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Top 13 'Dream, Struggle, Victory' Movies Ever (All True Stories)

Updated on May 18, 2010

Why 13, you ask?  First of all...I have no idea!  Enjoy anyway!

Here I've compiled what I believe to be the best of the best when it comes to relaying the story of the human experience. I believe these stories embody what it means to have a Dream, endure the Struggle of the process of success, and come blasting out the other side to achieve Victory. Anyone who has gone through or who is going through this process knows this very well.

Nothing great has ever been achieved without a BIG Dream and a fight to get it. America herself was birthed out of this very process. I believe we love these stories because we can ALL relate to wanting something so deeply that it moves us to do the "impossible." As the saying goes, "Success is three things: What do you want? What's it cost? Pay it."

This list is definitely my opinion as I know there are many great stories I have not included. However, my hope is that you find one (or many) you can grab onto and use it to propel yourself to the life you've always Dreamed of deep down in your soul. The only criteria I held for this list was the story had to be true or mostly based on fact. Enjoy!


#13 Seabiscuit

In an era when Americans were in great need of heroic figures to help them forget their troubles, SEABISCUIT comes to the rescue. The picture relates a moving story of friendship and devotion in rehabilitating the main characters'fractured lives, as it interweaves the interactions between horse, jockey, trainer and owner and their adoring fans. The film accurately portrays the real people and events of those troubled times and how Seabiscuit "fixed us, every one of us."

#12 Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Shortly after World War II, Preston Tucker is a grandiose schemer with a new dream, to produce the best cars ever made. With the assistance of Abe Karatz and some impressive salesmanship on his own part, he obtains funding and begins to build his factory. The whole movie also has many parallels with director Coppola's own efforts to build a new movie studio of his own.

#11 Nadia

Nadia Comaneci, former Olympic gymnast began training competitively at age six, after being discovered by world-famous coaches, Bela Karolyi and his wife Marta. She became the first (and youngest to this day) Olympic gymnast to score a perfect 10 at age 14! We get to walk with her through her parents divorce, separation from her coaches, suffering through an eating disorder, the increasing pressure of competition, and ultimately victory. I watched Nadia over and over in the '80s as my sister was a gymnast and to this day I hold Nadia up as one of the greatest stories of triumph ever LIVED. C.Mann

#10 Blindside

"The Blind Side" depicts the remarkable true story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher's presence in the Touhys' lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own. Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. As a football player and student, Oher works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.

#9 Amelia

Amelia Earhart, a Kansas girl, discovers the thrill of aviation at age 23, and within 12 years has progressed to winning the Distinguished Flying Cross for being the first woman to pilot a plane solo across the Atlantic Ocean. At age 39, she sets out on an attempt to circumnavigate the globe, an adventure that catapults her into aviation myth.

#8 Rudy

I don't believe any explanation is needed on this one. This story is, in truest form, Dream, Struggle, Victory. More important than anything is the message of what's possible for anyone when you HAVE TO HAVE something. And's REAL! C.Mann

#7 Invincible

In the sumer of 1976, 30-year old Vince Papale is having a tough run of luck. He's been working as a supply teacher for two days a week but has just found out that his job has been eliminated because of budget cuts. His wife gives up on him saying he'll never amount to anything and asks for a divorce. He works as a bartender and plays football with his friends. When the the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Vermeil, announces that he will hold open tryouts for the team, Vince reluctantly decides to give a try. In an almost unheard of feat, he manages to make the team and enjoyed a three year career as a professional football player. Based on a true story.

#6 A Beautiful Mind

From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash, Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery. After many years of struggle, he eventually triumphed over his tragedy, and finally - late in life - received the Nobel Prize.

#5 Amazing Grace

In 1797, William Wilberforce, the great crusader for the British abolition of slavery, is taking a vacation for his health even while he is sicker at heart for his frustrated cause. However, meeting the charming Barbara Spooner, Wilberforce finds a soulmate to share the story of his struggle. With few allies such as his mentor, John Newton, a slave ship captain turned repentant priest who penned the great hymn, "Amazing Grace," Prime William Pitt, and Olaudah Equiano, the erudite former slave turned author, Wilberforce fruitlessly fights both public indifference and moneyed opposition determined to keep their exploitation safe. Nevertheless, Wilberforce finds the inspiration in newfound love to rejuvenate the fight with new ideas that would lead to a great victory for social justice.

#4 Braveheart

William Wallace is a Scottish rebel who leads an uprising against the cruel English ruler Edward the Longshanks, who wishes to inherit the crown of Scotland for himself. When he was a young boy, William Wallace's father and brother, along with many others, lost their lives trying to free Scotland. Once he loses another of his loved ones, William Wallace begins his long quest to make Scotland free once and for all, along with the assistance of Robert the Bruce.

Every man dies, not every man really lives.

#3 Miracle

The inspiring story of the team that transcended its sport and united a nation with a new feeling of hope. Based on the true story of one of the greatest moments in sports history, the tale captures a time and place where differences could be settled by games and a cold war could be put on ice. In 1980, the United States Ice Hockey team's coach, Herb Brooks, took a ragtag squad of college kids up against the legendary juggernaut from the Soviet Union at the Olympic Games. Despite the long odds, Team USA carried the pride of a nation yearning from a distraction from world events. With the world watching the team rose to the occasion, prompting broadcaster Al Michaels' now famous question, to the millions viewing at home: Do you believe in miracles?  Yes!

Do you believe in miracles?!?!

#2 Cinderella Man

(My Personal Favorite)

The story inspired by the life of legendary athlete Jim Braddock, a once- promising light heavyweight boxer forced into retirement after a string of losses in the ring. As the nation enters the darkest years of the Great Depression, Braddock accepts a string of dead-end jobs to support his wife, Mae, and their children, while never totally abandoning his dream of boxing again. Thanks to a last minute cancellation, Braddock finds himself back in the ring against the second-ranked world contender--and to everyone's amazement, Braddock wins in the third round. Despite being pounds lighter than his opponents and repeated injuries to his hands, Braddock continues to fight against challengers and win. Carrying on his shoulders the hopes and dreams of the disenfranchised masses, Braddock, dubbed the "Cinderella Man," faces his toughest challenger in Max Baer, the heavyweight champion of the world, renowned for having killed two men in the ring. Braddock--not so much a great boxer as a great man who boxed--climbed into the ring seeking nothing more than to provide for his wife and children. His commitment to them inspired him to championship, elevating the family man with a simple cause to the level of legend.

Absolute Must-Have...Seriously.

#1 Pursuit of HappYness

As far as a story of overcoming is concerned, The Pursuit of HappYness is arguably #1. It's at least the most well-known.

The rousing, true-life story of a single dad who went from living on the streets to owning his own brokerage firm. Set in early-'80s San Francisco, the film charts the hard times and eventual comeback of Chris Gardner, a suddenly single salesman who has custody of his son, but finds that providing for the two of them is a challenge in the increasingly unstable economic climate. He struggles to work his way from unpaid intern at Dean Witter to something more substantial, even as life continues to offer him setbacks.

I Want to Hear YOUR Opinion...

What's Your Favorite?!

See results

If you chose "Other" I would really appreciate you sharing what your choice is in the Comments (I need to know what to watch that I'm missing out on!). Thanks a lot! I hope you enjoyed this Hub!


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    • C.Mann profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Kansas/Michigan


      127 Hours is incredible. For a true story, it should be added to make the list 14. Hadn't yet seen it when I published this.

      And Cast Away is great as well. That's fiction or non?

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      127 hours and Cast away

    • IslandBites profile image


      5 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Braveheart is one of my favorite movies. Nice hub!

    • C.Mann profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Kansas/Michigan


      I have! Amazing. The book had me in a perpetual state of emotion. Great stuff!


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      have you watched "endurance"?? it's an awesome film! you'll love it!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      October sky is a really awesome one.

    • C.Mann profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Kansas/Michigan

      August Rush is Phenomenol! I hadn't seen it when I published this. But a true contender for a top slot. Thanks a lot Jennifer!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You forgot "Where god left his shoes". A great movie :) Good list btw.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      August Rush is another great one.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love Cool Runnings. Based on true story as well.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Love your perspective. Awesome. Cant wait to watch the movie I just bought.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome picks! You have great taste ;)


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