As a kid, I was often told about how I was not good in studies, sports, even extra-curricular activities of any kind, and quite strangely, how I would never amount to much in life. While I can honestly say that I was a pretty dull kid, and people were right in their own way in saying what they did, I also knew that if there are winners, there are also a lot of 'non-winners', 'average' people who had to make a decent living nonetheless, not really concerned about what people thought of their lives, but rather more concerned about what they were doing with their lives. And thus was born the love of the 'underdog' — a word that describes largeness in Human spirit and endeavour despite all odds, and one that accepts that there are people better than you at something, but it doesn't stop you from trying anyway.

Which is why possibly, in all walks of life, I think I support the underdog even more than my own favourite teams, no matter the sport or occasion. And this habit inadvertently led to my love of the kind of cinema that has underdogs as a theme. Sure, I could name a few more flicks that could've made this list, but really, these movies are absolute must watches, especially if you feel burdened with all the responsibilities of 'being the best', 'not being good enough' and what not:

1. Rocky (1976)

Sylvester Stallone's greatest performer as a Boxer who has every reason to lose, but finds it in himself and his dreams to succeed anyway.

2. Star Wars (1977)

An intergalactic war saga of epic proportions, the story follows the lives of Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker against the greatest nemesis you could ever imagine - Darth Vader.

3. Cool Runnings (1993)

Based on true events, this light comedy follows the hopes and dreams of the most out of place, yet ambitious Jamaican bobsledding team and their experiences at the Winter Olympics. The end of this movie = true respect.

4. Forrest Gump (1994)

There is perhaps no greater example of standing tall against whatever life throws at you, and coming out a war-weathered champion than the fictitious yet utterly lovable story of Forrest Gump.

5. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

By the end of this movie, not only do you get proper education on how you have to make the most of every chance you get in life but also, how perseverance, faith and the Superhuman's will to survive and succeed trump all else.

6. Braveheart (1995)

'Things do not always end well for the underdog' may be what the end of the movie suggests, but it also teaches you exactly what your life is worth, when you're relentless in believing in justice, fairness and above all, true freedom.

7. The Water Boy (1998)

A leaf out of a book on bullying and the 'jock and nerd' stereotype, this flick featuring Adam Sandler as The Water Boy is a celebration of all things considered mediocre, even below average, and how!

8. Erin Brockovich (2000)

Based on true events, this movie follows the life of Erin Brockovich, a divorced, jobless mother, who takes a mighty chemical industry destroying the water supply of her hometown to court. And how she wins. *wipes tears*

9. The 'Lord Of The Rings' series (2001)

In the ultimate battle between thgood and evil in Middle Earth, Frodo and his best friend, Samwise Gamgee must destroy a ring that is the only stopping point between now and an absolute running over by dark forces and unending armies of ruthless orcs.

10. The 'Harry Potter' series (2001)

Imagine realizing one day that you're a wizard, the most famous wizard of all time, and that the world's most powerful dark wizard is trying to kill you. If that's not a true underdog story, nothing in the world is!

11. 8 Mile (2002)

When Marshal Mathers aka Eminem decided to make a biographical movie, you could've already guessed that the flick is going to be one of rags to riches, problem A to problem B, and a straight-up slice right into the world-renowned rapper's difficult life.

12. School Of Rock (2003)

An erstwhile 'failed' musician fakes his way into a children's school, teaches a bunch of super-talented kids how to rock it out by entering them into a 'Battle Of The Bands' competition, and what not.

Of course, the complications of these actions soon arise.

13. Ray (2004)

This movie follows the life and times of one of the greatest musicians to have ever walked the planet, Ray Charles, who did not let his blindness come in the way of achieving the success he wished for, and living a life that would make any of us most jealous.

14. The Longest Yard (2005)

Another Adam Sandler flick, only this time the protagonist is in prison and has to set up an American football team that the prison guards team can practice against. The perfect example of an underdog sports team movie.

15. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Life is weird, and it comes with an infinite number of points of view. Little Miss Sunshine celebrates this infinite difference, and is a fine example of how winning is not the ultimate end, having a blast throughout the journey is.

16. Ratatouille (2007)

If you have to learn to cook at a restaurant (or anywhere for that matter) from a rat, things are definitely looking up for you. But this beautiful animated flick does just that: it tells you to be whoever you are, and do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true.

17. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

This movie requires no description- If you live in India, you know only too well how real the struggle is, and how life can change right before your eyes, every once in a while.

18. Wall-E (2008)

The love story between Wall-E and EVE has to be among the most precious bits on romance any film industry has ever made. Also, Wall-E is a trash compactor, which may not the shiniest of professions to show off, but Wall-E, like every other intelligent underdog, knows how to make the most of opportunity.

19. Kung Fu Panda (2008)

If there was one animated underdog character, I'd gladly and accurately, mind you, liken myself to, it would have to be Po, the easy-going and ever-in-awe-of-the-world Panda who shows that you can be black, white, fat and Asian and do whatever you want to in life, especially when you have friends as good as his.

20. The Karate Kid (2010)

Sure, the original flick is awesome too but maybe it's just the better arrangement to current life and time. But, the Jackie Chan-Jaden Smith starrer is one of the greater underdog movies of our time. Sure, the formula to this tale must be age-old, but can you help but cheer by the end of the saga?

21. The Social Network (2010)

That the greatest social media exploit of our age, facebook.com, comes out of a thorough underdog story should be enough to explain how thick your ideas should be, even in light of ridicule and failure. Nobody really needs to be told about Facebook anyway, right?

22. The Hunger Games series

Set in a near-fantasy future, Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen, a 'champion' selected to represent her district in 'The Hunger Games', a sporting event that decides the destiny of the entire district. In a battle of wit and physical endurance, Everdeen faces it all, and comes out a victor, stronger than ever.

Feature Image Source: learningandcreativity