Here Are 20 Films That Will Definitely Make You Smile

If you’re a movie buff like I am, every day is a good day to watch a movie. But let’s be honest, sometimes your just not in the mood for watching a heart-wrenching drama or a psychological thriller. Sometimes, especially when you’ve had a rough day, you may feel like watching a good old movie that will lift your spirits and make you smile again. In this list, we’ll go over the top 20 movies that will definitely make you feel better. So next time you’re feeling blue, go for #9, #4, or #2!

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life

#20. Empire Records

What I like about Empire Records (1995) is that it shows the lives of everyday people struggling with everyday problems, so you can’t help but feel identified with all of its characters. This film tells the story of a group of female employees of a record store who find out that the shop will soon close, and therefore, they’ll all be fired.

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From then on, these women must face all type of obstacles, from finding the way to pay the bills, to dealing with their romantic crisis. However, some of the characters are so eccentric that they add a touch of comedy to the dramatic plotline. A rebel shoplifter, a flamboyant pop star… this film will surprise you with its unique roles.

#19. A Knight’s Tale

In spite of his short-lived acting career, Heath Ledger played several memorable roles that we’ll never forget. Amongst those, in 2001 he took the role of a medieval peasant who longs for glory and fame. With these aims in mind, he pretends to be a knight and starts competing in elite tournaments.

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A Knight’s Tale may lack historical accuracy, but it will surely make you have some fun! Throughout the film, Ledger’s character is always the odd one out since no matter how hard he tries to be a nobleman, he just can’t seem to hide his impulsive and spirited character!

#18. Field Of Dreams

Field of Dreams is a fantasy sports film starred by Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, Amy Madigan, and James Earl Jones. I’m not gonna lie, the movie plot is quite bizarre, but maybe that’s the good thing about it. Costner takes the role of Ray Kinsella, an Iowa corn farmer who hears voices in his head, which supposedly command him to build a baseball diamond in his fields.

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Even though everyone believes he has lost his mind and persuades him not to do such a ridiculous thing, Ray ends up building the baseball diamond anyways. And – spoilers alert! – can you guess what happens in the end? The 1919 Chicago White Sox come to the field and play! This film is about optimism, and it teaches you to never fear to pursue your dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem.

#17. The Birdcage

Released in 1996, The Birdcage was one of the first popular films to deal with LGBT issues and to have gay main characters. In this film, Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are a gay couple forced to hide their relationship and their drag-queen lifestyle from the homophobic outside world.

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However, their relationship becomes even more of a taboo when the son of William’s character chooses to marry the daughter of a conservative politician. This movie shows the world that it’s important to accept people for who they are and to respect and promote sexual diversity. If you often feel like the odd one out, then this movie will definitely make you feel good about yourself!

#16. Sister Act

Whoopi Goldberg is one of the most hilarious actresses of all time, because no matter the role she plays, she always makes us laugh! Being a nun never seemed like much fun… at least, not until Goldberg played the role of Sister Deloris in the 1992 film Sister Act!

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Actually, sister Deloris is not a real nun but a popular singer who witnesses a mob crime, and as part of the witness protection program, the police convince her to hide as a nun. Given her musical talent, she takes over the convent’s choir and makes both the nuns and the audience have some fun. This movie is full of catchy tunes, beautiful lyrics, and uplifting scenes, so don’t miss it!

#15. The First Wives Club

The First Wives Club was released in 1996 and is starred by Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler. These actresses play a group of college best friends that reunite after a fourth friend dies. They soon feel connected between each other when they find out that all of them have been dumped by their husbands for much younger women.

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Initially, these three women attempt to seek revenge on their ex-husbands, but they eventually come to terms with reality and end up finding a sense of freedom and self-worth. Therefore, the film teaches you that before finding true love, you must learn to love yourself.

#14. The Greatest Showman

Released in 2017, The Great Showman is a musical that stars Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Michelle Williams. It was inspired by P.T. Barnum’s novel Barnum & Bailey Circus and it became a worldwide success, having one the 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

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The film tells the story of a man who overcame his tough childhood and decided to pursue a career in the entertainment world. He created fascinating and original spectacles that did not exist at the time, such as trapeze performances and shows with wild animals. This story is truly inspiring, and it teaches you that nothing is impossible with a bit of hope and hard work.

#13. 13 Going On 30

Some people have claimed that this story is quite too similar to Big (check out #7), but it’s still worth a watch! 13 Going on 30 features Hollywood icon Jennifer Garner, who takes the role of a 13-year-old girl who wishes to be 30 after being bullied around by the popular high school girls. Can you guess what happens next?

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Being a teenager trapped in an adult’s body, main character Jenna begins to deal with her adult problems with the enthusiasm of a 13-year-old. Maybe she’s not exactly a role model that you should follow, but she’ll definitely make you laugh the whole movie!

#12. Mamma Mia!

There’s no doubt that Meryl Streep is one of the greatest actresses of all time. If you don’t agree, how can you explain her whopping 17 Academy Award nominations? Not only has she starred in countless heart-breaking dramas, but in Mamma Mia! she proved the world that she’s also great at making us laugh our heads off.

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The film tells the story of Sophie (played by Amanda Seyfried), a soon-to-be bride who tries to find out who her father is and tracks down the three men who she thinks can be it. Young and naïve Sophie and her free-spirited mother Donna (played by Meryl Streep) make a hilarious duo, and they surely make us both laugh and dance with their silly adventures and their brilliant choreographies!

#11. A League Of Their Own

After reading all the way to #1, you’ll realize that Tom Hanks tops our list since he starred in three of the movies in this list! A League of Their Own tells the story of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that existed during the 1940s, in a time when the national baseball league was nearly shut down as a result of the number of soldiers that had been sent to World War II.

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Hanks takes the role of a tough and strict coach, while Geena Davis and Lori Petty play two baseball players who struggle to help their team succeed while dealing with their own growing rivalry. As you may expect, the film ends of teaching you the importance of friendship and family.

#10. The Princess Bride

This 1987 classic was directed by Rob Reiner and starred by Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, and Chris Sarandon. Young Elwes plays the role of Westley, a young man who attempts to rescue his love, Buttercup (Wright), from her evil fiancé, Prince Humperdinck (Sarandon).

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Even though there’s some sort of love triangle involved, don’t you worry, because it’s not the typical heartbreaking teenage drama film. In fact, many of its secondary plots are quite bizarre. The story involves sword fights, magic men, giant rodents, and above all, true love.

#9. Amélie

Amélie is one of the greatest and sweetest films ever. In this 2001 film, Audrey Tautou takes the role of a curious and quaint woman who resists romance in her personal mission of making lives happy for those around her.

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However, one day, Amélie randomly meets a man who is just as quirky as she is, and she can’t help but fall in love. Can you guess what happens? Bad news, I’m not gonna spoil it! As to its themes, not only is the film about love, but also about enjoying the smaller pleasures in life, just like Amélie enjoyed breaking the crust of her crème brulée with a spoon or plunging her hand in a bag of grains.

#8. La La Land

La La Land is a romantic comedy and musical released in 2016 and starred by Hollywood icons Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. It was a whopping success and nearly broke a world record, receiving 14 Oscar nominations and winning 6. It also won 7 Golden Globe Awards. Impressive!

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Gosling plays the role of a frustrated jazz pianist while Stone is an aspiring actress. After randomly coming across each other multiple times, they end up falling in love and pursuing their dreams together. Even though the movie has a bit of drama in it since the couple faces their ups and downs, the story is super entertaining and the melodies are quite catchy. Besides, there’s something that nobody can deny: Emma Stone does a really good job making us laugh!

#7. Big

If any of you grew up during the ’80s, then you must definitely remember this classic! Big was released in 1988, and it was one of Tom Hank‘s first major hits. It tells the story of Josh Baskin, a teenager who is ashamed of his height, especially after he is denied to go on a carnival ride for being too short.

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After this incident, little Josh makes a wish that has crossed all of our minds at some point: to be bigger. But when he wakes up the next day, not only is he taller but also 15 years older. You know what they say, be careful about what you wish for! But other than that, the film also teaches you to be proud of who you are and to value each stage of life. Are you a fan of Tom Hanks? Then slide to #1!

#6. Legally Blonde

Reese Witherspoon is a talented Oscar-winning actress, but she will always be remembered as the young, blonde, attractive woman who made us laugh our heads off in Legally Blonde. In this film, Witherspoon stars Elle Woods, an ambitious sorority queen and law student who signs up for Harvard to prove her ex-boyfriend that she’s talented and smart.

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Throughout the whole movie, Elle proves the world that there is much more to her than her good looks and her fabulous fashion. Therefore, this quirky comedy tries to teach people to believe in themselves even when others don’t. So if you’re feeling blue, this movie will definitely cheer you up!

#5. Grease

Are you a big fan of musicals? Then this movie is most definitely a must-watch! Grease is one of the greatest and funniest musical comedies of all time, and I’ll promise you one thing… you’ll be singing You’re The One That I Want in the shower for the rest of the year!

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The film’s plotline is both entertaining and captivating, though I must say that it also includes its dramatic twists. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John really rock in their roles. They must have rehearsed for hundreds of hours because their moves are… electrifying!

#4. Good Will Hunting

I’m gonna be straight, Good Will Hunting (1997) is actually a half comedy half drama, but even though it may make you shed a few tears, we still thought it deserved to be on our list. This film stars Hollywood icons Robin Williams, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck, and it was also written by these two real-life best friends.

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Damon plays the role of a janitor at M.I.T. who happens to be brilliant at maths, while Affleck is his best friend. Williams, in turn, plays the role of a psychology professor who attempts to motivate Damon to take advantage of his intellectual potential and pursue a career in the academic field. The film may have its dramatic twists and turns, but no-one can deny that it’s truly motivational and inspiring.

#3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

It’s strange to see Matthew Broderick at such a young age, isn’t it? In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a popular high school movie released in 1986, Broderick plays the role of a teenage rebel who loves ditching school and bailing on his responsibilities. One day, he convinces his best friend and his girlfriend to skip school and they go on an adventure together.

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The movie plot is actually quite simple: it narrates a single day in the lives of these three teens, and the hilarious situations they go through in order to avoid being caught. Their adventures will make you laugh out loud non-stop, and trust me, you’ll end up emphasizing with these three little devils!

#2. The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club is probably the most famous high school movie of the 20th century. Released in 1985, this film stars Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, and Molly Ringwald, who play five high school students who must serve detention on a Saturday morning. Unfortunately for them, they must fulfill this punishment under the supervision of the school’s authoritarian assistant principal.

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From the movie’s first scene, it is perfectly clear that the five teens have completely different roles and personalities – such as the athlete, the popular cheerleader, and the nerd – but after spending an entire Saturday morning together, they realize that they have much more things in common than they imagined. Therefore, this movie is about friendship, about empathy, and… well, it’s a bit about defying authority too!

#1. Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is one of the most iconic films of the 20th century. Let’s not forget that the movie surprisingly won the Academy Award for Best Picture when everybody thought that Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction would do so, and that lead character Tom Hanks won his second Academy Award thanks to his brilliant portrayal of Forrest.

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The film sheds light on the main political and historical events of the 60s and 70s through the perspective of a young Alabama man with mental disabilities. Forrest Gump is a truly loveable character since he doesn’t let what others perceive of him stand in his way or hold him back while pursuing his dreams. So if you’ve hit rock bottom and need a mood booster, this motivating film will do it!

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    Hernán Tamargo

    Teacher. Political Scientist. Writer. Feminist... and much more!

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