Five Great Movies that Teach Five Great Lessons
There are five movies that have been made in the last 20 years in which the lead character portrays extraordinary traits. The traits that each individual possesses are qualities that we should all aspire to. Each character has many good qualities. Still, each one displays one single quality very strongly and can inspire others to reach for the same in themselves. This is why the following movies are regarded as inspirational and endearing to nearly all who watch them. Bear in mind if you have not seen them, you may not want to read further until you do as this may be a spoiler. If you enjoy these movies as much as many do, this will hopefully serve as a good reminder of the lessons and messages that can be taken away from them.
Maximus - Patience
In the movie Gladiator, Maximus portrays numerous qualities that many wish to possess. One of the most notable traits is patience. Maximus faces the nightmare of having his wife and only son murdered. He finds this out after he escapes murder himself and is ousted from his position as a general in the Roman armies. He is forced to fight in the arena as a gladiator and regarded as a prisoner and slave. Maximus has a couple of opportunities to kill Commodus, the man who ordered the execution of is family and of Maximus himself. He does not. Commodus mocks Maximus by telling him the details of the horrors when his family was executed. Maximus responds with, “The time for honoring yourself will soon come to an end.”
This is the ultimate portrayal of patience. He does not lash out in anger, although immense vengeance is in his heart. He maintains his character of a Roman general and teaches his fellow prisoners to fight well so that they all might survive. Only later when Commodus wounds Maximus and forces him to fight does the general get his vengeance. Many of us may question what we would have done if placed in the situation of Maximus. We hope and we pray that we might be as honorable and as patient as he was. The lesson to be learned from the film is that even when facing extreme adversity and hardship, we must maintain ourselves and have the strength to let patience be the guide to the decisions we make.
Billy Beane - Courage
In the film Money Ball, Billy Beane is the general manager of the Oakland A’s. Billy’s club is headed nowhere fast. The budget of the team is one of the lowest in the league. Their big stars are being bought by more profitable teams. Serious changes and adjustments need to be made at this point. Still, every scout for the team believes in adhering to the same philosophy they always have. Billy knows these practices will get them nowhere. He then meets Peter Brand, a kid who just graduated college and is working for the Cleveland Indians. This kid holds a different view of how players should be chosen and the game should be played. Billy brings him to Oakland and the A’s have one of their most successful seasons ever.
Although the general manager is usually in charge of the decisions the club makes, they rely heavily on scouts to determine who they should sign and let go. Billy chooses to trust the kid because of his new approach and refusal to accept what everyone else sees as good strategy. This takes courage. When everyone else around us is suggesting a way that we know not to be the right way, it takes courage to choose another path. We face this in all walks of life. No matter what our situation, we must have the courage to make the choices that we personally feel we should, no matter the circumstances.
William Wallace – Passion
Although all of the characters discussed have passion in their own stories, no one displays it more than William Wallace in Braveheart. Like Maximus, Wallace’s wife is murdered by a cruel and tyrannical individual who is under the rule of an even crueler king. Scotland has been oppressed by the English for many years prior to this. Wallace, who is a Scotsman, picks a fight with England. Scotland is completely outnumbered in all ways. They have nowhere near the resources or military capabilities that their opponents do. This does not stop Wallace from starting an uprising and eventually leading Scotland to gain freedom.
The Scots do not initially wish to wage war with England. They can’t foresee a possible victory. It is only until they witness the passion of Wallace that they choose to side with him and fight the English. It is under his passionate leadership that the Scots are inspired to fight. The story shows that even when we may face unlikely odds, having passion for what we do will give us the strength we need to overcome anything. Without passionate individuals like William Wallace, Scotland would not have won its freedom. Without passion, we cannot overcome obstacles that seem too great. When we are passionate about what we do in life, we do it well and let nothing stop us.
Chris Gardner – Motivation
In “The Pursuit of Happyness”, Will Smith plays the role of Chris Gardner. This man’s wife has recently left him, he is an unsuccessful salesman, he is left to provide for himself and a little boy, and he has no money to do so. What he does have is motivation. After sleeping in shelters, bathrooms, and on the streets, Gardner and his son hit rock bottom. They have nowhere to live and hardly enough money to eat. Problem after problem continues to arise. Still, Chris is motivated to work like a dog to get a job as a stockbroker in New York. He gets the job despite of the immense challenges him and his son face.
Gardner had nothing to lose when he got the job as a stockbroker. He wanted to make a better life for his son and was motivated to do what it took to make that happen. The lesson we can learn from Gardner’s story is to appreciate the things we have and to have motivation to do what we must to protect them. Often times, we may take for granted the gifts we are given in life. Looking at the situation Gardner was in and the motivation he had, we ought to be inspired to employ the same motivation in whatever we do in our own lives. We must stop every now and then to appreciate what we have. No matter how insignificant we may think our job or role in society is, we in some way all serve a purpose in helping others live a better and more comfortable life.
Forrest Gump – Humbleness
Forrest Gump is a man who achieved many great feats in life. He fought in Vietnam and won a Medal of Honor, played football in college, became a successful world champion ping pong player, started a multimillion dollar shrimping company, and inadvertently played a role in many key historical events like the Watergate Scandal. The man undoubtedly led a great life. The one thing that he did not do however, is brag about his ventures or build himself up.
Great lessons of humbleness can be learned from Forrest Gump. Never once in the movie does Forrest brag about the things he has done. He simply chooses to put others first no matter what the situation. He is the type of person who would do anything for you even if you were to treat him miserably. This is the kind of quality we should all aspire to in ourselves. We may at some point achieve something we think to be quite noteworthy. Even so, we ought not see it as an opportunity to congratulate ourselves. When notable acts and good gestures are done selflessly, it is far more admirable than if we appear to be rather proud of ourselves. We need to learn from Gump. We need to learn to always maintain a humble attitude and seek to put others first. This is the kind of person to look up to