Top Tearjerker Movies

I’m not trying to be a downer, but sometimes you watch movies that move you to tears, and it helps you realize, oh yeah, this is why I pay ten bucks to see a movie. It doesn’t take much for a movie to make me cry (case in point: I cry every time I watch The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), so this list was difficult to edit. But these are a few of the movies that I watch when I need a good cry. [I should acknowledge first that this is only a list of MY favorite tearjerker films. I have not seen every movie, and there are many omitted].

WARNING: Spoilers ahead. Really serious ones. Final scenes of movies spoilers.

For clips, just click on any of the links. In no particular order:

The Pianist. This film is vividly, and sometimes grotesquely, real in its portrayal of the Holocaust. Images of war-torn Poland and the destruction of its people are heartbreaking. The one scene I never forget from this movie—Szpilman (Adrian Brody) is hiding out in the attic of an old home when he is discovered by a German soldier. Upon telling the soldier he was once a pianist, the soldier asks him to play. Szpilman sits at the piano and plays Chopin’s Ballade No.1.

Saving Private Ryan. That last scene where Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) tells Private Ryan (Matt Damon) to “earn it.” Then it cuts to present-day James Ryan, standing before Captain Miller’s grave and telling him,  “I tried to live my life the best I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that at least in your eyes,  I’ve earned what all of you have done for me.” Then asking his his wife, “Tell me I’ve led a good life…Tell me I’m a good man.”

Philadelphia. If you have not seen this movie, you must go see it now. I mean that more with this movie than with any of the others. It will change your perspective on so many things, and in so many ways. I cry pretty much the whole movie, as Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) fights against not only the disease that is killing him, but the injustice it brings about. I can’t even listen to Bruce Springsteen’s “Philadelphia” without bursting into tears. Tom Hanks won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance, and gave one of the most beautifully tear-inducing speeches in Oscar history.

Sleepless in Seattle. I don’t want this list to be a complete downer. There are sometimes movies that make you cry from happiness. I always cry happy tears during Sleepless in Seattle. There are those few heartbreaking scenes where Jonah calls Dr. Laura and convinces his Dad, Sam (Tom Hanks) to talk to Dr. Laura about how much he misses his wife (who had died from cancer). But then there’s that last scene, where Annie (Meg Ryan) is finally going to meet Sam face-to-face and it almost doesn’t happen, but then…yep.

Forest Gump. Forest (Tom Hanks) finds out he has a son, Jenny (Robin Wright Penn) dies. Forest’s speech at Jenny’s grave. Even makes my Dad cry (you know you did, Dad!).

Titanic. I know. Stop gagging. This is an incredible movie (I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched it. Well, the first half of it, anyway) which just happens to feature my first love/the love of my life Leonardo DiCaprio. And yes, there is that tragic scene where Rose (Kate Winslet) lets go of Jack (Leo) into the water (“I’ll never let go”). But the scene that breaks my heart the most is that piece of serenity right in the middle of all the chaos, when the musicians bring out their violins and play to calm the passengers. And we see the Captain awaiting his inevitable drowning, Andrews stopping the clock on the mantle, an elderly couple holding one another in their arms as water begins to fill their room, and a mother tucking her two young children into bed.

Honorable Mentions: I Am Legend (when Will Smith has to let Sam the dog die),  Braveheart (“Freeeeedooooom!!!!”), Glory (the whipping scene, that single tear down Denzel’s face), My Girl (funeral scene), and honorable Disney mentions for The Lion King and The Fox and the Hound.

What movies did I forget (I know, there are so many!)? Anyone notice that my favorite actor Tom Hanks is in 3 of my top 6? Did reading this depress you as much as it depressed me to write it? I promise I will radiate positivity the next few days!!


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