10 Movies Guaranteed to Make You Happy

Everyone needs a feel-good movie from time to time.


Everyone needs a feel-good movie from time to time. Sometimes after a rough day there’s no better cure than popping in a happy movie and cuddling up in front of the TV with a hot chocolate. Here are ten movies that never fail to leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

10. The Terminal (2004)

The Terminal, 2004 (Feel Good Movie 10)
‘The Terminal’ [Credit: DreamWorks Studios]
The Terminal tells the story of Victor Novarski, an eastern immigrant who becomes stranded at JFK airport after his papers are declared invalid due to the collapse of his home country’s government. Novarski, played by the always-likeable Tom Hanks, turns the airport into his home and befriends many of the airport staff. It’s an easy watch that is sure to bring a smile to your face.

 9. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Mrs Doubtfire, 1993 (Feel Good Movie 9)
‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Robin Williams is always good for a cheer-up. This silly and light-hearted movie follows a father, played by Williams, who disguises himself as an elderly female housekeeper in order to spend time with his three children after a divorce from his wife. Robin Williams donning a wig, makeup, fake boobs, and women’s clothing is pretty much a guaranteed laugh

8. School of Rock (2003)

School of Rock, 2003 (Feel Good Movie 8)
‘School of Rock’ [Credit: Paramount Pictures]
A Jack Black classic (try saying that five times fast), School of Rock tells the story of Dewey Finn, a wannabe rocker who, after getting kicked out of his own band, fibs his way into becoming a substitute teacher at a strict private school. As a teacher, Dewey attempts to turn his class into a rock band to compete in a battle of the bands competition in the hopes of reaching rockstar fame. Jack Black as a teacher trying to turn classical music students into rockers is a funny and light-hearted concept that is sure to take your mind off of the day’s problems.

7. Up (2009)

Up, 2009 (Feel Good Movie 7)
‘Up’ [Credit: Pixar]
Grumpy senior Carl Fredricksen equips his house with 500 balloons and sails off to explore Paradise Falls, a dream of his since childhood. A young Boy Scout named Russell is inadvertently brought along for the journey and the two discover the wonders that Paradise Falls has to offer, which includes a very happy talking dog named Dug. If Dug the talking dog doesn’t fill you with fuzzy warmth then nothing will.

6. Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future, 1985 (Feel Good Movie 6)
‘Back to the Future’ [Credit: Universal Pictures]
This classic movie about Marty McFly and a time-traveling DeLorean never gets old. After accidentally being sent back in time to 1955, Marty becomes tasked with ensuring his parents meet and fall in love so that he can still exist in the future. The wacky character of Doc Brown and Michael J. Fox’s iconic portrayal of Marty McFly make this a happy and fun movie to continue coming back to.

5. Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 2001 (Feel Good Movie 5)
‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ [Credit: Warner Bros.]
It might at first seem strange to include a Harry Potter film on this list due to the more recent films having a much darker, serious tone, but there was once a time when Harry Potter was a kids movie. Back before Harry, Ron, and Hermione all grew up, Harry was introduced to the wizarding world for the first time, bringing us along for the journey. This lighter, more whimsical Potter movie is sure to bring back childhood memories and leave you feeling magically content.

4. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971 (Feel Good Movie 4)
‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ [Credit: David L. Wolper Productions]
Not to be confused with the weird 2005 remake with Johnny Depp, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory stars Gene Wilder as the titular Wonka as he takes a group of lucky golden-ticket-winners on a tour through his mysterious candy factory. Wilder’s charisma as Wonka, the vibrant colours, and the oompa loompas make this a perfect movie to get lost in after a rough day.

3. Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump, 1994 (Feel Good Movie 3)
‘Forrest Gump’ [Credit: Paramount Pictures]
While Forrest Gump has its fair share of sad and emotional moments, it is, at its core, an uplifting tale. Tom Hanks graces our list once again, this time as Forrest Gump, a man with a low I.Q. but a good heart. The film follows Forrest through a number of iconic historical events where he meets an array of interesting people. Filled with tear-jerking, funny, and hopeful moments, Forrest Gump is a movie for everybody and is bound to fill you with a little warmth.

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986 (Feel Good Movie 2)
‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ [Credit: Paramount Pictures]
There’s no way this one wouldn’t be included on the list. This is the classic, go-to fun movie. Ferris Bueller, played by Matthew Broderick, fakes being sick to get out of going to school for the day and, with his two friends, gets up to no good around the city. Just a really fun and happy watch from start to finish, it would be near impossible to not be smiling by the end.

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption, 1994 (Feel Good Movie 1)
‘The Shawshank Redemption’ [Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment]
Andy Defresne is sent to prison after being wrongfully accused of murdering his wife and her lover and endures years of suffering at the hands of a sadistic prison warden. It doesn’t exactly sound like the plot of a movie that will make you happy, but the underlying story of hope and the resilience of Andy’s spirit throughout the ordeal make it an uplifting movie (not to mention it has a really happy ending).

What’s your favourite feel-good movie? Be sure to let me know in the comment section below.



Author: Ryan Northrup

I'm recent graduate of McMaster University's history program in Ontario, Canada and I have a passion for a good story.

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