Black History Month

12 Movies You Can Stream Right Now That Will Inspire You To Make A Difference

What are you waiting for?

It's a new year, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up on January 16, so it's the perfect time to start thinking about how you can make a difference in the coming months. If you need a little motivation, why not get inspired by a few great movies?

There are plenty of options on streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime for films about activism, social justice, and just generally fighting for what's right. Some of them are based on amazing true stories and remarkable figures in history, while others offer fictional role models to look up to.

We've rounded up a few of our favorite examples to give you some ideas for what to watch on your next movie night, starting with a film about Dr. King himself.


1. Selma

Director Ava DuVernay chronicles Martin Luther King Jr.'s (David Oyelowo) fight for equal voting rights, including the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. The Voting Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson later that year.

Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime

2. Spotlight

Journalists at the Boston Globe investigate allegations of child molestation and cover-ups in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston in this true story. The film, starring Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Keaton, won the Oscar for Best Picture.

Where to Watch: Netflix

3. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Idris Elba plays former South African President Nelson Mandela in a film based on Mandela's own autobiography of the same name. It depicts his early life and his fight to end apartheid, including 27 years in prison.

Where to Watch: Netflix

4. The Whistleblower

This film tells the story of Kathryn Bolkovac (played by Rachel Weisz), a police officer who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and fought to expose a sex-trafficking ring.

Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime

5. Woman in Gold

Helen Mirren plays Maria Altmann, a Jewish refugee from Austria who fought to reclaim a painting of her aunt by famed artist Gustav Klimt, which was stolen from her family by the Nazis. Ryan Reynolds plays the young lawyer who helped her win her case.

Where to Watch: Hulu

6. Dear White People

This satirical dramedy follows a young college student (Tessa Thompson) with a radio show tackling issues of racism on her predominantly White campus. The film co-stars Tyler James Williams of Everybody Hates Chris.

Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime

7. Short Term 12

Before she won an Oscar for Room, Brie Larson earned praise her her role in this film about a young woman working at a group home for troubled teens.

Where to Watch: Netflix

8. Fruitvale Station

This film tackles the issue of police brutality by telling the true story of Oscar Grant (played by Michael B. Jordan), a young man who was shot and killed by a police officer in 2009. The film chronicles Grant's day leading up to the shooting.

Where to Watch: Netflix

9. Mona Lisa Smile

Julia Roberts plays an art history teacher at the women's college Wellesley in the 1950s who encourages her students to strive for more than just marriage and motherhood, putting her at odds with the conservative school.

Where to Watch: Netflix

10. To Kill a Mockingbird

Gregory Peck brings the iconic character Atticus Finch to life in this adaptation of Harper Lee's classic book, which tells the story of Atticus and his children as he defends a Black man against rape charges in a small Alabama town during the Great Depression.

Where to Watch: Netflix

11. Temple Grandin

Claire Danes won an Emmy for her portrayal of Temple Grandin, who revolutionized humane livestock handling and was one of the first people to share their experience living with autism.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

12. Barry

As President Barack Obama prepares to leave office, get inspired by this dramatization of his early life at Columbia University. And then maybe start to consider a presidency in your own future.

Where to Watch: Netflix

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