9 Best Inspiring Movies Like Erin Brockovich

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Movies Like Erin Brockovich

True stories are so powerful and inspiring that some classic films are based on them. “Erin Brockovich” is one of them. The movie follows the true story of a determined single mother, Erin Brockovich, who stumbles upon a case involving the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). The case is that PG&E has been contaminating the water supply in Hinkley, California, causing severe illnesses among residents. Erin’s tenacity and dedication helped her build a strong case against PG&E and win a historic $333 million settlement for the affected community.  If this film empowers you to stick to justice and faith in your heart, this following list of 9 movies like Erin Brockovich will also offer you a moving journey to fight against the shadow of social reality.

9 Best Inspiring Movies Like Erin Brockovich

1. Hidden Figures

2. Dark Waters

3. Philadelphia

4. Spotlight

5. The Big Short

6. Something the Lord Made

7. Men of Honor

8. A Civil Action

9. The Rainmaker

Hidden Figures (2016) – Streaming on Disney+, Fubo TV, rent or buy on Amazon Video

Movies Like Erin Brockovich: Hidden Figures IMDb Rating 7.8 English 2h 7m

Movies Like Erin Brockovich-hidden figures-2016

Director: Theodore Melfi

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe

What it’s about: “Hidden Figures” (2016) tells the inspiring true story of three African-American women mathematicians—Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—who work at NASA during the 1960s. Facing racial and gender discrimination, they play pivotal roles in the space race, particularly in calculating crucial flight trajectories for Project Mercury and John Glenn’s orbit around Earth. Their contributions help break down barriers and pave the way for future generations of women and minorities in STEM fields.

Why it’s similar: Both films center around strong female protagonists who defy societal norms and overcome significant obstacles to succeed. In “Erin Brockovich,” Julia Roberts portrays a determined single mother who, despite lacking a legal background, takes on a powerful corporation in a legal battle for environmental justice. Similarly, in “Hidden Figures,” Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe depict African-American women mathematicians who challenged racial and gender barriers at NASA during the 1960s space race. Both movies highlight themes of social justice, triumph over adversity, and the power of perseverance, inspiring audiences with stories of courage, resilience, and the fight for equality. You’ll definitely love it.

Review: “Hidden Figures” received widespread acclaim from both critics and audiences for its inspiring and powerful portrayal of three African-American women mathematicians who played crucial roles at NASA during the Space Race. In addition, its market response was equally impressive, with “Hidden Figures” achieving significant box office success, grossing over $235 million worldwide. The film highlighted the oft-overlooked contributions of these brilliant women and sparked important conversations about diversity and representation in STEM fields.

Dark Waters (2019) – Rent or buy on Amazon Video

Movies Like Erin Brockovich: Dark Waters IMDb Rating 7.6 English 2h 6m

Movies Like Erin Brockovich-dark waters-2019

Director: Todd Haynes

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins

What it’s about: Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) is a corporate lawyer who uncovers evidence of chemical contamination in the drinking water of a small town in West Virginia. His investigation reveals that the contamination is linked to a powerful chemical company, DuPont, which has been knowingly polluting the water supply for decades. As Bilott battles corporate corruption and risks his career and reputation, he seeks justice for the affected community while exposing the truth about the dangers of chemical pollutants.

Why it’s similar: “Erin Brockovich” (2000) and “Dark Waters” (2019) share compelling narratives centered around environmental justice, corporate corruption, and legal battles against powerful corporations. Both films are based on true stories and revolve around protagonists Erin Brockovich and Robert Bilott, who uncover evidence of industrial pollution and its devastating impact on communities. They face resistance, personal sacrifices, and health risks as they fight for justice and hold corporations like Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and DuPont accountable for their actions. These movies highlight the importance of transparency, accountability, and regulatory oversight in protecting public health and the environment, showcasing the resilience and determination of individuals to enact change despite facing formidable obstacles. At the same time, the two films emphasize the urgent need for environmental awareness and corporate accountability in safeguarding communities from toxic pollutants.

Review: This film impressively portrays corporate malfeasance and environmental activism. It was lauded for its meticulous storytelling and powerful depiction of a real-life battle against chemical giant DuPont, shedding light on the devastating impact of industrial pollution. Besides, the film was praised for its significant contribution to raising environmental and public health awareness.

Philadelphia (1993) – Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV

Movies Like Erin Brockovich: Philadelphia IMDb Rating 7.7 English 2h 5m

Movies Like Erin Brockovich-Philadelphia-1993

Director: Jonathan Demme

Starring: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell

What it’s about: “Philadelphia” follows Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks), a successful lawyer with HIV/AIDS who is wrongfully terminated by his firm due to his condition. Beckett hires homophobic lawyer Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) to represent him in a discrimination lawsuit against his former employer. Despite initial reservations, Miller empathizes with Beckett’s plight and helps him fight for justice in a courtroom showdown.

Why it’s similar: Similar to “Erin Brockovich,” “Philadelphia” offers a compelling story of fighting against injustice in legal battles against powerful institutions. In “Erin Brockovich,” Julia Roberts portrays a determined single mother who takes on the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for contaminating the water supply, while in “Philadelphia,” Tom Hanks plays a lawyer battling HIV/AIDS discrimination in a wrongful termination case against his former employer. Despite facing personal struggles and societal prejudices, both protagonists refuse to be silenced, advocating for justice and equality while inspiring others to join their causes. Both films shed light on social justice issues, including discrimination and corporate malfeasance, and feature impactful performances that highlight the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. If you enjoy “Erin Brockovich (2000) because of the determined protagonist fighting against injustice, you’ll find “Philadelphia (1993)” equally compelling.

Review: Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington’s amazing performances are regarded as groundbreaking and sensitive portrayals of AIDS and homophobia. Hanks’ portrayal also earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor. The film was praised for its emotional depth, impactful storytelling, and courageous approach to a then-taboo subject. In addition, “Philadelphia” was a commercial success, grossing over $206 million worldwide. It resonated with audiences and played a crucial role in raising awareness and fostering empathy towards the HIV/AIDS crisis, marking a significant cultural milestone.

Spotlight (2015) – Streaming on Starz, rent or buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV

Movies Like Erin Brockovich: Spotlight IMDb Rating 8.1 English 2h 9m

Movies Like Erin Brockovich-spotlight-2015

Director: Tom McCarthy

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams

What it’s about: Set in 2001, it follows The Boston Globe’s investigative journalism team, “Spotlight,” as they uncover widespread child sex abuse by Catholic priests in the Boston area. Led by editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), the team delves deep into the scandal, facing resistance from the Catholic Church and uncovering a systemic cover-up that spans decades. Through relentless investigation and determination, they expose the truth, revealing the extent of the abuse and the complicity of the Church hierarchy.

Why it’s similar: “Erin Brockovich” (2000) and “Spotlight” (2015) both depict real-life instances of investigative journalism uncovering systemic wrongdoing. Despite the different settings and forms of injustice, both films showcase the power of investigative journalism in uncovering hidden truths and holding powerful institutions accountable. The protagonists in both movies demonstrate persistence and determination in pursuing justice, ultimately leading to significant societal impact and accountability. Through their compelling narratives, “Erin Brockovich” and “Spotlight” highlight the importance of perseverance and the role of the media in exposing systemic injustices.

Review: Spotlight’s realistic and respectful approach to sensitive subject matter earned it the Academy Award for Best Picture and Original Screenplay. Moreover, its market response was also positive, with grossing over $98 million worldwide, a notable success for a film of its genre. The social impact was also profound, sparking renewed conversations about the importance of investigative journalism and the need for accountability in institutions.

The Big Short (2015) – Streaming on Paramount+, Hoopla, Fubo TV

Movies Like Erin Brockovich: The Big Short IMDb Rating 7.8 English 2h 10m

Movies Like Erin Brockovich-the big short-2015

Director: Adam McKay

Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling

What it’s about: This biographical comedy follows a group of investors who predicted the housing market collapse of 2008 and bet against the market, leading to massive profits. Through various perspectives, including hedge fund manager Michael Burry (Christian Bale), trader Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), and investors Mark Baum (Steve Carell) and Charlie Geller (John Magaro), the film explores the complexities of the financial crisis, the greed and corruption within the banking industry, and the impact on ordinary people. The characters navigate the volatile world of finance, risking everything to capitalize on the impending economic disaster.

Why it’s similar: “Erin Brockovich” (2000) and “The Big Short” (2015) share striking similarities because they feature underdog protagonists who challenge powerful institutions, with Erin Brockovich, a legal assistant, taking on corporate pollution in “Erin Brockovich,” and investors betting against the housing market in “The Big Short.” They uncover systemic wrongdoing within these institutions and corporate negligence and fraudulent practices. The narratives follow a David vs. Goliath theme, where individuals or small groups face significant obstacles in pursuing justice or profit. Despite noble intentions, both protagonists grapple with ethical dilemmas as they seek to expose the truth or profit from a crisis. Based on true stories or events, both films offer compelling narratives that highlight the power of individuals to challenge corporate wrongdoing and systemic failures while exploring complex moral and ethical considerations.

Review: “The Big Short” skillfully blends complex financial concepts with dark humor and dramatic storytelling. Critics lauded the film for its innovative narrative techniques, such as breaking the fourth wall and using celebrity cameos to explain intricate financial details. Moreover, “The Big Short” was also a commercial success, grossing over $133 million worldwide. Its ability to educate and entertain simultaneously resonated with audiences and industry professionals, earning it several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Something the Lord Made (2004) – Streaming on Max, rent or buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV

Movies Like Erin Brockovich: Something the Lord Made IMDb Rating 8.1 English 1h 50m

Movies Like Erin Brockovich-Something the Lord Made-2004

Director: Joseph Sargent

Starring: Cliff McMullen, Yasiin Bey, Luray Cooper

What it’s about: “Something the Lord Made” (2004) is a biographical drama that chronicles the groundbreaking partnership between African American lab technician Vivien Thomas (Mos Def) and white cardiac surgeon Dr. Alfred Blalock. The film depicts their collaboration at Johns Hopkins University, where they developed a pioneering surgical technique to treat “blue baby” syndrome. Despite facing racial and social barriers, Thomas’s technical skill and Blalock’s vision led to a historic medical breakthrough, saving countless lives.

Why it’s similar: “Erin Brockovich” (2000) and “Something the Lord Made” (2004) are based on true stories featuring protagonists who overcome significant obstacles and challenge the status quo, with Erin confronting corporate and legal systems and Vivien and Dr. Alfred Blalock innovating within the medical community. Both protagonists ‘ persistence and determination are key traits, and both films highlight important social issues—environmental pollution and corporate accountability in “Erin Brockovich” and racial discrimination in “Something the Lord Made.” Additionally, both stories showcase the power of impactful partnerships: Erin with lawyer Ed Masry and Vivien with Dr. Blalock. They are both inspiring true stories of individuals who fight against significant odds to achieve justice and recognition.

Review: The performances of Alan Rickman and Mos Def were particularly lauded for their depth and authenticity, bringing to life the complex dynamics of their professional and personal relationship. Although made for television, the film garnered significant acclaim, winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie. The market response was also favorable, with the film gaining a strong viewership on HBO and a lasting impact on audiences for its inspiring depiction of innovation and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Men of Honor (2000) – Streaming on Hulu, Fubo TV, rent or buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV

Movies Like Erin Brockovich: Men of Honor IMDb Rating 7.2 English 2h 9m

Director: George Tillman Jr.

Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron

What it’s about: “Men of Honor” (2000) is a biographical film about Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding Jr.), the first African American to become a U.S. Navy Master Diver. It chronicles Brashear’s journey from a sharecropper’s son to a Navy recruit who overcomes racial prejudice and physical challenges. Under the harsh mentorship of Master Chief Billy Sunday (Robert De Niro), Brashear endure grueling training and persistent discrimination. Despite losing a leg in an accident, Brashear’s unwavering determination and resilience enable him to achieve his dream, breaking racial barriers and setting an inspiring example of courage and perseverance.

Why it’s similar: Both films are based on true stories, portraying underdog protagonists who face daunting challenges. Their journeys are characterized by remarkable persistence, determination, and the fight against entrenched systems. Both protagonists find support from key individuals and ultimately achieve recognition for their efforts, inspiring others with their stories of overcoming adversity and making a lasting impact in their respective fields.

Review: “Men of Honor” received positive reviews for its inspirational and powerful portrayal of the true story of Carl Brashear, the first African-American Master Diver in the U.S. Navy, and his determined struggle against racial prejudice. In addition, critics commended the film for its compelling narrative and strong character development. From a market perspective, “Men of Honor” performed well, grossing over $82 million worldwide. Its critical and commercial success underscored the film’s impact in highlighting themes of resilience, perseverance, and the fight for equality in a historically challenging environment.

A Civil Action (1998) – Streaming on Hoopla, rent or buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV

Movies Like Erin Brockovich: A Civil Action IMDb Rating 6.6 English 1h 55m

Director: Steven Zaillian

Starring: John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Kathleen Quinlan

What it’s about: Lawyer Jan Schlichtmann takes on a case representing families in Woburn, Massachusetts, against two large companies, Beatrice Foods and W.R. Grace. The companies are accused of contaminating the town’s water supply and causing fatal illnesses. Schlichtmann’s pursuit of justice becomes an obsession, leading to financial ruin and personal sacrifices. Despite losing the case, the evidence uncovered prompted the EPA to step in, eventually leading to a cleanup and acknowledgment of corporate responsibility.

Why it’s similar: “Erin Brockovich” and “A Civil Action” share striking similarities, focusing on real-life legal battles involving environmental contamination and corporate accountability. The determined individuals—Erin Brockovich, a legal assistant, and Jan Schlichtmann, a lawyer—take on powerful corporations responsible for harmful pollution. Despite mixed outcomes—”Erin Brockovich” achieving a historic settlement and “A Civil Action” highlighting the financial ruin of Schlichtmann’s firm—both films underscore the complexities and sacrifices involved in seeking environmental justice. Most importantly, the two movies are based on true stories, featuring strong performances and detailed portrayals of legal proceedings, making them compelling and educational dramas about the fight for corporate responsibility and environmental protection.

Review: “A Civil Action” showcases the ethical and personal challenges faced by lawyer Jan Schlichtmann, which makes it noted for intense courtroom drama and its exploration of corporate accountability and environmental justice. Besides, its impact extended beyond commercial metrics, sparking important discussions on environmental issues and legal ethics.

The Rainmaker (1997) – Streaming on Fubo TV, rent or buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV

Movies Like Erin Brockovich: The Rainmaker IMDb Rating 7.2 English 2h 15m

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Claire Danes

What it’s about: Rudy Baylor is an idealistic young lawyer who takes on a pro bono case against a powerful insurance company, Great Benefit, which has wrongfully denied a bone marrow transplant to a dying leukemia patient. With the help of paralegal Deck Shifflet (Danny DeVito), Rudy battles the corporation’s ruthless legal team led by the formidable Leo F. Drummond (Jon Voight). Despite being outmatched in resources and experience, Rudy’s perseverance and commitment to justice lead to a dramatic courtroom showdown, exposing the company’s corrupt practices and securing a victory for his clients.

Why it’s similar: In both films, the main characters, Erin Brockovich and Rudy Baylor, are portrayed as underdogs within the legal system, challenging large corporations in pursuit of fairness. Both protagonists are driven by a strong sense of moral duty and empathy for the victims, forging personal connections and going to great lengths to ensure justice is served. They receive guidance from mentor figures, navigating legal obstacles and personal challenges. These films highlight the complexities of the legal system and celebrate the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Review: “The Rainmaker” garnered positive reviews for its compelling adaptation of John Grisham’s legal thriller, showcasing Matt Damon‘s standout performance as an idealistic young lawyer taking on a powerful insurance company. With its engaging narrative, strong character development, and Francis Ford Coppola’s skilled direction, the film grossed over $45 million worldwide. Thanks to its blend of courtroom drama, suspense, and moral complexity, its success resonated with audiences, solidifying its place as a memorable entry in the legal thriller genre.

Conclusion: You might be shocked to learn that these inspiring films drew inspiration from actual cases, ranging from courtroom dramas to biopics. Sometimes, reality is more dramatic than cinematic works. If you are interested in more realistic films, these true-story-based films above would be excellent choices for a weekend viewing!

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