Inspirational Movies Every Entrepreneur Should Watch

If you’re looking for an inspiration or a good movie just to enjoy your time, these movies will make your day.

The Imitation Game: Enigma

(L-R) Keira Knightley, Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Allen Leech star in THE IMMITATION GAME.

During World War II, the English mathematical genius Alan Turing tries to crack the German Enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians while attempting to come to terms with his troubled private life.

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The Pursuit of Happyness

Based on a true story about a man named Christopher Gardner. Gardner has invested heavily in a device known as a “bone density scanner”. He feels like he has it made selling these devices. However, they do not sell well as they are marginally better than x-ray at a much higher price. As Gardner works to make ends meet, his wife leaves him and he loses his apartment. Forced to live out in the streets with his son, Gardner continues to sell bone density scanners while concurrently taking on an unpaid internship as a stockbroker, with slim chances for advancement to a paid position. Before he can receive pay, he needs to outshine the competition through 6 months of training, and to sell his devices to stay afloat.—John Wiggins, Alf Fonz

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The Wolf of Wall Street

In the early 1990s, Jordan Belfort teamed with his partner Donny Azoff and started brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont. Their company quickly grows from a staff of 20 to a staff of more than 250 and their status in the trading community and Wall Street grows exponentially. So much that companies file their initial public offerings through them. As their status grows, so do the amount of substances they abuse, and so do their lies. They draw attention like no other, throwing lavish parties for their staff when they hit the jackpot on high trades. That ultimately leads to Belfort featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine, being called “The Wolf Of Wall St.”. With the FBI onto Belfort’s trading schemes, he devises new ways to cover his tracks and watch his fortune grow. Belfort ultimately comes up with a scheme to stash their cash in a European bank. But with the FBI watching him like a hawk, how long will Belfort and Azoff be able to maintain their elaborate wealth and luxurious lifestyles? —halo1k

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Eddie the Eagle

Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good story about Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton), an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself – even as an entire nation was counting him out. With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach (played by Hugh Jackman), Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. From producers of Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eddie the Eagle stars Taron Egerton as Eddie, the loveable underdog with a never say die attitude.—20th Century Fox

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Whiplash

Nineteen year old Andrew Niemann wants to be the greatest jazz drummer in the world, in a league with Buddy Rich. This goal is despite not coming from a pedigree of greatest, musical or otherwise, with Jim, his high school teacher father, being a failed writer. Andrew is starting his first year at Shaffer Conservatory of Music, the best music school in the United States. At Shaffer, being the best means being accepted to study under Terence Fletcher and being asked to play in his studio band, which represents the school at jazz competitions. Based on their less than positive first meeting, Andrew is surprised that Fletcher asks him to join the band, albeit in the alternate drummer position which he is more than happy to do initially. Andrew quickly learns that Fletcher operates on fear and intimidation, never settling for what he considers less than the best each and every time. Being the best in Fletcher’s mind does not only entail playing well, but knowing that you’re playing well and if not what you’re doing wrong. His modus operandi creates an atmosphere of fear and of every man or woman for him/herself within the band. Regardless, Andrew works hard to be the best. He has to figure out his life priorities and what he is willing to sacrifice to be the best. The other question becomes how much emotional abuse he will endure by Fletcher to reach that greatness, which he may believe he can only achieve with the avenues opened up by Fletcher.—Huggo

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The Internship

Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world. Trying to prove they are not obsolete, they defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at Google, along with a battalion of brilliant college students. But, gaining entrance to this utopia is only half the battle. Now they must compete with a group of the nation’s most elite, tech-savvy geniuses to prove that necessity really is the mother of re-invention.—Twentieth Century Fox

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Pirates of Silicon Valley

This is a semi-humorous biographical film about the men who made the world of technology what it is today, their struggles during college, the founding of their companies, and the ingenious actions they took to build up the global corporate empires of Apple Computer Corporation and Microsoft Inc.—Flotis

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The Social Network

On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history… but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications.—Columbia Pictures

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Limitless

An action-thriller about a writer who takes an experimental drug that allows him to use 100% of his mind. As one man evolves into the perfect version of himself, forces more corrupt than he can imagine mark him for assassination. Out-of-work writer Eddie Morra’s (Cooper) rejection by girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) confirms his belief that he has zero future. That all vanishes the day an old friend introduces Eddie to NZT, a designer pharmaceutical that makes him laser-focused and more confident than any man alive. Now on an NZT-fueled odyssey, everything Eddie’s read, heard or seen is instantly organized and available to him. As the former nobody rises to the top of the financial world, he draws the attention of business mogul Carl Van Loon (De Niro), who sees this enhanced version of Eddie as the tool to make billions, but brutal side effects jeopardize his meteoric ascent. With a dwindling stash and hit men who will eliminate him to get the NZT, Eddie must stay wired long enough to elude capture and fulfill his destiny. If he can’t, he will become just another victim who thought he’d found invincibility in a bottle.—Relativity Media

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The Intern

A retired 70-year-old widower, Ben (played by Robert De Niro), is bored with retired life. He applies to a be a senior intern at an online fashion retailer and gets the position. The founder of the company is Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), a tireless, driven, demanding, dynamic workaholic. Ben is made her intern, but this is a nominal role – she doesn’t intend to give him work and it is just window dressing. However, Ben proves to be quite useful and, more than that, a source of support and wisdom.—grantss

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The Founder

1954. Having worked as a salesman most of his adult life, Ray Kroc has been a hustler in most senses of the word. That hustling has made him the target of derision among certain circles for peddling what have ended up being more novelty or faddish than useful products, but it has also placed more than a comfortable roof in Arlington Heights, Illinois over his and his wife Ethel’s heads. Ethel, however, wishes that he placed as much effort into being at home with her as he does in selling; his current job of peddling five-spindle milkshake makers for Prince Castle which has him constantly on the road going from one drive-in restaurant to another. It is because of the beefs he has with the whole drive-in experience (bad food, bad service) in constantly eating at such establishments while on the road that he becomes enthralled with the concept of McDonald’s Restaurant in San Bernardino, California, owned and operated by brothers Richard McDonald and Maurice McDonald – Dick and Mac. Unlike most of Ray’s customers who will only require one five-spindle milkshake maker at any given time, the McDonald brothers end up purchasing eight machines for their single restaurant. Primarily on Dick’s initiative, the brothers have redesigned the whole concept of the drive-in restaurant to focus on quality food through a smaller menu of only the most popular items (hamburgers, fries, sodas), consistency in product so that customers know what to expect from time to time, change in the target market from lounging teenagers to families, and perhaps most importantly speed in having any order ready within seconds, many of these goals achievable through assembly line styled production. They had tried franchising previously, but failed in that they lost control over many of those aspects which made their San Bernardino restaurant successful. Despite believing Ray a bit off kilter (in other words, crazy), the McDonald brothers somewhat hesitantly enter into a contract with him to be their head of franchising. Ray’s experience in the job is not without its problems, especially as his franchisees seem to be making more money than he is, he who is only breaking even. He is not averse to advancing ideas provided to him to get ahead – original ideas which are not his forte – he seeing the brothers as his biggest problem in they thinking small. These differences lead to a standoff between Ray and the brothers, the former who has a different goal for “his” business in profit and stoking his own ego seemingly his main priorities.—Huggo

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War Dogs

In 2005, David Packouz lives in Miami, Florida, working as a massage therapist and living with his girlfriend Iz. Desiring an additional source of income, David spends his life savings on high-quality Egyptian cotton sheets, planning to sell them to Miami retirement homes, but this venture fails to produce results. At a funeral for a friend, David runs into his high school best friend Efraim Diveroli, who had moved to Los Angeles some years prior to work with his uncle selling guns. Efraim has left his uncle and formed his own company, AEY, which fills orders for arms placed by the US government due to the ongoing war in Iraq. David’s life takes another turn when his girlfriend informs him that she is pregnant. Efraim offers him a job at AEY, and even though David and Iz both vehemently oppose the war, David eventually agrees, telling his girlfriend that he has begun selling his cotton sheets to the US government through Efraim’s contacts.

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Lord of War

An arms dealer confronts the morality of his work as he is being chased by an INTERPOL Agent.

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The Devil Wears Prada

In New York, the simple and naive just-graduated in journalism Andrea Sachs is hired to work as the second assistant of the powerful and sophisticated Miranda Priestly, the ruthless and merciless executive of the Runway fashion magazine. Andrea dreams to become a journalist and faces the opportunity as a temporary professional challenge. The first assistant Emily advises Andrea about the behavior and preferences of their cruel boss, and the stylist Nigel helps Andrea to dress more adequately for the environment. Andrea changes her attitude and behavior, affecting her private life and the relationship with her boyfriend Nate, her family and friends. In the end, Andrea learns that life is made of choices.—Claudio Carvalho

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Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich-Ellis is an unemployed single mother, desperate to find a job, but is having no luck. This losing streak even extends to a failed lawsuit against a doctor in a car accident she was in. With no alternative, she successfully browbeats her lawyer to give her a job in compensation for the loss. While no one takes her seriously, with her trashy clothes and earthy manners, that soon changes when she begins to investigate a suspicious real estate case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. What she discovers is that the company is trying quietly to buy land that was contaminated by hexavalent chromium, a deadly toxic waste that the company is improperly and illegally dumping and, in turn, poisoning the residents in the area. As she digs deeper, Erin finds herself leading point in a series of events that would involve her law firm in one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history against a multi-billion dollar corporation.—Kenneth Chisholm

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Up in the Air

Ryan Bingham is a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles, and just after he’s met the frequent-traveller woman of his dreams.

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Unfinished Business

A hard-working small business owner (Vince Vaughn) and his two associates (Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco) travel to Europe to close the most important deal of their lives. But what began as a routine business trip goes off the rails in every way imaginable – and unimaginable.—20th Century Fox

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Be Cool

Streetwise mobster-turned-movie producer Chili Palmer is back, but this time Chili has abandoned the fickle movie industry and veered into the music business, tangling with Russian mobsters and gangsta rappers and taking a talented, feisty young singer named Linda Moon under his wing. From the recording studio to an Aerosmith concert to the MTV Music Awards, he manipulates events to watch them play out the Chili way, using his signature blend of wiseguy skills and negotiation tactics. It’s a dangerous business, and everyone’s looking for their next big hit.—Sujit R. Varma

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Silver Linings Playbook

Against medical advice and without the knowledge of her husband Pat Solatano Sr., caring Dolores Solatano discharges her adult son, Pat Solatano Jr., from a Maryland mental health institution after his minimum eight-month court ordered stint. The condition of the release includes Pat Jr. moving back in with his parents in their Philadelphia home. Although Pat Jr.’s institutionalization was due to him beating up the lover of his wife Nikki, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Nikki has since left him and has received a restraining order against him. Although he is on medication (which he doesn’t take because of the way it makes him feel) and has mandatory therapy sessions, Pat Jr. feels like he can manage on the outside solely by healthy living and looking for the “silver linings” in his life. His goals are to get his old job back as a substitute teacher, but more importantly reunite with Nikki. He finds there are certain instances where he doesn’t cope well; however, no less so than some others who have never been institutionalized, such as his Philadelphia Eagles obsessed father who has resorted to being a bookie to earn a living, his best friend Ronnie who quietly seethes over the control wielded by his wife Veronica, and Veronica’s widowed sister, Tiffany Maxwell, a girl with problems of her own. In their fragile mental states, Pat Jr. and Tiffany embark on a love/hate friendship based primarily on what help the other can provide in achieving their individual goals. But they may reevaluate their goals as their relationship progresses.—Huggo

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The Big Short

Three separate but parallel stories of the U.S mortgage housing crisis of 2005 are told. Michael Burry, an eccentric ex-physician turned one-eyed Scion Capital hedge fund manager, has traded traditional office attire for shorts, bare feet and a Supercuts haircut. He believes that the US housing market is built on a bubble that will burst within the next few years. Autonomy within the company allows Burry to do largely as he pleases, so Burry proceeds to bet against the housing market with the banks, who are more than happy to accept his proposal for something that has never happened in American history. The banks believe that Burry is a crackpot and therefore are confident in that they will win the deal. Jared Vennett with Deutschebank gets wind of what Burry is doing and, as an investor believes he too can cash in on Burry’s beliefs. An errant telephone call to FrontPoint Partners gets this information into the hands of Mark Baum, an idealist who is fed up with the corruption in the financial industry. Baum and his associates, who work at an arms length under Morgan Stanley, decide to join forces with Vennett despite not totally trusting him. In addition to Burry’s information, they further believe that most of the mortgages are overrated by the bond agencies, with the banks collating all the sub-prime mortgages under AAA packages. Charlie Geller and Jamie Shipley, who are minor players in a $30 million start-up garage company called Brownfield, get a hold of Vennett’s prospectus on the matter. Wanting in on the action but not having the official clout to play, they decide to call an old “friend”, retired investment banker Ben Rickert, to help out. All three of these groups work on the premise that the banks are stupid and don’t know what’s going on, while for them to win, the general economy has to lose, which means the suffering of the general investor who trusts the financial institutions. That latter aspect may not sit well with Baum. Some of these assumptions may be incorrect and may be far more manipulative than they could have ever imagined, which in turn may throw curves into the process.—Huggo

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Miss Sloane

In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. Known equally for her cunning and her track record of success, she has always done whatever is required to win. But when she takes on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds that winning may come at too high a price.—EuropaCorp

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The Man Who Knew Infinity

In the 1910s, Srinivasa Ramanujan is a man of boundless intelligence that even the abject poverty of his home in Madras, India, cannot crush. Eventually, his stellar intelligence in mathematics and his boundless confidence in both attract the attention of the noted British mathematics professor, G.H. Hardy, who invites him to further develop his computations at Trinity College at Cambridge. Forced to leave his young wife, Janaki, behind, Ramanujan finds himself in a land where both his largely intuitive mathematical theories and his cultural values run headlong into both the stringent academic requirements of his school and mentor and the prejudiced realities of a Britain heading into World War One. Facing this with a family back home determined to keep him from his wife and his own declining health, Ramanujan joins with Hardy in a mutual struggle that would define Ramanujan as one of India’s greatest modern scholars who broke more than one barrier in his worlds.—Kenneth Chisholm

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Hidden Figures

As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as “human computers”, we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history’s greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Gobels Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.—20th Century Fox

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Begin Again

Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City.—The Weinstein Company

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Soul Kitchen

In Hamburg, Zinos has a restaurant serving poor-man’s fare; he gets by, but his girlfriend has taken a job in Shanghai, he’s hurt his back and can’t cook, his feckless brother can be on daily parole from jail only if Zinos employs him (though his brother doesn’t want to work), a school acquaintance wants to buy the restaurant property, and the tax authority and health inspector are on his case. Zinos hires a temperamental chef and loses all his customers, signs a power of attorney giving his brother full authority at the restaurant, and buys a ticket to Shanghai. Is this a recipe for disaster?—jhailey

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Bombon El perro

Life is no bed of roses for 52-year-old Juan “Coco” Villegas. He, who has been a gas station attendant for twenty years in Patagonia, finds himself jobless overnight. He first tries to survive by selling knives of his own making. But business is bad and he can’t find real work. One day though, after fixing a vehicle on a farm, he gets paid by means of a beautiful Argentinian watch-dog! From this blessed day on, things start shaping well at last…—Guy Bellinger

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Jerry Maguire

Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is a successful sports agent. The biggest clients, the respect, a beautiful fiancée, he has it all. Until one night he questions his purpose. His place in the world, and finally comes to terms with what’s wrong with his career and life. Recording all of his thoughts in a mission statement, Jerry feels he has a new lease on life. Unfortunately his opinions aren’t met with enthusiasm from his superiors and after dishonorably being stripped of his high earning clients and elite status within the agency, Jerry steps out into the sports business armed with only one volatile client, Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), and the only person with belief in his abilities, Dorothy Boyd (Renée Zellweger), with the impossible task of rebuilding what he once had. Along the way, he faces the harsh truth which he’d ignored in the past and a host of hardships that he’d never faced before.—Hax_9

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Flash of Genius

Based on the true story of college professor and part-time inventor Robert Kearns’ long battle with the U.S. automobile industry, Flash of Genius tells the tale of one man whose fight to receive recognition for his ingenuity would come at a heavy price. But this determined engineer refused to be silenced, and he took on the corporate titans in a battle that nobody thought he could win. The Kearns were a typical 1960s Detroit family, trying to live their version of the American Dream. Local university professor Bob married teacher Phyllis and, by their mid-thirties, had six kids who brought them a hectic but satisfying Midwestern existence. When Bob invents a device that would eventually be used by every car in the world, the Kearns think they have struck gold. But their aspirations are dashed after the auto giants who embraced Bob’s creation unceremoniously shunned the man who invented it. Ignored, threatened and then buried in years of litigation, Bob is haunted by what was done to his family and their future. He becomes a man obsessed with justice and the conviction that his life’s work-or for that matter, anyone’s work-be acknowledged by those who stood to benefit. And while paying the toll for refusing to compromise his dignity, this everyday David will try the unthinkable: to bring Goliath to his knees.—Anonymous

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Joy

Joy Mangano has always been fascinated by creating things, This pursuit was always supported emotionally by her maternal grandmother, Mimi. Joy feels that lack of practical support has led to others making fortunes on ideas she came up with years ago but could not act upon manufacturing. Despite being broke, Joy is the person in her extended family to whom everyone has always turned, in the process forgoing her own life, including not having attended college to help see her parents through their divorce. She works in an unsatisfying job as an Eastern Airlines ticket clerk; and lives with her mother Terry who spends all day in bed watching soap operas; her ex-husband Tony, a less than successful aspiring Latino Tom Jones wannabe; and their two children. Added to this mix is her father Rudy, the owner of a failing heavy-duty garage, which is managed by Joy’s older half-sister Peggy, with whom she has somewhat of a strained relationship, and for which Joy does the books. Sharon, Rudy’s latest girlfriend who has just dumped him, drops him off on Joy’s doorstep, making Joy’s home life even more complicated as Rudy does not get along with either Terry or Tony. Joy begins to feel buried by her life, in the process her childhood dream of making things seemingly getting farther and farther away. As such, Joy decides to make some changes in her life, and expects the unquestioning practical support of her family. Those changes include manufacturing a new product of her design; what she chooses this time around being a self-wringing mop. That support also includes being able to pitch the idea to Rudy’s current wealthy girlfriend, Trudy. Even if she does get to the manufacturing stage, Joy will have to battle the narrow minds of business executives in marketing her product, that is unless she can find a way to get into the homes of the American public in one fell swoop. But nothing is a done deal until the consumer forks out his/her hard earned money for the product and all the legal issues are dealt with. Joy has to decide if she will “pick up the gun” as Trudy asked in their initial investment meeting in dealing with an especially troublesome legal issue.—Huggo

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Seabiscuit

It’s the Depression, and everyone needs to hold onto a dream to get them through the bad times. Car maker Charles Howard is no different, he who is trying to rebuild his life after the tragic death of his only child and the resulting end of his first marriage. With second wife Marcela at his side, Charles wants to get into horse racing and ends up with a team of underdogs who are also chasing their own dream. The first is trainer Tom Smith, who has a natural instinct to spot the capabilities of horses. The second is the horse Tom chooses for Charles, Seabiscuit, an unconventional choice as despite his pedigreed lineage, Seabiscuit is small at fifteen and a half hands tall with a slight limp. But Tom can see something in Seabiscuit’s nature to make him a winner, if only Seabiscuit can be retrained from his inbred losing ways. And third is the jockey they decide to hire, Johnny “Red” Pollard, so nicknamed because of his hair color. Like Tom, Red has always shown a natural way with horses, but a difficult upbringing due solely to the Depression has made Red an angry young man, which has gotten him into trouble both on and off the track. And he is large for a jockey, and thus he always feels the need to battle the weight issue. Another common trait between Tom, Seabiscuit and Red is that they have been called crazy by those in traditional horse racing circles. Against the odds, Seabiscuit, with his human team behind him, does show his winning abilities and captures the imagination of all those others wanting to believe in a dream. But Seabiscuit’s victories are at smaller races. As such, Charles aims high and wants Seabiscuit to race Triple Crown winner War Admiral, who by all accounts is a winner and should be a winner. If given the chance to race against War Admiral (whose owner doesn’t want to race as he feels he has nothing to prove), will Seabiscuit and his team continue to keep the dreams of the common Americans alive? Through the good and the bad, especially as Red and Seabiscuit face mirroring problems, they all have to decide what is in their collective best interest.—Huggo

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Temple Grandin

Biopic of Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who overcame the limitations imposed on her by her condition to become a Ph.D. and expert in the field of animal husbandry. She loves animals! She developed an interest in cattle early in life while spending time at her Aunt and Uncle’s ranch. She did not speak until age four and had difficulty right through high school, mostly in dealing with people. Her mother was very supportive as were some of her teachers. She is noted for creating her “hug box”, widely recognized today as a way of relieving stress in autistic children, and her humane design for the treatment of cattle in processing plants, which have been the subject of several books and won an award from PETA. Today, she is a professor at Colorado State University and well-known speaker on autism and animal handling.—garykmcd

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