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films that celebrate life, liberty and the indomitable human spirit in the face of adversity?
September 20, 2008 3:44 PM   Subscribe

What are some films that celebrate life, liberty and the indomitable human spirit in the face of adversity?

In this thread about a remarkable guy who had himself sent to Auschwitz to report on what was going down there, nickyskye wrote "That article says, “Death of Captain Pilecki” joins the ranks of other small, independent films that celebrate life, liberty and the indomitable human spirit in the face of adversity. Would love a whole list of those movies.

I wholeheartedly agree. Hope us with some great movies!
posted by UbuRoivas to Media & Arts (51 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
My Left Foot
posted by Fairchild at 3:54 PM on September 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Although the background of a "western" may seem odd at first, I say "Lonesome Dove" the miniseries. This is brilliant writing that sucks at the soul, being about overcoming, living out one's flawed past thru to a bitter and frail redemption. Life, liberty, and the persevering spirit are what it is all about.
posted by yazi at 3:56 PM on September 20, 2008


The Lives of Others
posted by dydecker at 3:57 PM on September 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Shawshank Redemption and Life is Beautiful are two of my favorites.
posted by velvet winter at 3:57 PM on September 20, 2008


Kill Bill.
posted by davidmsc at 4:07 PM on September 20, 2008


The Shawshank Redemption is indeed lovely. I'll throw in a few of my own favourites before ducking out of the thread:

Touching the Void - incredible struggle for survival by a mountaineer left for dead in the Andes.

Into the Wild - perversely, the story of a fucked-up kid heading off to Alaska & dying has a lot to say about that spirit thing that I mentioned in the question.

Somersault - an indie Australian film, about a fucked-up kid heading off to our pissweak snowy mountains & not dying does the same kind of thing. It also has a great soundtrack by the band Decoder Ring as an added bonus.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:09 PM on September 20, 2008


Fitzcarldo.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:12 PM on September 20, 2008


Procès de Jeanne d'Arc
La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc.

First two are great, third one not so good, but it's all in there.
posted by fire&wings at 4:13 PM on September 20, 2008


Naked by Mike Leigh
The violence the sex the madness all done in the quest to retain that indomitable human spirit. Sometimes the celebration is ugly and sometimes it will fail.
posted by pianomover at 4:17 PM on September 20, 2008


Refugee All Stars of Sierra Leone (documentary)
posted by quarterframer at 4:26 PM on September 20, 2008


Hotel Rwanda
Gandhi
posted by amethysts at 4:31 PM on September 20, 2008


Not an indie film by any measure, but Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith was of this genre.
posted by kimdog at 4:52 PM on September 20, 2008


Rocky and Rudy.
posted by Beardman at 4:52 PM on September 20, 2008


Mother India
posted by peacheater at 4:55 PM on September 20, 2008


Mother India
Sorry scratch that I meant Salaam Bombay.
posted by peacheater at 4:57 PM on September 20, 2008


Clean, Shaven
posted by rhizome at 4:59 PM on September 20, 2008


Rescue Dawn
and
Little Dieter needs to Fly (documentary)

both films by Werner Herzog, relating the true story of Dieter Dengler.

from IMDB:
"This film tells the real-life story of U.S. fighter pilot Dieter Dengler, a German-American shot down and captured in Laos during the Vietnam War. Dengler organized a death-defying escape for a small band of POWs, including Duane Martin"

ordinarily I don't go for action/adventure films but these films are actually quite life-affirming...
(Herzog fan here..)
posted by The_Auditor at 5:06 PM on September 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Apostle
posted by timsteil at 5:20 PM on September 20, 2008


The Pianist

La Vita e Bella

The Grapes of Wrath (the book more than the film)

Hollywood movies with heroes often strive to meet your conditions, I mean, do you call Jason Bourne's situation adversity? I hold my nose a bit when I recommend

Dances with Wolves
The Fugitive
Cast Away

and 2nd Rescue Dawn, a wonderful film.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:39 PM on September 20, 2008


Independence Day.
posted by Diskeater at 5:47 PM on September 20, 2008


Papillon
posted by ripple at 5:47 PM on September 20, 2008


Steal a Pencil for Me
posted by HotPatatta at 6:02 PM on September 20, 2008


Map of the Human Heart.
posted by chippie at 6:08 PM on September 20, 2008


Ghandi
posted by HotPatatta at 6:09 PM on September 20, 2008


Ikiru
posted by one_bean at 6:13 PM on September 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


The movie that immediately springs to mind for me is The Killing Fields, made doubly poignant because of what happened to Dr. Haing S. Ngor, the actor who played Dith Pran.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:23 PM on September 20, 2008


Dreamgirls and Walk the Line both deal with musicians who overcome their own addictions and other emotional issues.

Also: Persepolis (movie and book).
posted by lunasol at 6:59 PM on September 20, 2008


Rory O'Shea Was Here
posted by Soliloquy at 7:42 PM on September 20, 2008


Breaking Away

Cool Hand Luke

Tucker
posted by any major dude at 8:12 PM on September 20, 2008


Cool Hand Luke -- Paul Newman when he was so good looking it almost hurt to look at him, and just that charismatic, the perfect actor for the role of a natural that people cannot help but follow, just of him being himself. Great performances by George Kennedy, Strother Martin as 'The Captain'; I don't recall who played the main 'Boss' who was Lukes main problem but he sure came across on screen as a scary, scary guy; if you don't cry at Jo Van Cleef's performance as Luke's mother I just guess you don't cry at movies. NOT a chick flick, which doesn't mean that girls won't like it, just that it's not Pretty Woman or some other Hollywood flash/trash.

The book is even better, and has aged better also. IMO; ymmv. By Donn Pearce, who actually lived on a chain gang in the late forties or maybe early fifties, and the book based upon his experiences, the movie based (loosely) on the book. Get a copy of it used from Amazon and become maybe the fourteenth person to read it, which I try to do every few years, as it's great writing, also a great gift to give to my friends who are readers, esp if they are manly-men sort of people, or women who like manly-men sort of people and/or books written by and/or about them.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:19 PM on September 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


(damnit, meant to hit preview and hit submit -- any major dude beat me to it...)
posted by dancestoblue at 8:20 PM on September 20, 2008


Mr. Holland's Opus
Music of the Heart
Billy Elliot
posted by mewithoutyou at 8:28 PM on September 20, 2008


Le Scaphandre et le papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)
posted by Yorrick at 8:28 PM on September 20, 2008


Empire of the Sun.
posted by philip-random at 8:37 PM on September 20, 2008


Danton -- sadly not on DVD here in the states. (Anyone who messes around with torrents and DVDs and whatnot and wants to make an eternal friend, let me know.) Depardieu perfectly cast as the lusty and earthy Danton, an early leader in the French revolution; check out the dinner scene, maybe halfway through the movie, he explodes off the screen, it's incredible, he's an elemental force, one of my favorite scenes ever, any movie.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:43 PM on September 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unstrung heroes
posted by concrete at 9:03 PM on September 20, 2008


1984
posted by GrooveStix at 9:03 PM on September 20, 2008


I'd include Forest Gump.
posted by karizma at 9:33 PM on September 20, 2008


Rabbit-Proof Fence
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:33 PM on September 20, 2008


Cinderella Man
Howl's Moving Castle
Spirited Away
300
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
Kingdom of Heaven
Witness to Hope
Sophie Scholl
The Burmese Harp
Chariots of Fire
The Scarlet and the Black
posted by keith0718 at 3:01 AM on September 21, 2008


I think The Castle qualifies.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:47 AM on September 21, 2008


The Fountain
posted by slimepuppy at 5:41 AM on September 21, 2008


Coming out films frequently fall into this category, I would vote for "Beautiful Thing".
I also second Billy Elliot.

But 300, keith0718? Really?
posted by kolophon at 7:01 AM on September 21, 2008


Pather Panchali, by Satyajit Ray.
posted by acrasis at 7:54 AM on September 21, 2008


The Bandit Queen
posted by Grlnxtdr at 8:24 AM on September 21, 2008


Marcel Pagnol's Marseilles trilogy (make sure to watch Pagnol's original and not the dreadful Hollywood remake)

Jean Renoir's La Grande illusion (about WWI) and La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game), two of the greatest movies ever made

Since Otar Left...

Tom Jones
posted by languagehat at 10:06 AM on September 21, 2008


N-thing Billy Elliott. Try October Sky, too. It's a true story. Also The Counterfeiters is certainly about "the indomitable human spirit in the face of adversity", but also how one manages to remain humane in an inhuman environment. Another true story, but the heroism in this movie is not unambiguous.
posted by angiep at 12:06 PM on September 21, 2008


The Empire Of The Sun
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:50 PM on September 21, 2008


Pather Panchali, by Satyajit Ray.

Yes, this.
posted by Wolof at 9:20 PM on September 21, 2008


See also Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring.
And Yi yi

Both thoroughly moving and life affirming without a hint of schmaltz.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:28 AM on September 22, 2008


Oh YAYY wonderful film choices!!!
posted by nickyskye at 6:58 PM on September 22, 2008


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