Why do we love sad movies so much? Whether they're sad romantic movies or actual depressing stories about how much of a bitch life can be, sometimes all we need is a good ugly cry, sitting in bed at an ungodly hour, wiping away tears with fingers covered in sticky chip crumbs.
From the tough true story to the teen heartbreak, we've compiled for you a list of the saddest movies cinema has to offer. Grab your best pillow, your favorite plush toy and your number one snack, and dive into the twelve best sad movies of all time — and don't hesitate to share your own picks with us below!
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12. 'Good Will Hunting' – 1997
Just watching an old Robin Williams classic could bring you to tears, but this story of a psychiatrist trying to help a young prodigy stuck in his petty crime habits is the true definition of "emotional." Starring baby-faced #MattDamon and Ben Affleck, this Gus Van Sant masterpiece is about learning to believe in yourself.
11. 'The Fault In Our Stars' – 2014
While not necessarily the best kind of cinema, The Fault in Our Stars is exactly what you need if you feel like sobbing in front of a heartbreaking love story, the crème de la crème of sad love movies. Plus, #ShaileneWoodley and Ansel Elgort are delightful in this adaptation of John Green's best-selling novel.
10. 'Dancer in the Dark' – 2000
Lars von Trier + Björk + a Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival = an intense recipe that should make this movie a harrowing yet incredible experience. The Icelandic singer, who also composed the soundtrack, plays Selma, a Czech immigrant seeking to escape her harsh reality with classic American musicals.
9. 'The Green Mile' – 1999
The job of #TomHanks's character in The Green Mile, Paul Edgecomb, is to stay with convicts until their death sentence — but when he meets John Coffey, he starts to believe the man couldn't possibly be guilty of the crime he's been accused of. Directed by Frank Darabont, who also brought us The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile is one of Hanks's most touching roles.
8. 'Boys Don't Cry' – 1999
The title says Boys Don't Cry, but no one should hold back their tears watching the 1999 drama that got Hillary Swank the Oscar for Best Actress, thanks to her heartbreaking portrayal of transgender man Brandon Teena. Though the movie has attracted controversy for not casting a trans actor in the main role, it's one of the sad romantic movies that sheds an important light on a sexuality question that is still discriminated against and misunderstood.
7. 'The Elephant Man' – 1980
#DavidLynch's take on the true story of Joseph Derrick is as tragic in content as it's excellent in form. Nicknamed the Elephant Man, Derrick lived in the late 19th century and suffered from Proteus syndrome, a rare disease that caused his face and body to grow in painful and unusual ways. After discovering him at a freak show, British surgeon Frederik Treves brings him back to the London hospital and attempts to allow him to live his life with a minimum of dignity.
6. 'Grave of the Fireflies' – 1988
Animated by #StudioGhibli and directed by Isao Takahata, Grave of the Fireflies follows two Japanese children trying to survive in the countryside after a bombing during World War II. This is no Neighbor Totoro — it's the kind of story that will break you heart into a million pieces and then shatter the pieces again.
5. 'Amour' – 2012
"Amour" means love in French, and that's exactly what Michael Haneke's 2012 masterpiece is about. The movie, which went on to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, follows an elderly couple as the painful effects of time and age threaten to strain their relationship. It's a must-see as far as sad love movies go, and it will punch you right in the guts.
4. 'Brokeback Mountain' – 2005
If #HeathLedger's presence alone won't make you cry, then at least the story of Brokeback Mountain will. Ang Lee's poignant classic centers around two men in love, but stuck in a society that doesn't allow them to express their true feelings. With a stellar cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams, this is a sad romantic movie for the ages.
3. 'I, Daniel Blake' – 2016
I, Daniel Blake has nothing to do with sad love movies. It's not even a tearjerker; rather, it's a sad movie because of how infuriated the story will leave you. Daniel Blake is an uncomplicated old man whose life gets too complicated when a heart attack prevents him from going back to work — and the nightmare of getting through the paperwork to obtain financial support ensues. Ken Loach, who won the Palme d'Or at Cannes for this brilliant movie, has an unmistakable brand of realism that you just can't forget.
2. 'Still Alice' – 2014
Would Still Alice figure on the list of sad love movies? Not necessarily. But the story of #JulianneMoore's Alice, and how she's diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, takes a cruel toll on everything, from her loving relationship with her husband to her family and her career. From #KristenStewart to Alec Baldwin, the whole cast delivers touching performances in a movie that provides a tough yet crucial look at the impacts of Alzheimer's.
1. 'Schindler's List' – 1993
Schindler's List may not be the best sad movie of all time, but if it doesn't get your tears pouring out in amounts equivalent to the water in a tropical typhoon, I'm not sure what will. Inspired by the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist and member of the Nazi party who saved more than a thousand Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories, this #StevenSpielberg classic features stellar performances by Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley. Along with The Pianist, it's one of the essential movies to watch about World War II.
What movie would you add to the list of the best sad movies of all time?