Movies about redemption focus on a person or group of people overcoming their demons on a path that leads to salvation. These movies about redemption are inspirational and motivate us never to lose hope.
Redemption is an essential part of anyone’s life. We all go through this phase at some point in our life. Redemption has also been a prevalent theme in many works of literature. It is also an essential part of The Hero’s Journey, AKA The Monomyth.
Naturally, filmmakers have also portrayed redemption in their movies. In fact, many movies usually feature redemption in some form or shape. However, there have been attempts by filmmakers to explore this subject solely.
So, if you’re looking for movies based on the subject of redemption, you’ve come to the right place. We are presenting our top 18 movies about redemption to help you explore this critical phase of life.
Movies About Redemption
As we’ve mentioned earlier, some movies feature redemption as their main subject while others subtly use it. We have included both types of movies on this list of movies about redemption. As always, these movies span across different genres, showing the diversity of this subject matter.
Keep in mind that these movies aren’t ranked in any specific order. So, let’s jump into it.
25. Despicable Me (2010)
Despicable Me is an animated comedy movie. It revolves around Gru, a criminal genius. He uses three orphans as puppets to pull off the largest theft in history. When the small girls acknowledge him as a potential parent, his life takes an unexpected turn.
Whenever you think about meaningful animated movies, Despicable Me is one of the movies that will come to your mind. It’s not only enjoyable for kids but also for adults. The story is intriguing enough to keep you interested throughout the film.
Steve Carell’s performance as Gru makes this movie more memorable. His voice is iconic at this point. All in all, Despicable Me features the perfect blend of humor and thought-provoking ideas. It is a must-watch if you like animated movies.
24. Rain Man (1988)
The next entry on our list of movies about redemption is Rain Man, a drama movie. This movie revolves around Charlie, a self-centered car dealer, who kidnaps his autistic brother Raymond and manipulates him into giving up their late father’s money.
Rain Man is a beautifully crafted, funny, and intelligently written movie. The story never loses momentum or becomes dull. Moreover, both actors’ performances are good, but Dustin Hoffmann’s performance shines the most.
The character development of Charlie throughout the movie feels quite natural and realistic. It doesn’t feel forced or rushed. This character development puts Rain Man on our list of movies about redemption.
23. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Good Will Hunting revolves around Will Hunting, a genius who is living a difficult life in South Boston. He is discovered by a Professor who attempts to convince Will to change his lifestyle with the help of Sean Maguire.
Good Will Hunting not only portrays the redemption of its protagonist, but the movie will also help you do some self-realization. Will eventually learns that there is more to life than he believes there is.
Overall, Good Will Hunting is a fabulous movie with a great storyline. Moreover, the performances are also perfect. You can’t expect less from such a star-studded cast, including Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon.
22. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Dark Knight Rises is the final entry in Christopher Nolan’s TDK trilogy. In this movie, Batman is forced to come out of hiding after eight years when Bane seizes control of Gotham’s underbelly and plots to take over the entire city.
Concluding a trilogy is never an easy task. Even though some were confused with the ending of The Dark Knight Rises, for me, it was a satisfying conclusion to this trilogy. This film features great performances from all the actors, including Bale, Tom Hardy, Anna Hathaway, and the rest.
The Dark Knight Rises does a great job of portraying redemption. The subplot where Bruce is stuck inside his prison signifies Bruce’s redemption as he lets his trauma go and accepts who he really is and always will be. This whole sequence makes it one of the best movies about redemption.
21. Awakenings (1990)
Awakenings is a biographical drama movie. It is based on the memoir of Oliver Sacks. In this film, victims of an encephalitis pandemic have been catatonic for many years, but a new medicine may be able to help them.
Robin Williams and Robert De Niro are great in their respective roles. They alleviate the movie with their brilliant performances. The storyline is also quite engaging and emotional and will stay with you for a long time.
Awakenings is a fantastic film for a variety of reasons. It’s deeply affecting, intellectual, and well-acted. It is one of the best movies about redemption. Moreover, real stories like these prove inspirational for people.
20. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
To Kill A Mockingbird is the next entry on our list of movies about redemption. The film takes place in Depression-era Alabama. Atticus Finch, a widowed lawyer, defends a black man accused of rape while his children fight against prejudice.
The film To Kill a Mockingbird is based on Harper Lee’s book of the same name. It is probably one of the most famous books because you might’ve read it during your education, and it is safe to say that this is one of the most accurate book adaptations.
Overall, the film has great storytelling and brilliant acting. It gives out an important message about prejudice and the concept of evil. To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the finest-ever demonstrations of tolerance, loving families, and the beauty of life as seen through the eyes of a child.
19. Cast Away (2000)
Cast Away is a drama adventure movie. In this movie, Chuck Nolan is stranded on a remote island after a fatal plane crash. Chuck must discover methods to survive in his new home because he has no way to flee.
This movie about redemption portrays the iconic clash between man and nature. No matter how much we try, we cannot slow down time, so the best option is to move on with your life.
Robert Zemeckis has brilliantly shot this movie, as each scene is almost perfect. Overall, it’s a strong, courageous, and well-made movie that is emotional and inspirational, but the emotions do not feel forced. Instead, they feel natural.
18. He Never Died (2015)
He Never Died is a drama thriller movie. It revolves around Jack, an anti-social man who spends his days watching TV and sleeping. However, when some hired goons arrive, Jack’s life is affected, and the question of his existence is raised.
This movie’s actual protagonist is Cain, the son of Adam in the Bible. Cain is depicted as the inventor of murder, who is always doomed to be alone and despised. However, this movie shows how he actually redeems himself.
Jack is actually Cain, who has moved to the United States. This movie takes a unique approach to Biblical mythos and is very interesting. However, the film is very gory, so make sure you have a strong stomach before diving into it.
17. The Green Mile (1999)
The Green Mile is a fantasy drama movie. This movie is based on a novel by Stephen King. It is set in the 1930s, where death row guards at a penitentiary face a moral quandary when they learn one of their captives, a convicted killer, has a rare “gift.”
John Coffee represents the messiah in this movie. Stephen King himself has said that John Coffee is a modern-day messiah who sacrifices himself for the redemption of mankind. The entire film is full of biblical references that you only notice upon rewatching the movie.
Overall, The Green Mile is a really beautiful yet heartbreaking film. It stars Tom Hanks and Micheal Clarke Dunkan in lead roles. Both of these actors deliver a powerful and moving performance. It is definitely one of the best movies about redemption.
16. The Family Man (2000)
The Family Man is a comedy fantasy movie. In this movie, a fast-paced investment broker awakens to discover that his sports vehicle and girlfriend have been replaced with a minivan and wife.
This film can be described as a modern-day retelling of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” So if you’ve watched that movie, you will have a pretty good idea of what The Family Man is about. It depicts how a person can become insensitive when he gets lost in the rush of life.
The Family Man is a perfect movie about redemption. In addition, it has a very charming storyline and good acting by all the cast members.
15. The Pursuit of Happyness (2011)
The next entry on our list of movies about redemption is The Pursuit of Happyness, a biographical drama movie. Its story revolves around a struggling salesman getting custody of his son as he embarks on a life-changing professional career. He faces many harsh situations, but he never gives up.
The Pursuit of Happyness is based on the real-life story of Chris Gardner, an American businessman. This movie shows a man fighting against all odds to redeem himself. He proves himself to his son and the rest of the world.
This film is full of powerful dialogues and scenes. Will Smith gives the best performance of his lifetime. It will probably move you to tears; however, there’s a certain hopefulness throughout the movie. Overall, it is a very well-made movie.
14. Tokyo Godfathers (2006)
Tokyo Godfathers is an anime movie. It takes place on Christmas Eve. Three homeless individuals living on Tokyo’s streets discover a newborn baby among the rubbish and set out to find the baby’s parents.
One of the main characters, Gin, is an alcoholic and self-destructive man at the movie’s start. However, he eventually comes to terms with his shortcomings. The quest to find the baby’s parents plays an essential role in his journey of redemption.
Even though it is an animated movie, it sets itself apart. Everyone praised it for its depiction of people living in the slums or those who are homeless. Moreover, the art style is simply beautiful. It is not only one of the best movies about redemption but also a great Christmas movie.
13. Leon: The Professional (1994)
Leon: The Professional is a crime drama movie. In this film, 12-year-old Mathilda is forcefully taken in by Léon, a professional assassin. An unexpected bond develops as she becomes his protege and learns the assassin’s profession.
This can be described as a coming-of-age story. Not only Mathilda but Leon is also growing up and learning about life. If you watch the film closely, you’ll realize that both characters are quite similar. They both need to learn about life and they do by the end of the movie.
Leon: The Professional is no doubt one of the best movies about redemption. It features brilliant acting by Natalie Portman, Jean Reno, and Gary Oldman. Furthermore, the storyline is very engaging and interesting. You will enjoy every second of this movie.
12. Groundhog Day (1993)
Groundhog Day is a comedy fantasy movie. It revolves around A self-centered Pittsburgh weatherman who finds himself strangely locked in a tiny hamlet, repeating the same day. He needs to change his lifestyle to live a normal life.
Groundhog Day deals with a lot of themes, including narcissism, salvation, and self-discovery. The protagonist of this movie is a narcissist who gets stuck in a time loop. This whole time loop signifies how life constantly gives you chances to reinvent and redeem yourself.
Speaking of narcissistic characters, make sure to check out our list of movies about narcissists.
This entire movie is genuinely funny and teaches us a thing or two about life. Bill Murray’s performance is top-notch, and he is the backbone of this movie. In conclusion, it is a delightful film that works on all levels.
11. Dogma (1999)
Dogma is the next entry on our list of movies about redemption. It is part of the Jay and Silent Bob series. In this movie, an abortion clinic worker with a unique inheritance is chosen to prevent mankind from being annihilated by two rogue angels attempting to exploit a loophole and reenter Heaven.
Right off the bat, this movie is hilarious. However, it is still a very thought-provoking movie despite all the comedy. This is one of the best Kevin Smith movies. It is genius yet hilarious.
Moreover, the cast is the highlight of this movie. You have Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Alan Rickman, and Linda Fiorentino. This movie was always meant to achieve greatness with such a great cast.
10. Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Shawshank Redemption is a crime drama movie. In this movie, Andy Dufresne, a prominent banker, is imprisoned for the deaths of his wife and her boyfriend. He is sentenced to life in prison in the Shawshank prison. However, soon he becomes the most sensational prisoner.
Shawshank Redemption is a really beautiful movie. It touches upon many aspects of a person’s life. One of those aspects is self-redemption. We get to see the redemption of multiple characters throughout a movie, and every character teaches us something new.
This is probably the most well-known movie on this list. Many people praise it due to its moving storyline and thoughtful dialogues.
9. The World’s End (2013)
The World’s End is a sci-fi comedy movie. This film follows Five friends who reconnect in an attempt to surpass their epic pub crawl from twenty years ago unintentionally become humanity’s ultimate hope for survival.
As the movie progresses, we see that all of these characters have various deficiencies. However, when they work together, they finally come to terms with each other and redeem themselves.
Edgar Wright is the director of this movie, and he has done a fantastic job as always. He is referred to as the master of visual comedy, and rightfully so. In addition, the movie stars Simon Pegg, Martin Freeman, and Nick Frost. All of these talented actors have done a phenomenal job.
Overall, this movie is one of the best movies about redemption and one of the best comedy movies.
8. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Leaving Las Vegas is a drama romance movie. In this movie, Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who has lost everything due to his alcoholism, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. He meets Sera, a prostitute, and makes an uncomfortable relationship with her.
Most movies about redemption show a character looking for a chance to redeem themselves. However, in Leaving Las Vegas, the protagonist has lost all hope for redemption. So how can someone get redemption without hope?
That is the question this movie finds the answer to. It is a very philosophical storyline with a unique take on the subject of redemption. I highly recommend this movie.
7. Last Man Standing (1996)
Last Man Standing is the next entry on our list of movies about redemption. The story of this film takes place in a Prohibition-era ghost town. A wandering mercenary finds himself in the heart of an ongoing feud between the Irish and Italian mafias.
This movie is a remake of Yojimbo, a Japanese classic. Yes, the story of this movie is very straightforward and predictable. However, the highlight of this movie is the characters played by Bruce Willis and Christopher Walker.
Furthermore, the atmosphere created by the director is very mesmerizing. You will actually feel like you’re in the middle of a brewing gang war. Overall, it is a decent movie and you can enjoy watching it.
6. Gran Torino (2008)
Gran Torino is a drama movie. When Walt Kowalski’s neighbor, Thao, tries to steal his 1972 Gran Torino, he resolves to assist him in his rehabilitation. However, Walt gets involved in a bitter rivalry with a local crime boss when he saves Thao from them.
In this movie, Walt (played by Clint Eastwood) is a war veteran with distorted ideologies. However, his personality changes when he interacts with Thao. We see his genuine transition from an embodiment of hate to a peaceful and caring savior.
Walt redeems himself by a sacrifice that frees him from a world beyond his understanding, leaving behind emotional memories for those who were a part of his journey. Overall, Gran Torina is one of the best movies about redemption and it is certainly heart-touching.
5. In Bruges (2008)
In Bruges is coming at the 5th spot on our list of movies about redemption. This movie revolves around Ray and his guilt-ridden sidekick after a botched assignment. They await orders from their cruel boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place Ray wants to be.
The subject of this movie is very mature and dark actually. The hitmen are feeling guilty because they’ve murdered a teenage boy instead of their actual target. The odd and sometimes bizarre occurrences that the two characters encounter in the film generate a sensation of dislocation as if they are someplace else entirely.
Towards the end, the characters eventually pay a price for their redemption. So the gist of the movie is that redemption comes with a price and you’ve to pay that price no matter what.
4. Unforgiven (1992)
Another movie by Clint Eastwood has made its way on our list of movies about redemption. Unforgiven revolves around William Munny, a retired gunfighter who gives up everything after his marriage. However, when Schofield Kid makes him an irrefutable offer, things might change.
When Munny returns to his old ways, the results are bloody and uncompromising. However, the viewer is ultimately left with a sense of hope, because Munny has faced his demons and is now a better man.
The best part about Unforgiven is how it plays with the audience’s mind. Its conclusion doesn’t actually show us whether Munny was able to redeem himself or not. It is entirely up to the viewer.
3. The Hunter (2011)
The Hunter is an adventure thriller movie. In this movie, Martin, a mercenary, is dispatched from Europe to the Tasmanian outback in search of the last Tasmanian tiger by a mystery biotech business.
This movie is very realistic in its approach to the subject. It is a story of how the lust for betterment will keep affecting our nature.
Willem Dafoe gives a beautifully haunting performance. Moreover, the cinematography and music of the film are top-notch. Overall, it is a very unique and enjoyable movie. It will stay with you for a long time.
2. The Wrestler (2008)
The Wrestler is a sports drama movie. This movie revolves around Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a washed-up wrestler who was a star in the 1980s but now works at a supermarket and competes in independent wrestling events on weekends.
In the film, Randy is discontent with his mediocre life. He is also facing serious health issues which are holding him back from the only thing he loves, wrestling. However, he’s tired of being stuck in a monotonous cycle. Randy wants redemption so he can feel good about himself.
The Wrestler also shows a side of the wrestling industry that isn’t discussed too often. It is quite dark at times, but the ending is very satisfying and hopeful. In short, it is a great movie.
1. Schindler’s List (1993)
Schindler’s List is a biographical movie. It is based on the life of Oskar Schindler and is set during World War 2. Schindler was an ally to the Nazis. However, he gradually became sympathetic towards the jews and helped them through the horrors of this war.
This film is a masterpiece. Additionally, the fact that it is based on real-life makes it more effective. There are some historical inaccuracies, but they’re necessary to make a movie watchable.
Oskar Schindler redeemed himself when he sacrificed to save the life of 1200 jews during the Holocaust. More than 8,000 individuals are alive today as a result of Schindler’s efforts to safeguard Jews. Schindler’s List is a beautiful depiction of his life and path to salvation.
The Batman (2022)
The reason why this entry is in honorable mention is that it is a “superhero” movie. Most superhero movies are technically about redemption and salvation. However, the reason why only The Batman made its way to the list is because it treats this subject masterfully.
If you’ve seen the movie, then you’ll have an idea of what I’m about to explain. Spoiler alert in case you haven’t watched the movie yet.
This depiction of Batman is near perfect. It shows how his sense of justice is actually doing more harm than good. Even though it is not his fault, he still redeems himself at the end of the movie by literally stepping into the light. After his encounter with the Riddler, he has an entirely different outlook on life which will be explored in a possible sequel.
So this was our list of movies about redemption. We hope you learned something about these movies or the subject of redemption itself.