50 Most Devastating Movies

My list of the top 50 movies that will destroy your faith in humanity and ruin your outlook on life. Essentially, this is the opposite of the "Most Inspirational" list.

These movies make us feel that any attempt to pursue happiness, love, truth, justice, human dignity, personal gain, or the betterment of the world at large is nothing but a laughable exercise in utter futility.

Most of these movies end tragically, but even the few that do have ostensibly "happy" endings will still manage to confirm your belief that life is nothing but a cruel joke at your expense.

**Warning**: if you are feeling depressed or suicidal, these movies are not recommended.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Irreversible (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in the underpass. (97 mins.)
Director: Gaspar Noé
 
2.
Chinatown (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption and murder. (130 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
 
3.
Vertigo (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her. (128 mins.)
 
4.
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Set in Post-WWII Italy, a working class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it. (89 mins.)
 
5.
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon. (129 mins.)
Director: Sydney Pollack
 
6.
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him. (92 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
 
7.
Taxi Driver (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process. (113 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
8.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande. (122 mins.)
 
9.
Paths of Glory (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them. (88 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
10.
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife, while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated by another woman. (104 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
 
11.
Fail-Safe (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
American planes are sent to deliver a nuclear attack on Moscow, but it's a mistake due to an electrical malfunction. Can all-out war be averted? (112 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
 
12.
The Mist (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A freak storm unleashes a species of blood-thirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives. (126 mins.)
Director: Frank Darabont
 
13.
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An abandoned wife is evicted from her house and starts a tragic conflict with her home's new owners. (126 mins.)
Director: Vadim Perelman
 
14.
I Stand Alone (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A horse meat butcher's life and mind begins to breakdown as he lashes out against various factions of society while attempting to reconnect with his estranged daughter. (93 mins.)
Director: Gaspar Noé
 
15.
The Wrong Man (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
True story of an innocent man mistaken for a criminal. (105 mins.)
 
16.
The Wrestler (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle. (109 mins.)
 
17.
Arlington Road (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A man begins to suspect his neighbors are not what they appear to be and their secrets could be deadly. (117 mins.)
Director: Mark Pellington
 
18.
Sophie's Choice (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
After spending time with his new neighbors, an aspiring writer realizes they are harboring deep secrets that will forever change him. (150 mins.)
Director: Alan J. Pakula
 
19.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A determined woman works with a hardened boxing trainer to become a professional. (132 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
20.
The Deer Hunter (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An in-depth examination of the ways in which the U.S. Vietnam War impacts and disrupts the lives of people in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania. (183 mins.)
Director: Michael Cimino
 
21.
The Third Man (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime. (104 mins.)
Director: Carol Reed
 
22.
Se7en (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. (127 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
 
23.
Primal Fear (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep. (129 mins.)
Director: Gregory Hoblit
 
24.
Unforgiven (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man. (131 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
25.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality. (147 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
26.
Lost Highway (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
After a bizarre encounter at a party, a jazz saxophonist is framed for the murder of his wife and sent to prison, where he inexplicably morphs into a young mechanic and begins leading a new life. (134 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
27.
The Parallax View (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An ambitious reporter gets in way-over-his-head trouble while investigating a senator's assassination which leads to a vast conspiracy involving a multinational corporation behind every event in the worlds headlines. (102 mins.)
Director: Alan J. Pakula
 
28.
Raging Bull (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An emotionally self-destructive boxer's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it. (129 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
29.
In a Lonely Place (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A potentially violent screenwriter is a murder suspect until his lovely neighbor clears him. But she begins to have doubts... (94 mins.)
Director: Nicholas Ray
 
30.
Blow Out (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger. (107 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
31.
The Wages of Fear (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In a decrepit South American village, men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe. (131 mins.)
 
32.
Carrie (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Carrie White, a shy, friendless 17 year-old girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom. (98 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
33.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
British agent Alec Leamas refuses to come in from the cold war during the 1960s, choosing to face another mission, which may prove to be his final one. (112 mins.)
Director: Martin Ritt
 
34.
Mystic River (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives, three men are reunited by circumstance when one has a family tragedy. (138 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
35.
In Cold Blood (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
After a botched robbery results in the brutal murder of a rural family, two drifters elude police, in the end coming to terms with their own mortality and the repercussions of their vile atrocity. (134 mins.)
Director: Richard Brooks
 
36.
Soylent Green (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
With the world ravaged by the greenhouse effect and overpopulation, an NYPD detective investigates the murder of a CEO with ties to the world's main food supply. (97 mins.)
 
37.
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
When a posse catches up three men suspected of killing a local farmer, some of them become strongly divided on whether or not to lynch the men. (75 mins.)
 
38.
Angel Heart (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Harry Angel is a private investigator. He is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer called Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn. (113 mins.)
Director: Alan Parker
 
39.
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit." (106 mins.)
Director: Robert Aldrich
 
40.
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal. (113 mins.)
 
41.
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents' jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother's wife hurtling towards a shattering climax. (117 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
 
42.
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera. (111 mins.)
Director: Mike Figgis
 
43.
Last Tango in Paris (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young Parisian woman meets a middle-aged American businessman who demands their clandestine relationship be based only on sex. (129 mins.)
 
44.
The Rules of the Game (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau. (110 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
45.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved. (112 mins.)
 
46.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep. (102 mins.)
 
47.
Dead Man's Shoes (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A disaffected soldier returns to his hometown to get even with the thugs who brutalized his mentally-challenged brother years ago. (90 mins.)
Director: Shane Meadows
 
48.
La Strada (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way. (108 mins.)
 
49.
Mildred Pierce (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter. (111 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
50.
Barry Lyndon (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An Irish rogue wins the heart of a rich widow and assumes her dead husband's aristocratic position in 18th-century England. (184 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick