This is a very subjective and personal list. The main requirement was that they all must be, in the final analysis, upbeat. I also have seen all of them more than once.
I left out some obvious choices that I have already devoted full posts to on Ethics Alarms, like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas.” Some of the films on my ethics movies list appear here, but not for the same reasons. Obviously, I encourage you to see those movies too.
Below is approximately the first half of the list. The rest will be along eventually.
It still holds up as one of the most exhilarating sports movies of all time.
Great score and a happy ending, unlike the novelette it was based on.
This is the John Wayne version, with two of the go-to scenes I’ll play when I want to feel better.
Other than the unforgivable rainbow at the end, a near perfect feel-good film.
One of two Stephen King movies on the list. Does anyone not love this film?
And the other King movie. has any suicide in a film been quite this satisfying?
More or less a true story, which makes it especially inspiring.
If Donald O’Connor walking up walls doesn’t get your heart pumping and your mouth smiling, nothing will.
The best of Henry Fonda’s patented “everyman” roles.
Nobody could write American drawing room comedy like Philip Barry, and nobody could deliver it like this cast.
Howard Hawks and John Wayne give us the anti-High Noon, in an often funny Western that I’ve probably watched a hundred times.
Yes, it’s shameless, but Frank Capra was better at shameless than anyone.
The scene where the Allied fleet comes up over the horizon is one of my favorite scenes in any movie, ever.
One of my Dad’s favorite movies. “There is no such thing as a bad boy.” Take THAT, Kirsten Gillibrand!
If you can still appreciate this movie musical that is extremely faithful to the Broadway original, you’re okay.
Chokes me up every damn time!
“Wanna have a catch?”
I love Dirty Harry, but this is the one Clint movie that isn’t satisfying because he shoots someone. quite the opposite.
The story of the U.S. Olympic hockey team’s amazing upset of the Russians in 1978.
The best side of organized labor’s battle for workplace justice.
The ending always gets me, proving, my wife says, that I’m a romantic sap.
It’s one of the great American stories, well told.
Another wonderful ending.
Maybe my favorite movie of all time.