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Most of us love a good super hero movie. But today, I’d like to share 10 movies with you that focus on real life heroes. I’ll be adding more posts to this series with additional recommendations- so check back for more ideas!
When we share real heroes with our children, we teach them what they can be capable of. We teach them to recognize courage, discipline, sacrifice and love. We teach them how important these values are and what a lasting contribution they make to the world. These men and women, through they don’t live next door, can have a profound influence on our children and become beloved mentors through the medium of books and movies.
These movies are not squeaky clean because of the nature of the struggle most of these people went through. Life is not clean, especially if you are righting wrongs and fighting against evil. But I think our kids need to be exposed to these things in an age-appropriate way and guided through by their parents. Most of these real life hero movies are for teenagers and older.
I’m not going to lie: this movie is a little dry. But the story is incredible! When King Henry VIII wants to divorce Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn, he desperately wants the approval of Sir Thomas More, the Lord High Chancellor of England. This approval would help give validity to King Henry’s actions. Sir Thomas refuses to give it- at the expense of his position, fortune, and finally his life. No matter your religious persuasion, I think that Sir Thomas is an inspiring example of staying true to your principles, no matter the pressure that is applied. Is it better to be “a live mouse or a dead lion”? This movie examines that question.
I’m not a super sporty person, but this movie is about waaay more than sports. It is about Jackie Robinson and his pivotal role in bringing integration to baseball. Made with the help of Jackie’s widow, Rachel, this movie does an excellent job showing the courage and self-discipline it takes to NOT fight back. This movie does have language and a bit of sensuality. (A filtered version is available through VidAngel.) To me, some of the racist language is necessary to understand the ugliness that Jackie was working against. Some of the things he went through were truly horrific, but his self discipline and the courage of others standing by him are exemplary.
DON’T JUDGE THIS MOVIE BY IT’S COVER!! I love this movie so much. It’s Gregory Peck vs. Christopher Plummer and it is absolutely extraordinary. Catholic Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty is determined to smuggle Jews and Allied soldiers out of Nazi-controlled Rome. His Nazi counterpart is equally determined to capture and kill him. It’s basically the Scarlet Pimpernel in World War II. The story of O’Flaherty’s compassion, determination and brilliance is only matched by his forgiveness and friendship of the Nazi officer at the end of the movie. Truly an amazing story.
Along the lines of 42, and having the courage to not fight back, this film about Gandhi is riveting. Gandhi’s commitment to non-violence, his humility and sacrifice is remarkable. This movie is long, but worth every minute. You will find yourself with a much larger perspective about patience, kindness and forgiveness after seeing this. This does contain some graphic violence.
The story of William Wilburforce ought to be taught over and over again. A young man sees the light, changes his ways, and then looks critically at societal norms. Wilburforces’ efforts to abolish slavery in England is remarkable in it’s diligence, length and his ambivalence to popularity. His ability to change popular opinion regarding slavery, despite the personal cost has been world-changing.
This movie is fantastic. My full review is here. A young woman and her mother try to understand as much about autism as they can, and through doing a lot of hard things, challenge prevailing opinions. Once Temple learns about her unique gifts, she is able to explain autism to the rest of the world.
A priest with an amazing amount of compassion and selflessness, volunteers to serve at a leprosy colony- knowing that he will probably contract the disease and die from it.
A young pacifist is drafted into the army for World War I. As he faces this conflict between faith and country, he learns to use his unique sharpshooter skills only when necessary, and to ultimately save lives. As he becomes a national hero, his humility takes center stage. Based on this amazing book.
A young preacher faces a conflict as he is invited to run in the Olympics- but his race is scheduled on a Sunday. His unwillingness to bend his principles, and a companion’s win-at-all-costs attitude are starkly contrasted. (Read Eric Liddell’s hero spotlight for “the rest of the story”!)
A mother’s determination to help her children rise above poverty and discrimination are at the forefront of this remarkable true story. Politics aside, this story of tough love, hard work and discipline is amazing!
What movies about real life heroes would you recommend?
Share them in the comments!