Personal Tearjerkersby Jriff87 | created - 17 Apr 2011 | updated - 27 Jun 2016 | Public
Movies that never fail in making me weep or at least feel choked up, every time. A couple of classic "tearjerkers" are not here because I have not seen them yet (i.e. "Old Yeller", "Terms of Endearment", "Grave of the Fireflies", etc.) I have tried to avoid spoilers, but be warned that there a fewin the description boxes, so it's best to avoid reading on the films you haven't watched.
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1. Life Is Beautiful (1997)
PG-13 | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, War
When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.
Votes: 507,929 | Gross: $57.60M
Two scenes: When Guido (Roberto Beningni) and his son (Giorgio Cantarini) get to the loudspeakers of the concentration camp to greet Dora (Nicoletta Braschi). And that ending, with the little boy on top of the tank with the American G.I., seeing his mother once again and screaming triumphally "We won!", while the closing narration does its work. It never fails to get me, even in publicly embarrasing situations.
2. Ustedes, los ricos (1948)
Not Rated | 130 min | Drama
Sequel to Nosotros los Pobres (1947). This time, Pepe "El Toro" (Infante) is married with "La Chorreada" (Pavon) and they have two children. Chachita (Munoz) knows her real grandma: Charito... See full summary »
Pepe el Toro (Pedro Infante) having a brutal emotional breakdown with his little boy's burnt corpse, which he holds on for many days, locked in their burned apartment. Scenes of the little kid play over scenes of Pepe's hysterical laughter, which quickly degenerate into mad sobs.
3. Shane (1953)
Not Rated | 118 min | Drama, Western
A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act.
Votes: 31,668 | Gross: $20.00M
The waterworks begin after the end of the final duel. Shane's farewell to Joey puts many other "goodbye" scenes to shame (no pun intended). The wounded Shane leaving on horseback while young Joey screams "Shane! Come back, Shane! Pa's got things for you to do. And Mother wants you. I know she does!", only to finally realize what he is saying. A farewell to a great hero, an era and childish innocence. Another movie that gets me hard always.
4. ¡Vuelven los García! (1947)
Not Rated | 113 min | Comedy, Romance
Luis Antonio, Jose Luis and Luis Manuel are back and seemingly at ease with each other. However, destiny still has something in store for them: the spawn of one of the evil Lopez, siblings Leon and Juan Simon, are looking for vengeance.
Half the movie. The death of Grandmother Garcia, the funeral scene, the scene with a drunken and devastated Luis Antonio (Pedro Infante) bringing a serenade to her grave and part of the hilarious testament scene. Great stuff.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Not Rated | 129 min | Crime, Drama
Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.
The ending scene with "Mr." Boo Radley.
6. Lonesome Dove (1989)
TV-14 | 384 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
Two former Texas Rangers renew their spirit of adventure as they and several other residents of a small Texas town join a cattle drive to the Montana Territory.
While the mini-series contains many heart-wrenching scenes, Woodrow Call's (Tommy Lee Jones) return to Lonesome Dove after many of his comrades (including his best friend) have died (the scenes are re-played in flashback as this happens) is quite the punch to the emotional gut.
7. An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)
G | 75 min | Animation, Adventure, Family
A family of Emigre mice decide to move out to the west, unaware that they are falling into a trap perpetrated by a smooth talking cat.
Votes: 19,744 | Gross: $22.17M
Sheriff Burp's (Jimmy Stewart) final speech to Fievel. It's a moving, underrated speech on itself, but it's even sadder when you consider it was Stewart's final role, summing up not only his Western persona, but one of the finest acting careers in Hollywood.
8. My Dog Skip (2000)
PG | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Family
A shy boy grows up in 1940s Mississippi with the help of his beloved dog, Skip.
Votes: 17,799 | Gross: $34.10M
The scenes leading up to, and including, Skip's death due to old age.
9. Titanic (1997)
PG-13 | 194 min | Drama, Romance
A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.
Votes: 893,803 | Gross: $659.33M
Several scenes surrounding the deaths of the passengers. The mother telling a bedtime story about the Irish heaven to her children. An elderly couple embracing each other as water surrounds them. Captain Smith's encounter with the doomed mother and her baby, as well as him sinking with ship. Mr. Andrew's heartbreaking "I'm sorry I didn't build you a stronger ship, young Rose" and his scene with the clock. And of course, "Gentlemen. It has been a privilege playing with you tonight."
10. The Elephant Man (1980)
PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama
A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.
11. The Cure (1995)
PG-13 | 97 min | Drama
Erik, a loner, finds a friend in Dexter, an eleven-year-old boy with AIDS. They vow to find a cure for AIDS together and save Dexter's life in an eventful summer.
Votes: 8,264 | Gross: $2.57M
The inevitable end to the story of two young friends, one of whom has AIDS.
12. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
R | 142 min | Crime, Drama
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.
Votes: 1,954,041 | Gross: $28.34M
All of the story of "Brooks Was Here". Also, the ending with Red and his closing narration.
13. Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009)
G | 93 min | Drama, Family
A college professor's bond with the abandoned dog he takes into his home.
The fate of Hachiko's owner, and the fate of Hachiko himself, especially when his master comes for him again.
14. An American Tail (1986)
G | 80 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
While emigrating to the United States, a young Russian mouse gets separated from his family and must relocate them while trying to survive in a new country.
Votes: 42,462 | Gross: $47.48M
Fievel accepting his fate as an orphan, moments before encountering his family again.
15. The Lion King (1994)
G | 88 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama
A Lion cub crown prince is tricked by a treacherous uncle into thinking he caused his father's death and flees into exile in despair, only to learn in adulthood his identity and his responsibilities.
Votes: 766,655 | Gross: $312.90M
"Dad, come on wake up!" A scene with a great impact on a generation.
16. Schindler's List (1993)
R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History
In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.
Votes: 1,007,988 | Gross: $96.07M
Several scenes, including the evacuation of the Warsaw Ghetto, the murder of the one-armed elder gentleman and the fate of the girl with the red coat. And of course, Schindler's (Liam Neeson) breakdown at the end ("I could've saved more") taking off his Nazi gold pin and calculating how many more lives he could've saved. The final tribute with the survivors and the actors that played them is also highly emotional.
17. Dumbo (1941)
G | 64 min | Animation, Drama, Family
Ridiculed because of his enormous ears, a young circus elephant is assisted by a mouse to achieve his full potential.
Votes: 99,238 | Gross: $1.60M
The "Baby of Mine" song scene, with Dumbo and his mother. Damn.
18. Toy Story 3 (2010)
G | 103 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it's up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren't abandoned and to return home.
Votes: 636,049 | Gross: $415.00M
That ending. Enough said.
19. The Fox and the Hound (1981)
G | 83 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama
Two childhood friends find themselves forced to become enemies.
Votes: 71,952 | Gross: $63.46M
"Goodbye May Seem Forever"...Sweet Lord. Also, in retrospect, "Best of Friends".
20. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
PG-13 | 140 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Three years into the Clone Wars, the Jedi rescue Palpatine from Count Dooku. As Obi-Wan pursues a new threat, Anakin acts as a double agent between the Jedi Council and Palpatine and is lured into a sinister plan to rule the galaxy.
Votes: 602,171 | Gross: $380.26M
The execution of order 066, including the implied murder of the younglings ("Master Anakin, there's too many of them. What are we going to do?" Never have I hated the sound and sight of a lightsaber being switched on) Also, Obi-Wan's final conversation with Anakin, ending with the saddest "I loved you" ever.
21. Braveheart (1995)
R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History
When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, Sir William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.
Votes: 844,611 | Gross: $75.60M
"You bled with Wallace! Now bleed with ME!" Manly tears ensue.
22. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
R | 229 min | Crime, Drama
A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to the Lower East Side of Manhattan over thirty years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life.
Votes: 258,709 | Gross: $5.32M
"Noodles...I...slipped." Oh, Dominic...
23. Up (2009)
PG | 96 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.
Votes: 784,941 | Gross: $293.00M
Anything involving Ellie.
24. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
PG | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy a more powerful Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor's trap.
Votes: 808,285 | Gross: $309.13M
Darth Vader's redemption and his final words to Luke ("Tell your sister...you were right. You were right about me.") Also, the scene with the dead Ewok and its partner trying to wake him up.
25. Viento negro (1965)
127 min | Drama, Adventure
A man recently estranged from his wife is in charge of setting a new rail line across the desert in difficult conditions. Things are further complicated when his 'sheltered' son arrives wanting to reconnect.
The last scene.
26. Simitrio (1960)
90 min | Drama, Family
An elderly teacher, who works in a rural school and is about to remain completely blind, has to support a group of rebellious and mischievous students.
The plot itself is sad, as an elderly country teacher is slowly losing his sight and his rowdy classroom takes advantage of this to pull prank after prank against him while laying the blame on a fictional new student named Simitrio, with the students taking turns at impersonating him, since the teacher can't distinguish his features. The scenes of the pranks and the poor teacher's frustrating attempts at trying to reach out this troublesome "boy" are heart-wrenching.
27. The Kid (1921)
Not Rated | 68 min | Comedy, Drama, Family
The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy.
Votes: 87,583 | Gross: $5.45M
The scene where Social (dis)Services tries to take away John from the Little Fellow. The music and the acting of Chaplin and Gleeson will get you always.
28. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
PG-13 | 146 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
As Harry races against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, he uncovers the existence of three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows.
Votes: 388,942 | Gross: $295.98M
Dobby is a free elf, indeed.
29. Children of Men (2006)
R | 109 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.
Votes: 404,298 | Gross: $35.55M
Who would've thought that a "pull my finger" joke could be so heart-rendering?
30. Interstellar (2014)
PG-13 | 169 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival.
Votes: 1,175,661 | Gross: $188.02M
31. The Godfather: Part III (1990)
R | 162 min | Crime, Drama
In the midst of trying to legitimize his business dealings in New York City and Italy in 1979, aging Mafia Don Michael Corleone seeks to avow for his sins, while taking his nephew Vincent Mancini under his wing.
Votes: 309,135 | Gross: $66.67M
Two scenes. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) remembering his lost loves while his son sings a Sicilian song that's basically The Godfather Love Theme with lyrics. And the tragic ending scene, and Michael's primal and brutally anguished reaction to it (including a silent cry that seems to last forever)
32. El niño y el muro (1965)
85 min | Drama
Not realizing the dangers he is facing, Young Dieter will do anything to get his ball back after it was thrown over the Berlin wall by a ruthless guard.
The ending concerning the boy and girl who become friends on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall.
33. The NeverEnding Story (1984)
PG | 102 min | Adventure, Drama, Family
A troubled boy dives into a wondrous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book.
Votes: 112,372 | Gross: $20.16M
The Swamp of Adness and what happens to poor Artax. Also, the Child Empress teary pleading to Bastian.
34. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
R | 169 min | Drama, War
Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.
Votes: 1,030,060 | Gross: $216.54M
"Earn this!" and the "Am I a good man?" that follows that.
35. Bambi (1942)
G | 70 min | Animation, Drama, Family
The story of a young deer growing up in the forest.
Votes: 109,156 | Gross: $102.80M
You already know why this is here.
37. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
R | 134 min | Drama, Romance
The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.
Votes: 285,533 | Gross: $83.04M
The jacket. "Jack, I swear..." indeed.
38. The Searchers (1956)
Passed | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.
Ethan Edwards' change of heart about killing his niece...gently carrying her instead back to whatever remains of home with her part-Cherokee step-brother. And Ethan, realizing that his job was done and that he no longer belonged to "civilization", turns back around the door frame and leaves as the door closes.
39. Click (2006)
PG-13 | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
A workaholic architect finds a universal remote that allows him to fast-forward and rewind to different parts of his life. Complications arise when the remote starts to overrule his choices.
Votes: 271,192 | Gross: $137.36M
When his father passes away after an argument, and his own death on the street in the rain.