‘October Sky,’ directed by Joe Johnston and written by Lewis Colick, is a biographical drama about coal miner’s son Homer H. Hickam, Jr., who becomes a NASA engineer after being inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Homer Hickam in the film. The actor makes an impression as a child actor by portraying the character with compassion and nuance.
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Released on February 19, 1999, the film was well-received for its writing, directing and acting. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a perfect score of 91 percent, and Metacritic gives it a score of 71 out of 100. The movie also did well at the box office, earning $34.7 million on a $25 million budget.
The films I considered for this article are those that show a character’s journey from defeat to victory and freedom as inspirational tales. Some of the films are comedies, while others are dramas, but they’re all about inspiring and encouraging people in some way. Following is a list of films like ‘October Sky’ that we think you might enjoy. Several of these films, such as ‘October Sky,’ are available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
1. The Intouchables (2011)
With Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, the film follows Philippe, an aristocrat who is left quadriplegic due to an accident while paragliding and who hires a young man from the projects, Bakary “Driss” Bassari, to be his caregiver after he becomes a quadriplegic. Critics in the UK gave the film “The Intouchables” a dismal review; however, in France it became a huge commercial and critical success.
Compassion is the foundation of the buddy comedy-drama, and François Cluzet and Omar Sy play Philippe and Driss, respectively. The film was nominated for numerous awards, including seven coveted Césars, with Sy taking home the prize for “Best Actor.” As well as becoming one of the biggest box office hits in France, the film made $426.6 million in ticket sales against a roughly $10.8 million production budget.
2. A Brilliant Young Mind (2014)
Dramatization of the book and film “A Brilliant Young Mind” or “X+Y” follows Nathan Ellis, a socially awkward adolescent math prodigy who joins the British team for the International Mathematics Olympiad and gains inspiration, confidence, and friendships along the way.
Morgan Matthews, the BAFTA-nominated director, and James Graham, the film’s writer, teamed up for ‘A Brilliant Young Mind,’ which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews. A big reason for the film’s success is Asa Butterfield’s portrayal of a socially awkward guy with admirable restraint. Rotten Tomatoes gives ‘A Brilliant Young Mind’ an approval rating of 86%, while Metacritic gives it a score of 65/100.
3. Whiplash (2014)
In ‘Whiplash,’ a talented, ambitious, and hardworking jazz drummer named Andrew Neiman is taken in by Terence Fletcher, an experienced jazz instructor, in his studio band and appears to have achieved his dream. However, when Neiman learns that Fletcher will do anything to get the best out of his studio band, including abusing them physically and verbally, things start to fall apart. J.K. Simmons plays Fletcher in this Damien Chazelle film, which also stars Miles Teller as Neiman.
In ‘Whiplash,’ we see the good and bad sides of having borderline addictive goals. The film’s music is excellent, but the chemistry between the two leads is what makes it so intense to watch. When it premiered, the film was met with positive reviews and went on to win three Oscars. While Tom Cross took home the prize for “Best Film Editing,” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, and Thomas Curley took home the prize for “Best Sound Mixing,” and Simmons took home the prize for “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” at the Academy Awards.
4. My Left Foot (1989)
In ‘My Left Foot,’ the inspirational story of Irish writer and painter Christy Brown, who overcame cerebral palsy by learning to write and type solely with his left foot’s toes, is told in a biographical drama. In this Jim Sheridan film, Daniel Day-Lewis is the star and won the Academy Award for “Best Actor” for his performance. As Day-Lewis channels his inner will into this role, the film has several inspiring moments.
His performance sets the tone for the film and helps to hide some of the more glaring flaws in the production design. Rotten Tomatoes gives the movie a perfect score of 97 percent, and Metacritic gives it a score of 97 out of 100.
5. Forrest Gump (1994)
‘Forrest Gump,’ directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Eric Roth, follows Tom Hanks’ titular character through some of the most significant historical events of the twentieth century, all of which had a profound impact on his life. To many people, the movie “Forrest Gump” will always be associated with the character of Forrest Gump. Incorporating fantastical elements, this film, based on the same-named novel by American author Winston Groom, shows how anyone can achieve their goals.
However, it is Tom Hanks’ performance as Gump that elevates the picture above the rest. The actor was able to fully embody the character by using the slang and body language. It was his second time winning the Academy Award for Best Actor after that.
6. Good Will Hunting (1997)
‘Good Will Hunting,’ directed by Gus Van Sant, depicts the life of Will Hunting, a 20-year-old South Boston janitor and mathematical prodigy. After assaulting a police officer, he is sentenced to deferred prosecution in exchange for becoming a client of a therapist and studying advanced mathematics with a world-renowned professor in order to reach his full potential. While in therapy, Will has the opportunity to reflect on his relationships with his best friend, his girlfriend, and even him- or her-self
It’s when he confronts his past and uses it as fuel to reach his full potential in the future that he faces his toughest challenge yet. ‘Good Will Hunting’ is a significant film because of the outstanding performances by the actors and the solid screenplay that served as the foundation for the story. The movie was nominated for nine Academy Awards, and it took home two of those trophies for best picture. “Best Supporting Actor” was awarded to Robin Williams, while “Best Original Screenplay” went to Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
7. Rocky (1976)
‘Rocky,’ directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Sylvester Stallone, tells the story of Rocky Balboa, a working-class Italian-American boxer who is uneducated but kind-hearted. Rocky is a debt collector in the Philadelphia ghetto for a man who owes him money. When he gets a shot at the WBC heavyweight title, things seem to shift.
To name a few notables from the cast, Sylvester Stallone plays Rocky Balboa, while Talia Shire plays his love interest Adrian, Burt Young takes on the role of Paulie, and Burges Meredith portrays his trainer Mickey Goldmill. The premise of the sports drama is based on the idea of a champion underdog. The movie started out as a flop but went on to become a worldwide phenomenon. Rocky took home the “Best Film” and “Best Director” prizes at the Oscars. The film has gained acclaim as one of the best sports films of all time.
8. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
“The Shawshank Redemption,” adapted by Frank Darabont from Stephen King’s “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” was directed by Darabont. Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufresne, a man sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover in Shawshank State Penitentiary. For the first two decades after his arrest, Dufresne struggles to fit in with the rest of the inmates because of his claims of innocence.
Morgan Freeman’s Ellis “Red” Redding, who he later befriends, plays a key role in a prison warden’s money laundering scheme as he becomes a comrade. He earns the respect of his warden, the captain of the prison guards, and his fellow inmates by the end of his time there. Many people consider this movie to be one of the best ever made. It serves as an example of how various filmmaking departments work together to create a cohesive whole.