Top 40 Most Enlightening Spiritual Films Of All Time

In no particular order, here are the top 40 most enlightening spiritual films 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 movies we’re missing? Comment with them below.

1. Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds (2012)

  • 122 min|Documentary, History|19 Dec 2012
  • 8.7 Rating: 8.7 / 10 from 922 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 …
  • Director: Daniel Schmidt
  • Creator: Daniel Schmidt
  • Actors: Patrick Sweeney

  • 99 min|Animation, Drama, Fantasy|16 Nov 2001
  • 7.8 Rating: 7.8 / 10 from 49,739 users
  • A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe.
  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Creator: Richard Linklater
  • Actors: Trevor Jack Brooks, Lorelei Linklater, Wiley Wiggins, Glover Gill

3. Fight Club (1999)

  • 139 min|Drama|15 Oct 1999
  • 8.8 Rating: 8.8 / 10 from 1,373,233 users
  • An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Creator: Chuck Palahniuk (novel), Jim Uhls (screenplay)
  • Actors: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Meat Loaf, Zach Grenier

4. Samsara (2011)

  • 102 min|Documentary, Music|23 Aug 2012
  • 8.5 Rating: 8.5 / 10 from 23,073 users
  • 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

5. Home (2009)

  • 120 min|Documentary, Drama, Family|05 Jun 2009
  • 8.6 Rating: 8.6 / 10 from 18,549 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

6. Boyhood (2014)

  • 165 min|Drama|15 Aug 2014
  • 7.9 Rating: 7.9 / 10 from 272,269 users
  • The life of Mason, from early childhood to his arrival at college.
  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Creator: Richard Linklater
  • Actors: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Elijah Smith, Lorelei Linklater

7.The Truman Show (1998)

  • 103 min|Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi|05 Jun 1998
  • 8.1 Rating: 8.1 / 10 from 684,562 users
  • N/A
  • Director: Peter Weir
  • Creator: Andrew Niccol
  • Actors: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone

8. Revolver (2005)

  • 111 min|Action, Crime, Drama|22 Sep 2005
  • 6.5 Rating: 6.5 / 10 from 74,768 users
  • Gambler Jake Green enters into a game with potentially deadly consequences.
  • Director: Guy Ritchie
  • Creator: Luc Besson (adaptation), Guy Ritchie
  • Actors: Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Vincent Pastore, André Benjamin

10. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003)

  • 103 min|Drama|28 May 2004
  • 8.1 Rating: 8.1 / 10 from 62,853 users
  • A young and truth seeking boy travels to an isolated lake, where an old Buddhist master lives on a small floating temple.
  • Director: Ki-duk Kim
  • Creator: Ki-duk Kim
  • Actors: Yeong-su Oh, Ki-duk Kim, Young-min Kim, Jae-kyeong Seo

11. American Beauty (1999)

  • 122 min|Drama, Romance|01 Oct 1999
  • 8.4 Rating: 8.4 / 10 from 833,800 users
  • A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter’s best friend.
  • Director: Sam Mendes
  • Creator: Alan Ball
  • Actors: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley

12. I Am (2010)

  • 78 min|Documentary|01 Feb 2011
  • 7.6 Rating: 7.6 / 10 from 2,938 users
  • 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

13. Tuning In (2008)

  • 80 min|Documentary|02 Sep 2008
  • 7.6 Rating: 7.6 / 10 from 119 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

14. Awake: The Life of Yogananda1 (2014)

  • 87 min|Documentary|10 Oct 2014
  • 7.3 Rating: 7.3 / 10 from 573 users
  • Unique biopic about Yogananda, author of The Autobiography of a Yogi. In the 1920s, he brought Hindu spirituality to the West. This tells the story of his life and influence on yoga, …
  • Director: Paola di Florio, Lisa Leeman
  • Actors: George Harrison, Anupam Kher, Russell Simmons

15. Peaceful Warrior (2006)

  • 120 min|Drama, Romance, Sport|23 Jun 2006
  • 7.3 Rating: 7.3 / 10 from 20,749 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

16. Groundhog Day (1993)

  • 101 min|Comedy, Fantasy, Romance|12 Feb 1993
  • 8.1Rating: 8.1 / 10 from 445,120 users
  • A weatherman finds himself 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

17. Adaptation. (2002)

  • 114 min|Comedy, Drama|14 Feb 2003
  • 7.7 Rating: 7.7 / 10 from 144,606 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), Donald Kaufman (screenplay)
  • Actors: Nicolas Cage, Tilda Swinton, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper

18. I Heart Huckabees (2004)

  • 107 min|Comedy|22 Oct 2004
  • 6.7 Rating: 6.7 / 10 from 57,082 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

19. The Fountain (2006)

  • 96 min|Drama, Sci-Fi|22 Nov 2006
  • 7.3 Rating: 7.3 / 10 from 192,978 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

20. Avatar (2009)

  • 162 min|Action, Adventure, Fantasy|18 Dec 2009
  • 7.9 Rating: 7.9 / 10 from 899,776 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

21. K-PAX (2001)

  • 120 min|Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi|26 Oct 2001
  • 7.4 Rating: 7.4 / 10 from 150,311 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

22. Happy (2011)

  • 76 min|Documentary, Drama, Family|03 Jul 2013
  • 7.2 Rating: 7.2 / 10 from 2,335 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. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and…
  • Director: Roko Belic
  • Creator: Roko Belic
  • Actors: Anne Bechsgaard, Gregory Berns, Roy Blanchard, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

23. I Origins (2014)

  • 106 min|Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi|19 Sep 2014
  • 7.3 Rating: 7.3 / 10 from 79,068 users
  • N/A
  • Director: Mike Cahill
  • Creator: Mike Cahill
  • Actors: Michael Pitt, Steven Yeun, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Brit Marling

24. Dark City (1998)

  • 100 min|Action, Drama, Fantasy|27 Feb 1998
  • 7.7 Rating: 7.7 / 10 from 158,244 users
  • A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no 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

25. Ram Dass, Fierce Grace (2001)

  • 93 min|Documentary|21 May 2001
  • 7.7 Rating: 7.7 / 10 from 278 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

    Image result for Ram Dass, Fierce Grace

26. Earthlings (2005)

  • 95 min|Documentary|24 Sep 2005
  • 8.7 Rating: 8.7 / 10 from 12,937 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.
  • Director: Shaun Monson
  • Creator: Shaun Monson
  • Actors: Joaquin Phoenix

27. Planetary (2015)

  • 85 min|Documentary, History|N/A
  • 7.0 Rating: 7.0 / 10 from 174 users
  • 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
  • Creator: Steve Watts Kennedy
  • Actors: Ben Afful, Janine Benyus, Ronald Garan, Joan Halifax

28. The Matrix (1999)

  • 136 min|Action, Sci-Fi|31 Mar 1999
  • 8.7 Rating: 8.7 / 10 from 1,233,966 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

29. Into the Wild (2007)

  • 148 min|Adventure, Biography, Drama|19 Oct 2007
  • 8.2 Rating: 8.2 / 10 from 436,534 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

30. Ashes and Snow (2005)

  • 63 min|Documentary, Drama|05 Mar 2005
  • 8.4 Rating: 8.4 / 10 from 3,091 users
  • Exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals.
  • Director: Gregory Colbert
  • Creator: Gregory Colbert
  • Actors: Laurence Fishburne, Jeanne Moreau, Enrique Rocha, Ken Watanabe

31. Kymatica (2009)

  • 84 min|Documentary|N/A
  • 7.8 Rating: 7.8 / 10 from 302 users
  • We may be quick to blame secret organizations, greedy corporations and corrupt politicians for the state of the environment and economy. The harsh truth is that the world is in its current …
  • Director: Benjamin Stewart
  • Actors: Bruce Lipton, Henrik Palmgren

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

  • N/A|Documentary|08 Jan 2011
  • 8.8 Rating: 8.8 / 10 from 247 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

33. Surviving Progress (2011)

  • 86 min|Documentary|23 Mar 2013
  • 7.5 Rating: 7.5 / 10 from 1,531 users
  • Humanity’s ascent is often measured by the speed of progress. But what if progress is actually spiraling us downwards, towards collapse? Ronald Wright, whose best-seller, A Short History Of…
  • Director: Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks
  • Creator: Harold Crooks, Mathieu Roy
  • Actors: Ronald Wright, Mark Levine, Robert Wright, Marina Silva

34. The Dhamma Brothers (2008)

  • 76 min|Documentary|11 Apr 2008
  • 7.5 Rating: 7.5 / 10 from 363 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

35. The Culture High (2014)

  • 120 min|Documentary, News|17 Oct 2014
  • 8.4 Rating: 8.4 / 10 from 2,974 users
  • N/A
  • Director: Brett Harvey
  • Creator: Michael Bobroff, Michael Bobroff, Brett Harvey, Brett Harvey
  • Actors: Joe Rogan, Ronald Reagan, Snoop Dogg, Barack Obama

36. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

  • 116 min|Comedy, Drama, War|12 Feb 1999
  • 8.6 Rating: 8.6 / 10 from 424,251 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

37. Mr. Nobody (2009)

  • 141 min|Drama, Fantasy, Romance|26 Sep 2013
  • 7.9 Rating: 7.9 / 10 from 155,149 users
  • N/A
  • Director: Jaco Van Dormael
  • Creator: Jaco Van Dormael
  • Actors: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh Dan Pham

38. Human (2015)

  • 190 min|Documentary|12 Sep 2015
  • 8.7 Rating: 8.7 / 10 from 2,677 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

39. Her (2013)

  • 126 min|Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi|10 Jan 2014
  • 8.0 Rating: 8.0 / 10 from 365,856 users
  • 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

40. Being John Malkovich (1999)

  • 112 min|Comedy, Drama, Fantasy|03 Dec 1999
  • 7.8 Rating: 7.8 / 10 from 257,155 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

ANY SIGNIFICANT MOVIES WE’RE MISSING?


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17 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve only seen a handful of these, so thank you for posting. I’ll have to add some to my TBW list.
    Also, some of my faves are What Dreams May Come, Dogma, and Made In Heaven (1985).

    • DD you have my late husband’s initials. He passed away last year. We used to have many many conversations about existence and other dimensions…So I wasn’t surprised when, after his passing, I would get little messages from the universe that I know were from him or his energy..Your post being one of them….Why did I read this article when I did? Why did I read the comments? and then the fact that you having his initials and naming two of my favorite movies…Made in Heaven and What Dreams May Come. (which I still haven’t been able to get through since he died) . It’s those little things like this that are comforting, yet heartbreaking at the same time.

  2. What Dreams May Come(1998) with Robin Williams.

    Its one of the best pieces of beautiful visual imagery that I’ve ever seen. Outside of Avatar and a few others. A friend recommended it to me years ago and I’m so glad she did

  3. Why nobody here remembered “Vanilla Sky”? Curious.
    I would add “Forest Gump”, dont know why, but it is one of the most enlightening to me, anytime I see it again. The vibes that permeate the movie maybe are the source of its power.
    Also “Contact” and “Inception”

  4. You skipped number 9, so you have 39 titles here. Thank you..will watch the ones I can find. Maybe #9 was What Dreams May Come?

  5. Only adding some, to what hasn’t already been mentioned (some good, some not so much, but what matters most, is the message that changes our limited perspective to a broader one, helping us all work together for a united cause that is good for “everyone”!)… “The Razor’s Edge” both 1946 and 1984 versions… “Circle of Iron” 1978… “The Butterfly Effect”… “Sukhavati” and “The Power of Myth” (both documentaries, inspired by Prof. Joseph Campbell)… “Life of Pi”… “Buck” (about a horse whisperer)… “Final Fantasy, The Spirt is Within” (2002 animated)… “Gandhi”…”Spirit” (animated Disney film about a horse)… “Jumper”… “Forrest Gump”… I’m certain there’s more, just can’t think of them at the moment~! 🙂 Namaste…

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