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13 must-see movies that will change the way you see the world

We’ve pulled together our 13 must-watch movies – they all have important messages we reckon are worth being reminded of as we begin a new year.

These all-time favourites will make you smile, make you cry, inspire you with the pure goodness of humankind, and leave you outraged at injustice around us. Grab the popcorn, invite your friends over and check out this best-of mix of docos, true stories and fiction.

  1. Tomorrow

Two French filmmakers travel the world to showcase creative, alternative and concrete solutions to our planet’s environmental and social challenges.

Message: Optimism, together we can change the world

  1. The Pursuit of Happyness

The story of Chris Gardner’s journey as a homeless salesman, trying to get back on his feet and raise his son as a single dad. 

Message: Staying positive in the face of adversity

  1. The Innocents

Based on the WWII true story of Red Cross doctor Madeleine Pauliac and a convent of nuns in Poland who all give birth after being raped by Soviet soldiers. 

Message: Resilience and strength, and choosing to do what is right in the face of resistance

  1. Charlie’s Country

Charlie, an Aboriginal man who lives in Arnhem Land, struggles with feeling out of place and the loss of Indigenous culture in modern Australia. 

Message: The importance of cultural identity

  1. Wonder

Based on the New York Times bestseller, this is the story of a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade and attends a mainstream elementary school for the first time.

 Message:  It’s our differences that make us strong and unite us

  1. The Kite Runner

Set against the background of tumultuous events in Afghanistan, a young boy struggles with guilt over abandoning his friend Hassan, who is the son of his father’s servant.

Message:  Empathy, and what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes

  1. Unity

For all humanity's advances – science, literature, medicine – humankind just can't seem to get along, even after thousands of years. 

Message: We are all connected through experiences of love, tragedy and hope

  1. Pay It Forward

A teacher gives an assignment to his class to think of an idea to change the world for the better, then put it into action. When one young student creates a plan for "paying forward" favours, he not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but he sets in motion an unprecedented wave of human kindness which has blossomed into a national phenomenon.

Message: A small act of kindness can have a big impact

  1. The Florida Project

Set over one summer, this is the story of a six-year-old girl and her friends who live in budget motels on the stretch of highway a stone’s throw from Disney World in Florida. A story of poverty, and trying to make ends meet whilst raising a child.

Message: The wonder and joy of a child’s view on life, even when things are tough

  1. Schindler’s List

This one’s a classic. The true story of Oskar Schindler, a businessman in German-occupied Poland whose efforts to employ Jews during WWII are believed to have saved over 1,000 people from Nazi concentration camps.

Message:  Compassion and the power of one person

  1. Hacksaw Ridge

The true story of army medic Desmond Doss who won a Congressional Medal of Honour despite being a conscientious objector who refused to carry a gun.

Message: There is power and impact in choosing non-violent action

  1. The Good Lie

The inspiring and true story of a group of siblings forced to flee their homeland during the Second Sudanese Civil War.

Message:  Resilience and the strength of family

  1. Life is Beautiful

In Nazi Germany, Guido Orefice tries to protect his son from the horrors of being in a concentration camp by pretending they are playing a game where he must stay quiet and hide.

Message: It is a wonderful life

Inspired to help make the world a better place and kinder place?

See our ultimate guide to making a difference