Friday Five: Uplift

A rough week. Protests in the Middle East over a stupid “film”. Four good Americans dead in Libya. The anniversary of 9/11. Time for a mental health break. And we’ll make it a good one.

How about the five most uplifting movies you’ve ever seen? This could be five films that made you feel good about America, about yourself, about God, or whatever. Documentaries or feature films. They could have made you cry or laugh. Just five films you would pop into the DVD player if you needed to feel better about life and the kid used the CD of Beethoven’s 9th as a coaster.

My five?

Schindler’s List: Most of the movie is brutal, obviously. But the finale, when the actual Schindler Jews appear and put rocks on his gravestone (a Jewish tradition) is so moving that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it or even thought about it without something in my eye. Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan has a similar effect on me. It’s a crushingly brutal movie. But the very end makes me so proud to be an American and so proud of that generation. Band of Brothers, also, at the end, when they reveal the names of the old men who’ve been talking between the episodes and you realize they made it home.

It’s a Wonderful Life: Cliche? Oh, yeah. You bet. There’s a hilarious scene in the teaser for a Cheers episode where the gang are all mocking the movie. And at the end, they are all running out of the room because they have something in their eyes.

Apollo 13: Before Ron Howard’s movie came out, I saw a documentary on the lost moon mission. Gene Krantz broke down in tears when talking about seeing the parachutes open and knowing they’d made it. The ending is good, yes, but the entire movie is an ode to the space program and the people who so ingeniously solved every problem physics could throw at them. See also The Right Stuff.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Yeah, another Spielberg one. It was this or ET.

To Kill a Mockingbird: Someone recently quipped that Atticus Finch was not only a model for every lawyer but a model for every father. I love both the book and the film and can’t wait until Sal 11000 Beta is old enough for them.

Honorable Mention: Tree of Life, Children of Men, Pan’s Labyrinth, Rocky, Shawshank Redemption, Casablanca, Star Wars.

Comments are closed.

  1. Santino

    You Can Count On Me – This is one of my all-time favourites. The fact that Laura Linney is in the movie is inspiriing in and of itself (I actually saw this at TIFF, and she was there, SHWING!). But the movie centres on her relationship with her deadbeat brother. There are many lows but ultimately they accept each other for who they are and love prevails.

    Karate Kid – It’s the only time I can remember jumping out of my seat and cheering at a movie.

    Field Of Dreams – “If you build it they will come”. What else can you say?

    Almost Famous – My favourite scene is when they sing “Tiny Dancer”. It’s hard not to sing out loud myself.

    Groundhog Day – A love movie that isn’t cheessy. Bill Murray at his finest.

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  2. Poosh


    Can you beat the ending for sheer goodness and woop?

    and now Dark Knight Rises can be added for sheer “magnificent, uplifting ending” ness

    … … Pan’s Labyrinth? wtf Hal? That movie’s ending is soul-destroying UNLESS you choose the “it wasn’t all in her mind, a fiction created to deal with Nazism, but actually happened…” ending

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  3. AlexInCT

    Anyone that thinks the problem is that stupid movie and not the fact that these Neanderthals are evil and look for any excuse to kill anyone that will not subject themselves to them and their vision of what the world should be like, will be surprised the next time these assholes kill again for some other dumb ass reason. This movie is nothing but an excuse to make people predisposed to violence commit violent acts. If there was no movie there would have been some other excuse.

    Speaking of movies: Ideocracy. That’s where we are all headed for.

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  4. AlexInCT

    Dealing with real life issues Poosh.

    Things are moving towards a new normal and I am hopefully going to be around more as that happens.

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  5. Hal_10000 *

    Pan’s Labyrinth? wtf Hal? That movie’s ending is soul-destroying UNLESS you choose the “it wasn’t all in her mind, a fiction created to deal with Nazism, but actually happened…” ending

    That is the ending I choose.

    Alex, hope all is well. We miss you around here and are all hoping/praying that things are OK.

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  6. Hal_10000 *

    Seabiscuit is a good one. It’s not a movie, but ESPN did a half-hour special on Secretariat when they were counting down the greatest athletes of the century and it was really inspiring. My dad still talks about him just destroying the field at the Belmont.

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  7. ilovecress

    Don’t laugh, but Armageddon. I’m an absolute sucker for movies where people sacrifice themselves with Honour. And when it’s a father/daughter thing…sheesh.

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  8. West Virginia Rebel

    The Best Years of our Lives-Classic, honest film about WW2 vets.
    Good Morning Vietnam-One of Robin Williams’ best, about a deejay who brought rock and roll to the young troops in country. And I liked Fred Thompson’s character, too.
    Die Hard-Yipee Kay Yi Yay, also a great buddy cop film.
    2001: A Space Odyssey-A classic, epic sci fi film even though the ending still confuses the hell out of me.
    Superman: The Movie (1978)-First of the great superhero movies, and need I say that the theme music is still awesome?

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  9. blameme

    Shawshank Redemption

    We Were Soldiers Once, and Young

    Schindler’s List


    Apollo 13

    (one more please – Red Dawn – WOLVERINES!!)

    With kids – Kung Fu Panda, How to Train your Dragon, Pocahontas, Meet the Robinsons (I tear up on meet the robinsons)

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  10. Argive

    1. Mississippi Burning. Yes, it’s a deeply flawed movie in several ways. But the final scene is incredibly understated and moving.

    2. Glory. The Union forever.

    3. Miracle. I’m quite surprised that I’m the first to mention this one.

    4. Shawshank Redemption.

    5. Love Actually. Yeah, it’s a sappy chick flick. But whenever I watch it I always wind up grinning like an asshole.

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  11. Mississippi Yankee

    After this week:

    1) Team America – Trey Parker and Matt Stone at their very best. Then again satire, and humor for that matter, is lost on several people here.

    2) Kitty Foyle – Ginger Rogers, no singing no dancing. Academy Award Best Actress. Another of those movies where the synopsis and the viewing seem like two totally different creatures.

    3) A Christmas Story – Hey, he didn’t put his eye out.

    4)Forbidden Plant – Shakespeare’s The Tempest in outer space… with Anne Frances to boot

    5) A Face in the Crowd – Andy Griffin in a completely serious role as a virtual nobody that is thrust upon the national stage simply because of a new media, TV.

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  12. repmom

    “Love, Actually.”

    Ha! I was so tempted to list that one! It is a wonderful “feel good” movie. Just watched it last week (for about the tenth time) with a group of girlfriends.

    I almost listed Miracle along with Hoosiers as well.

    Good selections, Argive.

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  13. Hal_10000 *

    I will never admit to liking Love Actually or having it on DVD or watching it when I need some uplift. No sir. Not me. I’m sure there’s some Rambo DVD or something around here….

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  14. Mississippi Yankee


    If you liked “Love, Actually.” might I suggest “Sound from another Room” Jude Law and Gretchen Mol and an astounding performance from Jennifer Tilly. It manages to get a happy tear out of this old Marine every time.

    “Puccini for Beginners” is another one. hmmmm Gretchen Mol again.

    Yeah, it’s a sappy chick flick.


    I’ve developed an apprehension for chick flick in my dotage. And constantly defending a ‘macho’ image is tiring. A good woman showed me the light.

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  15. Hal_10000 *

    MY, I just discovered Forbidden Planet a few years ago and loved it. What’s interesting is that you can see that Star Trek took the rhythms of Forbidden Planet and made a franchise out of it.

    And Team America … man that’s a classic.

    Argive, Miracle is really good. I read that Al Michael recreated much of his calling for the movie but refused to redo his “Do you believe in Miracles” line because he didn’t think he could recreate the emotion of that moment.

    I was eight years old and I remember it.

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  16. Mississippi Yankee

    I own Team America (no surprise there) and in the bonus features they show what they used and how they made the miniatures.
    The jungle surrounding the Panama Canal for example is all pot plants. I laughed my ass off to learn that bit of movie trivia.

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  17. Hal_10000 *

    MY, Stone and Parker could make a movie about themselves reading the newspaper and it would be hilarious. As an old Moorewatch hand, I loved watching what they did to him.

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  18. Mississippi Yankee

    Casablanca will always be my all time favorite romantic movie. And even tho the Hayes Code wouldn’t have allowed it Rick should of banged Elsa in his office the night before they parted. I may be a sentimental old fool but c’mon, there’s a war going on….

    Several years ago I was gifted with a box set of “Casablanca”, “Gone With The Wind” and “Dr. Zhivago”. Say what you will about the movies themselves, the love stories were magnificent. Oddly in none of them did ‘love conquer all’.

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  19. Mississippi Yankee

    In an Opps moment as I was scrolling down thru this post I ‘down-thumbed’ ilovecress’ comment about “Armageddon” It was the last thing I intended as I loved the movie for the same reasons he(or she) did.
    Sorry, it was an honest mistake.
    Only a islamist would do something THAT ignorant.

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  20. Hal_10000 *

    Several years ago I was gifted with a box set of “Casablanca”, “Gone With The Wind” and “Dr. Zhivago”.

    Whoever this was was a great gift-giver!

    Oh, I just watched a documentary tonight called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” which is really good and uplifting. Best doc I’ve seen in a while.

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  21. HARLEY

    Half of these movies listed i would not consider “uplifting”, and i really cant think of many that i like, that are uplifting.
    but to make the list short and easy..
    Most of the Pixar movies, and recent CGI animated movies would fit that list.

    MY, I just discovered Forbidden Planet a few years ago and loved it. What’s interesting is that you can see that Star Trek took the rhythms of Forbidden Planet and made a franchise out of it.

    And Team America … man that’s a classic.

    I really love these two movies, but i cant say that they are uplifting,,, but still great fun to watch.

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  22. Mississippi Yankee

    Oh, I’ll throw in another one: Ben Hur. I’m not Christian, obviously, but I find it amazingly inspiring.

    I was about 8 years old when the whole of St. James Catholic School was bused to Boston to see this epic on a “surround screen” (about 165° curved screen). Loved it, especially the chariot race scene.
    P.S. This format of “surround screen” didn’t last long. Probably due to whiplash lawsuits

    Fast-forward about 10 years ago ..I started to hear that the chariot race in the original silent screen Ben Hur was arguably the greatest full on action sequence ever filmed. I had to see for myself so I went to and found it for $6.95. It now is part of my video library.

    If any of y’all ever get to see this race try to remember it’s 100% live action, no CGI or trick photography. And it goes on for many, many minutes. Stunt men and horse wranglers today would never be allowed do even a portion of what you see in this flick. And yes, the story is just as uplifting too.

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  23. Mississippi Yankee

    I really love these two movies, but i cant say that they are uplifting,,,

    Forbidden Plant – Self hating monster killed, Anne Frances’ bodacious tatas remain intact.

    Team America – AMERICA. FUCK YEAH!

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