Movies hold an uncanny power to transform our lives, for better or worse. The power of cinema is astounding considering its growing influence on society since its inception.
Storytelling has been one of the most effective ways of learning since ancient times. The medium of storytelling and the way it’s told might have changed throughout the years, but its use in educating the masses has steadily grown over time.
Movies make you laugh, cry, weep, sad, joy, angry and even frighten the hell out of you sometimes. For all the rollercoaster ride of emotions, you go through, there are always some important lessons that you learn along the way.
Considering the impact of movies on our lives, we have compiled a list of some of the great movies that will inspire the leader in you and inculcate some leadership lessons that will equip you for life to handle adverse situations and achieve great success in your personal and professional lives.
So, let’s dive right in.
Here are 10 Great Movies that will Inspire the Leader in You
Based on the life of one of the most influential and iconic Indian leaders Mahatma Gandhi, Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi is easily among the greatest biopics in cinematic history.
Gandhi follows the struggle of young Gandhi as a lawyer fighting for the rights of traders in South Africa to becoming the backbone of India’s freedom struggle against the British empire which eventually led to its freedom from two centuries of colonialism.
The movie is a great example that shows how even one man with unflinching willpower can make a huge difference in the world.
Ben Kingsley has given the best performance of his life and his portrayal of Gandhi is as if the soul of Gandhi has been transferred into him. Richard Attenborough has beautifully captured British India in all its glory and misery and the larger than life story of Mahatma Gandhi.
Key Takeaways: If you unhinged belief in your ideas then no one can stop you from achieving your goal.
The best way to achieve something extraordinary is by working together as a unit.
If you are not honest with your actions, then nothing can be achieved.
Moneyball is easily one of the best sports and leadership movies of the 21st century. Moneyball follows the incredible true story of Billy Beane, the general manager of Oakland A’s team who transformed a downtrodden franchise into one of the most successful baseball franchises in the history of Major League Baseball.
Billy’s unconventional approach to building a team of misfits with the help of statistical analysis was a revolutionary approach at the time. Beane goes against all the odds, his seniors, colleagues, coaches and other members of the management team to bring his idea to fruition.
Brad Pitt as Beane, has given one of the best performances of his life. He vividly brings to life the character of Beane, as a manager and a father with all subtle and nuanced expressions. Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman have done an equally amazing job as assistant GM and coach respectively.
Key Takeaways: Always work on your ideas even if you have to face the odds.
As a leader, you always have to make some tough decisions.
Big data when analysed and interpreted correctly can make a lot of difference.
Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg’s epic war movie set in the backdrop of the invasion of Normandy in World War 2 is a learning journey at every level. Be it the horrors of the war, the tension between two enemy lines or taking dangerous risks to save one’s own life, it has got everything.
The movie follows Captain John Miller’s suicidal mission across the enemy lines to search for Private James Ryan and send him home safely. What follows next is Miller’s horrifying and courageous skirmishes with the enemy for their survival.
The way Captain Miller leads his troops in face of death hiding around the corner every moment is an exemplary example of a brave, smart and determined leader. All the actors, especially Tom Hanks as Captain Miller, have done an outstanding job of playing the role of frontline soldiers in a war.
Key Takeaways: Don’t be afraid to show your weaknesses.
Don’t lie about a task you don’t believe in.
As a leader, you always need to lead from the front.
The movie is the best example of how a leader uses his wits and experience to negotiate with the terrorists to save his crew. The movie is a high-class thriller, which keeps you at the edge of the seat from start to finish.
Tom Hanks plays the nervous but calm and collected Captain Phillips with the best of his acting ability. The real star of the movie is Barkad Abdi who plays the main pirate with authority and confidence.
Key takeaways: Perseverance leads to success.
Planning and practising your actions beforehand is never a waste of your time.
A good leader always strives for improvement.
Any Given Sunday
This fast-paced, dramatic and energizing movie based on the ups and downs of managing an American football team, is the most prophetic football movie ever made. This was the first time that a mainstream movie honestly portrayed the dark side of American football.
Any Given Sunday follows the story of Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino), a football veteran and coach of the Miami Sharks, a team on the downfall for the last few years.
Tony along with fighting the corruption, racial injustice and corporate greed involved in the league, has to tackle his personal struggles and keep his losing team together.
Coach D’Amato’s story is a perfect example of how to not give up on yourself and your team even in the face of harsh adversities.
Key Takeaways: A leader must always lead by example and not by fear or self-pity.
Football like life is a game of inches, I.e small things can make a huge difference.
Even if you lose, you must still be proud of yourself that you gave everything you had.
One of the greatest examples of cinematic artistry and storytelling by director Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List is one of the greatest movies on the horrors of the Jewish holocaust in the second world war.
Based on the real-life of German businessman Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of more than 1000 Jews by employing them in his shell factories. Schindler does this knowing there’s always a threat of his plans getting exposed which would eventually lead to a loss of thousands of lives along with his.
Even if you decide to watch only one movie from this list, definitely make it this one.
Key Takeaways: Power is when you have the justification to use violence against somebody, but still you don’t.
We are the decisions we make.
A leader should never wait for things to happen, he should make things happen.
There are very few movies in the world that truly capture the essence of strong leadership, and Invictus is one such movie that shows how strong leadership can bring a nation divided by race together.
Invictus is based on the true story set after the apartheid in South Africa where Nelson Mandela undertakes the mammoth task to reunite his countrymen with Francois Pienaar, captain of the Springboks Rugby team to win the Rugby world cup.
This movie is a great example of using your power and influence as a leader in the most effective, kind and truthful way.
Key takeaways: Make the change real.
Always strive to do the unexpected.
Live your values.
Remember the Titans
Another movie is set in the backdrop of racial violence in a society where the leader has to do his best in face of the adverse situations.
Remember the Titans follows the story of a newly appointed rugby coach Herman Boone, who has to form and coach a racially integrated high school team in the face of systematic racial tensions.
The racial violence, slurs and segregation are apparent throughout the movie. In this kind of tense atmosphere coach Herman has to use his skills to bring a racially divided team into achieving one common goal of winning the high-school rugby league.
Key Takeaways: A Good leader always manages the differences within his team members.
A leader must always demand the best out of his team and not settle for good.
Leadership is all about earning the trust of your teammates.
Glengarry Glen Ross
For those of you who have worked in sales and marketing know what a tough job it is. Life in sales can be very daunting, ruthless and overwhelming giving you stomach-churning nights.
Glengarry Glen Ross perfectly paints what it’s like to work in a situation where your sales figures are not heading in the right direction and you have a furious boss to report to.
The story follows the heated tension between a bunch of employees of a real estate firm in New York when the news of firing all employees except the top two performing salesmen in the firm reaches them.
This movie will teach you how not to be a leader in today’s time especially a sales leader who is always at your neck.
Key Takeaways: Every individual has his way of dealing with things and the leader should be flexible enough to accommodate different working styles in synchronization.
Always be helping, rather than just bossing around.
Always have a clear goal that your team can see.
The Devil Wears Prada
If all the other movies on this list teach you how a leader should be, then this movie will teach you what a leader shouldn’t be.
The Devil Wears Prada perfectly sums up the negative effects that toxic leadership has on employees and an organization. Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep) an ambitious and ruthless fashion magazine editor always accomplishes her professional missions fostering toxic work culture in her organization.
This kind of toxic leadership trickles down the managerial hierarchy where even junior leaders follow the same example. The Devil Wears Prada shows you that sometimes you learn more from bad leaders than the good ones.
Key Takeaways: Toxic leadership can lead to serious financial and talent losses for an organization.
A leader always inspires the next generation to follow in his footsteps, so make sure you lead by good examples.
So, which movie on this list are you going to watch first? How many of you have already watched at least one movie on this list? If yes, then please let us know in the comment section. We would love to have some amazing movie recommendations from you to add to this list.