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10 Inspirational movies for teams

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Are you looking for just the right movie to inspire your team?

Movies are so much a part of our popular culture that we would be foolish to not be inspired of them to develop our teams. That feeling of energy, cheer, inspiration, or enthusiasm that a great movie can create is always amazing to me.

Movies are a great way to connect people on an emotional and somewhat vicariously an experiential level. They have been used for years by great coaches and managers to instill and fortify the ideas or values they desired to see emulated by their team.

Here is the list of movies that are of great help on demonstrating or promoting team building, team dynamics and leadership – 

1.  Invictus 

Invictus is one of the very inspiring movies about building a good team in trying circumstances.


The movie shows the inspiring portrayal of Nelson Mandela’s first days as president of post-apartheid South Africa and how Mandela used the historically hapless South African Springboks rugby team to bring the country together. Embodied by the slogan, “One Team, One Country,” Mandela set the goal of the Springboks winning the World Cup. It portrays how Mandela established his leadership as president.

Watch the Invictus trailer here:


2.  Coach Carter 

Coach Carter based on the true story of Coach Ken Carter, a top basketball player who returned to his local high school to coach this dysfunctional team.


The Team where many conflicts exist including lack of discipline, acts of aggression, physical assault, family dysfunction, lack of cohesion, use of inappropriate language, lack of adherence to rules, poor academic success, and yet the players possess a dynamic love for the game and each athlete can identify with the need to be a part of something bigger and better than the streets they live on.  This becomes a driving force in Carter’s attempt to encourage and teach the Richmond basketball team value, hard work, discipline, courage, how to overcome adversity and find something pure and empowering in becoming a successful athlete, student, and team with a mission (goals).

Watch the Coach Carter trailer here::


  3. Remember the Titans 

Remember the titans is a true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

Remember the Titans movie

The movie, based on a true story, is about the T.C. Williams High School football team. The movie documents the trials and tribulations of the football team as two different cultures come together and attempt to unite to reach a common goal—winning the state football championship. As the players begin to accept and trust one another, they are successful in their pursuit of wins on the gridiron – throughout the season, that trust is put to the test numerous times. Situations arise that raise questions and concerns for those involved, but each time the focus on the common goal of winning the state championship allows them to move past the issue. Ultimately, the movie is about hard work, dedication, sacrifice, leadership, and success.

Watch the Remember the Titans trailer here::


4. Miracle 

Miracle is based on the 1980 United States Olympic Ice Hockey team’s win over the Soviet Union.

miracle movie

The movie follows the development of the US men’s hockey team leading up to their victory at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics under coach Herb Brooks,` and is an excellent example of a team moving through  Bruce Tuckman conceptualized the stages of team formation into four main categories: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Ultimately the movies portrays positive values of teamwork, discipline, bravery, determination, and overcoming impossible odds to rise from underdog to champion

READ Also  Cooking Up A Team!

Watch the Miracle trailer here::


5. Apollo 13

Apollo 13 is the gripping true story of 3 astronauts stranded in space and NASA’s unrelenting effort to bring them safely home.


As a result of the movie Apollo 13, “Failure is not an option,” has worked its way into many a group’s mission and vision. The technicians and astronauts in Ron Howard’s epic provide rational leadership during a crisis. In essence the movie is also the perfect example of virtual teams. Gene Kranz (Ed Harris), in charge of flight operations in Houston, and Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), commander of the lunar mission display their leadership skills when an explosion occurs on the Apollo 13 craft. Through teamwork, ingenuity, and rational process these leaders solve a nearly impossible problem.

Krantz and Lovell maintain control in a chaotic situation, which inspires confidence among the group. Apollo 13 shows that although leaders desire loyalty and passion, it is important to secure their group’s confidence first.

Watch the Apollo 13 trailer here::


6. Facing the Giants

Facing the Giants is a story of a losing coach with an underdog football team faces their giants of fear and failure on and off the field to surprising results.

Facing the Giants movie poster


Grant Taylor is a Christian high school football coach who uses his undying faith to battle the giants of fear and failure. In six years of coaching, he has never led his Shiloh Eagles to a winning season. After learning that he and his wife Brooke face infertility, Grant discovers that a group of fathers are secretly organizing to have him dismissed as head coach. Devastated by his circumstances, he cries out to God in desperation. When Grant receives a message from an unexpected visitor, he searches for a stronger purpose for his football team. He dares to challenge his players to believe God for the impossible on and off the field. When faced with unbelievable odds, the Eagles must step up to their greatest test of strength and courage. What transpires is a dynamic story of the fight between faith and fear. Facing the Giants is a powerful experience for the whole team inspiring them to live with faith and give their very best at all times.

Watch the Facing the Giants trailer here::

7. Shackleton 

Shackleton is a true story of Shackleton’s 1914 Endurance expedition to the South Pole and his epic struggle to lead his 28-man crew to safety after his ship was crushed in the pack ice.

Shackleton movie poster


On August 1, 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton set sail with a crew of 28 on an expedition to the Antarctic. The mission of their expedition was to cross the Antarctic on foot – something never done before. Shackleton exemplified the riveting examples of the tremendous difference strong leadership and teamwork can make under conditions of adversity, uncertainty and change. During those tough and cold months, he held his crew together, inspired them and motivated them. He made sure they understood their objective and what role each must play to attain their goal. Shackleton’s leadership is widely credited with making the essential difference.

Watch the Shackleton trailer here::

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8. Glory Days

Glory Days is a story of how Texas Western coach Don Haskins led the first all-black starting line-up for a college basketball team to the NCAA national championship.


Josh Lucas plays Don Haskins, a coach determined to find success on college basketball’s grandest stage. With no recruiting budget and waning support, the coach’s assignment to turn the program into a winner is a tall task. By aggressively recruiting African-American players from northern cities, a daring move in the Deep South at the time, Haskins builds a team that sneaks up on the basketball establishment. Their growing success on the court, however, is greeted by racially motivated persecution that increases with each win.

With convincing acting and a redemptive message, GLORY ROAD is a winner, full of teamwork, drama, heart, and soul. Coach Haskins’ commitment to doing the right thing, and his faith that doing so would pay off, is a moral lesson that’s worth sharing.

Watch the Glory Road trailer here:


9. Chak De India

Chak De India is a story of a hockey player who returns to the game as a coach of a women’s hockey team.


Its a movie on how an Indian women hockey team, a team that exists more on paper and less in reality, goes on to win a world cup against all odds.

It depicts the values it takes to build a match-winning team and what it takes to achieve something which at one point didn’t seem possible.

After watching the movie when I analyzed it critically I realized that apart from the entertainment, which this movie has in abundance, it even offers several lessons, which we can learn and apply them at our work, and with our teams.

Watch the Chak De India trailer here::


10. Thirteen Days

Thirteen Days is a dramatization of President Kennedy’s administration’s struggle to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962

Thirteen Days movie poster

The movie is about the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. It captures the political mood in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy had to grind an axe to avert a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The movie makes real the fact that, hard as it is to believe, this confrontation could have ended in nuclear war. It allows one to be a fly on the wall as a president and his advisers struggle with an intractable problem. Viewers vicariously experience the irreducible uncertainties and chilling fear of failure in choosing among options that could trigger nuclear war. We see the essential, ultimately decisive role of presidential leadership in choosing among conflicting recommendations of persuasive advisers.

Thirteen Days is really a study of how a leader and his team confront a crisis: how they organize resources, involve the right people, make things happen and, perhaps most importantly, stay strong and focused in the face of huge pressure both from inside and outside the organization.

Watch the Thirteen Days trailer here:

Do share with us, which are the Team movies that have inspired you the most?

Also do watch these movies with your teams and be a team facilitator to reflect on the lessons and how you can use the positive behaviors displayed in the movies at your workplace. It truly helps; do share your experiences with us. 

Check out 10 More Inspirational Movies on Teams

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  • Another great one is Hoosiers.

  • Paragraph Film Reviews

    No Any Given Sunday?!? Surely that’s the single, greatest team speech in the history of cinema?

  • siddharthchaudhary

    It truly is – “Inch by Inch” is one of the most inspiring speech ever – Will add “any given sunday” in the next 10…another great movie

  • Pingback: GoMovies Review()

  • Stan Britton

    The movie Gladiator has a great scene focusing on leadership/teamwork/overcoming odds.

  • Sameer

    You could add:
    1. Dead Poet’s Society &
    2. Any Given Sunday

    • arun

      thanks sameer… yes – both good suggestions!

  • Flight of the phoenix is also the best movie for understanding leadership and team building.