Movies Like Good Will Hunting: 25+ Best Emotional Dramas To Watch Now - Endless Popcorn

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Looking for a movie to watch that is similar to Goodwill Hunting? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve compiled a  list of films that are sure to keep you entertained. Like Goodwill Hunting, each of these films tells a unique story about a person who is trying to figure out their place in the world.

They all feature incredible characters, some of which are struggling to find their way and come to terms with their past. If you’re looking for a good cry, quite a few of these movies are sure to hit all the right notes. So grab some tissues and get ready for an emotional yet inspirational ride.

1.  Rain Man

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Rain Man Movie Description

Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) finally returns home from Cincinnati. While there, he learns his father had passed away and he has an autistic older brother named Raymond (Dustin Hoffman).

Charlie wants a piece of his father’s money, so he checks Raymond out of the institution and takes him with him to Los Angeles. This trip changes the two brothers in ways they could have never imagined.

2.  Phenomenon

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Phenomenon Movie Description

George Malley (John Travolta) is a mechanic who, on his birthday, sees a flash of light and starts exhibiting extraordinary mental abilities.

The government becomes interested in him and wants to take him in for observation, but George finds out from Dr. Brunder (Robert Duvall) that he has a massive brain tumor. With this information coming to light, George decides to spend his time with his girlfriend Lace (Kyra Sedgwick).

3.  Ordinary People

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Ordinary People Movie Description

After the death of his older brother Buck in a sailing accident, Conrad Jarrett (Timothy Hutton) tries to take his own life.

Upon returning home from a psychiatric hospital, he begins to deal with his mental anguish and also reconnects with his family with the help of his psychiatrist, Berger (Judd Hirsch). As he heals, Conrad must learn to accept the death of his brother and move on with his life.

4.  Dead Poets Society

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Dead Poets Society Movie Description

When new English teacher John Keating (Robin Williams) is assigned to an all-boys preparatory school, he uses new and unorthodox strategies to connect with his pupils.

With Keating’s help, students Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke), and others learn to break out of their comfort zones and follow their aspirations. Thanks to Keating, they discover that life is too short to be lived within the confines of other people’s expectations.

5.  Men of Honor

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Men Of Honor Movie Description

As a young man, Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding Jr.) had a dream of becoming a master diver in the United States Navy. However, he faced challenges at every turn.

The racist and bitter Master Chief Billy Sunday (Robert De Niro) did everything in his power to make Carl’s journey as difficult as possible. But Carl was determined to succeed, and eventually proved that he could overcome any obstacle.

6.  What Dreams May Come

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What Dreams May Come Movie Description

Upon death, Chris (Robin Williams) is guided by his spirit guide to the afterlife. In this beautiful realm, he is reunited with his wife and children.

However, when Annie (Annabella Sciorra) commits suicide and is sent to hell, Chris ignores his guide’s warnings and journeys there to save her. He quickly discovers that rescuing Annie will be more difficult than he ever could’ve imagined.

7.  Gifted

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Gifted Movie Description

As Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace) grows up, she struggles to live a normal life under the watchful eye of her uncle Frank (Chris Evans). However, when Frank’s mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) comes back into their lives, everything changes.

Evelyn wants to use Mary’s genius-level skills for her own benefit, but Frank only wants what’s best for his niece. With both of them fighting for custody of Mary, it becomes increasingly difficult for her to cope. In the end, only time will tell who will get their way.

8.  Slumdog Millionaire

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Slumdog Millionaire Movie Description

Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), an 18-year-old Indian man, is taking part in a game show called “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Jamal and his brother, Salim, were once street children, but they have since found stability with Jamal landing a spot on the game show.

Salim finds the life of crime agreeable, but Jamal scrapes by with small jobs until landing a spot on the game show.

9.  The Talented Mr. Ripley

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The Talented Mr. Ripley Movie Description

Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) desires the idyllic lifestyle of carefree youths he sees living in Italy in the late 1950s.

When Dickie Greenleaf’s (Jude Law) father asks Tom to bring his son back to America, Dickie and his girlfriend never suspect the dangerous extremes to which Tom will go to make their lifestyle his own.

10.  Hidden Figures

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Hidden Figures Movie Description

Three brilliant African American women, Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), played a critical role in launching astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit and reviving the Space Race.

They were at the forefront of one of the most important missions in history, working at NASA.

11.  The Paper Chase

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The Paper Chase Movie Description

Law school is no picnic for James Hart (Timothy Bottoms), especially when he clashes with the demanding Charles W. Kingsfield Jr. (John Houseman).

Things get even more complicated when James starts dating Susan, the professor’s daughter. Susan loves her father, but she also admires James for his tenacity in the face of Kingsfield’s challenges.

12.  The Theory of Everything

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The Theory Of Everything Movie Description

Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) was a brilliant physicist and student at Cambridge University, but at the young age of 21, he learned he had a motor neuron disease that would slowly kill him.

Despite this, with the help of his love Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), Hawking started to study time itself. Even though doctors said he only had a few years to live, Stephen was determined to defy the odds and accomplish remarkable things.

13.  A Beautiful Mind

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A Beautiful Mind Movie Description

Nash’s life was filled with both great highs and devastating lows. Early in his career, he made an astonishing discovery that put him on the path to international acclaim.

However, he soon found himself on a difficult journey of self-discovery. Nash must face many challenges, including mental illness.

14.  Finding Forrester

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Finding Forester Movie Description

A young athlete is talented in many ways, but he has never felt like he belonged anywhere. When he meets the reclusive novelist, he is amazed by the older man’s insight and understanding.

The novelist takes the young man under his wing and teaches him how to find his place in the world. Along the way, they both learn a great deal about themselves.

15.  Rounders

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Rounders Movie Description

Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) is a desperate man. He’s lost all his money to Russian gangster Teddy (John Malkovich), and he’s promised his girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol) that he’ll never gamble again.

But when Mike’s friend Lester (Edward Norton) comes out of jail with some serious gambling debts, Mike knows he has to help. They get close to raising the money they need, but they’re caught cheating and the debt is now owed to Teddy. In a final, desperate attempt, Mike takes on Teddy in a game of cards – one last time.

16.  Manchester by the Sea

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Manchester By The Sea Movie Description

Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is shocked when he learns that his older brother has named him the guardian of his teenage nephew.

Lee had left Manchester-by-the-Sea, the fishing village where his working-class family has lived for generations, years ago after a tragic event separated him from his wife and the community. Forced to return to Manchester-by-the-Sea, Lee must deal with the past that still haunts him as he struggles to take care of Patrick.

17.  Antwone Fisher

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Antwone Fisher Movie Description

A sailor (Derek Luke) is sent to a naval psychiatrist for help with his violent outbursts.

The psychiatrist (Denzel Washington) helps him confront his past and eventually find the family he never knew.

18.  Awakenings

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Awakenings Movie Description

Dr. Malcolm Sayer (Robin Williams) is a clinical physician working at a psychiatric hospital in the Bronx. He has been assigned to a ward full of catatonic patients. Never having dealt with patients before, Malcolm becomes uneasy with the fact that they have been catatonic for such a long time.

However, Malcolm finds a chemical that could potentially help the patients. When his superior gives him permission to administer it, the first patient wakes up and renews hope for the rest of them.

19.  The Peanut Butter Falcon

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The Peanut Butter Falcon Movie Description

After running away from a nursing home, a man with Down syndrome befriends an outlaw who becomes his coach and ally. Together, they pursue the man’s dream of becoming a pro wrestler.

20.  Wonder Boys

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Wonder Boys Movie Description

A professor is having trouble writing, and he’s also dealing with a lot of personal problems. He’s under a lot of pressure, but he finds some relief in his friendship with a talented student.

However, things only get more complicated when the professor learns that his lover is pregnant.

21.  The Imitation Game

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The Imitation Game Movie Description

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is recruited by British intelligence during World War II to help break Nazi codes.

Turing and his team have great success in decoding the messages, but he is disgraced and imprisoned in 1952 after authorities discover he is gay.

22.  Stand by Me

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Stand By Me Movie Description

Four Oregon boys venture out to see the body of a stranger who had died near their homes. The boys end up encountering a mean garbage collector and a marsh full of leeches along the way.

They also get to know each other better and learn about their different home lives. Their journey becomes an important moment in their lives, even though it started as a meaningless adventure.

23.  Little Man Tate

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Little Man Tate Movie Description

Dede (Jodie Foster) is a single mother who worries that her son, Fred (Adam Hann-Byrd), might have an easier time fitting in around other child prodigies. Even though she had her doubts, she let Fred go to a summer camp designed for gifted children that was run by child psychologist Jane Grierson (Dianne Wiest).

Fred progressed quickly in his studies at the camp, but as he got ready for a national TV competition, he started to wonder if continuing down this educational path or living a more traditional life would be better for him.

24.  The Shawshank Redemption

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The Shawshank Redemption Movie Description

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is falsely convicted of murder and must serve two life sentences at Shawshank Prison.

He befriends Red (Morgan Freeman), learns the brutal realities of prison life, and much more over the course of 19 years.

25.  October Sky

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October Sky Movie Description

Coal miner John Hickam (Chris Cooper) expects his sons, Jim (Scott Thomas) and Homer (Jake Gyllenhaal), to follow in his footsteps. Jim gets a football scholarship to college, and Homer becomes interested in rocket science after seeing Sputnik 1 cross the sky.

John disapproves of his son’s new passion. Regardless, Homer begins building rockets with the help of friends and a teacher. He hopes rocketry will be his way out of their small town and into a better life.

26.  The Social Network

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The Social Network Movie Description

In The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg is a Harvard undergraduate who creates a new concept that becomes Facebook.

He becomes a billionaire, but legal and personal complications arise.

27.  Whiplash

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Whiplash Movie Description

As a young jazz drummer, Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is determined to become one of the best in the world. However, he discovers that in order to achieve this goal, he must endure the brutal teaching methods of Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). From his first lesson with Fletcher, Andrew quickly realizes that he’ll have to go above and beyond to get the results he wants.

Though the demands are great, Andrew is committed to giving his all. But as he descends into obsessive madness, it becomes harder and harder for him to keep up. In the end, Andrew may have to sacrifice everything in order to become a world-class musician.

5 More Movies Like Good Will Hunting (Honorable Mentions)

While the films mentioned above are our top picks for movies like Good Will Hunting, there are also several honorable mentions we want to give the spotlight to. These films may not have the same level of critical acclaim as the movies on the main list, but they still offer similar themes, such as coming-of-age, self-discovery, and exploring the human condition.

From emotional dramas to introspective character studies, these honorable mentions are sure to resonate with fans of Good Will Hunting. So if you’ve watched all our top picks and are looking for more movies that explore the complexities of the human experience, be sure to give these next films a watch!

  • Searching For Bobby Fischer (2004)
  • The Great Debaters (2007)
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)
  • Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
  • Shine (1996)

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