The 10 Most Uplifting Movies of All Time

published on July 2, 2020

Wow, these past few weeks sure
have been a real long year

And we have the strangest suspicion
that a few people out there could use

a pick me up

So if you coincidentally find yourself
with time on the couch to spare, we've got

a list for you here of what we think are
the ten most uplifting movies of all time


So, first things first

We've got to look at those movies that
lift us up by reaffirming the power of

the human spirit,

that speak to the unseen forces that hold
us together as a community of humans

Movies that reassure us that
things can get better like Mrs

Doubtfire and Mary Poppins

Movies that make us feel like we'll never
give up like Shawshank Redemption and

Secondhand Lions

Movies that show us how worth living
life can be like Cinema Paradiso,

It's a Wonderful Life, and Forrest Gump

Movies like The Untouchables, The Wizard
of Oz, and especially To Be and To Have

But if there's one man and

one movie that makes us sleep easy at
night knowing things are going to be okay,

it's got to be Mr Rogers and
Won't You be my Neighbor?

>> I think you've turned out nicely and
I like you as you are

And children need to hear that

I don't think that anybody can grow unless
he really is accepted exactly as he is

>> 2018's documentary is
the perfect warm cardigan hug

to remind you that there was one someone
out there who saw the best in all of us

We've heard about the power of positivity
enough times to roll our eyes and

cynicism at the mention of it

But Mr Rogers was the real deal

The guy practiced what he preached,

really honest to God cared about
everyone whose path he crossed, and

his message was actually quite a bit more
sophisticated than is given credit for it

Watching the film trace out his
life's work, a picture begins to

form of a man who made it his mission
to treat the children around him as if

all their feelings, even the silly ones,
were worth taking seriously

And when he turns this radical
empathy onto unsuspecting adults and

us in the audience,
the effect really is astonishing


Of course when it comes to human spirit,
maybe you're looking for

a little less warm hug,
a little more hard fought victory

A display of triumph over insurmountable
odds, David beating Goliath,

your underdog tale

We're talking Babe, The Martian, The
Karate Kid, classics like Rudy and Rocky

Oddballs like Galaxy Quest and
My Cousin Vinny, and Eddie the Eagle, and

The Bad News Bears, Billy Elliot

A writer has only begrudgingly agreed
to eschew his personal darling,

A Knight's Tale, in favor of 2000's
feel-good favorite Remember the Titans

>> What are you?

>> What is pain?

>> Pain is pain

>> What is fatigue?

>> Will you ever quit?

>> No, we want some more,
we want some more, we want some more

>> Disney spent the 90s and early 2000s
perfecting a formula of live action

underdog films that gave us Remember
the Titans, alongside the Mighty Ducks,

Cool Runnings, The Rookie, Miracle,
Cinderella Man, and Invincible

Which would make a hell of a movie
marathon if this is your jam

In Remember the Titans, they struggle,
they suffer loss, they learn

And under the exacting
tutelage of peak PG Denzel,

they come together against all odds

It's delightful, full of smiles, any
real sense of accomplishment at its end

And if PD, Rev, Sunshine,

Louis and mini Ryan Gosling can put aside
their differences to come together,

left side and strong side both,
then maybe we can too

But maybe snatching victory from the jaws
of defeat just doesn't get you where you

need to be

Don't worry,
there are other ways to lift the spirit

Sometimes the best medicine really is
laughter, and when things look extra dire,

it's only in silliest films that will do

Something like Blazing Saddles,
or Spaceballs, or The Jerk, or

21 Jump Street, or Elf, or School of Rock,
or Despicable Me, or Crazy Rich Asians, or

Airplane, or especially Duck Soup

But as far as we're concerned, there is
no movie ever made filled with quite as

much nonsense as the absolutely timeless
Monty Python and The Holy Grail

>> Where did you get the coconut?

>> We found them

>> Found them, in Mercia?

The coconut's tropical!

>> What do you mean?

>> Well, this is a temperate zone

>> The swallow may fly south with the sun
or the house martin or the plover may

seek warmer climes in winter, yet
these are not strangers to our land?

Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

>> Relentlessly unceasingly absurd, we're
not quite sure why the loonie hijinks of

these oversized British men in ill fitting
costumes works quite as well as it does

Maybe it's their unusual combination
of stupidity and brilliance

Or maybe it's just their accents, a loose
collection of Arthurian sketches tied

together by a sort of plot
to find the Holy Grail

The look was dated before it was
even shot, but the comedy is

quite literally timeless, somehow more
hysterical every time you watch it

It also doesn't really spend much time
punching down or getting in its kicks

They're just goofballs

And whether it's your first time or
your 50th, we promise you'll have a blast


Adjacent to utter silliness are the films
that make you grin with delight,

gleeful high energy stories about
characters you immediately love treating

each other shockingly well
even as they struggle

This is Paddington 2 and City Lights

And Ernest and Celestine, and His Girl
Friday, and Bells Are Ringing, and

Fantastic Mr Fox, and Isle of Dogs

And hell, most Wes Anderson movies
play in this particular key

Here, we especially love
Singing in the Rain

But my God, it's almost like this
category was literally made for

Amelie, which it was, because we did


>> Jean-Pierre Jeunet's hyper-colored

modern Parisian fairy tale flits
along at the speed of whimsy

Each character is introduced with
the ultra specific delights that make them


And Audrey Tautou,

the shyley smiling incarnation of
chaotic good is the center of it all

Running around town performing random
acts of kindness with the kind of

calculated planning usually reserved for

The joie de vivre is contagious and

we can pretty much guarantee you will
leave the movie grinning ear to ear

(Sound) One thing that movies are so

very good at is returning us to a feeling
associated with a bygone time and place

And in so doing transporting us with them

And that can be unbelievably comforting,
especially when the time and place is

something familiar and universal and safe
like an idealized version of childhood

So we'd like to recommend movies
that make you feel like a kid again,

where adventures were around every corner
and life wasn't playing so much for keeps

Try ET, or The Princess Bride,
or The Goonies, or

The Sandlot, or Hook, or Hook,
or Home Alone, or Jumanji

But of all the filmmakers re-invoking
what it was like to be small,

Hayao Miyazaki, maybe the very best

Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service,
and Howl's Moving Castle are all a blast

But right now we think the whole
world could use a little bit more of

My Neighbor Totoro

>> Two girls and their father move to

the countryside because it's closer to
their mother who is in the hospital

Uncertain at first, they eventually
explore their new home, and in doing so

they meet Totoro

And while the gentle story sees a sister's
skepticism, a turn in treatment,

a lost girl, and a desperate search

It is in the little moments with little
bearing on the plot that one finds

the depth of the movie's heart

The small curiosities and
imaginings, discoveries, and moments

of play that the film chooses to linger on
will be intimately familiar to any viewer,

who ever themselves got to be a kid


Movies can also transport us into
a wonderful feeling of falling in love,

the excitement and
optimism and utter elation

And who among us couldn't use a fat dose
of oxytocin to combat all the social

distancing we've been doing these days?

So if you're looking for romance or just
a rom-com, you should try The Apartment,

Breakfast at Tiffany's, When Harry Met
Sally, Roman Holiday, Charade, The Artist,

Love Actually, My Big Fat Greek Wedding,
Sleepless in Seattle, and

Shakespeare in Love

But if there were a set of movies
practically designed for people like us in

a time like this, they would be
the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers decalogue

Good in Shall We Dance,
great in Swing Time, but

never better than our sixth fifth Top Hat


Depression era America saw Hollywood
quickly pivot almost exclusively towards

sunny escapism designed to offer
the millions of unemployed and

impoverished Americans a warm popcorny
refuge and vicarious hopeful fantasy

Which is to say pretty much exactly
what we're looking for right now

the formula that emerged was simple,
quippy comedies, a little caper,

some crackling romance, song and
dance, and a goddamn happy ending

And Top Hat was the pinnacle of the form

Its magic hinging on Fred and
Ginger's phenomenal chemistry,

which is never on better display than
when they share the dance floor and

nobody could dance quite like Fred and

And while I wouldn't exactly want
either of them as upstairs neighbors,

if you let them tap their way into your
chambers, you might just fall in love too


But maybe all of that is
still a little much for you

And what you really need is to mellow out,
kick back, spend some time just hanging

out away from the will they won't
they stress of a typical plot

Maybe you need a carefree movie

American Graffiti is really
the prototype here, paving the way for

most everything else in this category

But you could also try
The Big Lebowski's laid back style

Or Ferris Bueller's immunity to concern

Or Bill Murray's unflappable,

Bill Murrayness In the face of literal
supernatural invasion in Ghostbusters

Other greats here include Clerks,
Francis Ha, My Dinner with Andre, Friday,

The Way Way Back, and Hard Day's Night

But there's no one that pulls off this sub
sub genre quite like Richard Linklater,

who gave a Slacker and Boyhood, and
both the movies in our next pick,

a double feature screening of Dazed and
Confused and Everybody Wants Some


>> Hey men, you got a joint?

>> No, not on me, man


>> It'd be a lot cooler if you did

>> I knew we'd find you drunks here!

>> What miserable updraft
wafts you three here?


>> Low on stakes, high on sense of
time and place and togetherness,

both these films, Dazed and Confused and
High School in the 70s, and

Everybody Wants Some in college in the
80s, sets you in an ultra specific world

with the kind of beautifully flawed
people you would love to hang out with

And then that's what they do for
a couple hours

They hang out

And as they bond and relate and
marvel at the world and

experiment with who they are and
who they might be,

Linklater's camera and storytelling
invites you to hang out with them

With very little at stake,
but an evening well spent,

which if you're holed up at home
in a couple of weeks into some

serious quarantine,
might be just what you need


One step further past carefree movies and
we find our way to these small but

beautiful cul de sac of peaceful films

Those without hardly any conflict or

plot at all, more like guided meditations
than stories much of the time

These are movies like the Samsara,

Baraka Chronos trilogy that
just meditate on nature

Or Spring,

Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring that
quietly watches the wheels of life turn

Maybe it's a Kore-eda film like
Shoplifters, or Our Little Sister, or

something beautiful and slice of lifey
like The Scent of Green Papaya, or

any of the adventures of the ancient
Taoist poet Winnie the Pooh

Paterson is a beautiful appreciation
of these small poems of life

But for our pick here we want to highlight
the films of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, or

Joe, as he mercifully
agreed to be nicknamed

He's a master of entrancing softness,
from Syndromes and a Century to

the first half of Tropical Malady to
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall Past Lives

And to our bronze medal pick,
Cemetery of Splendor


>> Cemetery of Splendor is a gentle
tale of a Thai woman, Jenjira,

who has volunteered to watch over
a platoon of soldiers that have developed

a peculiar and unexplained malady, where
they have fallen asleep and can't wake up

It is decidedly slow cinema

Nothing really happens and
it doesn't happen fast

The camera rarely moves and the density
of actual plot is probably about

one tenth of what most modern cinema
viewers would normally expect

But much like most of Joe's
work if you settle into it and

allow it to wash over you there is an
almost trance-like experience of calm and

beauty, that is impossible to describe or

And there is a sequence towards the film's
end where Jen's medium friend offers to

channel one of the sleeping
soldiers from the dream plane and

walks her through a tour
of a palace she cannot see

That culminates in one of
the most unexpected moments

we maybe have ever seen in a film

And if you were to describe
it to us in advance,

we probably would have scrunched up
our nose in confusion and doubt

But watching it, it is one of the most
quietly beautiful examples of the breadth

of human compassion

So, you'll just have to see it for


Of course you don't have to
feel calm if you're not ready

And if you ask Mr Rogers, he'd tell you
it's okay to feel sad at a time like this

And sometimes when you're
sad the best thing for

you is to let it out with a real good cry

We're not talking about depressing the
hell out of you with a gut-wrenching film

But the kind of bitter-sweet movies that
reminds us that sadness is a part of life

and that the beauty of our world
is inextricably linked with loss

So, if you want a tear jerker with
a silver lining, try Big Fish or

Little Women, Little Miss Sunshine, or
Eternity and A Day, Stand by Me, or

The Green Mile

Try Harold and Maude, or
The Dead Poets Society, Beginners, or

Call Me By Your Name

But if you ask us what we think the best
bitter sweet movie for a global pandemic

quarantine is, we got to say you can do
a whole lot worse than Life is Beautiful

>> Writer-director

star Roberto Benigni once told a reporter
when asked how dare he make a comedy about

the Holocaust, that for him laughter and
tears come from the same part of the soul

And to be very clear,
watching Life is Beautiful,

you will emit buckets full of both

It is the story of a Jewish man in
Italy who uses his playfulness and

humor as a shield in the face of
fascism and eventually imprisonment

First for himself and then for his five
year old son for whom he creates a game

to insulate him from the terrible
reality that they both face

It is a monument to the courage required
to laugh when facing the gallows

Guido cannot take on the whole world for
his son, but

he refuses to shrink in the face of it

And that is a heroism on its own


And finally, closing on our list maybe
what you really need right now is to just

kill a lot of time, and
we got movies for that too

And obviously the best way to do that is
a nonstop back to back to back Lord of

the Rings extended edition movie marathon,
or Harry Potter, or Star Wars, or

James Bond, if that's more your speed

But why keep picking up the remote
to change films or, God forbid,

get off the couch and put a new disk in,

when instead you could knock it all
out at once with one very long flick?

This is the perfect time to watch gorgeous
films with run times you might normally

balk at like A Brighter Summer Day, or
Satin Tango, or Out 1, or War and Peace

You could watch Once Upon a Time in
America or the beautifully simple As I was

Moving Ahead Occasionally I caught
Brief Bunches of Beauty, or

finally get around to The Irishman


Or our last movie list about The Irishman,
which was also pretty long

But we gotta say, we have never spent five
hours more cinematically worthwhile than

the ones that flew by during
a screening of Fanny and Alexander

>> Aah!

>> If there's any one masterpiece of must

see cinema in the ultra
heavyweight category,

it's Ingmar Bergman's final film

If it isn't his best,

which we strongly suspect it is,
it's certainly one of his friendliest

Don't worry, we wouldn't stick The
Seventh Seal on you at a time like this

No, it balances its struggles
with mirth and joy, and

one of the finest portraits of a complex
family dynamic ever found on screen that

manages to find the beautiful
humanity in literally everyone

We follow the Ekdahl family from the
perspective of the titular two children

From imperfectly happy togetherness to
painful separation, and then through great

struggles to reunite over the course
of this intimate emotional epic

Over 312 minutes you will see Bergman
at the maturest point in his career

revealing an unbelievable sensitivity
to what it was like to be small

And what it was like to have
been small and look back on

And what it was like to face loss and
keep moving forward

It is occasionally surreal, always honest,

splendidly acted, and even in normal
circumstances, worth the time,

which is why we think it's one of the best
films you could watch at a time like this

So what do you think?

Any more recommendations for

your fellow global citizens at a time
when we're all in this together?

Let us know in the comments below

Subscribe for more Cinefix movie list

Take care of yourselves out there,
stay home, and stay healthy


Related Videos

Be the first to comment “The 10 Most Uplifting Movies of All Time”

Your email address will not be published.

There are no comments yet.