50 Uplifting Movie Moments

Evil Dead 2 (1987)

The Moment: Hero, minus arm, plus chainsaw multiplied by sawn-off shotgun equals what? That’s right, it equals “Groovy”. Not uplifting in the traditional, love-for-the-human-spirit sense of the word, but it consistently makes us want to punch the air, and for that reason alone, it goes on the list.

Goosebumps or Grin?
Goosebumps baby! It’s the daddy of all tooling-up montages…

Key Detail: The bit where Bruce breaks off the shotgun’s barrel with his elbow is the dictionary definition of cool.

Singin' In The Rain (1952)

The Moment: Is any movie moment full of more undiluted joy then the scene in which Gene Kelly goes splashing through the puddles as he sings the movie’s famous title song? We think not.

Goosebumps or Grin?
Your face will be aching by the time he’s finished. Spare a thought for poor old Gene though. He was reportedly running a 106 degree fever when the sequence was filmed!

Key Detail: The opening gambit in which Kelly frantically ushers away a waiting car so he can start his routine. It always makes us chuckle…

Life Is Beautiful (1997)

The Moment: There are plenty to choose from in Roberto Benigni’s touching Holocaust saga, but our favourite is the moment where Guido gets his hands on the camp’s PA system and uses it to tell his wife how much he loves her, giving her a chance to hear her son’s voice as an added bonus.

Goosebumps or Grin?
Grin. The unbridled joy in Benigni’s voice is impossible to resist.

Key Detail:
Benigni does the grandstanding here, but it’s the expression on Nicoletta Braschi’s face that really warms the cockles.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

The Moment: The point at which our runaway heroines decide that going out in a blaze of glory is vastly preferable to life in a cell, plunging their Thunderbird over the edge of the cliff in the film’s very last scene. Suicide isn’t generally considered uplifting, but in this case, we’ll make an exception.

Goosebumps or Grin? Goosebumps accompany the dawning realisation that the pair have no intentions of turning themselves in.

Key Detail: The mid-air freeze-frame spares us the crushing reality of what is actually happening here, allowing the film to end on a bizarrely optimistic note.

Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The Moment: Just as the Battle of Helm’s Deep looks to be slipping away from King Theoden’s men, Aragorn recalls Gandalf’s words: “Look to my coming at first light on the fifth day…at dawn, look to the East.” And sure enough, the White Wizard is just where he said he’d be, ready to lead a brigade of Rohirrim into action at the nick of time…

Goosebumps or Grin? Goosebumps ahoy for one of the must heart-pounding set-pieces of the entire trilogy.

Key Detail:
The ethereal wall of light that appears to emanate from Gandalf and engulf the hordes of orcs below.

Back To The Future (1985)

The Moment: Surely you know where we’re going with this? “Hey Doc,” begins Marty, “we better back up, we don’t have enough road to get up to eighty eight.” “Roads?” replies the Doc. “Where we’re going we don’t need roads…” Now that’s how you set up a sequel!

Goosebumps or Grin?
Grin all the way. It’s so gleefully cheesy it’s impossible to keep a straight face.

Key Detail: The line is pretty kick-ass on its own, but Christopher Lloyd’s intonation really gives it a little something extra…

Ghost (1990)

The Moment: The heartbreaking final goodbye between Sam and Molly, in which the pair share one last lingering kiss. This was always a pretty moving pay-off, and now Patrick Swayze is no longer with us, it packs even more of a punch. We’ll miss you Pat.

Goosebumps or Grin? A little of both, with a trembling top lip thrown in for good measure. Wait, did we say that out loud?

Key Detail:
“See ya.” Says it all really, doesn’t it?

Finding Nemo (2003)

The Moment: The point at which Marlin is finally reunited with his erstwhile son. The bit where he thinks Nemo is dead is almost unbearable, but when he realises he’s alive…well, let’s just say the Pixar magic is working very much as it should on this one.

Goosebumps or Grin? A grin, accompanied by a furious bout of blinking!

Key Detail:
The bit where father and son link fins is almost too much to bear. Warning! This is a not a film you want to watch with your mates…

Show Me Love (1998)

The Moment: The tentative lesbian relationship between a pair of teenage girls finally comes to a head, as the pair finally come to terms with their feelings for each other, and effectively “out” each other by walking hand in hand down a school corridor packed with their peers. Touching, authentic and pretty damned inspiring!

Goosebumps or Grin? Grin. The two leads are so natural, and convey the confusion of teenage romance (regardless of sexual orientation) so well, it’s a joy to see them finally get their heads together.

Key Detail:
The way they shoulder onlookers out of their path, grinning as they go.

Dead Poet's Society (1989)

The Moment: When Robin Williams’ unfairly dismissed teacher returns to gather a few things, and the previously introverted Todd climbs upon his desk to shout, “Oh Captain, my Captain,” the Walt Whitman quote Williams had taught the class to recite if they were feeling brave. Classroom rebellion has rarely been so exhilarating.

Goosebumps or Grin?
A cathartic grin, made all the wider by the fact that it comes in the wake of the misery of Neil’s suicide. It’s “I Am Spartacus” in a schoolroom!

Key Detail: Williams’ simple “thank you” as he leaves. Nicely played sir.