ByJared Ficiur, writer at
Jared Ficiur

"You don't need to be a winner to win in life." These were the words that Hugh Jackman shared with us for the secret screening of his new film Eddie the Eagle at the Sundance Film Festival. I was lucky enough to attend this screening and this brilliant and emotional film isn't about a winner, it's about a man who is trying to become better than he is.

Along with Eddie the Eagle here is a list of amazing motivational movies that were based on trues stories.

Eddie the Eagle (2016)

Like I was saying this film is a wonderful motivational story! We follow Eddie through his life dream of making it into the Olympics. This true story is based on real life Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards who had to fight his way into the 1988 Winter Olympics as a ski jumper. Since then, Eddie has become a famous example of "heroic failure" because of his perseverance, and determination in going to the Olympics even while it was well known he was in the bottom percentile, with no chance of placing.

In the upcoming film, up and coming star Taron Egerton plays the title character with Hugh Jackman as his coach. The film is set for a wide release on February 26th. I was lucky enough to screen the movie early at the Sundance Film Festival and can promise the film stands up to the true story! It's filled with fun humor and heartfelt characters that make it exceptionally relatable! Definitely a must see!

Unbroken (2014)

This recent film also depicts the life of an Olympian - Louis Zamperini. This amazing hero finished eighth in the 1936 Olympics 5000m race. His inspiring story doesn't end there though, in fact it barely starts. Zamperini became a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force during World War II. Halfway through the war his plane crashed into the ocean, and with two other survivors they floated around the ocean without consistent food and water for 47 days when they were finally captured by the Japanese Navy. He spent the final two years of the war as a prisoner of war subjected to torture, slave labor and constant physical abuse.

Even though America finally won the war and Zamperini was released and sent home he is still an incredible example of perseverance in the face of absolute hell. After the war he became a war hero, but with extreme PTSD and eventually a severe drinking problem that he used to cope with his anxiety. Eventually he came out of his own darkness and launched a new career as a Christian evangelist. His recurring theme was forgiveness, and he exemplified this as he sought out his former captors, and embraced them in forgiveness. This man is an amazing example of overcoming impossible conditions, and forgiving those who have caused you immense pain. The film depicts his struggle as a POW and he was played by the amazing Jack O'Connell.

Cool Runnings (1993)

This inspiring story also took place during the Winter Olympics in 1988, where a Jamaican team attempted to compete in the bobsled event. The team of four were not lost on the irony that they were from Jamaica, a tropical country, and yet attempting to compete in the winter Olympics. They did not sit in a real bobseld until they had reached the Olympics in Calgary Canada.

When it finally came to the time to compete their bobseld lost a ski and they only made it across the finish line because the four picked up the sled and carried it over their shoulders. They were met with thunderous applause and have become known worldwide for their motivating underdog story. The 1993 film is often considered a comedy, however their is no humor as you watch them cross the finish line without, technically, finishing the race. It is quite a remarkable story!

Remember the Titans (2000)

Most of us fondly remember Remember the Titans that followed the TC Williams High School football team's winning season in 1971. The film is arguably the best football film of all time, and for good reason! It follows Coach Bill Yoast as he's fired, and then re-hired as the Assistant Coach. He only accepts the job because the new African-American coach asks him to return, and the Caucasian members of the football team threaten to quit because of his dismissal.

The racial theme of the film is quite profound, and we watch the team become a team instead of two different racial groups as they start out. They become quite popular in the media, but the true "winner" of the story is Coach Yoast as he's promised to be inducted into the Hall of Fame if the Titans lose a single game. He refuses, and the team goes undefeated making them successful winners except Yoast who loses out on his dream. It's quite an amazing story in a time where racial problems were much worse than they are today! This story of a coach who did everything right just to see his students succeed and gain scholarships to secure their futures is nothing short of amazing!

Milk (2008)

Harvey Milk was one of the first openly gay politicians to be elected to public office in the 1960s. In his day the cops were harassing homosexuals on the streets, and often found persecuting gay bars. Oral sex was still a felony, and men in San Francisco were being branded sex offenders for life if they were caught in any homosexual activities.

During his time in politics Milk struggles with fellow politician Dan White. The two often clashed in their ideologies, and Milk went up against White as he proposed to ban all homosexual and lesbians from working in California's public schools. The two fight tirelessly and rally people to their cause, but in the end White is defeated and the proposition denied, and White resigns from office. He later asks the Mayor for his job back, but the Mayor has since befriended Milk and denies White his request. A month later White enters the City Hall with a gun and shoots both the Mayor and Milk assassination style. Even though Milk died a martyr, he became a symbol for speaking up and making change happen.

Make sure to catch Eddie the Eagle in theaters on February 26th!


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