Scapp70's Top 15 Movies That are Tear-Jerkers - (from the male perspective)Jun 12, 2006 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line Movies that can make you cry end up being pretty powerful movies...usually
Well, I usually list my movie lists in order - but this list is not in any order, just numbered. I would list these in order of effectiveness of what movies make me cry more than the others, but it's pretty much all the same. Like the title says, this list is brought to you from the male perspective; since I am a male. I'm sure some of the movies would differ from a list made by a woman, and that's to be expected, right?
Tear-Jerkers are amongst my favorite type of movies. I like that they can bring out the emotions from inside me. For that same reason, I love horror as well - since those really scary films can actually make me fear my own house as I make that long walk to my bedroom at night. My wife on the other hand tends to steer clear of these types of movies, because she does not like the idea of crying over a movie.
Anyway, here is my list in no particular order.
1. What Dreams May Come (1998) Directed by Vincent Ward. This is a movie about life and death, and a good portion of the movie's setting is in the afterlife, or "heaven" as they refer to it in this movie, but in a total secular way. Well, besides the ridiculousness of a heaven that can exist without an eternal God, the heart of the movie is really about empathy. The stars Anabella Sciorra and Robin Williams lose their children in an automobile accident, and then Anabella loses Robin Williams also to an automobile accident a short time later. The movie moves in and out from the present to the past in many flashbacks, so you may want to pay attention. The mourning period for Anabella Sciorra over her husband is especially heart wrenching. It sort of still makes me cringe about this idea of a Godless afterlife, but I get passed it of course, and I see the movie for what it is, a love story that includes a love so strong that it can defeat death.
2. The Notebook (2004) Directed by Nick Cassavetes. This movie stars Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gossling. This movie's story starts off a little bit like Splendor in the Grass where one family does not approve of the person that their child in seeing. Yet the Notebook does not have a sad and frustrating ending, it really has a very happy ending, and you'll still cry your heart out because it's so sad. I don't know what else to say about this movie, I hate to give away anything.
3.My Life (1993) Directed by Bruce Joel Rubin. Here we have a couple Bob and Gail Jones (Michael Keaton & Nicole Kidman). The movie starts off with Bob getting the worst news from his oncologist stating that he only has about three or four months to live. His wife Gail is pregnant, and Bob is bitter that his child is coming into this world, and life must go on without him. It is frustrating, and Bob must face some hard truths. With the help of a shooting star, the Lord God, and a Japanese herbalist, Bob is granted some borrowed time and he lives for over a year. Of course Bob does not know this, and his plan is to videotape hours and hours of himself and about himself so that his child would know who his father is.
4. Splendor In The Grass (1961) Directed by Elia Kazan. This movie stars Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. Let me just say that Natalie portrays a good girl gone insane so well, that it is scary. The movie is about high school sweethearts in love, yet both of their parents do not approve of the relationship. Warren's dad doesn't want his son to be thinking about anything else but college, and Natalie's mom is just an idiot. Natalie doesn't heed her mother's advice, but Warren Beatty does - and he starts dating other girls. This drives Natalie over the edge and she attempts suicide even. Natalie is put away in a mental institution for a few years, yet when she is finally ready to leave, Warren Beatty is already married to the Goya woman and has a child and one on the way. The movie ends on a somber note to say the least, the frustration of Natalie's character is what will drive you to tears I think. This movie is a classic that is loosely based around a poem by Wadsworth and a true story as well.
5. About Last Night (1986) Directed by Edward Zwick. To me, this movie is one of those perfect movies. It captures the relationship of a young couple trying to make their situation last in the mid 80s so well that it is unbelievable. I've lived this life, and women have said the same things that Demi Moore had said to Rob Lowe. Again, we have a relationship that is not approved of, this time by their best friends. The relationship of Danny (Lowe) and Debbie (Demi) is built on sex and mutual attraction. Their friends, Jim Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins, do not approve of their relationship because it messes up their own plans. Debbie moves into Danny's apartment and now they have even less time to hang out with their friends and get drunk at the bar. The night when Danny breaks up with Debbie was especially sad, but also the hell of "moving on" after the break up was pretty hard too.
6. My Girl (1991) Directed by Howard Zieff. The story is centered on an 11 year-old girl named Vada. She lives in a house/funeral pallor (with mortuary) with her widowed father (Dan Aykroyd) and hired help (Jamie Lee Curtis). Her best friend is Thomas J (Macaulay Culkin), and they're basically inseparable. The two climb trees, go bike riding, hiking and school as well. One day Thomas J goes off alone and happens upon a beehive that he thought was unoccupied. After he was stung a zillion times, and they find out that he was allergic and this is what causes his death at only 11 years old. It's one of the saddest scenes with Vada at his wake in the funeral pallor in her home. It will get you every time.
7. The Color Purple (1985) Directed by Steven Spielberg. The movie goes through just about the entire history of Celie's (Whoopi Goldberg) life. Celie is forced to marry a real jerk (Danny Glover) and she takes decades of abuse because she doesn't know any other way. The setting is the south around the turn of the 20th century. Her sister has moved to Africa, and has been living with Celie's children who were given away because they were thought to be fathered by her father, but good thing it wasn't her real father. Oh boy, just writing this synopsis is confusing me. Celie eventually finds self-worth through other strong women in her life, and finally moves on with her life. The tear-jerking scenes are numerous, but there are two that stand out for me. One scene is where Shug Avery (this is one of those women in Celie's life) has mended her estranged relationship with her father who is a preacher, the music by Quincy Jones is especially effective in this scene. The other scene is the last scene, where Celie is reunited with her grown children.
8. The Joy Luck Club (1993) Directed by Wayne Wang. How great is this movie? First of all, even without the script, you have a film with like a dozen hot Asian ladies, and that's not bad to begin with. The movie is the story of three generations of Chinese women and where they came from. There are a few scenes that will make you cry, but for me the worst one is the one where one of the women drowns their baby in the tub "by accident". It kills me every time. Of course, this movie like most of the movies in this list is great and worth far more than their tear-jerker scenes.
9. Ghost (1990) Directed by Jerry Zucker. When any movie has to do with the death of a loved one, it is usually
sad anyway, but here in this classic love story it really milks it for all it's worth. Sam (Patrick Swayze) is murdered while being mugged, instead of going into the light that leads to heaven, he stays behind to be with his fiancée Molly (Demi Moore). It turns out that even Molly's life is in danger and it's a good thing Sam stayed behind to help her out of this mess. Molly cannot hear or see Sam since he's a ghost, but Sam accidentally happens upon a "psychic" Oda Mae (Whoopi Goldberg) who can hear Sam. Oda Mae and Sam must convince Molly that Sam is really here and the information she has comes from Sam. Toward the last half hour of the two-hour movie is filled with tearjerker scenes that will surely affect even the heart made of stone.
10. Amistad (1997) Directed by Steven Spielberg. This movie makes me cry, I'm not sure if it will for everybody. The movie is based on a true story. It takes place in the 1830s and is about the ship of the same name. The slave captors illegally captured a village of Africans to sell into slavery. The village's leader, Cinqué (Djimon Hounsou) organizes the people on the ship and they kill their kidnappers and attempt to head back to Africa when they are seized and brought to the US to be tried for murder. Most of the film takes place in a courtroom, or in the holding cell where the Africans are being held. The movie stars Matthew McConaughey as their lawyer, Anthony Hopkins as John Quincy Adams and Morgan Freeman. There are many powerful scenes, there are two that stand out for me. One is where one of Cinqué's people is handed a Bible that he cannot read the language, but it comes with pictures of scenes from the New Testament. His friend was saved and had faith in the story he derived from the pictures of Christ and shares the story with Cinqué. The other scene is where they are in a courtroom, and Cinqué, who has been listening to a language he doesn't understand, but has learned three words that he thought would be effective and he stands up and chants loudly, "Give us, us free!" - with the swelling music and all that it turns out to be one of the most powerful scenes in films.
11. The Deep End Of The Ocean (1999) Directed by Ulu Grosbard. This movie is about every parent's worst nightmare; someone has stolen his or her child. I'm not going to say how everything turns out or anything, but the scene that will make you bawl is when Beth (Michelle Pfeiffer) realizes her child is missing. The cops calm her down temporarily and they tell her that only after SO MANY hours, do they consider the matter super serious. When the minute ticks to the hour, Beth descends deep into the panic she has been suppressing for these BLANK hours. You feel her rage and panic and have no other choice but to express what you're feeling with tears.
12. Jerry Maguire (1996) Directed by Cameron Crowe. Jerry Maguire is one of those perfect movies. It's funny, it's sad, it's very moving. The movie stars Tom Cruise, Rene Zellwegger and Cuba Gooding Jr. The movie is about a sports agent who was fired from a big agency, and forced to start again from scratch. What it's really about is the beginning of the romantic relationship with Jerry (Cruise) and Dorothy (Zellwegger), and what's left of his clients, one professional football player Rod (Cuba). Both of the relationships are very moving, and both relationships have tearjerker scenes. With Dorothy, the famous scene where Tom Cruise comes home after Rod's biggest game and declares his love in front of a living room full of bitter divorcees. It's the scene where that famous line comes from; "You had me at hello". Also, the scene where Rod finally gets his acceptable contract will make you laugh and cry at the same time.
13. Riding In Cars With Boys (2001) Directed by Penny Marshall. This movie has one of the worst scenes that will make you a blubbering fool. This film has stars Drew Barrymore, Brittany Murphy, James Woods, Steve Zahn, Sara Gilbert and on and on. This movie is about a woman named Beverly D'Onofrio, an author who has just written her first book. She and her son Jason take a long car trip to her x-husband's house to get him to sign a release so that she can publish her book. On the way, there are lots of flashbacks to the past. Steve Zahn plays Ray, Jason's father, and he portrays a man who is a bit slow, and he also gets hooked on heroin. The night when Beverly kicks Ray out of the house, and Ray has to say goodbye to his son is possibly the worst scene for me. The pain in both of their eyes is immense, they were best friends, this father and son, and now Ray has to walk out of his life forever.
14. Simon Birch (1998) Directed by Mark Steven Johnson. This film has some huge stars in the movie, but they're all co-stars or less. Actors like Ashley Judd, Jim Carrey and Oliver Platt are in the movie, but the real focus is on two child actors; Ian Michael Smith as Simon Birch and Joseph Mazzello as Joe. This film has some blatant religious overtones, so I could see why it would scare away some viewers from enjoying it, but this movie was really good.
Simon is the smallest child in the small town he grows up in, and he always held to the belief that God held a special mission that would show itself soon. He told many people this, and he seemed to have a more personal understanding than even the reverend at his church, and it got him into trouble a lot. His best friend, Joe, always stood by him though. Simon didn't tell anybody, or maybe he didn't know that he would have to die in order to fulfill God's plan for Simon. The tears start pretty early in the movie as Joe's mother, Rebecca (Ashley Judd) dies, but the real reason why this film is in this list is because of one of the last scenes with Simon Birch.
15. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) Directed by Steven Spielberg. So is this the only Sci-Fi movie that would make me cry? It sounds strange, but not even close. Maybe it's because I'm male, but the last scene in Star Trek IV when Spock gives the message to his father to relay to his mother that he "feels fine", I lose it. The scene from Independence Day when Bill Pullman gives the inspirational speech to the fighter pilots makes me well up. Arnold's 'thumb up' at the end of Terminator 2 gets me all the time. Haley Joel Osment plays David, a robot, designed for the sole purpose for a substitute child, a robot programmed to love unconditionally forever. When a couple decided to purchase David, it was because their real son, was cryogenically frozen and it looked bleak that they would ever find a cure for his disease. David was brought in, and everything was great, except they did eventually find a cure and the real son sneakily pushed out the robot son. The mother took him for a long ride and abandoned him in a remote area. David, having heard the story of Pinocchio and believing it to be true - started on a journey in a very dangerous quest to find the Blue Fairy, so he could be made into a real boy, himself - and that way his "mom" will surely love him. There are so many scenes that will turn on the water works and it couldn't do it justice to list them here, just take my word for it.
I'm sure I left out some movies, feel free to comment to let me know where I've messed up.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~Other Favorite Movie Lists from Scapp70~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Scapp70's Top Ten Horror Movies
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