Running is one of the healthiest activities around. However, there might be days you can’t bring yourself to put your running shoes on. If you need a some motivation, here are the 19 best running movies you can draw inspiration from:
1. Run Lola Run (1998)
German, English, Japanese 1h 20m IMDb
Director: Tom Tykwer
Stars: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup
If you don’t fear subtitled films, then Run Lola Run is one movie you shouldn’t miss. It became a breakthrough film at the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals.
It is probably one of the most interesting and creative films you can watch. The movie revolves around Lola and how she has to figure out how to come up with 100,000 Deutsche Mark to help her boyfriend. Franka Potente plays Lola excellently.
The film’s three different potential endings make it a unique film. It’s all up to the audience to decide how the story ends.
2. I Am Bolt (2016)
English 1h 47m IMDb
Director: Ben Turner, Gabe Turner
Stars: Usain Bolt, Nugent Walker Jr., Ricky Simms
Usain Bolt is one of the most prolific athletes. And if you want to get to know Usain better, then add this movie to the list. This movie documents how amazing Usain Bolt is as an athlete. You get to see how much work and dedication he puts in.
If you want an inspiring story that centers on Bolt, his humble beginnings, and his remarkable career, don’t miss this one. There are footages from when Bolt was 15 years old, until he won numerous gold models at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
3. Forrest Gump (1994)
English 2h 20m IMDb
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise
Forrest Gump is one of the iconic movies of the 1990s. No matter how old this movie is, it won’t leave people’s lists of the best films. And it’s no surprise. Apart from the excellent, award-winning acting of Tom Hanks, this is an exceptional film that will inspire you. It tugs at your heartstrings. It’s one of those classic movies that people can talk about for ages.
When watching this movie, it’s as if you are taken on a journey, especially with Forrest’s struggles and triumphs. It’s one of those movies you can’t just put in one box because it has dramatic and comedic moments.
4. The Athlete (2009)
English, Amharic, Oromo 1h 32m IMDb
Director: Davey Frankel, Rasselas Lakew
Stars: Rasselas Lakew, Dag Malmberg, Ruta Gedmintas
Here’s another compelling foreign film that might interest you. This movie, aptly entitled The Athlete, is about Ethiopian marathon runner, Abebe Bikila. He surprised the world by winning at the Rome Olympic games. He repeated the same feat at the Tokyo Olympics. However, tragedy struck, and he lost his legs. He faced a new struggle, but he never wavered.
The Athlete is an independent film that allows you to discover a man and an athlete and his unwavering determination. The way the film was made is like a mix of a biopic and a documentary.
5. Prefontaine (1997)
English 1h 46m IMDb
Director: Steve James
Stars: Jared Leto, R. Lee Ermey, Ed O’Neill
Have you heard of Steve Prefontaine? Whether you have or not, you might find the story of this running legend’s life fascinating.
There was something about Pre and his perseverance, will, and motivation. And these are highlighted in the movie. In this movie, there are scenes featuring Jared Leto as Steve Prefontaine. And then there are parts focusing on actual footage from people who knew Pre.
The film has many inspiring messages, including being determined and driven. If you need some inspiration before your long-distance run, find that in this film!
6. Brittany Runs A Marathon (2019)
English 1h 44m IMDb
Director: Paul Downs Colaizzo
Stars: Jillian Bell, Jennifer Dundas, Patch Darragh
Anyone who has tried losing weight would tell you that it’s never easy. Many people could probably relate to this movie’s main character. Brittany has been making poor life choices. However, to turn things around, she takes up running and aims to join the New York City marathon.
One of the criticisms of the movie is that the main character is shallow and mean. However, more than the commitment to run and lose weight, Brittany learns valuable life lessons and grows from the experiences.
If you are looking for something relatable and believable, give Brittany Runs A Marathon a chance!
7. Run Fatboy Run (2007)
English 1h 40m IMDb
Director: David Schwimmer
Stars: Simon Pegg, Thandiwe Newton, Hank Azaria
If you have enjoyed Simon Pegg’s movies, here’s another one you should not miss. Catch Simon in David Schwimmer’s Run Fatboy Run. He is excellent in this film! The movie is about Dennis, who is set to marry his pregnant girlfriend. However, the wedding never happens because he runs away. Fast forward to five years later, and he joins a marathon to make a point.
While the movie does not have the most groundbreaking plot, it’s well-written. It’s something that some people can relate to. If you love comedy and running, then it’s a double win!
8. Unbroken (2014)
Ukrainian, English, Japanese, Italian 2h 17m IMDb
Director: Angelina Jolie
Stars: Jack O’Connell, Miyavi, Domhnall Gleeson
Unbroken is based on Olympic runner and War Veteran, Louis Zamperini. Before Zamperini became one of the torch relay bearers for the 1998 Winter games in Japan, he overcame various obstacles. In one of his missions during World War II, his plane crashes. Members of the Japanese Navy pick him and two others up from the ocean. They then become POWs and go through unspeakable hardships.
While this Angelina Jolie-directed film starts slow, it builds itself up, leading viewers to understand the power of the human spirit and forgiveness. Critics loved Jack O’Connell’s portrayal of Zamperini.
9. Chariots Of Fire (1981)
English, French 2h 5m IMDb
Director: Hugh Hudson
Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell
If the subject is “inspirational movies about running”, then Chariots Of Fire is probably a hot topic. It’s probably one of the most popular movies that involve running. And it deserves all the attention. This classic movie is based on a true story about two British runners with different religions who ran in the 1924 Olympics.
This remarkable film features beautifully written characters and their unforgettable and compelling story. And whether or not you are someone who has a strong faith, the movie leaves a message about honoring a Higher Being.
10. Running for Good: The Fiona Oakes Documentary (2018)
English 1h 14m IMDb
Director: Keegan Kuhn
Stars: Scott Jurek, Fiona Oakes, Rich Roll
If you want to find the best version of yourself, then you might have to put in work. Take some inspiration from Fiona Oakes. She is an incredible record-breaking marathon runner who strives to join a 250-kilometer ultramarathon set in the Sahara desert .
Through this movie, the viewers get to see just how great Fiona is. She is not just an unbelievable athlete but also a wonderful human being. Everything she has done and will do is for the animals under her care. Now, if that is not inspirational and aspirational, then what is?
11.Skid Row Marathon (2017)
English 1h 25m IMDb
Director: Mark Hayes
Stars: David Askew, Joan Bys, Rafael Cabrera
For some people, it has become their life’s mission to make a difference in society. And that’s something Judge Mitchell, a judge from Los Angeles, aims to do. He does this through a running club based in the Skid Row area of LA.
Through this movie, you will not only learn about Judge Mitchell and his desire to help others, you also get to know some of the people who are part of his running club. It will inspire and touch you and make you believe in giving others second chances.
12. Marathon (2021)
English 1h 22m IMDb
Director: Anthony Guidubaldi, Keith Strausbaugh
Stars: Kimia Behpoornia, Jimmy Slonina, Andrew Hansen
Before starting this movie, there’s something you should know. It’s a mockumentary, so take things with a grain of salt. Marathon is about five people who train for a grueling marathon.
This movie has satire, comedy, and humor all rolled into one. It pokes fun at the different types of marathon runners out there. It is a highly recommended film if you want something light and funny. And if you need a laugh or two, especially during these trying times, rent or buy this movie as soon as you can!
13. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young (2014)
English 1h 29m IMDb
Director: Annika Iltis, Timothy James Kane
Stars: Lazarus Lake
The Barkley Marathons is probably one of the most intriguing racing events in the world. If you have not heard of this spectacle before, you can learn a thing or two about it through the film, The Barkleys Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young.
Don’t let the long title deter you from checking this movie. It follows and documents the 2012 edition of this extreme foot race. There’s a certain eccentricity and ambiguity to the race. However, despite its quirkiness, it’s ultimately a story about endurance and motivation.
14. Running Brave (1983)
English 1h 46m IMDb
Director: Donald Shebib
Stars: Robby Benson, Pat Hingle, Claudia Cron
Running Brave is a marvelous film depicting the life of Billy Mills. He was part of South Dakota’s Oglala Sioux. He became a gold-winning Olympian, winning in the 10,000-meter race.
Inspiring is one word to best describe the film. Billy Mills had to overcome so many obstacles before finally winning the top-prize at the Olympics. Apart from the running scenes, there are also scenes focusing on racial prejudices. And it’s often tricky to depict Native culture, but the makers of the film managed to do it well.
15. Lorena, Light-footed Woman (2019)
Spanish, Tarahumara 28m IMDb
Director: Juan Carlos Rulfo
Stars: Lorena Ramirez, Mario Ramírez, Santiago Ramírez
You only need 30 minutes of your life to get to know the captivating life of Lorena. Some people in this world were born to run and Lorena is one of them. She has won countless accolades for long-distance running.
While Lorena, the main focus of the film, speaks less than expected, her innate talent for running speaks for itself. It actually speaks volumes. The enthralling running scenes are enhanced even more by the beautiful cinematography.
So the next time you are looking for something short but sensational, look for Lorena, Light-footed Woman!
16. The Robber (2010)
German 1h 41m IMDb
Director: Benjamin Heisenberg
Stars: Andreas Lust, Markus Schleinzer, Roman Kettner
The Robber is an Austrian film about one of the most wanted bank robbers from the country. It’s believed the movie is based on Johann Rettenberger. He was known as a marathon runner. But gained notoriety for robbing banks.
In the film, the reasons why he kept robbing banks seem vague. However, it doesn’t take away from the other marvels of the film. The cinematography alone is worth your time! One look at one of the running scenes and you will know why the film is a visual delight.
17. McFarland, USA (2015)
English, Spanish 2h 9m IMDb
Director: Niki Caro
Stars: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Ramiro Rodriguez
Kevin Costner plays the main lead in Disney’s McFarland, USA. This is actually based on a true underdog story. As a coach, he discovers that his predominantly Latino students have notable running skills and abilities.
With the guidance of Coach white, the students overcome the challenges they face in and out of the school, eventually becoming winners. This poignant and heartwarming film will have you rooting for the boys in the film. It’s filled with profound lessons that will stay with you no matter how many times you watch this.
18. Saint Ralph (2004)
English 1h 38m IMDb
Director: Michael McGowan
Stars: Adam Butcher, Campbell Scott, Jennifer Tilly
This movie, set in 1950s Canada, is about 14-year-old Ralph Walker. It’s one of those coming-of-age movies that will warm your heart. It has a universal theme that many people can relate to.
Ralph’s life isn’t the greatest. He has a dead father and comatose mother. He vows to join the Boston Marathon and win it. And when he does, a miracle will happen to his mother.
While Ralph is Catholic and all, the film is also about hope, drive, and believing in something bigger than yourself.
19. The Long Green Line (2008)
English 1h 28m IMDb
Director: Matthew Arnold
Stars: Joe Newton, Charlie Kern, Eric Dettman
The Long Green Line is about Coach Joe Newton. He has dedicated over 50 years of his life coaching. This extraordinary man has guided so many young people to win, especially the members of his team. Despite all this, what makes him legendary is how he mentors and encourages his players.
In The Long Green Line, we get to know Coach Newton as we get to catch sight of him coaching in one of the seasons. Anyone who calls themselves a coach or aspires to be should watch this movie!
No Running Needed For You To Watch Movies
There is no need for you to be out of breath if you are figuring out what movie to watch. With the 19 best running movies at your disposal, you can easily choose which one to watch. If you need to draw insights and life lessons, these running-themed movies will get you going!