Some films are made with the sole purpose of making us cry. They tug and tug at our heartstrings until they finally snap and pity the fool who hasn’t thought to bring along a box of Kleenex. Throughout the decades of filmmaking there have been plenty of this type of film. It is not easy to get sad movies right, though. You can sometimes go overboard and make things too sappy and the audience ends up laughing instead. A tightrope has to be walked when dealing with this type of hyper-emotionality.
Here is my list of the Top 10 cry worthy films:
10) Titanic – Year of Release: 1997 – When this film came out many spent the days after seeing it crying. Sad for obvious reasons. A young girl finds happiness and love when up until that point she had lived a sheltered and superficial life. Just then tragedy happens and there is a struggle for survival. The film is 3 hours long and you probably will spend half of Just that darn Celine Dion song is enough to make my eyes well up.
9) Schindler’s List – Year of Release: 1993 – Of all directors out there Steven Spielberg certainly knows how to make us cry. His stark black and white depiction of the Holocaust is moving to say the least. Then that girl in a red coat…all of it is unforgettable. You’d have to be heartless not to cry.
8) Hachi: A Dog’s Tale – Year of Release: 2009 – A dog’s love and loyalty. A friendship that lasts forever. Tears will come out and then it will be uncontrollable sobbing. Few people have seen this film and it is a shame. Watch it!
7) Terms of Endearment – Year of Release: 1983 – Mother and daughter film, right? Yes and no. Theirs is a difficult to say the least relationship and then when the daughter is given a terminal cancer diagnosis the heartbreaking nature of the film is ramped up many notches. A sassy and full of life woman is given a death sentence in the prime of her life is hard to take. The fact that James L. Brooks made the film so smart and realistic adds plenty of punch.
6) Million Dollar Baby – Year of Release: 2004 – At first you think it is just going to be a typical crusty older man takes an underdog to the top then it changes – suddenly and powerfully. Inspiring turns to a woman undergoing a crippling injury and then asking for a mercy death.
5) Brokeback Mountain – Year of Release: 2005 – Full of quietly powerful moments, Ang Lee’s film knocked many a viewer on their asses. Genuine and forbidden love. Longing and loss. Never has a film hit the mark on how awful it is to be in the closet. It is all there and you won’t be able to hold back your tears when the depth of emotion hits you square in the chest.
4) Old Yeller – Year of Release: 1957 – The fact that you know this is going to be a cry fest does not cushion the blow in the least. You are still going to bawl when the inevitable happens. The fact that you know what is around the corner makes the happy scenes that much more touching as well. The simplicity and depth of a love between a boy and his dog is illustrated perfectly here. This Disney film has traumatized generations of young ones and pet owners.
3) The Champ – Year of Release: 1979 – A young boy who worships his father who is a boxer. Life is tough for the two. Ricky Schroder as the young boy is so convincing that he gets you crying right along with him. The honesty of the portrayals and story overcomes any possibility of melodrama. If you are not in tears at the end then you have to go see the doctor as you have no heart.
2) Love Story – Year of Release: 1970 – Classic romantic tearjerker of the 70s. Two college students from different backgrounds fall in love. Just as they begin building a life together cruel fate comes walking through the door. Despite this they try to make the most of the time they have left together. Saying goodbye is never easy. Saying goodbye to Natalie Wood in Love Story is next to impossible.
1) An Affair to Remember – Year of Release: 1957 – A good looking man and a beautiful woman meet. On a cruise they fall in love despite the fact that they are engaged to others. At the end they agree to meet on the top of the Empire State Building in six months. However, a tragic accident keeps one of them from showing up. The defining moment of the film comes right at the end and it will cause your heart to break and tears to flow.