Best Sad Movies To Make You Cry

The 37 best movies to cry in our list include Life Is Beautiful, Up and Grave of the Fireflies

A list of the best sad movies to cry
A list of the best sad movies to cry

We all have cried sometimes watching a movie. Cinema is not only entertainment; it can also be reflection, learning, experimentation, catharsis.

If you are in a moment of emotional blockage or simply want to see movies that arouse intense feelings and make you appreciate life and see it from a different point of view, our list with the 37 best movies to cry is awaiting you.

The 37 best sad movies to make you cry

In this article, you will find many examples of the great ability of the seventh art to convey sadness and other emotions to the viewer —although sometimes this is achieved through a certain manipulation rather than through deep scripts or evocative images.

We include sad romance movies, friendship, animation or tragedies, among other genres and themes.

1. Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009)

Richard Gere is the protagonist of this adaptation of the true story of an Akita dog that waited every day at the train station for his owner to arrive, even after his death. Today you can find a statue of Hachiko at Shibuya Station.

It is a remake of Hachiko Monogatari, a Japanese film from 1987, and a movie that makes most people cry when they see it.

2. Dead Poets Society (1989)

A literature teacher changes the lives of his students in a private and highly elitist school through poetry and his value of humanity, but the new ideas of the kids collide with those of the adults around them. One of the best movies to cry and to remember Robin Williams, who left us in 2014.

3. The Sea Inside (2004)

"Sea inside, sea inside, in the weightlessness of the bottom, where dreams come to fruition, two wills unite to realize a wish[...]. But I always awaken, and I always want to be dead, to remain with my mouth entangled in your hair."

This is the best-known poem by Ramón Sampedro, a man who spent three decades quadriplegic after being injured when jumping into the sea in his native Galicia. The Sea Inside tells his story and that of the two women who stayed with him through the long and difficult process that culminated in his assisted suicide, his last wish, which was denied to him for a long time.

4. The Notebook (2004)

The Notebook is one of the best romantic movies to make you cry par excellence. The film tells the love story between Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams) from youth to old age, and the many obstacles they have to face in their path. Without a doubt, one of the best films to cry in the history of cinema.

5. P.S. I Love You (2007)

After the sudden death of her husband, Holly begins to find letters that he left for her. This makes her focus on nostalgia and melancholy thinking about the past, forgetting the present.

The film stars  Hilary Swank, known for her roles in Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don't Cry, which, by the way, are also movies that will make you cry and that could be on this list.

6. Titanic (1997)

At the time of its release, Titanic became the biggest hit to date. The love story between Jack, a young lower-class man, and Rose, a member of the aristocracy, aboard the famous ocean liner that sank in 1912, catapulted Leonardo Di Caprio to fame and remains the most watched love movie in history, and one of the best movies to watch if you want to cry.

7. Ghost (1990)

After being murdered, the male protagonist of Ghost, played by the late Patrick Swayze, refuses to leave the earthly world and tries to contact his partner (Demi Moore) through a medium (Whoopi Goldberg).

8. The Green Mile (1999)

This emotional and hard to watch movie is based on a novel by Stephen King. It is a prison drama starring Tom Hanks, whose character works as a watchman for prisoners condemned to death in the electric chair, with supernatural elements that reinforce a message of hope without avoiding showing the darkest aspects of this contradictory world in which we live.

9. The Impossible (2012)

Juan Antonio Bayona directed this successful blockbuster set in Thailand during the terrible tsunami that occurred in 2004.

The Impossible tells the true story of a family, with Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor as co-stars, and is without a doubt one of the best crying films of recent years.

10. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

Written, directed and starring Italian comedian Roberto Benigni, this is one of the most popular of the many films dealing with World War II and, more specifically, the Holocaust.

The film tells the story of how a cheerful and eccentric man turns a stay in a concentration camp into a game for his son.

11. Bambi (1942)

Perhaps the saddest scene in Disney's filmography belongs to Bambi: the death of the mother of the little protagonist. After this dark experience, Bambi must learn to fend for himself, although he has the help of his friends, like the famous rabbit Thumper.

12. Up (2009)

If we have to choose the most emotional film from the Pixar Animation Studios, the winner is Up, the beautiful and funny story of Carl Fredricksen, an old man who has recently been widowed and who rediscovers interpersonal bonding thanks to a small boy scout after tying countless balloons to his house to avoid an eviction.

The opening scene, which sums up the love story between Carl and his partner from infancy until her death, instantly became a classic moment of the seventh art. This scene makes Up one of the best movies to cry.

13. Your Name (2016)

This recent Japanese animated film has become a real phenomenon in Asia, and to a lesser extent also in other parts of the world.

Your name tells the story of friendship and love between a teenage girl and boy who exchange bodies when they dream until, suddenly, this stops happening.

14. Schindler’s List (1993)

This masterpiece by Steven Spielberg is an intensely emotional film that stands out among the many films that have been made about World War II and the Holocaust.

Schindler's List is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German who helped save the lives of many Jews in Poland. The trio of leading actors —Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and Ralph Fiennes— deserves special mention.

15. A Monster Calls (2016)

Another movie that will make you cry, directed by J. A. Bayona, who is also The Impossible and The Orphanage director, is a Spanish hit. It is based on an illustrated book by Patrick Ness.

In A Monster Calls, a child whose mother has been diagnosed with cancer begins to imagine a monster that helps him deal with the difficulties of everyday life.

16. Seven Pounds (2008)

Will Smith stars in this movie that was specifically created to make you cry. Although to reveal details of the plot would be to spoil it, this is, without a doubt, one of the most emotional films you can find.

17. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Brokeback Mountain was a real success when it was released because it brought homosexuality to the front page of Hollywood commercial cinema and treated it in an interesting way, emphasizing the taboos associated with it, especially in the past.

The film is set in a rural area of the United States in the 1960s. The protagonists, played by Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger, play two cowboys who fall in love and face their sexuality in a highly intolerant social context.

18. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

This Japanese animated film is one of the hardest to watch and most emotional that exist, according to many cinephiles. It is starring two siblings who try to survive in Japan during World War II.

Grave of the Fireflies was created by Studio Ghibli, although its director is Isao Takahata and not Hayao Miyazaki, who would be the director of films such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro or Princess Mononoke.

19. Gone with the Wind (1939)

The director Vicor Fleming first brought to the big screen an epic drama that ended up becoming one of the best films in history: Gone with the Wind. The viewer will remember the passionate love story of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, the whimsical Scarlett O'Hara and the arrogant Rhett Butler.

With the American Civil War in the background, the viewer witnesses a melodramatic love story that moves, but it is just one of many particular dramas from a film about the disaster of war and slavery.

20. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Frank Capra directed this tearful Christmas drama executed by a wonderful James Steward. In this case, in addition to his interpretation, it moves by the beauty of its script, which tells the story of a man who wants to commit suicide on Christmas Eve after having given up his dreams.

Frank Capra touches the spectator's heart with the appearance of a guardian angel, played by Henry Travers, which shows the protagonist how the lives of the people he has helped would be if he had not existed.

21. Love Story (1970)

This melodrama marked a generation because of the tragedy of the story, which puts the viewer in one of the most dramatic imaginable situations: when death breaks love in its youth.

Love story, directed by Arthur Miller, presents the conquest of the love of two people from different social classes and its challenge to her terminal illness. Jenny's character left us a remarkable quote when in the hospital bed before she died she says to her loved one: " Love means never having to say you're sorry.”

22. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Five-Oscars winner, this film also shed many tears due to the cruelty of its situation: this time, a father played by Dustin Hoffman takes care of his son when his wife, played by Meryl Streep, abandons them. Years later, the mother comes back looking for her son.

Beyond the judicial plot, as the mother goes to court to get her child back, the film reflects on the relationship between father and son which, by force of necessity, goes from rejection to unconditional love.

23. E.T. (1982)

Steven Spielberg got into people's heart with this beautiful movie, in the middle of the fantastic cinema boom.  The story awakens the most human feelings after the fear and incomprehension of facing with the unknown.

The main character, a boy named Elliott meets an extraterrestrial who wants to go back home. They both live moving adventures as they try to escape the persecution of scientists and the police. Many consider the ending when ET has to separate from Elliott to go home, to be the most emotive scene in the history of the cinema.

24. The Color Purple (1985)

This film, also directed by Steven Spielberg, depicts the social drama of an African-American girl pregnant of her father and sold into slavery to an abuser. The moment when she is separated from her sister Nettie is heartbreaking.

The adventures of Celine, forced to survive in a world of discrimination and cruelty,  expresses through individual tragedy the collective drama, raising awareness of the heinous of slavery and racism. It features the wonderful performance of Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winner Whoopi Goldberg.

25. Out of Africa (1985)

Sydney Pollack directed this memorable drama interpreted by Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. This movie had all the ingredients to win seven Oscars, among others, the Best-Adapted-Screenplay and Best Picture.

Based on an autobiographic novel, the movie is based in a turbulent love story between a hunter and the director of a coffee plantation at the time of the British Empire in Africa. Love is passionate, but she needs a faithful companion, and he is an adventurer. The tragic ending ensures crying in abundance.

26. Untamed Heart (1993)

According to the MTV Awards, Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei gave each other the best movie kiss in 1993 in Untamed Heart, a romantic and dramatic movie in which he saves the woman from rape and they start a relationship full of difficulties.

The movie reflects about the power of love to change people, because she is someone traumatized by the incident, and he is an introverted man marked by the suffering of the past. They both know the magic of life through love… until the rapers come back for revenge.

27. Forrest Gump (1994)

One of the movies that we all have in our memory, with one of the most popular scenes: Tom Hanks, playing the role of a young man who had orthopedic appliances on his legs when he was a child, runs desperately in a marathon around the world to look for his lover.

Forrest Gump is one of the most beautiful movies because  it puts before the spectator the story of overcoming and his innocent search for love. It won several Oscars, including Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Picture.

28. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

Accustomed to seeing Clint Eastwood as a tough guy in Western movies and the Dirty Harry saga, many were surprised by his excellent execution in a romantic drama that has become a classic over the years.

In this film he duets with Meryl Streep; they both interpret a love story between a housewife and a photographer. This love story, exceeding the limit of what is forbidden because she is married with children, ends up becoming an exciting adventure of four days that will change their lives.

29. American History X (1999)

Another social-critical film that made an impression on the younger generation at the time was American History X, a reflection on the mix of racism and poverty in the United States.

The movie is much more: it deals with the inner change of a young man who, through contact with reality while in prison, rehabilitates himself and goes from being the leader of a Nazi gang that organizes beatings to black people to a peaceful young man who tries to save his brother from his same fate. The ending is heartbreaking.

30. The Pianist (2002)

Adrien Brody plays the role of his life in a historical drama that became one of the best films about Nazism. The beauty of its images, the historical rigor, and an amazing interpretation make it a classic.  Beyond the historical context, it is a reflection on suffering and the human soul.

Brody brings to life the prototype of the Jew who, in the 1930s and on the eve of the Second World War, tries to survive the Nazi hunt for Jews. Some scenes, like the grandfather the Nazis, throw off the balcony or the fight of two men over a jar of lentils, leaves the spectator in awe and touches the deepest part of the soul.

31. Crash (2004)

This movie, besides being a tender and moving film, created a tendency to explain different dramas that are connected somehow. Its original screenplay and the great interpretation of great celebrities such as Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Chris Bridges, and Brendan Fraser made it win the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

The personal stories of many characters with their specific circumstances end up intersecting in a collective drama that reflects on racism and discrimination and ends up becoming an acid criticism of American society.

32. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Critics and the public praised Clint Eastwood in this film that marked his way to other works (such as Gran Torino) with the same approach: a shabby and reserved man starts reacting to life by the arrival of someone who will teach him the value of friendship.

In this case, this someone is a young girl with a passion for boxing (Hilary Swank) who admires an old coach (Clint Eastwood) who first despises her for being a woman and then naturally assumes a paternal role before a soul full of suffering. The end of the movie is as tender as it is hard: it's impossible not to cry.

33. Hotel Rwanda (2005)

The historical tragedy brought to the big screen takes on dramatic and epic dimensions in this magnificent and critical film because, in addition to portraying with crudity and reality the civil war in Rwanda, it also puts into question the role of the international community in the face of that genocide.

The film also allows us to discover a monumental Don Cheadle in the role of a man who helps save lives in the face of the passivity of world organizations. Its plot, reminiscent of the mythical Schindler's List, confronts us with the worst of the human soul and puts us in front of the mirror.

34. Camino (2008)

This Spanish movie also managed to move the most compassionate feelings towards the character, in this real case of Alexia González-Barros, a girl with a terminal tumor who discovers love and maintains her strong religious convictions.

Javier Fesser directed with a master hand this emotional plot in which the human and the real mixes with the mystical and transcendental and makes us reflect on life and death, pain and suffering, and finally, on the triumph of love and the fleeting of existence.

35. Precious (2009)

When all the world's misfortunes vent their rage on one person, and this story is told with Precious's mastery and Gabourey Sidibe's interpretative talent, it is impossible not to empathize with even the most heartbroken tears.

This film is a social critique focused on the figure of Precious, an illiterate and obese teenager who, in addition to being rejected for her physical and racial condition, becomes pregnant by her own father and gives birth to a child with Down syndrome. Despite having everything against her, Precious fights for her happiness.

36. 12 Years a Slave (2014)

The drama of slavery in the southern United States has been depicted in many movies, and few with as much harshness and sensitivity as in 12 years of slavery, the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who struggles to regain his freedom after being sold into slavery to a landowner.

The harsh living conditions and the tyranny of the slave traders put our heart in our mouth and transcends the context of the time: it is a biting critique of any form of discrimination and a desperate cry for man's freedom and dignity.

37. Amour (2012)

The master of psychological terror Michael Haneke also revealed himself as a sensitive and brilliant narrator in the field of drama and romance. In this case, the romantic genre loses all melodramatic excess and becomes a crude and sincere story: the love of an old man and woman tested by a disease.

The value of love in extreme situations is revealed when the woman suffers hemiplegia that leaves her incapacitated in bed, and her husband has to take care of her. The single image of Anne's corpse covered with flowers in her apartment disturbs us and introduces us to a compassionate film without any kind of compassion.