Hey there, fellow movie enthusiasts and fellow feelers of all things emotional. Get ready to ride a rollercoaster of heartache and tearful moments as we dive into the realm of the top 10 saddest movies ever made. 

We all know that sometimes a good cry is just as therapeutic as a hearty laugh, and that’s exactly what we’re in for. 

As someone who firmly believes in the power of a poignant story, I’m excited to guide you through these tear-jerking tales that have touched hearts and left a lasting impact on cinema. 

From tragic dramas to heartrending romances, let’s dive into a world where emotions run high and the tears flow freely.

1 “Schindler’s List” (1993) – A Heartbreaking Tale of Humanity

Schindler's List (1993)

“Schindler’s List” doesn’t just deliver a gut-wrenching historical narrative – it rips open wounds that can never truly heal. 

Spielberg’s masterful direction and exceptional performances convey the horrors of the Holocaust in a way that leaves an unforgettable impact on the viewer.

Related: 10 Best War Movies of All Time, Ranked by Viewers

This heart-wrenching and authentic film is about an unexpected hero who came intending to gain wealth. But instead, he goes down in history for saving thousands of Jewish lives from certain death.

2 ‘The Green Mile’ (1999) – A Journey of Empathy

The Green Mile (1999)

“The Green Mile” explores themes of injustice, empathy, and the power of the human spirit. 

Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan deliver soul-stirring performances in a heart-wrenching, profoundly moving film.

Related: 10 Best Tom Hanks Movies, Ranked by Viewers

This movie is the definition of “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

It is about John Coffey, wrongly accused of awful crimes; however, it is not long until the gentle giant shows his true intention and heavenly abilities in front of his correctional officers. 

3 ‘Manchester by the Sea’ (2016) – Grief Unveiled

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

“Manchester by the Sea” takes a raw, unfiltered look at grief and loss. 

Casey Affleck‘s portrayal of a man grappling with tragedy is heartbreakingly authentic, and the film’s exploration of the human condition leaves an emotional imprint.

The story revolves around a grief-stricken man named Lee Chandler. 

After losing his three children in a house fire which he blames himself for causing, he finds himself in charge of taking care of his nephew. 

This prompts quite the sad and captivating story of the two men’s struggles.

[ Watch on Prime Video ]

4 ‘Up’ (2009) – Animation with a Punch to the Heart

Up (2009)

“Up” manages to break hearts within the first few minutes with a beautifully poignant montage that tells the love story of its main characters. 

The film’s ability to blend humor and heartache in an animated world is a testament to the power of storytelling.

Related: 10 Best Animated Shows of All Time, Ranked by Viewers

A heartbroken older man, Carl Muntz, fulfills his late wife’s dream to move to a house overlooking Paradise Falls. In the eccentric attempt to lift and move his house with balloons, it miraculously takes flight. 

However, Carl finds himself pickling when he discovers a boy scout on his patio. 

[ Watch on Disney+ ]

5 ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ (1988) – Animation’s Heartbreaking Reality

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

“Grave of the Fireflies” is an anime that leaves an indelible mark on viewers.

Set in World War II, Japan, the film explores the heartbreaking journey of two siblings trying to survive amidst the devastation of war.

After the tragic loss of their mother, Seiti and Setsuko now live with their aunt. 

The movie follows the siblings as they struggle and persevere, selling and bargaining for rations and making heartbreaking survival decisions. 

6 ‘Marley & Me’ (2008) – Unconditional Love and Loss

Marley & Me (2008)

“Marley & Me” beautifully captures the bond between humans and their furry friends, making it an emotional rollercoaster for pet lovers. 

The film’s exploration of love, loss, and the fleeting nature of life resonates deeply.

7 ‘Atonement’ (2007) – Love, Lies, and Regret

Atonement (2007)

“Atonement” weaves a tale of love and tragedy against the backdrop of war. 

The film’s heartbreaking twists and turns and lush cinematography create a bittersweet masterpiece.

It is the tale of two young people from different backgrounds. I found myself absolutely on edge when discovering the mix-up of the notes! 

Robbie accidentally leaves the wrong note for Atonement, which is, in turn, the very explicit confession of his true feelings.

8 ‘Requiem for a Dream’ (2000) – A Descent into Despair

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

“Requiem for a Dream” delves into addiction and its devastating impact on individuals and their relationships. 

The film’s unflinching portrayal of the characters’ downward spirals is a haunting exploration of human vulnerability.

As three young heroin addicts one day decide to deal to reach their dreams, the movie takes unexpected heartfelt twists and turns!

[ Watch on Tubi ]

9 ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ (2014) – Young Love and Loss

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

“The Fault in Our Stars” takes teenage romance to a heartrending level as it explores the lives of two young cancer patients. 

The film’s poignant performances and genuine emotions resonate with viewers of all ages.

As two unlikely youngsters meet in a cancer help group for teens, they fall in love, and I loved following the development of the two, even with tears in my eyes!

10 ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ (2006) – Struggle and Triumph

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

“The Pursuit of Happyness” portrays the relentless pursuit of a better life against all odds. 

Will Smith‘s moving performance and the film’s portrayal of a father’s dedication tug at the heartstrings, reminding us of the strength of the human spirit.

The persistent Chris Gardner finds himself desperately trying to sell his products, and as the demand and stress increase, it causes tension in his marriage. 

However, Chris becomes a broker due to meeting a new friend. He succeeds after a bumpy ride, backbreaking work, and not giving up. 

[ Watch on Hulu ]

Some Personal Heartbreak

Among these heart-wrenching films, “The Green Mile” stands out as a personal favorite of mine. 

The film’s exploration of empathy, compassion, and the fragility of life is a testament to its ability to evoke profound emotions.

We’ve navigated through a sea of tear-jerking stories and heartrending moments in these top 10 saddest movies. 

From historical tragedies to heartwarming romances, these films have taken us on an emotional rollercoaster that’s left us reaching for the tissues and contemplating the depth of human experiences. 

As we wrap up this journey, let’s raise a virtual toast to the filmmakers, the talented actors, and everyone who played a part in creating these unforgettable masterpieces. 

Their ability to touch our hearts, evoke empathy, and provoke genuine emotions is a testament to the incredible power of storytelling through the magic of cinema. 

Top Saddest Movies of All Time

So, grab your tissues, embrace those feelings, and celebrate the beauty of these sad movies that remind us that sometimes, a good cry can be just as cathartic as a hearty laugh. 

As we bid farewell to these tearful tales, remember that in cinema, emotions run deep, and stories linger long after the credits roll. 

Here’s to the films that make us feel, reflect, and connect with our humanity – keep those tears flowing, my friends!

Pia Vermaak

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Pia Vermaak is an accomplished digital marketing agency owner and professional content writer with a remarkable track record in the industry.

With her keen strategic insights and creative flair, she has carved a niche for herself as a trusted expert in the field.

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