The 40 Best Feel-Good Movies to Make You Smile, Laugh and Happy Cry

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·7 mins read

Whether you need to shake off a long day or just need a good laugh, embrace the power of an uplifting flick (and a bowl of popcorn, of course). Here, the 40 best feel-good movies that are guaranteed to brighten your day.

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1. The Holiday (2006)

With a cast as incredible as Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Kate Winslet, it’s easier to overlook the occasionally cheesy moments. (Although we kind of live for the cheesy moments...)

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

2. Legally Blonde (2001)

You’ll want to bend and snap too after watching Elle Woods’s ascent from stereotype to law-school hero.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

3. Bridesmaids (2011)

Irreverent. Empowering. And all too real at times. (Obviously, we’re talking about the dress salon scene.)

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, HBO Max

4. Girl’s Trip (2017)

Four college friends reunite and make the most out of their trip to New Orleans. We’ll never forget that zip lining scene.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

5. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Weird families never cease to make us giggle, especially if road trips and pageants are involved.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

6. Love Actually (2003)

Who says you have to wait until the holidays to watch Christmas movies? Between the star-studded cast and the overlapping romantic storylines, this one is ideal anytime.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, HBO Max

7. To All The Boys I’ve Loved (2018)

Based on the YA novel, this teen rom-com will remind you of high school and the sweet gesture of a love letter.

Where to Watch: Netflix

8. The Princess Bride (1987)

All you need to know: princesses, pirates and a love story unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Where to Watch: Disney+

9. Billy Madison (1995)

Fact: There’s no way you can watch a young Adam Sandler tackle elementary school without almost peeing your pants from laughing so hard.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

10. Bring It On (2000)

Show off your spirit fingers. Whether you’re a Clover or a Toro, the nostalgia is real with this cult-fave.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

11. Clueless (1995)

Turn on this coming-of-age flick—a Beverly Hills take on Austen’s Emma—when you need a little ‘90s flashback.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Netflix

12. Chef (2014)

An acclaimed chef quits his job and opens a food truck. (Oh, and he just so happens to be the delightful Jon Favreau.)

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

13. 13 Going on 30 (2004)

This is a judgment-free zone. Trust us, everyone was embarrassing at 13—even Jennifer Garner.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Hulu

14. Forrest Gump (1994)

The “life is like a box of chocolates” line gets us every time.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

15. Footloose (1984)

Kick off your Sunday shoes and dance along with a young, light-on-his-feet Kevin Bacon.

Where to Watch: Hulu

16. Groundhog Day (1993)

Imagine living one day over and over again. Well, Bill Murray may know a thing or two about that.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Netflix

17. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Does this Nora Ephron gem even need an introduction?

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

18. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

This flick is bound to make you smile—but you may also reach for the tissue box for a good cry.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

19. Mamma Mia! (2008)

Get ready to sing your heart out and jam to every ABBA song in existence. Plus, there’s Meryl Streep, so enough said.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Hulu

RELATED: The 50 Best Musical Movies to Watch (and Sing at the Top of Your Lungs) from the Couch

20. Matilda (1996)

Let’s face it: Everyone wanted to be Matilda as a kid (minus the scary principal and terrible parents).

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

21. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Any Robin Williams comedy can put a smile on our face and this classic ’90s film is no exception.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, HBO Max

22. Jerry Maguire (1996)

A sports film starring Tom Cruise that will have you rooting for him from start to finish.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Netflix

23. Love, Simon (2018)

This rom-com pulls on the heartstrings when 17-year-old Simon is ready to finally embrace his identity.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Hulu

24. The Princess Diaries (2001)

This coming-of-age film taught us one thing: Anne Hathaway will always be the princess of Genovia in our heart.

Where to Watch: Disney+

25. Big (1988)

Unleash your inner child with this classic starring an ‘80s Tom Hanks. (And who can forget the iconic piano dance scene?)

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

26. Sister Act (1992)

Whoopi Goldberg lends her voice to a convent’s choir and the rest is history.

Where to Watch: Disney+

27. The Parent Trap (1998)

Lindsey Lohan is not only playing twins (and one is even British!) but she manages to make this a must-watch for every age group.

Where to Watch: Disney+

28. The Birdcage (1996)

When you put Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in a comedy together, you’re bound to laugh the whole way through.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

29. You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Before dating apps, this rom-com was taking online dating to the next level.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, HBO Max

30. Elf (2003)

If smiling is your favorite, you’ll want to add this holiday film to your queue (even if Christmas is months away).

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

31. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Who’s crazier than a bridesmaid? The bride’s big over-the-top family.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

32. Pitch Perfect (2012)

“Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson has never been the same after this acapella-centered comedy.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

33. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

One of the most nerve-racking steps in a relationship is finally meeting the family...especially when your boyfriend happens to come from a very wealthy Singapore family.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

34. A League of Their Own (1992)

A sports film loosely based on the real life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that stars Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna and Tom Hanks? Yes, please.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Hulu

35.Julie & Julia (2009)

Meryl Streep as Julia Child is going to make you do a double take. It's a scarily accurate portrayal of the real-life chef.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

36. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

We would be writing in a diary too if we had to choose between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

37. La La Land (2016)

If a film receives 14 Academy Award nominations, chances are it’s worth the viewing (even for the musical numbers alone).

Where to Watch: HBO Max

38. Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Anything with comedian Ali Wong and Randall Park is going to make you laugh. Mix in some romance and you have a Netflix original masterpiece. And did we mention Keanu Reeves is in this movie?

Where to Watch: Netflix

39. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Matthew Broderick’s iconic monologue is enough motivation to rewatch this ‘80s comedy.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

40. Booksmart (2019)

A coming-of-age film about two teens on their quest to make the day before graduation one to remember. 

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Hulu

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