In no particular order, here are the top 40 most enlightening spiritual movies and documentaries I’ve come across.
These cover the topics of awakening, enlightenment, spirituality or might just explore philosophically empowering messages that reveal the beauty and mystery of the universe. Are there any significant spiritual movies we’re missing? Comment with them below.
Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds (2012)
122 min|Documentary, History|19 Dec 2012
8.7Rating: 8.7 / 10 from 1,543 users
There is one vibratory field that connects all things. It has been called Akasha, Logos, the primordial OM, the music of the spheres, the Higgs field, dark energy, and a thousand other names throughout history.
This series is the most concise distillation of humanity’s search for the transcendent. If you really want to go down the rabbit hole of the ‘illusion of a separate self’ the follow up films Samadhi part one and two are highly recommended.
Waking Life (2001)
99 min|Animation, Drama, Fantasy|07 Mar 2002
7.8Rating: 7.8 / 10 from 57,804 users
A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe.
Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.
Director:Ron Fricke Creator:Ron Fricke (concept and treatment written by), Mark Magidson (concept and treatment written by) Actors:Balinese Tari Legong Dancers, Ni Made Megahadi Pratiwi, Puti Sri Candra Dewi, Putu Dinda Pratika
120 min|Documentary, Drama, Family|05 Jun 2009
8.6Rating: 8.6 / 10 from 20,694 users
With aerial footage from fifty-four countries, 'Home' is a depiction of how Earth's problems are all interlinked.
Director:Yann Arthus-Bertrand Creator:Isabelle Delannoy, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Denis Carot, Yen Le Van, Isabelle Delannoy (commentary), Tewfik Fares (commentary), Yann Arthus-Bertrand (commentary) Actors:Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Glenn Close, Jacques Gamblin
165 min|Drama|15 Aug 2014
7.9Rating: 7.9 / 10 from 320,079 users
The life of Mason, from early childhood to his arrival at college.
Director Tom Shadyac speaks with intellectual and spiritual leaders about what's wrong with our world and how we can improve both it and the way we live in it.
Director:Tom Shadyac Actors:Ray Anderson, Marc Ian Barasch, Coleman Barks, Noam Chomsky
Tuning In (2008)
80 min|Documentary|02 Sep 2008
7.4Rating: 7.4 / 10 from 151 users
A feature-length documentary exploring, for the very first time and in a very down-to-earth fashion, the phenomenon of channeling. Popularized by the late Edgar Cayce, this ancient and …
Director:David Thomas Creator:David Thomas Actors:Darryl Anka, John Cali, Lee Carroll, Geoffrey Hoppe
Awake: The Life of Yogananda (2014)
87 min|Documentary|10 Oct 2014
7.2Rating: 7.2 / 10 from 989 users
Unique biopic about Yogananda, telling the story of his life and influence on yoga, religion and science, combining re-enactment, interviews, and verité.
Director:Paola di Florio, Lisa Leeman Actors:George Harrison, Anupam Kher, Reed Rudy, Russell Simmons
Peaceful Warrior (2006)
120 min|Drama, Romance, Sport|23 Jun 2006
7.3Rating: 7.3 / 10 from 25,235 users
A chance encounter with a stranger changes the life of a college gymnast.
Director:Victor Salva Creator:Kevin Bernhardt (screenplay), Dan Millman (novel) Actors:Scott Mechlowicz, Nick Nolte, Amy Smart, Tim DeKay
Groundhog Day (1993)
101 min|Comedy, Fantasy, Romance|12 Feb 1993
8.0Rating: 8.0 / 10 from 549,791 users
A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.
Director:Harold Ramis Creator:Danny Rubin (screenplay), Harold Ramis (screenplay), Danny Rubin (story) Actors:Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky
115 min|Comedy, Drama|14 Feb 2003
7.7Rating: 7.7 / 10 from 167,718 users
A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean for the screen.
Director:Spike Jonze Creator:Susan Orlean (book), Charlie Kaufman (screenplay) Actors:Nicolas Cage, Tilda Swinton, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper
I Heart Huckabees (2004)
107 min|Comedy|22 Oct 2004
6.6Rating: 6.6 / 10 from 60,759 users
A husband-and-wife team play detective, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, the happy duo helps others solve their existential issues, the kind that keep you up at night, wondering what it all means.
Director:David O. Russell Creator:David O. Russell, Jeff Baena Actors:Jason Schwartzman, Isabelle Huppert, Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin
The Fountain (2006)
97 min|Drama, Mystery, Romance, Sci-Fi|22 Nov 2006
7.2Rating: 7.2 / 10 from 219,366 users
As a modern-day scientist, Tommy is struggling with mortality, desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi.
Director:Darren Aronofsky Creator:Darren Aronofsky (screenplay), Darren Aronofsky (story), Ari Handel (story) Actors:Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, Mark Margolis
162 min|Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi|18 Dec 2009
7.8Rating: 7.8 / 10 from 1,069,221 users
A paraplegic Marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.
Director:James Cameron Creator:James Cameron Actors:Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang
120 min|Drama, Sci-Fi|26 Oct 2001
7.4Rating: 7.4 / 10 from 168,983 users
PROT is a patient at a mental hospital who claims to be from a far away planet. His psychiatrist tries to help him, only to begin to doubt his own explanations.
Director:Iain Softley Creator:Gene Brewer (novel), Charles Leavitt (screenplay) Actors:Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack, Alfre Woodard
76 min|Documentary, Drama, Family|03 Jul 2013
7.2Rating: 7.2 / 10 from 3,041 users
Happy takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy.
Director:Roko Belic Creator:Roko Belic Actors:Marci Shimoff, Ed Diener, Richard Davidson, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
I Origins (2014)
106 min|Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi|19 Sep 2014
7.4Rating: 7.4 / 10 from 107,576 users
A molecular biologist and his laboratory partner uncover evidence that may fundamentally change society as we know it.
Director:Mike Cahill Creator:Mike Cahill Actors:Michael Pitt, Steven Yeun, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Brit Marling
Dark City (1998)
100 min|Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller|27 Feb 1998
7.6Rating: 7.6 / 10 from 179,629 users
A man struggles with memories of his past, which includes a wife he cannot remember, and a nightmarish world without a sun.
Director:Alex Proyas Creator:Alex Proyas (story), Alex Proyas (screenplay), Lem Dobbs (screenplay), David S. Goyer (screenplay) Actors:Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly
Ram Dass, Fierce Grace (2001)
93 min|Documentary|21 May 2001
7.7Rating: 7.7 / 10 from 302 users
After Richard Alpert was fired from Harvard in 1963 for conducting psychedelic drug research, he journeyed to India, found a guru and was renamed Ram Dass ("Servant of God"). Soon, Ram Dass…
Director:Mickey Lemle Actors:Ram Dass, William Alpert, Larry Brilliant, Bhagavan Das
95 min|Documentary, Horror|24 Sep 2005
8.7Rating: 8.7 / 10 from 16,528 users
Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, Earthlings chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.
We are in the midst of a global crisis of perspective. We have forgotten the undeniable truth that everything is connected. PLANETARY is a provocative and breathtaking wakeup call, a cross …
Director:Guy Reid, Steve Watts Kennedy(co-director) Creator:Steve Watts Kennedy Actors:Janine Benyus, Ronald Garan, Joan Halifax, Paul Hawken
The Matrix (1999)
136 min|Action, Sci-Fi|31 Mar 1999
8.7Rating: 8.7 / 10 from 1,549,931 users
A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.
Director:Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski Creator:Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski Actors:Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
Into the Wild (2007)
148 min|Adventure, Biography, Drama|19 Oct 2007
8.1Rating: 8.1 / 10 from 535,116 users
After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.
Director:Sean Penn Creator:Sean Penn (screenplay), Jon Krakauer (book) Actors:Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone
Ashes and Snow (2005)
62 min|Documentary, Drama|05 Mar 2005
8.3Rating: 8.3 / 10 from 3,669 users
Exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals.
We may be quick to blame secret organizations, corporations and corrupt politicians for the state of the environment. The harsh truth is that the world is in its current state because humanity is evolving and taking the world with it.
Director:Benjamin Stewart Actors:Bruce Lipton, Henrik Palmgren
The Reality of Me (TROM) (2011)
N/A|Documentary|08 Jan 2011
8.6Rating: 8.6 / 10 from 284 users
From The Big Bang to The Monetary System, Religion, Human Behaviour, War or Slavery, to a new Global Social System, TROM Documentary tries to analyze the world we live in.
Actors:George Carlin, Richard Dawkins, Aubrey de Grey, Richard Feynman
Surviving Progress (2011)
86 min|Documentary|23 Mar 2013
7.4Rating: 7.4 / 10 from 1,731 users
Theorists consider the evolution of human society and question the sustainability of the current paradigm.
Director:Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks(co-director) Creator:Harold Crooks, Mathieu Roy Actors:Ronald Wright, Mark Levine, Robert Wright, Marina Silva
The Dhamma Brothers (2008)
76 min|Documentary|11 Apr 2008
7.6Rating: 7.6 / 10 from 417 users
East meets West in the Deep South. An overcrowded maximum-security prison-the end of the line in Alabama's correctional system-is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient …
Director:Andrew Kukura, Jenny Phillips, Anne Marie Stein Actors:Grady Bankhead, Ron Cavanaugh, Jonathan Crowley, Edward Johnson
The Culture High (2014)
120 min|Documentary, News|17 Oct 2014
8.3Rating: 8.3 / 10 from 3,503 users
Scours the deep-seated roots of this morally induced Marijuana campaign and reveal the fascinating path it has taken to get to where it is today.
Director:Brett Harvey Creator:Michael Bobroff, Michael Bobroff, Brett Harvey, Brett Harvey Actors:Joe Rogan, Snoop Dogg, Penn Jillette, Ronald Reagan
Life Is Beautiful (1997)
116 min|Comedy, Drama, Romance, War|12 Feb 1999
8.6Rating: 8.6 / 10 from 572,388 users
When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.
Director:Roberto Benigni Creator:Vincenzo Cerami (story and screenplay by), Roberto Benigni (story and screenplay by) Actors:Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano
A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.
Director:Jaco Van Dormael Creator:Jaco Van Dormael Actors:Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh Dan Pham
190 min|Documentary|12 Sep 2015
8.7Rating: 8.7 / 10 from 6,500 users
A collection of stories about and images of our world, offering an immersion to the core of what it means to be human.
Director:Yann Arthus-Bertrand Actors:Luis Cancu, Atman, Berthony, Bruno
126 min|Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi|10 Jan 2014
8.0Rating: 8.0 / 10 from 486,296 users
In a near future, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need.
Director:Spike Jonze Creator:Spike Jonze Actors:Joaquin Phoenix, Lynn Adrianna, Lisa Renee Pitts, Gabe Gomez
Being John Malkovich (1999)
113 min|Comedy, Drama, Fantasy|03 Dec 1999
7.7Rating: 7.7 / 10 from 293,578 users
A puppeteer discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of movie star John Malkovich.
Director:Spike Jonze Creator:Charlie Kaufman Actors:John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Ned Bellamy, Eric Weinstein