One of the first things we learn as children is that if you believe in something, it can happen. Even though you probably didn't get that pony you wished for way back when, who's to say that you're a nutjob for thinking it still might come galloping into your life? Some fantasies prove that your faith and dedication to something is strong enough to move mountains. Other times, those ideas turn into delusions and only the men in white coats can save you.

Crazy or not, filmmakers and screenwriters love these characters because we identify with them and always want to root for the underdog. The true believer in cinema faces incredible odds and obstacles -- making their vindication all the more gratifying when it finally comes.

The holidays are a season for believing -- a time when dreams can and do come true, not matter how long the odds. In celebration of this special season, we've selected 13 films that highlight the power of belief. Sure, some of these characters have a few loose screws, but each of them teaches us something about keeping the faith and holding on to our dreams. Judge for yourself after the jump. [spoilers ahead]
A Beautiful Mind
Based on 33 critics

Mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. (Russell Crowe) has paranoid schizophrenia. Read More

Cloak and Dagger
In Theaters on January 1st, 1984

Imaginary superspy (Dabney Coleman) helps boy (Henry Thomas) foil spies. Read More

Little Monsters
In Theaters on August 25th, 1989

Nice monster (Howie Mandel) lures boy (Fred Savage) into goon-land under bed. Read More

Miracle on 34th Street
Not Yet Rated1947
In Theaters on May 2nd, 1947

An adwoman's (Maureen O'Hara) boyfriend (John Payne) defends Macy's Santa (Edmund Gwenn) in court. Read More

December 5, 2016
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Where the Wild Things Are
Based on 37 critics

A mischievous boy (Max Records) enters a magical land and becomes King of All Wild Things. Read More

Based on 38 critics

A girl (Dakota Fanning) discovers a parallel world where her life is nearly perfect. Read More

Time Bandits
In Theaters on January 13th, 1997

Six diminutive thieves whisk away a British schoolboy on an adventure-filled trip through time. Read More

December 5, 2016
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Based on 22 critics

A scientist seeks alien beings after receiving mysterious messages from deep space. Read More

The Sixth Sense
Based on 35 critics

A child psychologist (Bruce Willis) counsels a boy (Haley Joel Osment) who sees dead people. Read More

Into The West
In Theaters on May 1st, 1994

Children try to rescue a magical stallion after policemen plan to sell it to a rich businessman. Read More

In Theaters on March 15th, 1994

Illinois youth (Sean Astin) beats odds to play Notre Dame football. Read More

The Fisher King
Based on 9 critics

Mad seeker (Robin Williams) of Grail meets shaken N.Y. talk-radio host (Jeff Bridges). Read More