Movies with Meaning – Leading through doubt

Weekly series. Do please send suggestions via email, twitter etc. You can send a theme and/or specific movies. Each week we feature three movies with meaning, so send in a movie with a sentence or two on the core meaning you take from it and a clip from the movie that speaks to that meaning.

Sometimes as leaders we face tough decisions. Sometimes it may even be that all those around us try to convince us our chosen path is wrong and we need to change our mind.

When everyone around you not only sows seeds of doubt but actively tries to convince you to change your path, your decision, it takes a special kind of leadership to lead through the inevitable doubt that such a situation will implant in even the toughest leader.

Three movie dramatisations of three true stories, of three great leaders :

  • Winston Churchill
  • Steve Jobs
  • Nelson Mandela

Darkest Hour (2017)

Stunning performance by Gary Oldman embodying Churchill.

Churchill was often an outlier in his passionate convictions as to the path forwards, and he was absolutely a complex and fallible human and leader.

However, as this movie depicts, in a very short period after he was selected as leader of a wartime government, he had to make some of the toughest decisions of his life in the face of almost unanimous opposition from his own government.

To say that Churchill’s decisions at that time changed the world as we know it now is an understatement.

A truly magnificent story, powerfully told.


Steve Jobs (2015)

I love the work of Danny Boyle and this dramatisation of the amazing biography by Walter Isaacson encapsulates one of the most powerful elements of Steve Jobs as a leader.

When he knew his true North he would never vary, and the power of his belief, though not infallible, created something truly special with Apple.


Invictus (2009)

There have been a number of movies about Nelson Mandela, yet I particularly love this one. Against all the advice of his closest advisors, he took “a name, an emblem, a colour” that was hated by black South Africans.

The Springboks, the Rugby Team, were a treasure to Afrikaaners.

Such an example of who he was, and what a story.

This clip speaks specifically to this part of the story.


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