The Pursuit Of Happyness

 (5,754)8.01 h 57 min2006X-Ray16+
Based on true events - a man struggles to keep himself and young son from diving headlong into homeless poverty while pursuing his dreams of a better life. An inspirational story, with Jaden Smith.
Directors
Gabriele Muccino
Starring
Will SmithThandiwe NewtonJaden Smith
Genres
Drama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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Supporting actors
Kurt FullerMonica LopezJames KarenDan Castellaneta
Producers
Will Smith
Studio
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT, INC.
Content advisory
Smokingalcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

5754 global ratings

  1. 87% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 7% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 3% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Anne K. GrayReviewed in the United States on December 4, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Very well done. You are there with them every step of the way. Especially when they are running to catch something!
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An understated yet incredibly powerful performance by Will Smith. I wanted to watch this movie when it came out in theaters yet shied away from it because I knew the story would include some very difficult moments. And boy does it! Moments when you are the edge of your seat, just aching at the possibility that something else could go wrong, wondering how they will deal with it.

But this week, I figured, if other people have the courage to actually face being homeless with a child, how could I not have the courage to sit in my living room and watch a movie about it? Homelessness is such a huge problem in our country right now. And people who are in this struggle don't need our sympathy, they need our empathy, and for us to hope with them like we do with the characters in this film.

The soundtrack is well done, all the performances are great, and in the end, of course, it is a film about fatherhood as well as about pursuing happiness.
25 people found this helpful
SDS customerReviewed in the United States on November 12, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
I love these kind of true stories in life
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I love these kind of true stories in life. I actually saw Chris Gardner when he came and spoke at a leadership conference. I had never heard of him or his story until I found out he would be speaking at this conference so we watched this film the night before. It was very moving and inspiring. Just now when I watched it on Amazon I experienced all of the feelings and memories of that time in my life, chasing a dream, discovering what I'm capable of and taking risks and chances daily. The first time I saw the movie I had not yet been through any significant hardship so I was inspired by this story and hearing the man himself tell his story in person was outstanding. Just now watching this 9 years later, I was so moved and impacted because I have experience many of the financial struggles of having no where to live, no money or ongoing income and just trying to survive day to day to get by. At the same time trying to maintain dignity, confidence and hope. I have overcome as well and while not a millionaire like Chris, I am in a good place and pursuing my own happiness. I recommend this film to anyone and everyone. If you read about his story before hand it will help toward the end of the film as it seems things couldn't get any worse. Will Smith did an excellent job playing this role and so did his real life son playing his son in the movie. Also check out the very end when they are walking down that street and Chris Gardner himself makes a cameo and walks past them.
17 people found this helpful
JoshuaReviewed in the United States on November 16, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
10 lbs of heart in a 5 lb sack
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Anyone who has traveled the classic entrepreneur's journey would relate to the main character. As a father and serial entrepreneur, this speaks to me on every level. I've watched this film twice now. The first while a dream ended. Now while a new dream flowers and bears fruit. Cried like a baby each time. I'm a huge fan of Will Smith as a comedic actor. But I believe this is his best performance, hands down. Jayden Smith was outstanding, as well. Quintessential American Dream. If you're a believer, don't stop. This movie burns with the true faith, and illustrates what's required of those who would achieve outstanding accomplishment and success. Well done.
12 people found this helpful
GiftbearerReviewed in the United States on September 12, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Every Once In Awhile You Can Beat The Odds!
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This was a beautiful story and it was well-acted. I could really relate to the main character and his up and down struggles to make ends meet and to keep trying even when the odds are against you.

I am a big believer that you haven't really failed until you stop trying. Each day is a new opportunity to try something new and approach problems from a different angle.

Most people in this world play it safe but there are times when stepping out on faith works when you can't immediately see a way forward. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box in order to get to where you want to go and this is something that entrepreneurs do well.

Will Smith's character didn't know sometimes from one day to the next where his money would come from or when, but he took things one step at a time and was constantly looking for every resource he could utilize to meet his goals.

Like his wife, there are many people who don't see opportunities when they present themselves or don't take them because they think they're too much of a longshot. I thought that the son's story about God sending two boats was well placed as symbolic of that very concept. Opportunities come and go but it takes a certain perceptiveness to know which ones are crucial to follow up on.

It may be that individuals like the man this story is about are relatively rare, but they're out there and although there are many people who stay destitute all their lives it is sometimes possible to beat the odds if you can identify what it requires to make something happen and follow those steps.

I believe success is more than just working hard, as there are many people who work hard their entire lives and die poor, but it's more about working smart, and being at the right place at the right time. It also requires lots of patience.
4 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on November 2, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Movie's theme of how the working poor can become homeless is an important message
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The Pursuit of Happyness was based upon the true story of Chris Gardner (Will Smith) and his young son Christopher (Jaden Smith). Chris and his family were part of the working poor. He and his wife Linda (Thandi Newton) worked but they struggled to keep up with the cost of living and were always behind in their bills. Once Linda left Chris and Christopher eventually became homeless. Their story is more relevant today than when the movie came out as the homeless crisis has exploded across America’s cities.

Before the 1990s the majority of the homeless were called the hardcore. They were either mentally ill or had drug and alcohol addictions. There were a constant population out on the streets because many of them refused help and major cities were not providing enough assistance to begin with. Since then homelessness had changed with at least half now being poor people who simply can’t afford the rising rents and costs of houses in many of America’s major cities. Many of them like Chris actually work and are still out on the streets.

The Pursuit of Happyness documents the problems Chris had that led him to lose his home. He was behind in rent, he owed taxes, he had his car towed away because he had so many tickets, and more. His wife worked double shifts as a maid at hotel while he tried to sell bone density scanners to doctors. The problem was he had a hard time selling them. That’s the reason why they were constantly behind in their bills. When Linda left Chris’ sole income couldn’t support him and his son and they ended up homeless.

Chris’ time on the streets present many of the problems others in that situation face. There’s the shelters where people can only spend one night for example. They have to stand in line and get in before it’s full and then leave in the morning. He had to juggle his work schedule and picking up Christopher in order to make it to the shelter on time.

The movie is powerful and touching and its message resonates with America today. There are many people like Chris who are the working poor and just one major problem can push them over the edge and into the streets. Will and Jaden Smith do an excellent job with their roles as well. They are an endearing father and son. There are scenes that will make you cry with their lows and high. It’s just another reminder of the struggles homeless people face.
2 people found this helpful
MargaretNCReviewed in the United States on September 18, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
The triumph of integrity
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Warren Buffett said, “We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don't have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you're going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.”

Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith, and briefly appearing in person at the end of the movie) is the man Buffett is looking for. After struggling to support his wife and young son by selling bone densitometers to physicians, Gardner takes an unpaid internship at Dean Witter to learn to be a stockbroker. A long series of chaotic events should break him, but Gardner survives, achieves and never loses his integrity.

Early in the movie, Gardner looks elated while posing with his wife in front of a large stack of bone densitometers that should represent a future small fortune. He soon discovers a very limited market in which he pitches the device all day, but usually returns home without a sale. Loss or theft of a few devices cause further losses, leading his wife to leave him and his landlord to evict him for missed rent. The internship seems like an impossible luxury, but he takes the position and slowly rebuilds. Never allowing sorrow or anger to hold him back, he hopes, innovates and never stops working.

Small scenes in the movie leave a lasting impression. Gardner’s graciousness when a rich mentor asks him for a five-dollar bill for a taxi. A tear rolling down his cheek when someone beats on the door of the bathroom in the BART station where he hides with his son after eviction. The missed sale of a densitometer that malfunctions, the bulb turning on when Gardner fixes it overnight at a homeless shelter, and the $250 sale he desperately needs the next day. The final scene in the board room seems like a shock. Everything goes wrong throughout the movie, until Gardner finally receives what he deserves.

Definitely worth seeing. I wish I would have watched it sooner.
Suzanne LichtensteinReviewed in the United States on December 30, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Memorable
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What an amazing movie! I'm so glad I stumbled across this one. I will never forget it, and have already recommended it to someone else. This would make a good family movie, especially for viewing with older children and teens. Some of the concepts might be hard for younger children to understand, but other than that I would have no reservation in showing it to younger children as well. (I recommend screening it first, so you can judge whether your younger child will be okay with it.) As a parent, myself, my heart was with both parents, every step of the way. Last evening I had to stop the movie when it was about 5/6 of the way through; and as I fell asleep and during several points in the day, my mind longed to see how the story would resolve. This movie is a winner. Hint from the Trivia: The man who walks by the main actor at the very end of the film is the real-life person, about whom this biographic film was made.
Jaime ContrerasReviewed in the United States on December 31, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
The will to persevere
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This is one of my favorite Will Smith films because it is a film about a real-life father, Chris Gardner (Will Smith), wanting a better a future for himself and his 5-year-old son Christopher (Jaden Smith). Gardner has the deck stacked against him when his girlfriend Linda (Thandie Newton) walks out and becomes a single dad. Life seems to get better when he lands an unpaid internship in an ultra competitive stockbroker-training program but then he and his son are evicted from their apartment for a lack of income. Homeless but determined, Chris relies on his natural intelligence, will to overcome, self-confidence and devotion to his son. This is more than a typical 'feel good' movie because one experiences the fears, panic, loss of hope, and frustration. As Gardner is forced out of his safety zone, he finds the inner strength to persevere. This is a tale of an everyman's hero that all should watch.
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