8 Movies That Will Give You a Rush of Willpower

"Have I told you that story about how Charlie Parker became Charlie Parker? Parker's a young kid, pretty good on the sax. Gets up to play at a cutting session… and he (screws) it up...and he's laughed off-stage. Cries himself to sleep that night. 

But the next morning, what does he do? He practices. And he practices and he practices with one goal in mind: Never to be laughed at again. 

And a year later, he goes back to the Reno... And he steps up on that stage and he plays the best solo the world has ever heard.

So imagine if Jones had just said: 'Well, that's okay Charlie. Eh... that was alright. Good job.' Then Charlie thinks to himself, 'Well, I did do a pretty good job.' End of story, no 'Bird.' That, to me, is... an absolute tragedy. 

There are no two words in the English language more harmful... Than 'good job.'"

I was floored when I heard JK Simmons say those words in his Oscar-winning performance in the 2014 movie, Whiplash

That speech completely changed my perspective on how to become truly great in my field. I think about it probably once per week, and whenever I do it gives me a rush of willpower to keep pushing and never settle for "good enough."

That is the power of inspiration you can get from a movie. 


I've been writing a lot recently about the power of stories. And another place you can look for that inspirational power is from movies. 

Whiplash is my personal favorite because it shows the grittier side to the pursuit of excellence. Rather than show the "ra ra" speeches, it shows the sacrifices. However, like any piece of art, you may see it completely differently.

So I wanted to see which movies others use as their source of inspiration. To do this, I reached out to fellow writers from around the world to see which movies inspire them and why.

Here are their favorites. I hope they fuel your willpower as well!

Sam Thomas Davies

Writer and Researcher at SamuelThomasDavies.com (Sweden)

Movie: Rush


Summary: Centered on the rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula One motor-racing season, Rush is a pedal-to-the-metal blockbuster that will leave you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The rise and fall (and rise) of Niki Lauda is what inspires me most. I won't spoil it, but his comeback is one that reminds us that we already have everything we need to be anything we want. 

Favorite quote: "A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends." - Niki Lauda


Patrik Edblad

Writer, mental trainer & personal coach at Selfication.com  (Sweden)

Movie: Remember the Titans

Summary: The true story of how African American coach Herman Boone controversially is made head coach over the highly successful white coach Bill Yoast at T.C. Williams High School, Virginia. This movie always gives me a rush of inspiration because of all its amazing scenes where the young black and white players learn how to look past their differences and work together as a team. If you're looking for a touching movie with plenty of inspirational moments and have somehow missed Remember the Titans, now is the time to go see it!

Favorite quote: "This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting among ourselves today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin' with the blood of young boys. Smoke and hot lead pouring right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men. I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family. You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead. If we don't come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don't care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other. And maybe... I don't know, maybe we'll learn to play this game like men."  - Coach Boone


Niklas Goeke

Chief Book Nerd at Four Minute Books (Germany)

Movie: Unbroken


Summary: Watching Louis Zamperini survive plane crashes, shark attacks, starvation, torture and the most inhuman conditions thanks to his prepared body and unbreakable spirit leaves me empowered every time. Based on true events, you can't help but think: "If a normal guy like Louis can do this, I sure can solve my problem." If you ever need the willpower to make it through a stretch of discipline and hard work, this movie will give you the boost you need.

Favorite q ha hauote: If you can take it, you can make it. - Louis Zamperini


Miguel Guzman Miranda

Personal development coach & writer at Exito-personal.com  (Spain)

Movie: The 13th Warrior 

Summary: Vikings tales evoke strength, honor and willpower. In this adventure each of the warriors stands for one of the qualities that comprise the will of heroes.

Edgtho artfully applies his smarts and cunning; Herger takes all challenges always with joy, an uplifting smile and a playful joke; Helfdane stands proud even in the face of death; Ahmed intelligently adapts to survive and thrive; and most of them all Buliwyf (Beowulf) who fights against all odds until the very end.

Will you join the warriors?

Favorite quote: 

Ahmed Ibn Fahdian: (Given a Viking sword) "I cannot lift this."

Herger the Joyous: "Grow stronger."


Katrina Razavi

Entrepreneurship & Marketing, Founder of CommunicationforNerds.com (USA)

Movie: Erin Brokovich

Summary: Underdogs can win- Erin didn’t have much going for her other than her strong willpower and determination. She didn’t have a law degree, she wasn’t an investigator and she didn’t “look the part." But she didn’t care what others thought and in the end, she proved them all wrong.

Favorite quote: “If you follow your heart, if you listen to your gut, and if you extend your hand to help another, not for any agenda, but for the sake of humanity, you are going to find the truth.” - Erin Brockovich


Benjamin Austin

Writer, Founder of StopStartDo.com (USA)

Movie: Fight Club


Summary: Fight Club is a reminder that at any time you can choose to change your life. In an instant you can decide and do the thing you always wanted. You can be the person you always wanted to be. You don't need permission. 

Favorite quote: "This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time" - The Narrator



Greg Johnston

Products, Marketing + Social Media Guy, Mentor+ (Canada)

Movie: The Pursuit of Happyness

Summary: Life is a struggle for single father Chris Gardner. Evicted from their apartment, he and his young son find themselves alone with no place to go. Even though Chris eventually lands a job as an intern at a prestigious brokerage firm, the position pays no money. The pair must live in shelters and endure many hardships, but Chris refuses to give in to despair as he struggles to create a better life for himself and his son.

His talents and skills, along with his willpower and honest personality, earned the trust of several people who signed contracts with the brokerage firm. In the end, he goes on to get a paid position and his life changed dramatically from that moment.

Favorite quote: 
Christopher Gardner: "Hey. Don't ever let somebody tell you... You can't do something. Not even me. All right?"
Christopher Jr: "All right."
Christopher Gardner: “You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you-you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period.”


Do not underestimate the power of a movie to inspire you to take action. These are some of the best picks from my fellow writers around the globe, and I hope they help you when you need a boost.

But, I would love to know, what movies have we missed? What movie inspires you?

Comment below and let us know!