Below is a collection of movies, TV shows, and podcasts with themes of gratitude.
The titles are linked to the IMDB page, and a youtube video or link is also provided.
If you want to see our collection of most-recommended Movies and Series on life and well-being in general, check it out here.
Movies with Gratitude
Award winning cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg provides a backdrop for examining gratitude and the human condition around the world. Narrated by words from benedictine monk Brother David, along with expert advice and quotes, this inspiring film will get you in the mood for gratitude.
The Ultimate Gift
A deceased billionaire leaves his spoiled adult grandson a series of odd tasks to perform in order to receive “the ultimate gift,” with the resentful grandson having no idea what that might be.
A Beautiful Mind
After winning the Nobel Prize at the end of the movie, the main character delivers an acceptance speech thanking his wife for sticking with him throughout his life, despite him underappreciating her at times.
- Les Miserables – (Trailer) – Gratitude for one kind act (the priest keeping Jean Valjean from returning to jail) can lead to a life of Godliness.
- Big Fish – (Trailer) – A son finds new appreciation for his dying father through the stories he tells and the life he lived.
- Mr. Holland’s Opus – (Trailer) – A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.
- Kindness is Contagious – (Trailer) – Interspersing the practical with the theoretical, the documentary explores the impact and infectiousness of human kindness and compassion.
- The Fault in our Stars – (Trailer) – Two terminally ill teens fall in love and share a short, meaningful time together.
- The Bridge on the River Kwai – (Trailer) – The Bridge on the River Kwai is similar to It’s a Wonderful Life in that it reminds us to be grateful for the gift of life itself.
- Inside Out – (Trailer) – There are several Pixar films that explore the topic of gratitude, but Inside Out is extra poignant in its thesis that as much as we love happy memories, we need to be just as grateful for the sad ones.
- Mary Poppins – (Trailer) – Inspired by a newfound sense of gratitude for his wife and children, Mr. Banks is able to successfully defy the job-obsessed despair that has been killing his joy.
- Annie – (Trailer) – A Rich man adopts an orphan and finds a new appreciation for life.
- Up – (Trailer) – 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his house equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.
- Coco – (Trailer) – Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.
- They Shall Not Grow Old – (Trailer) – A documentary about World War I with never-before-seen footage to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war.
- Nine Days – (Trailer) – A powerful reflection on the gift of being alive, and what are you doing with that gift.
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – (Trailer) – Moving film about journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffered a stroke that left him able to communicate only by blinking his left eye.
Movies with a Holiday Theme
It’s a Wonderful Life
Celebrates all the blessings we often take for granted, including life itself. The scene of Jimmy Stewart running into his house at the end of the movie and ecstatically exclaiming, “Look at this wonderful, drafty old house!” is both richly humorous and inspiring, as it shows us how a little perspective can transform gripes into gratitude.
- Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – (Trailer) – With one of the most heartwarming endings in the history of comedy, and it conveys a moving message about being grateful for our friends even when they annoy the heck out of us. Steve Martin’s character represents us at our most uptight and stressed, while John Candy’s character represents the goofy child in all of us. While these two characters frequently clash, they eventually realize how thankful they are for each other’s companionship.
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving – (Trailer) – This 25-minute animated special follows Charlie Brown trying unsuccessfully to cook a big Thanksgiving meal for his friends.
- Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving – (Trailer) – The storyline features an attempt at a perfect feast, the disastrous (and kid-hilarious) ruination of the perfect feast, and the conclusion that the togetherness of their party is something to truly be thankful for.
- White Christmas – (Trailer) – White Christmas shows us the value of kindness and the power of music when times are hard.
- Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – (Trailer) – On the outskirts of Whoville lives a green, revenge-seeking Grinch who plans to ruin Christmas for all of the citizens of the town.
- Krisha – (Trailer) – Krisha returns for Thanksgiving dinner after ten years away from her family, but past demons threaten to ruin the festivities.
Something Crazy Happens so the Main Character can Realize How Good They Have it
The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy Gale initially thinks she has to travel over the rainbow to find the love and happiness her heart craves, but in the end, she realizes that this love and happiness was in her backyard all along.
A documentary series on the wildlife found on Earth. Each episode covers a different habitat: deserts, mountains, deep oceans, shallow seas, forests, caves, polar regions, fresh water, plains and jungles. Narrated by David Attenborough.
- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition – (Trailer) – A family that has faced hardship has their dilapidated house completely rebuilt while they are away on vacation for a week.
- Undercover Boss – (Trailer) – Executives go on an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of their company.
- Secret Millionaire – (Trailer) – A reality series about millionaires who hide their identity and visit impoverished neighborhoods in order to give and make a difference in the lives of others.
- Ichi rittoru no namida (TV Mini Series 2005–2007) – (Trailer) – The story of a 15-year-old high school student, Ikeuchi Aya, who soon discovers she has an incurable disease that affects the cerebellum of the brain. Aya lived her life to the fullest until her death at 25.
- Good TV by Goodnet.org – Uplifting videos from around the world.
Each of these are episodes from different podcasts. Most include interviews with experts who talk about Gratitude…it’s benefits, how-to, and more.
- David Steindl-Rast — How to Be Grateful in Every Moment (But Not for Everything) | The On Being Project – “Grandfather of Gratitude” Brother David Steindl-Rast makes useful distinctions around experiences that are life-giving and resilience-making yet can feel absurd to speak. He calls joy “the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.” And his gratefulness is not an easy gratitude or thanksgiving — but a full-blooded, reality-based practice and choice.
- The Science of Happiness, Episode 7: How Gratitude Benefits Your Brain – Can you train your brain to be more grateful? Todd Zwillich, host of The Takeaway takes on the challenge.
- The Science of Happiness, Episode 91: Finding Strength Through Gratitude – A doctor who serves communities in dire need shares how gratitude helps him find light in the darkness.
- The Science of Happiness, Episode 105: Why We Give Thanks – Thank you. Gracias. Merci. Every language has a word for gratitude. But why do we feel it? How can we experience more of it? We revisit some of our favorite episodes about the science of gratitude.
- The Science of Happiness, Episode 107: How Gratitude Renews Us – Feeling burned out? Our guest, a nurse, explores how cultivating gratitude helps people in high-stress jobs.
- Kristi Nelson || Wake Up Grateful – Scott Barry Kaufman – In this episode, I talk to Kristi Nelson about gratefulness. She differentiates gratefulness from gratitude by describing the former as an orientation towards life, without being dependent on internal or external circumstances. Kristi shares with us the practice of Stop, Look, Go and her five guiding principles that can inspire you to live a life of gratefulness. We also touch on the topics of positive psychology, mindfulness, play, and self-compassion.
- The Tim Ferriss Show: #409: Brené Brown — Striving versus Self-Acceptance, Saving Marriages, and More on Apple Podcasts – In a recent interview on the Tim Ferriss Show podcast, Brené Brown discusses: “where is the line between self-acceptance and complacency?” Brown explains “I don’t think you can truly change for the better — in a lasting, meaningful way, unless it is driven by self acceptance…Self-accepted complacency is an oxymoron.” When people are accepting of themselves and their situation, they are driven to continue feeling that way.
- On Gratitude — The Good Life Project Podcast – The Good life Project Podcast interviews experts in a wide range of positive living topics. In this episode, famed author and social-observer extraordinaire, Anne Lamott, and writer, producer, and big thinker, Janice Kaplan share their thoughts on gratitude. There’s even powerful research on the psychological and physiological effect of gratitude and appreciation, both as a state and a willful intervention.
- Hidden Brain: Where Gratitude Gets You – Many of us struggle with self-control. And we assume willpower is the key to achieving our goals. But there’s a simple and often overlooked mental habit that can improve our health and well-being. This week on Hidden Brain, we explore that habit — the practice of gratitude.
- Being Well Podcast: Joy in Difficult Times with James Baraz – Special guest James Baraz explores a step in his process awakening joy: how to find joy in difficult times. the Podcast hosts discuss how to balance a sense of equanimity with compassion for the suffering of the world, and how cultivating joy at an individual level can support healing at the collective level.
- True Stories of Good People – True Stories of Good People is a podcast about people who are making a difference in other people’s lives, or have had their lives changed by someone kind.
- The Hug Podcast – A new, story-driven podcast from the creators of Good Life Project® designed to wrap you in a weekly “audio hug” that reminds you just how good people can be.
- 99% Invisible – 99% Invisible is a sound-rich, narrative podcast hosted by Roman Mars about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.