Films about resilience reveal how difficulties and harsh conditions raw this quality out from depths we didn't know we had. The characters might be dealing with harsh weather and poverty, stranded on a desert island, serving as a maid in the South in the 1960s, facing a disability, simply surviving, or any of a variety of other troubles.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is an extraordinary movie about a fearless six-year-old African-American girl slammed with the effects of a terrible storm and the illness of her father. See also our gallery of "Lessons from Hushpuppy on What It Takes to be a Survival."
Bella is an inspirational drama about a loving and compassionate man who gives a troubled and lonely woman a new lease on life with a selfless act of kindness.
A Better Life is a touching and authentic immigrant tale about a single parent trying to do right by his son.
The Blind Side is a wonderful feel-good fact-based sports story about the gifts of nurturing love and a redefinition of family values.
Born into Brothels is an unusual and emotionally affecting documentary about a photographer who draws out the wonder and the creativity of some poor kids in Calcutta.
Brave is the tale of the freedom quest of a feisty Celtic princess with a jungle of wild red hair.
Cast Away is the spiritual tale of a man stranded on a desert island forced to cope with his own place in the world.
Children of Heaven is a cross-cultural masterpiece that reveals the universality of familial love and the determination of children to make do even in the most dire circumstances.
Dirty Dancing is an appealing film that creatively covers one girl's coming of age with tremendous foot tappin' fervor.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a classic film about a man with ALS; it salutes the firepower of imagination as a life-giver and a life-sustainer.
Free Willy is fine family entertainment that challenges youngsters to cheer for mutual acts of heroism between animals and humans.
The Help is a tribute to African-American maids in the South during 1963 and their courage in telling their stories as a form of grace under pressure.
Hope Floats is a drama in which a former beauty queen slowly patches her shattered life back together piece by piece.
How to Train Your Dragon is an animated feature about a scrawny Viking boy who makes friends with his community's enemy, the dragon, and proves himself in the process.
The Karate Kid is the engaging story of a handyman at a housing complex who teaches martial arts to a boy yearning for mastery of self.
Nobody Knows is the harrowing story of four children in Tokyo who are abandoned by their mother and forced to fend for themselves over a six-month period.
127 Hours is a riveting and creative wilderness story about a loner's courage and perseverance in the face of hopelessness.
Precious is a poignant film about a degraded and abused African-American teenage girl whose life is turned around by the concern of an inspiring teacher.
The Pursuit of Happyness is based on a true story about a hard-pressed African-American single parent and his five-year old son struggling to survive and fulfill the American dream in San Francisco in 1981.
Rabbit Proof Fence is an Australian spiritual adventure story about three courageous Aboriginal girls and their yearning to return home.
Rocky is a tender and inspiring portrait of a loser who becomes a winner in the things that matter.
Salaam Bombay is a remarkable Indian film with a harrowing portrait of the deprivations endured by a hungry and homeless boy.
The Secret Life of Bees is an exquisitely moving screen version of the deeply spiritual novel about the healing balm of love.
The Shawshank Redemption is a powerful drama about imprisonment that reminds us that hope is a precious and buoyant emotion that can give our lives substance and meaning.
Silver Linings Playbook is a healing and hopeful dramady about friendship. love, family, and optimism in the face of bi-polar disease.
Slumdog Millionaire is a phantasmagorical movie filled with dazzling and varied sights of India, characters we can cheer for, and a jubilant message about destiny and love.
To Live gives a sober view of Chinese life that honors resiliency in the face of political change, bureaucratic incompetence, and personal tragedy.
True Grit is an entertaining and feisty Western that revolves around a wise teenager with indomitable will-power.
Up is a charming animated feature about a memorable cross-generation friendship that is also a probe on the true meaning of adventure.
The Way Back is a World War II prison break, survival, and morality tale about the power of forgiveness as an ideal to animate a lifetime.
Whale Rider is an enthralling New Zealand movie about the struggle of one ardent and determined young Maori girl to fulfill her destiny.
Winter's Bone is a gripping movie that graphically portrays poverty as the worst form of violence in the life of a 17-year-old heroine struggling to save her family.