Feel-good movies are just what the name suggests – movies that make viewers feel good. They are not overly dramatic, tragic, and complicated but rather allow us to relax, forget about our troubles, and dive into the cinematic world presented by some brilliant actors, writers, directors, and crew.
Feel Good Movies
We have carefully assessed all of the authoritative movie review websites and lists and have come up with the ultimate best 30 feel-good movies of all time for you.
Read on to find out more about these amazing flicks, which will hopefully help you feel better, more optimistic, and happier every time you watch them.
Forrest Gump has an IQ of only 75 but is still one of the most beloved movie characters of all time. with an Oscar-winning performance by Tom Hanks alongside his best friend and love interest Jenny Robin Wright and his loving Mamma depicted by Sally Fields, the movie unravels the history of the USA since Kennedy through the perspective of this naïve and yet insightful character who without any effort whatsoever happens to meet Elvis, two US Presidents, discover the break-in in Watergate, become an Olympic champion in table tennis, become a football star, a shrimping business tycoon and an original investor in Apple Computers, to mention just a few of his feats.
Written brilliantly by Eric Roth and directed by Robert Zemeckis absolutely impeccably, Forest Gump is definitely our top pick when it comes to feel-good movies that you can watch and make you smile and actually feel better even in the worst of days. No wonder Forest Gump snatched 6 of the most important Oscar awards in 1995.
You can enjoy the adventures and the simplistic and yet pretty brilliant ideas by Forrest Gump any day, and you will definitely feel relieved from all of the stress and the troubles as you get completely absorbed by this simple man and his remarkable story.
Based on the novel of the same name by Truman Capote, Breakfast in Tiffany’s is a highly enjoyable and entertaining classic that has it all – laughs, tears, hilarious as well as touching moments and scenes. The story about gorgeous party girl Holly Golightly played by the one and only Audrey Hepburn, who meets a young writer Paul Varjak played by George Peppard, who has just moved into her block, and her whole world changes from there. Wonderful performance along with a wonderful script, Breakfast at Tiffany’s maybe from 1961, but it is still a romantic comedy which is very difficult to beat. Don’t forget that it also has a marvelous musical score written by Henri Mancini and one of the most adorable on-screen feline characters named “Cat” as well.
Marylyn Monroe is not only amazingly hot in this movie from 1959, but her ukulele playing and singing character named Sugar is hilariously funny as well, especially alongside legends like Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis. This classic comedy is about two struggling musicians forced to join a lady’s band on tour, dressed like women Josephine and Daphne, in order to run away from angry mobsters after accidentally becoming witnesses to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
While becoming part of the girl band, both men in disguise happen to fall into romantic relationships – both of which seem pretty unlikely, especially given the circumstances.
With great music and excellent laughs, this movie will grab your attention and will make you smile, laugh, and sing along from the beginning to the famous ending line, which we are not going to spoil for you.
You can also enjoy some of Ms. Monroe’s most famous songs performed by the icon herself.
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Among all of the pairings between comedic geniuses Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple is most certainly the funniest one of all. This classic comedy from 1968 will make you laugh, and the two marvelous characters of Felix and Oscar will become one of your favorite movie characters ever. They are complete opposites by character, lifestyle choices, and interests but are best friends who are forced to live together. The adventures and interactions that follow are absolutely hilarious.
Will Oscar and Felix end up murdering each other at the end? Watch this timeless classic to find out more.
You may have seen or heard about the sequel as well as the series by the same name, but believe us, the original is the absolute must-be-seen feel good movie.
If you haven’t seen this cult comedy, then you should get ready for an hour and a half with laughing out loud until your belly hurts. No matter how down you are, with this brilliant 1980 comedy directed and written by David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, and Jim Abrahams, you are bound to put all your troubles away and enjoy the first-class flight of your life. And it even gets better every time you re-watch it.
Starring the unforgettable Leslie Nielsen, alongside other comedic geniuses like Lloyd Bridges, Robert Hays, and Julie Hagerty, this is the greatest airplane movie you will ever see and also the comedy with the most gags per minute. Made as a spoof of all the airplane movies out there, Airplane! covers every single one of the clichés from them and turns them into a hilarious overall experience.
This is the first of the series of spoof movies made by the trio, including Top Secret! and Ruthless People, which are also brilliantly funny films which you should watch.
So, strap those seatbelts on, and “Seriously, stop calling me Shirley!”
We decided that even though The Green Book was released last year, it already has won one of the top places among all feel good movies of all time. Supposedly based on a true story, the film stars Mahershala Ali as famous jazz and classical pianist Don Shirley and Viggo Mortensen as Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, who is an American Italian bouncer who by chance becomes the personal driver of Don Shirley on his concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. The brilliant movie depicts the racial discrimination of the 1960s and is a wonderful road trip movie that will make you laugh and make you feel and think as well. The Green Book won an Oscar for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, as well as Best Male Supporting role for Ali in the last Academy Awards earlier this year, and is a must-see film.
Elf is one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time, but the truth is there is never a wrong time to re-watch it again, even if the holidays are far away. This is a very good-spirited family comedy starring Will Farrell, who happens to be an adopted Elf and one of Santa’s biggest helpers. He decides to go back to his roots in New York City to see where he was born and to find his family, and from then on, the fun starts and never ends right to the end of this Christmas Classic from 2003. It also stars James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, and others, but it is Will Farrell who is at his absolute best as the adopted Elf who is actually a regular man.
Big is a very funny and sweet comedy about a 13-year-old boy who wishes to be “big” and wakes up in the morning realizing that he is actually a full grown man. Tom Hanks is absolutely adorable as the 13-year-old child in the body of a man in this feel-good movie.
This is a great movie to watch whenever you want to sit back and forget all your troubles and simply enjoy some pure fun. Directed by Penny Marshall and also starring Elizabeth Perkins John heard, Robert Loggia, David Moscow, Big is one of those movies which will always be capable of making you smile again, no matter what.
The perfect combination of flawless acting, as well as incredibly smart dialogue, As good as it gets is one of the sweetest romantic comedies of all times.
With the amazing Oscar-winning performance by Jack Nicholson, who is a misanthropic and agoraphobic writer and a nice waitress portrayed by Helen Hunt, as well as the gay neighbor played by Greg Kinnear and his agent depicted by Cuba Gooding, the movie can hardly get any better than that.
The fun-filled and sometimes emotional film will make you smile, cry and laugh, and the cute pup Verdel will definitely help you forget about your problems and stress you are experiencing.
As good as it gets is definitely among the movies which you should watch whenever you just want to feel better.
This is definitely one of the romantic comedies which set the entire romcom scene up for the next movies in the genre. When Harry Met Sally is a hilarious exploration of the eternal question – can a man and a woman be really only just friends. The on-screen couple Meg Ryan and Billy Chrystal are just perfect for the roles of Harry and Sally.
You will enjoy every minute of the history of these two best pals who are constantly on the verge between being best friends and lovers.
So, next time you feel like you can use some cheering up, sit down and watch this classic romcom, and enjoy the superb performances by the lead actors, and one of the most memorable comic scenes in the history of cinema which we definitely won’t spoil for you.
Yes, it may be predictable, but the Holiday is touching and sweet and includes several brilliant actors who are pure joy to watch. Two broken-hearted women – a book editor from a small British village (Kate Winslet), and rich and famous movie trailer maker (Cameron Diaz) impulsively decide to swap apartments and lives for the holidays. Apart from the culture shock which both of them suffers, they also get to meet some great friends and special men, including their new persons of interest portrayed by Jack Black and Jude Law.
Although it is a Christmas themes film, The Holiday is a great way to forget your sorrows at any time of the year.
If you love romcoms, you will absolutely love this feel-good leisurely movie by Nancy Meyers.
One of John Hughes’s most memorable movies, Ferris Bueller’s Day off is an entertaining comedy about Ferris Bueller who is a teenager portrayed charmingly by Matthew Broderick who decides to take a final duck out from school before graduation and spend the best day off ever. After he steals a Ferrari and takes off onto a hilarious adventure, his high school principal (Jeffrey Jones) follows him, determined to catch him in the act of cutting classes. Even though this movie is a comedy, it also has some satire as well as a few serious points which will make you think.
Overall, this is an undeniable 1986 classic that is definitely among the top feel good movies to improve your mood any time and any day.
This musical masterpiece starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor will not only make you laugh, but it will make you want to sing and dance along with this MGM classic musical masterpiece from 1953.
It is filled with some of the most memorable songs of all times, as well as incredible dancing and singing performances including the one which we all know – with Kelly singing and dancing in the rain.
The story of this musical is about the history and the resistance which the first “talkies” in the movie industry faced when they came over to overturn the silent movie era.
Even if you have never watched a musical in your life, this is one movie which you should definitely watch because it is more than a musical – it is a feel-good classic.
Love Actually is a movie which you will see playing every Christmas holiday season, but even though the plot is set around Christmas, this feel good romantic comedy will improve your mood and will help you drift away from any problems or bad thoughts.
Directed and written by Richard Curtis and gathering an astounding acting ensemble including Liam Nielson, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightly, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Rowan Atkinson, Billy Bob Thornton, and others, as well as the various touching and intriguing interconnected storylines, Love Actually is one of the wittiest and warming movies of all times.
Finally, when the movie ends, you will end up feeling more hopeful as well as that love does actually exist.
Little Olive wears glasses and is sort of a pudgy kid, but when the smart young girl portrayed by Abigail Breslin decides she wants to take part and win the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, her entire absolutely dysfunctional and amazingly funny family takes the matter very seriously and goes on the road to pursue the little girl’s dream.
The offbeat comedy stars Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin alongside the brilliant Breslin and is an absolute joyride to watch and experience.
This is one of the greatest road trip comedies of all times and is definitely a feel good film which will make you laugh, cry, as well as think about the family values, the social values and other issues of our time.
Amelie is no doubt one of the most charming on-screen female characters of all time. This French movie is an absolute delight to watch and absorb from start to “Fin.”
The intriguing story is about the young woman named Amelie Poulain, portrayed by Audrey Tautou, who is on a quest to do good things for others and to change their lives in order to change the world order and make it a better place. This remarkable film is a mix of romance, comedy, fantasy, and drama and will offer you a unique cinematic experience as you have never seen before. Every single gesture and act of kindness by this gentle and idealistic young woman will touch your heart deeply.
So, next time you feel like you are losing hope in life and in the world, sit back and enjoy Amelie (Le Fabuleaux Destin D’Amelie Poulain), and everything will feel and look better afterward.
This is the only animated movie which has made it into our list of feel good movies, even though there are wonderful animations which will always make viewers – young or old smile, laugh and feel good. But Lady and the Tramp is a classic nostalgic Disney film which will bring joy to your eyes and ears thanks to the rich colors, the beautiful songs, and the love story between a mutt called Tramp and the pampered dog named Lady. When her owners bring a baby back home, Lady feels rejected and after two evil Siamese cats put the blame on the dog for the troubles at home, Tramp helps Lady and takes her out for that unforgettable romantic dinner with spaghetti.
Thankfully after a long series of misunderstandings, dangerous situations, and adventures, the two dogs end up as loved and cherished pets once again.
Back to the Future is a classic time travel adventure comedy that will make you nostalgic, laugh and cry at the same time. It is an astonishing story of a 1980s hip teenager Marty McFly played by a very young Michael J. Fox, who thanks to the eccentric but apparently brilliant scientist Doc portrayed by Christopher Lloyd gets zapped back in time when his parents are still teenagers and are just starting their relationship. In the confusion, Marty manages to interfere with this budding relationship and is left with limited time to reunite them so that he can be born and can continue to exist. Robert Zemeckis’s Back to the Future is a fun-filled and engaging action and adventure movie which will help you run away from any problems or negative thoughts. It also has 2 sequels which are almost equally exhilarating as well.
One of the most loved British romantic comedies, Four Weddings and a Funeral revolves around the story of two people who meet at four different weddings and at a funeral of their mutual friends. The story is filled with brilliant and breezy humor and is perfectly presented by the leads – Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell, along with the other excellent comedic actors such as Simon Callow, Kristin Scott Thomas, James Fleet, John Hannah, Charlotte Coleman, Rowan Atkinson, and many others.
This incredibly funny and entertaining as well as moving romantic comedy tells a love story that will never be forgotten and will make you want to watch and re-watch it every time you feel down and unhappy.
Notting Hill is one of the four movies written by Richard Curtis which have made it to our top 30 list of feel good movies, and it is absolutely worthy of its place in this collection of excellent films.
Hugh Grant plays a divorced and quite frumpy book clerk from Notting Hill in London who by chance gets to meet the most famous movie star in the world (Julia Roberts) in his small bookstore at the Notting Hill market.
The love story which begins from that moment is absolutely delightful and fun to watch, especially when the family and group of friends of William Thacker (Hugh Grant) and of course his weird welsh roommate Spike (Rhys Ifans) get involved in a plan to get the lovebirds together.
This is a feel good romcom which will make you laugh and maybe cry, which is all one needs when looking for a way to release all of the stress and negative energy from within.
This engaging and hilarious British comedy from 1997 is about a group of six men who are former steelworkers left out of their jobs due to the economic crisis. They are unable to provide for their families and to live normally until one day two of them get a brilliant idea how to make money after seeing the Chippendales exotic dance troupe performing at the local bar and getting paid generously for dancing naked.
They decide to take their clothes off and amuse the ladies in the audience for money under the artistic name “Hard Steel.” The charm of this movie is in the witty humor, the perfectly rounded characters, as well as the brilliant actors like Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Addy, Paul Berber, Steve Huison, Hugo Speer, and the others who give their absolute best to convince us that they are real.
With a lot of laughs and chuckles, The Full Monty will improve your mood as soon as it starts.
You’ve Got Mail is a remake of the classic The Shop Around the Corner from 1940, but it is an excellent modern take on the story of two business rivals who actually hate each other in real life but happen to fall in love through anonymous letters (in this case via e-mail).
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks pair up once again as a superb on-screen couple in this romcom by Nora Ephron. Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly owns an inherited small children’s bookstore in NYC, which does well until the bookstore giant Foxbooks enters the scene. Guess who is one of the executives of the super-sized bookstore? Yes, it’s Joe, played by Tom Hanks.
But while their real-life rivalry continues when they are working, they are sending each other anonymous e-mails which gradually turn into romantic ones.
This romantic comedy has laughs, love, some tears, and some drama. Will the two end up loving or hating each other at the end of the movie – you will have to watch this feel good movie to find out for yourself.
If romantic comedies are just not your thing, but you still want to watch a funny feel good film to relax and to forget about your problems, then you can’t go wrong with Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
The film directed and written by John Hughes tells the story of two incompatible men who end up having to go on a trip together after a snowstorm forces their plane to land in snowy Wichita on its way to Chicago. The two men are the angry businessman (Steve Martin) and the obnoxious salesman (John Candy).
Needless to say, this trip turns into a hell of a ride when the unlikely couple is forced to share a room in a sleazy motel, and then proceed to get to their destination in time for Thanksgiving by taking a train, a refrigerator truck and going through a wild adventure together.
Do the two end up loving each other or hating each other’s guts? Watch this classic comedy from 1987 and find out for yourself.
By the end of the movie, you will feel much happier and less worried about your everyday problems and stress, we can assure you!
Craftfully directed by David O. Russel and starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker, Jacki Weaver, and numerous other excellent actors, Silver Linings Playbook is a gem of a movie and a perfect film to pick out when you are not feeling too happy with yourself or with life.
Even though the themes in this excellent film are not comic or too lighthearted, the cast and crew have managed to put together a feel good movie masterpiece.
Pat (Cooper) has just lost everything and has left a state institution and goes back to live with his parents, who seem to be only interested in getting Pat to enjoy their obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. Things get complicated when the man meets Tiffany (Lawrence), who suggests that she helps reunite the broken man back with his estranged wife but wants something in return. As the plot starts evolving and their relationship gets closer, both of them start seeing silver linings appearing and manage to create a strong bond.
The 2012 movie won an Oscar for Jennifer Lawrence and is an excellent treat to enjoy whenever life seems to be hitting hard on you, so it is definitely one of the best feel good movies made so far this century.
This is possibly one of the most popular of all John Hughes movies, and it includes a large part of the so-called “brat pack” of famous young actors from the 1980s. Starring Molly Ringwald as ‘the princess”, Judd Nelson as “the criminal,” Emilio Estevez as “the jock,” Ally Sheedy as “the basket case” and Anthony Michael Hall as “the brain” who all end up together in the high school library in Saturday detentions. The kids are from different social classes and cliques, and as the movie plot develops they find that they actually have a lot more in common than they originally thought.
The five strangers end up realizing that they all feel contempt for the adult society, for the peer pressure as well as the fact that “when you grow up your heart dies”. This realization comes after they are asked to write essays by the villainous principal of the school portrayed brilliantly by Paul Gleason.
The Breakfast Club was first released back in 1985 but has since then developed an almost cult-like following and status. It is also the basis upon which most other teenage films were built upon later on in the years, but unfortunately very few of them managed to reach its popularity and quality.
No matter how old you are, you will most likely relate to the characters even today, more than 30 years later.
This is another movie written and directed by Richard Curtis and the second time travel movie, which makes it into our list of feel good movies.
Young Tim (Doomhnall Gleeson) discovers that he has the hereditary ability to travel back in time and can actually change how his life turns out and what happens.
When Tim moves to London to become a lawyer, he meets beautiful but insecure Mary, portrayed by Rachel McAdams, and realizes that due to a time travel incident, he cannot have met her. After a lot of experimenting and time traveling, the young man finally manages to win her heart.
You can find out what happens next in this time travel romantic adventure when you watch About Time yourself. You will feel much better about your life and about how everything is going for you when you see this beautifully filmed and sincere British movie.
The Terminal is not your standard feel good movie. The plot revolves around an Eastern European who gets stuck and stranded at the JFK Airport where he is forced to take temporary residence until the revolution and instability in his country subsides.
Tom Hanks is exceptional as the main hero Victor Navorski, who manages to turn the transit lounge of the airport into his home, make good friends and finds work to support himself until he is finally able to leave. Navorski even manages to fall in love with a pretty flight attendant. The only problem for Victor is the airport official Frank Dixon who wants to get rid of the intruder and bureaucratic problem as he sees the East European man as soon as possible.
This feel good movie is beautifully shot, directed by Steven Spielberg and apart from Hanks, stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Diego Luna, Chi McBride and other fabulous performers who will make you smile and feel along with them as you watch The Terminal.
This extremely funny movie starring off-screen couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel will keep you entertained from beginning to end.
The story is about a spoiled rich heiress (Hawn) who refuses to pay carpenter Dean Profit (Russell) for the enormous closet he has built on her luxurious yacht. After news comes out that she has accidentally fallen overboard and is suffering from amnesia, Dean proceeds to “save her” by pretending that he is her husband. Knowing that rich and insufferable, Joanna Stayton needs to be taught a lesson, Dean tells her that she is the mother of his unruly boys and that she needs to take care of the home and the family while he is at work and from there – hilarity ensues.
This comedy will always make you laugh, no matter what, so if you are looking for a feel-good film to watch tonight, you may want to go for Overboard.
Good Will Hunting feature some of the most powerful performances of our time and is an absolutely perfect movie to watch no matter your mood.
It is a rich and entertaining drama directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Minnie Driver, Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Stellan Skarsgard, and other amazing actors.
The script was written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and actually won them an Oscar in 1998. Late and great Robin Williams also went away with an Oscar award for best actor in a supporting role in the movie.
The story is about a poor janitor (Damon) at M.I.T. who also happens to be a brilliant mathematician, and who needs guidance for his future. Thankfully, at the campus, he meets a psychology professor (Williams) who helps him realize that the only thing holding him back is his own past and himself.
The powerful performance by the leads and the cast, as well as the intriguing story will keep you glued to the screen, and pretty soon you will forget all of your everyday troubles and problems and be completely absorbed in the lives of these three-dimensional characters.
Still considered one of the best Bill Murray movies, Groundhog Day will keep you entertained and smiling from beginning to end. It may be from 1993, but this is still a great movie to watch when you are feeling down and need to lift your spirits up.
The name of the movie actually made the previously unknown tradition of the locals at Punxsutawney Pennsylvania to gather on February 2nd to watch whether the groundhog Phil predicts the end of the winter.
The movie is set on Groundhog Day which for unknown reasons keeps repeating itself over and over again for the weatherman played by Bill Murray and his partner played by Andie McDowell. Gradually, Phil who starts up as a self-centered and bitter man gets the change to view the small things in his and other people’s lives which helps him turn into a much better person as well as to find true love.
With a lot of laughs and some dramatic turns, Groundhog Day is definitely a film to have handy and watch when you want to just sit back, relax and forget about everything else.
Hopefully, we have given you more than enough options to watch when you feel like sitting back and enjoying a true feel-good movie. Our top 30 list includes mostly comedies, but we have tried to add a little bit of drama and a little bit of adventure and fantasy here and there as well.
Now that you have our complete list of the 30 feel-good movies of all time, you can rest assured that you will have the right film to watch at the right time, every time.
We hope that you enjoy these movies as much as we have been enjoying watching and re-watching them over the years!
Last update on 2021-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API