Movies/Books for Men

A young woman recently asked me to compile a list of movies and books about manhood; being a good man for her adolescent son (she is divorced and she wants to provide her son with what it means to be a good man).  The following is the list I compiled; movies with a brief description (of aspects of being a man) to look for and my selection of books.

Searching for Bobby Fisher:  A boy’s struggle to believe in himself and own gifts and a father’s struggle to support his son and realize his role in that process.

Shindler’s List:  A man’s recognition of how one’s own greed can get in the way of life’s or God’s intended plan in life for him.

Boy in Stripped Pajamas:  An example of how two boys’ friendship with each other can overcome great political obstacles, even death.

Sleepers:  How childhood trauma can have tremendous impact on one’s life as a man and the role of revenge in finding personal peace/meaning.

Road to Perdition:  A boy struggles to understand what “good” and “bad” truly are and how to understand his father.  Also, a man struggles to understand love of family, and love of a father-figure.

The Road:  A father’s love of his son, a son’s struggle to accept the harsh realities of life.

Away From Men:  A man, after maturing and successfully taking on leadership responsibilities, becomes aware of deeper values he has (love of peace, teaching children, the sacredness of life, belief in God) and struggles to live these out.

Never Cry Wolf:  A man faces what he believes in and how such beliefs change over time.

Odyssey:  A man struggles to listen to messages or voices he hears within himself and the confusion that come when listening to and following such messages.

Heat:  A “bad” man tries to live life according to a principle he holds deeply and is confused when he falls in love violating that principle.  A “good” man loses an opportunity to live a good life when he lives his life according to his principle of stopping bad men.

Dances with Wolves:  A man struggles to make sense of life as he slowly realizes there are different ways of living life and the conflicts this realizations brings.

Out of the Furnace:  There is honor in caring for the sick, working hard, paying off your debts, even the debts of family.  Sometimes, accidents happen and good men go to jail; sometimes good men must break the rules and face the consequences of such.

Star Wars:  Episodes 4-6, watch as Luke gains confidence only after he faces what he fears the most.  (The fact that he has both good and evil within him.)  Episodes 1-3, see the need for good male guidance as a boy grows up, the seduction of doing what feels good and the shame when one runs from doing what is right.

Mission:  One man struggles to face the consequences of what he’s done.  Another man struggles to face the consequences of his beliefs.

How to Train Your Dragon:  A boy’s struggle to believe in himself even if it costs him his father’s love.  A father’s struggle to recognize he’s nearly lost everything by not believing in his son.

Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events:  Just a great movie!

Mudd:  A wonderful example of how powerful a boy’s love can be for a girl.

Ghandi:  What happens when you believe in God, stand up for what is right, are truly humble, and are not afraid to suffer for what you believe in.

Kingdom of Heaven:  What happens when you believe in God, stand up for what is right, are truly humble, and are not afraid to suffer for what you believe in.

Shawshank Redemption:  Not everyone in prison is bad, and even at your lowest points in life, you can still be kind to others, and this will change your life.

Black Stallion:  A boy, ship wrecked, alone, and scared, is saved by the love of a horse.

The Edge:  What one man can do, another man can do.

Little Boy:  There are forces at work behind the scenes of our lives that we don’t know about.  These forces have tremendous impact on us/our lives.

Labor Day:  Be kind, be patient.

Cold Mountain:  Love and meet your responsibilities.  It can see you through anything.

Iron Clad:  Face the challenges of the course in life you choose and stay close to God.  This will get you through life, even when it almost kills you.  Oh yes, be kind, say your prayers, and work hard.

The King’s Speech:  One man’s struggle to face his fears and another man’s choice to believe in the failing part of another man.

  • Men and the River of Life
  • Way of the Peaceful Warrior
  • Old Man and the Sea
  • Catcher in the Rye
  • Unbroken
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends
  • The Giving Tree
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird
  • Man’s Search for Meaning
  • All the Harry Potter Books
  • The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Books
  • Dune
  • Angela’s Ashes
  • Moby Dick
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • The Yearling
  • Last of the Mohicans
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Of Mice and Men