15 Movies That Teach Empathy and Compassion

Kids hugging
March 1, 2018
by Megan Vincenti


The Academy Awards are around the corner and if you are anything like us, you are scanning the best picture list to complete your last-minute viewings. Movies are universally popular for the unique way they can inspire and offer us experiences we wouldn’t otherwise have that inevitably teach us something about ourselves or others.

At Feeding America, we’d argue we could all stand to have these experiences more often. Unless you’ve lived it yourself, it is hard to imagine what struggling with hunger is truly like. We know what it means to be hungry for lunch, or even miss a meal, but many of us can’t wrap our heads around what it is like to not know how we are going to get our next meal.

That’s why we have put together a list of family-friendly movies we urge you to sprinkle into your Academy Award watch-list or save for spring break entertainment. Many of the movies below are classics, some are Academy Award nominees, but all will be sure to teach (or remind!) your family about the importance of having empathy and compassion for others.

  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Blind Side
  • Inside Out
  • Pay It Forward
  • The Glass Castle
  • Zootopia
  • Patch Adams
  • Freedom Writers
  • Pollyanna
  • Remember the Titans
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Pursuit of Happyness
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • A Little Princess
  • Up

If you are looking for more ways to practice empathy and compassion, watch some first-hand stories from families who struggle with hunger or contact your local food bank to volunteer and get a closer look at the issue.