Movies to Watch Cheering Yourself Up from Dark Times

Spring is coming, but the weather hasn’t quite caught up. And you’ve probably seen all of this year’s Oscar-nominated films by now. So what are the winter-and recession-weary to do?

Check out these older, acclaimed movies that will give you some much-needed hope in these dark times:

  • RockyYou’ve probably seen it a million times, but the story of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa, who starts out as a debt collector and works his way to contending for the heavyweight championship of the world, always gives me hope. This sleeper hit won the Oscar for best picture in 1976. 

  • All the President’s Men: You know the story by now: Two journalists, the legendary Woodward and Bernstein (played by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman) unearth info that ultimately takes down the president. Well, it makes me feel good about my profession, anyway. This movie won several Academy Awards in 1976.

  • The Shawshank Redemption: One of my favorite movies, and a completely hopeful experience despite being set almost completely in a prison. Tim Robbins plays a banker wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and builds a career of sorts in prison –which ultimately sets him free. Shawshank was nominated for best picture in 1994. 

  • Driving Miss DaisyThis story of an enduring friendship is based on Morgan Freeman’s Hoke becoming the chauffer to Miss Daisy, a Southern widow played by Jessica Tandy. The film tackles racism, class distinctions and stereotypes of the South and won best picture for 1989.

  • Dead Poets SocietyRobin Williams plays an unorthodox English teacher who helps his students at a boys’ prep school view life in a new way. This movie won the Oscar for best original screenplay in 1990.