25 Best Feel Good Movies of All Time

Updated July 26, 2018
18 min read

How do you define what is a feel good movie? And is it different from a comedy film? The answer to the latter question is: Yes it is. Comedy films do make you laugh but more often than not you don’t keep smiling once the film is over. There are certainly comedy films that can also be categorized as feel good, but typically funny movies don’t automatically qualify as also feel good movies. The films that do classify as feel good are those that leave you feeling not just good about yourself but also the world in general. You come out of it more optimistic about life. You want to trust your abilities and other’s goodness.

Life is like a boat in an ocean. The ocean is an unpredictable place to be in. It can be calm as a cow or ravaging as an enraged bull. Tough times are inevitable and eventually make us stronger at the end of the road, but while you’re going through them, it is a journey of its own. Tough times teach us what words, spoken or written, cannot. The movies on this list will help you deal with such times. Obviously, feel good movies come in different forms and shape. Some may make you laugh, while some may make you cry. But ultimately, you will end up feeling rejuvenated and happy. With that said, here is the list of top uplifting movies ever. The list consists of several feel good romantic movies. You can watch some of these really good feel films on Hulu or Amazon Prime.

25. The Karate Kid (2010)

The Karate Kid is a movie that transcends the barriers of age and the subtle intricacies which are powerfully portrayed by the duo, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) and Dre (Jaden Smith). The characters are crisp and the plot believable. Much like the previous installations, the story is driven by Dre being bullied by a martial arts prodigy, Cheng. Things turn for the better when a maintenance guy, Mr. Han agrees to teach Dre martial arts and make things better for him. The movie’s agenda of portraying hardships in the ocean of life is well placed and hits the right chords. For some this might be the nostalgia movie that might bring in old vibes from time long past. Sometimes an insight into the past is all we need to fight off tough times.

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24. The Green Mile (1999)

Sometimes we meet people who change the way we perceive things and make us better. Somber in the beginning, the movie advances as Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) narrates a life-changing incident to a companion Elaine Connelly as a movie reminds him of the foretold. Often times we are met with situations when the pasts flashes by us are we are filled with remorse. This movie is a relic of the fact that the most unusual people can turn our life upside down. The mystical elements add nuances that might let you off the hook but the overall experience shall drench you in sanguinity.

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23. Forrest Gump (1994)

More often than not we’ve heard this from our elders or read it on that one poster in our gym; When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), as notable as his name was, so were his deeds. Born with a below average I.Q. of 75 and weak legs, his steely will not only wins him football matches but gets him a scholarship into college. The character endears us with his naive charm and selfless motivations. This movie scores all the points when it comes to direction. If you really think stubborn people can’t make a difference, Forrest Gump will change your mind. So agreed Robert Edgar in his review we he said and I quote ‘I’ve never met anyone like Forrest Gump in a movie before, and for that matter I’ve never seen a movie quite like ‘Forrest Gump.’

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22. Whiplash (2014)

For the ones who think competition and pushing limits is overrated, this astoundingly crafted movie by Damien Chazelle will keep you thinking long after you’d have hit the stop button. A brilliant and perhaps one of this best performances by J.K. Simmons takes it to an insanely new level. His character Terrence Fletcher’s selfish motivations and the ambitious reciprocation by his student Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) keeps the fabric of this movie tugged and tense. The aggression will pump you up and the beats will keep your feet tapping. The conclusion shall leave you spell-bound by the way things bounce back, the beats pump you up and the resonance of the cymbals match the frequency of your thoughts.

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21. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Some stories make us realise the importance of pain in our lives. When life hits you, its hits hard and hits constantly. This young romance is unlike the cheezy romantic ones you come by often. It is laced in grief and a mature understanding of pain through the eyes of a cancer-stricken girl. This movie lunges into the depths of questions that have baffled even the wisest; is togetherness the only way to love someone? Time heals everything, but what if we do not have the time to heal? This one is closest to the answer to this question.

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20. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

What happens when works makes you paranoid? This is one movie set in the tough time period of the Nobel Laureate John Nash (Russell Crowe), who experiences paranoia as a result of his cryptographic job. The movie takes you on a journey as to how Nash overcomes this ailment with the aid of his wife Alicia (Jennifer Connelly). This is a reminder of how love can cure the greatest of afflictions.

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19. Begin Again (2013)

Breakups are those tough times that give us time to focus on ourselves. They bring a profound change in the way we think and bring us closer to us. With its musical inclination, John Carney is able to pitch us into the life of Gretta (Keira Knightley), a song writer when she breaks up with the up and coming singer Dave (Adam Levine) and her story entwines with that of Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a record label executive and how they create music the wrenches the deepest corners of the soul. Begin Again is maturely sophisticated yet naively beautiful.

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18. 500 Days of Summer (2009)

Image result for 500 days of summer wallpaper

Dealing with heart breaks is perhaps the most gruesome experience one encounters in life. This is the story of 500 days of the togetherness and separation of two people completely antithetical to each other. The transient way this movies is crafted and the contrast that has been portrayed between the expectation versus reality strikes a chord that help us connect to the characters. Tough times give us insight into ourselves, they help us create an us that is unknown to any. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) take us on an emotional adventure that delves us into the depths of individuality and maturity.

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17. Invictus (2009)

When a nation is born and given a chance to stand on its own feet, it is the people and most importantly the leaders that are instrumental. Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman), helps South Africa redeem its self-worth in front of the world by means of sport. As seamless as it may seem, the depths of racial discrimination and the fight against it is in itself the undertone that keeps your thinking caps on. When a whole nation faces a tough time, the people shall come together and coalesce into an entity that is far from being brittle.

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16. Never Back Down (2008)

Moving to a completely new part of the country is one tough time we all must have faced, and that too just after the death of someone’s father can be really hard. Although the movie failed to capture positive reviews, it still captures the pain and the angst one feels after being beaten down to the ground and getting back up. Tough times are here, Never Back Down.

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15. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

 You always go back to the thing you always wanted the most. As simple as it may sound, the crux of the phrase lies not in the understanding but in leading back to it. This Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet starrer will lift you up and make you smile as though you were living the experience yourselves. An eraser can rub off the graphite but not the impression, that is the closest description one can give you without giving it all away. This movie has a myriad of vivid imagery which won’t let your eyes wander away from the screen.

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14. Good Will Hunting (1997)

You’re a child prodigy and a genius who can prove theorems that professors took months for but, you are a labourer. Being an orphan is perhaps the toughest thing that one can face. The brilliant screenplay by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon delves you into the shoes of a Boston-based brat who does odd jobs but possesses a brilliant mind. The story lunges into the depths of his insecurities that hinder his personal and professional growth and how Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) breaks down the barrier he had set between what he was what he could be.

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13. Fight Club (1999)

I might have to break some rules here. Two, to be precise, but rules are made to be broken. This movie is chaos leading to something phenomenal, sailing you away from tough times and leading you to a horizon with a bright sun. The characters drive this movie to a point that holds the key to everything you might feel is pure garbage. This is one flick that will force you to question your sanity. Well, I’ve already said enough about things I mustn’t have. This one will make you tougher than you think.

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12. Say Anything (1989)

‘Say Anything’ is about a high school senior Lloyd Dobler who wants nothing more than to go out with beautiful and intelligent Diane Court. Lloyd attempts to win her heart over the objections of her over-protective father before Diane leaves for a scholarship in England. Funny and touching in equal measure, it is a film that will surely leave you feeling better.

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11. Groundhog Day (1993)

‘Groundhog Day’ is a film about taking a bad situation and turning it around in order to benefit not just you, but all those people around you as well. Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is a weatherman who finds himself in a strange situation: he’s reliving the same day over and over again! The film chronicles his life from the beginning of this otherworldly happening to when he exercises it to get what he wants. It sends a lovely message about how, if we are confident and determined, we can conquer just about any problem that comes our way.

This Harold Ramis film beautifully mixes comedy and drama to create a fresh experience that is unlike any other film out there.  It is both entertaining as well as moving. The way Phil’s character changes from rude and snobby to compassionate and friendly is indeed inspiring, mainly because of the way he learns to accept the problems that come his way, by taking advantage of it rather than complaining about the state it has left him in. The movie will leave its viewers both happy and thinking.

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10. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Bridget is struggling against her age, weight, job, and the stereotypical imperfections. When she resolves to take control of her life, she meets Mark, who likes her for just the way she is. No film on this list will make you feel good about yourself as much as ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’.

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9. Love Actually (2003)

Yes, “Love, Actually” is not a perfect movie by any means — it’s extra saccharine and purposely sentimental — but there’s also no denying that “feel-good” movies don’t come in better shape and form than this. Say, what you may but the Keira Knightly-Andrew Lincoln track remains the sweetest thing you might have ever seen.

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8. The Perks of Being Wallflower (2012)

The biggest achievement of ‘The Perks of Being Wallflower’ is how beautifully it captures the rich tapestry of growing up experiences soaked in lessons learnt for lifetime. There are very few films made nowadays that have the power to take you back through time and leave you with nothing but pleasant, feel-good memories, and may be a drop or two of tears in your eyes. ‘The Perks of Being Wallflower’ is one of them.

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7. Boyhood (2014)

Boyhood’, more than just a film, is an observance. An observance of a 6 years old boy growing up to become an 18 years old adult. An observance of what a mother has to go through to raise children. An observance of what a father means to his children and vice-versa. An observance of a family and their struggles, their joys, their sorrows. ‘Boyhood’, in a way that very few films do, transcends the boundaries of cinema and becomes a tiny part of our own existence and experience.

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6. Shawshank Redemption (1994)

 Your wife was cheating on you and you get framed for a crime you did not commit. Things could not have gotten worse for you. This is an uncanny story of a person with rock solid resolve and a will be free despite all odds. Directed by Frank Darabont, this extraordinary story is brilliantly crafted for the big screen. As tough as the times got for Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), he held his head high and braved the odd that were to be his cornerstone for redemption. Morgan Freeman, with his gritty narration will keep you glued to the screen.

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5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Widely considered as the greatest movie musical of all time, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ was a humble success at the time of its release but has grown in stature over the years. The film focuses on the transition of the industry from silent features to “talkies”, and is still as relevant as cinema continues to grow and redefine itself. It is profound in its expression of nostalgia, sharp as a tack in its humor and I promise you, you won’t be able to stop singing the title song.

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4. Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

What if you got the chance to relive your memories? Would you want to come back to your present life, or would you rather stay in that blissful period of joy and happiness? ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ is one of Francis Ford Coppola’s most personal films. When Peggy Sue (Kathleen Turner) , a middle aged woman getting a divorce from her high school sweetheart, attends a reunion with all her old classmates, she suddenly faints. When she comes to she finds herself in high school, and the year is 1960.

Imagine that you had a chance to talk once again to your departed grandparents. How would you feel? What about all those nostalgic memories of your childhood that have lingered in your mind even after all these years? It would be so great to travel back in time, wouldn’t it? The film shows Peggy Sue walking around her memories, wondering how she got there. She loves it so much that she doesn’t wish to leave. There are no divorces in her past. No taxes, no financial problems, just joy and cheerfulness.

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3. Up (2009)

This Disney-Pixar film is one of the more popular movies on here. It is a comedy-drama about an old man (voiced by Ed Asner) and his desire to fulfill a promise that he had once made to his late wife. Along the way, he meets many wild and colorful characters who keep him from reaching his destination, much to his annoyance. The film sends a powerful message about the importance of letting go of past grievances and finding happiness in what we have, so that we can continue to live life with content in our hearts.

‘Up’ is one of Pixar’s greatest efforts, and one of the greatest animated films of all time. It is as hilarious as it is heartfelt, and is a great example of childrens’ films that can be viewed and enjoyed by even adults. The message is very simple to grasp and is well executed, because of how relatable the characters become to the viewer by the time the film ends. Add to that Pete Docter’s excellent storytelling abilities and we’ve got ourselves a fantastic movie.

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2. The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006)

Watching ‘The Pursuit Of Happyness’ is quite an emotional experience. Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is a man broken and beaten down by the events happening around him. The film shows how he and his son (Jaden Smith) get on with life during these rough patches using all that they have. Based on true events, this film assures the viewer that if they use their wits and talents, no matter how little they have of it, they will ultimately succeed.

Perseverance. A steely resolve. Belief. Very small words but the key to something humongous, words that can steer you out of those tough times. Christopher Gardner (Will Smith) finds himself at the verge of bankruptcy and a failing marriage. With nothing but his ideals and son by his side, he tries to march ahead in life and find success despite indomitable odds. This movie as heart-wrenching as it gets will make you cry and smile at once. I’d like to quote Gardner from the movie, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Not even me. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. When people can’t do something themselves, they’re going to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period”, as he tells his son the most precious lesson one can learn and earn.

Will Smith gives one of the greatest performances of his career here by playing a man who covers his sadness with a façade so as to not let his son find out what they are going through. He knows for certain that he is good with people and numbers, and he has mastered the Rubik’s Cube as well. We fall for Gardner while watching the film because he tries his best to financially support himself and his child using only those three aforementioned skills and because of this, we become happier than he is when we see a smile on his face. ‘The Pursuit Of Happyness’ is a very uplifting movie, and it plants a sense of hope and appreciation in the minds of the audience.

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1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Often considered to be one of the greatest Christmas-themed films ever made, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a movie that celebrates every person on the planet, because the message it sends is universal. George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is a man who gives up on all the dreams he had for himself in order to help the others in his life, and this brings him immense pain and sadness. He becomes suicidal due to the lack of importance he thinks his life has. As he reaches a nearby bridge, sad and drunk, he is visited by a guardian angel named Clarence who shows him how the world would’ve been if he never existed.

The movie may seem very simple, but there is a reason as to why it touched the hearts of many. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ shows us that, simply put, we are all important. No matter how big or small the changes are that you bring into this world, a change is a change, and it ultimately does matter. Every person is worth something, and it is necessary to realize this and appreciate it, for then only will we truly be happy. What a beautiful lesson to learn from a film!

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