Our Definitive List of Uplifting Movies

The greatest love story of all time?

Oh, do we need diversion! Being sheltered in place will do that. Movies are just one of many possibilities. But which movies to watch? Glad you asked.

The editorial board of The Monday Minute (or two) offers the following films to take your mind off of all that’s going on outside. You’ll find (almost) no movies about politics, war, disease, invasions, disasters, death, and, importantly, snakes (Indiana Jones and Wayne’s World aside). Nothing that causes fear, angst or tension. All that uplift, warm the heart and fill the soul.

That said, if tension and/or fear is what you seek, see the last category. Whatever floats your boat. Or, in this case, helps you escape. But first, here are films that should make you smile or, just possibly, bring you joy.

Wild Rides

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

James Bond (only those with Sean Connery or Daniel Craig)

Mission Impossible (any)

North by Northwest


Spiderman (any)

When Only the Truth Will Do

20 Feet from Stardom (the lives of backup singers)

Apollo 11

Hoop Dreams

March of the Penguins

Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (A wonderful love letter to Mr. Rogers.)

Get Lost in a Good Story

A Few Good Men

A Man Called Ove

About a Boy

Almost Famous

American Hustle

Back to the Future (I and III only, because the Cubs cannot win the World Series. What, they did?)

Begin Again




Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Call Me By Your Name

Driving Miss Daisy

Everything Is Illuminated

Good Will Hunting

Green Book

Hidden Figures


Lady Bird

Lars and the Real Girl

Lawrence of Arabia (in our Top 5 of All Time)

Lion In Winter

Lost in Translation


Officer and a Gentleman

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Out of Africa

Out of the Past

Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley version)

Searching for Bobby Fischer



Silver Linings Playbook

Shawshank Redemption

Slumdog Millionaire

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Breakfast Club

The Color of Money

The Graduate

The Hustler

The Karate Kid (The original, right Mr. Miyagi?)

The King’s Speech

The Maltese Falcon

The Sting

This Is Where I Leave You


Laugh Hard

A Fish Called Wanda

A Night at the Opera


Annie Hall

Best in Show

Blazing Saddles


Duck Soup (The Marx Brothers at their very best.)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off


Groundhog Day

Home Alone

Life of Brian

Meet the Parents

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Murder By Death

My Cousin Vinny (if only for Marissa Tomei)

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Office Space

Rat Race (The visit to the Barbie museum is priceless.)

Some Like It Hot



The 40-year-old Virgin

The Death of Stalin

The First Wives Club

The Producers (the original, non-musical version)

This is Spinal Tap

That Thing You Do

Waiting for Guffman

Wayne’s World (the first)

Young Frankenstein

Stories Told With Music and Dance

A Hard Day’s Night (These guys could be big!)

All That Jazz (Roy Schieder can do much more than hunt a great white shark.)

Bohemian Rhapsody


Chicago (brilliant film editing)

Fiddler on the Roof


Hedwig and the Angry Inch (interesting topic, great music)

Into the Woods

La La Land

My Fair Lady


Royal Wedding (Astaire and a hat rack. Sublime.)

School of Rock

Singing in the Rain

South Pacific (for you, Mom)

The King and I (“Shall we dance?”)

The Blues Brothers

West Side Story (Shakespeare, Bernstein, Sondheim and Robbins. No wonder it still works.)

It’s Not English, But Don’t Be Afraid

400 Blows


Cinema Paradiso

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Day for Night

Life Is Beautiful



The Bicycle Thief

Y Tu Mamá También

Let Your Imagination Roam


Black Panther (Begins and ends in Oakland!)

Harry Potter (any, or so I’m told)

Lord of the Rings (included to avoid being harangued mercilessly by its legions of fans)

Wonderful Love Stories

As Good as It Gets

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Casablanca (The greatest love story of them all?)

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Jerry Maguire

Love Actually (“You learned English.” “Just in cases.”)

My Cousin Rachel

Notting Hill

Shakespeare In Love (“The show must…” “Go on!”)

Sleepless in Seattle

The African Queen

The American President (“Turns out, I have a rose garden.”)

The Big Sick

The Princess Bride (“As…you…wish!”)

The Shape of Water (your basic human-reptile love story)

When Harry Met Sally

While You Were Sleeping

You’ve Got Mail (another Sleepless in Seattle?)

Crank Up the Volume!

Monterey Pop (Otis, Janice, Jimi and more)

The Last Waltz (The Band’s last concert, Scorsese directs)

Woodstock (Richie Havens was told to stall for time — in front of 400,000. And we think our jobs are hard.)

No, I Just Work in Outer Space

2001: A Space Odyssey (2001 was 19 years ago!)

Apollo 13 (Spoiler alert: they live!)


Close Encounters of the Third Kind

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

First Man

Galaxy Quest


Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek IV (“There be whales, Captain!”)

Star Trek: First Contact

Star Trek (the first with Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto)

Star Wars (any, or so say their fans)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (the original)

The Martian (He does science the s**t out of it.)

Games People Play

A League of Their Own

Bull Durham


Field of Dreams (“Hey, Dad. Wanna have a catch?”)

Friday Night Lights (the movie)


Million Dollar Arm


Remember the Titans




The Blind Side

The Greatest Game Ever Played

The Legend of Bagger Vance

The Sand Lot

Tin Cup (“That was a 12 for the ages!”)

No doubt some of you are saying, “Who needs a happy ending? I need tension! Angst! Give me relentless terror!” Who are we to ignore your plea? Just for you, The Monday Minute (or two) offers a category all your own:

Give Me Tension, Give Me Pain!

1917 (technically brilliant)


Aliens (possibly the best sequel ever)

Apocalypse Now

Black Swan


Children of Men

Citizen Kane (another in our Top 5 of All Time)

Die Hard (any)

Ex Machina

Forrest Gump

Full Metal Jacket


Get Out

Good Morning, Vietnam

Gosford Park

Inglorious Basterds

Inside Man



Jurassic Park (the first one)

Lethal Weapon (any)

Mad Max (your pick)

Night of the Living Dead

No Country for Old Men

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood




Pulp Fiction

Rear Window


Rosemary’s Baby

Run Lola Run

Saving Private Ryan


Schindler’s List

Taken (the first one)

The Birds

The Blair Witch Project

The Day of the Jackal (The original, not the remake with Bruce Willis, please.)

The Deer Hunter

The Dirty Dozen

The Exorcist

The Fly (the remake with Jeff Goldblum)

The Great Escape

The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the original and the sequel set in San Francisco)

The Longest Day

The Omen

The Road

The Shining

The Silence of the Lambs

The Sixth Sense

The Talented Mr. Ripley

The Terminator

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Thing

The Usual Suspects

True Lies

War of the Worlds (1953 original and Spielberg’s remake with Tom Cruise)

Winter’s Bone

Whichever movies you choose, consider watching them with a far-flung friend or family while texting or using your phone. It will be like watching together, almost. Have popcorn, make it a date night (or afternoon or morning). You’re ‘working’ from home, after all.

In the meantime, stay healthy, stay safe, avoid physical proximity, and continue to wash your hands. And if you can, call your parents. This is our new job. Let’s do it brilliantly.




Alan is a consulting psychologist with a long and storied history of helping organizations of all sizes become more enriching, empowering places to work.

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Alan Schnur

Alan Schnur

Alan is a consulting psychologist with a long and storied history of helping organizations of all sizes become more enriching, empowering places to work.

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