Comfort Films

During this worrisome time, staying inside has never been so important. As many people are afraid, it’s nice to be able to turn to movies to help comfort and calm us. Here is a list of films I personally recommend watching to lift your spirits.


Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

One of the greatest silent films ever made. It’s the story of a farmer, his wife, his mistress, and – eventually – forgiveness. Besides a terrific story, acting, and directing by F.W. Murnau, the camerawork is a marvel. The influence of German Expressionism makes it a visual masterpiece.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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It Happened One Night (1934)

One of the greatest romantic comedies to ever exist.

You can watch it for free (with ads) on Crackle. Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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The Thin Man (1934)

It’s easy to be drawn into the story of one of classic film’s favorite and memorable couples, Nick and Nora Charles. The film masterfully mixes a murder mystery with sophisticated comedy (and many martinis).

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Top Hat (1935)

Because we could all use a little Fred and Ginger at this time. Laced with great song-and-dance numbers, this film is way charming.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Holiday (1938)

Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant’s third film together is a charmer. Cary Grant has to choose between his dream of free-spirited living and a life dedicated to banking, which he is not passionate about. Of course, it’s really romantic too.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Vudu.

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The Women (1939)

This is one of the most quotable classic films and it’s so funny. Rosalind Russell steals the picture, which is tough to do, as she’s surrounded by a stellar cast, including Joan Crawford.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu. It will also be airing on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on April 21 at 10:45 PM (EST)

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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Sometimes a childhood favorite is nice to revisit.

Available to stream on TBS and TNT and available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Now, Voyager (1942)

“Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.”

One of the most romantic films ever made.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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The More the Merrier (1943)

Three strangers have to share an apartment. Two fall in love and the other plays matchmaker. It’s a fun journey.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

This film follows the everyday life of the Smith family in St. Louis as they anticipate the 1904 World’s Fair. The film boasts a wonderful cast, but Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien steal every scene they’re in. Accompanied by gorgeous songs and shot in lavish Technicolor, it’s never let me down as a go-to comfort movie. I hope it serves you well, too.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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The Clock (1945)

The magic of this film comes from its simplicity and chemistry between Judy Garland and Robert Walker. Walker plays a soldier on furlough for 48 hours; he and Judy Garland’s character meet by chance and fall in love.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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State Fair (1945)

While it might not be considered a great musical, it’s sweet and colorful. I personally enjoy it and love all of the musical numbers. Bonus points for the beautiful dresses and Dana Andrews as Jeanne Crain’s romantic interest.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Good News (1947)

It’s 1927 at Tait College and star football player and campus heartthrob Tommy (Peter Lawford) meets school librarian Connie (June Allyson) and they fall in love but several complications arise. It’s a lighthearted musical and pure fun.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu. It will be airing on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on May 18 at 3:15 AM (EST).

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On Moonlight Bay (1951)

Marjorie Winfield (Doris Day), a tomboy-turned-young lady, falls in love with neighbor Bill (Gordon MacRae), a young man with “unconventional” ideas, to the dismay of her stern but loving father (Leon Ames). Marjorie’s quirky family navigates everyday life in pre-World War I Indiana, accompanied by popular songs of the era. If you’re a fan of Meet Me in St. Louis, you may enjoy this; it’s pretty similar.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

You’ve likely seen this one before, but it’s a perfect time to revisit it if you have. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do ASAP.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu. It will be airing on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on April 13 at 6:15 PM (EST).

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Roman Holiday (1953)

A princess takes a break from her duties, meets a reporter, and they take a day to explore Rome. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck’s chemistry is just perfect.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime and for free (with ads) on Crackle and PopcornFlix. Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Sabrina (1954)

Audrey Hepburn plays Sabrina, the daughter of a chauffeur, who has been hopelessly in love with handsome, rich playboy David (William Holden) for as long as she can remember. After attending a culinary school in Paris, she returns home to find David suddenly interested in her. When his brother, Linus (Humphrey Bogart) takes an interest in her, things get interesting.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime and for free (with ads) on Crackle and PopcornFlix. Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Vudu.

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It Should Happen to You (1954)

Basically, a young, determined woman invests in billboard advertising to become famous. Her brilliant plan: put only her name on the billboards. Her plan works and she becomes an overnight sensation. Judy Holliday is a comedic genius and she and Jack Lemmon are adorable together. (This was Jack Lemmon’s film debut.)

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

The whole premise of the film is rather silly and, if it weren’t for it being a comedy, it would be pretty problematic: Milly (Jane Powell) marries Adam (Howard Keel) after a very brief courtship. Adam takes Milly to his farm, where he reveals to her that he has six unruly brothers. Milly, tough and ticked off at Adam and his brothers, teaches them manners and helps them win over young women that they are interested in. Things get crazy after Adam reads/sings the story of “The Sobbin’ Women” to his brothers. But gosh darnit, I love this movie. It’s colorful, funny at times, warm at times, and includes many fabulous song-and-dance numbers.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu. It will be airing on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on April 13 at 1:00 PM (EST).

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Marty (1955)

Marty (Ernest Borgnine) is an Italian American butcher who lives in the Bronx with his mother and has resigned to a life of bachelorhood at the age of 34, convinced that no woman will ever find him attractive. One night, Marty connects with a sweet and shy schoolteacher named Clara (Betsy Blair) after she gets dumped by a date at a local dance hall. They spend the rest of the night together, dancing, walking around, and eating, and getting to know each other. It’s one of the most enchanting love stories ever put on film – simple, honest, and vulnerable.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Oklahoma! (1955)

Yet another Rodgers and Hammerstein musical – this film is a love story starring Gordon MacRae as Curly (a cowboy) and Shirley Jones as his crush Laurey in turn-of-the-century Oklahoma territory.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Auntie Mame (1958)

A free-spirited and bohemian socialite raises her nephew after his father dies in the 1920s. The film follows their comedic – and sometimes dramatic – adventures. Rosalind Russell shines and breathes even more life into an already vivacious character.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Some Like It Hot (1959)

Considered one of the greatest comedies of all time, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, and Tony Curtis lead this wild story about two musicians who accidentally witness a mafia hit, have to go on the run, join an all-female jazz band, and fall in love. There’s a lot more to it, but if you haven’t seen this one, you must.

Available to stream on The Criterion Channel and Amazon Prime Video. Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu. It will be airing on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on March 25 at 8:00 PM (EST).

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Pillow Talk (1959)

Rock Hudson plays Brad, a playboy songwriter who keeps on annoying his neighbor Jan, played by Doris Day, by constantly tying up the telephone party line with his romancing of various women. When Brad decides to take a chance on Jan, a mix up of identities causes a whole lot of trouble. It’s a perfect lighthearted comedy for these times.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Bells Are Ringing (1960)

Judy Holliday plays Ella, a telephone operator for an answering machine service and finds herself becoming personally invested with many of the service’s clients. This includes Jeffrey Moss (Dean Martin), a struggling playwright with whom she falls in love. Martin and Holliday’s chemistry makes this one of the sweetest romances I’ve ever seen. The film also has several fun musical numbers.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Pollyanna (1960)

The always-delightful Hayley Mills plays the titular character – a young orphan who moves to a new town to live with her stern and emotionally-distant aunt (Jane Wyman). Pollyanna begins to bring her cheerful attitude and optimism into a town overrun with negativity. Accompanied by a stellar supporting cast, this one has been a favorite of mine since childhood.

You can stream it on Disney + and it’s available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Bye Bye Birdie (1963)

It’s really silly, but it’s one of my favorite musicals ever and I’ll take every opportunity I can to recommend it. It’s pure fun and super colorful. Also, this was Dick Van Dyke’s first film. (Bonus points for the casting of Paul Lynde as the hilarious father.)

You can watch it for free (with ads) on Crackle. Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Vudu.

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The Sound of Music (1965)

I don’t think this movie needs much of an introduction.

You can stream it on Disney + and it’s available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Les Demoiselles de Rochefort/The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

Twins Delphine (Catherine Deneuve) and Solange (Françoise Dorléac) dream of finding love and leaving Rochefort, France. They meet several interesting people and find love. The song-and-dance numbers are fun (it’s scored by Michel Legrand) and the cinematography is beyond gorgeous – the screen is always filled with vivid pastel colors.

Available to stream on The Criterion Channel and Kanopy. Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Vudu.

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The Goodbye Girl (1977)

It’s the classic boy-meets-girl, boy-dislikes-girl then boy-loves-girl story set in 1970s New York. One of my personal favorite romance stories. And it was written by Neil Simon.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) meet, don’t get along, meet again, don’t get along, meet again, get along…then fall in love. A total classic.

Available to stream on Hulu. Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Clueless (1995)

Based loosely on Jane Austen’s classic novel Emma, this movie follows Cher (Alicia Silverstone), a popular LA high school student, as she navigates her personal life and school with her best friends Tai (Brittany Murphy) and Dionne (Stacey Dash). Cher spends most of her time matchmaking for her friends and teachers…and attending awesome parties in the Valley.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Sense and Sensibility (1995)

In short, it’s a terribly romantic period piece based on Jane Austen’s novel. The script was written by its star, Emma Thompson, and she is joined by a wonderful cast. (Alan Rickman gives one of the most romantic performances ever seen onscreen, IMO.)

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003)

I’m obviously aiming this recommendation at a certain demographic who grew up loving this show and movie, but come on, this movie is like the perfect mixture of nostalgia and escapist fluff.

You can stream it on Disney + and it’s available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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La La Land (2016)

This movie got all kinds of mixed reviews, but I personally love it and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who loves old musicals, as it’s heavily inspired by many of them.

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.

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Happy watching! 

Also, please let me know in the comments if you have any go-to comfort films that you would like to recommend.

3 thoughts on “Comfort Films

  1. Gijs Grob says:

    Love all mentioned films that I’ve actually seen, so this list makes.me curious for the ones I didn’t, especially those I’d never heard of before.

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