Watching a tearjerker can sometimes be very healing. Sometimes you just need to experience those kinds of emotions and to shed tears, especially if it’s over a film and not your own life. It’s kind of like going on a roller coaster ride, it’s scary but you love the thrill you get. Watching some of these movies takes you through a myriad of emotions both good and bad but one thing is for sure; the movies on this list will definitely draw some tears. That’s why they call them tearjerkers.
Remember, this list reflects just one opinion of the top movies that make us cry, it should go without saying that there are many more that could be added or substituted on this list that are just as sad if not sadder. Some on this list are very old, some not so old but all guaranteed to do what they are designed to do, make you lose your grip and mist up. So the next time you are gathering with friends or that special someone and you want to watch something that will definitely pull at the heartstrings, reach for one of these movies and be sure to have plenty of tissues on hand.
This film, made in 1990, is a romantic tragedy with the lead character dying an untimely death but remaining on earth as a “ghost” to watch over his girlfriend and the heart of gold psychic that helps them. The lead roles were played by Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. It has some of everything including action and comedy, but the goodbye that must happen between the couple at the end will have you sniffling into your Kleenex.
11 My Girl
This film released in 1991 deals with death. Death is a difficult enough concept to grasp as an adult, but watching a young girl deal with it is heartbreaking. The lead character, Vada, must accept the death of her best friend, Thomas, in the very prime of their childhood. This comes after she’s also had to accept the death of her mother at a very young age. This movie serves as a reminder that life is never fair and no one is immune to the unfortunate trials that are dealt out. You will definitely cry with and for the lead character in this story as she faces very difficult times in her young life.
10 Schindler’s List
This film directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 1993 is an American epic. It depicts the life of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman, who was responsible for saving thousands of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. The film stars Liam Neeson in the title role and also starring in the film is Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley. The casting alone should give you an idea of the quality of this film. This is the kind of movie that has you thinking for days after and definitely shedding some tears.
9 Steel Magnolias
This is a classic tearjerker although portrayed as an American comedy-drama. The film was directed by Herbert Rossi and released in 1989. Watching this group of friends face trials and tribulations and be there to support one another through it all is both uplifting and upsetting at the same time. The movie really begins to make you cry though when one of the characters lies in a coma while the family stands by hoping that there will be a miracle. When they must find the courage to do what must be done you will be on your third box of tissues. Steel Magnolias is guaranteed to entertain while reminding you about the special bonds between family and good friends.
8 A Walk to Remember
This film adaptation of one of Nicholas Sparks’ books was released in 2002. It’s the story of a bad boy that falls in love with a good girl and of course she makes him see the error of his ways. The twist comes when he finds out she’s dying of leukemia and there is nothing anyone can do. He takes it upon himself then to try and make sure she gets to do all the things she wants to do before she dies. You can imagine watching this movie will have you sobbing very quickly; in fact, you will probably sob throughout the whole thing.
7 The Notebook
Another of Nicholas Sparks’ beloved novels, this movie has become a very popular love story. The film is set in the present day but switches back and forth to the past as a couple recollect their life story. Their recollections take them back to the 1940’s prior to the war and all the way through to the present day where they both now reside at an adult care center. The movie shows us that the power of love should never be underestimated and that sickness and death can never truly stop love.
6 Love Story
Love Story was released in 1970 and ranked as number nine on the list of the most romantic movies of all time by the American Film Institute. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards. The film tells the story of a young couple in flashbacks. He’s rich and privileged and she’s not, but they fall in love. There is of course resistance by his father but love prevails. Unfortunately, shortly after the couple is married she is diagnosed with a terminal illness. This is the movie that features the famous “Love means never having to say you are sorry” line. The scene where she asks him to hold her at the end will have even the most hardened cynic bawling.
5 Marley & Me
Directed by David Frankel and released in 2008, this movie is perfect for anyone that has ever owned a dog. The film tells the story of a young couple and the raising of their dog Marley through all the trials and tribulations. It’s funny and heartwarming but at the end when it’s time to say goodbye it’s also heartbreaking. As anyone that has ever owned a beloved pet knows, it’s never easy to say goodbye. It does leave us though with the uplifting reminder of how much love a dog can add to one’s life.
This romantic disaster movie was directed by James Cameron and released in 1997. It’s one of the most expensive movies ever made with a $200 million dollar budget. The movie focuses on a young couple’s romance set against the background of the doomed maiden voyage of the Titanic. It starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the lead roles. The movie grossed $2.18 billion dollars worldwide. Knowing what happened to the Titanic you get an idea that the lovers don’t have long but the selflessness of DiCaprio’s character, makes it all the more bittersweet. Tears will fall for sure by the end of this movie.
3 Brian’s Song
Released in 1971 this film chronicles the life of Brian Piccolo, a football player playing for Wake Forest University who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Directed by Buzz Kulik, this movie has been referred to by critics as one of the finest movies ever made. Piccolo’s struggle to live, his strength of will, spirit, bravery and friendships will bring tears out of even the toughest critic. Fans of the tearjerker would agree this movie will always make the final list of their favorites.
2 Terms of Endearment
Terms of Endearment was directed by James Brooks and released in 1983. Based on a novel by Larry McMurtry, the movie spans the 30-year relationship between a mother and daughter and their ups and downs. There are some comedic moments in the film with Shirley MacLaine as the spunky and spirited mother but make no mistake this film is a drama. When her daughter gets sick, MacLaine’s character, Aurora Greenway, does what is necessary to nurse her through to the very end, including making sure she’s as comfortable as possible. The dialog between the characters is amazing and surely one of the reasons it won five out of the eleven Academy Awards it was nominated for.
Beaches was released in 1988 and starred Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. The film follows their lifelong friendship from childhood to adulthood, including careers, marriages and children. When one of the friends is diagnosed with heart failure and is dying she must depend upon the other to raise her only child. Ask any authority of the tearjerker genre and they will agree this movie has to be one of the top of its kind. Be sure to have plenty of tissues on hand when you watch this one.