ByGenevieve Van Voorhis, writer at
Nostalgia never gets old. Find me on Twitter @gen_vanvee
Genevieve Van Voorhis

Sometimes we all need a good cry. But instead of sneaking a sob session in the bathroom at work, why not try scheduling one in the privacy of your own home, maybe surrounded by some equally emotional friends and ample amounts of tissues and wine? (If you're looking for something a little lighter, head here.) The following dozen movies are the most tragic that #Netflix has to offer. This compilation of untimely deaths, painful illnesses, broken hearts and cruel twists of fate is guaranteed to leave you blubbering uncontrollably. Check out our sad movies on Netflix below.

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Go ahead, let it all out...

Updated 12/16/2016:

What better way to say goodbye to 2016 than to watch some movies as depressing as this past year? Get in a last viewing of Saving Private Ryan before it leaves in January. We're swapping one tragic war film for another, as Braveheart is back on the menu for 2017, as well as the classic family tear-jerker, E.T. Cue the tears:

Leaving Jan. 1:

15. 'Saving Private Ryan' (1998)

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Starring: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore

The winner of five Academy Awards, #SavingPrivateRyan paints the grotesque tragedy of war with gripping realness. Set during the invasion of Normandy during World War II, Tom Hanks plays Captain John Miller, who leads his men on a mission to find one missing Private Ryan (#MattDamon) and bring him home. If the first ten minutes of this movie isn't one of the saddest things you've ever seen, you're made of stone.

Available Jan. 1:

14. 'Braveheart' (1995)

  • Director: Mel Gibson
  • Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan

FREEDOM! And — spoilers — a lot of death. Mel Gibson stars as William Wallace, the Scottish rebel that led a revolution against the tyrannical English ruler Edward Longshanks. This gruesome war flick isn't for the faint of heart, but it's more than just bloody battles and murders. There's love, loss, more love, more loss, and an ending that will rip your freakin' heart out.

13. 'E.T. The Extra Terrestrial' (1982)

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote

Now's the perfect time to introduce the next generation to cinema's most lovable alien. E.T. is the original sobfest for the whole family. Even after the umpteenth viewing, the touching story of friendship between Elliot (Henry Thomas) and the otherworldly creature E.T. won't fail to hit you riiiiiiiiiiiiiight heeeeeeeere — that is, directly in the feels.

Available Now:

12. 'Boyhood' (2014)

  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Starring: Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke

One of the most talked-about movies of the 21st century, Richard Linklater began filming #Boyhood in 2002 and continued filming for the next 11 years in order to capture the real aging process of the young actors that star in the film. Boyhood is a heart-wrenchingly real coming-of-age story, starring Ellar Coltrane as the central character, Mason Evans, Jr., and Linklater's own daughter as Mason's sister, Samantha. In 2014, the film won the Golden Globe for Best Picture, in addition to numerous other awards and nominations.

11. 'Always' (1989)

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, Brad Johnson, John Goodman, Audrey Hepburn

From screenwriters Jerry Belson and the famous Dalton Trumbo, this classic love story follows the life and after life of a daredevil pilot who perishes in a tragic plane crash. From the beyond, he is able to influence the lives of those he's left behind. Oh, and it's also the last movie Audrey Hepburn ever made!

10. 'Titanic' (1997)

  • Director: James Cameron
  • Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Victor Garber

That's right. The saddest of the sad, the big cahuna of heartbreak. #Titanic, the epic 1997 romance starring a very young, very handsome Leonardo DiCaprio and the astonishing, marvelous Kate Winslet is available on Netflix. Get reacquainted with the star-crossed lovers Jack and Rose and go down with the ship once more. Be sure to bring a life vest so you don't drown in an Atlantic Ocean of your own tears. We'll NEVER let go, Jack!

9. 'Bigs Eyes' (2014)

  • Director: Tim Burton
  • Starring: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston

Based on the incredible true story of Margaret Keane, #BigEyes tells the story of how she became the most prophetic and successful artist of the '50s, but all the while her husband was passing off the work as his own. As her violent marriage crumbles, Margaret files a lawsuit to gain the credit she is due and the rights to her own legacy.

Love Netflix? Check out these other great lists to stream today:

8. 'Anna Karenina' (2012)

  • Director: Joe Wright
  • Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Based on the tragic Russian novel by Leo Tolstoy, #KeiraKnightley stars as the lovely and flawed title character, trapped in a loveless marriage with her older husband (Jude Law). #AliciaVikander is young Kitty, who longs to marry Count Vronksy (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), but Vronsky falls passionately in love with the married #AnnaKarenina. Meanwhile, the land-owning farmer Levin (Domhnall) pines for Princess Kitty.

7. 'Atonement' (2007)

  • Director: Joe Wright
  • Starring: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Brenda Blethyn, Alfie Allen, Benedict Cumberbatch

A 13-year-old Briony Tallis is an aspiring writer. When she witnesses something happening between her sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and the son of one of the family's servants, Robbie Turner (#JamesMcAvoy), she thinks she understands what she's seen, but wrongly accuses Robbie of a crime. Then World War II sets in, and their lives will never be the same.

6. 'Becoming Jane' (2007)

  • Director: Julian Jarrold
  • Starring: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters

Pieced together from the letters and writings of Jane Austen, #BecomingJane tells the story of the remarkable writer at the start of her career. She might have written some of the greatest romances of all time, but her own great personal romance was a tragic casualty of the time in which she lived.

5. 'The Boy In The Striped Pajamas' (2008)

  • Director: Mark Herman
  • Starring: Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend

This haunting historical drama follows the story of a young boy, the son of a Nazi officer, who moves with his family to a house outside the grounds of a concentration camp. He explores his new home with complete innocence, and winds up befriending a little boy on the other side of the barbed wire fence.

4. 'Charlie St. Cloud' (2010)

  • Director: Burr Steers
  • Starring: Zac Efron, Kim Basinger, Charlie Tahan, Amanda Crew

#CharlieStCloud is a popular, successful high school senior, ready to go off to Stanford. But when a tragic car accident cuts his younger brother's life short, he finds himself trapped in the town where he's grown up, unable to move on and let his brother go.

3. 'Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father' (2008)

  • Director: Kurt Kuenne
  • Starring: Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby

A man is murdered by his ex-girlfriend, and his filmmaker friend sets out to chronicle his life. Then, the ex-girlfriend reveals that she is pregnant with the man's child, and the filmmaker decides to follow the heartwrenching struggle of two grandparents that must make peace with their son's murderer in order to see the only grandchild they will ever have.

2. 'Forrest Gump' (1994)

  • Director: Robert Zemeckis
  • Starring: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Even after a dozen viewings, this brilliant drama is still sure to leave you teary eyed. Forrest and Jenny go together like peas and carrots, until life pulls them in separate directions, and then pushes them back together again. This unforgettable film nabbed five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (#TomHanks), and Best Director.

1. 'Gladiator' (2000)

  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen

Set in ancient Rome after the death of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, #RusselCrowe is General Maximus Meridas, the late emperor's trusted friend and national hero. Commodus, the son of the emperor, has Maximus condemned to fight in the brutal gladiator games, out of fear that he could use his popularity to become the new leader. One man's heartache and bravery in the face of unchecked corruption will have you weeping within the first 20 minutes.


Which of these sad Netflix movies is your kryptonite?