The Screening Room Blog
Friday, December 21, 2007
Top 10 Life-affirming Movie Moments
Hi folks,

The end of the year is a time for reflection and looking ahead to the future. With that in mind, we've picked our top 10 life-affirming on-screen moments.

The Screening Room's Top 10 Life-affirming Movie Moments >>

Some of our choices: The end of "It's A Wonderful Life" (naturally), "I Am Spartacus" (of course) and "The Shawshank Redemption."

But what are yours? What movie moments restore your faith in humanity, make you want to punch the air or bring a tear to your eye? Post your thoughts here and we'll publish the best.

Labels:

Treasure of The Sierra Madre - In this film you you lose everything material and gain that which cannot be measured.

Harold And Maude - If you wanna sing out, sing out. You gain one of the best soundtracks ever and the freedom to be yourself.

Waiting For Guffman. You win the joy of laughter. That's enough to feel good.

The Big Lebowski - You feel good that these are not friends of yours.

Nights of Cabiria - Talk about bouncing back, resilience and the pretzel bending of the human spirit, Holy Fellini - this is a masterpiece.

Eat Drink Man Woman - best Chinese food, beautiful women, couple of old wise men and a wonderful story.

Family Law - One gorgeous woman, her thoughtful husband and his lawyer-father. Makes you wanna move to Argentina.

This is a short list on half a cup of coffee. I'll send this and think of many other great films. But might as well move over and let others comment.
You prefer "Victoire, Victoire!" To "Tomorrow is another day!" !!!! As a "life affirming moment" I cannot think of a better one than Scarlett O'Hara's...And you leave it out.... What would Mammy have said.....
"Oh Auntie Em - There's no place like home."

Best last line of a movie ever - reaches back to the little heart of the child in all of us, safe and secure at home.
How could anyone leave out Schindler's List? If the scene where Schindler is presented with the ring and the scene with the surviving Schindler Jews don't bring tears to your eyes then you need to be checked for a pulse.
It seems you chose best of "American Movies". What about the best of the all time in the world!!. Like Cinema Paradiso, The 400 Blows, Forbidden Games, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. To many to mention.
Field of Dreams: "No Ray, it was YOU."

Excuse me while I go grab a kleenex.
The very last scene in Cinema Paradiso... I'm no romantic, but that one even got to me!

Every moment toward the end of The Great Escape as we root for each of the escapees.
Scent of a Woman, when Col. Frank Slade (Al Pacino)comes to the aid of his assistant Charlie (Chris O'Donnell) during a school disciplinary meeting.
There are many great films, but few have the memorable lines, which define our civilization like Blazin Saddles.
Nothing more needs to be said!
how can any discussion about movie moments of note leave out the bit in Braveheart when Mel Gibson is about to get his guts ripped out (literally), and he cries out, "You may take our lives, but you'll never take our FREEDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMM!!" seriously...WHO didn't tear up/develop mysterious lump in throat over this classic moment?!?
What about Chariots of Fire? Its ending has to rank up there with the life-affirming moments.
Rambo III - Rambo is assigned to lead a mission to help the Taliban Mujahedeen rebels who are fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The movie begins with a tribute the the Taliban freedom fighters. Amazing how the world has changed. Now America demonises the Talban as 'terrorists'.
Disney's MULAN: When she reaches the top of the pole during training it shows there are different ways to accomplish goals and sheer brute strength is not always the answer; later she can actually do it as what she is--female--and be respected.
Grease with travolta and oliva.

Dumbo

Forest Gump

Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy.
Several heartwarming moments in two movies that I believe deserve mention are:

"Field of Dreams", when the young baseball player, Archie Graham steps over the mystical baseline to return as the elder doctor Graham, played by Burt Lancaster. He thereby gives up his dream of heaven to save the life of the farmer’s (Kevin Costner) young daughter. In the same movie, Kevin Costner's struggles are redeemed, when his relationship to his father is reconciled in a final game of catch.

“Forrest Gump” - As a young boy, Forrest Gump, encumbered by leg braces, is running desperately away from a group of bullies. His girlfriend screams, "Run, Forrest! Run!" He struggles to run, and the braces fall magically away, allowing him to run like no one has ever seen. Through him we see that we can break the shackles of what we perceive to be our limits
Brazil - Sam Lowery meets his old friend from school on the way to the office and catches a glimpse on CCTV of the woman he was dreaming about the previous night.

Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - Clive Candy looks back over his life and the promise to his new wife comes flooding back into his mind, "Promise to stay just as you are, and this (making the sign of a promise) is a lake"

Heat - "Told you I'm never going back" One way of keeping a promise. Robert de Niro's dying words to Al Pacino as he lies fatally wounded on the airport runway.

Il Postino - "Peotry belongs to those who need it, not those who wrote it" Self explanatory, really.

The Mission - The opening scene - over the waterfall
A Christmas Carol - With Alistair Sim has to be one of the most loved films at Christmas. It's a classic up there with It's A Wonderful Life. I can't believe it's not in the top ten when some of the other films have little to do with or nothing to do with the real meaning of Christmas.
Gentlemen, you forgot the words of John Wayne in The Searchers after that long ordeal looking for his niece and saying she was no more a white person, those were
"Come on Debbie let's go home" the very proof family love is forever no matter what happens to people.

Best regards.
James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams; "People will come Ray, people will most certainly come"
After repeated viewings, I still choke up when Governor Gertrude Lang addresses Glenn Holland at the surprise farewell in the auditorium (Mr. Holland's Opus):

"Mr. Holland had a profound influence on my life and on a lot of lives I know. But I have a feeling that he considers a great part of his own life misspent. Rumor had it he was always working on this symphony of his. And this was going to make him famous, rich, probably both. But Mr. Holland isn't rich and he isn't famous, at least not outside of our little town. So it might be easy for him to think himself a failure. But he would be wrong, because I think that he's achieved a success far beyond riches and fame. Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life."
Life affirming? How about the empty tomb at the end of The Passion of the Christ. His resurrection redeemed us all. Merry Christmas everyone.
Beaches - Bette Midler's "The Wind Beneath My Wings" brings out the hankies every time.

Life is Beautiful - A father's love for his son was never so poignant.
Despite the hopelessness and utter lack of humanity in the concentration camp, the message Guido sends to his son, Giosue, as he feigns a comic march to his death can't be any more life affirming (Life is Beautiful)!
One of my favorites is in "A Time to Kill" when a man bursts out of the courthouse doors to the crowd yelling, "Innocent! He's innocent!"
And the crowd (and the whole movie theater) cheered.
"Grand Canyon" with Kevin Kline & Danny Glover-the scene where Kevin Kline's wife is jogging, passes a homeless man, and the man states, under his breath, "the baby needs you as much as you need her", referring to the baby the wife found abandoned. The wife was thinking about possibly adopting the child beforehand.
It just shows that if your Higher Power (whomever that may be) wants to let you know something, it can come in many ways. Be open to all possibilities.
The "band of brothers" speech before the Battle of Agincourt, as presented by Kenneth Branagh in the 1989 movie "Henry V".
As an adult, I learned of a rich double meaning to the moving scene in Casablanca: Many of the cast in that scene were exiles, and shooting that scene was so moving that many of them had real tears in their eyes.
"Years ago my mother used to say to me...'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me" - Jimmy Stewart in "Harvey" (1950)
1989 When Kenneth Branagh gave his St. Crispin’s Day Speech prior to the battle Agincourt. I almost charged down the isle of the theater
I think "The Apartment" deserves to be on this list, with Shirley MacLaine running back to Jack Lemmon
The first and best ROCKY!! Come on, it's become cliche, but we were all moved that very first time we saw it!
"Patch Adams" This film teaches us its not always about the money but a few actually do care. Its a good life lesson to learn.
And what about Schinlder's List??? Life is Beautiful????


Life-affirming movies - you bet!!
"Hey Dad, you want to have a catch?"

-Field of Dreams.

Should be #1 on your list.
Come on folks....a list of just 10? If the list was a larger I would add the boom box scene with John Cusack in "Say Anything". Life, at its core, is really about the persuit of love and happiness.
Brian Jones, Connecticut
Lean on Me- when the entire student body joins the teacher singing to them for the chorus "Lean on Me"...
Although I think the list is very good, two movies that I think are missing from the list: Forrest Gump and Rudy. Each movie displays the beauty and accomplishment that comes from pure determination and will to succeed.
The list would not be complete unless it included...

The end of the Forest Gump Movie when he meets his son and asks...Is he smart ?
Field of Dreams - When Amy Madigan tells Kevin Costner, "If you feel you should do this thing, then I think you should do it," is the ultimate act of support. Even though it could cost them their home and security, dreams can only come true with the support that shows through. Not a dry eye in the house, at least not in my house.
Private Ryan as a life-affirming moment? Tom Hanks's character has caused the deaths of several soldiers, including himself, due to the earlier release of a German solider his colleagues warned him not to let go. But if the character comes up with a pithy phrase, all is forgiven? Give me a break.
No movie line gives me more goose bumps than when Nathaniel (Daniel Day-Lewis) says to Cora (Madeleine Stowe) under the waterfall in "Last of the Mohicans":

"No matter what occurs, just stay alive, I WILL find you..."
Hoosiers...Jimmy Chipwood makes the final shot of the state finals in basketbll. Fading speech by Gene Hackman...
Three overlooked films...

Big Fish. Will's epiphany while describing his father's death to him. There's not always comfort in facts, and a bit of whimsy is what makes life truly interesting.

Trainspotting. The final scene, as Renton escapes with all the hope and conviction that he needs. We are left not knowing if he will succeed, but you can't help but feel the hope.

Garden State. Two notable scenes, in fact. Andrew's final conversation with his father. Perhaps forgiveness still requires the need to feel pain along with everything else, and "that's OK." Also, the scene in the airport as Andrew is about to leave, and makes a final choice. It's not always important to understand the choices a person makes; exploring the emotional unknown is more rewarding than not.
The ending of Charlie Chaplin's masterpiece, "City Lights" embracing the emotional crescendo of the most humane and human of traits, the grace of charity freely given. Voluptuously realized when a young woman realizes her sponsor is not a man of means but a good hearted vagabond. A moment so astonishingly realized it achieves a sublime transcendence. Someone aske me if I had any real regrets in my life. All I could think to say was never being able to again see City Lights for the first time.
Let's not forget the river scene from "My Best Friend's Wedding" where Dermot Mulroney tells Julia Roberts that if you love someone...you Just Say IT! Then he dances with her while singing Tony B's song The Way You Look Tonight.
Still timeless after all these years.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--the scene where the group is out of the institution and rent a boat. The owner is dubious of the group but when Jack Nicholson's character introduces them as Doctors he nods as if then, OK. But Jack's character introduces the one guy he doesn't like as Mr. so and so and ticks him off. Captures human nature at its most real.
Lord of the Rings Trilogy -

Sam carries Frodo to the top of Mt. Doom

Aragorn crowned king

Merry and Pippin defeating Sauraman

and many, many more!!
The top ten is fine with me and everyone's other choices are good too. My four personal choices are ending of Chaplin's City Lights, John Wayne holding Natalie Wood in The Searchers, Kevin Costner calling his dad by name in Field of Dreams, and Dumbo's mom cradling him during the song "Baby Mine."
I'd like to add two incredible independent films to this list:

TO END ALL WARS (starring Kiefer Sutherland) is probably the most incredible "war related" film I've ever seen, and it deals with hatred, vengence, and forgiveness in the most shocking and inspiring way...

THE END OF THE SPEAR is also a true-life story about the brutal murder of American missionaries in Ecuador and their families' amazing response which led to the salvation of one of the last cannibalistic tribes of the 20th century. The latter is also special, since my parents were friends of the family, and to see it so well portrayed on screen was a thrilling experience.
Paths of Glory. The ending. Enough said.
How about any scene from the original "Bishops Wife"? I dare anyone not to be moved by Cary Grant's performance in that one.
How about "Life is Beautiful"? There's a scene in the concentration camp where the little boy goes on the loud speaker and cries out "Bonjourno, Principessa!" so that his mother can hear him. Reminds me that even in the darkest of times, there's light and there's hope.
Cinema Paradiso - the modern classic. Returning to his Sicilian village on the news of the death of his cinema projectionist friend Alfredo, Salvatore, the local boy made good as a film director, re-plays all the edited kisses from the films of his youth collected by Alfredo. The cheer beauty of this scene is its simplicity and elegance in bringing together the joys and sadness of the march of time. Pure genius
The Muppet Movie... The end, when all the Muppes finally make it to Hollywood and Orson Wells signs them to the "The Standard Rich and Famous" contract, then the closing song... Perfect ending to the perfect family film.
Signs...by Shyamalan --- A story about how a mans faith in god changes with circumstances..
Several moments in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants". Amazing film.
I have to say I disagree with "James- earn this. Earn it." That moment was hardly life-affirming for me; it was heart wrenching. "James, we all died trying to get you back home so you'd better have a good life so we won't have died in vain." Not the most uplifting sentiment, in my opinion.

I am somewhat surprised no one has mentioned anything from To Kill a Mockingbird. Namely, the part after Tom Robinson's verdict. As Atticus gathers his things and leaves the courtroom, all of the black people- confined to the balcony- stood for him one by one. They couldn't do very much for the white lawyer who was brave enough to stand up for one of their own, but they literally stood for him. Accompanied, of course, by the Rev. Sykes' comment to Scout: "Miss Jean Louise, stand up! Your father's passing."
To Kill a Mockingbird - from the Rev Sykes at the end of the trial to Scout: "Jean Louise. Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing."
Bob and Charlotte's farewell embrace and the smile on Bob's face as he rides towards the airport in "Lost in Translation." No dialog necessary.
Rudy. The scene where his teammates lay out their jerseys, one by one, on the coach's desk to convince him to let Rudy play.

Has anyone mentioned Braveheart? The final scene, where Robert the Bruce leads his fellow Scotsmen to win their freedom.

V for Vendetta. Natalie Portman walks out into the rain and raises her arms as she claims her freedom from fear.
The Godfather: The scene where the Don is explaining to Sonny about his transgressions during the herion conversation with the Turk. What we learn is that when you say too much and loose your loyalty it can be fatal. Hence the Godfather is shot....
When he tells his son to hide in the locker and not come out until he hears nothing....Life is Beautiful is by far better than mojority of those movies on the list. BELLA!
Life affirming movies. Chariots of Fire a film about athletes and bigotry good for the music alone.
Finding Neverland, how imagination helps and heals those hurting while creating a literary masterpiece.
Jacob the Liar, a film that shows the power of hope.
RUDY RUDY RUDY RUDY RUDY RUDY

nod from the coach and he's in...

cue inspirational music as rudy sacks the quarterback to end the game and be carried off the field
"Contact!".by Carl Sagan R.I.P..We are not alone!
"Its A Wonderful Life" deserves the number one spot. "Life is Beautiful" shows there are good people in the world that can find happiness, even in your most darkeset times. Live it. Learn it. Love it.
"Sophie's Choice", Meryl Streep at her best.
CITY LIGHTS by Charlie Chaplin...period.
A movie has never moved me like the end of this one.
The two prior posts about this movie were beautifully spot-on.
All of the responses above talk about what a character said...Chaplin gave a gift to the world when,without a single word,told a story of the most basic human emotions...love and acceptance.
The final scene...in one short minute ...runs the gamut of humor,shame,compassion,hope,acceptance and finally...well,if you havent seen this masterpiece yet...treat yourself and watch it.
Two moments in A Beautiful Mind: The moment of John Nash's speech when he wins the Nobel Prize and all the people giving him their pens.

The moment after Aragorn's crowned, when all people bow for the Hobbits in LOTR The Return of the King.

The latm minutes of Scent of a Woman, starting at the moment where Col. Slade enters the room.

The scene where Nathan Algren presents the sword of Katsumoto to the Emperor in The Last Samurai.

The last minutes of It Could Happen to You.

Bridge to Terabithia, all scenes with Jesse and Leslie in them, from the moment they first cross the river until the tragedy. Every time they had a scene, I just got a big smile on my face.
How about the great speech given to JB and KG by the open mic host in The Pick of Destiny? It's not in the pick, it's inside you... The part where Jack finds out Kyle spent the rent money on a guitar for him is pretty darn beautiful, too.
ONE FLEW OVER THE COOKOO'S NEST... how can you forget the scene when jack nicolson's commentry creates a moment on being denied to watch the baseball game...
C'mon people...The first Planet of the apes... when Charlton Heston dropped to his knees upon seeing the Statue of liberty half buried in the beach. Nowadays, not such a crazy ending compared to real life.

God help us all.
"somthing for joey " true story and the one time i made my father cry
The whole notion of "life-affirming" moments smacks of bad pop psychology and sythetically manipulated emotion. Most of the moments mentions--particularly that from "It's a Wonderful Life"--are the worst kind of manipulative sentimental twaddle.

Give me "All About Eve". "The Women", and "The Right Stuff any day.
Although there are many upon many speeches, lines, and scenes that were life-affirming and those posted by The Screening Room and others are very good, I feel that there is one more that needed to be added.

Independance Day- the speech given by the President before the final attack began

Though Independance Day was not well recieved by the critics, the speech made by the President (played by Bill Pullman) is simply perfect. If he were president, we would have a good speech every time he came on television.
Dude, where'e my Car!!!!, enought said
Phoebe Cates emerging out of the swimming pool in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."
I totally agree with The Searchers and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Also, Schindler's list really should have made it on there.

I would have added The Aviator to the mix. Whenever I am feeling overcome by compulsions or brain quirks, I watch it and believe if Howard Hughes could accomplish that much in spite of his problems, then perhaps I can too.

American History X as well. I have not yet made it through the entire movie without the floodgates opening. The reason this movie speaks to me so much is not necessarily the ending, but the change that is brought on in Derek. When I see his drastic change, I am inspired to change myself.

A definite thumbs up on Shawshank and Ryan. Those are my standby feelgood, empowering films.
The first thing that came to mind when reading this article(that I do notice was mentioned in other posts) was Life is Beautiful. The love and hope that lasts even through a time of pain and nothingness and eventual death. wow.
Rudy
and The Natural
I'm brought to tears by the end of Antoine Fisher when he meets the extended family he always dreamed about.

Another good "moment" is the end of the "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" when the newly crowed King says to the Hobbits: "My friends, you shall bow to no-one" whereupon everyone at the coronation bows down to the 4 hobbits.
"A Raisin in the Sun", a 1961 movie starring Sidney Poitier and Claudia McNeil, has many thought provoking lines, such as:

After slapping her daughter, Mrs. Younger says, "In my mother's house, there is still God. Say it!"

"Your wife just said she's going to destroy your child. Tell her we're a people that give life to children, not destroy it."
To Kill a Mockingbird had two of the greatest moments. Atticus Finch defending a black man vigorously in a 1930s Souther town. That took guts, to stand up in for what he believed despite it going aginast most of societies opinion.
Hossiers when the coach benchs a no disciplined player leaving 4 players on the floor to play agianst 5.
Field of Dreams..."Hey Dad, wanna have a catch?" The crowning line in a movie full of powerful sentiments.
What about Mr. Holland’s Opus. The final scene is a real tear jerker as the main character has all who he has affected throughout his life come together to show there appreciation for his sacrifice and commitment.
To me, the scene from Forrest Gump where Jenny & Forrest meet in the reflecting pool at the Washington Monument, stands out as one of the greatest movie moments.

More recently, the closing minutes of Akeelah and the Bee are about as moving as you can get. When she hears her winning word (pulchritude), and you see all the faces of the people who have helped her, spelling it....gets me every single time.
Breaking Away - the ragtag bunch of locals (aka cutters) who win a bike race against the priveledge fraternity boys. Dennis Quaid's best film ever shows that if you keep perservering it doesn't matter where you come from.
The campfire scene in "Glory," where, just before the attack on Fort Wagner, the members of the Massachusetts 54th sing a prayer of unsurpassed beauty, and tell each other, "I love the 54th." (If you're ever in Boston, don't miss the monument to the 54th, on the Statehouse grounds near Boston Common.)
Mar Adentro,Volver, To Live, The Color Purple
What about the court scene in "To Kill a Mockingbird" when Atticus Finch (Greg Peck) is leaving the
court and all the people in the upper gallery rise as a matter of respect and the old minister tells Scout and Jem to get up because "your father is passing by"
A moment of pathos, not seen very often.
Gone with the wind when Scarlet grabs the dirt and says I will never go hungry again. then turn off the movie that is when it should have ended.
The President's speech to the troops in "Independence Day:

"Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. "Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"
Even though it's a newer movie, I gotta add the "Pursuit of Happyness". Did anyone not cry when Will Smith's character was in the subway bathroom holding his son and trying to keep the door locked?
The movie Always, with Holly Hunter and Richard Dreyfuss. I agree with The Bishop's Wife, best Christmas movie of all time.

Armaggedon when Bruce Willis is telling his daughter he won't be able to keep his promise and come home. Deep Impact when the boy comes for the girl and the Mom realising this is the only chance for her and her baby sister, gives the baby to the girl and tells her to go. Or the Reporter stands with her father as the wave is coming and confesses.
"Deep Impact" when the shuttle crew is discussing their options and are going over how they have the nukes to blow up the big asteroid and the engineer says "But how will we get home?" and the co-pilot simply answers "We don't."

or when the doctor is blasted into space and the co-pilot is freaking out and Fish reaches over and whispers "It's ok...it's ok" bringing her back to the mission at hand.
OK, what about the scene in True Grit, when John Wayne turns puts the reins in his teeth and yells "Fill your hands you son of a &%$#@!"
I agree that "The Shawshank Redemption" is one of the Top 10, filled with many memorable scenes. The best to me -- Andy's mantra: "Get busy living, or get busy dying."
How about the entire movie of "Life is Beautiful"

Here is one of my favorite quotes:
"The game starts now. You have to score one thousand points. If you do that, you take home a tank with a big gun. Each day we will announce the scores from that loudspeaker. The one who has the fewest points will have to wear a sign that says "Jackass" on his back. There are three ways to lose points. One, turning into a big crybaby. Two, telling us you want to see your mommy. Three, saying you're hungry and want something to eat. "
I may have missed it, but I didn't see A Few Good Men mentioned. Who doesn't tear up when Tom Cruise says "You don't have to wear a uniform to have honor" and then gets saluted by the same soldier who previously had no respect for him?
i was going to put To Kill a Mockingbird. It is already there. Great reading of the comments. Makes me smile and remember some movies.
I'm surprised Children of Men was not mentioned. It was without question the most impacting film of 2007.

Specifically, after sitting through the tragic and potentially meaningless deaths of two protagonists, the audience is saddened.

Yet, after Clive Owens rescues the baby from certain death -- to see the faces of the refugees and soldiers as they view the new hope for the world was truly inspiring. Despite their mortal wounds and the constant barrage of bullets and rockets, every human present stands in awe of the only child on Earth, many choosing to sing and prey. I'm not generally emotional, but that did it for me.

I wish some more recent movies had been named; especially this one.
The 50's version of "Titanic"... Clifton Webb's character had been told earlier by his nasty wife (Barbara Stanwyck) that his son is actually not his. Later, when the last of the lifeboats has left the doomed liner, the boy appears at his "father's" side....
jeez that one kills me everytime.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Miracle

You Can't Take it With You

Remember the Titans

Rudy

Benny and Joon

The Lion King

Schindler's List

The African Queen

National Velvet

A Walk to Remember

The Princess Bride
COOL RUNNINGS, when they achieve the single greatest honor (representing their people & carrying their flag before the World) and when they carry their crippled sled across the finish line in a show of respect for the sport.
Two movie moments come to mind.
1. "My Left Foot". Little Christie Brown has been left for worthless under the stairs of his house. He has never gone to school, has never been taught anything. He surprises everyone by writing the word "Mother" with his left foot. Next scene - his father enters the local pub with young Christie slung over his shoulders and announces to everyone: "This is Christie Brown. My son. Genius!" Every father and every son who has seen that seen would shed a tear.
2. Charlie Chaplin in City Lights. The Little Tramp has been mistaken for a millionaire by a blind girl. Once she gets her sight back, Charlie avoiods her out of fear that she will find out the truth. When she does find out who her "benefactor" really is, she says something to the tune of "Now I can really see"! What a beautiful human touch to a memorably humurous story.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens:

Scrooge undergoes a complete change in his life for the better as he says to the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come,
" I am not the man I was"
How could we not include Dodesukaden?
The Sound of Music - when the entire audience of the Salzburg Music Festival breaks out in a chorus of "Edelweiss," in defiance of the impending Nazi movement.
My Ultimate moment:

Joe Versus the Volcano - Tom Hanks is exhausted starving to death on a raft and wakes up to see the moon filling the sky with wonder and awe. He struggles to rise to touch the moon and says "I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life."

I can never watch it without tearing up.
"terms of endearment"... as emma (debra winger) passes... aurora (shirley maclaine) hugs flap (jeff daniels) and says "there's nothing harder"

i'm also fond of "meet joe black"... the closing scene with anthony hopkins explains "life ending" to brad pitt
"Almost Famous": The rock band Stillwater is on the verge of total collapse. The tension is almost unbearable as the hungover lead guitarist returns to the tour bus after he quits the band and has a wild night of booze and drugs. But miraculously, they are saved by a moment of regenerative grace. Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" comes on the radio and one by one the band members start to sing along. They/we are reminded of the powerful connections we build with each other when we simply sing a song together.
Rudy

The crowd in the Stadium in South Bend is chanting "Rudy, Rudy, Rudy------". The coach relents and sends Rudy into the game. He makes the tackle on the very last play. The crowd goes nuts!!!
Who can forget Remember the Titans great movie- great ending
Lord Of The Rings, part 1
Boramir struggles against the power of the Ring, losing himself to the pull, but triumphs in the end. In his death, we feel his redemption - and ours. Leaves me crying and cheering at the same time.
How about the end of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy has to say goodbye to the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion & Tin Man? I cry every time I see it - even after all these years. Or, in Titanic when Rose lets go of Jack when she realizes he's dead. To see Jack go under the water...I cry every time I see that as well.
The Grapes of Wrath:Tom Joad: Then it don't matter. I'll be all around in the dark - I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there, too.
There's been a lot of great suggestions, but a huge one I haven't seen yet, that has to fit the title as well as any others...Pride of the Yankees. The fact that it came out only year after Gehrig's death, I can't even imagine the impact it had then considering how moving it still is today.

And while it's certainly not a verbatim account of Gehrig's life - a two-hour movie never could - it was authentic & true.

While faced with a fatal aliment, so publicly, and to deal with it with such grace and strength - those words are as life-affirming as it gets.

"Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
I was never impressed with the ending of "Dead Poet's Society." Hawke's character was the only one who truly learned the lesson, standing and saying "O Captain My Captain!" from Whitman's great elegy to Lincoln. The other students stood as well, following once again rather than showing that they learned their teacher's lesson about individual expression.
No big disagreements with your list of 10 -- but here's one with the most sudden and startling life-affirming moment: "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964), Catherine Deneuve's first film. In the final scene, with just a change in the music from a minor key to a major key and a single "look," it turns from a tragic ending to something a lot more hopeful and happy. (Thumbnail version: 'Don't mourn the love you DIDN'T get - celebrate the one you DID.')
How can you forget the first childhood film that taught me a lesson?

A Charlie Brown Christmas, when Charlie asks if anyone can tell him what Christmas is all about and Linus responds by reciting the story of Jesus' birth from the Bible.

Even at 6 years old, I learned a lesson from that one.

Later in college, I saw "Scrooge" a musical starring Albert Finney who delivers an amazing portrait of the changed man. The TV's in the snack bar part of the cafeteria were playing Scrooge during final exam week at the Univ. of Wis. I had never seen this version before.
At the end when Scrooge tears up all the receipts for all of the debts and tells everyone their debts are paid they sing a song. Practically the entire room in Pop's Club stood up and started singing and dancing along with the film "Thank you very much".

Still makes me cry when I see it, remembering the change in Scrooge and how he says very meekly "Merry Christmas" at the end.

Gotta get a tissue....
uh Rudy is one of the most memorable sports movies. RUDY RUDY RUDY...amazing
Terms of endearment- when Shirley Mclain is screaming at the nurse to "Give my daughter her pain medication" You knew at that moment that SHE was in more pain than her ailing daughter.
Erin Brockovich- When they win the case!!
Signs- when they flash back to Mel Gibsons wife pinned up against the tree and she tells him what to say to the children and his brother, as she's dying. Swing away Merrill
How about THE CHAMP? Wake up Champ. OH my gosh, who could contain the tears at Ricky Schroeder trying to wake up Jon Voight?
"Rosebud"
Glad to see people feel the same way about "Victory", I thought I was the only one. Someone mentioned "Sound of Music" as well one that should have made the list.
terminator - astalavista baby
300- this is sparta
Forest Gump: The boat and storm scene where Lt. Dan is screaming into the storm and the calm after the storm, where Lt. Dan makes peace with God.
Rudy- At the end of the movie where Rudy makes the game-ending tackle and is carried off the field on the on everyone's shoulder is a movie moment that has yet met its equal inspiration in my eyes
Rocky - Who in this world has never been in a situation where you all you wanted was a bit of respect and a sense of accomplishment? This movie gives everyone faith that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything you want!

Lucas - Another movie about growing up as a teen. It gives a very realistic look at how cruel kids can be and at the same time the ending shows us that they can still learn a bit of humility.
Incredible Journey - when the 2 (yellow retriever and siamese cat) pets emerge from the woods but the white bull terrier is not seen immediately - the dramatic pause - the pained look of the parents and then the Bodger(?) emerges to the relief of the family and audience. If that old dog can make it through impossible odds, so can any of us.
--- The Quiet Man -- John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara (GREAT MOVIE, beautiful scenery.
--- The Grapes of Wrath -- Henry Fonda (EXCELLENT, FANTASTIC, heartfelt, touching)
--- On Golden Pond -- Henry Fonda & Katherine Hepburn. Jane Fonda. (All played the part perfect...just masters at their best...actors)
--- Sabrina -- Audrey Hepburn, Humprey Bogart, William Holden.
--- Roman Holiday -- Audrey Hepburn.
--- Staloc 13 -- William Holden
What about the following sports classics?

RUDY

HOOSIERS

BREAKING AWAY!!!!!
While I definitely agree with It's a Wonderful LIfe as #1 I was shocked not to see the final reels of Cinema Paradiso on this list! I challenge anyone with a heart to watch that movie and NOT cry like a baby at the end. It's a love affair with movies themselves, and a place and time.
The parade scene in ANIMAL HOUSE. Enough said!
One of the best movies The Fighting Sullivan's- All 5 All 5. bring a box of kleenex on this one
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - The speech at the end. Lost causes are the one's worth fighting for!
Gaslight - Paula Paula Paula
Shadow of a Doubt - Notice Joesph Cotton's hands.
The Women - Meow
Young Frankenstein - Puttin on the ritz!
Adam's Rib- Competitor, Competitor, Competitor.
Kelly's Hero's - we ain't go no booze
In Cinema Paradiso where he is given the reel of all the kisses...it was so moving and a movie moment I will never forget.
Norma Rae

When Sally Fields stands on the table with the cardboard sign that says "UNION".

Still gives me chills and inspired me when I made signs for picketing. Shortly after, I was promoted into management. Funny how that worked out.
CRASH...the entire scene of when the storekeeper shoots the locksmith and the locksmith's little girl jumps in front to save him. I cry like a baby everytime!
You definitely got the #1 film right--It's a Wonderful Life--best movie ever. Watch it every Christmas eve!! But there are several others that could've made the list and didn't. Al Pacino's brilliant portrayal of Frank Serpico in "Serpico", Mel Gibson's breakout performance in the movie "Gallipoli" (1983). And one of my personal favorites, "Philadelphia" brought the AIDS crisis to the forefront in corporate America and not only on the streets of the homeless and drug users. The last movie I feel that should have been there is "one Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It showed the way that the mentally ill were treated in the mid-20th century in state institutions and it still brings tears and anger to my eyes and soul even when I watch it today.
I, too, am a fan of Guido in the movie "Life is Beautiful." There are many life-affirming moments: (1) the scene where he whisks away his "Principesa" on a horse, (2) the moment when his wife says she, too, wants to go to the concentration camp because her husband and son are going, (3) the scene when the father translates for the Nazi soldier and turns the concentration camp into a game for his toddler-son, (4) the scene when father and son get on the loudspeaker to communicate to his mother, (5) when Guido saves his son from being discovered at a Nazi dinner when he accidentally speaks in Italian (Guido pretends to be teaching all of the German children to speak Italian, hence covering up his son's mistake in saying, of all things, "thanks" in Italian.), (6) the moment when Guido marches humorously off to his awful death, (7) the moment the little boy first sees his trophy for having won the contest: the tank driven by an American solider, and (8) when the little boy sees his mother from atop the tank and yells out "Mommy, Mommy!" and climbs off and into her arms.

If you haven't seen "Life is Beautiful," you are missing out. The entire movie is life-affirming.

Although less humorous and sometimes less life-afirming, the movie "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a good, if not great, adaptation of Harper Lee's one and only award-winning novel. I concur with the other blogs' statements about the scene in which Reverend Sykes says "Scout, stand up, your father's passin'." I also think the scene with Boo Radley at the end of the film is very poignant; this the scene when Scout sees Boo in the corner of the room and realizes it is he who has saved her and her brother from near-death.

I teach high school English and have had my students compare the two characters of Guido from "Life is Beautiful" and Atticus Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird," and my students and I agree that they are two of the best fathers in film..

Lastly, I want to put in a good word for "Forrest Gump" which is one of the most wonderful stories of a person with determination who is able to rise up above disabilities, discrimination, and hardship to tell us the story of our beautiful American history and his own contributions to an overall good society and people.
Cinema Paradiso's last scene is my #1 on the Top 10 Life affirming Movie Moments. By the way, this list should be renamed to "Top 10 Life affirming American Movie Moments", otherwise it just sounds really arrogant.
"Reverend Mother, I have sinned." (Portia Nelson)

"I too Reverend Mother." (Anna Lee)

as they show the Reverend Mother (Peggy Wood) the carburetor at the end of "The Sound of Music" - brings a laugh every time and moves many to tears at the end.
Life as a House w/Kevin Kline. The absolution of dying fulfilled.

Star Wars IV & VI. C'mon people; back to your roots.

Say Anything. John Cusack w/boombox held over his head by nothing but overcoat-clad arms and hope.
Rudy(1993)- Awesome movie, usually neglected in the spot light, because it appears to just be another "sports flick". Despite this thought, the film has a resounding appeal to everyone who views it to stick to their wits and inner strength for their dreams.

Glory(1989)- Follows the first all black volunteer company during the Civil War. The emotional empact of this film always brings tears of appreciation and respect for their sacrifices. Two ideal scenes to search for: When the the 54th pass their fellow soldiers leading to the shoreline, they are saluted by previously hateful and racist comrades, and the final scenes when the company is leading the first attack at dawn of Fort Battery Wagner, the emotion and determination to keep their flag flying proudly admist the bloodshed even if that blood is their own. Amazing film.
Someone Forgot The Movie ( RUDY )
With Sean Astin

Determination Can Go A Long Way
My own personal fave from Animal House. . . "was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! And it's not over now! Who's with me???
"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world,
I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport.
General opinion makes out that we live in a world of hatred and greed. I don't see that. Seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy but it's always there. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers,
none of the phone calls from people on board were messages of hate or revenge, they were all messages of love.
lf you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."

Hugh Grant's opening monologue of my favorite Christmas movie in recent memory chokes me up every time. Pair that with The Beach Boys classic "God Only Knows" in the final scene, and I am instantly filled with an indescribable joy.
Why Forest Gump is not on this list is beyond me.

Also why the Hebrew Hammer is also not on this list is very wrong.
If you were alive in the 70's and watched The ABC Movie of the week, Brian's Song (1971) with James Caan (as Chicago Bears Brian Piccolo) and Billie Dee Williams as Gale Sayers)... you may remember the unforgettable scene.

Gale Sayers: "I love Brian Piccolo. And I'd like all of you to love him too. And so tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068315/plotsummary
I would have to say Life is is Beautiful. Very inspiring film.
All of the above are good, although I think some of your responders don't understand what "life affirming" means.

I agree most strongly with City Lights, Saving Private Ryan, Rudy, Brian's Song, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, To Kill a Mockingbird and Schindler's List.

Here are some more that should have been in.


10. Lion King - When Simba takes that slow, weary walk to stand atop pride rock after finally fulfilling his destiny.

9. The Natural - Hitting the final home run into the lights, then catch with his son.

8. Apollo 13 - when the capsule finally emerges from radio blackout.

7. Almost Famous - Kate Hudson overdoses, and our intrepid 15-year-old reporter hears "My Cherie Amore" as her stomach is being pumped, loving her at her absolute worst moment.

6. Four Brothers - Several scenes

5. The Patriot - When Mel Gibson's youngest runs back to him to try to get him to stay "I promise I'll be good"

4. The final scene of Armageddon where Bruce Willis sacrifices himself, perhaps because by comparison the rest of the movie is so unrealistic.

3. The Abyss - Where Ed Harris resuscitates his ex after drowning her on purpose to save her life.

2. Ladyhawke -- Where Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer kiss right at the moment of sunset.

1. The Elephant Man - "I am not an animal! I am a human being" and the death scene.

After review, these aren't necessarily in order.
The Blues Brothers - When Jake gets the inspiration to re-form the band in church
How ridiculous is this list? Life affirming movies? Blade Runner? Saving Private Ryan?
Clearly, It's a Wonderful Life and Shawshank Redemption deserve to be up their, but Casablanca?
Can you stick to the catagorie, or couldn't you come up with that many?
How about "Lilies of the Field," "The Diary of Anne Frank," "Look Who's coming to Dinner," "My Life," or "The Wizard of Oz"????
I agree with jpotee about Brain's Song, even Rudy would be a better pick than the majority of films on that list.
Do you know what a life affirming movie is?
All I want to say is.. STOP THE SHAKING CAMERA IN ALL MOVIES IT SUCKS REALLY BIG TIME!!!
Lilo & Stitch - not just a simple kids movie. There is so much more to this wonderful movie than meets the eye.It's strongly underwritten with beautiful themes about unconditional love, family and tolerance and reminds us all that for everyone, regardless of background & upbringing, living a good life is a simple choice. The final scenes which are set to "Burning Love" are an absolute joy.

Finding Forrester - a quietly excellent turn by Sean Connery as a reclusive author who reluctantly mentors a gifted black student, and gets so much more than he expected in return. Reminds us all to live rather than exist, and that we all having something to learn and something to teach.
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