The 7 Best Movies About Professional Development

by / ⠀Career Advice / April 20, 2022
Did you know that one of the best ways to get career inspiration is by watching a movie? Here are 7 movies about professional development.

If you’re looking for a good movie to watch that portrays the challenges and rewards of professional development, you should check out the seven options listed below. Each movie has its own unique take on the challenges and rewards of pursuing a professional development path. Similarly, they all provide a well-rounded perspective on the topic.

The best part of watching such inspirational and motivational movies is that they do help you change your perspective and influence your decision-making. Both of these things will help you stay consistent on your professional development journey.

So whether you’re a young professional or someone with years of experience, these movies are sure to entertain and charm you.

Professional Development Movies: Our Top 7 Picks

1. The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness is a true story of Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith in this movie. It’s about how a common salesman turns his life around, overcomes personal and professional challenges, and becomes a stock market legend. Have facial tissues nearby if you’re going to watch this heartfelt story. It’s an emotional roller coaster.

The life of this bone density scanner salesman turns upside down when his girlfriend leaves him. He loses his home and wanders homeless on the roads of New York with his 5-year-old son. Despite his life crumbling down around him, Chris keeps pushing forward. He starts learning the ropes of the stock market and eventually gets an internship at a big stock brokerage company.

However, this opportunity brings many other challenges with it, as he needs to compete with 20 other interns to get the job. We will not spoil the movie for you with any further details, so watch it whenever you have time.

  • Lesson: No matter how tough life gets, you achieve what you want if you don’t lose hope and stay persistent. Something you’ll need to remind yourself over and over on your professional development journey.
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2. Steve Jobs

The movie that started the trend of biopics about Apple founder Steve Jobs is a great example of how a professional development story can be told. It’s directed by Danny Boyle and stars Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs.

The movie tells the story of the young Steve Jobs, who had the vision to revolutionize the personal computing industry. The story provides a backstage view behind the launches of three iconic products ending with the iMac in 1998.

  • Lesson: If you want to learn how visionaries behave, look at things and execute projects, this one is a must to add to your watchlist.

3. Ford v Ferrari

An excellent movie on determination, passion, and self-development. Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale, is a race car driver who is passionate about cars and auto racing. He is given a chance to race for Ford. It will involve competing against Ferrari in one of the largest race events of the 1900s.

We won’t tell you what happens next as you should discover this when watching the movie. However, Ford v Ferrari is perfect for those looking to get inspired by someone going against all odds with limited resources.

  • Lesson: Competency can get you very far…even if you have fewer resources.

4. Forrest Gump

This is a great movie about a man’s journey from birth to death. Tom Hanks plays Forrest Gump, a simple man who does not understand the concept of time. He just keeps living his life the way he always did.

He gets involved in a lot of misadventures that push him forward in his life. The movie also introduces us to many different characters who help Forrest on his journeys, such as Jenny, Bubba, and the President. The movie also shows us how life can change in a matter of seconds.

  • Lesson: If there’s one thing you’ll definitely learn from this movie it’s that consistency and pursuing one goal at a time till the end gets you astounding results.
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5. Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde is a movie about a college student who changes her life’s direction for a different purpose but ends up becoming a successful lawyer.

The movie follows Elle Woods, played by Reese Witherspoon, who decides to go to Harvard Law School to win her ex back after a tough breakup.

You’ll see her going on a journey of professional development and how she changes. She manages to survive, study, and pass the bar exam. You can find out what happens next after watching the whole movie.

  • Lesson: The movie highlights that anyone can become anyone if they put their mind to it. You don’t have to listen to people trying to put you into the box, telling you what you can or cannot do.

6. The Theory of Everything

This movie is based on the life of Stephen Hawking. Stephen was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) at 21. It has many great lessons for those looking for some inspiration and motivation to develop and grow despite the hardships. For example, it demonstrates that you can overcome a disability if you work hard enough.

Hawking became paralyzed. He was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. However, his mind was still active. He managed to write several books exploring the mysteries of our universe. Even when his disease took over his speaking ability, he used a voice synthesizer to communicate and continued his research till the end.

  • Lesson: The movie sheds light on when you’re passionate about something, you evolve and find ways to move forward no matter what — an important lesson for those working on professional development.
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7. The Social Network

The Social Network movie is a fictionalized account of the creation of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to fame. The movie follows the story of the founding of the social network and the rivalry between the two founders. It also focuses on the struggle of how Facebook grew into the most influential company in the world.

The movie portrays how Mark Zuckerberg became an entrepreneur during his college years. He then built a company that went from a dorm room to billions.

You’ll get to see how a young genius turns a website into a massive business with a team of young, ambitious people. However, it also highlights how Mark failed to keep many of his relationships even after becoming an enormous success.

  • Lesson: If you want to know how startups are formed and scaled and the importance of balancing work and personal relations, watch this one.

Parting Thoughts

If you’re scouting the internet for a movie that will inspire and motivate you to pursue your professional development goals, look no further than the ones we’ve suggested above.

With titles ranging from Steve Jobs to Ford v Ferrari to The Pursuit of Happyness, these movies will help you see the importance of making the most of your time and talents.

About The Author


Taha Khan is a professional content writer by trade. He is a business administration graduate with a focus and interest in marketing and entrepreneurship. Khan has been working as a content writer for several years and has collaborated with 100+ businesses on their content marketing projects. When not writing, he is probably reading – mostly going through psychology and philosophy books. And when Khan is not reading, he is gaming on his PC – another hobby mostly associated with introverts.


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