Friday, July 29, 2011

Fast Five Friday: Sad Movies

Thanks again to Squilla's Aunt for guest posting on Tuesday. Her post got me thinking about some of my favorite moments in movies, those moments that make me feel.....something. Judging by the comments left for Squilla, a lot of those movie moments make us sad.

Then on Wednesday, I saw something on Twitter about the saddest movie of all time. Apparently there has been actual research conducted to determine the saddest scene in film history, and that scene is the ending of Franco Zeffirelli's The Champ. Embedding was disabled, but here's the link if you want to check it out.

Sometimes a sad movie is just what we need, a form of catharsis if you will. There are a lot of great sad movies, but these are my top five.

5) Marley and Me: I had no intention of ever watching this movie, but Meg and I came across it on cable one night. It was one of those nights when we couldn't find anything else, so we settled. I'm glad we did. This is one of those movies that took me by complete surprise. I've lived with dogs most of my life, and this movie reminded me that dogs truly are members of the family.

4) Ordinary People: This is a devastating movie. Timothy Hutton was perfect, but OP was really the Mary Tyler Moore Show (sorry, couldn't help myself). Maybe the best performance by an actress of all-time.

3) Up: I know this is an animated movie, but I wouldn't call it a kids' movie. This is filmmaking at its finest. There are two scenes in Up that get me every time: the married life montage in the beginning and the scene near the end when Carl is flipping through Ellie's adventure book. Simply beautiful.

2) Mask: We all knew how this one was going to end, but it was inspiring to see how Rocky Dennis made the most of his life.

1) Life is Beautiful: There are many great films about World War II and the Holocaust in particular, but this is my favorite. Roberto Benigni is brilliant as the father who convinces his son they are playing a game while being held prisoner in a concentration camp. This movie proves that there are few things more beautiful than a parent's love for their child.

Man, I get verklempt just thinking about these movies. Let me know what you think about my choices, and I hope you share some of your favorite sad movies as well.


  1. I thought the Notebook was pretty sad. UP had some sad moments but it was more about finding meaning late in your life once your spouse has moved on. Ordinary People is a wonderful show. I haven't seen Marley and Me. I don't particularly care for Jennifer Anniston.

  2. Life is Beautiful, Mask, Ordinary People -- all great tearjerkers. Haven't seen the others.

    A couple others for me would include The Elephant Man, Neverland, and I cried my eyes out watching Forest Gump. Basically when the characters you like in movies die, it sucks.

  3. Squilla's AuntJuly 29, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    I'd have to add Terms of Endearment. I wouldn't rank it as a great movie, but it was gut-wrenchingly sad. Of course, timing is everything - my beloved grandmother had died of cancer several months before I saw it. For some unfathomable reason, my mom and I decided we should see that movie, so we walked up to the local movie theater in a snowstorm. We were the only people in the theater, other than one guy who sat across the aisle from us. My mom and I cried throughout the movie - and I'll admit, sometimes there was sobbing. With no one else in the theater, it was pretty obvious. The guy actually had the gall to shush us. In retrospect, it was hilarious.

  4. I completely agree with you on Ordinary People, of course. And I sobbed out loud during the end of The Champ--and my brother turned to me and announced "Hey, my sister is crying!"

    And Up, oh, oh, the beginning montage is perfect.


  5. I didn't think I could manage Life is Beautful but the others you mentioned had me crying. Tons of others as well. Basically, I can cry during AT&T and Folgers commercials so I might not be the best test for what makes a movie sad.

    Another really sad one from a long time ago was Brian's Song.

  6. i refuse to watch marley & me because my dog is marley.

    so glad you put up on your list. cant believe i teared up in the theater!


  7. "Life is Beautiful" is an unforgettable movie. The scene where he "translates" for the prison guard about killed me--funny and tragic at the same time. I loved "Up" but was unprepared for how sad it was. The movie that had me crying even after the credits was "Awakenings" with Robin Williams.

  8. "Life is Beautiful" - that is a movie that stays with you. I always think of Gallipoli, too, when I think sad movies.

  9. Life is Beautiful, the best. Marly & Me, just could not watch because I would cry. Just rented "The Town" - very good. Debi

  10. Ordinary People is one of the best movies ever - sad or otherwise. Simply brilliant. I have to get on board the "Term of Endearment" bandwagon for tearjerkers. Maybe it's just a mother/daughter thing. I'm not a cry-er (at all), but I still SOB every time I see that one ...

    Excellent list.



  11. Good choices. The Color Purple too.

  12. Sorry I'm late to the party! I have to add one of the saddest moments in cinematic history for me: Tom Hanks interpreting the Maria Callas aria for Denzel Washington in Philadelphia.

    And, more recently, I audibly sobbed during most of Kite Runner.

    Great post, Tim!

  13. Life is beautiful definitely, but where is Brian's Song (sniff)