The Pursuit of Happyness Movie Study

Use this The Pursuit of Happyness movie study to learn about the life of Chris Gardner, an American businessman who overcame homelessness.

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Is The Pursuit of Happyness a true story?

The movie The Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith, is inspired by a true story. It is based on Chris Gardner’s memoir of the same name. Some historical liberties were taken with certain parts, others were exaggerated or left out.

For example, during his internship, Chris was paid a small stipend. He was still homeless, however.

Did Chris really have a son?

The real Chris Gardner had two children, a son and a daughter. To simplify the plot of the movie, the producers made his son older (so he could talk in the movie). The father-son duo is played by a real-life father-son duo, strengthening their on-screen relationship.

Why is ‘happiness’ misspelled?

Like in the movie, Chris was inspired by the word “happyness” misspelled on his son’s daycare.

Does Chris sell bone density scanners?

The fictional Chris invested heavily in bone density scanners, but the real Chris did not. The real Christ was a salesman in the medical field.

Does Chris receive a job at Dean Witter?

Yes. Like in the movie, Chris receives a job at Dean Witter. However, in real life, mostly everyone who passed the licensing exam received a job offer.

5 Lessons from The Pursuit of Happyness

  • “People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”
  • “You got a dream. You gotta protect it.”
  • “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
  • “Wealth can also be that attitude of gratitude with which we remind ourselves everyday to count our blessings.”
  • “Don’t just talk that talk, walk it and go forward. Also, the walk didn’t have to be long strides; baby steps counted too. Go forward.”

The Pursuit of Happyness Movie Study

Despite having many odds against him, Chris Gardner put everything on the line out of true belief in himself, landing him a position at a prestigious brokerage firm. This movie guide is designed to get students thinking more about success, hard work, homelessness, attitude, and pride and humility. These lesson plans include The Pursuit of Happyness discussion questions, activities, worksheets, and more.

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