During the holidays, I just love watching great movies about transformational leaders. One of my all time favorites is Gladiator with Russell Crowe. “The general who became a slave, the slave who became gladiator, the gladiator who defied an empire.” Best part was in Rome when the insane king (Joaquin Phooenix), realized that Crowe was really the General turned Gladiator.

The story of Saving Private Ryan was absolutely unforgettable. Eight men risked their lives to save one, Private Ryan (Matt Damon) whose three brothers had been killed in combat.

Led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) they learned to deny themselves and overcame obstacles to save Private Ryan so that his mother wouldn’t lose her last son to war.

Glory Road is near and dear to my heart since I obtained my undergraduate degree from this University (UTEP formerly Texas Western University as in the Movie). It is a true story about one of the greatest Hall of Fame coaches of all time, Don Haskins (The Bear), that stood in the face of racism through countless attacks against himself and his family. He successfully went on to make history by starting the first all-African American lineup. His courageous act sent shock waves through the sport of basketball. Since that day, several basketball coaches and teams followed suit.

Coach Carter, based on the incredible and inspiring true story of Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) made national news when he ordered a gymnasium “lockout” at a time when his team was undefeated but had poor academic scores. He taught his team to believe in themselves and to see a future beyond basketball, neighborhood gangs and drugs.

Do you ever wonder why many movies about great leaders stem from sports events or stories? For those of us who haven’t, it makes you really want to dive into the lives of more coaches – those currently living and or past, to better understand their thoughts on leadership. Other than through experience and failures, I wonder what kind leadership coaching and training they would recommend. Maybe I’ll find out and write about it.

There are so many more movies about great leaders…Hoosiers, The Ten Commandments, (Moses – Charlton Heston) (Cecil B. Demille version 1956), Joseph King of Dreams (Ben Affleck – Joseph) – great for kids, and many others. What are your thoughts and or recommendations for other movies about great leaders?

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