Top 5 Giving Movies, Plus Bonus 15

by Robert Rizzo | Twitter, Facebook,

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Looking for a movie that will inspire you or someone else to give?

Grab some popcorn or your other favorite must-have movie munchies, then check out one of these classic (or not so classic) flicks about giving, compassion and benevolence.

Many of them are available on Netflix, Amazon Prime/Instant Video or at your local library.

Guaranteed to jerk a few tears and inspire you to help someone else succeed in some way big or small–today!

There are some obvious ones, but others are a little more obscure.

Let me know if you like them.

P.S. If you want to recommend other movies about giving, please add them to the comments after this post. Or email them to me and I’ll add them to a future update

Top Five

Pay it Forward   – Theme: Giving can change the world
A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance.
Read review

The Blind Side   – Theme: Compassion, Giving, Tenacity
The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.
Read review 

It’s a Wonderful Life   – Theme:You matter, Giving makes a difference
An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.
Read review 

Millions -Theme: Giving
When a bag of money falls from the sky, literally, two recently orphaned brothers struggle with how they should use the money. One wants to help
the poor, the other wants to help himself. This is a real gem. Read review

Inn of the Sixth Happiness  – Theme: Giving, Selflessness, Compassion
This is an oldie but a goodie! It’s pre-WWII Britain. Gladys Aylward, who has worked as a domestic for the better part of her adult life, knows that she belongs in China as a missionary, but is rejected by her church mission board because of her inexperience. Undaunted she makes the arduous trip on her own and establishes a remote mission that provides support and hope to a troubled region.
Read review

Runners Up

A Bugs Life  – Theme: Selflessness
A misfit ant, looking for “warriors” to save his colony from greedy grasshoppers, recruits a group of bugs that turn out to be an inept circus troupe. But they turn out to have what it takes and the misfit…well, you know.  Read review 

A Christmas Carol  – Theme: Better to give than receive
Most of us are familiar with the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the miserly old man that discovers the virtues of giving after some interesting encounters. Definitely a classic. I prefer the 1951 version. Read review 

As Good As It Gets  – Theme: Better to give than receive
Melvin Udall is an obsessive compulsive, self-centered writer who discovers the virtues of giving after he is entrusted with the care of his hospitalized neighbor’s dog and finds himself falling for a younger woman.  What develops is a weekend trip/triangle between these three individuals filled with emotional highs and lows. Read review 

Finding Nemo   – Theme: Selflessness

After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.  Lots of great characters and “people helping people.” Read review 

How to Train Your Dragon  – Theme: Compassion, Altruism

A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns there may be more to the creatures than he assumed. Read review 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas  Theme: Better to give
Miserly Grinch robs Christmas from Who People only to discover the virtues of giving. I prefer the TV classic with Boris Karloff narrating. Read review 

It Could Happen to You:  – Theme: Generosity
Charlie Lang, a New York cop with a heart of gold, wins a share of the lottery. However, the day before, having been caught without enough money to tip waitress (Yvonne), Charlie offers her half the winnings. Charlie’s wife, Muriel, is the complete opposite of her husband. She wants more and more money, and she’s not impressed by Charlie’s honest and kind nature. As Charlie and Muriel grow apart, Charlie and Yvonne
grow together.   Read review 

The Iron Giant – Theme: Selflessness, Self-sacrifice
This is one of my all-time favorite movies. A boy makes friends with an innocent alien giant robot but a paranoid government agent wants to destroy him. While the robot discovers compassion we learn he is harboring a dark side. Read review 

Land Before Time III: Time of Great Giving – Theme: Cooperation, Selflessness, Giving
Ok, this is a little cheesy but good for small kids. A nearby meteorite crash blocks off the dinosaurs’ water supply, starting an ecological chain-reaction that threatens life in the valley. All the dinosaurs, including a group of bullies, must cooperate in an effort to free the blockage, which involves a risky venture outside the valley. Read review

Life is Beautiful – Theme: Giving in adversity
A Jewish man has a wonderful romance with the help of his humour, but must use that same quality to protect his son in a Nazi death camp. This is a five stars and was an Oscar-winner for Best Actor and Best Foreign Film. Read review

Nacho Libre – Theme: Charity
Ok, some of you may not like this movie. I love it! Berated all his life by those around him, a monk leave at an orphanage follows his dream and dons a mask to moonlight as a Luchador (Mexican wrestler). While he is partially motivated by personally ambition he sees success as a way to improve the lives of the orphans. Read review 

Radio – Theme: Compassion
The story of a high school coach and the developmentally challenged man whom he took under his wing. Read review 

Stand and Deliver  – Theme: Altruism
The story of Jaime Escalante, a high school teacher who successfully inspired his dropout prone students to learn calculus.
Read review 

To Sir, With Love – Theme: Altruism
Idealistic engineer-trainee (Sydney Poitier) and his experiences in teaching a group of rambunctious white high school students from the slums of London’s East End.  Read review 

Up  – Theme: Better to give than to receive
After his wife’s death, Septuagenarian Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill a dream he and his wife shared of visiting Paradise Falls in South America only to discover what dreams are really made of. Read review

Image: Microsoft Photos

This post was written by...

– who has written 90 posts on Robert Rizzo.

Robert is the founder of | Mediocrity-Free Living. He is passionate about helping people discover the rewards of daily giving.

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