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39 Movies That Will Break Your Heart

Updated on July 7, 2017

Saddest Movies That Will Break Your Heart

Sad movies or tearjerkers affect our thoughts and emotions much more than other type of movies do.As a source of entertainment, they make us feel more happy and alive.Every time we suffer a loss or failure in life ,we come out of tragedy much wiser and stronger.We cannot only learn from our own losses but also from other people’s pain and misery.sad movies bring to our attention the pain of others and thus add to our wisdom.

As a lover of sad movies,here’s my list of 39 movies that are heart breaking and deeply moving.


Revolutionary Road(2008)

Directed By : Sam Mendes

Starring: Kate winslet,Leonardo dicaprio,Michael Shannon

Best Quote : “It takes backbone to lead the life you want’’.

Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet  in Revolutionary Road
Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road centers around a husband and wife who make an attempt at escaping their "empty and hopeless" life. The characters themselves are not particularly likable, but the movie is memorable, heartbreaking and very sad. The music in the movie is unsettling and adds to the darkness of the scenes.


An Inspector calls (2015)

Director: Aisling Walsh

Starring: Sophie Rundle, Lucy Chappell, Miranda Richardson

Best quote: ‘’we don’t live alone. We are all members of one body. We are responsible for each other.’’

An Inspector Calls
An Inspector Calls

After experience, stories are our best teacher. ‘’An inspector calls’’ will teach you a lot. It’s a melancholic story of a beautiful girl, that will stay forever in your heart. If you care about people you must watch this. This movie has a strong moral lesson, it teaches you to be very gentle and it also shows you how very important it is to be gentle. The story is tragic and lines of inspector Goole are heartbreaking. Only when our heart gets broken do we learn some wisdom.

Brothers (2009)

Director: Jim Sheridan

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire

Best quote:’’ I dunno who said "only the dead have seen the end of war". I have seen the end of war. The question is, can I live again?’’

Brothers(2009)
Brothers(2009)

This movie shows the horrors of war and the effect it leaves on the mind of soldiers and service men, long after they leave the battlefield. It’s a tragic and sad film that shows a realistic picture of reality─ an attribute of true art.

The Age of Innocence (1993)

Directed By : Martin Scorsese

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis,Michelle Pfeiffer,Winona Ryder

Best Quote :'' Don't you see? I can't love you unless I give you up.’’

Age of Innocence
Age of Innocence

‘’Age of innocence’’ is directed by Martin Scorsese and is the precise portrayal of Edith Wharton’s novel of the same name .The movie presents the 1870’s hypocritical New York society that holds its members prisoners. In a society where nothing seems to happen, hearts and hopes are crushed violently. This movie quite simply has the finest ending of any movie I have ever seen. Scorsese has referred to ''Age of Innocence" as his most "violent" film .


The House of Sand and Fog (2003)

Directed By : Vadim Perelman

Starring: Jennifer Connelly,Ben Kingsley,Shohreh Aghdashloo

Best Quote : ‘’I didn't come to America to live and walk the streets like a filthy Arab! I came to America to LIVE!’’

The house of Sand and Fog.
The house of Sand and Fog.

Many people who own a house take it for granted, and complain about other minor financial problems. ''The house of sand and fog'' is not just another sad movie but it has a lesson to teach--Be thankful for the roof over your head.

‘’The house of sand and fog’’ is a heart-breaking thriller, and stars Ben Kinsley and Jennifer Connelly as main characters.Ben Kinsley’s performance is certainly Oscar worthy.


The Reader (2008)

Directed By : Stephen Daldry

Starring: Kate Winslet,Ralph Fiennes,David Kross

Best Quote : ‘’ It doesn't matter what I feel.It doesn't matter what I think. The dead are still dead.''

 The Reader
The Reader

Kate Winslet mixes war and sex in this adaptation of Bernard Schlink's celebrated, indecent novel. Dark, edgy, subtle and at times emotionally draining,The Reader certainly deserves its place among heartbreaking tearjerkers.



The Hours(2002)

Directed By : Stephen Daldry

Starring: Meryl Streep,Julianne Moore,Nicole Kidman,Ed Harris,Toni Collette,Claire Danes,Jeff Daniels

Best Quote :'' But I still have to face the hours, don't I? I mean, the hours after the party, and the hours after that...''

 The Hours.
The Hours.

Based on the novel by Michael Cunningham, ''The hours'' is an intricate story of three women leading a life of despair and despondency. The movie establishes a melancholic mood that will draw you in a world of sadness.



Painted veil(2006)

Directed By: John Curran

Starring: Naomi Watts,Edward Norton,Liev Schreiber,Diana Rigg,Toby Jones

Best Quote: ''Women are always under the impression that men love them more than they really do.”

The Painted Veil
The Painted Veil

Based on William Somersets novel of the same name .The painted veil is a visual delight amid pain and sufferings of cholera and failing marriage. The movie does deviate from the novel in that the ending has changed somewhat,but that makes the movie much more beautiful and less depressing .Both novel and movie are very impressive. I recommend watching movie before and then reading the novel.The story will stay in your mind.


Night of the hunter(1955)

Directed By : Charles Laughton

Starring: Robert Mitchum,Shelley Winters,Lillian Gish,Billy Chapin

Best Quote : You know, when you're little, you have more endurance than God is ever to grant you again. Children are man at his strongest. They abide.

Night of the hunter(1955)
Night of the hunter(1955)

Children are wonderful creatures--at times stronger than adults-- and so worthy of love. This film proves it.


Precious (2009)

Directed By : Lee Daniels

Starring: Gabourey Sidibe,Mo'Nique,Paula Patton,Mariah Carey,Sherri Shepherd,Lenny Kravitz

Best Quote : ''The other day, I cried. I felt stupid. But you know what? Fuck that day. That’s why God, or whoever, makes new days''.

Gabourey Sidibe as precious
Gabourey Sidibe as precious

Based on a novel by Sapphire, this is some pretty bleak and depressing stuff. You should watch it only if you can stand feeling very depressed for a few hours.But after that you will appreciate your life much more.Few people are fighting as hard battles as precious.


My sister’s keeper(2009)

Directed By : Nick Cassavetes

Starring: Sofia Vassilieva,Cameron Diaz,Abigail Breslin,Alec Baldwin,Jason Patric

Best Quote :’’ This is it. I know I'm going to die now. And I'm okay with it. Really. I don't mind my disease killing me. But it's killing my family, too.’’

Cameron Diaz, Sofia Vassilieva, and Abigail Breslin in My Sister's Keeper (2009)
Cameron Diaz, Sofia Vassilieva, and Abigail Breslin in My Sister's Keeper (2009)

This movie is heartbreaking, thought-provoking and unpredictable. An adaptation of the book, of the same name. Though it’s different from the Jodi Picoult's novel but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. This movie deals with the issue of the hard choices we sometimes have to make in life. Cameron Diaz performance is outstanding; she has proved that she can perform well not just in a romantic comedy but also in a serious movie with strong message, like my sister’s keeper.


P.S. I Love You(2007)

Directed By : Richard LaGravenese

Starring: Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Gina Gershon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Best Quote : “Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.”

Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler in P.S. I Love You
Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler in P.S. I Love You

It’s not a chick flick, but a very sad movie,dealing with a serious subject. Very few movies are as good as the book they are based on but P.S i love you surpasses the book. I guarantee that your tears will flow during several scenes.


Scarlet street(1945)

Directed By : Fritz Lang

Starring: Edward G. Robinson,Joan Bennett,Dan Duryea

Best Quote : ''You can't put any price on masterpieces like that. They're worth, well, whatever you can afford to pay for them.''

Scarlet street(1945)
Scarlet street(1945)

A movie so powerful that it was once banned in New york,Milwaukee and Atlanta.



Mystic river(2003)

Directed By : Clint Eastwood

Starring: Sean Penn,Tim Robbins,Kevin Bacon,Laurence Fishburne,Marcia Gay Harden,Laura Linney

Best Quote :’’ Sending killers to jail is just sending them where they've been heading all their dumb, pathetic lives. The dead are still dead.''

Tim Robbins and Sean Penn in Mystic River (2003)
Tim Robbins and Sean Penn in Mystic River (2003)

An emotionally dark movie. It’s a powerful character study of three childhood friends, brought together by unfortunate event.


The Elephant Man(1980)

Directed By : David Lynch

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, Sir John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller

Best Quote :'' I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!''

John Hurt in The Elephant Man (1980)
John Hurt in The Elephant Man (1980)

This film,based on a true story, is about beauty that lies deep within a deformed, abused, and unfortunate man struggling to survive and gain some self respect. Anthony Hopkins plays the role of the doctor who helps to rescue the man from his hellish existence. Its powerful and engrossing—a masterpiece from director David Lynch. The ending will leave you with a lingering fascination. This movie will stay in your mind for years.

Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009)

Directed By : Lasse Hallström

Starring: Richard Gere,Joan Allen,Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

Best Quote : ''I tend to think that there's an element of music that cannot be captured. Life cannot be captured. Human heart cannot be captured. The moment of creation itself is fleeting.''.

 Hachi: A Dog's Tale
Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Based on a true story, It’s heartbreaking tale of love and loyalty,about a dog Hachiko and his master Wilson.Director Lasse Hallström does a wonderful job.viewers can relate to dog and understand his feelings . Hachi’s love is simple, pure, undying and unconditional, whose heart cannot be moved by such love.? The movie is a masterpiece.


Lilya-4-ever(2002)

Directed By : Lukas Moodysson

Starring: Oksana Akinshina,Artyom Bogucharsky,Lyubov Agapova,Liliya Shinkaryova

Best Quote : ''it's the only one you've got. This life is the only one you've got.''

Oksana Akinshina in Lilya 4-Ever.
Oksana Akinshina in Lilya 4-Ever.

Lilya-4-ever exposes the issue of human trafficking. Its unbearably dark and disturbing. You may think that reality cannot be so shocking and painful, but reality often is much worse than fiction. This film is based loosely on the life of a Lithuanian girl ( Danguolė Rasalaitė )who was sold as a sex-slave in Sweden in 1999.she later committed suicide.

If you love sad movies and are strong enough to deal with with the hard reality of human trafficking and exploitation, then you should definitely give this movie a try. It might change your views about prostitutes and porn.


The pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Directed By : Gabriele Muccino

Starring: Will Smith,Thandie Newton,Jaden Smith

Best Quote : ''You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period.''

Will Smith and Jaden Smith in the pursuit of happyness.
Will Smith and Jaden Smith in the pursuit of happyness.

Based on a true story, this movie is certainly not for kids. It’s about a poor struggling man, Chris Gardner( played by will smith) who is trying to make both ends meet, and also take care of his child. The way Chris struggles through poverty and worst circumstances is both deeply sad and awe-inspiring .For people having lived through similar experiences, it may be very hard to watch, but it’s certainly worth anyone’s time.

If you often suffer from depression and think you are a failure,you MUST watch this.It's motivational and gives hope.

There are several tissue inducing moments, but it also lifts you up and gives Happyness.


Schindler’s List(1993)

Directed By : Steven Spielberg

Starring: Liam Neeson,Ben Kingsley,Ralph Fiennes

Best Quote : I said, "Why are you beating me?" He said, "The reason I beat you now is because you ask why I beat you."

Liam Neeson in Schindler's List (1993)
Liam Neeson in Schindler's List (1993)

Going to the movies doesn't need to be about escapism. It can be about watching reality on screen. For people who love sad movies and also have interest in history— this movie is a must-see. It has the superb direction of Steven Spielberg and beautiful black and white photography. It is the best movie about holocaust, it shows cruelty of Nazi, and all the horrors of war and tragedy in detail. Liam Neesan as Oscar Schindler is incredible.


Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Directed By : Mike Figgis,

Starring: Nicolas Cage,Elisabeth Shue,Julian Sands

Best Quote : ''We both know that I'm a drunk. And I know you are a hooker. I hope you understand that I am a person who is totally at ease with that. Which is not to say that I'm indifferent or I don't care, I do. It simply means that I trust and accept your judgment.''

Nicholas Cage and Elizabeth Shue in Leaving las vegas.
Nicholas Cage and Elizabeth Shue in Leaving las vegas.

It is a gripping tale of an alcoholic man and a prostitute, both experiencing tough times, one is fighting for survival but the other is trying to die.The film treats real and disturbing subjects like sexual violence, loneliness, drug abuse etc.

This is an intensely sad movie about beauty of love and depths of despair.But it's also motivational and awe inspiring--the way female character fights for survival.A must see!


Lolita (1997)

Directed By : Adrian Lyne

Starring: Jeremy Irons, Melanie Griffith, Dominique Swain, Frank Langella

Best Quote :''She could fade and wither - I didn't care. I would still go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of her face.''

Lolita.
Lolita.

Very Few things in life can be more depressing than obsession for another human being. Lolita is certainly a heart breaker.


Sophie’s Choice (1982)

Directed By : Alan J. Pakula

Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline,Peter MacNicol

Best Quote : ''Ah, the truth, ah, the truth, I don't even know what is the truth - after all the lies I have told.''

Meryl streep and kevin kline in Sophie's Choice.
Meryl streep and kevin kline in Sophie's Choice.

Meryl Streep as Sophie delivers her finest performance with a very convincing polish accent. The choice Sophie has to make is at once shocking and disturbing. This movie contains one of the most haunting and sad scene ever filmed in Hollywood history. It’s a must see!


Seven pounds(2008)

Directed By : Gabriele Muccino,

Starring: Will Smith,Rosario Dawson,Michael Ealy,Barry Pepper,Octavia Spencer,Woody Harrelson

Best Quote :’’ In seven days, God created the world. And in seven seconds, I shattered mine.’’

Will Smith in Seven Pounds (2008)
Will Smith in Seven Pounds (2008)

This movie is astonishingly powerful.It's not just sad, but also very mysterious.will smith's character is intriguing and keeps you guessing a lot. The story-line unfolds slowly and you keep thinking whats he up to,until the very end.

Million Dollar Baby(2004)

Directed By : Clint Eastwood

Starring: Clint Eastwood,Hilary Swank,Morgan Freeman

Best Quote :'' protect yourself at all times.''

Morgan freeman in Million Dollar Baby
Morgan freeman in Million Dollar Baby

The story of '' million dollar baby'' is simple yet dark and at times emotionally devasting.Hilary swank plays the role of an inexperienced thirty-something woman who desires to be the world champion. Clint Eastwood as Frankie Dunn is the fight trainer who takes on her and Morgan Freeman plays the Dunn's right-hand man , who stands alongside them. Eastwood and Freeman perform brilliantly along with swank and, present on the screen the impressive lives of three people that you will never forget.

Million dollar baby is an emotionally powerful movie—apparently about sports but beneath the surface, about values and life truths —that will make you think and feel.



Letter from an unknown woman(1948)

Directed By:Max Ophüls

Starring:Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians

Best Quote:’’ I know now that nothing happens by chance. Every moment is measured; every step is counted.’’

Letter from an unknown woman(1948)
Letter from an unknown woman(1948)

Based on Stefan Zweig's brilliant short story, this movie is a bittersweet tale of a young girl’s obsessive love for a roguish musician, that stays alive long after most of the school girl crushes have died away.As her love deepens we are drawn into her desire and can feel her burning passion and pain.

No movie has ever celebrated love like'' the letter from an unknown woman.'' It has all the ingredients of a timeless romance—mystery and intrigue mixed with deep love and intense pain.

This is the love every woman lives for...the love every man would die for!

The boy in striped pajamas(2008)

Directed By : Mark Herman

Starring: Vera Farmiga,David Thewlis,Rupert Friend,David Hayman, Asa Butterfield

Best Quote :'' There is such thing as a nice Jew isn't there?''

Jack Scanlon in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008)
Jack Scanlon in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008)

The Holocaust as seen through the eyes of an innocent 8 year old German boy .As he begins to discover the truth of his situation; he loses innocence in the process. Deeply sad…


The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

Directed By : Terence Davies

Starring: Rachel Weisz,Tom Hiddleston,Simon Russell Beale,Harry Hadden-Paton

Best Quote : ‘’Beware of passion... It always leads to something ugly.’’

Rachel weisz  in Deep Blue Sea.
Rachel weisz in Deep Blue Sea.

Based on Terence Rattigan's 1952 play,’’The deep blue sea” tells the story of Hester—wife of a British judge— and her love affair with an air force captain. Rachel weisz shines as Hestor and it’s difficult to watch the movie without falling in love with her character.

This movie is very serious and extremely tragic. The choice Hester makes will make you think long and hard about Love.

The Green Mile(1999)

Directed By : Frank Darabont

Starring: Tom Hanks,David Morse,Michael Clarke Duncan,Bonnie Hunt,James Cromwell

Best Quote : ''You can't hide what's in your heart''

Tom Hanks in The Green Mile (1999)
Tom Hanks in The Green Mile (1999)

A masterful adaptation of one of my favorite Stephen king’s books “The Green Mile’’. Director Frank Darabont, did a brilliant job of bringing King's novel to the screen. The movie is three hours long but it doesn’t drag and is never boring. This movie will make you think hard about supporting about death penalty.


Life is Beautiful(1997)

Directed By : Roberto Benigni

Starring: Roberto Benigni,Nicoletta Braschi,Giorgio Cantarini,Giustino Durano

Best Quote :’’ You're serving. You're not a servant. Serving is a supreme art. God is the first servant. God serves men but he's not a servant to men.''

Life is beautiful(1997)
Life is beautiful(1997)

An Italian movie, about a Jewish man trying to survive in concentration camp, with his wife and 5 year old kid. The beauty of this movie is that it manages to walk the very thin line between comedy and tragedy— a characteristic clearly of a masterpiece.


Citizen Kane (1941)

Directed By : Orson Welles

Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton,Dorothy Comingore,Everett Sloane

Best Quote : ''You know, Mr. Bernstein, if I hadn't been very rich, I might have been a really great man.''

Citizen Kane (1941)
Citizen Kane (1941)

One of the most beautiful and melancholic pictures ever produced.Don't let the fact that '' its an old movie'' prevent you from watching this masterpiece.


Here,you can find more highly entertaing classic movies worth watching.

Dancer in the dark(2000)

Directed By : Lars von Trier

Starring: Björk,Catherine Deneuve,David Morse,Peter Stormare,Jean-Marc Barr

Best Quote :'' I've seen it all there's no more to see''

Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Dancer in the Dark (2000)

Dancer in the Dark centers around Selma (Björk), a factory worker, who loves her 10-year-old son .she enjoys musicles and is the dancer in the dark due to rapidly losing her eye sight.Selma will make you laugh and cry at the same time.Dancer in the dark is a heartbreaking,totally absorbing tearjerker.


Sweet November (1968)

Directed By:Robert Ellis Miller

Starring: Sandy Dennis,Anthony Newly

Best Quote:''People must be remembered, otherwise it's as if they were never here at all. All we are are the people who remember us. If we go away, and everybody forgets we were ever here, its as if we never were.''

Sandy Dennis and Anthony Newley in Sweet November (1968)
Sandy Dennis and Anthony Newley in Sweet November (1968)

It’s a bittersweet movie like love itself. The story is powerful and will stay in your mind. Sandy Dennis and co-star Anthony Newly have great chemistry on screen. It’s a beautiful movie with an unusual plot that doesn’t deserve the obscurity it has. If you're looking for a movie that’s deeply sad and romantic, then go see "Sweet November"--but don't forget the tissues.

It’s poignant, passionate,and the characters, you'd just fall in love with.


Sunset Boulevard(1950)

Directed By : Billy Wilder

Starring: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim,Nancy Olson,Fred Clark

Best Quote : ''We didn't need dialogue. We had faces!''

sunset boulevard(1950)
sunset boulevard(1950)

One of Wilder's finest, and certainly the blackest of all Hollywood's accounts of itself.

Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Directed By: Terry George

Starring: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix

Best Quote:[Colonel Oliver explaining why the world will not intervene] '' You're black. You're not even a nigger. You're an African.''

Hotel Rawanda(2004)
Hotel Rawanda(2004)

The African Schindler’s list.Hotel Rwanda is a heart wrenching historical drama that will educate you, inspire you and bring you to tears.


Requiem for a Dream(2000)

Dictered By : Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto,Jennifer Connelly,Marlon Wayans

Best Quote :'' In the end, everything's all right.''

Jennifer Connelly and Jared Leto in Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Jennifer Connelly and Jared Leto in Requiem for a Dream (2000)

No list of sad movies can be complete without requiem for a dream. The four main characters are driven to despair and destruction by drug abuse. This movie has the strongest antidrug message and the most beautiful score that will haunt you. Requiem for a dream is shocking, disturbing and heartbreaking.


Top 3 saddest movies of all time

Of all the sad movies that I have seen, I find these three, the most shocking, emotionally devastating and powerful.

Saddest Movie#3.The Letter (1940)

Directed By : William Wyler

Starring: Bette Davis,Herbert Marshall,James Stephenson

Best Quote : ''With all my heart, I still love the man I killed.''

Bette Davis in The letter (1940)
Bette Davis in The letter (1940)

If you have ever experienced unrequited love­­--this movie will forever stay in your heart.It’s truly a masterpiece.The lead character will make you think about the answer to the question ‘’Is everything fair in love?’’. you will not be able to answer the question either in simple yes or no.

Saddest movie #2.Barefoot Gen (1983)

Directed By : Mori Masaki

Starring: Issei Miyazaki,Masaki Kōda,Yoshie Shimamura,Katsuji Mori,Seiko Nakano,

Best Quote :'' it takes more courage not to fight than to fight, to not want to kill when all around you are calling out for blood. That's real courage in my book.''

Barefoot Gen(1983)
Barefoot Gen(1983)

This is not a cartoon movie but a very serious film about real,stunning events that must never be forgotten. Barefoot Gen is the autobiographical story of manga artist, Keiji Nakazawa and his agonizing experiences during the bombing of the Hiroshima in august 1942. This movie is very close to what actually happened at the end of world war 2 and it shows in gritty detail the horrors of war, sufferings of innocent civilians, and confusion and misery caused by atomic bomb. It competes with grave of fireflies for the position of the saddest movie.


Saddest movie#1 .Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Directed By : Isao Takahata

Starring: Tsutomu Tatsumi,Ayano Shiraishi,Yoshiko Shinohara,Akemi Yamaguchi

Best Quote : ''September 21, 1945... that was the night I died.''

Grave of the Fireflies(1988)
Grave of the Fireflies(1988)

Japanese masterpiece that looked like a kids movie in the beginning.but as I continued to watch it became riveting and more mysterious. This is probably one of the most perfect and heart wrenching film ever made. My eyes were glued to the screen while I heard the sound of my own heart breaking.

If you see this movie and do not cry, then you do not have a heart. It is the saddest movie you will ever see.

Which movie you find the most depressing and sad?

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If you were undergoing tough circumstances,would you drink like Ben in ''leaving las vegas'' or try to face the situation and struggle for improving it?

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