If you still haven’t got round to starting running or getting back on that bike just yet then fear not: all you need is a little motivational push, and Netflix has a whole host of inspirational movies to get you up and off that sofa (right after the film credits roll, that is).
Mission to the Edge of Space (2013)
Just to prove you can do anything if you put your mind to it, Mission to the Edge of Space features documentary footage from the record-breaking 2012 Red Bull Stratos, jump in which Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner successfully completed a leap from the edge of the Earth’s stratosphere, free-falling from a height of nearly 128,000 ft. Wow.
Pumping Iron (1977)
This docudrama surrounds the world of bodybuilding, in particular the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia competitions of the 1970s. Made from real footage and partially scripted sequences, the film nominally focuses on the rivalry between legendary bodybuilders Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, in their intense battle to be crowned Mr. Olympia. In other words, it’s The Terminator vs The Incredible Hulk!
Beyond the Edge (2013)
Beyond the Edge is the dramatic retelling of Sir Edmund Hillary’s pioneering 1953 ascent of Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest peak. Mixing original footage with on-location recreations, it’s bound to have you pumped up to push the limits of the human body.
Town of Runners (2012)
The small Ethiopian town of Bekoji may not seem like much to the casual outsider, but the community is famous for producing some of the best long-distance athletes to walk the Earth, with runners from the town having won 8 Olympic Golds, broken 10 world records and claimed 32 World Championships. Current World and Olympic champions Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenenisa Bekele are the latest Bekoji residents to find success, and this documentary follows 3 young girls who hope to tread the same path as their hugely-successful idols.
Into the Wild (2007)
“Just because you’re breathing, doesn’t mean you’re alive.” If you’re planning on upping sticks and travelling the world anytime soon then you may want to watch Sean Penn’s Into the Wild first; not just for the inspiring story but also as a precaution about better planning. This biographical adaptation follows the story of young Chris McCandless, an American twenty-something who decides to leave his capitalist lifestyle behind and live alone in the Alaskan wilderness.
Hoop Dreams (1994)
The epically-long, award-winning Hoop Dreams is a bit of a slog – but well worth the time – and is widely regarded as the documentary that made documentaries entertaining for the masses. Hoop Dreams follows two young African-American teenagers living on the poor side of Chicago, with big dreams to become professional basketball players. As much a tale of reaching your destiny as it is a comment about race and ethnicity within the US.
The Motivation (2013)
Eight of the world’s most-renowned professional skaters converge on New York City to contest the upcoming Street League Championships. A tournament that not only gifts the winner $200,000 but the chance to be crowned the greatest street-skater on the planet. This powerful documentary focuses on the the real people off the boards, and the emotional and personal conflicts they face in their daily lives.
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (2010)
If fear it the only thing that motivates you, then you best stick Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on the screen. This short documentary follows obese Australian filmmaker Joe Cross, who opts to take on a strict 60-day juice-only diet in order to save his own life. Extreme perhaps, but Cross sheds more than 100 lbs during the weeks of his course, and sets out across the US to persuade others to adopt a similar life-changing weight-loss program.
More Netflix inspiration:
- Feelgood films on Netflix
- Comedy Christmas specials on Netflix
- New things on Netflix this month (December 2014)
- Greatest double acts on Netflix
- Best stand up shows on Netflix
- Bizarre animated characters on Netflix
- Unlikely heroes you can follow on Netflix
- Craziest things you can watch on Netflix
- Best single season TV shows on Netflix
- Most memorable TV episodes on Netflix
- Fascinating antiheroes on Netflix
- Weird and wonderful documentaries on Netflix
- Surprising sequels on Netflix
- Bizarre foreign films on Netflix
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