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10 motivational movie speeches that will make you move mountains

When you feel like the world is against you

Team America world police – Dicks, pussies, and assholes

When the whole world is against Team America, Gary Johnston uses the wisdom of this great analogy to makes his point to the world.

All kidding aside, this post is about speeches and the incredible effect they have on people.

Great words come from great minds, and our world has been shaped by those great minds. Great minds like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, JFK, Nelson Mandela have all used the power of the speech to bring change into the world. They used the power of their words to create changes in people’s thoughts. They make people believe in a cause, they make people believe in progress, but most importantly, they make people believe in their own abilities to create change.

What is it about their words that hold so much power? Anyone can repeat the same words but no one can get the same reactions. What makes those great speakers so different from us? That is exactly what we are looking to find out.

Today’s question: Can great actors speak powerful words and achieve similar results?

Here we have collected a few of the most memorable motivational, and inspirational speeches from recent movie history. The movies range from sports movies like Rudy, to gangster movies like The Untouchables. Each speech was given at a critical juncture in the movie where an important, potentially life changing decision has to be made. Let us look at how the speaker creates the change in their target, and what we can learn from it.

When you feel like quitting

Rudy – Janitor speech

Rudy has worked so hard but his goal of playing football with the Notre Dame fighting Irish seems almost unattainable. He is about to quit the team when the janitor gives him this speech.

The janitor uses his own life experience, and most importantly his own feelings of regret to make Rudy rethink his decision. The fear of regret is one of the greatest fears we can have, and knowing that you could be giving up right before the goal line is enough to keep us going.

When you feel like giving up the fight

The lord of the rings – Sam’s speech

Sam and Frodo are deep in Mordor with an impossible mission. They have little food and are surrounded by enemies. Frodo is getting weaker by the day but Sam manages to pick him up with this speech.

Sam uses comparison to give themselves perspective of the situation. He talks about stories they used to hear and how the main attribute of the heroes was that they did not turn back even when they had the chance. They held on to their beliefs and continued to the end. This is Frodo and Sam’s chance for greatness and that pushes them onwards.

When someone says you can’t do it

The pursuit of happiness – Go get it speech

Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is a struggling salesman trying to make it as a stock broker. Here he talks to his son about pursuing your dreams.

Chris Gardner realizes the hypocrisy in telling his son to not pursue basketball because he himself is chasing an unrealistic dream. He knows that he must set a good example for his son and to not give up on his dream. Knowing that his son is learning from him probably helps to push him towards his eventual success.

When all your work seems to be for naught

Karate Kid – Wax on, wax off

Daniel san has been working hard waxing cars and painting fences, but has learned no karate at all. He’s had enough and complains to Mr. Miyagi about it. Mr. Miyagi shows him the wisdom of waxing.

This is more a demonstration than a speech. But through a simple exercise of application, Mr. Miyagi shows Daniel san the true purpose of his exercises. Sometimes true wisdom isn’t understood until the student is ready to receive it.

When life knocksĀ  you down

Rocky Balboa – That’s how winning is done

Rocky talks to his son about the hard lessons he has learned in life, and to encourage his son to become great.

Similar to the Pursuit of Happiness speech, Rocky uses his own life as lessons to his son. He is brutally honest with his son and tells him like it is. Our friends may love what we do and who we are, but it is family that will tell you the honest truth. He tells his son that anything great involves great struggle, and unless you’re willing to pay the price, you won’t get the rewards.

When you’ve lost your confidence

Swingers – You’re so money

Mike has lost all confidence with women since being dumped. Trent gives him the famous “You’re so money” speech and gives him some perspective on the dating game.

Instead of listening to Mike bitch and moan, Trent comes in with his frame of mind and forces it on Mike. He exudes confidence that that confidence rubs off onto Mike and makes him believe in himself again. This approach uses a stronger frame of mind to drive out the negative thoughts of the target.

When you think your goal is out of reach

Untouchables – The Chicago way

Eliot Ness (Costner) wants to get Capone (De niro) but isn’t willing to play dirty. Malone (Connery) tells Ness that to get Capone he has to do it the Chicago way.

Ness wants something but is restrained by his sense of law and order. This is a case of someone wanting answers when he is not prepared to do what the answer entails. Malone explains it to him that Ness needs to change his restraints or risk losing his goal.

When you need some self belief

Cool Runnings – Pride and power

The Jamaican bobsled team is the laughing stock of the world at the Winter Olympics. Junior is feeling down on himself when Yul brings him into the bathroom so he can take a good look in the mirror.

Similar to the Swingers speech, this one also injects a shot of confidence into the target. Self affirmations have been a useful tool for many successful people to raise their self belief and confidence when needed. Stare into the mirror, and repeat positive statements of confidence loudly and forcefully will usually do the trick.

When you feel like waiting for tomorrow

Dead Poet’s Society – Carpe Diem

John Keating (Williams) is an English professor who tries to motivate his intelligent but lazy students to take advantage of the time given to them before it’s gone.

Professor Keating’s challenge is to motivate rich kids to make use of their advantages before it is too late. He uses the idea of death and the limited amount of time allotted to all of us as his tool. He also aptly chooses former alumni of the school for a comparison between the current students and former students, making the message more powerful.

When doing the right thing seems too hard

Scent of a woman – The right thing

When faced with the decision of ratting out his friends or face expulsion, Charlie makes the difficult decision of biting the bullet. After the decision is handed down, Lt. Col Frank speaks up about the importance of doing the right thing when it’s the most difficult.

Al Pacino is one of the greatest actors of all time and shows his skills in this speech. He is not afraid to say anything under any circumstance. He sees the vengeful action of the Dean and uses it to ridicule the traditions of the college. This is an extremely risky move since he could provoke negative reactions from everyone. But his forceful and emotional delivery carries the crowd and the committee is forced to reverse its decision.

Movies not only offer great entertainment, they’re also packed with life lessons and tales of success which we can look to when we need that bit of encouragement to keep going. Even though they may be scripted, the motivational and inspirational speeches in movies are well written and well delivered. There is much to learn from them.

We hope you have found what you needed here and use this resources whenever you’re in need of a push, or a laugh.

Please comment!

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  1. November 14, 2009 at 6:23 am | #1

    Very very nice blog you have here, i came here from your comment you left on my blog; in relation to what my blog is about – at the moment, nothing in particular, originally i was going to use it for my photography, but am deciding on using it as an outlet to express whatever is on my mind, untill of course I find a distinctive direction to take it. thanks for checking, i’ll definitely keep your blog on watch though it’s great.

  2. November 15, 2009 at 10:53 am | #2

    hey andy— I’m checking out your blog…its great! I love lists…never gets old!
    do you come up with these yourself? I would have to wholeheartedly agree on the Coll Runnings speech…Pride…Power!
    Chrissi – http://tvnight.wordpress.com

  3. October 10, 2012 at 2:30 am | #3

    was the speech in Miracle considered

    • October 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm | #4

      It was, however since it was more sports themed I put it in a different blog post about motivational sports speeches.

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