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The Best Feel-Good Summer Movies of All Time


May 11, 2023

Hey, movie buffs! Are you looking for a summer flick so incredibly feel-good that you can’t help but watch with a wide grin and a heart full of joy? (OK, maybe there’s a little hyperbole happening there, but you get us.) Let’s dive into a list of the most uplifting, sunshine-filled summer movies ever created. We’ve also got the scoop on where you can stream these summertime favorites right this minute. So, grab your popcorn and let’s get started!

Best Feel-Good Summer Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now

Endless Summer (1966) – Not Rated

This classic documentary follows two surfers in search of the perfect wave. With gorgeous footage of sandy beaches and swelling seas around the globe, it’s a summer-themed flick that takes you back to a time when surfing culture was on top of the world.

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Dazed and Confused (1993) – Rated R

Richard Linklater wrote and directed this movie about various high schoolers on the last day of school. Set in 1976, it captures the time well, with all the promise of summer ahead and the uncertainty of what will come next.

Charade (1963) – Rated PG (Approved)

A woman (Audrey Hepburn) sets out to discover who murdered her husband only to get tangled up with a man (Cary Grant) who isn’t quite what he seems. This lighthearted comedy-mystery is extra enjoyable because of its 1960s Paris backdrop.

Best Feel-Good Summer Movies on Disney+ Right Now

Moana (2016) – Rated PG

Set in Polynesia, this fun and family-friendly animated musical follows teenager Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) as she discovers the right path for herself in life. She teams up with demigod Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) and sets out on the open sea, on a mission to save her island and her people. Fair warning: Moana is a Disney musical, so you’re likely to leave with some earworms rattling around in your brain. “You’re welcome!” 


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The Sound of Music (1965) – Rated G

Young Maria, a novice preparing to become a nun, arrives at the von Trapp home in late summer to be a governess to the family’s seven children. This classic musical, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, has many sing-along-able songs, including Do-Re-Mi,” “Edelweiss,” and “My Favorite Things.”

Hidden Figures (2016) – Rated PG

Based on true events, Hidden Figures tells the story of three Black female mathematicians at NASA during the still-segregated 1960s. Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, and Octavia Spencer star as the barrier-breaking women whose contributions were crucial to the success of the U.S. in the Space Race.

Best Feel-Good Summer Movies on Hulu Right Now

The Princess Bride (1987) – Rated PG

This delightful fairy tale fantasy adventure stars Robin Wright as Buttercup and Cary Elwes as her true love Westley. After a long time away at sea, Westley returns to discover Buttercup is about to be married to an evil prince, so he teams up with a gentle giant and an expert swordsman, fights enemies, and defies death to be with her again. Even if you’ve seen it a dozen times, it’s fun to watch again so you can quote classic lines like “Have fun stormin’ da castle!”


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How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998) – Rated R

Angela Bassett stars as a 40-year-old divorcee who goes on vacation to Jamaica to take stock of her life. There, she meets and falls for a young man, played by Taye Diggs, who helps her love life again. The tropical setting and sexy romance make this a fun, feel-good movie for summer.

Pretty Woman (1990) – Rated R

Pretty Woman is a classic rom-com that stars Julia Roberts as a prostitute whose luck changes one night when a wealthy businessman (Richard Gere) picks her up on Hollywood Boulevard to be his escort for a week. It’s a strictly business arrangement at first, but guess what happens next? 

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) – Rated R

Set in India, Slumdog Millionaire primarily uses flashbacks to tell the story of how Jamal (Dev Patel) went from the Mumbai slums to becoming a game show millionaire. While this movie is a drama, with some very tense and even violent moments, it’s ultimately a feel-good movie about triumphing over adversity.

Best Feel-Good Summer Movies on Paramount+ Right Now

Roman Holiday (1953) – Rated G

Another Audrey Hepburn flick, here she stars opposite the ever-charming Gregory Peck in this William Wyler-directed classic set in 1950s Rome. Hepburn plays a princess who sneaks out to play hooky for a day, not realizing that the very helpful stranger who’s befriended her (Peck) is actually a journalist out to get the biggest scoop of his career. 


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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) – Rated PG-13

High schooler Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) fakes being sick to skip school. His hypochondriac best friend Cameron and girlfriend Sloane join him as he tools around Chicago in a 1961 Ferrari, goes to a baseball game, sings on a parade float, and more, all while his bitter sister and suspicious principal try to catch him out. Watch to see if this popular fan theory about the John Hughes masterpiece holds up.

Bend It Like Beckham (2002) – Rated PG-13

Parminder Nagra stars as a British-Indian girl defying her traditional Sikh upbringing to follow her passion for soccer – er, football, as the Brits call it. This charming sports dramedy also stars Keira Knightley as her friend and teammate and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as their coach and love interest.

Best Feel-Good Summer Movies on HBO Max Right Now

Crazy Rich Asians (2018) – Rated PG-13

A girl-next-door Chinese-American professor (Constance Wu) doesn’t realize just how incredibly wealthy her boyfriend’s (Henry Golding) family is – or how much his mother (Michelle Yeoh) does not want him to marry her – until she travels to Singapore and meets them for the first time. With glitz, glamor, incredible fashion, and far-flung destinations, it’s an absolute blast to watch.


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National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – Rated R

A family road trip from Chicago to California doesn’t go the way Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) hoped it would. On a mission to enjoy the amusement park Wallyworld, the family deals with a flat tire, a lost wallet, a dead relative tied to the top of the Family Truckster, and more in this classic ‘80s comedy.

The Goonies (1985) – Rated PG

About to be forced out of the homes they grew up in because of greedy land developers (hey, it was the ‘80s), a group of teenage friends goes on one last adventure together. They follow a map, hoping it will lead to a pirate’s treasure, while a gang of criminals closes in on them.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006) – Rated R

This quirky comedy tells the story of a dysfunctional family on a road trip to get their young daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) to the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, and Alan Arkin also star.

Best Feel-Good Summer Movies on Peacock Right Now

Dirty Dancing (1987) – Rated PG-13

This coming-of-age romantic drama takes place in the summer of 1963 at a Catskills Mountains resort, telling the story of a teenage girl, Baby (Jennifer Grey), who learns how to dance from instructor Johnny (Patrick Swayze). While it tackles some heavy themes including social class, the generation gap, and even abortion, ultimately the love story and the dancing make it a feel-good movie must-watch.

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Bridesmaids (2011) – Rated R

In this hit comedy, sad sack Annie (Kristen Wiig) agrees to be maid of honor for her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph). Also helping out is Lillian’s glamorous new friend Helen (Rose Byrne), who is better than Annie at basically everything, bringing out Annie’s insecurities over her lackluster love life and career.

Shrek (2001) – PG

The animation of this early CGI movie looks a little dated now. But the story about an ogre named Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) who must rescue Princess Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz) to regain his beloved swamp still works. With kooky characters (including the Eddie Murphy-voiced sidekick Donkey), fun songs, and clever humor that’s funny for kids and relatable for adults, Shrek is still a great time over 20 years later.