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Five Great Movies That Teach Five Great Lessons

Seth enjoys watching movies and sharing his thoughts about them.

Are there lessons to be learned from "Gladiator"?

Are there lessons to be learned from "Gladiator"?

We Can Learn Lessons From Movies

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 his 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 as 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.

A patient man.

A patient man.

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 a 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 a 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 the immense challenges he 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 the motivation to do what we must to protect them. Oftentimes, 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.

A motivated man.

A motivated man.

Forrest Gump – Humility

Forrest Gump (from 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 to 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




Ronald Weber on July 14, 2020:

Do you not have a basic copy editor - or a word-processing program - that can correct simple things such as singular v. plural and pronoun cases? How embarrassing for you.

Sam Shepards from Europe on March 04, 2018:

For people that like Gladiator. I would recommend reading the meditations from Marcus Aurelius.

Jeph Maystruck from Regina, SK on August 30, 2015:

Love these examples AND movies. Great work!

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 10, 2014:

I loved In Pursuit of Happyness, and Will Smith did a great job in the role he played. True, it really is about his drive and motivation against incredible odds. Forrest Gump was also a good movie but it's only now that I have learned that it's about humility. Great hub.

jmartin1344 from Royal Oak, Michigan on November 21, 2012:

Fantastic hub! I love the Patience portion - the control he shows in that film is one of the finest acting jobs I've seen. You can literally see the pain of holding it back until the right moment, and Russell Crowe did an unreal job portraying that just by expressions.

juan on October 24, 2012:

good lessons

Sethughes (author) on July 27, 2012:

I have not seen it although I have heard good things. Thanks, glad you can see the message in these movies as well.

Mr Archer from Missouri on July 27, 2012:

Have you seen "A River Runs Through It"? To me, this is the epitome of what family love is, regardless of the situation. I have sen all of the movies listed, and agree with your choices. Each is exactly as you've portrayed them. Very nicely done.

Sethughes (author) on July 25, 2012:

Interesting. I will have to watch that one. Thanks

whalefeather2 on July 25, 2012:

You should add Alien Nation to the teaches Tolerance and Acceptance and Brotherhood.

Sethughes (author) on July 24, 2012:

I appreciate your comments am glad you see the inspirational characteristics that these individuals portray. Thank you for reading.

catwhitehead on July 24, 2012:

I really enjoyed your hub! I especially loved the movies Forrest Gump and The Pursuit of Happyness but your interpretations of the characteristics of the leading man of all five films is interesting.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on July 22, 2012:

Terrific hub and wonderful choice of inspiring films. I appreciate that you have focused on the character qualities that in every case led to great accomplishment and success. Thank you for this. Sharing.

Sethughes (author) on July 13, 2012:

Im glad I could help! I have the same problem. haha thanks for reading.

whackypc on July 13, 2012:

am addicted to movies, i must confess, this hub just gave me a new reason to get more addicted, thanks for sharing.

Sethughes (author) on July 12, 2012:

Thank you very much for reading and for your kind comments. I firmly believe that statement and try to adhere to it myself.

Thank you again. I love the topics of your hubs as well and look forwad to them.

lezsaysit from New York, NY on July 12, 2012:

Thmbs up and Useful. I especially like when you wrote " When we are passionate about what we do in life, we do it well and let nothing stop us."

I am highly impressed and look forward to reading more of your empowering hubs.

Sethughes (author) on July 12, 2012:

I completely agree. That's what movies are for! Gimp was a good man. I think everyone should see that one at one time or another.

Thanks for reading and for commenting!

Ron Hawkster from United States of America on July 12, 2012:

Great read. I love extracting lessons from movies and come away with more than just popcorn debris caught in my teeth, but meaning and observations.

Forrest Gump is one of my all time favorites, if not for the gripping story but for how it redefines what a hero is, and that's all I have to say about that. (not really, but...)

Sethughes (author) on July 11, 2012:

Oh they are all very good. I would strongly suggest you do see them. Thank you for the kind words about the hub and for reading.

DragonBallSuper on July 11, 2012:

Set, thanks for this.. i never seen any of the movies listed above but maybe i should try to check it one day. your writing about these great movies is really interesting.

Sethughes (author) on July 11, 2012:

Thank you very much for the insightful response Ann. The qualities I mentioned here are ones I myself picked up on while watching these movies again and again. I am glad you were able to see the same traits that I do in these characters. Braveheart is the type of movie that must be watched several times to get a full appreciation I think. Forrest Gump is indeed a treat in its own unique way.

Thank you for reading and voting!!!

Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on July 11, 2012:

Original idea for a subject, as someone said earlier. I found it interesting. I've seen Gladiator a number of times because I'm a Russell Crowe fan. Patience was not one of the virtues I thought of about him, so you're idea was enlightening. I thought of Maximus as being brave, loyal and having integrity, but he had patience, too. Braveheart was never one of my favorite movies. Why, I don't know because I like Mel Gibson. Passion was indeed evident in his character. I saw Forrest Gump and well, what can you say. Life's like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're gonna get.

Well done and voted up.

Sethughes (author) on July 11, 2012:

Im glad you liked this! I agree, that movie always inspires me to work harder at whatever I do. Thank you for reading and commenting.

deesimmons on July 11, 2012:

Ah, this is great! "The Pursuit of Happiness" is such an inspirational, heart-breaking and warming movie all in one. I'll definitely check out the ones on the list I have seen!

Sethughes (author) on July 10, 2012:

Thanks for reading and for the kind response. It was my hope that others would enjoy readin his as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks again for reading and voting!

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on July 10, 2012:

Seth . . .this rocks, man. Great presentation. Well-written. Voted up and all the way. Keep the great hubs coming.


Sethughes (author) on July 09, 2012:

Thank you beingwell!

beingwell from Bangkok on July 09, 2012:

I love these movies!! Nice insights!

Sethughes (author) on July 08, 2012:

Oh wow thank you very much. Im glad you could see the meaning and message of these movies like I do. That's what I was hoping to get across. Thank you for reading and sharing!

Bredavies on July 08, 2012:

This is a great hub. It made me tear up a little. Must share.

Sethughes (author) on July 08, 2012:

Thank you much, I appreciate it. I love movies that teach lessons like these. They are good reminders for our own lives.

Thanks again

CJ Baker from Parts Unknown on July 08, 2012:

Well written hub! I appreciate how you developed the important lessons that we could learn from each character. Who says that movies can't be more than just dumb entertainment.

Sethughes (author) on July 08, 2012:

Thank you! And thank you for reading!

Mary from Cronulla NSW on July 08, 2012:

Good points made & great idea for a hub... inspired by & loved all of them... cheers

canible8888 on July 08, 2012:

NICE hub i need to teach from u hw to wright hub..nice

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on July 08, 2012:

You are very welcome Seth, anytime! :) Yes, Will Smith is excellent in that movie, my favorite movie he has done in fact!

Sethughes (author) on July 08, 2012:

Thank you very much! These are some of my favorite movies and I think the messages they send are very important. I have seen seven pounds. Will Smith has really only gotten better over time. Thanks again for reading!

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on July 08, 2012:


Clever and brilliant idea for a hub! I love all of these movies, and am bit of a movie buff. At least that is what people tell me LOL Great job, I loved this one! keep up the great work! I loved your section on Chris Gardner, excellent movie for sure! Will Smith rocks, have you ever seen "Seven Pounds?" Have a great day Seth!