Become a Man Among Men: 16 movies that will help you navigate all of the trials and victories in your life

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I love movies and books, especially ones about post apocalyptic worlds.

mainly because they teach a man what the most important things in life are, and it boils them down to just a few necessities. It is a world without technology or deadlines. The more primitive the world is though, the more dangerous it is. That's what I love.

Danger. Excitement. Survival.

However, there are many other movies and books that you can learn a thing or two about being a well rounded man. Even the the chick flicks teach us a thing or two, and I would be remiss if i left them out.

Sometimes a man's education about being a man can come from watching movies or reading books and observing masculine behavior. However, some of the behaviors are flawed and shouldn't be learned, but as you continue to observe, you can take what is useful and discard the rest.

Typically man has a couple things that are solid in his life that we can all relate to:

  • He has a purpose

  • He has been rejected or betrayed

  • He wants revenge

  • He has a woman that he loves

  • He has his own code

I have made a list of all the movies that I believe every man can relate to on a personal level to some degree, and they can all teach us lessons about life.

  • How to treat a woman

  • What to do when confronted by an enemy

  • How to fight

  • How to forgive

  • How to love

  • How to seek revenge

  • How to really live

  • How to be a father

Although these movies might not exactly make you a man, they will definitely give you insight into how to be. One other thing you will find is that none of these men are perfect, and they never really claim to be, but they do the best that they know how, with what they have been given, and are constantly trying to be better.

Being a man is a lifelong journey of trials, failures and successes. I am not perfect, nor do I have all the answers or believe that I am perfect. I am on the same journey you are.

I want to be the best man I can be, the man I was made to be, and one of the best ways that I have learned how to do that is to continually work at it and be as consistent as possible.

Take what you learn from these movies, and work to apply it to your life.


MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Edge of your seat non-stop action!

This is the newest addition to the Mad Max series and is an instant classic.

This is an epic road battle from start to finish. In a post apocalyptic world where water and petrol are scarce and survival is paramount, one man is fighting for the good guys.

Mad Max.


Conan The Barbarian

When Conan is a boy he watches his village get slaughtered and then his mom and dad chopped down.

He is taken into captivity and made to push some serious weight.

As Conan gets older he becomes free and sets out to avenge his family from the man with the helmet that has 2 snakes.

Conan is a warrior with a mission.


Enter the Dragon

This is one of those movies that you just have to sit down and watch.

Excellent Martial arts sequences from a true master. It is almost like the original Mortal Kombat movie, where everyone is invited to an island to prove that they are the best....but only one leaves the victor.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the man who left this world a legend.


Hard To Kill

I'm not going to lie. Steven Seagal was my hero as a kid, and I must have watched this movie a million times.

This was released during a time when karate was booming in the states and I was part of that movement. 

I read, watched and breathed everything martial arts.

This is possibly one of Seagal's best movies. He is a cop that stumbles upon some groundbreaking evidence. So much so that he takes a a couple shotgun blasts to the midsection and his wife and kid are gunned down.

He lives, but is in a coma for a period of time and when he comes out there is hell to pay.


They drew first blood, not me
— John Rambo

You know that quiet guy that looks like he has a checkered past?

You should leave him alone. 

Some people don't know how to do that though .

John was just a man trying to keep to himself, but now, welcome to his world. Where the hunters become the hunted.


When you surrender in war, you’re stripped of your dignity as a soldier. And all you’ve got left is your fellow comrades, many of whom you’ve just met.
— Ernest Gordon

This movie was recommended to me while I was living in Japan. Which is coincidental because it is about POW's in a Japanese Prison Camp during WWII.

This is an incredibly moving movie about redemption, hope, loss, endurance, grit, and struggle.

I rarely cry during movies, but this one got me. I learned so much about loss and forgiveness.

I learned so much about friendship, forgiveness, and loving your fellow man.

Give it a watch.


It is finished. It is accomplished.
— Jesus

This movie actually changed my life. I was sitting in a theater in Australia wondering how my life had gotten so out of control. 

Then I saw how ruthlessly an innocent man was being treated, and realized in that moment that I was also treating him that way.

Whether you believe or not (Because I didn't), you should watch this movie. It is one of the greatest stories ever told.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is real, and he does forgive.


Yo, Adrien
— Rocky Balboa

Small time boxer from Philadelphia named Rocky finds a way to make  the big time when he gets picked to fight the reigning champ Apollo Creed.

What ensues is a mans struggle to work hard and provide for his family even when the odds are extremely stacked against him.

Rocky finds some good trainers and his family never gives up on him, but most importantly, Rocky never gives up on his own dreams.


You be strong, you survive... You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you.
— Hawkeye

If you watch this movie for nothing other than the soundtrack you will be satisfied.

This is one of the best movies that I have ever watched. This sums up a man's life, and uncovers everything that he stands for and longs for.

  • A battle to fight

  • A beauty to rescue

  • An adventure to live

Hawkeye teaches us about love, loyalty, and going and doing anything that is necessary to protect all that you hold dear.

 


All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it’s absolutely necessary. And three, be nice.
— Dalton

Every time this movie is on TV, I have to watch it. It's fun and gritty all in one.

Sometimes partying and living a full throttle life has it's benefits, and sometimes it catches up to you.


Black Hawk Down

Once that first bullet goes past your head, politics and all that shit just goes right out the window.
— Hoot

I remember watching on the news as a high school kid the coverage on this event.

No one really knew what do do, and no one was trying to help. The rangers on the ground and Special Forces Team guys, risked their lives for over 24 hours to try and rescue a downed helicopter pilot. One of the most gripping movies ever made.

This one is about service, sacrifice and the man standing next to you.


An Officer and a Gentleman

In every class, there’s always one joker who thinks that he’s smarter than me. In this class, that happens to be you. Isn’t it, Mayonnaise?
— SGT. Emil Foley

Sure this is a love story, of sorts. 

It's really about a boy who becomes a man.

He begins his training as an officer at the naval academy and thinks he can get by on his good looks, smooth talking and quick thinking.

Then his instructor humbles him to the point of quitting. 

He realizes that in order to be the man he is made to be that he is going to have to make some sacrifices.

He does a lot of growing up through discipline and hard work, and eventually becomes a Navy Officer and a man that is worthy of  a beatiful woman.

 


Gladiator

What we do in life echoes in eternity.
— Maximus

One moment Maximus had it all. He was a leader of a Rome and favored by Julius Caesar, and headed home to be with his wife and son away from the front lines.

The next moment he loses it all to become a slave and eventually a gladiator that competes in the colloseum for his master and for his freedom.

 


Glory

There’s more to fighting than rest, sir. There’s character. There’s strength of heart.
— Col. Robert Gould Shaw

My brother and I used to watch this show almost once a week. It taught us that color makes no difference in a mans skin, and there is more to him than meets the eye.

On the battlefield it doesn’t matter, so it shouldn’t matter in life. I am grateful for this movie and it’s ability to breakthrough racial boundaries and pull out the goodness in men and their ability to overcome any obstacle and to sacrifice their own lives for the sake of another.


The Road

What’s the bravest thing you ever did?
He spat in the road a bloody phlegm. Getting up this morning, he said.
— The Road

In a post apocalyptic world, the only thing that matters is survival….and a fathers love for his son.

This is about a man and his boy and their trek to find a better place in a destroyed world. A fathers love is a unique thing and is something that a man must learn, and can only learn when he has a child.

I have two girls and would die for them in a heartbeat, but to see it lived out so vividly and rugged is awesome and humbling.


Fight Club

We are consumers. We’re the by-products of a lifestyle obsession.
— Tyler

This movie blew my mind back when I was in high school. It seemed that finally I had found someone that agreed with my thoughts on consumerism.

I believe that every man has felt trapped in his life, and has wanted to do something different after realizing that most people are just puppets in a larger game.

We are a consumerist culture, and the things that we own end up owning us.

Maybe it’s time that you start making soap, and start your own fight club.


Summary

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list by any means, mainly because there are hundreds of movies that can help you be a better man. However, I believe in quality, not necessarily quantity. I don’t think that it would be beneficial to anyone to have 100 movies to watch and only really getting around to watch 5 or 6 or bits and pieces of all of them.

Instead, take your time watching them. Take in their lessons and parallel them with your own. You will find that more self reflection and awareness + application = growth and or change.

Self Reflection & Awareness + Practical Application = Growth & Change

Are there any movies that you think should be added to this list? Why? What value can a man glean from it?

Are there any lessons from a movie that you have learned about being a man?

-Stephen

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Mad Max photo credit: Jamiecat * via photopin (license)