Cool Hand Luke: Just when it seems ole’ Luke has been broken by The Man he redeems himself and becomes a legend.
My favourite Evil Character who achieves redemption : Darth Vader.
Two of my favorites: Sunrise (1927), about a man who tries to mruder his wife, then regrets it and has to win back her trust; and Rain (1932), about a prostitute who . . . well, I don’t want to give away the plot, but it’s a great film (probably Joan Crawford’s best performance).
It’s a made-for-TV movie, but I nominate Purgatory. It was made a couple of years ago, with Randy Quaid, Sam Shepard, and Eric Roberts. It’s set in 1800’s Old West and it’s got quite a lot of fire and brimstone.
Just thought of a couple more:
The Longest Yard (Burt Reynolds) Football player convicted of throwing a game for gamblers leads a team of inmates to victory in a game against prison guards, in spite of demands by the warden that he throw the game.
The Apostle (Robert Duvall) Duvall’s character redeems himself from an act of violence by starting a small church in a rural community.
Oh yeah, and how about The Bad News Bears? Walter Matthau finds redemption in coaching little leaguers.
And speaking of sports movies, there is of course Rocky.
Kuzco in the Emperor’s New Groove.
Somebody already mentioned Jerry Maguire but it’s worth repeating.
For the traumatic event/redemption category, the first ones that come to mind are Enough, Double Jeopardy, and Empire of the Sun.
It’s a trilogy, and not one movie, but how can we leave out Max Rokitanski?
In Mad Max, he’s a good cop who’s pushed over the edge by the murder of his wife and child.
In The Road Warrior, he’s an amoral drifter who’s looking out for number one, but redeems himself through an act of self sacrifice.
And in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, he’s a hero who saves a group of children and brings new hope for the future.
In O Brother Where Art Thou, the three main characters find a musical redemption.
Best Redemption Movies ever - hard to find, but worth it. Both are so amazing.
- Spitfire Grill
- Bella (excellent story, well written, great acting, may have to watch it twice to fully appreciate it as it flashbacks and symbolism that you may not fully understand the first time. Every scene has significance toward how it ends the way that it does.
Both movies would be appropriate to watch with ages 13 and up. No violence in either.
Minority Report, I hesitate to say much about the plot in an effort to avoid spoilers, but this is one of my favorites. Some of the special effects are cheesy, but the emotions resonate.
How about Schindler’s List? Schindler goes through quite a change over the course of that film.
Lilo and Stitch
The Phantom of the Opera is redeem through Christine’s love, and agrees to let her go.
Cinderella III, in which the slipper is magically made to fit Anastasia, Cinderella’s stepsister (it’s a long story) but when she’s about to wed the prince, she says, “I…don’t” because she realizes that what she’s doing is wrong.
I’d say between 50-75% of all martial arts films are about redemption; the rest are about revenge and there’s plenty of overlap.
Pretty much all Jackie Chan movies
Enter the Dragon
Chinese Super Ninjas
Shaolin vs. Ninja
etc. etc. etc.
Speaking of martial arts movies, The Magnificent Seven, a remake of The Seven Samurai has a redemption theme centering around Robert Vaughn’s character. I always liked him, and wish he wasn’t shilling for ambulance chasers, but I guess he needs the work.
Thor. The scene of him quietly and happily making breakfast for his friends gets me each time.
Warm Bodies - the redemption of zombies.
Zombies are beyond redemption; at least not without a case of air freshener.