What makes you feel good? Happiness is a tricky thing and not easy to define. Nobody can see it, but we all want to feel it. For some people, it’s a feeling derived from an action, like a hug or a kiss. For others, it’s a thought or an emotion inside us. It could be sharing a lifetime with your loved one, enjoying the simple things in life, or doing what you love and pursuing your dreams. A bit of exercise, shopping, listening to your favorite song, eating your favorite food, alone time, a vacation or meditation – it would take me ages to list down what causes happiness. Sometimes you are happy for no reason at all. It’s the only thing that is temporary and permanent at the same time. It’s a task to describe happiness, but it doesn’t take much to share it.

There is another kind of happiness, the kind you feel after having seen a truly good movie. It stays with you for days and when you look back on it, you smile, and that surge of happiness comes rushing back in an instant.

If you know what I mean, I’m sure you’ll certainly find more than a movie or two which brings back the feeling of happiness to your mind as much as it does to mine.

1. It’s A Wonderful Life
Exactly what the title suggests, this Frank Capra classic makes you realize how wonderful life is. Ever had the feeling that you don’t matter? What if one day you stop to exist, would people care? After an intervention with his guardian angel, George Bailey gets some answers and a lot to be thankful for. This is a film about family. Not just your immediate family but the about lives you have touched.

2. Singin’ In The Rain
Perhaps the happiest film ever made? Seriously, everyone in this film is so happy you can’t help but smile. There is a song about a “Good Morning”, there is a song to “Make ‘Em Laugh” and there is one about “Singin’ in the Rain”. Don’t think it’s enough to make you happy? Repeat after me: “I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again!” How about now?

3. Groundhog Day
W e all have regrets. We all wish we didn’t have them and we all wonder what if we got the chance to do it all over again. Groundhog Day is about a man who gets stuck in a day, as it repeats over and over again. This classic makes you want to be a better person without preaching life lessons. How many movies can do that and make you feel good about it?

4. Love Actually
The granddaddy of romantic comedies, Love Actually is all about love. There’s puppy love, unrequited love, unspoken love, sibling love, marital love, physical love and of course, Christmas! It has something for every kind of lover. Love, actually is all around, and this film makes no effort to hide it.

5. Amélie
Amelie isn’t just a foreign romantic comedy. It’s about a girl who enjoys the simple pleasures of life. It provokes the idea of how we all are connected and how we affect each other’s lives. Joie de vivre is our raison d’etre and Amélie Poulain lives it out through her fabulous destiny.

6. Midnight In Paris
Total nostalgia! Woody Allen’s ode to the enchanting city of Paris speaks to that part of us which believes we are born in the wrong time. This directly touches upon our craving for the days gone by, that the happier time is in the past. Time travel doesn’t necessarily need a machine, you can simply close your eyes and reminisce. Midnight in Paris captures just that with your eyes open, while at the same time being pretty funny.

7. Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook is about a character that hits rock bottom and is working his way up. It’s about finding that silver lining on your clouds. We all have our idiosyncrasies; we all have a little bit of crazy in us. Silver Linings Playbook delicately handles mental instability by making the audience empathize. This is a crowd pleaser in every sense of the word.

8. The Shawshank Redemption
“Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free” — The tagline of this inspiring film sums it up. The triumph of the human spirit has never been more powerful on the cinema screen. Based on the short story by Stephen King, with the main actors being Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, need I say more?

9 & 10. Up & Frozen
I only picked two animated films, but let’s be honest; there is hardly an animated film out there that does NOT make you feel good. On any other day, I would have picked the Toy Story films, Shrek, Wall-E, Finding Nemo or Ratatouille. I picked ‘Up’ because of the heartbreaking opening sequence, and that life’s adventures can be found in childhood and old age. ‘Frozen’ made this list for what it says about romantic love and the importance of three words: “Let It Go.”

11. The Sound Of Music
Research has proven time and again that music is a fantastic stress buster. However, it is difficult to prove that music makes the hills come alive. Some believe if you really listen, you might just believe it. This Oscar winning film boasts amazing imagery and a story about family and love with a dash of escapism (literally). Not to mention, the iconic music.

12. Billy Elliott
After music, dancing is known to be a foolproof stress buster. Billy Elliott is about a boy who wants to be a ballet dancer against his disapproving father. The high points of the film aren’t just the moments where the 11 year old dances his heart out but when it trespasses the gender roles that stereotype dancing. Dirty Dancing, Saturday Night Fever and Footloose are other feel-good films with their dancing shoes on.

13. Babe
The bond between a human being and an animal is one of the most beautiful things on earth. Words don’t come in between the unconditional exchange of love and friendship. Babe turns that idea on its head, as it is about a talking pig. A film where words don’t hinder that bond is reason enough to be happy. “That’ll do (film), that’ll do”.

14. Little Miss Sunshine
For a movie about a dysfunctional family on a road trip to get their youngest to a beauty pageant, Little Miss Sunshine is surprisingly uplifting by the time it ends. The movie’s message – “Be yourself” is delivered in the most joyful way.

15. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Taking a day off. We do it in school; we do it at work when we grow up. Think of all the things you can do in one day, if you didn’t have to go through your usual routine. When Ferris takes a day off, it is simply a lot of fun. I dare you not to smile when he sings ‘Twist and Shout’ at the parade.

16. Field Of Dreams
There are many sports films which are inspirational. They never fail to lift you up and put you in a good place. Field of Dreams is probably not even about sports as much as it is about the love of it. Rocky or Breaking Away may be more about the sport, but Field of Dreams makes you feel good because it’s not just about following your dreams but also about believing in them.

17. Home Alone
One word: Rosebud. Yes, I know it’s the wrong movie, but for most of us childhood was the happiest time of our lives — epitomized by Charles Foster Kane. While films like The Goonies and Stand By Me capture camaraderie at a young age and E.T. and Harry Potter capture the magic, Home Alone is the perfect film to remind us how loneliness can never bring down a child’s heart.

18. Forrest Gump
“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” A movie with a quote like that can only be wise. Forrest Gump is not your typical feel-good film, in fact, it is a certified tearjerker. Sometimes, a good cry can make you feel liberated. You look at the world differently, and that certainly makes you feel good.

Different strokes for different folks. What makes you feel good could be entirely different from what makes me feel good. If you didn’t find your feel-good film here, feel free to share it in the comments below.

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