Looking to improve on your leadership skills, researching different leadership styles, or just looking for some valuable lessons to get you into that leadership role? Then I have a list for you of some of the best movies on the subject that will help you gain the qualities of a great leader with a little hard work and determination. Check out this list of 35+ of the best movies on leadership to gain effective qualities.
Best Movies on Leadership
The Social Network (2010)
Plot: In 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer genius Mark Zuckerberg begins work on a new concept that eventually turns into the global social network known as Facebook. Six years later, he is one of the youngest billionaires ever, but Zuckerberg finds that his unprecedented success leads to both personal and legal complications when he ends up on the receiving end of two lawsuits, one involving his former friend. Based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires.” academy award winning movie directed by David Fincher. Making this one of the best movies on leadership to watch.
Star Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
Coach Carter (2005)
Plot: In 1999, Ken Carter returns to his old high school in Richmond, California, to get the basketball team members into shape. With tough rules and academic discipline, he succeeds in setting the players on a winning streak. But when their grades start to suffer, Carter locks them out of the gym and shuts down their championship season. When he is criticized by the players and their parents, he sticks to his guns, determined that they excel in class as well as on the court. Based on a true story.
Star Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Rick Gonzalez, Rob Brown
Erin Brockovich (2000)
Plot: Erin Brockovich is a woman in a tight spot. Following a car accident in which Erin is not at fault, Erin pleads with her attorney Ed Masry to hire her at his law firm. Erin stumbles upon some medical records placed in real estate files. She convinces Ed to allow her to investigate, where she discovers a cover-up involving contaminated water in a local community which is causing devastating illnesses among its residents. Making this one of the best movies on leadership to watch.
Star Cast: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart
Plot: When college coach Herb Brooks is hired to helm the 1980 U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team, he brings a unique and brash style to the ice. After assembling a team of hot-headed college all-stars, who are humiliated in an early match, Brooks unites his squad against a common foe, the heavily-favored Soviet Union team. As the U.S. squad tries to overcome insurmountable odds and win the gold medal, the team becomes a microcosm for American patriotism during the Cold War. A film that embodies team spirit.
Star Cast: Kurt Russell, Eddie Cahill, Michael Mantenuto
Plot: After his 27-year imprisonment and subsequent election as President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela faces the task of unifying a country divided by race. Only months since the end of Apartheid, thre is racial tension and divisions still exist between the country’s whites and blacks, something Mandela notices during an international rugby match. Realising black supporters cheer on the opposing side Rugby team when their white Springboks take to the field. An historical drama centered around the rugby world cup. Making this one of the best movies on leadership to watch.
Star Cast: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Plot: Life is a struggle for single father Chris Gardner. Evicted from their apartment, he and his young son find themselves alone with no place to go. Even though Chris eventually lands a job as an intern at a prestigious brokerage firm, the position pays no money. The pair must live in shelters and endure many hardships, but Chris refuses to give in to despair as he struggles to create a better life for himself and his son.
Star Cast: Will Smith, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, Thandiwe Newton
12 Angry Men (1957)
Plot: Following the closing arguments in a murder trial, the 12 members of the jury must deliberate, with a guilty verdict meaning death for the accused, an inner-city teen. As the dozen men try to reach a unanimous decision while sequestered in a room, one juror casts considerable doubt on elements of the case. Personal issues soon rise to the surface, and conflict threatens to derail the delicate process that will decide one boy’s fate in this courtroom drama.
Star Cast: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Joseph Sweeney
Thirteen Days (2001)
Plot: In October 1962, U-2 aerial surveillance photos reveal that the Soviet Union is in the process of placing intermediate-range ballistic missiles carrying nuclear weapons in Cuba, known as the Cuban missile crisis. President Kennedy and his advisers must come up with a plan of action to prevent their activation. Making this one of the best movies on leadership to watch.
Star Cast: Bruce Greenwood, Kevin Costner, Dylan Baker
Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Plot: After more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. Training a detachment of graduates for a special assignment, Maverick must confront the ghosts of his past and his deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who choose to fly it.
Star Cast: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Val Kilmer
Plot: William Wallace is the medieval Scottish patriot who is spurred into revolt against the English when the love of his life is slaughtered. Leading his army into battles that become a war, his advance into England threatens King Edward I’s throne before he is captured and executed, but not before becoming a symbol for a free Scotland.
Star Cast: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Catherine McCormack
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Plot: British POWs are ordered by their Japanese captors to construct a bridge of strategic importance and are happy to sabotage and delay the progress until their commanding officers orders them to continue the work unhindered to its completion, but are his actions tantamount to collaborating with the enemy?
Star Cast: Alec Guinness, William Holden, Sessue Hayakawa
Hidden Figures (2016)
Plot: Three brilliant African-American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world. Making this one of the best movies on leadership to watch.
Star Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Costner
Remember the Titans (2000)
Plot: In Virginia, high school football is a way of life, an institution revered, each game celebrated more lavishly than Christmas, each playoff distinguished more grandly than any national holiday. And with such recognition, comes powerful emotions. In 1971 high school football was everything to the people of Alexandria. But when the local school board was forced to integrate an all black school with an all white school, the very foundation of football’s great tradition was put to the test. Making this one of the best movies on leadership to watch.
Star Cast: Denzel Washington, Ryan Hurst, Ryan Gosling
The King’s Speech (2010)
Plot: England’s Prince Albert must ascend the throne as King George VI, but he has a speech impediment. Knowing that the country needs her husband to be able to communicate effectively, Elizabeth hires Lionel Logue, an Australian actor and speech therapist, to help him overcome his stammer. An extraordinary friendship develops between the two men, as Logue uses unconventional means to teach the monarch how to speak with confidence. A true story of King George VI. Making this one of the best movies on leadership to watch.
Star Cast: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Plot: The future of civilization rests in the fate of the One Ring, which has been lost for centuries. Powerful forces are unrelenting in their search for it. But fate has placed it in the hands of a young Hobbit named Frodo Baggins, who inherits the Ring and steps into legend. A daunting task lies ahead for Frodo when he becomes the Ringbearer – to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom where it was forged.
Star Cast: Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Plot: Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden becomes one of the most-wanted men on the planet. The worldwide manhunt for the terrorist leader occupies the resources and attention of two U.S. presidential administrations. Ultimately, it is the work of a dedicated female operative that proves instrumental in finally locating bin Laden. In May 2011, Navy SEALs launch a nighttime strike, killing bin Laden in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Making this one of the best movies on leadership to watch.
Star Cast: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Plot: Captain John Miller takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Surrounded by the brutal realties of war, while searching for Ryan, each man embarks upon a personal journey and discovers their own strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency and courage.
Star Cast: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore
Steve Jobs (2015)
Plot: With public anticipation running high, Apple Inc. co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve “Woz” Wozniak get ready to unveil the first Macintosh in 1984. Jobs must also deal with personal issues related to ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan and their young daughter Lisa. Eventually fired and at the face of adversity, Jobs launches NeXT Inc. and prepares to release a new computer model in 1988. Ten years later, Jobs is back at Apple Inc. and about to revolutionize the industry once again with the iMac. Making this one of the best movies on leadership to watch.
Star Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogan
Plot: Following the Battle of Antietam, Col. Robert Gould Shaw is offered command of the United States’ first all-African-American regiment during the Civil War, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. With junior officer Cabot Forbes, Shaw puts together a strong and proud unit, including the escaped slave Trip and the wise gravedigger John Rawlins. At first limited to menial manual tasks, the regiment fights to be placed in the heat of battle.
Star Cast: Matthew Broderick, Cary Elwes, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman
The Iron Lady (2011)
Plot: In her twilight years, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher reflects on her life and career as she finally prepares to dispose of the belongings of her late husband, Denis. Daughter of a Grantham grocer, she successfully broke through a double-paned glass ceiling of gender and class. Thatcher became the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom and remained as such for 11 consecutive years, until declining popularity forced her to resign.
Star Cast: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colemen
Captain America (2016)
Plot: Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow and Hawkeye must pick a side.
Star Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner
The Intern (2015)
Plot: Starting a new job can be a difficult challenge, especially if you’re already retired. Looking to get back into the game, 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker seizes the opportunity to become a senior intern at an online fashion site. Ben soon becomes popular with his younger co-workers, including Jules Ostin, the boss and founder of the company. Whittaker’s charm, wisdom and sense of humor help him develop a special bond and growing friendship with Jules.
Star Cast: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Adam DeVine
Plot: Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A’s baseball team, one day has an epiphany: Baseball’s conventional wisdom is all wrong. Faced with a tight budget, Beane must reinvent his team by outsmarting the richer ball clubs. Joining forces with Ivy League graduate Peter Brand, Beane prepares to challenge old-school traditions. He recruits bargain-bin players whom the scouts have labeled as flawed, but have game-winning potential. Based on the book by Michael Lewis.
Star Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Chris Pratt
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Plot: As D-Day approaches in World War II, Colonel Breed hands the roguish Major Reisman an important assignment: He must train a team of soldiers to parachute across enemy lines and assassinate German personnel at a French chateau. The soldiers, recruited from murderers, rapists and criminals on death row, are promised commuted sentences. In spite of their history, the 12 men prove a spirited and courageous unit. Led by Major Reisman, they will exact revenge.
Star Cast: Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes
The Sandlot (1993)
Plot: When Scottie Smalls moves to a new neighborhood, he manages to make friends with a group of kids who play baseball at the sandlot. Together they go on a series of events and funny and touching adventures. The boys run into trouble when Smalls borrows a ball from his stepdad that gets hit over a fence.
Star Cast: Thomas Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna
Other People’s Money (1991)
Plot: “Larry the Liquidator” Garfield is a corporate raider, deconstructing companies and selling off the parts for a profit. His new target is a small-town cable company that employs the majority of the town’s residents. With everyone’s livelihood depending on him, company chairman Andrew Jorgenson hires his sexy stepdaughter, Kate, to distract the ruthless raider. Larry takes the bait — and soon finds that he must choose between Kate and money.
Star Cast: Gregory Peck, Danny DeVito, Penelope Ann Miller
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Plot: Andy Dufresne is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover and is sentenced to a tough prison. However, only Andy knows he didn’t commit the crimes. While there, he forms a friendship with Red, experiences brutality of prison life, adapts, helps the warden, etc., all in 19 years.
Star Cast: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Clancy Brown
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Plot: Andy is a recent college graduate with big dreams. Upon landing a job at prestigious Runway magazine, she finds herself the assistant to diabolical editor Miranda Priestly. Andy questions her ability to survive her grim tour as Miranda’s whipping girl without getting scorched.
Star Cast: Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt
The Mighty Ducks (1992)
Plot: After reckless young lawyer Gordon Bombay gets arrested for drunk driving, he must coach a kids hockey team for his community service. Gordon has experience on the ice, but isn’t eager to return to hockey, a point hit home by his tense dealings with his own former coach, Jack Reilly. The reluctant Gordon eventually grows to appreciate his team, which includes promising young Charlie Conway, and leads them to take on Reilly’s tough players.
Star Cast: Emilio Estevez, Lane Smith, Joshua Jackson
Plot: On Jan. 15, 2009, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger tries to make an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. Despite the accolades, the famed pilot now faces an investigation that threatens to destroy his career and reputation.
Star Cast: Tom Hanks, Laura Linney, Aaron Eckhart
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Plot: In 1987, Jordan Belfort takes an entry-level job at a Wall Street brokerage firm. By the early 1990s, while still in his 20s, Belfort founds his own firm, Stratton Oakmont. Together with his trusted lieutenant and a merry band of brokers, Belfort makes a huge fortune by defrauding wealthy investors out of millions. However, while Belfort and his cronies partake in a hedonistic brew of sex, drugs and thrills, the SEC and the FBI close in on his empire of excess.
Star Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Jordan Belfort
The Hunger Games (2012)
Plot: In what was once North America, the Capitol of Panem maintains its hold on its 12 districts by forcing them each to select a boy and a girl, called Tributes, to compete in a nationally televised event called the Hunger Games. Every citizen must watch as the youths fight to the death until only one remains. District 12 Tribute Katniss Everdeen has little to rely on, other than her hunting skills and sharp instincts, in an arena where she must weigh survival against love.
Star Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
The Italian Job (1969)
Plot: A British crook robs gold ingots in Italy by having a computer expert cause a traffic jam.
Star Cast: Michael Caine, Benny Hill, Noel Coward
Schindler’s List (1993)
Plot: Businessman Oskar Schindler arrives in Krakow in 1939, ready to make his fortune from World War II, which has just started. After joining the Nazi party primarily for political expediency, he staffs his factory with Jewish workers for similarly pragmatic reasons. When the SS begins exterminating Jews in the Krakow ghetto, Schindler arranges to have his workers protected to keep his factory in operation, but soon realizes that in so doing, he is also saving innocent lives.
Star Cast: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Plot: Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal and serve as a liaison between the Arab tribes and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali, Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port.
Star Cast: Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif