10 Movies That Will Instantly Cheer You Up


Alright, this post is going to be a bit, uh less, than manly, shall we say, but I tried to find a bunch of movies that warm the heart and can turn a bad mood around. Yes, that sometimes involves romance and singing. Sometimes it involves fighter jets. It’s a mixed bag.

As always, I know I missed a bunch. What are the movies that can immediately put you in a better mood after watching them?

1) Once


I defy anyone to watch Once and not have a smile on your face at the end. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but once you start to appreciate Glen Hansard’s unique voice, you’ll get into the film rather quickly. I guess you could call it a musical, but don’t let that turn you off. It’s probably my favorite go-to heartwarming flick. Even better? During filming the pair actually fell in love and are now dating. How awesome is that?

2) Rudy


Even if you can’t stand most sports, you have to appreciate Rudy. It’s not about football per se, it’s about hard work, determination and overcoming enormous odds. In the movie, Rudy is probably the most likable lead character in any movie you’ve ever seen, and his determination to play Notre Dame football despite his hobbit-like stature is inspiring. Even better? The entire thing is a true story, and real life Rudy really did make that big tackle. If a midget can play football, then you can do anything.

3) Galaxy Quest


To me, Galaxy Quest is the perfect sci-fi movie. It’s a parody of an existing series, Star Trek, so nerds will like it for that, but it’s also just a flat out well-written, well-acted comedy, which makes it accessible to general audiences. You wouldn’t think Tim Allen would be a good lead in a film, but shockingly enough, he’s awesome in this movie, and he’s aided by a great supporting cast as well including Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver and Tony Shaloub.

4) Love, Actually


Love, Actually can go two ways. Either you’ll leave it feeling full of idealistic hopes and dreams about love, and become full of christmas spirit to boot (no matter what the time of year) or you’ll be horribly depressed as you realize you’ll never be as happy as anyone in this movie. I usually go with the former, so Love, Actually is one of my favorite pick-me-up movies. It’s clever, well-written and cute, and **** you if you don’t like it.

5) Grease


Yes, it’s a musical, but a totally awesome one. There are a lot of great songs in the movie that make you not be able to help tapping your toe, but my favorite is “Hand Jive” during the high school’s dance for the TV show. It’s one of my favorite scenes from any movie, ever, and that’s saying a lot.The end number with leather-clad Olivia Newton John is amazing as well, for many reasons.

6) Heavy Weights


I’m guessing a lot of you out there haven’t seen Heavyweights, and if you haven’t you’re in for a treat. It’s a Disney movie about a fat camp, and if that wasn’t already good enough, it stars Ben Stiller as psychotic fitness guru Tony Perkis who rules the camp with an iron fist. It sounds like a straight to video shitshow, but I promise, it’s incredibly hilarious and you’ll be quoting it all week.

7) Elf


That makes two Christmas movies on the list. Don’t worry, It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t waiting for you at the end. It’s impossible to watch Will Ferrell in green tights and a point hat and not laugh. It’s a classic in a genre you would think wouldn’t have room for any more classics, but it works on every level, and will cheer you up now matter how foul a mood you’re in.

8) Groundhog Day


Bill Murray starts this movie in a bad mood, just like you, but as he’s forced to live the same day over and over again, he gradually realizes why, and uses his immortality to make himself a better person. I didn’t think this would make the list, but I just watched it again, and it really does straighten your mood right out. It’s a comedy with heart, as so many try to be, but this one actually works.

9) Top Gun


Some people are predisposed to hate this movie for whatever reason, but if you’re part of the other 99.8% of the population, Top Gun will put you in a better mood. It’s the perfect mix of ’80s cheese and well, more ’80s cheese. It’s Tom Cruise in his glory days and the entire movie is like one big awesome movie quote.

10) Good Will Hunting


It’s funny, smart and a great story about a genius janitor who becomes the Michael Jordan of math. Sure it would be better if it were based on a true story, but it’s good nonetheless. And it’s most famous quote will change your opinion of a household fruit forever.

Honorable mentions:

Forrest Gump

Shawshank Redemption

Most Disney and Pixar Movies

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (that’s just me I’m sure)

Let’s hear yours.

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  1. Being from Indiana, it is required that you watch Rudy and Hoosiers for initiation. I get goosebumps every time they carry Rudy off the field, and the text comes up saying that no player has done so since then.

    I think Slumdog Millionaire would be a good one. He over came so much in his life, and finally gets his true love at the end. I’m a sucker for happy endings.

    I also came across a GREAT movie, Meet the Robinsons, when watching my neighbors’ kids. It’s animated, and it has a great message about achieving your dreams. And there is a talking dinosaur. Great job, Disney.

  2. I stopped watching Once because it depressed the Hell out of me. The hero is a sad-sack who doesn’t get the girl. In fact, it is not hard to imagine both of their lives turning to crap as soon as the credits rolled.

  3. My Top Ten Cheer-Up Movies. In no order.

    1. Singin’ in the Rain – Every single thing I ever wanted to see in a movie is done in this film.

    2. Grease – Rewatched this film recently. And, like every time, I became obsessed with the soundtrack for a month afterwards.

    3. Amelie – A romance for dreamers. Like all great romances.

    4. Shaolin Soccer – It is every sports movie about the underdog who wins the big game and gets the girl. This time crossed with a Looney Tunes cartoon.

    5. Monkey Business – Every Marx brothers film before 1938 is a classic. I start everyone on Monkey Business.

    6. Easy Living – The 1937 classic. An office worker finds herself unknowingly thrown from the whirlwind of the Great Depression. Like a true Preston Sturges heroine she proves herself in the end.

    7. Bringing Up Baby – Howard Hawks felt he broke the rules of comedy when he made this film. Back then comedies were supposed to be slow with boring characters to make sense of the craziness. Really?

    8. Hail the Conquering Hero – Preston Sturges screwball classic. A 4F soldier lies about his heroic deeds and is actually supported by a group of true WWII heroes. Amazing film about the bonds of human kindness.

    9. Revenge of the Nerds – I was born in the eighties. Something magical happens with the Nerd Rap synth begins.

    10. Groundhog’s Day – A comedy about the stages of loss. As good as everyone says.

  4. My two utter favorite cheer-up movies are “Harold and Maude” and “Amelie,” both are love stories but not cloying. “Grease” was a good choice of yours, and I’d add “Singing in the Rain” as another happy fun musical. And “Some Like it Hot” is truly awesome and hilarious – a cross-dressing plot AND Marilyn Monroe in the same movie!

  5. So glad to see Elf on this list. Movie cracks me up every time.

    @ David

    Good call on Tanenbaums; that movie does get pretty despressing at its low points, though.

    @ Frank

    Great list; very glad to see Revenge of the Nerds was included.

  6. “Amelie” ist the first name I associate with “good mood movie”.
    Other suggestions:
    Garden State (in a melancolical way)
    Lion King (“It means no worries for the rest of your days”)
    Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (makes you want to do some sport afterwards)

  7. WALL-E makes me happy, although I was crying a few minutes before…..

    And for some strange reason, It happened One Night (with Clark Gable) makes me smile (and it’s not because it’s a pretty funny movie).

  8. I’m happy to see so many mentions of “Amelie” in the comments so far!
    Laplace said it best; ““Amelie” is the first name I associate with “good mood movie”.”
    I’d like to offer any sports movie where the “underdog” ends up winning the big game… I always wanna stand up and cheer 😛

  9. @ Frank- Bringing Up Baby is an excellent choice. I wholeheartedly agree.

    @ Dorkus- Harold and Maude? Sure, Harold seems happy at the end, but it’s kind of bitter sweet…

    I agree about LoveActually, and though I have never seen The fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, the first one makes me happy, so, sure, why not.

    Also I’d vote for:
    Bridget Jone’s Diary
    Sixteen Candles
    Ten Things I Hate About You (because I’m mentally still in high school)

  10. Eternal Sunshine is actually crap.

    Yeah, Pixar/Disney probably beat some of those, though I’m not sure which. Wallace and Gromit (are they even known in the US?) are amazing, short and culture-filled. Tokoyo Drift is hard to judge, I’m still not sure what I think of it. Star Wars, epicness makes you happy.

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