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10 Inspirational Documentaries That Will Change Your Life

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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top inspirational documentaries

Documentaries have long been appreciated genres in the film industry. The quality and popularity of some of the documentaries have resulted in notable successes at the Academy Awards, but also at prestigious film festivals.

Here is a compilation of 10 inspirational documentaries that will change your life. The mix includes emotional and thrilling subjects, ranging from the most delicate to the most entertaining and educational.

 

Inspirational Documentaries Worth Watching

 

1. Senna (2010)

The life and struggles of a champion

Ayrton Senna was the definitive genius behind the steering wheel. The former Formula One racing driver has collected a total of 41 victories and 65 pole positions, making him the winner of the World Drivers Championships three times. But his greatest victory was beyond the race track, it was the respect coming from the people who loved him. He was adored in his native Brazil and reached superstar status in the ’80s and ’90s. His spotless career and fame was only marked by his rivalry with another race star, Alain Prost.

The documentary is a splendid outlook on his life, his achievements, his personal life and it is an inspiring example how the power of a single person can make a huge impact.

 

 

2. I am (2010)

A great story about hope, recovery and optimism

Optimism and positive thinking are key to a fast recovery. After suffering a near death accident while mountain-biking, Tom Shadyac, the director of the Ace Ventura films, has went through a period of slow, painstaking recovery. While going through the difficult moments and numerous doctor’s appointments, he understands and reflects on the different things that are going wrong in the world. This documentary is an inspiration for anyone going through tough times, who feel that they are in dire straits or have no hope. Knowing that there is hope is crucial and this film shows that through positive thinking, everything is possible.

 

 

3. Kumare (2011)

Profound teaching wrapped in a social experiment

A provocative social experiment-turned-documentary, KUMARE follows American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi as he transforms himself into a wise Indian guru, hoping to prove the absurdity of blind faith. Instead, he finds himself forging profound connections with people from all walks of life — and wondering if and when to reveal his true self.

Will his followers accept his final teaching? Can this illusion reveal a greater spiritual truth? Winner of South by Southwest’s Audience Award, KUMARE is an insightful look at faith and belief.

 

4. Man on Wire (2008)

Heartening, moving, courageous and bold

1974 saw a daring act of courage from Frenchman Phillippe Petit, who performed a high-wire walk between the two World Trade Center skyscrapers in New York. This exciting documentary follows Phillippe as he prepares for his mission. It shows the planning phases, his method and training and, of course, the ultimate feat, the high-walk, done without any safety measures.

Man on wire features an enthusiastic dialogue and entertaining narration, with spectacular imagery, creating a wonderful atmosphere. Finally, the viewer is left to marvel at his courage and skill, while some may question his motives or motivations for such an endeavor. But the real lesson behind it is that you must follow your dreams, whatever they are.

 

5. Searching For Sugar Man (2012)

A story f a man who could have been if he never gave up

Searching For Sugar Man tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez the greatest `70s rock icon who never was. After being discovered in a Detroit bar Rodriguez’s sound struck 2 renowned producers and they signed a recording deal. But when the album bombed the singer disappeared into obscurity. A bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and over the next two decades he became a phenomenon.

The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero.

 

6. Hungry For Change (2012)

Find inspiration to change your lifestyle

This is the perfect documentary for any health and fitness buff out there. Knowing the best recipes, foods and beverages to reach your ultimate goal of a perfect body is essential, and this film sheds light on various practices and deceptive strategies employed by large companies in the field. Interviews with health specialists and bestselling authors, as well as physicians will also help you get out of the diet trap. However, the most inspirational part of the film is the success stories of some of the people who risked and changed their lifestyles, finally overcoming obesity or other health problems.

 

7. Finding Joe (2011)

An Inspiring documentary that shows us all, “We Are Our Own Hero”

In the early 20th century while studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern hidden in every story ever told. He called it “the hero’s journey.” Finding Joe explores how the hero’s journey is relevant and essential in today’s world. It provides a narrative for how to live a fully realized life or, as Campbell would simply state, how to “follow your bliss.”

This documentary takes us on an inspirational quest of self-discovery. As you slay dragons and uncover treasures, you just may find that the holy grail you seek is closer than you think.

 

8. Sans Soleil (1983)

Travel and discover your true self

Chris Marker’s exciting documentary follows the traveler through a journey from San Francisco to Africa and from Japan to Iceland, covering breathtaking scenery and exhilarating experiences. The film is narrated by a pleasant female voice and features stunning images from various parts of the world. Viewers will enjoy superb shots of Icelandic people, a Japanese temple dedicated to cats and much more.

The cinematography in this documentary is absolutely impressive and will leave you mesmerized.

 

9. Happy (2011)

Learning how to become a truly happy person

Happy is a thoughtful documentary which examines the cause of happiness. While depression, anxiety and other negative emotions have been studied numerous times before, what makes a person happy has remained a mystery. Featuring a collection of interviews with people from diverse cultures and communities, Happy shows the simple and basic elements that can cause happiness. From community dwellers in Denmark, to a 60-year old surfer from Brazil, or the cheerful inhabitants of Okinawa, the film is packed with positive and optimistic stories of life and will become a real inspiration for any viewer.

 

10. When We Were Kings (1996)

The story of a challenge and how to overcome it

Muhammad Ali was 32 in 1974, and many thought he should retire, that he was way past his prime, that he couldn’t fight anymore. His competitor is George Forman, ten years younger and the current Heavyweight champion of the world. Don King, a relatively unknown boxing promoter, decides to lure the fighters with 5 million dollars each for the match, and the only financial backer for this plan is Mobutu Sese Suko, the dictator of Zaire. This is how this famous boxing match in history started, known as “Rumble in the Jungle”. It shows the intense build up and training prior to the fight and includes interviews with the athletes and their coaches. Also, this inspirational documentary features guest appearances by James Brown, Spike Lee and Thomas Hauser among others.

When We Were Kings was critically praised and it won the Academy Award for the Best Documentary Feature in 1996.

 

Have you viewed any documentaries recently that have helped change your life?

Please share them with us and leave a comment about your recommended documentary.

 

Article By Joel Brown | Addicted2Success.com

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 200 million lives in the last 10 years.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Alfonzo Kaid

    May 20, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Thanks for this helpful information.

  2. richard

    Mar 5, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Great post! I am also addicted to success. lol

  3. Geraldine Kelly

    Aug 25, 2014 at 7:35 am

    “Serving Life”- which can be found on Netflix- is by far the most inspirational documentary I have ever seen. Synopsis: Inmates find a sense of redemption for their crimes by volunteering in the prison hospice, offering compassion to other prisoners as they die.

    I met one of the inmates (Charles Rodgers) in person- and I must say, my life has never been the same. Remarkable individual.

  4. Jenny

    Jan 25, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I Am and Happy have changed my life, the way I think, the way I act, and Me altogether. I wish the whole world could see them and really understand what it truly means to be alive 🙂

  5. Manny Calejo

    Jun 13, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    I have seen Sena & Kumare. Here are my thoughts; Sena shows passion and courage to stand up for what right. It also shows that competition is good and bring out the best in us if we are willing to step up and compete. I thought Kumare was outstanding!!! I won’t say anything else.

  6. Shawn Shashidharan

    Jun 11, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Just watched. When We Were Kings (1996). Loved it.

  7. Mikal

    May 3, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    “The Pursuit Of Happyness” is a very inspirational movie

  8. anonymous

    Apr 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Jiro Dreams of Sushi

  9. CJ Langley

    Apr 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks for the list…added a few to my “must see soon” list! At the end of the day when you are up to your neck practical thoughts, some inspiration to put those thoughts in action can be very motivating!

  10. John Southee

    Apr 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I love watching documentaries. Most of them are way better than any reality TV. I have see a handful of the one’s listed on this list. Some recommendations for people who like Documentaries as much as me are: Crazy Sexy Cancer which is about a woman who is diagnosed with cancer and tries to figure out different way in which she can cure herself.

    Another is Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead which is about a man who gets sick and tired of being overweight and after he is diagnosed with an illness he decides enough is enough. He began a diet and losing weight to try to heal himself.

    It’s awesome to watch people do amazing things to inspire yourself to do amazing things.

  11. Pete Dyson

    Apr 11, 2013 at 9:50 am

    The Secret is a pretty good documentary, it inspired me to chase success.

    • bob

      May 16, 2013 at 3:33 am

      Then your an idiot, believing that hocus pocus bullshit. Wikipedia it and see the real motivation of the film maker

      • Quinton

        May 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm

        Bob we’re all here for inspiration and motivation. Negativity is not needed nor wanted on any posts. Great List Joel- some of these titles are available on Netflix! Make it an awesome day!

  12. Paul F Davis

    Apr 10, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

    Paul F Davis – life coach for success

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