Top 15 Movies About Perseverance for Children

Top 15 Movies About Perseverance for Children

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Far more than luck or natural talent, perseverance is the key to success. It’s the continued effort and determination to achieve something, no matter what obstacles stand in your way. Children who develop the skill of perseverance are more likely to keep going until they reach their goals.

Watching and discussing movies about perseverance is one way to help children build this essential skill. If you’re wondering where to find the best perseverance movies to watch in your classroom or home, look no further!


At Big Life Journal, we love movies with growth mindset messages. Be sure to check our our Top Movies About Change, Perseverance and Resilience for Children lists in this helpful, FREE guide! Sign up here to get your free printable today!

Movies About Change, Perserverance and Resilience For Children

We’ve put together a list of the top 15 movies about perseverance for children. Share them with the children in your life, then lead a conversation about the lessons learned from these inspiring films.

You can also have a look at our growth mindset movies and list of movies about kindness.

*Reminder: Please preview or read about the suggested movies to ensure they are appropriate for your child.

Top 15 Movies About Perseverance for Children
Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

When the Seaver family heads off on a trip to San Francisco, they leave their pets behind with a friend. Eventually, the fun-loving American bulldog Chance and his feline friend Sassy start to worry their family is gone for good. Shadow, a wise golden retriever, refuses to believe this boy Peter would abandon him. Fueled by Shadow’s belief in Peter, the three pets embark on an epic journey to find their way back home to their beloved owners.

Rating U

Ratatouille

Ratatouille (2007)

Remy has always dreamed of being a professional chef. There is just one problem: Remy is a rat and rats aren’t exactly welcome in the kitchen. Determined to pursue his dream regardless, Remy moves to Paris. There, he forms an alliance with a young kitchen worker in a famous restaurant. He even gets to cook for a well-known food critic! Although Remy faces many obstacles and dangers in his quest for culinary greatness, he uses the superpower of perseverance to achieve his dream.

Rating U

Jingle Jangle

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)

Once a highly successful and joyful toymaker, Jeronicus Jangle falls on difficult times after his apprentice steals his greatest invention. Decades later, the former toy factory is a pawnshop and Jeronicus has lost his way. When his granddaughter Journey comes to visit, she helps him rediscover his creativity and determination—and face a final showdown with his traitorous apprentice. The grandfather-granddaughter duo can teach children powerful lessons about persistence, forgiveness, and integrity.

Rating PG

Soul Surfer

Soul Surfer (2011)

Based on real-lfe events, Soul Surfer tells the moving story of Bethany Hamilton. A teenage competitive surfer, Bethany loses her arm in a shark attack. Despite this tragedy, she refuses to give up and learns to surf with one arm. Not only does she continue surfing competitively, but she also uses her story to inspire others and help them overcome their fears.

Rating PG

Meet the Robinson's

Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Lewis is an orphaned young inventor with loads of brilliant ideas. He’s whisked away on a time-traveling adventure to save the future and reconnect with the family he has never known. With the help of the eccentric Robinson family, Lewis learns powerful lessons about believing in himself and moving forward. The movie ends with the quote, “Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Rating U

Raya and the Last Dragon

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

In this beautifully animated film, a warrior named Raya is determined to restore harmony to the fantasy world of Kumandra. To do so, she will have to go on a challenging journey to find the land’s last remaining dragon. As Raya overcomes a series of action-packed obstacles, she also learns about the importance of teamwork and trusting others.

Rating PG

Mulan

Mulan (1998)

Another of our favorite Disney movies about perseverance, Mulan tells the story of a loving and determined daughter. Desperate to prevent her ailing father from being drafted by the army, Mulan disguises herself as a man and enlists in his place. In the army, she must try to hide her true identity while battling the enemy Huns. With determination and bravery, Mulan ultimately saves both her father and her country.

Rating U

A Reindeer's Journey

A Reindeer’s Journey (2018)

This documentary/family film follows Ailo, a newborn reindeer surviving an Arctic winter. His mother was forced to leave the protection of the herd to give birth to Ailo and the pair must overcome frigid weather and dangerous predators to rejoin the group. (some scenes involve predators chasing prey, but no kills are shown on screen.) Although the movie is an informative documentary, the animal character voices and narration are very funny. Both children and adults will love this story of perseverance and triumph against all odds.

Rating NR

Monsters University

Monsters University (2013)

Monsters University is the prequel to Monsters Inc., taking us back in time to Mike and Sully’s college days at Monsters University. Both Mike and Sully dream of becoming Scarers, but it comes more naturally to Sulley. The two monsters develop a rivalry that eventually gets them both kicked out of MU’s Scare Program. If they ever want to become Scarers, they’ll have to overcome their differences and learn to work together.

Rating U

October Sky

October Sky (1999)

In this uplifting true story, Homer Hickam dreams of a career in rocketry. His classmates and his family, especially his father, disapprove of Homer’s lofty ambitions. His father expects Homer to follow in his footsteps and work in the coal mines. But with the help of his friend and a sympathetic teacher, Homer begins building rockets. The movie follows Homer’s failures and successes as he lives out his dreams and repairs his relationship with his father.  

Rating PG

Leap!

Leap! (2016)

Félicie, an orphan who longs to become a ballerina, flees to Paris and begins training in a celebrated ballet school by pretending to be someone else. Soon thereafter, she auditions for a major role in The Nutcracker. Every day, the strict choreographer eliminates a dancer from the tryouts. Félicie overcomes intense auditions, the discovery of her lie, and even being sent back to her rural orphanage to then land the part.

Rating PG

Hoot

Hoot (2006)

When Roy moves to Florida with his family, he befriends a pair of siblings who care for a flock of wild owls. Soon, Roy and his friends discover a restaurant will be built where the owls live. They team up with a local policeman in a fight to protect the endangered birds. Throughout the movie, Roy deals with teasing at school, corrupt construction companies, and his fear of having to move yet again. With the power of friendship and perseverance, Roy and the owls have a happy ending.  

Rating PG

Elliot the Littlest Reindeer

Elliot the Littlest Reindeer (2018)

Elliot is a miniature horse, but he doesn’t let that stop him from his goal of joining Santa’s reindeer team. Blitzen retires just three days before Christmas Eve and Elliot jumps at the opportunity to participate in the North Pole tryouts. Although he is teased and doubted by others, Elliot remains determined to achieve his lifelong dream.

Rating PG

McFarland, USA

McFarland, USA (2015)

After losing his job as a football coach, Jim White moves his family to McFarland. There, he begins coaching cross-country. His seven team members have little hope for their futures and limited belief in themselves, but Jim discovers they are talented runners. With incredible commitment, work ethic, and determination, these novice runners become champions—and, later, first-generation college students.

Rating PG

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)

13-year-old William is thrown out of his school in Malawi when his parents can no longer afford to pay the fees. Determined to keep learning, he sneaks into the school’s library and reads about topics like electrical engineering and energy production. When his village faces drought and famine, William creates a plan to build a windmill that powers an electric water pump. His brilliant idea leads to a successful crop and a college scholarship.

Rating PG

These movies about perseverance make excellent conversation starters to speak to children about pursuing their dreams, overcoming obstacles, and persisting through failure. Although the characters in these films face teasing, self-doubt, and incredible obstacles, they never give up. Children will feel inspired and learn they shouldn’t give up either.   

Deepen your conversations about perseverance with our resilience kit, which features worksheets, activities, posters, and coloring pages designed to help children develop their inner grittiness!

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