Retailers and Studios Launch Must See Movies #FilmsWithFeels Campaign


Running To The Top Of The List: Forrest Gump Named UK’s Favourite Feel Good Comfort Film

  • Timeless drama Forrest Gump is named top must-see feel good movie, followed by Back to the Future and Mary Poppins
  • Films with leftfield quirky elements, escapism and adventure make for a perfect feel good comforting movie, says Psychologist Dr Cliff Arnell
  • The Must See #FilmsWithFeels campaign is launching to lift the nation’s spirits – backed by happiness ambassador and film fan, Stacey Solomon


London – 19th June – A new study reveals that the heart-warming Forrest Gump, is the nation’s favourite feel good film for comfort, escapism and to positively boost moods. The Oscar-laden drama is followed by classics such as sci-fi comedy Back to the Future and family favourite Mary Poppins.

UK’s top ten ultimate feel good comforting films:

  1. Forrest Gump
  2. Back to the Future
  3. Mary Poppins
  4. Sister Act
  5. Marley & Me
  6. School of Rock
  7. Beauty and the Beast (live action)
  8. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  9. The Blues Brothers
  10. The Breakfast Club


The nationwide research, commissioned for the Must See #FilmsWithFeels campaign, found that nearly a third (31%) of adults use movies to escape from their real world worries. Over a quarter (26%) of Brits also stated they regularly watch comforting films on a Sunday, to distract them from stresses about the busy week ahead.

 Psychologist Dr Arnell, who analysed the findings, explained: “Forrest Gump was released in 1994, Back to the Future was released in 1985 and Mary Poppins back in 1964. So there has been over 57 years of viewing opportunities for these classic films. Over time, these films will have become part of the family, a familiar element of the Sunday routine across generations. Providing a powerful positive motive to watch a film again.”

 After analysing the data and movies, Dr Arnell devised a unique formula naming the key ingredients which make up the perfect feel good ‘Sunday Comfort’ films:

 Formula for the perfect feel good ‘Sunday Comfort’ film = L x (E + A)

 Dr Arnell explains, “The letter L means it features Leftfield quirky elements, such as Forrest Gump’s gentle awkwardness or the magical nanny in Mary Poppins. E stands for the film’s degree of escapism, so viewers find it easy to switch off and relax. Finally, A means the film has a high degree of Adventure.”


 Discussing the findings, Dr Arnell explains: “Life can feel pretty overwhelming for many when work, exams and family pressures fill head space alongside the constant bombardment of negative news stories from around the world 24 hours a day. Taking the time to watch an uplifting film, is one of the easiest ways of escaping from all of that. Giving ourselves permission to switch off our worry buttons and have our imagination buttons pressed is highly therapeutic.”

It’s not always films with happy endings that provide that warm feeling, interestingly, with one in 10 (11%) Brits confessing to feeling happier after a tear-jerker such as Marley and Me. “When people say they connect with a film there’s a resonance between their own lives and something that is happening on the screen. Seeing it, hearing it and most of all feeling this can have powerful effects on our attitudes and behaviours.” Dr Arnell explains.

 In addition to the comforting movies ideal for a Sunday afternoon on the sofa, the study also identified the top feel good films for families to watch together, with Toy Story topping the list. Dirty Dancing was named the ultimate movie for re-watching time and again with friends. Finally, iconic British comedy, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, was voted the UK’s favourite feel good film to get you crying with laughter

 Movie fan and #FilmsWithFeels ambassador, Stacey Solomon said “Over the years I must have watched some of these films tens, if not hundreds of times. I can literally recite Dirty Dancing word for word! There’s certain movies that instantly take me back to my own childhood and there’s something really comforting about putting them on with my boys, and switching my busy mind off for a couple of hours!“

 “I’m so happy that Forrest Gump has been voted the UK’s fave because it really is one of my top films ever. One minute I’m howling and then next I’m in tears; my boys think I’m mad, but it’s just so touching and I know it will end up being a classic for them too, when they’re older.”

 Titles from the Must See Movies #FilmsWithFeels list are available from retailers across the UK, this month




 Other notable findings from the study were:

  • Overall almost twice as many women watch a Sunday afternoon feel good film to distract them from the week ahead (33% of female respondents compared to 17.5% of men)
  • The South West of England could be the most romantic region with almost a fifth (17%) calling rom-coms their favourite type of feel good film
  • Always up for a laugh, 30% of Northern Irish respondents named comedies as their go-to for a mood boost

UK’s top ten ultimate feel good comforting films

  1. Forrest Gump (29%)
  2. Back to the Future (25%)
  3. Mary Poppins (25%)
  4. Sister Act (22%)
  5. Marley & Me (18%)
  6. School of Rock (16%)
  7. Beauty and the Beast (live action) (13%)
  8. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (13%)
  9. The Blues Brothers (12%)
  10. The Breakfast Club (12%)

Top 10 family favourite feel good films

  1. Toy Story (40%)
  2. Mrs Doubtfire (32%)
  3. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (31%)
  4. T. (29%)
  5. Sound of Music (20%)
  6. Paddington (19%)
  7. Minions (17%)
  8. Finding Dory (16%)
  9. Oliver (13%)
  10. The BFG (12%)

Top 10 re-watchable films to binge with friends

  1. Dirty Dancing (26%)
  2. Grease (25%)
  3. Bridget Jones’s Diary (24%
  4. Four Weddings & a Funeral (17%)
  5. Notting Hill (16%)
  6. Bridesmaids (16%)
  7. Mean Girls (15%)
  8. Pitch Perfect (15%)
  9. PS I Love You (12%)
  10. Magic Mike (10%)

Top 10 comedies to get you crying with laughter

  1. Life of Brian (23%)
  2. American Pie (23%)
  3. The Hangover (22%)
  4. The Fully Monty (21%)
  5. Cool Runnings (20%)
  6. Airplane (19%)
  7. Shaun of the Dead (18%)
  8. Ted (17%)
  9. Ghostbusters (16%)
  10. Dirty Grandpa (11%)

Research: 2,000 adults, April 2018, Markettiers


About ERA

The Entertainment Retailers Association is the trade grouping representing UK digital services and digital and physical retailers in the music, video and games markets. Formed initially as group of record retailers over 25 years ago, ERA has since grown into a broad-based advocacy group embracing many of the most dynamic and fastest-growing companies in the entertainment industry. ERA members supply the sales data which powers the Official Charts Company (music and video charts) and GfK Chart-Track (videogames). ERA also provides the organisational force behind the UK’s Record Store Day, the annual celebration of independent record stores which has become the most successful new music industry promotion of the past two decades. ERA is a strong proponent of open markets, open standards and consumer choice.


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