The 50 Best Movies To Sharpen Your Mind & Awaken You

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woman watching a movie

Spiritual movies help seekers understand the world we live in, all while watching a film. But you're doing more than just watching a film — you're developing your awareness and opening your mind up to new ideas.

A good spiritual film introduces you to other worlds and realms, gives eye-opening views of the supernatural, and pushes viewers to think about life and death in a different way.

Whether they are dramatic, romantic, fantastical, documentary-style, or even science fiction, spiritual movies allow you to contemplate the deeper questions in life and discover the truth of the world.

The 50 Best Spiritual Movies

1. Waking Life (2001)

This adult animated docu-fiction film explores philosophical questions of the nature of reality, dreams and lucid dreams, consciousness, the meaning of life, free will, and existentialism.

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2. Samsara (2011)

Filmed over five years and in 25 countries, "Samsara" explores sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders of the world. A Sanskrit word meaning “the ever turning wheel of life,” "Samsara" shows the interconnection of our lives.

3. Boyhood (2014)

This coming-of-age drama follows the same cast over 12 years to show the trials and tribulations of growing up and parenting.

4. Revolver (2005)

The British-French film "Revolver" is a dark and complex action thriller that entices the audience with gambling and crime. Protagonist Jake Green soon learns that the biggest danger he faces is himself.

5. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)

This Korean film is entirely set on a floating monastery that shows the change in seasons as new events unfold — romance, temptation, and spiritual growth.

6. Being John Malkovich (1999)

The fantasy comedy film, "Being John Malkovich" follows the adventures of an unemployed puppeteer who discovers a portal that leads into the mind of actor John Malkovich.

7. Human (2015)

This honest and meaningful documentary uses testimonies and aerial images to illustrate the realities and diversity of human conditions.

8. Life is Beautiful (1997)

Depicting the horrors of Nazi Germany, this film portrays the romance between Jewish-Italian waiter Guido and his wife Dora. When Guido and their son, Giosue, are taken to a concentration camp, he's determined to protect his son by turning the events into a game.

9. Cloud Atlas (2012)

A movie that spans across hundreds of years, with actors playing multiple roles, six individual stories come together to explain how big an impact we all have on the past, present and future.

10. The Reality of Me (TROM) (2011)

The almost 14-hour long documentary attempts to analyze the world we live in through influential lectures, talks, and clips.

11. I AM (2010)

"I AM" is a film that aims to describe what’s wrong with the world and how we can improve upon it and the way we live. Director Tom Shadyac searches for the answer through intellectual and spiritual leaders.

12. Fight Club (1999)

Starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, "Fight Club" follows the creation of an underground club with strict rules and regulations that uproot their mundane lives.

13. The Truman Show (1998)

This dramatic sci-fi film reveals that Truman Burbank is living his life on a TV set. It explores Christianity, metaphilosophy, simulated reality, existentialism, privacy, and reality television.

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14. Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds (2012)

Historical documentary "Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds" explores the one vibratory field that connects all things. This field is at the root of every spiritual experience and scientific investigation — and maybe they’re not so different after all.

15. American Beauty (1999)

"American Beauty" is a romantic drama about a telesales operative who becomes disillusioned with his life and begins to search for fresh excitement, affecting his wife and daughter.

16. Home (2009)

Showing the consequences of climate change, "Home" depicts how Earth’s problems are linked to the pressure humanity has placed on the environment. This documentary involves aerial footage from 54 countries.

17. Into the Wild (2007)

After living his life according to books, being a top college student and athlete Christopher McCandless decides to leave his wealthy parents behind and embark on an adventure to the Alaskan wilderness, free of possessions.

18. Earthlings (2005)

A horror documentary, "Earthlings" explores animal suffering endured at factory farms, research labs, and puppy mills.

19. I Origins (2014)

Dramatic sci-fi film "I Origins" follows the story of a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye. He eventually discovers that his research implicates and complicates both his scientific and spiritual beliefs.

20. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

What if you could forget ever meeting someone you love? Heartbroken after his girlfriend Clementine has erased all memories of him, Joel undergoes the same procedure, but ends up realizing that our memories make up the core of who we are.

21. Happy (2011)

In an attempt to find the true meaning of happiness, writer and director Roko Belic travels from Louisiana to Kolkata. He combines real life stories and the leading scientific research in happiness.

22. Dark City (1998)

This spiritual film deals with memory, thought control, human will, and the altering of reality as John Murdoch suddenly wakes up to find that he's wanted for murder. As he searches for answers, he comes across an underworld controlled by a group known as the Strangers.

23. Her (2013)

Shortly after his marriage ends, Theodore falls in love with an operating system program that is playful and sensitive, known as “Samantha.”

24. Mr. Nobody (2009)

"Mr. Nobody" is set in 2092, where humanity has conquered immortality. However, there is one last mortal left on Earth: 118-year-old Nemo Nobody. Throughout the film, Nemo is interviewed by psychiatrists and journalists who are eager to hear of his life.

25. The Culture High (2014)

People from all different walks of life come together to discuss the cannabis prohibition within society in this documentary.

26. Surviving Progress (2011)

Canadian documentary "Surviving Progress" dives into the thoughts of popular figures like Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, and Margaret Atwood on the potential destruction of civilization due to the progress that’s been made.

27. Kymatica (2009)

This documentary investigates the reason for the current state of the world. Despite blame on secret organizations, corporations, and corrupt politicians, the root of the issue is that humanity is evolving and taking the world with it.

28. The Matrix (1999)

Starring Keanu Reeves, "The Matrix" illustrates a virtual world that is imprisoning humanity. It follows the discoveries of a computer hacker who wants to find the true nature of his reality.

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29. Tuning In (2008)

In the spiritual documentary "Tuning In," filmmaker David Thomas strives to explain the phenomenon of spirit channeling which involves a psychic connection with a spirit being.

30. Peaceful Warrior (2006)

Gifted athlete Dan Millman meets a mysterious man who opens his eyes to a new vision of strength and understanding. This inspirational story encourages viewers to live in the moment and overcome obstacles.

31. The Life of Pi (2012)

A film about loss and survival, "The Life of Pi" uses beautiful visuals to explore perception, family, nature and animals, morality, and what the truth really means.

32. The Fountain (2006)

A film about metaphysics, universal patterns, Biblical symbolism, and boundless love, "The Fountain" follows a man who travels through time in search of immortality and to save the woman he loves.

33. Lucy (2014)

Starring Scarlett Johansson, "Lucy" is a thriller film that follows a woman used as a drug mule. After accidentally absorbing the drugs, she develops psychic powers, telepathy, and mental time travel.

34. Ram Dass: Fierce Grace (2001)

This documentary traces the life and teachings of Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), who is known as a spiritual inspiration to people across the globe.

35. Planetary (2015)

The historical documentary "Planetary" is said to be a provocative and breathtaking wake-up call to shift our perspective as we know it. It explores our cosmic origins and future as a species.

36. Ashes and Snow (2005)

A collection of both still and movie camera shots, "Ashes and Snow" illustrates the unique interactions between humans and animals. Maybe we’re not so different after all.

37. Solaris (2002)

Based on the classic sci-fi novel of the same name, "Solaris" focuses on a psychologist who investigates the strange behavior of scientists on a space station. But he soon discovers that the orbiting planet, Solaris, may be playing tricks.

38. Groundhog Day (1993)

Starring Bill Murray, this romantic comedy follows a cynical TV weatherman who continues to live the same day over and over again when he visits the town of Punxsutawney.

39. Awake: The Life of Yogananda (2014)

This documentary brings attention to the life of Hindu mystic Paramahansa Yogananda on his path to enlightenment.

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40. Footprints: The Path of Your Life (2016)

A group of 10 men from various backgrounds are led on a 40-day pilgrimage with a Roman Catholic priest. They learn the importance of perseverance, commitment, and assistance.

41. Soul Surfer (2011)

After a shark attack leaves surfer Bethany Hamilton without her left arm, she must find strength and purpose in her future.

42. God’s Not Dead (2014)

In this inspiring coming-of-age story, a devout Christian student must prove that God exists in order to pass his college philosophy course.

43. Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

Colin Firth and Emma Stone star in the romantic comedy "Magic in the Moonlight." Well-known magician Stanley Crawford has a knack for exposing phony spiritualists; however, he's left surprised and shaken by a young woman’s gift.

44. Miracles from Heaven (2016)

Anna Beam survives a headlong tumble into a tree and tells her family of her visit to heaven. Not long after, she shows signs of recovery from her lifelong rare, incurable disorder.

45. On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace (2017)

This spiritual documentary film is based on photographer Michael O’Neill’s book. He interviews yoga masters in India, Tibet, and New York to captivate the effects of this spiritual practice.

46. Kumaré (2012)

When American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi poses as an Indian guru to satirize the New Age movement, he finds that his followers are receiving genuine benefits from his deception.

47. 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama (2006)

During a private visit to his monastery, filmmaker Rick Ray poses philosophical questions to the Dalai Lama. His questions come from his own observations on his journey throughout India and the Middle East, as well as the wisdom of the extraordinary spiritual leader.

48. Conversations with God (2006)

"Conversations with God" is a drama adventure film that follows unemployed and homeless Neale Donald Walsch. At his lowest point in life, he receives divine inspiration and turns his dialogues with God into a best-selling series of books.

49. Astral City: A Spiritual Journey (2010)

Brazilian film "Astral City: A Spiritual Journey" is a spiritual movie that discusses the afterlife in a unique way. When a deceased doctor is taken out of purgatory, he's brought to a spirit colony that shows him the real meaning of life after death.

50. Ayurveda: The Art of Being (2001)

"Ayurveda: The Art of Being" is a spiritual movie set in India. The documentary by Pan Nalin explores the traditional Hindu system of medicine that is practiced in India.

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Isabella Pacinelli is a former contributor to YourTango, features editor for Ashland University's The Collegian, and freelance writer for Medina Weekly News. Follow her on Facebook for more.