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6 Inspiring Movies That Will Give You Motivation To Study

Studying abroad could be one of the best and most challenging experiences you'll ever have. Between settling into your new accommodation, opening a student bank account, and trying to keep on top of the workload, there is plenty to keep you busy.

While exploring your new city is key to making the most of your time abroad, it's important not to forget the reason you're there in the first place – to learn!

To help keep your mind focused, here is our list of 6 of the most inspiring movies for students to remind you of the value of learning and to encourage you to work hard at your studies. Everybody has their off days when studying and we think that these films will be just the thing to inspire you on one of those days.

1. Dead Poets Society (1989)


Robin Williams is on top form as the iconoclastic John Keating, the unconventional English teacher who uses a love of poetry and classic literature to break down barriers at the oppressive Welton Academy. Keating inspires his young charges to 'seize the day', challenge the school's strict rules, and truly be themselves.

The film is packed with emotionally-charged, touching scenes but the one that won't fail to make the hairs on your arm stand up is this one where Keating’s students demonstrate what he means to them - “Oh Captain, My Captain...”

2. The Pursuit Of Happiness (2006)


The Pursuit Of Happyness is the amazing real-life tale of Chris Gardner who, with the power of hard work and perseverance, takes himself from sleeping on the subway all the way to the millionaire founder of his own brokerage house.

Never missing an opportunity and studying hard, after a few years, Chris works his way up the career ladder from medical equipment salesman to financial hotshot. If there's one story that demonstrates that you should never give up, no matter how bad things get, it's Chris'. Take a look at this scene where Chris is being interviewed and succinctly explains what it takes to get to the top.

3. Good Will Hunting (1997)


Matt Damon masterfully plays the eponymous role of Will Hunting, a 20-year-old mathematical prodigy with a rough past, a tendency for street fighting and run-ins with the law. The film shows how an underachiever can turn things around.

Some of the most inspiring scenes are during Hunting's therapy sessions with psychologist Sean (Robin Williams), where as shown in this clip, we finally see his defences come down and the genius within begins to shine.

4. School of Rock (2003)


In this movie, the irrepressible Jack Black plays a down-on-his-luck musician who makes use of a combination of creative interview techniques, Led Zeppelin riffs, a crazy love for music, and a ridiculous amount of 'winging it' to transform a class of upper-class unhappy kids into a real group of tiny rock Gods.

While the movie was never going to challenge for the Best Picture Oscar, it's a fantastic offbeat example of how education can inspire really positive change amongst the most unlikely looking people. Watch Jack Black teach utilising the power of song. If you were a fan of the movie when it first came out then you may be interested to see this photo – taken when the cast recently reunited for a 10 year anniversary of the movie's release:


“The School of Rock cast reunion, 10 years on”

5. Freedom Writers (2007)


Coming in under the radar in 2007, this film tells a true and inspirational story based on the success of Erin Gruwell, a teacher who came up with a unique style of teaching that took a group of underachieving inner city kids to the heights of academic achievement.

Erin is played by Hilary Swank, who does an impressive job of portraying a woman with a single-minded drive and passion for education. It's wonderful to see how the lives and fortunes of her class are completely turned around when they finally get into studying. Watch this scene where Miguel reads aloud from his diary, demonstrating the power of education.

6. Stand and Deliver (1988)


Finally, another inspirational film based on a true story, Stand and Deliver tells the story of Jamie Escalante who leaves his job to teach maths at a school with a reputation for rebellious students and a focus on discipline over education. Over the course of two school years, Escalante takes his students from struggles to successes; the high point comes when the students all pass their advanced calculus exams.

Stand and Deliver demonstrates that academic success is not out of reach just because of their background or their current struggles. The story demonstrates the possibilities open to anyone no matter what they may have been told in the past. 

So next time you feel yourself becoming disillusioned with your course or you're finding the workload too great to bear, take some time out to watch one of these movies and maybe it will remind you why you chose to study your subject in the first place and inspire you to study. Also, here are 10 more inspirational movies that can help you take your mind off your exams, relax a bit and head straight to the books after.


This article was written by the NatWest Student Banking team, helping to make your university experience an easier one.