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50 Uplifting Movie Moments

Manhattan (1979)

The Moment: The bittersweet ending in which Meriel Hemingway’s London-bound teen tells Woody Allen’s jaded fortysomething that his cynicism concerning human nature is unfounded. “Not everybody gets corrupted,” she tells him, “you have to have a little faith in people.”

Goosebumps or Grin? Grin. It’s not one to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, but it’s a pleasingly optimistic ending nonetheless.

Key Detail:
The strains of Rhapsody In Blue that usher in the end credits sum the mood up perfectly.

Sunrise (1927)

The Moment: The point at which The Wife opens her eyes after her near-drowning, to the delight and relief of her watching husband, The Man. The couple kiss, as sunlight engulfs the scene. The two of them are still in love after all, and it only took a botched murder plan to make him realise that!

Goosebumps or Grin? Grin. It’s not the most conventional love story you’ll ever see, but the ending is all the more heart-warming because of it.

Key Detail: The nefarious Woman From The City makes her exit on the back of a cart, a suitably unceremonious ending given all the trouble she’s caused!

Groundhog Day (1993)

The Moment: “Hey! Hey! Phil? Phil Connors?” “Ned?” WHACK. Yep, of all Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day misdemeanours, laying out “needle-nose Ned” is surely the most brazenly enjoyable? Who doesn’t know a guy like that? And who wouldn’t love the opportunity to punch them?

Goosebumps or Grin? A great big belly laugh would be closer to the mark here. It cracks us up every time.

Key Detail: It’s the way Murray says, “Ned?” with such disbelief that makes this so funny. We also like the way he lets someone else step in the puddle moments later. Nothing like a bit of schadenfreude eh Phil?

Blue Valentine (2010)

The Moment: A rare moment of undiluted joy in a sea of mutual resentment, as Ryan Gosling woos his new love with a quick ukulele recital. She responds in kind with the sort of charmingly improvised dance that only exist within indie romances.

Goosebumps or Grin?
A goofy grin, although it doesn’t hang around for very long, as things get steadily grimmer from hereon in.

Key Detail: Gosling’s surprisingly warm singing voice. He really is a sickeningly talented individual isn’t he?

Stand By Me (1986)

The Moment: When Gordie definitively grows a pair and points a gun at big bad Kiefer Sutherland. “Suck my fat one you cheap dime-store hood.” As put-downs go, that one takes some beating. We’ve also got a soft spot for the older Gordie’s wistful summation of childhood: “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12. Jesus, does anyone?”

Goosebumps or Grin? Goosebumps! His follow-up line is also great, in response to Sutherland’s query as to whether he’s going to shoot them all. “No Ace,” he replies. “Just you.” Go get him Gordie!

Key Detail:
The moment when Kiefer’s sneer slips, the picture of a bully losing his nerve at the crucial moment.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Moment: After years of toil with only a trusty rockhammer to work with, Andy Dufresne finally tunnels his way out of Shawshank, crawling his way through a sewage pipe to emerge unscathed outside the prison walls. The scene where he kneels in the rain, arms outstretched to the heavens, is a study in how to deliver catharsis!

Goosebumps or Grin?
Goosebumps for sure. We’ve been waiting two hours for this moment!

Key Detail: Morgan Freeman’s deadpan narration prevents things from getting too hysterical: “Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit-smelling foulness I can’t even imagine…or maybe I just don’t want to.”

Rocky (1976)

The Moment: The post-bout reunion between Sylvester Stallone and Talia Shire, after a punishing fifteen rounds with Apollo Creed. No matter that Stallone sounds like a harpooned whale when he’s bellowing “Aaaadriaaaaaann!” It’s still a pretty romantic moment.

Goosebumps or Grin? The goosebumps start when Creed and Rocky embrace, and don’t disappear until the credits roll.

Key Detail: The way that the result of the bout is being read out in the background, but neither Rocky or Adrian seem to care. The fact that Rocky actually loses is another nice touch.

Dirty Dancing (1987)

The Moment: “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” Even if you’ve not seen Dirty Dancing , you’ll know the line. And with his bizarrely incomprehensible one-liner duly dispensed, Patrick Swayze proceeds to bust some not inconsiderable moves to the strains of “I’ve had the time of my life”. Groovy.

Goosebumps or Grin?
This is very much a guilty pleasure, so if you have to grin, try and stifle it with a sneeze…

Key Detail:
Swayze’s leather jacket. In case it wasn’t obvious, this man is a rebel!

Ocean's Eleven (2001)

The Moment: After all the thrills and spills of the heist sequence, a moment of calm descends as the group gathers to enjoy the fountain display outside the Bellagio hotel. One by one they drift away, leaving old-timer Carl Reiner as the last man standing. All the while Debussy’s Claire De Lune plays majestically in the background…it’s a beautiful scene.

Goosebumps or Grin? The stars are all grinning…it’d be rude not to join in!

Key Detail:
Has anyone ever looked prouder than Brad Pitt does when he’s looking up and down his crew? It’s a nice touch.

An Officer And A Gentleman (1982)

The Moment: When Richard Gere gets togged-up in his best navy whites and scoops a lovestruck Debra Winger into his arms, carrying her out of her boring old job and off into the sunset. The Simpsons ' spoof works equally well if Gere isn’t your cup of tea…

Goosebumps or Grin? It’s a bit sickly, granted, but we’d wager you’ll find yourself smiling despite your better judgment.

Key Detail: The part where Gere lifts her up and practically chucks her five feet in the air. Settle down mate…

George is GR's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it.