The 10 Best Movies That Inspire Gratitude | Ultimate Guide

Gratitude, which could all experience a little more of these days, is the feeling of thankfulness and the desire to return kindness to others, which we can often be inspired to do a little more of by watching an uplifting film

If you’re looking for “feel good” movies with themes centered around gratitude, we’ve got you covered in this guide!

Questions We’ll Answer About Movies That Inspire Gratitude:

  • What Are The Best Movies That Inspire Gratitude?

What Are The Best Movies That Inspire Gratitude?

Freaky Friday (2003)

You have to dig a little deeper here to see themes of gratitude in Freak Friday, but after letting it sink in, you’ll see that gratitude is at the core of this film.

It’s no surprise that in man families mother and daughter’s personalities can clash, especially as children grow older, which can leave relationships quite strained. In Freaky Friday this is on full display with Tess Coleman (the mother) is a therapist with a confident yet self-righteous attitude. On the other hand, Anna (the daughter) is an aspiring musician and has a more free spirit and rebellious streak.

After receiving a mysterious and magical fortune cookie, Tess and Anna discover that they have somehow switched bodies after waking up the next day.

The film is about putting yourself in the other’s shoes, or in this case, body. The message of broadening your understanding of how others live is something we should all stop to think about before jumping to conclusions about any one person.

Gratitude of course plays a major role here as Freaky Friday carries a message gratitude for our lives and the sacrifices our loved ones make to ensure a comfortable and safe lifestyle. 

Duration: 1 h 37 min

Rating: PG

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

It’s A Wonderful Life is probably the ultimate film about gratitude.

A classic family movie from the 40s, It’s a Wonderful Life has become an iconic Christmas movie where gratitude takes front and center. The film follows businessman George Bailey (James Stewart), who is going through an incredible hardship and ponders his worth to his family and friends.

Bailey is portrayed as a kind and selfless character, however, when his uncle accidentally misplaced a considerable amount of money from his business, Bailey realizes that this could lead to him losing his company and even going to jail. 

Utterly heartbroken, Bailey contemplated suicide, thinking his family would be better off without him.

In his darkest moments, an angel appears and shows George what the life of others would be if he were never born. 

The film is an uplifting story of how one’s kindness dramatically affects the people around them. Bailey sees that his actions did make a positive change in the world and, as such, becomes thankful for his life and resolves to continue helping others. 

Duration: 2 h 10 min

Rating: PG

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

From one holiday movie to the next, we join the iconic Peanuts gang for their celebration of Thanksgiving. Can there be any better time of year than Thanksgiving and Christmas to inspire gratitude?

In this classic Charlie Brown adventure, the crew invites themselves to Charlie’s Thanksgiving dinner without telling Charlie and follows his struggle and anxiety to cook a meal for his friends. But that’s far from the point…

Being set on Thanksgiving, and target to children, there are constant themes of gratitude and graciousness.

Being thankful for what we have, our family, and our friends and treasuring every moment makes A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving a great film to watch during the holiday season and inspire gratitude.

Duration: 25 min

Rating: TV-G

Coraline (2009)

Coraline is a stop-motion dark fantasy film about a young girl who gets transported to a different world ruled by a creature who presents itself to Coraline (Dakota Fanning) as the Other Mother. The movie introduces Coraline as a frustrated young girl due to her parents being too busy with their work to the point of her parents having no time for her. 

Bored and upset, Coraline inadvertently stumbles into a world that seems to be made for her.

Here, she meets her Other World parents, who are the opposite of her real parents. In this strange Otherworld, her creepy button-eyed parents always aim to satisfy her every whim. However, this turns out to be a ruse by her Other Mother, a spider-like creature called the Beldam. 

The film touches upon the expression, “Be careful what you wish for as you might just get it.” As well as being thankful and cherishing what we have today.

At the start of the film, Coraline is somewhat selfish in wanting to get her parents’ attention, but this could have also been caused by her dissatisfaction with the current state of her mundane family. 

By the film’s end, though, Coraline and her parents learned the value of appreciating each other and treasuring every moment together.  

Duration: 1 h 40 min 

Rating: PG

5. Babe (1995)

The beloved tale of the little pig that could, Babe, is a perfect family bonding film filled with lessons about respect, overcoming prejudice, and gratitude towards others. Babe (Christine Cavanaugh) is a pig that wants to be a sheep herder and has a talent for it. 

However, the farm they are in all adheres to a traditional hierarchy, each restricted to playing their part. Babe initially faces resistance and ridicule from the other farm animals, especially Rex (Hugo Weaving), the farm’s border collie and primary sheepherder. 

Babe does find some support from Fly (Miriam Margoyles), Rex’s mate, and the gentle farm owner, Arthur Hoggett (James Cromwell), who believes in the pig despite everyone’s protest. 

The movie, as stated earlier, teaches many moral lessons that will undoubtedly inspire those who watch it to pursue their dreams, gratitude, and faith in others. 

Duration: 1 h 31 min

Rating: G

6. The Blind Side (2009)

The Blind Side is a drama film based on the true story of professional football player Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron). The film highlights issues about poverty and how it unfairly limits one’s opportunities in life. 

The movie also inspires gratitude to those who will go out of their way to help others, as is the case of Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) and Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw), who helped the then-homeless teenager, Michael Oher achieve his dreams by giving him a home, treating him as family, and supporting his studies. 

Michael Oher then qualified for an athletic scholarship and became the first pick of the Baltimore Ravens during the 2009 NFL draft.

Duration: 2 h 9 min

Rating: PG-13

7. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Yet another Christmas classic cracks this list with the beloved a1960s animated special, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The holidays are truly the best time of year to inspire gratitude!

The story tells the tale of The Grinch, a green-furred and always grumpy creature who despises the joyful people of Whoville. 

Determined to ruin the Christmas celebration of the townsfolk, Grinch decides to steal all the presents on Christmas Eve to ensure that everyone in Whoville will have a sad Christmas. However, as dawn breaks, the people of Whoville start celebrating the joyous occasion instead of crying. 

The Grinch realizes that Christmas is not just about material things but something more.

Gratitude is at the core of the film as well as the message of being thankful for one’s family, having good health, a roof over the head, or the simplest things are enough to be grateful and happy. 

Duration: 26 min

Rating: G

8. Oliver! (1968)

This 1968 musical period drama based on Charles Dicken’s novel, Oliver Twist, holds a special place in filmmaking history with the iconic “Please sir, I want some more” line.

Oliver follows the story of the titular young orphan boy. Oliver runs away from the orphanage and finds himself with a group of pickpockets. 

The film doesn’t shy away from the hardships that the less fortunate and impoverished can endure daily. Despite the somewhat bleak premise, Oliver still introduces hope, empathy, courage, perseverance, and compassion as its primary themes.

Duration: 2 h 33 min

Rating: G

9. The Bridge on The River Kwai (1957)

This classic anti-war movie that won 7 Oscars exudes messages about honor, duty, and idealism. However, the Bridge on The River Kwai, despite being set during World War 2, also brings a message of gratitude for the gift of life. 

The movie follows Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness), a British POW in a prison camp in Thailand who becomes obsessed with creating the titular bridge that it clashes with his morality.

While the central theme of the film focuses on Nicholson’s sense of duty to the point of madness as he views the bridge as a symbol of British determination and ingenuity, despite knowing it will be used to the benefit of the enemy. 

Duration: 2 h 41 min

Rating: PG

10. Inside Out (2015)

While every Pixar movie teaches numerous moral lessons, it is Inside Out, wherein gratitude is one of the main themes. The film is about a young teenage girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) who is going through a tough part of her young life when she and her family move to San Francisco. 

Everyone can relate to Riley’s situation, moving to a new place, leaving all your friends behind, and experiencing loneliness like never before in this new, unfamiliar place.

This mental strain causes some problems with her emotions which are hilariously personified in her head with Joy (Amy Poehler) leading the group, which consists of Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kailing), and Fear (Bill Hader). 

To help Riley cope with the stress, Joy decides to help by focusing on keeping the girl’s mental state happy. First, however, as the film will show, we must embrace and be grateful for all the memories that we have, both happy and sad ones. 

The sadness that individuals experience can help cope with disappointment and heartache; it will also make the happy memories even brighter. Every memory counts as these are what makes people who they are. 

Duration: 1 h 35 min

Rating: PG