Get the tissues ready (you’re going to need them) because we tracked down fan answers to “what is the saddest movie you have ever seen?” and there’s some real tear-jerkers on this list.
Apparently we love sad movies because there were so many suggestions out there that it was hard to narrow down this list to only 12. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, either. Some of these films are so depressing that you might just regret ever watching them. Put on one of these movies the next time you’re in need of a good cry!
Grave of the Fireflies
One of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen, and soon (if you haven’t watched it yet) one of the saddest for you too. Don’t let the fact that this one’s animated fool you, it’s set just after World War 2 as two Japanese children fight for their lives after a firebombing.
This is technically a documentary, but it’s a strong contender for saddest documentary movie ever made. It was created by the friend of Andrew Bagby, a man who was murdered by his pregnant girlfriend.
Dear Zachary, a mix of new footage and home movies, serves as Kurt Kuenne’s open letter both in honor of his friend/friend’s baby and to the public as criticism over the Canadian legal and Newfoundland child welfare systems that mishandled the case.
If you’re a parent this movie will hit even harder, but it’s incredibly sad no matter who you are. For folks feeling especially masochistic the book is even more devastating.
What makes Blue Valentine such a sad movie is that it’s a story that could easily happen in real life to real people. Low-budget and artsy, a lot of the movie was improvised by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams which I think, in part, is what makes it feel so authentic.
Life Is Beautiful
In the history of movies there has never been a Holocaust movie that isn’t emotionally devastating, yet Life is Beautiful stands out as especially sad even compared to others in the genre.
Showing an often overlooked side of the victims, a charming and happy Jewish-Italian man and his son are taken to a concentration camp. As dads do, he tries his best to shield his kid from the horrors that they’re facing.
This is one of those movies that you’ll appreciate watching but probably won’t want to see again for a long, long time. If you aren’t familiar with it, Atonement is an incredible movie about love, betrayal, and trauma.
Dancer in the Dark
Starring the musician Björk, Dancer in the Dark is a musical film that you’d never expect to be as sad as it is. If you think musicals are typically too upbeat and happy then Dancer in the Dark will change your mind about how dark (and sad) they can be.
The Green Mile
Based on a Stephen King book, The Green Mile is both an iconic film and one of the saddest movies you have ever seen or will see. Perfectly paced, it’s hard not to break down at the end of this film.
Requiem for a Dream
Often considered a “must watch” by movie lovers, Requiem for a Dream is as depressing as it is gripping. It tells four different stories of people being destroyed by various addictions.
What Dreams May Come
What Dreams May Come is even sadder now that Robin Williams has passed away, but it was sad back in 1998 when it came out too. The movie starts with Williams’ character dying in a car accident only to find that his wife killed herself out of grief once he reaches the afterlife. He then sets out on a mission to find her.
Although this one’s about what comes after death even non-spiritual people will choke up at the touching and emotional story.
This one had me sobbing so I’m glad to see others had the same reaction to this classic movie. I won’t give it away, but Steel Magnolias is about family, friendship, and loss. Starring icons like Julia Roberts and Dolly Parton, if you haven’t seen it it’s a must-watch – albeit a sad one.
Manchester by the Sea
One of the saddest films released in recent years, Manchester by the Sea is a movie about major loss and devastating grief. Parents will be especially emotional watching this film, but I can honestly say you’d be hard pressed not to tear up a little bit at several points during the film.
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