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Writers have sources of inspiration: nature, people, music, food…and movies. Here are a few films and the scenes that inspire my writing. In no particular order:

Dead Poets Society Writing MovieDead Poets Society (1986) – When Richard Keating (Robin Williams) tells his students that one day they will be fertilizing daffodils, it shook me to my core. Here’s the scene. (And, wow, look how young Ethan Hawke and Robin Williams are!) I think about this when I’m writing and need to remind myself what’s at stake: life.

Wonder Boys Writing MovieWonderboys (2000) – I only saw this movie for the first time not too long ago and every once in a while the haunting image of Grady Tripp’s (Michael Douglas) novel flying through the air makes me feel grateful for having back-up plans for my writing…on a flash drive I carry with me, another in a hidden spot, a hard drive at home and another hard drive in a safety deposit box. Can you imagine having the one copy of your novel just blowing around getting lost on the wind? Here’s the scene. (And, wow, I just can’t ever get enough of Robert Downey, Jr.)

Stand By Me Writer MovieStand by Me (1986) – Yeah, I know, this film has a killer soundtrack. I can’t find the clip, but throughout the movie Gordie Lachance (Wil Wheaton) is discouraged from writing and Chris Chambers (River Phoenix, RIP) keeps pushing him to follow his dream. I hope all writers have a friendly encouraging voice pushing them through the hard times.

Riding in Cars With Boys Writing MovieRiding in Cars With Boys (2001) – There’s a scene near the end where Beverly Donofrio (Drew Barrymore) needs to visit her ex to have him sign off an agreement so that she can publish her book. The film was based on Donofrio’s autobiography. Her extraordinary life circumstances and how she perseveres are an inspiration to me.

Almost Famous Writing MovieAlmost Famous (2000) – This doesn’t require much explanation. It’s Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical film about a high school guy who gets the chance to tour with a band and write an article for Rolling Stone. This is exactly what happened to Crowe and the film is inspired by his time touring with the Allman Brothers, Zeppelin and Skynyrd, among many others. Another killer soundtrack. Too many good scenes, so here’s the trailer.

I know there are many, many other films that inspire writers, but these are the first five that always come to mind. What am I missing?