Need a Good Cry? Watch One (Or a Few) Of These 25 Tearjerker Movies

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Sometimes, the soul needs a good cry, and watching a heart-wrenching and depressing movie will do the trick when it's time for that.  For a little emotional balance, add these sad movies to your list to watch after a gut-busting comedy. 

1. Blow Out (1981)

Blow Out
Image Credit: Filmways Pictures.

This titillating mystery film follows a sound effects designer working on a slasher movie. One day, he watches a car speed off the edge of a bridge and into the watery depths below. After jumping in to save its passengers, he ends up entrenched in a wild conspiracy threatening his life.

2. Qala (2022)

Image Credit: Netflix.

A talented musician with a traumatic family history faces backlash from her terrifying mother as her successful career takes off. But as she rises to fame, she's tormented with visions of her childhood and her mother's wrongdoings. Her mother remains a terrible threat even into the musician's adulthood.

3. Relic (2020)

Image Credit: IFC Films.

When two siblings notice their aging mother went missing, they visit her remote home to track her down. But when their mother reappears at the home days later with no memory of going missing, the siblings wonder if something paranormal occurred. Their beliefs only strengthen as uncanny events follow their mother around the home.

4. Brazil (1985)

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

A man has a boring life with a penchant for daydreaming about being a hero and saving a young woman. But when he meets the woman he imagines in real life, he realizes his daydreams are something else entirely. As reality and imagination collide, the man must contend with an unfolding conspiracy surrounding him and his damsel in distress.

5. Threads (1984)

Image Credit: BBC.

When a young couple becomes pregnant, they marry and start a beautiful life together. But everything comes crashing down when a nuclear attack destroys their peaceful town. During the catastrophe, the couple is separated, and the woman is left to fend for herself and her child as they face the end of the world as they know it.

6. Leviathan (1989)

Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

This terrifying creature feature follows a crew on a mining project who descend into the ocean for resources. When they accidentally introduce a monster on board their submarine, it begins to wreak havoc and attack members of the crew. Can the remaining crew members defeat the creature and return to the surface with their lives?

7. Cloverfield (2008)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Cloverfield is a found-footage horror film about a group of friends celebrating each other at a surprise party in New York City. As the party ends, the group watches as a massive, otherworldly monster suddenly appears in the city, causing mass violence and terror. The friends work together to survive as they document their adversity on a video camera.

8. Sleep Tight (2011)

Sleep Tight
Image Credit: Filmax.

This Spanish psychological horror film is about a cynical and unhappy apartment concierge who is determined to make everyone he meets just as depressed as he is. But when one tenant refuses to be brought down by his antics, he continues to ramp up the stakes. How far will the concierge go to horrify his tenant, and will her terror result in his happiness?

9. The Chaser (2008)

The Chaser
Image Credit: Showbox.

When an ex-detective turned pimp learns two of his girls went missing, he tries to track them down to keep his business running. When he suspects the disappearances are linked to a terrifying serial killer, the ex-detective has only 12 hours to solve the crime before the police release the man back into the streets. Can he prevent more deaths, or will the killer go free?

10. Mystic River (2003)

Mystic River Tim Robbins
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

This dramatic crime thriller follows an ex-con whose daughter was murdered. His childhood friend is a homicide detective and is on the case to solve the murder. When the detective realizes another one of their friends was the last to see the ex-con's daughter, this muddles the case.

11. The Conversation (1974)

The Conversation
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

When a private investigator takes a job to record a conversation between a mysterious couple, he fears the two may be in danger. He's haunted by an assignment from his past, where his investigation led to the deaths of three people.

12. Dancer in the Dark (2000)

Dancer in the Dark
Image Credit: Constantin Film.

Dancer in the Dark follows a single mother who makes ends meet as a factory worker. The woman and her son are both losing their eyesight, but the mother learns she can save her son's vision if she pays a hefty fee for surgery. But poverty holds her back as events that threaten everything she's worked for unfold.

13. The Heiress (1949)

The Heiress
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

When a young woman with an incredibly wealthy yet cold father meets the man of her dreams, her father becomes suspicious of the man's intentions. He tells his daughter that if she chooses to marry the man, she won't receive any of his vast fortune. Will the man stick around once he learns he can't get his hands on the money?

14. Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Bicycle Thieves
Image Credit: Ente Nazionale Industrie Cinematografiche.

Bicycle Thieves follows a desperate man who finally lands a job hanging up posters throughout Rome during the war. But he can't take the job when someone steals his precious bicycle. Angry and needing money to feed his family, the man does whatever it takes to track down the thieves and reclaim his bike.

15. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Image Credit: Miramax.

During the Holocaust, a young boy's family leaves the bustling city of Berlin for a remote area to be closer to a concentration camp where his father works. Bored and lonely, the young boy searches the countryside for entertainment when he comes across a young Jewish boy behind a barbed wire fence. The two become fast friends and hatch a plan to spend more time together.

16. Network (1976)

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

When a longtime news anchor learns his bosses want him to retire, he goes on a televised rampage that boosts the channel's ratings. Pleased with the newfound success, the network's producer begins televising more atrocious programs to get views. But will she stop before she takes it too far?

17. Voyage of the Damned (1976)

Voyage of the Damned
Image Credit: The Rank Organisation.

Based on a true story, the tragic ending of Voyage of the Damned is even more heartbreaking. The story follows a ship filled with German Jews seeking refuge during World War II. When their ship arrives in Cuba, they learn that no country will take them in to save their lives. Forced to return to Germany to die, the passengers on the ship must face their fate as the Germans watch and laugh.

18. The Elephant Man (1980)

The Elephant Man
Image Credit:

A man with a congenital disorder worked in a freak show before a doctor asked him to come home with him and go to the hospital for treatment. While most people believed the man had an intellectual disability, the doctor learned that he was brighter than most gave him credit for. But could his sharp wit and kind personality help the man overcome people's prejudice? This David Lynch movie is based on the true story of Joseph Merrick.

19. The Green Mile (1999)

The Green Mile
Image Credit: Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures.

When a man is convicted of killing two young girls and placed on death row, a corrections officer begins to believe the man may be innocent. It turns out the convicted killer has miraculous healing powers and a kind soul that doesn't correspond with his brutal crimes. But can the corrections officer save the man's life before he's slated to sit in the electric chair?

20. Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009)

Hachi A Dog's Tale
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Hachi: A Dog's Tale begins with a young boy's class presentation about his grandfather's remarkable dog. He tells his classmates that his grandfather found the dog abandoned at a railway station and took him in. While some family members weren't sure about the dog, they soon grew to appreciate Hachi's loyalty. This remake of the Japanese film Hachikō Monogatari is based on a true story.

21. A Place in the Sun (1951)

A Place in the Sun
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

A Place in the Sun is about a young man who gets a scrappy job working for his wealthy uncle. At work, he meets a woman and falls in love, but he later meets a woman from high society and grows attached to her as well. A troublesome love triangle forms and the young man's life turns upside down as he tries to keep both romances afloat.

22. Death of a Cyclist (1955)

Death of a Cyclist
Image Credit: Janus Films.

After a professor and a married woman begin a secret affair, the two play a part in a tragic accident. Hoping to avoid scandal, they cover up the accident and attempt to go about their everyday lives. But someone knows their secret. Can they hide their sins, or will the world uncover what they've done?

23. Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Sunset Boulevard
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Sunset Boulevard follows an aging silent film star being pushed out of stardom by producers. Hoping to cling to her fame, the star hires a screenwriter to help her retain her spot in the limelight. But as the screenwriter and the silent film star's personalities clash, events take a turn for the worse that no one expected.

24. Hard Eight (1996)

Hard Eight
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

When a talented gambler finds his new protégé, the two grow close. After a while, the protégé meets a woman and falls in love. But the relationship between the gambler and his protégé grows tense when the gambler receives a startling phone call that makes him realize he doesn't know his protégé as well as he thought he did.

25. The Mist (2007)

the mist
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

This science-fiction horror film is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. When a strange and dangerous mist takes over a small town in Maine, the residents have to find a way to survive what lurks inside.

Author: Maya Capasso

Title: Freelance Entertainment Journalist

Expertise: Entertainment, LGBTQ+, TV, Movies, Games, Lifestyle


Maya Capasso is a passionate journalist and content writer with over 3 years of experience writing in the entertainment, lifestyle, and culture space, currently serving as an Entertainment Journalist and Trending Topics Writer for Wealth of Geeks. Maya's BAs in History and Women's & Gender Studies gave her research chops and a discerning eye for social commentary.