Even the most optimistic among us could use a little inspiration sometimes. Here are five movies that will lift your spirit.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
A Best Picture winner, The Best Years of Our Lives follows three soldiers returning home from World War II and tracks how they are able to adjust to normal life after being exposed to the horrors of war. It's a tough but ultimately uplifting story, especially with Harold Russell, an actual wounded veteran, in one of the central roles.
Apollo 13 (1995)
The story of the failed 1970 moon mission is well-documented, so it holds no real surprises. But the combination of Ron Howard's directing, James Horner's soaring score and top-notch acting from the likes of Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon makes for a film that brings tears of joy from the first to the 100th viewing.
Stand and Deliver (1988)
The tragedy in Newton, Connecticut brings into sharper relief what good teachers can bring to the world. There have been a number of movies made about teachers who've made a difference, but the story of math teacher Jaime Escalante, who got East LA Hispanic students to actually give a damn about their education, stands out.
Whether we see it or not, the world has always been full of people with big hearts, and no one's heart could be bigger than this heroine's. Amelie sets out on a series of good deeds ranging from returning long-lost childhood items to playing matchmaker for two lonely people. That she does this even though she's unlucky in love herself makes the tale that much sweeter.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Yes, the majority of this movie is a downer, as Andy Dufresne not only has to deal with being wrongly imprisoned, but also a corrupt warden and a group of sadistic inmates. But that just makes his deliverance from evil all the more triumphant. As Andy says, "Get busy living, or get busy dying," and this is a film that truly makes you want to live.