Best Feel Good Movies

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 5:07 pm

The best feel good movies will have you cheering and examining the beauty of life by the time the end credits roll. Even male viewers may be moved to tears by a few of these, prompting a trip to the local bar in order to re-establish their masculinity.

I’ve put together a list of 10 of the best feel good movies below, and don’t forget that each of these can be rented from Netflix. We’ll get a small commission for sending you there, which will make us feel good, as well.

Scrooged (1988) – Bill Murray stars in an updated version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. He’s a real sourpuss TV executive, but he begins to look at things differently when he’s visited by three spirits (including Carol Kane and David Johansen).

Field of Dreams (1989) – When he hears “If you build it, he will come,” whispered from his cornfield, farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) promptly plows under his crop and constructs a baseball field. Before you can say “magical movie moment,” the spirits of former baseball greats are gathering to play ball, and old wounds are healed. Hey, it beats therapy.

Return to Me (2000) – David Duchovny stars as an architect whose wife is killed in a car wreck, and Minnie Driver is the young woman who receives her donated heart. After a chance encounter, the pair begin to fall in love, but will their relationship endure once the truth is revealed? This film marked the directorial debut for Bonnie Hunt.

City Slickers (1991) – Three pals from the city (Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby) get more than they bargained for when they sign up for a two-week cattle drive in New Mexico. But between braving thunderstorms, flash floods, and drunken cowboys, they do get some help in the form of Curly (Jack Palance in an Oscar-winning role), a grizzled trail boss. A hilarious fish-out-of-water story that still holds up well after all these years.

Ever After (1998) – Based on the story of Cinderella, Ever After follows the life of Danielle de Barbarac (Drew Barrymore), a young woman tormented by her wicked stepmother (Anjelica Huston) and one of her stepsisters. But a chance meeting with the Prince of France (Dougray Scott) holds the promise of romance, and a little help from Leonardo da Vinci (Patrick Godfrey) helps seal the deal. If you’re looking for a great feel-good movie where everyone lives happily ever after, then don’t miss this film.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufresne, a man imprisoned in Shawshank State Penitentiary for a crime he didn’t commit. Over the years, he forges a strong friendship with a fellow inmate named “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), and his illegal bookkeeping activities for the prison warden allow him to plan an eventual escape. Based on a novella by Stephen King, the film’s final 20 minutes are about as uplifting as you’ll find in modern cinema.

Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995) – Mr. Holland (Richard Dreyfus) initially takes a teaching position to pay the bills, while his true passion revolves around composing a modern masterpiece of orchestral music. But as the years roll on, Mr. Holland becomes more dedicated to his profession and his students. And when all seems lost, his life is validated in a moving (yet admittedly hokey) moment.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – As he contemplates suicide, George Bailey (James Stewart) is saved by an apprentice angel and shown just how much his life has mattered to the citizens of Bedford Falls. Considered a disappointment upon its theatrical release, it’s now on almost every channel during the Christmas holidays. Lionel Barrymore (Drew’s great-uncle) is excellent as the heartless Mr. Potter.

Forrest Gump (1994) – Tom Hanks stars as the title character, a simple man whose exploits take him through the turbulent events of second half of the 20th century. Robin Wright Penn stars as his slutty love interest, and Gary Sinise is his Vietnam commander turned business partner. Filled with sadness and laughter, I’ll admit to shedding a few tears while watching this one.

Simon Birch (1998) – The title character of Simon Birch (Ian Michael Smith) is a young man with a condition that stunts his growth, but he believes that God has a special plan for him. Along with his best friend, a fellow town outcast, Simon tries to make the best of his life during the 1950s. Ashley Judd and Oliver Platt co-star.

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If reading this list of the best feel good movies has put you in a positive state of mind, keep the feeling going by checking out some of the other fine posts from Only Good Movies:

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 at 5:07 pm and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

25 Responses to “Best Feel Good Movies”

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May 26, 2010


i’ve been reading your blog with great interest, and i am getting through a fair few movies which i have thoroughly enjoyed so i thought i’d share them with you seeing as you’ve shared so much with me.

top feel good movie of all time has to be World’s Greatest Dad with robin williams. if you haven’t seen it go watch it right now, haven’t felt as good after watching a film since forrest gump! it hits you on so many levels, there’s comedy – very black – there’s romance, there’s hope so much hope. and of course you get your robin william’s wronged nice guy gettin naked at the end fix.

May 26, 2010


Thanks for the kind words, David, and thanks for the recommendation on World’s Greatest Dad.

October 12, 2010

Pete Day

‘A Good Year’ with Russel Crowe, Albert Finney and Abbie Cornish. Set in Provence, France. I watch it repeatedly.

November 12, 2010


For pure feel-good factor; Love Actually and Disney’s Enchanted.

November 28, 2010


I think you may have missed a couple Top 10 Feel Good Movies: Second Hand Lions should be there, and also; Green Mile.

December 24, 2010


500 days of summer (I think it’s much of a feel good movie than a love movie), Dead poets’ society and The pursuit of happyness.

January 15, 2011


no way should shawshank redemption nor simon birch be on this top feel good movie list. did the compiler of this list forget that both movies have unfortunate & deppressing death scene’s in them!

January 17, 2011


Yes, but wouldn’t you agree that the endings were uplifting?

January 24, 2011


The pursuit of happYness and Life is beautiful should be in that top list…

February 3, 2011


I’d agree with a few of them, but most for me fall into the guilty pleasure category. I think you could make a top 10 list with only Miyazaki films. They’re definitely feel good.
Amelie was feel good.
I’d put Shawshank in my top 10 too.
Maybe The Straight Story.
I saw this Japanese movie awhile ago called Failan. Really good tear jerker, though I dont know if its feel good. I think anything that can make me cry, whether sad or happy, for me becomes feel good.

February 3, 2011


Thanks for the input, Pat. It’s always appreciated. 🙂

February 20, 2011


Nonono. Feel good movies aren’t movies that you watch to be uplifted and enlightened, feel good movies are the movies that aren’t there to teach you anything. They’re simply there for your enjoyment and you watch them over and over again without getting bored of them. I feel that movies of this nature include No Strings Attached, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,The Notebook, the beginning of Disturbia up until everything starts going crazy. i.e. Happy movies that never really put you down at all and you don’t have to watch the whole movie to get enjoyment.

February 23, 2011


Well the very definition of feel good is to encourage happiness or satisfaction, which is what uplifting movies do. Although I agree not all feel good movies have to enlighten or teach you anything, they also just as likely can. Either way, not sure The Notebook would count as one. It becomes a very sad movie closer to the end, probably closer to a romantic or tear jerker before a feel good movie.

That said, Good Will Hunting and Curly Sue are some movies not mentioned so far. Both are high on my top feel good movies list

February 26, 2011



I go with Kale. Shawshank, great movie thought, isn’t my definition of a feel good movie. I check feel good movies as an escape or something. It should be easy to watch and maybe a few laughs. Shawshank is to heavy for that and by the way the Green mile too. I’m more thinking about Kevin James kind of movies you know. Paul Blart and Grown ups etc.

May 1, 2011


I feel good movie which is my favorite movie of all time would be ‘Far and Away’ with Nichole Kidman and Tom Cruise. Always when I feel sad I watch this movie and it makes me happy again.

June 5, 2011


stardust is one of the best feelgood movies ever.

June 21, 2011

Will Griffith

Some movies that just left me happy and smiling after they were over include: Harold & Maude, It’s Kind of A Funny Story, and Wristcutters: A Love Story

September 8, 2011


My Favourites are:
The First Wives Club
Never Been Kissed
Down periscope
Blue Streak
Independents Day
The Birdcage
50 First dates
The Wedding Singer
The Blind Side
Practical Magic
Weekend at Bernies
If Only
Yes Man
Walk the line
Legally Blond
Failure to Launch
In her Shoes
Fried Green Tomatoes
Ruthless People

Just some more good ones to consider, thanks for some of the ideas above

September 19, 2011


Thanks for the additional ideas, Trudie.

December 17, 2011


our idiot brother is the best. no movie has left me feeling so happy than it.

February 4, 2012


I agree, Kasey. Our Idiot Brother was a surprisingly sweet comedy, largely due to the likable presence of Paul Rudd.

June 4, 2012


thanks for the list, i’ll check on those movies


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