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30 Best Leadership Movies

Looking for inspiration to be a better leader and leadership movies for students? Check out this list of the 30 best leadership movies of all time. 

These movies about management and leadership showcase different leadership styles, challenges, and triumphs, and they can teach you a thing or two about what it takes to be an effective leader.

Movies About Leadership

Here are some things you can expect from movies about leadership:

  • Realistic portrayals of leadership challenges. Movies about leadership often show the challenges that leaders face, such as dealing with conflict, making tough decisions, and motivating others.
  • Inspirational stories of success. Many movies about leadership are inspiring stories of people who overcome challenges and achieve great things. These stories can be motivating and provide insights into the qualities of effective leaders.
  • Examples of different leadership styles. Movies about leadership often showcase different leadership styles, such as transformational leadership, transactional leadership, and laissez-faire leadership. This can help viewers learn about different approaches to leadership and how they can be effective in different situations.
  • Insights into the psychology of leadership. Movies about leadership can also provide insights into the psychology of leadership, such as the importance of self-confidence, charisma, and communication skills. This can help viewers understand what makes a good leader and how they can develop their own leadership skills.

Of course, not all movies about leadership are created equal. Some movies may be more fictionalized than others, and some may not be as accurate in their portrayal of leadership. However, even the most fictionalized movies can provide insights into leadership and can be inspiring to watch.

If you're interested in learning more about leadership, I recommend watching some movies about leadership. You may be surprised at how much you can learn from them.

Leadership Movies

Invictus
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge (Actors)

Invictus (2009)

The inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), to help unite their country.

The Social Network
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jesse Eisenberg, Rooney Mara, Andrew Garfield (Actors)

The Social Network (2010)

Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg created the social networking site that would become known as Facebook but was later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea.

Other People's Money (1991)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Danny DeVito, Gregory Peck, Penelope Ann Miller (Actors)

Other People's Money (1991)

A Wall Street corporate raider attempts to acquire an 81-year-old New England wire & cable company but finds himself embroiled in the fight of his life against the company CEO.

The Founder
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Michael Keaton, Laura Dern, Linda Cardellini (Actors)

The Founder (2016)

The true story of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a struggling salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald and worked to create a billion-dollar burger empire.

Moneyball
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman (Actors)

Moneyball (2011)

When the general manager of the Oakland A's is forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, he teams up with an Ivy grad to recruit bargain players that scouts call flawed, but who are ultimately able to win games with their unconventional play.

Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin (Actors)

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

When an office full of New York City real estate salesmen is given the news that all but the top two will be fired at the end of the week, the atmosphere begins to heat up. Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon), who has a sick daughter, does everything in his power to get better leads from his boss, John Williamson (Kevin Spacey), but to no avail.

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When his coworker Dave Moss (Ed Harris) comes up with a plan to steal the leads, things get complicated for the tough-talking salesmen.

Steve Jobs
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen (Actors)

Steve Jobs (2015)

From 1984 to 1998, Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs used innovation and fierce determination to develop highly anticipated and revolutionary computers, including the Macintosh and the iMac.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Leonardo DiCaprio delivers “the best performance of his career” as a young stockbroker hungry for a life of non-stop thrills, where corruption was king and more was never enough.

Queen of Katwe
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o, Madina Nalwanga (Actors)

Queen of Katwe (2016)

Disney presents Queen of Katwe, a movie based on a vibrant true story starring Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo. A Ugandan girl's life changes forever when she discovers she has a fantastic talent for chess in this celebration of the human spirit.

The Aviator
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale (Actors)

The Aviator (2004)

Martin Scorsese's brilliant, Oscar(R)-winning drama about the life of legendary tycoon and recluse Howard Hughes. Leonardo DiCaprio stars.

The Pursuit Of Happyness
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Will Smith, Thandiwe Newton, Jaden Smith (Actors)

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Evicted from his apartment and with no place to go, single father, Chris Gardner struggles to create a better life for himself and his young son, refusing to give in to despair as he tries to change his professional and personal circumstances.

Coach Carter
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Samuel L. Jackson, Ashanti, Rick Gonzalez (Actors)

Coach Carter (2005)

A successful businessman returns to his high school basketball team as a coach, only to take controversial action to make sure that his players succeed in the classroom as well as on the court. Samuel L. Jackson stars in this inspirational sports drama.

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Hoosiers (1986)

Gene Hackman stars as a basketball coach who guides a tiny Indiana high-school team to a state title in this sports classic.

Thirteen Days
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Brenda Sykes, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp (Actors)

Thirteen Days (2000)

Kevin Costner stars in this inside look at how the Kennedy Administration responded to the discovery of offensive Soviet weapons in Cuba.

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The Last Castle (2001)

His service to his country made him a hero. One mistake made him a prisoner. For General Eugene Irwin (Redford), It's just a matter of serving out his sentance – until he makes the shocking discovery that his fellow inmates are being murdered.

Cool Runnings
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis (Actors)

Cool Runnings (1993)

Based on the improbable but true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team trying to make it to the Calgary Winter Olympics.

Bridge on the River Kwai, The
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins (Actors)

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Allied commandos are dispatched deep inside the Burmese jungle to blow up a strategic bridge built by British POWs. Starring William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, and Sessue Hayakawa.

Apollo 13
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon (Actors)

Apollo 13 (1995)

Apollo 13 is en route to the moon when equipment failure causes the space capsule to lose oxygen – can the crew perform the makeshift repairs and return to Earth? Winner of two Oscars.

Patton
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young (Actors)

Patton (1970)

Multiple Oscar-winning depictions of the controversial World War II U.S. Army commander – was he a visionary strategist or an ego-driven hot head? Awarded Best Picture and Best Actor (George C. Scott).

The Godfather
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan (Actors)

The Godfather (1972)

The son of the patriarch of the most powerful Mafia clan in New York returns home from war determined to live his own life – but is forced to take up arms in a clash between his father’s traditional ways and the newcomers who threaten the family business.

Remember the Titans
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Will Patton, Nicole Ari Parker, Denzel Washington (Actors)

Remember the Titans (2000)

The true story of a newly integrated high school football team.

Lawrence Of Arabia
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn (Actors)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Winner of seven Academy Awards(r), including Best Picture (1962), this is the restored director's cut of the breathtaking masterpiece.

Rocky
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young (Actors)

Rocky (1976)

As boxer “everyman” Rocky Balboa, Sylvester Stallone comes out swinging with heart, humor, and unforgettable power as he “goes the distance” against World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in this unforgettable, Oscar-winning film!

Sully
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney (Actors)

Sully (2016)

The story of Chesley Sullenberger, who became a hero after gliding his plane along the water in the Hudson River, saving all of his 155 passengers.

Crimson Tide
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington (Actors)

Crimson Tide (1995)

On the verge of a possible Armageddon between the USS Alabama and a breakaway Russian republic with nuclear warheads, a young officer must stage a mutiny to prevent a disastrous underwater war.

Locke
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson (Actors)

Locke (2013)

A successful businessman's seemingly perfect life slowly unravels over the course of a series of phone calls during an intense car ride.

Glory
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick, Cary Elwes (Actors)

Glory (1989)

During the Civil War, Robert Gould Shaw was offered command of the United States' first all-African-American regiment. After Shaw puts together a strong unit, they are limited to menial tasks. So begins the fight to be placed in the battle.

Lean on Me
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Morgan Freeman, Beverly Todd, Robert Guillaume (Actors)

Lean on Me (1989)

Based on the true story of New Jersey high school principal Joe Clark, who wins the support and respect of his students for his controversial methods.

Wall Street
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Charlie Sheen, Tamara Tunie, Franklin Cover (Actors)

Wall Street (1987)

An unscrupulous corporate raider becomes a mentor to a young broker and lives by the credo “greed is good”.

Any Given Sunday
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid (Actors)

Any Given Sunday (1999)

Oliver Stone scores the ultimate football movie! This powerful action drama puts you on the field with the players, on the sidelines with the coach and in the box with the team owners.

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This list is just a small sample of the many great movies about leadership. There are many other films that could be included on this list, and it would be difficult to say definitively which one is the best. However, these 30 films are all excellent examples of movies that explore the themes of leadership, motivation, and teamwork.

People also ask:

Who are good leaders in movies?

  • Nelson Mandela: In Invictus, Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman) is a newly elected president of South Africa who must unite a nation divided by apartheid. He does this by using his charisma, determination, and sense of humor to inspire people from all walks of life.
  • Steve Jobs: In Steve Jobs, Jobs (played by Michael Fassbender) is the co-founder of Apple and one of the most innovative entrepreneurs of all time. He is a visionary leader who is not afraid to take risks and challenge the status quo.
  • Aibileen Clark: In The Help, Aibileen (played by Viola Davis) is a black maid in Jackson, Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. She is a strong and resilient woman who is determined to make a difference in the world, even if it means putting herself at risk.
  • Patton: In Patton, Patton (played by George C. Scott) is a U.S. general during World War II who is known for his bold leadership and his willingness to take risks. He is a complex and charismatic figure admired and feared by his subordinates.
  • Will Smith: In The Pursuit of Happyness, Smith plays Chris Gardner, a homeless salesman who is determined to provide a better life for his son. He is a hardworking and optimistic man who never gives up, despite overwhelming odds.
These are just a few examples of good leaders in movies. There are many other great leaders to choose from, and each one has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. But all of these leaders have one thing in common: they are all driven by a desire to make a difference in the world.

What movie is an example of servant leadership?

A movie that serves as an example of servant leadership is “Pleasantville (1998), directed by Gary Ross. While it is not solely focused on servant leadership, the film illustrates elements of this leadership style through the character of the diner owner, Bill Johnson, played by Jeff Daniels.

“Pleasantville” uses the transformation of a black-and-white 1950s sitcom town into a colorful and vibrant reality as a metaphor to explore various themes, including personal growth, acceptance, and leadership dynamics. While the movie primarily addresses these broader themes, Bill Johnson's leadership style can be seen as an example of servant leadership within the narrative.

What are the different leadership styles in movies?

Movies often portray a variety of leadership styles through their characters:

  • Authoritarian Leadership: Strict control, no input from others. (e.g., General Patton in “Patton”)
  • Transformational Leadership: Inspiring and motivating, personal growth. (e.g., Coach Boone in “Remember the Titans”)
  • Servant Leadership: Prioritizing well-being, and serving the needs of the team. (e.g., Bill Johnson in “Pleasantville”)
  • Laissez-Faire Leadership: Hands-off approach, self-management. (e.g., “Office Space” boss)
  • Transactional Leadership: Rewards/punishments, structured. (e.g., Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street”)
  • Charismatic Leadership: Charm, loyalty. (e.g., Tony Stark/Iron Man)
  • Democratic Leadership: Involves team, and seeks input. (e.g., President Shepherd in “The American President”)
  • Situational Leadership: Adapts to circumstances. (e.g., Captain Miller in “Saving Private Ryan”)
  • Visionary Leadership: Inspires with future vision. (e.g., Morpheus in “The Matrix”)
  • Benevolent Leadership: Cares for followers. (e.g., Mufasa in “The Lion King”)

Characters can embody a mix of these styles or change over time.

What movies have the theme of teamwork?

Many movies explore the theme of teamwork as a central element of their stories. Here are some notable movies that highlight the importance of teamwork:

  • The Avengers (2012) – A group of superheroes with different abilities and personalities come together to save the world from a common threat.
  • Ocean's Eleven (2001) – A team of skilled individuals collaborate to pull off a complex heist.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – A group of misfit characters form an unlikely team to protect the galaxy.
  • Remember the Titans (2000) – A racially diverse high school football team learns to work together and overcome their differences.
  • The Incredibles (2004) – A family of superheroes must work together to defeat a supervillain.
  • Apollo 13 (1995) – Astronauts collaborate to solve a life-threatening crisis during a space mission.
  • A League of Their Own (1992) – A group of women forms a professional baseball team during World War II and learns to function as a team.
  • Hidden Figures (2016) – Female African-American mathematicians at NASA collaborate to support the early space missions.

These movies showcase the dynamics of teamwork, highlighting how individuals with different skills, backgrounds, and personalities can come together to achieve common goals.

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