Best Inspirational Movies for High School Students

Inspiration and motivation are so important in everyone’s life, especially for young people. It helps them rediscover themselves, detect their talents, become more creative and set goals. Find here the best inspirational movies for high school students and learn some life lessons along the way.

Read About: Best University Movies out there

Dead Poets Society

A wonderful movie from the 1980s’ and one of the best inspirational movies for high school students created by Tom Schulman, directed by Peter Weir, and starring Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen, Allelon Ruggiero, James Waterston and Norman Lloyd.

Movie Plot

Professor John Keating is the new English teacher in Welton Academy. He is revolutionary and has his own ways of teaching.

Keating inspires his students to think critically and read poetry, and he gives them the idea to start a Dead Poets Society.

Some of his students become excited about this, especially Todd Anderson the shy guy who live in his brilliant elder brother’s shadow and Neil Perry who suffers from his over-controlling father.

Movie Time: 2 hours and 8 minutes.

Movie Type: Comedy and Drama.

The Pursuit of Happyness

A movie about ordinary life struggles and one of the best movies to watch with high school students. It’s also a chance to let them think about the meaning of happiness in their own lives.

The movie created by Steve Conrad, directed by Gabriele Muccino and starring Will Smith, Thandiwe Newton, Jaden Smith, Brian Howe, James Karen, Dan Castellaneta, Kurt Fuller, and Takayo Fischer.

Movie Plot

Christopher Gardner is a hard working salesman. He is trying to sell a new medical device that can detect bone density. The device is advanced and better than X- ray but it is unknown and more expensive so there aren’t that many customers willing to buy it.

Gardner lives through a hard time, and his wife left him because of the lack of money. He also left his apartment because he could not afford rent. He is going here and there with his son trying to sell the bone scanner.

Gardner got a chance to fix his life when he joins an unpaid internship working as a stockbroker, but before he starts getting paid at his new workplace he needs to show everybody how successful he can be at the internship, all while continuing to sell the medical devices so he can take care of his son.

Movie Time: 1 hour and 57 minutes.

Movie Type: Biography and Drama.

The Pursuit of Happyness

The Breakfast Club

Another classic movie from 1980s’ and one of the best movies to watch for high school students created by John Hughes, directed by John Hughes and starring John Hughes, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, Perry Crawford and Mary Christian.

Movie Plot

The story about a group of student in Shermer High School, John Bender, Brian Johnson, Claire Standish, Allison Reynolds and Andrew Clark, they are all different from each other and never blend.

But one day they met together in the school detention, and they had to stay together for 9 hours in the library, under supervision of Richard Vernon who can see them from his office.

Richard Vernon ask every one of them to write an essay with a minimum of 1000 words about themselves and what they think they are, and within the 9 hours they discover a lot of things about themselves and about each other.

Movie Time: 1 hour and 37 minutes.

Movie Type: Comedy and Drama.

Stand and Deliver

Another one of the best inspirational movies for high school students created by Ramón Menéndez and Tom Musca, directed by Ramón Menéndez and starring Edward James Olmos, Estelle Harris, Mark Phelan, Virginia Paris, Adelaida Alvarez, Will Gotay, Ingrid Oliu, and Carmen Argenziano.

Movie Plot

The story is about a high school in a Hispanic neighborhood, and the mathematics teacher Jaime Escalante who has special teaching methods to help his students in school and in their life too. Eventually, they have to pass an important exams to follow their dreams.

Movie Time: 1 hour and 43 minutes.

Movie Type: Biography and Drama.

Stand and Deliver

School of Rock

A comedy movie and one of the best inspirational movies for high school students created by Mike White and directed by Richard Linklater and starring Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack, Adam Pascal, Lucas Papaelias, Chris Stack, Sarah Silverman, Lucas Babin, and Jordan-Claire Green.

Movie Plot

Mr. Dewey Finn is a struggling musician, but he knows how important music is to our soul. He pretends to be a substitute teacher at a school and teaches the kids about rock and roll. The students love it and decide to form a band in secret and participate in a local music competition.

Movie Time: 1 hour and 49 minutes.

Movie Type: Comedy and Music.

The Great Debaters

A true story and one of the best inspirational movies for high school students about professor Melvin B. Tolson, from Wiley College Texas. The movie was created by Robert Eisele, Jeffrey Porro and Tony Scherman, directed by Denzel Washington, and starring Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Kimberly Elise, Nate Parker, Jurnee Smollett, Denzel Whitaker, and Jermaine Williams.

Movie Plot

The movie focuses on Wiley College, a majority-black college situated in Marshall, Texas (the last city to surrender at the end of civil war).

Professor Melvin Tolson wants to start a debate team, which was unheard of at a black college at the time. The team contain 4 young students and they eventually get the chance to compete with Harvard University students.

However, it was not easy to win this battle, not because they are not doing well, but because they are facing an opposing force that does not want them to win.

Movie Time: 2 hours and 6 minutes.

Movie Type: Biography, Drama and Romance.


One of the best sports movies for high school students the movie created by Angelo Pizzo, directed by David Anspaugh and starring Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty, Greta Lind, Charles S. Dutton, Mary Ann Thebus, Lili Taylor, and Christopher Reed.

Movie Plot

A movie based on the real life of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. Rudy finished high school and started working at the steel mill, just like everyone else in his small town. However, he still harbored dreams of going to college and becoming a football player.

It is a big dream, because Rudy has small body and his grades are not so good, and his family can’t afford to send him to college. What he does have is the spirit and determination to go after anything he wants.

Movie Time: 1 hour and 54 minutes.

Movie Type: Biography, Drama and Sport.

Freedom Writers

Another one of the best inspirational movies for high school students created by Richard LaGravenese, and Erin Gruwell, directed by Richard LaGravenese, and starring Hilary Swank, Imelda Staunton, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn, April Hernandez Castillo and Kristin Herrera.

Movie Plot

It’s 1994. Erin Gruwell is an idealistic teacher working in Woodrow Wilson High School, California. She teaches the English language to a group of disadvantaged student, many struggling at home and are involved with gang activities. They are also coming from different races and hate each other, but they hate Mrs. Gruwell even more.

It was hard for her at the beginning to connect with them. However, they start to open up when she holds a discussion about a drive-by shooting that happened in their neighborhood. She also gives them an ungraded assignment to write a daily journal, to help them express their feelings.

Connecting with the students is not the only problem she will face, there is also the head of her section Margaret Campbell who does not like her way in dealing with the students, and Brian Gelford who only cares about keeping his position at any cost.

Movie Time: 2 hours and 3 minutes.

Movie Type: Biography, Drama and Crime.

Hanan Hikal
Hanan Hikal
Articles: 69

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