance and self sacrifice.

Watch Evan Almighty here >>

Motivational Sports Movies for Kids

These inspirational kids movies are excellent for young athletes. Even kids who are not in sports will benefit from the themes of never giving up, believing in yourself, and working as a team.

16. Remember the Titans (2000)

Rated PG – Ages 10+

Remember the Titans: motivational sports movies for students and kids

Remember the Titans is a celebration of two coaches. It is about a team and community overcoming their differences as they turn young men into champions. 

Working together can lead to success. Changing our views can change the world. 

See Remember the Titans here >>

17. The Rookie (2002)

Rated G – Ages 7+

The Rookie

A high school baseball coach gets a second chance when he gets called to the minor leagues. He’ll have to overcome his age, missing his family, and his own doubts to achieve his dream of being a professional baseball player.

It’s never too late to follow your dreams

Watch the Rookie here >>

18. Invincible (2006)

Rated PG – Ages 10+

Invincible: motivational movies for middle schoolers and high schoolers

Based on the true story of Vince Papale, a 30 something bartender with no football experience. He gets the chance to try out for the Philadelphia Eagles football team. Then, he proves to the coaches and teammates what a valuable player he can be.

You can do anything when you believe in yourself

See Invincible here >>

19. Cool Runnings (1993)

Rated PG – Ages 8+

Cool Runnings

Inspired by actual events, Cool Runnings is the story of unlikely teammates working together to become the first Jamaican bobsled team to go to the Olympics (despite never seeing snow before!). 

You’ll always be a winner if you try your best and never give up.

“Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time! Cool runnings!”

Watch Cool Runnings here >>

20. American Underdog (2021)

Rated PG – Ages 10+

American Underdog : inspiring movies for kids and young adults

American Underdog is a biographical movie based on the life of Kurt Warner. The film follows his journey from an undrafted player to a Super Bowl champion.

Be careful what you let define you. And what looks like failure may just be a stepping stone. (JosephLalonde)

See American Underdog here >>

Looking for more inspiring kids sports movies? Don’t miss classics like Little Giants, A League of Their Own, and Rudy as well!

Inspirational Kids Movies Overcoming Challenges

Everyone finds obstacles on their journey through life. These inspirational kids movies help teach kids that it is all about how you react to them. Courage, bravery, and accepting yourself show up repeatedly in these films.

21. Soul Surfer (2011)

Rated PG – Ages 10+

Soul Surfer: inspirational kids movies and family movies based on true stories

Inspired by true events, Soul Surfer highlights the story of Bethany Hamilton, a young competitive surfer who loses her arm in a shark attack. Rather than giving up, she is determined to learn to surf again.

Tragedy doesn’t have to stop your life. Never give up. 

See Soul Surfer here >>

22. Frozen 2 (2019)

Rated PG – Ages 6+

Frozen 2

Elsa and Anna are back. And now they must find out why the forest spirits are calling to Elsa. Yet, unraveling the secrets of Elsa’s magic costs more than they realized. Can they save Arendelle without losing their family in the process?

“All one can do is the next right thing.”

See Frozen 2 here >>

23. Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse (2018)

Rated PG – Ages 9+

The coming of age story and the story of how Miles Morales becomes Spiderman. Discover other characters of the spiderman verse as they try to stop evil villains. 

Relying on others is not a disadvantage. Overcoming adversity is what makes you a hero. 

Watch Spider-Man here >>

24. Big Hero 6 (2014)

Rated PG – Ages 7+

Big Hero 6: inspiring children's movies

Robotics prodigy Hiro is introduced to his brother’s new “friend” Baymax, a robot whose purpose is to help people. A devastating turn of events throws Hiro and Baymax into the middle of a dangerous situation.

The support of your friends and family can help you get through life’s hardships. 

See Big Hero 6 here >>

25. The Karate Kid (1984)

Rated PG – Ages 11+

Daniel LaRusso moves to a new city and becomes the target of bullies. With the help of an unlikely ally, he learns karate and faces his enemies.

Falling down is not failing if you get back up.

See Karate Kid here >>

26. The Greatest Showman (2017)

Rated PG – Ages 10+

The Greatest Showman: true stories

This film is based on the life of P.T. Barnum, the famous entertainer who created Barnum and Bailey circus. In it, Barnum rises from nothing to create one of the greatest shows on earth.

You aren’t what you were born into. Create a vision for yourself and know where you want to go.

“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”

Watch the Greatest Showman here >>

Inspiring Being Who You Were Meant to Be Movies

These inspirational movies for kids also have hardships and bravery, but they center on how important it is to hear your own inner voice.

27. Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Rated PG – Ages 6+

Kung Fu Panda

Po is a panda who works at his father’s noodle shop. But he dreams of being a Kung Fu fighter. One day, when the village hosts a tournament for the next Dragon Warrior, Po’s life changes forever.

It is ok to be you and to do things in your own way. (And you don’t have to be superior to others to do it.)

See Kung Fu Panda here >>

28. Mulan (1998)

Rated G – Ages 5+

Mulan

A young woman disguises herself as a male warrior in order to take the place of her elderly father in the army. She must learn to be brave in order to defeat the enemy.

Being yourself is being brave. 

Watch Mulan here >>

29. Coco (Inspirational Kids Movies 2017)

Rated PG – Recommended Ages 7+

Coco

The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who loves music, but lives in a family where it is banned. Everything changes when he is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead. There he gets help from his deceased great-great-grandfather so that he may return home.

Believe in your dreams enough to seize the moment.

See Coco here >>

30. Moana (2016)

Rated PG – Recommended Ages 6+

In this story, the chief’s daughter must return the heart of Te Fiti to save her people. Along her journey, she meets Maui, an arrogant demi-God she must convince to help her.

Never give up on yourself and what your heart is telling you.

See Moana here >>

Looking for more inspiring movies for girls? Try Brave. It’s about the daughter of a Scottish king and queen that dreams of carving her own path.

31. Ferdinand (2017)

Rated PG – Ages 6+

Ferdinand isn’t like the other bulls. Instead of being tough, he’s a pacifist who loves flowers.

Ferdinand escapes and is adopted by a family, but eventually returns to the old bullfighting training. There he saves others from the slaughterhouse and eventually ends up in the ring himself.

It’s ok to be different than those around you.

Watch Ferdinand here >>

Inspiring Kids Movies to Teach Kindness

Next, these inspirational kids movies explore the themes of empathy and compassion.

32. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Rated PG – Ages 7+

How to Train Your Dragon: inspiring kids movies about kindness

A young Viking who is supposed to hunt down dragons to protect his community becomes unlikely friends with a Night Fury dragon. The unlikely duo begin a friendship that opens up new worlds.

Accepting our differences can bring us closer together.

See this movie here >>

33. Wonder (2017)

Rated PG – Ages 10+

Wonder

Based on the best selling novel, Wonder, the movie follows the story of a young boy with facial differences. As he starts 5th grade at a new school, he’ll have to overcome stigmas and teach others to look beyond their differences.

Kindness can change lives. 

See Wonder here >>

34. Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

Rated PG – Ages 7+

Raya and the Last Dragon: inspirational kids movies for students

Raya is in search of the last dragon to reverse a 500 year old curse that has destroyed the land and divided the people. Along the journey she’ll meet new characters and face unexpected challenges.

Trust in others and forgiving the past can lead to a bright future. 

Watch this movie here >>

35. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Rated PG – Ages 7+

A young boy discovers a gentle hearted alien and decides to keep him in his home. With the help of his siblings, he must keep E.T safe and undiscovered before the worst happens.

Be kind to those that need it most.

See E.T. here >>

36. Holes

*Based on the novel! Rated PG – Ages 9+

Holes

Meet Stanley Yelnats, a boy who has had a string of bad luck and ends up at Camp Green Lake. There he must dig holes in the dried up lake with the other campmates to keep the warden happy.

But why the holes? And why the secrecy?

Helping others can change lives.

See Holes here >>

37. A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Rated PG – Ages 10+

A Wrinkle In Time : Best movies based on books for middle school

Meg and her brother Charles have been missing their father for five years. Along with their classmate Calvin, the three journey to a dangerous and evil planet to get him back.

Even when someone isn’t nice to you, you don’t know what others are going through. Being kind is the right thing to do.

“Nothing is hopeless; we must hope for everything.”

Watch A Wrinkle In Time here >>

*These kids kindness books teach even more about compassion and friendship.

Knowledge is Power Motivational Kids Movies

The following inspirational movies for kids drive home the importance of learning. They explore the part knowledge can play in overcoming obstacles and fulfilling your potential.

38. Queen of Katwe (2016)

Rated PG – Ages 10+

Queen of Katwe: motivational movies for kids, tweens, and teens

The Queen of Katwe is about the true story of a girl living in Uganda. Her world changes drastically after being introduced to Chess. Her eventual success with the game opens doors to an entirely new future.

You belong where you think you belong, so get out of your comfort zone and dream big.

See Queen of Katwe here >>

39. Hidden Figures (2016)

Rated PG – Ages 10+

Hidden Figures: inspirational movies for girls and students

Hidden Figures tells the incredible true story of three brilliant African American women working at NASA who served as the brains behind the launch into orbit of astronaut John Glenn, a stunning achievement that turned into the Space Race.

The visionary trio crossed all gender and racial lines that inspired generations.”

Intelligence and determination can break barriers. 

Watch Hidden Figures here >>

40. Matilda (Inspirational Kids Movies 1996)

Rated PG – Ages 9+

*A new remake on Netflix 2023!

Matilda is misunderstood by her own family and evil school principal. She uses her intellect and newly discovered magical powers to be brave. With the help of her best friend and loving teacher, Matilda learns that you don’t have to be mean in a mean world. 

What makes you different makes you special. 

See Matilda here >>

41. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

Rated PG – Ages 8+

Akeelah and the Bee

An inspirational family film that follows Akeelah, a young girl from a rough neighborhood. She overcomes challenges to make her way to the National Spelling Bee. 

It’s okay to be smart and excel despite your surroundings. 

See Akeelah and the Bee here (great for motivating students!) >>

42. Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Rated G – Ages 7+

Meet the Robinsons: short motivational movies for students

A fun Disney movie about a 12 year old orphan with a brilliant scientific mind. He creates a device to speak with his birth mother. Then, during the science fair (to show his device) he meets the mysterious Mr. Robinson…

Knowledge of the past is important but hope for the future is how we change the world. 

“Unlocking the secrets of the brain took a lot longer than I expected.”

Watch Meet the Robinsons here >>

*Love these inspiring movies? See the inspiring kids books list too!

Inspirational Movies for Tweens & Teens

Next, these motivational kids movies are perfect for middle school and high school students or watching as a family.

43. The Impossible (2012)

*One of my favorite movies! Rated PG-13 – Ages 14+

The Impossible

Based on a true story, The Impossible follows a family fighting for their lives during the 2004 tsunami. 

The strength of your family can get you through anything. 

See The Impossible here >>

44. The Blind Side (2009)

Rated PG-13 – Ages 11+

The Blind Side: inspirational kids movies for teens and youth

Inspired by the true story of Michael Oher. He was a young homeless high schooler who was taken in by a kind woman and her family. He became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick.

Your past doesn’t define you. The support and love of your family (even if you’re not related) can change your life.

See the Blind Side here >>

45. Freedom Writers (2007)

Rated PG-13 – Ages 13+

Freedom Writers

Based on the Freedom Writers Diary, the movie follows a teacher who inspires her at-risk students to believe in themselves and pursue higher education despite their background, circumstances and social expectations.

One person can make a difference. Education can take you places you never dreamed of. 

See Freedom Writers here >>

46. October Sky (1999)

Rated PG – Ages 10+

inspirational teenager movies for kids

Inspired by a true story, Homer Hickman is a teenage boy with dreams of pursuing a career in rocketry. Despite his home life, he learns to shoot for the stars.

Pursuing your goals will not always be easy, but it will be worth it.

Watch October Sky here >>

47. McFarland USA (2015)

Rated PG – Ages 10+

Mcfarland USA

A high school football coach loses his job and must learn to lead a new team of cross country runners. These young men must overcome social, economic, and personal challenges to become the best cross country team in the region.

Perseverance, work ethic, and commitment can turn you into a champion. 

See McFarland USA here >>

48. Unbroken (2014)

Rated PG-13 – Ages 14+

Unbroken: inspiring and motivational true story movies for teens

Based on the incredible true story of Olympian Louis Zamperini!

During WWII, Louis survives a plane crash only to be stranded in the sea for 47 days. His life continues to take detours even after, and it is uncertain whether he will survive.

Never give up. Be brave and resilient in times of hardships.

See Unbroken here >>

49. Pay It Forward (2000)

Rated PG-13 – Ages 14+

After being challenged by his school teacher, a young boy comes up with an idea that could change the world. But it’s easier said than done.

Kindness CAN change the world. 

Watch Pay it Forward here >>

50. The Theory of Everything (2014)

Rated PG-13 – Ages 14+

The Theory of Everything: inspirational kids teens movies based on true stories

This movie details the life of famed physicist Stephen Hawking. It follows his professional challenges and triumphs but also his family life and battling ALS.

Be curious. No matter how difficult life becomes, there is always something to learn and do.

See The Theory of Everything here >>

51. The Martian (2015) – Top Inspirational Movie For Teens

Rated PG-13 – Ages 12+

The Martian

When an astronaut becomes stranded on Mars his team assumes he is dead. Now, he must use his ingenuity and the resources he has left to survive.

Stay grounded and resilient in the face of crisis.

They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially colonized it. So, technically, I colonized Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong!

See the Martian here >>

*For more great family night movies, see these kids books that were turned into movies.

More True Story Movies For Kids

Next, these inspirational kids and teen movies are also real life events.

52. Dolphin Tale (2011)

Rated PG – Ages 6+

Dolphin Tale

This movie was inspired by the true story of a dolphin who lost her tail after becoming entangled in the rope of a crab trap. She was rescued off the shore of Florida and fitted with a prosthetic tail.

Family isn’t just blood. You choose who your family is.

See Dolphin Tale here >>

53. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Rated PG-13 – Ages 11+

The Pursuit of Happyness: motivating movies for teen students

The film is inspired by the true story of Chris Gardner. He was a struggling salesman trying to build a future for himself and his son. Through all the obstacles, including living homeless for a period of time, Chris was able to rise above and become a Wall Street legend.

Have grit. When the going gets tough, you must keep going.

See this movie here >>

54. The Upside (2019)

PG-13 – Ages 14+

The Upside: inspirational true story movies for teens

This is a funny movie’s take on a true story friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic and an unemployed man with a criminal past.

People deserve second chances.

Watch The Upside here >>

55. Everest (2015)

Rated PG-13 – Ages 12+

Everest is based on the real life disaster in 1996. It journeys through two separate team survival attempts and the events that took place.

Prepare to the best of your ability. Use common sense. And stay flexible.

See Everest here >>

Movie Series That Are Inspiring To Older Kids

While that’s the list for individual movies, these movie series are also inspiring to kids. They offer more great lessons about life, from taking risks to doing the right thing.

Star Wars

Lord of the Rings

Harry Potter

Hunger Games

To Consider With Motivational Movies For Kids

I hope you enjoyed this big list and found a few new movies to check out with your family.

Which inspirational movies for kids do you love most? Leave a comment and let me know!

More great family night content for kids…

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