50 Uplifting Movie Moments

Jurassic Park (1993)

The Moment: A moment of pure cinematic magic, as Sam Neill and Laura Dern are left gobsmacked by their first sight of a living, breathing dinosaur in the form of a towering Brachiosaur. To this day, the visual effects are still pretty breathtaking.

Goosebumps or Grin?
Goosebumps. Once again, Spielberg has made us feel like awe-struck children. And everyone likes dinosaurs, don’t they!

Key Detail:
“We have a T-Rex!” chirps Dickie Attenborough. “Ohhhh,” moans Sam Neill, disbelievingly. Sums up the audience’s feelings perfectly!

Aladdin (1992)

The Moment: The touching ending in which Aladdin spurns the chance to become a Prince once more (thus allowing him to marry Jasmine) and instead chooses to use his final wish to grant the genie his freedom. What a lovely gesture. Plus, the Sultan changes the law to permit the wedding anyway, so everyone ends up a winner!

Goosebumps or Grin? Grins all round at this perfectly-executed happy ending.

Key Detail: “No matter what anybody says, you’ll always be a prince to me.” Pass the tissues someone…

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

The Moment: You might not think that one character killing another could be uplifting, but when Chief Bromden smothers the post-EST McMurphy, it’s clear he’s doing it out of love. And when he proceeds to hurl the hydrotherapy console through the window to make his escape, it’s a real punch-the-air moment.

Goosebumps or Grin? It’s a little too bittersweet to provoke a grin (we’ve just lost Jack, after all) but it’s still a stirring finale.

Key Detail: The long, tender hug Bromden gives McMurphy before turning the lights out for good.

Spartacus (1960)

The Moment: The “I Am Spartacus” sequence has been mimicked and parodied so many times, that it’s easy to forget just how powerful it was on first viewing. The bravery and loyalty of Spartacus’ men, who choose crucifixion over betrayal, is enough to stir even the coldest of hearts. Beat that, Maximus!

Goosebumps or Grin?
Goosebumps every time. There’s a reason why it’s such an iconic scene…

Key Detail: The mixture of pride and disbelief on the face of Kirk Douglas. Wonderful stuff.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

The Moment: Okay, call us suckers, but the moment when poor old Shadow comes limping back to his long-lost home has us welling up every time, mainly because the point where he looks like he’s given up is just too sad for words. Fortunately it takes more than a gammy leg to keep a good dog from his master.

Goosebumps or Grin?
Embarrassingly, childish jumping for joy is probably closer to the mark.

Key Detail:
“He was just too old,” sniffs Shadow’s owner Peter. Oh no he wasn’t, son. Oh no he wasn’t…

Let The Right One In (2008)

The Moment: Thinking that Eli has abandoned him, a despondent Oskar resumes his after-school swimming programme. However, he soon finds himself cornered by his long-standing bullies, and is forced to hold his breath underwater for three-minutes. Just as he’s starting to panic, one of the bullies’ severed heads crashes into the pool. Much screaming, splashing and splatter ensues above the surface…looks like Eli’s back!

Goosebumps or Grin?
Grin. Never has brutal dismemberment been so satisfying!

Key Detail:
The moment when the hand holding Oskar under the water suddenly loses its grip…

Almost Famous (2000)

The Moment: With the Stillwater tour-bus fraught with tension after Billy Crudup’s house party antics, Elton John’s Tiny Dancer dramatically lifts the mood, with everybody eventually joining in for a rousing final chorus. It takes a remarkable feat of self-discipline not to sing along with them…so why fight it?

Goosebumps or Grin?
Goosebumps. Great song, great moment.

Key Detail:
Sensible old Patrick Fugit attempts to convince Kate Hudson that he’s going home. “You are home,” she replies. How could he resist?

Any Given Sunday (1999)

The Moment: When big Al rallies the troops with his iconic “inches” speech. Granted, the movie on the whole is slightly on the knuckleheaded side, and the kind of people who use this clip as a motivational tool in the workplace (trust us…they do exist) want their heads looking at, but still…it certainly gets the blood pumping.

Goosebumps or Grin? Goosebumps, goosebumps, goosebumps. We wonder how many coaches have ripped this one off over the years?

Key Detail: “We can climb out of hell…one inch at a time.” Look out folks, Al’s about to get biblical on their asses…

Field Of Dreams (1989)

The Moment: When Shoeless Joe Jackson reveals to Kevin Costner what the whole project was about. “If you build it, he will come,” heveals Joe, and sure enough, Kev recognises the catcher as his father as a young man. The subsequent game of catch between father and son is a suitably gooey ending to one of the great feelgood films of the ‘80s.

Goosebumps or Grin?
If you’re not grinning from ear to ear at this, then you might want to look into where your soul has disappeared to.

Key Detail: When Costner finally refers to his old man as “Dad”. Get ready to choke back those tears…

Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969)

The Moment: The film’s famous ending could be seen as crushingly sad, but in retrospect, is their anything more heartwarming than two old friends deciding they want to die together? Having been through thick and thin as a team, it seems only fitting that they should take on death together too.

Goosebumps or Grin? Goosebumps of course. We’re still not happy they end up dead!

Key Detail: “Good…for a moment there I thought we were in trouble.” When faced with certain death, it’s always good to retain a sense of humour.