11 Movies That Teach Us About Stoicism

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The film portrays the power of the mind and maintaining hope in seemingly hopeless situations. Andy's ability to retain a sense of purpose through his actions, such as his efforts to help fellow inmates and create the library, and reflects ideals contributing positively.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

A classic American Western from 1962, follows the story of Ransom Stoddard, played by Jimmy Stewart. A young and idealistic lawyer, Stoddard represents the values of civilization, justice, and the rule of law. 

127 Hours (2010)

127 Hours, follows the incredibly harrowing experience of Aron Ralston. A mountain climber, Ralston, becomes trapped by a boulder in a remote canyon in Utah and must resort to extreme measures to survive.

Barry Lyndon (1975)

The film showcases the impermanence of wealth, status, and power, highlighting the idea of recognizing the transient nature of external goods and the importance of inner virtue over material success.

True Grit (1969 and 2010)

The story follows a woman who wants to seek justice for the murder of her father by a hired hand. Her unwavering pursuit of retribution, despite facing numerous challenges, displays a sense of inner strength and resilience akin to virtues.

The Book Thief (2013)

The film is based centring around the story of a young girl that lives during the Nazi era. Her love for books and her determination to learn represent a pursuit of knowledge and personal growth amid chaos and adversity.

The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)

This epic historical film explores the events surrounding the decline of the Roman Empire. Directed by Anthony Mann, the entire plot revolves around Marcus Aurelius’ desire to name General Livius as his successor rather than his own son, Commodus.

Nero (2004)

This 2004 Italian miniseries focuses on the life and reign of Emperor Nero, during which Seneca served as his advisor.

Gladiator (2000)

The greatest historical epic films ever made and certainly one of the best films of the 2000s, this is an excellent watch. Containing themes of stoicism, masculinity, revenge, and violence.

Seneca – On the Creation of Earthquakes (2023)

The film starring John Malkovich as Seneca. The film's story begins with Seneca being banished by Emperor Claudius.

The Revenant (2015)

In the story of Hugh Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who is left for dead by his companions after a bear attack. His journey becomes a relentless quest for survival, marked by extreme physical suffering and emotional turmoil.

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