ByGenevieve Van Voorhis, writer at Creators.co
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, check out the best comedies on Netflix instead) The following dozen movies are the most tragic that 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.

See also:

Go ahead, let it all out...

Updated 02/24/2016:

Available May 05/01/2017:

22. 'All We Had' (2016)

  • Director: Katie Holmes
  • Starring: Eve Lindley, Richard Kind, Mark Consuelos, Katie Holmes, Luke Wilson

Katie Holmes makes her feature-length directorial debut with a powerful film about a less-than-perfect single mother, trying to do right by her adolescent daughter. Based on the book by the same name by Annie Weatherwax, Holmes stars as Rita, a mom desperately trying to make ends meet and provide for her daughter Ruthie. The raw and honest portrayal of the mother-daughter relationship is sure to bring a tear to the eye of anyone with a mom.

21. 'Forrest Gump' (1994)

'Forrest Gump' [Credit: Paramount]
'Forrest Gump' [Credit: Paramount]
  • 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 (), and Best Director.

20. 'Two Lovers And A Bear' (2016)

'Two Lovers And A Bear' [Credit: 20th Century Fox/Netflix]
'Two Lovers And A Bear' [Credit: 20th Century Fox/Netflix]
  • Director: Kim Nguyen
  • Starring: Dane DeHaan, Tatiana Maslany, Gordon Pinsent

Roman (Dane DeHaan) and Lucy (Tatiana Maslany) fall madly in love when they meet in their small, poor town of Apex in the frozen Arctic Circle. When Lucy begins to grow paranoid about a stalker, she wants to leave town, but Roman is afraid to move south because of his own dark past. But when she won't leave without him, the two decide to go south together. No spoilers, but the this movie will leave even the iciest of hearts melting into a puddle on the floor.

Available Now:

19. 'Born To Be Free' (2016)

'Born To Be Free' [Credit: Roast Beef/Baikal/Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen]
'Born To Be Free' [Credit: Roast Beef/Baikal/Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen]
  • Director: Gayane Petrosyan

If you thought Black Fish was a bummer, get ready for another deep dive into the dark world of ocean mammals captured and sold to marine parks across the globe. The cruel business of kidnapping and containing dolphins and beluga whales makes billions of dollars for the people willing to do the dirty work. The biggest losers? These innocent, majestic and endangered creatures.

18. 'Schindler's List' (1993)

'Schindler's List' [Credit: Universal]
'Schindler's List' [Credit: Universal]
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

This tragic true story hauled in seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. Liam Neeson stars as Oskar Schindler, a German man living in Poland during World War II. As the war progresses and the treatment of Jews goes from bad to worse, Schindler decides to do all he can to protect people by hiring them to work in his factory.

17. 'Safe Haven' (2013)

'Safe Haven' [Credit: Relativity]
'Safe Haven' [Credit: Relativity]
  • Director: Lasse Hallström
  • Starring: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Cobie Smulders

Who knows how to tug the heart strings better than the grand puppet master Nicholas Sparks? From the writer of The Notebook and the director of The Ciderhouse Rules — tried and true tearjerkers — comes the story of a young woman running from a mysterious, painful past, right into the arms of a hunky small town widower.

16. 'Notes On Blindness' (2016)

'Notes On Blindness' [Credit: Arte France/Creative England/Impact]
'Notes On Blindness' [Credit: Arte France/Creative England/Impact]
  • Director: Pete Middleton
  • Starring: John M. Hull, Marilyn Hull, Miranda Beinart-Smith

When Jim Hull went blind in 1980, he began keeping audio diaries. This documentary takes an intimate look at how losing his sight affected Hull's thoughts and feelings for the rest of his life.

15. 'Clouds Of Sils Maria' (2004)

'Clouds Of Sils Maria' [Credit: CG/Pallas/CAB]
'Clouds Of Sils Maria' [Credit: CG/Pallas/CAB]
  • Director: Olivier Assayas
  • Starring: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloë Grace Moretz

Set primarily in Sils Maria, Switzerland, this scorching lesbian drama tells the story of a successful, aging actress who is cast in a revival of the play that made her famous. This time, instead of playing the young starlet, she is cast as the older lover. As the story progresses, the play begins to mirror her own life as sexual tension brews between Binoche's character and her assistant (Kristen Stewart). The fraught interpersonal relationships, fading dreams and oppressive societal beauty standards are enough to make anyone wail.

14. 'Aram, Aram' (2015)

'Aram, Aram' [Credit: Tilted Windmill/Whitewater]
'Aram, Aram' [Credit: Tilted Windmill/Whitewater]
  • Director: Christopher Chambers
  • Starring: John Roohinian, Levon Sharafyan, Sevak Hakoyan

The 12-year-old Aram (John Roohinian) is abruptly sent from his home in Armenia to live with his grandfather (Levon Sharafyan). They begin rebuilding their small family, but a local Armenian gang leader takes an interest in Aram. Slowly, the boy becomes embroiled in a life of crime and his grandfather is powerless to save him.

13. 'Fire Song' (2015)

'Fire Song' [Credit: Adam Garnet Jones]
'Fire Song' [Credit: Adam Garnet Jones]
  • Director: Adam Garnet Jones
  • Starring: Ma-Nee Chacaby, Morteesha Chickekoo-Bannon, Brendt Thomas Diabo

A teenage Anishnabe girl in Northern Ontario commits suicide just days before her gay brother Shane (Andrew Martin) is supposed to leave for university. As the entire family copes with the loss, Shane struggles to decide whether to keep his family together or put his own future first. This First Nations film will resound with anyone who can relate to the themes of loss and growing up.

12. 'Milk' (2008)

'Milk' [Credit: Focus]
'Milk' [Credit: Focus]
  • Director: Gus Van Sant
  • Starring: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch

Sean Penn brought home the Oscar for Best Actor in 2009 for his portrayal of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to office in the US. is a story of triumph over rampant homophobia in the 1970s. While there are plenty of inspirational moments to make you admire the trailblazers that came before us, there are also plenty of scenes of cruelty, grief and despair that will leave you whimpering over the struggles of humanity.

11. 'Be Here Now' (2015)

'Be Here Now' [Credit: Silver Lining]
'Be Here Now' [Credit: Silver Lining]
  • Director: Lilibet Foster
  • Starring: Jai Courtney, Andy Whitfield, Indigo Whitfield

Andy Whitfield rises to sudden stardom as the lead in the hit TV show Spartacus. After completing the first season of the series, Whitfield is diagnosed with life-threatening cancer. This documentary chronicles the journey of Whitfield, his wife and their two children to fully embrace life to the fullest in the time they have left.

10. 'Braveheart' (1995)

'Braveheart' [Credit: Paramount]
'Braveheart' [Credit: Paramount]
  • 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.

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

'E.T. The Extra Terrestrial'  [Credit: Universal]
'E.T. The Extra Terrestrial' [Credit: Universal]
  • 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.

8. 'Boyhood' (2014)

'Boyhood' [Credit: IFC/Universal]
'Boyhood' [Credit: IFC/Universal]
  • 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 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.

7. 'Always' (1989)

'Always' [Credit: Universal]
'Always' [Credit: Universal]

  • 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!

6. 'Bigs Eyes' (2014)

'Bigs Eyes' [Credit: Weinstein]
'Bigs Eyes' [Credit: Weinstein]
  • Director: Tim Burton
  • Starring: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston

Based on the incredible true story of Margaret Keane, 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.

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5. 'Anna Karenina' (2012)

'Anna Karenina' [Credit: Working Title/StudioCanal]
'Anna Karenina' [Credit: Working Title/StudioCanal]
  • Director: Joe Wright
  • Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson

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

4. 'Atonement' (2007)

'Atonement' [Credit: Universal/Focus]
'Atonement' [Credit: Universal/Focus]
  • 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 (), 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.

3. 'Becoming Jane' (2007)

'Becoming Jane' [Credit: Buena Vista/Miramax]
'Becoming Jane' [Credit: Buena Vista/Miramax]
  • Director: Julian Jarrold
  • Starring: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters

Pieced together from the letters and writings of Jane Austen, 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.

2. 'Charlie St. Cloud' (2010)

'Charlie St. Cloud' [Credit: Universal]
'Charlie St. Cloud' [Credit: Universal]
  • Director: Burr Steers
  • Starring: Zac Efron, Kim Basinger, Charlie Tahan, Amanda Crew

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.

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

'Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father' [Credit: MSNBC]
'Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father' [Credit: MSNBC]
  • 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.

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