Top 7 Global Health Films to Get You Inspired - Raindance

Global health deserves all the attention it is beginning to get from Hollywood —  and more.

Great films inspire people to seek and inspire change. If Hollywood films can play their part in worldwide awareness on issues of global health, it will have done mankind a great favor.

The recent trend towards films related to global health and care indicates the fact that filmmakers have become more socially and politically aware in recent times. I researched and found a lot of movies touching this topic and to my surprise found a lot of them. They are well made and out there, we just don’t know they are.

The movies that I have listed range from documentaries to feature films, dealing with a vast array of issues concerning global health. From shortage of food and clean water, to epidemic and outbreaks, to basic health care, to human rights violations such as child trafficking and molestation.

The list is mainly from the Global Health film series and festivals at universities such as Yale, Penn State and Pennsylvania.


1.The Painted Veil (2006)


An English Doctor, played by Edward Norton battles a cholera epidemic in a little village (China). Also dealing with a dead end and loveless marriage at home with his cheating wife, played by Naomi Watts. The film (a Chinese-American production) is an adaptation of a novel with the same name, written by W. Somerset Maugham in 1925.


2.Philadelphia (1993)

Actors Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington on the set of the Tri Star movie " Philadelphia" in 1993. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

An AIDS victim, played by Tom Hanks, is wrongfully fired by a law firm due to his condition. He hires the only lawyer (played by Denzel Washington) willing to take the case, who turns out to be severely homophobic. The film won Tom Hanks an Oscar for Best Actor. In an upcoming movie Tom Hanks gets fit (using the ab toning secret of flex belts) to play Robert Langdon – the famous detective from Dan Brown books –  in The Inferno that comes out October 2016.


3.The Shape of Water (2006)


A documentary film, which interweaves the powerful stories of Oraiza, Bilkusben, Dona Antonia, Gila – five very different women living in separate parts of the world; from Senegal, Brazil and India to Jerusalem. The film shows the efforts of these women to protect the environment from degradation, to get rid of inhumane traditional practices, to fight against economic instability and war in their own respective parts. The film is narrated by Susan Sarandon.


4.The Other City (2010)

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 01: A woman participates during a rally in front of the White House after a mock funeral procession to the mark the World AIDS Day December 1, 2009 in Washington, DC. Activists called on the Obama Administration to keep their promise to fix the "system that fail to provide proper HIV care." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A Documentary film directed by Susan Koch, exposes the reality of the World’s most powerful country and its capital, Washington, DC. A city overpowered by dirty politics, domination and wealth and it’s various layers of corruption. The biggest communities living in the city are that of African-Americans and Latinos, a high number of homosexuals, people living below the poverty lines and drug addicts. More than 3% of the city’s population is tested HIV-positive. The documentary touches upon all of these issues, focusing on the lives of those living with the disease and those trying to prevent it through programs of awareness and needle exchange.


5. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)


A Documentary film made by Davis Guggenheim, dealing with the issues of global warming, while running a parallel narrative of Al Gore’s lifelong struggle to fight against global climate change. The film brings a sense of urgency to the measures we need to take against all mankind’s common and most pressing enemy. The film was a hit at the Sundance and won an Oscar for Best Documentary.


6.Hotel Rwanda (2004)


Based on the true story of a hotel manager in Rwanda, named Paul Rusesabagina, who (during the Rwandan Genocide) gave shelter to over one thousand refugees from Tutsi, to protect them against the Hutu militias. The movie got several Academy Award nominations.


7.Flow: For Love of Water (2008)


The documentary film, made by Irena Salina is an inquiry into the world’s water crisis, the most pressing environmental issue of the twenty-first century. A resource necessary for human survival but said to be diminishing by the day.