If you’ve never sat through a film that makes you bawl your eyes out like a baby, then you probably haven’t lived. Even the toughest of hearts will melt after watching one of these serious tearjerkers.
Where do we start?! It’s set in a funeral home (sad), some kid’s mom dies (super sad), that kid then fears her mom is being replaced by her dad’s new love (super, super sad) and then there’s THE BEES. We won’t spoil it for you.
Oh come on, everyone’s seen this, right? And everyone has cried their eyes out during this film (at least twice), right? Tom Hanks is the king of pulling on your heartstrings, especially when he plays the adorable, “Jennnaaay” hollering, Forrest Gump; the not-so-smart cookie who just happens to find himself in the middle of many historic moments. This film isn’t like a box of chocolates because you definitely know what you’re gonna get. Tears aplenty. Say it with me now, “Run Forrest, Run!”
The Green Mile
From one Tom Hanks movie to another, but this time it’s not him that’s making us cry (well, not much). This film is guaranteed to make you sob your heart out, thanks to a rather spectacular performance from Michael Clarke Duncan – AKA John Coffey. Based on a Stephen King novel, it takes place on Death Row with one inmate that has a rather incredible special power. This is a serious tear jerker movie you’re unlikely to forget in a hurry.
Saving Private Ryan
There are few things more upsetting than the horrors of war, and Saving Private Ryan perfectly encapsulates them. Steven Spielberg’s World War 2 masterpiece is one of the biggest tearjerkers of modern times. Tom Hanks brings a tear to the eye in his portrayal of Captain John H. Miller. From the sheer brutality and killing to an old man recounting the memories of a bygone life, this is a touching portrayal of one of the most terrifying periods in world history.
There are few things Pixar and Disney can’t accomplish when they pool their creative resources. Up is one of the strongest offerings from the animation giants, and tells the story of an adorable old man, and the reluctant friendship he forms with a young boy following the death of his wife. It’s a warm, feel-good movie, with plenty of tear-jerking moments, right from the very beginning. If you’ve not seen it yet, you should definitely check it out.
The Shawshank Redemption
Often ranked as one of the greatest films of all time, The Shawshank Redemption is also one of the great tearjerkers in cinema. A story of hope, survival, and the triumph of the human spirit, Tim Robbins’ Andy Dufresne is sent to Shawshank Prison for a crime he didn’t commit and spends the next forty years concocting a plan to validate that innocence. There are stellar performances from Robbins and Morgan Freeman, and it’s as infinitely quotable as it is heartfelt.
Toy Story 3
The third installment of the highly successful Toy Story franchise is easily the saddest. These films have resonated with a generation of people, and the third movie concludes the adventures of Andy and his toys. Now a 17-year-old, Andy has little to no interest in playing with his toys anymore. He prepares to leave for college, throwing his toys out in the process, and setting the toys on a quest to reunite with their owner. It’s warm, moving, and utterly nostalgic.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Any movie about the Holocaust is bound to bring a tear to the eye of even the most hardened viewer. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas explores the relationship between two 8-year-old boys in World War II; one is the son of a Nazi commander, the other a Jewish prisoner. You can probably imagine the way things go, but, the unexpectedly harrowing finale is more upsetting than you’ll be expecting, and a powerful reminder of the horrors of war.
The Lion King
“In the circle of liiiife, it’s the wheel of fortune…” Let’s be honest, the Lion King is one of the best-known and most beloved of all Disney movies. Influenced by Shakespeare’s Hamlet (true story), the movie contains many iconic scenes and songs. It tugs at the heart strings in many different ways and signaled the rebirth of Disney as a force in animation. The stampede scene and Simba’s discovery ranks as one of the greatest tear-jerker moments in cinema.
Let’s be honest, if there is a woman in your life, the chances are she digs The Notebook. And it’s easy to see why – the movie is wonderfully romantic and brilliantly acted. The reveal towards the end is heart-wrenching, and the climax of the movie is enough to bring anyone to tears. This is the perfect movie for anyone who considers themselves to be a hopeless romantic at heart. The Notebook is definitely on our list of biggest tearjerkers ever!
Marley & Me
This is a movie that will strike a chord with anyone who has ever had a dog in their life. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston star, but the real star of this flick is the loveable mutt Marley. The movie follows Marley from a tiny puppy, all the way up to a fully grown dog. You’ll probably be able to work out what happens by the end, but that doesn’t make it any less upsetting or sad when it finally does happen.
The Fault in Our Stars
The movie that made Shailene Woodley a household name, The Fault in Our Stars is a film following the relationship between two cancer patients, Hazel Lancaster, and Augustus Waters. The movie shows the way in which cancer can affect sufferers, and those closest to them, but also shows the spirit and determination to continue with life even in the face of death. By the end you’ll be crying like a baby, no doubt about it.
Stand By Me
Who says Stephen King can only do horror?! Stand By Me is the classic coming of age tale about four boys on the cusp of manhood, in small town America. It deals with topics like smoking, mental health, parental neglect, death, and bullying. By the end you’ll be so invested in these characters that you simply won’t want the movie to end. It may not seem an obvious choice for a tear-jerker, but it’s certainly up there.
If you want to talk about classic tear jerker, this is the number one creme de la creme! Bambi is one of the earliest Disney films, released in 1942, and regularly makes the list of movies that make people sob. Cute little Bambi is left all alone and helpless when the mean old hunter shoots his mother (we’re still not over it). From that moment on, it’s tears aplenty in this beautiful Disney movie. Definitely a must-watch again and again.
A true classic! Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet became big stars off the back of this movie, and quite right too. It’s a gorgeous love story that resonates through the ages; the tale of forbidden love and the wicked fickle finger of fate are all themes we can relate to. Titanic is a tragic, epic, and beautiful love story that will doubtless have you welling up as Winslet’s Rose repeats “I’ll never let go, Jack, I’ll never let go.” Waaaah!
Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting is the movie that made Ben Affleck and Matt Damon famous and won Robin Williams an Academy Award. Damon plays the title character, a wicked smart kid from Boston who made all the wrong choices. Williams is his therapist Shaun, who tries to keep him on the straight and narrow. The movie is a definite tear jerker but in the positive sense of the word. You are rooting for Will all the way, so the ending is so satisfying.
You don’t generally associate action movies as being tear jerker, especially those directed by Michael Bay. But, Armageddon manages to achieve the remarkable feat of combining mindless action with a touching and tear-jerking finale, as Liv Tyler’s Grace faces the prospect of losing her fiancé in a bid to destroy an asteroid headed for Earth. This is the sort of movie you can enjoy with friends, as a couple, or even on your own. “I don’t wanna miss a thing.”
“Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance, in this life, or the next.” It is with these words that Russell Crowe’s Maximus Decimus Meridius, the betrayed Roman general, reveals himself to his evil emperor. Gladiator works so well because it is so heart wrenching, as well as providing the right amount of gore and cool fight scenes. Crowe scooped the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in the film, and it’s well deserved.
One of the curious things about WALL-E is that it’s such an engaging film despite the fact there is so little dialogue. Other than that one, beautiful word “Eeeeeve.” The movie manages to explore serious themes of consumerism, waste management, loneliness, and the impact humans have on the environment. While also making a robot seem adorably human. It is one of the best films Disney Pixar has produced, and a definite tear jerker in places. The perfect movie for kids and adults alike.
Some movies are not very pleasant, but they are stories that need to be told. Schindler’s List is one of the best movies made about the Holocaust, and one of the most moving too. Liam Neeson stars as Oskar Schindler, a businessman who decides to try to save Jews from the Nazi concentration camps. A touching, moving film, about difficult subject matter, and one that will have you reaching for the tissues. This is most definitely a movie that needs to be watched.
P.S. I Love You
P.S. I Love You details what might happen if the one you love were to die. Just because loved ones leave us doesn’t mean they aren’t still with us. Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler play a couple who face tragic circumstances. She loses him, but he’s already made plans to take care of her after he’s gone, and he communicates through posthumous letters. A clever film that makes us feel good, in spite of the tragic circumstances involved.
The Pursuit of Happyness
Will Smith stars in this biopic about a struggling salesman whose personal life falls apart as he attempts to find a job that will provide for his family. Jaden Smith also appears as the son of Will’s character. It’s a movie all about the struggles and heartache of trying to succeed in the world of business. It also looks at one man’s fight to make a better life for his son. This one will have you fist pumping by the end.
Band of Brothers
Okay, so it’s a TV show, not a movie, but Band of Brothers deserves mention on this list because of how heartbreaking it is. This is definitely one of the most realistic and unforgettable depictions of war and its impact on the soldiers who fight. You will live every moment with Easy Company as they go through the horrors of war together. These men will live and die together, and you’ll be right in the thick of it with them.
Based on the Oliver Reed movie from the ‘80s, Tom Hanks plays a FedEx employee who finds himself stranded on a deserted island after his plane crashes. It pits one man against the elements, in a journey of survival and a quest to stay sane. There are plenty of riveting moments, and the real tears will come with the departure of Wilson! Come back Wilson, we love you! Despite the sad parts, the film ends on a high, leaving you feeling good.
Mel Gibson takes the director’s chair for only the second time in his career and walks away with an Oscar. Braveheart sees Gibson playing William Wallace, a legendary Scottish warrior who leads the Scots in a war of independence against the English. The movie is bloody, full of action and death, with an uplifting message at its heart. Gibson is fantastic as William Wallace, and his legend will live on long after the credits role and the tears have subsided.
Dead Poets Society
Often imitated, never equaled, Dead Poets Society is one of the finest movies ever made. Starring Robin Williams as teacher John Keating whose unorthodox methods bring him into direct competition with the head of the school. Bringing out the creative side in his pupils, Keating encourages them to question everything, including authority. Keating’s fate is sealed after a student takes his own life. Before leaving, Keating is treated to a rousing salutation. Say it with me, “O Captain! My Captain!”
Simultaneously the most depressing and uplifting film it’s possible to watch. Elliott befriends a benevolent alien E.T., and helps him find his way back home, and escape the evil government. There are plenty of mishaps along the way, not to mention points where all hope appears to be lost. But, it’s important to remember that hope springs eternal, and eventually E.T. phones home, and gets to go back. Trust me, you’ll be blubbing like a baby by the end.
Tim Burton likes to do quirky movies, and Big Fish is definitely no exception. It’s a movie that shows a man trying to mend bridges with his estranged father, who has a penchant for talking tall tales about his younger life. The movie stars Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, and Billy Crudup, and explores the vibrancy and love of storytelling. You’ll definitely be welling up by the end, as the movie tells us a lot about the power of story and imagination.
The Bucket List
Okay, now this one will have you laughing and crying at multiple points throughout the movie. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play Edward and Carter, two men diagnosed with terminal cancer, who create a bucket list of things to do before they die. Using Edward’s billions, they travel the world doing and seeing things they’ve always wanted to experience before their final days arrive. The movie shows a wonderful display of spirit and courage and has a definite tear jerker ending.
Gran Torino is one of the last movies in which Clint Eastwood acted, and, lucky for him, it’s a pretty awesome sendoff. The movie follows War vet Walt Kowalski, whose neighbor is pressured into stealing Walt’s beloved Ford Gran Torino as a gang initiation. They strike up a friendship, and the grizzled old man tries to teach him the important lessons of life. Building toward a memorable a heart-wrenching climax, Gran Torino will surely go down as an unlikely but legitimate tear jerker.
Finding Neverland is the semi-biographical account of the life of author J. M. Barrie, and his friendship with the family that would go on to inspire his most famous work – Peter Pan. The movie has an infectious quality about it, and Barrie’s platonic relationship with widow Sylvia and her boys is at the heart of the movie. Though most people will see the end coming pretty soon before it does, it doesn’t make it any less impactful. Bring tissues!
Sports films don’t generally make a list of tear-jerkers, but Warrior is certainly up there. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton play brothers estranged from their alcoholic father Nick Nolte, who both enter an MMA tournament for different reasons. Though there is plenty of action and fighting, the heart of the film is about the relationship between the family, and the bridges they build. You’ll be moved to tears by the end even if you aren’t the biggest fan of sports movies.
The Fox and the Hound
Another Disney entry on the list is The Fox and the Hound, in which two animals from unique walks of life become friends. After growing up to become very different, they drift apart, and Copper, the dog, hunts Tod, the fox with his owner. Things build to a climax, and it’s difficult to see a way out. But the two eventually reconcile in a touching and moving scene, that will have even the most heartless of people sobbing.
Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts star as Jackie and Isabel, mother and stepmother to young teenagers. The two women repeatedly clash on matters of parenting, as well as Isabel’s fast engagement to Jackie’s ex-husband Luke. Things come to a head when Jackie is diagnosed with lymphoma and told it is terminal. The two establish something of a truce, before beginning to accept one another. They finally make peace over the course of the movie, before the inevitable takes Jackie from her family.
I Am Sam
I Am Sam tells the heartbreaking tale of Sam Dawson (Sean Penn) who is the single father of young Lucy. Due to Sam’s mental disorder, questions are raised about his ability to be an adequate parent. Lawyer Rita (Michelle Pfeiffer) decides to take Sam’s case on a pro bono basis and learns something about herself in the process. This is a tour de force of emotion; a movie that will have you in tears before capturing your heart in a big way.