The Most Uplifting Films I've Seen

Pure catharsis and life-affirming (bitter)sweet works of art.

A work in progress.
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1.
Stalker (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A guide leads two men through an area known as the Zone to find a room that grants wishes. (163 mins.)
 
2.
Solaris (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A psychologist is sent to a station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane. (167 mins.)
 
3.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A young and truth seeking boy travels to an isolated lake, where an old Buddhist master lives on a small floating temple. (103 mins.)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
 
4.
3-Iron (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A transient young man breaks into empty homes to partake of the vacationing residents' lives for a few days. (88 mins.)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
 
5.
L'Atalante (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy. (89 mins.)
Director: Jean Vigo
 
6.
Dersu Uzala (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The Russian army sends an explorer on an expedition to the snowy Siberian wilderness where he makes friends with a seasoned local hunter. (144 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosava
 
7.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wonderous forest spirits who live nearby. (86 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
8.
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An east European girl goes to America with her young son, expecting it to be like a Hollywood film. (140 mins.)
Director: Lars Von Trier
 
9.
Andrei Rublev (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The life, times and afflictions of the fifteenth-century Russian iconographer. (205 mins.)
 
10.
Chungking Express (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Two melancholy Hong Kong policemen fall in love: one with a mysterious female underworld figure, the other with a beautiful and ethereal server at a late-night restaurant he frequents. (102 mins.)
Director: Kar Wai Wong
 
11.
Vigil (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A lonely girl living on an isolated, mist-cloaked farm is confronted with the changes wrought by a stranger that arrives. (90 mins.)
Director: Vincent Ward
 
12.
In the Mood for Love (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs. (98 mins.)
Director: Kar Wai Wong
 
13.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest. (149 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
14.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A young girl separated from her lover by war faces a life-altering decision. (91 mins.)
Director: Jacques Demy
 
15.
Talk to Her (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Two men share an odd friendship while they care for two women who are both in deep comas. (112 mins.)
 
16.
Kolya (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Franta Louka is a concert cellist in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia, a confirmed bachelor and a lady's man... (105 mins.)
Director: Jan Sverák
 
17.
Ronja Robbersdaughter (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Borka and his band and Mattis's band of robbers are rivals. Birk, his parents and their band live in the wild in Mattisforrest... (126 mins.)
Director: Tage Danielsson
 
18.
Butterfly (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A married teacher/closeted lesbian meets a young, free spirited singer who will allow her to rediscover herself. (124 mins.)
Director: Yan Yan Mak
 
19.
Café Lumière (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The story revolves around Yoko Inoue, a pregnant woman in search for a cafe that's frequented by a Taiwanese composer whose life she is researching. (108 mins.)
Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
 
20.
5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love. (63 mins.)
Director: Makoto Shinkai
 
21.
Children of Paradise (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her. (190 mins.)
Director: Marcel Carné
 
22.
Taste of Cherry (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An Iranian man drives his truck in search of someone who will quietly bury him under a cherry tree after he commits suicide. (95 mins.)
 
23.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After his father's death, Gilbert has to care for his mentally disabled brother, Arnie, and his morbidly obese mother, which is suddenly challenged when love walks into his life. (118 mins.)
 
24.
Drifting Clouds (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The recession hits a couple in Helsinki. (96 mins.)
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
 
25.
Yi Yi (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Each member of a middle class Taipei family seeks to reconcile past and present relationships within their daily lives. (173 mins.)
Director: Edward Yang
 
26.
What Time Is It There? (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
When a young street vendor with a grim home life meets a woman on her way to Paris, they forge an instant connection... (116 mins.)
Director: Ming-liang Tsai
 
27.
The Straight Story (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An old man makes a long journey by lawn-mover tractor to mend his relationship with an ill brother. (112 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
28.
Léon: The Professional (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade. (110 mins.)
Director: Luc Besson
 
29.
Eternity and a Day (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Famous writer Alexander is very ill and has little time left to live. He meets a little boy on the street, who is an illegal immigrant from Albania, and goes on a journey with him to take the boy home. (137 mins.)
 
30.
Ikiru (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer. (143 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
31.
Jackie Brown (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A middle-aged woman finds herself in the middle of a huge conflict that will either make her a profit or cost her life. (154 mins.)
 
32.
Bounce Ko Gals (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The film follows three modern Japanese schoolgirls in Tokyo as they flirt with lecherous old men and dodge the yakuza in the lucrative and sometimes dangerous practice of "enjo kosai" or "date clubs". (110 mins.)
Director: Masato Harada
 
33.
The Vertical Ray of the Sun (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
With the brilliant Vietnamese summer as a setting Vertical Ray of the Sun is beautiful from beginning to end... (112 mins.)
Director: Tran Anh Hung
 
34.
Mädchen in Uniform (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
At an all-girls boarding school, Manuela falls in love with a teacher, to terrific consequences. (88 mins.)
 
35.
Barton Fink (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood. (116 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
 
36.
Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A French boarding school run by priests seems to be a haven from World War II until a new student arrives. He becomes the roommate of top student in his class. Rivals at first, the roommates form a bond and share a secret. (104 mins.)
Director: Louis Malle
 
37.
Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Boudu, a tramp, jumps into the Seine. He is rescued by Mr Lestingois, a gentle and good bookseller, who gives shelter to him... (85 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
38.
Yellow Elephant (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Movie adaptation of the Japanese novel "Kiroi Jou". A married couple Ayumu Muko (Mukai) and Aiko Tsumari... (131 mins.)
Director: Ryuichi Hiroki
 
39.
Petaru dansu (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Four women, who have their own different sorrows, embark on a road trip. They look back at their past and restart their lives. (90 mins.)
 
40.
Once Were Warriors (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A family descended from Maori warriors is bedeviled by a violent father and the societal problems of being treated as outcasts. (102 mins.)
Director: Lee Tamahori
 
41.
Slam (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Slam tells the story of Ray Joshua, an original, gifted young MC trapped in a war-zone housing project known as Dodge City... (100 mins.)
Director: Marc Levin
 
42.
The Blues Brothers (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Jake Blues, just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood were raised. (133 mins.)
Director: John Landis
 
43.
My SO Has Got Depression (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A husband is suffering from melancholia, and he wants to commit suicide. His wife, who is a cartoonist, forces him to quit his job for the therapy. The wife's optimism influence the husband, and they live happily ever after. (121 mins.)
Director: Kiyoshi Sasabe
 
44.
The Snow Queen (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
In this adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's longest story, the beautiful Snow Queen has captured two children and now keeps them apart... (89 mins.)
Director: Päivi Hartzell
 
45.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop. (95 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
46.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them. (94 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
 
47.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with. (108 mins.)
Director: Michel Gondry
 
48.
Flipped (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Two eighth-graders start to have feelings for each other despite being total opposites. (90 mins.)
Director: Rob Reiner
 
49.
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Adèle's life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire and to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adèle grows, seeks herself, loses herself, and ultimately finds herself through love and loss. (180 mins.)
 
50.
Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A delusional young man strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet. (106 mins.)
Director: Craig Gillespie
 
51.
A Letter to Momo (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Clinging to an unfinished letter written by her recently deceased father, young Momo moves with her... (120 mins.)
Director: Hiroyuki Okiura
 
52.
Mr. Thank You (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Mr. Thank You is the kindly young driver of a local bus traveling from poverty stricken coastal villages... (78 mins.)
Director: Hiroshi Shimizu
 
53.
Mustang (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When five orphan girls are seen innocently playing with boys on a beach, their scandalized conservative guardians confine them while forced marriages are arranged. (97 mins.)
 
54.
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn't believe true love exists, and the young man who falls for her. (95 mins.)
Director: Marc Webb
 
55.
Say Anything... (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college. (100 mins.)
Director: Cameron Crowe
 
56.
Stranger Than Paradise (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A self-styled New York hipster is paid a surprise visit by his younger cousin from Budapest. From initial... (89 mins.)
Director: Jim Jarmusch
 
57.
Arizona Dream (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An Innuit hunter races his sled home with a fresh-caught halibut. This fish pervades the entire film... (142 mins.)
Director: Emir Kusturica
 
58.
Chikan densha: Iyarashii kôi (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A boy, abandoned by the whole family - torn apart by obsessions, perversions and problems of every kind-start... (54 mins.)
Director: Hisakazu Hata
 
59.
Still the Water (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
On a subtropical island, a teenage couple deal with the interwoven cycle of life, death and love. (121 mins.)
Director: Naomi Kawase
 
60.
Amélie (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love. (122 mins.)