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Movies with Leadership InsightsIn this section we recommend a number of movies that provide insights into some superb exemplars of leadership.
Wonderful--and true--story of how newly-elected President Nelson Mandela helped inspire South Africa's national rugby team as the country played host to the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Although for most black South Africans the team (known as the Springboks) had been a symbol of Apartheid, Mandela saw rugby as a way to bring all South Africans together. Provides many insights into Mandela's inspiring leadership and his strategy for healing his country in the aftermath of Apartheid. Read More...
Leadership lessons abound in this beautifully made film about the battle for Iwo Jima told from the Japanese perspective. The story revolves around a cowardly baker-turned-soldier who just wants to survive the war and a brilliant General who has trouble getting some key officers to buy in to his strategy for defending the island against a much larger American force. Provides many great insights about the importance of communicating a vision, building loyalty, and understanding your adversary. Read More...
Sir Thomas More was a lawyer, statesman and social philosopher who served as Lord Chancellor under King Henry VIII from 1529 to 1532. A Man for All Seasons, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1966, depicts the dilemma More faced when pressured by King Henry VIII to support his divorce from his the Queen. Unwilling to violate his own beliefs in order to support the King's break with the Catholic Church, More serves as an amazing model of courage and integrity. Read More...
Tells the true story of the third manned mission to the moon, which had to be
aborted when an explosion severely damaged the ship. The effort to get the crew
home safely was a tremendous example of teamwork. Provides many wonderful
lessons of crisis leadership, especially from Commander James Lovell and Flight
Director Gene Krantz.
This stirring depiction of the battle that turned the tide of the American Civil War has numerous leadership lessons. On the Confederate side it highlights General Longstreet's efforts to speak truth to power and try to convince General Robert E. Lee that it was foolhardy to attack the Union's fortified hilltop positions, while General Lee's hubris over his past successes against long odds made him think the Confederate Army was nearly invincible. On the Union side, it showcases the leadership of Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, including how he earned the loyalty and respect of his troops and then lead them brilliantly during the defense of Little Round Top. Chamberlain and Gen. Buford (who used his own initiative to delay the Confederate troops until the Union could occupy the high ground) are both sterling examples of how empowered mid-level leaders can make all the difference between success and disaster. Read More...
Inspiring story of Col. Harold "Hal" Moore, commander of the first unit in Vietnam to make heavy use of helicopters for transportation and air support. Moore and his battalion were ordered into what turned out to be a Viet Cong trap. Moore had built a superb team and led by example, promising to be the first to set foot on the battlefield and the last to step off. Shows many terrific examples of how leaders build the trust and loyalty of their followers. Read More...
William Wilberforce (1759-1833), as a Member of
Parliament, struggled for over 20 years to build support for the abolition of
the slave trade throughout the British Empire. He did so at the expense of
his health and political fortunes. Amazing Grace
shows us the incredible integrity and persistence he brought to the
struggle. His ultimate success demonstrates how a small
group of determined people with a clarity of vision can truly change the world.
Clement Mathieu is a musician who becomes a teacher at a
boys' school run by a strict disciplinarian. Mathieu displays a knack for
developing trust with the boys and reaches many of them through music.
Includes some great examples of mentoring, leading up, and protecting those
below. The music is great too (the soundtrack sold over a million copies
in France). Read More...
In 1914, explorer Ernest Shackleton led an expedition to Antarctica in hopes of becoming the first to cross the southern continent. When their ship, the Endurance, became stuck in--and then crushed by--the ice, the crew was left stranded on an ice floe. Thanks to Shackleton's leadership, not a single crew member was lost. Based on the journals of the crew, this mini-series by A&E is a gripping portrayal of the crew's 27-month struggle for survival. Read More...
In World War II England, Brigadier General Frank Savage takes over a troubled bomber group after its commander has a breakdown. Determined to keep his distance while re-establishing a sense of pride and discipline in the group, Savage helps improve the bomber group's performance dramatically. Includes many great insights about leadership transitions, bureaucracy, and the stresses of command. Read More...
True story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, which defeated the heavily
favored Soviet team and won the Gold Medal. Miracle portrays how
Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) built the team, including how he selected the
players (he didn't necessarily choose star players) and then taught them to play
together as a cohesive and well-conditioned unit.
When Jaime Escalante became a math teacher at Garfield High School in east Los Angeles, he challenged his underachieving students to take Calculus--and try to pass the AP Calculus test. Accused by his colleagues of setting up his students for failure, Escalante worked long hours with his class and inspired them to apply themselves. A terrific story about the power of high expectations and inspiring goals. Read More...
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