Pass the Kleenex...
August 27, 2006 9:00 AM   Subscribe

My shrink says I need to cry. I'm not very skilled at this - it's been over 4 yrs - so I thought a good way to start would be watching a few tearjerkers: any recommendations?

If it helps any, I tend to err towards the lower schlock end of the movie spectrum, but I'm pretty much up for anything. Except for perhaps if bad things happen to puppies.
posted by forallmankind to Health & Fitness (103 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A Charlie Brown Christmas.
posted by The White Hat at 9:01 AM on August 27, 2006

I've never been able to make it through the last scenes of Gallipoli without massive embarassing sobbing.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:03 AM on August 27, 2006

I was going to say the same thing as CunningLinguist (though I wonder if Mel Gibson's status as Full-On Crazy Bastard would alter my perception at all...). Also "The Elephant Man." I seem to recall a similar AskMe question in the past year or so that yielded quite a long list of tearjerkers.
posted by scody at 9:10 AM on August 27, 2006

I have seen The English Patient more than 10 times and I BAWL every time.
posted by meerkatty at 9:11 AM on August 27, 2006

Dancer in the Dark and In America
posted by pessoa at 9:14 AM on August 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

100 Greatest Tearjerkers.
posted by amro at 9:16 AM on August 27, 2006

Dumbo or Bambi?
posted by philsi at 9:16 AM on August 27, 2006

The ending of "a river runs through it" always gets me.
posted by grex at 9:19 AM on August 27, 2006

Not to pimp out my own questions or anything, but this question had an abundance of "What other movie's make even the stounchest heart break into uncontrollable sobbing?" You can probably find something there to your liking.
posted by jmd82 at 9:19 AM on August 27, 2006

Life is Beautiful does it for me. Not at all schlock, but a really, really good movie. Ditto for In America.

I'm not really sure I agree with a lot of the list on amro's link. The Shawshank Redemption at #7? Wonderful movie: yes. Tearjerker: no.
posted by Mr Stickfigure at 9:22 AM on August 27, 2006

posted by matteo at 9:23 AM on August 27, 2006

Ya, In America made me cry like a wee girl.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:24 AM on August 27, 2006

Imitation of Life (the 1934 one) makes me weep buckets. So does the 1959 remake, for that matter.
posted by jack_mo at 9:24 AM on August 27, 2006

If you ever watched baseball with your father as a kid, Field of Dreams should do the trick.
posted by krark at 9:24 AM on August 27, 2006

I second Dancer in the Dark.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:27 AM on August 27, 2006

I am a man that's not prone to cry, but the end of Bridges of Madison County came pretty darn close. I guess depending on your political leanings, Fahrenheit 9/11 might do it too.
posted by zek at 9:28 AM on August 27, 2006

Response by poster: dammit - there was me searching under tags again.
posted by forallmankind at 9:30 AM on August 27, 2006

Bang the Drum Slowly.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:31 AM on August 27, 2006

I cried like crazy when they had to put the dog to sleep in Unbearable Lightness of Being
posted by jessamyn at 9:31 AM on August 27, 2006

Another vote for the Bridges of Madison County. The end makes me sob.
posted by bim at 9:31 AM on August 27, 2006

Grotesque generalizations follow. YMMV.

If you're a dude, good odds with Rufy, Frequency, Mambo Kings, and even Breaking Away.

Anecdotal evidence (and confirmation bias) indicate that any scene of a woman bravely suppressing tears in front of someone she loves will make females in the audience completely lose it.
posted by Phred182 at 9:40 AM on August 27, 2006

Brian's Song is a sports related tearjearker.
posted by bim at 9:40 AM on August 27, 2006

Anything Ingmar Bergman or, if you're a male and American then Field of Dreams and a six-pack will have you bawling.
posted by geoff. at 9:42 AM on August 27, 2006

Steel Magnolias. Big Fish.
posted by sugarfish at 9:43 AM on August 27, 2006

Rufy, is, of course, the all-dog version of Rudy. Better provide links now:


Old Yeller

Mambo Kings

Breaking Away

What gets me every single time is the interview with the father of the first contestant in Spellbound.
posted by Phred182 at 9:49 AM on August 27, 2006

My votes go out to Big Fish and Grave of the Fireflies.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:52 AM on August 27, 2006

Wonderland might work.

Of course, I'm a sucker for Magnolia, so make of that what you will.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:55 AM on August 27, 2006

Dancer in the Dark (again). Gah.
posted by robinpME at 9:57 AM on August 27, 2006

I'm always in tears by the end of the Green Mile.
posted by yeti at 10:00 AM on August 27, 2006

My Life As A Dog

Kills me every single time. (And I don't cry at movies)
posted by tcskeptic at 10:00 AM on August 27, 2006

Thirding or whatever Dancer in the Dark, and Breaking the Waves. Those make me turn into an embarrassing snotty mess.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 10:12 AM on August 27, 2006

...and Hotel Rwanda - I actually had to stop the video at some point so I could cry for a while and then calm down enough to finish it.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 10:16 AM on August 27, 2006

oh, and let me reiterate one of my answers in jmd82's original thread: the very first episode in The Decalogue is without a doubt the saddest, most heartbreaking thing I have ever watched in my entire life. Honestly, I've got tears in my eyes right now just thinking of it.
posted by scody at 10:19 AM on August 27, 2006

I cant recommend the Canadian film Leolo. I cried several times and I never cry during movies. Also, the Barbarian Invasions, and a sad Russian masterpiece from the 90's called Burnt By the Sun.
posted by cascando at 10:21 AM on August 27, 2006

I third In America.

Dancer In The Dark nearly bored me to tears, so I guess that counts too.
posted by bingo at 10:21 AM on August 27, 2006

Can't recommend _enough_ goddamit
posted by cascando at 10:21 AM on August 27, 2006

House always does it for me. At least if I'm alone. Especially the episode (named Three Stories) where House teaches a class.
posted by faceonmars at 10:27 AM on August 27, 2006

If it helps any, I tend to err towards the lower schlock end of the movie spectrum

In this case I recommend:

Terms of Endearment

But! The best way to cry is to read -- not watch -- "Love Story" by Erich Segal. It's a short read, very short. And it'll have you in tears by the end. Same goes for "Flowers for Algernon."
posted by brina at 10:31 AM on August 27, 2006

Ditto for The English Patient - I've seen it countless times and I start crying before the sad parts simply because I know what's coming. Fahrenheit 9/11 had me so upset by the end that I couldn't leave the theatre for 20 minutes due to uncontrollable sobbing. Munich had a similar effect.
posted by loosemouth at 10:47 AM on August 27, 2006

I second In America. Great film.
posted by chunking express at 10:48 AM on August 27, 2006

Forrest Gump. I use it as a pressure release valve sometimes. The scene at the grave is beautifully sad. Cleansing too.
posted by kookoobirdz at 10:50 AM on August 27, 2006

Gattaca is the only movie that has made me cry in my adult life, but I haven't seen most of the movies mentioned in this thread.

Honestly though, I'm not sure movie-watching is the best way to have a good cry. Try kicking some puppies.
posted by trevyn at 11:05 AM on August 27, 2006

Life is Beautiful definitely did it for me. On the sports film side of things, I cried at the end of Hoosiers.
posted by mmascolino at 11:09 AM on August 27, 2006

I'm not a big movie cryer, but I bawled at The Iron Giant.
posted by hilatron at 11:13 AM on August 27, 2006

Griffin and Phoenix.
posted by lucien at 11:15 AM on August 27, 2006

I second Cinema Paradiso, it is a definate tear-jerker. And I honestly sat and wept during Schindler's List, but that could depend on how much of your family history is holocaust-related (all four grandparents are holocaust surivors),
posted by alon at 11:17 AM on August 27, 2006

I really don't like movies to toy with my emotions, but Cinderella Man had me in tears after thirty minutes.
posted by hopeless romantique at 11:18 AM on August 27, 2006

It's a Wonderful Life (number 4 on amro's list) is a tear-jerker in a good way. Fahrenheit 9/11 made me cry more than any other film ever, and I think it's worth seeing and making your own mind up on whatever your political views.
posted by teleskiving at 11:24 AM on August 27, 2006

Everything is Illuminated (but don't read much about it, it's better if you see it unprepared) - it's really, really funny in parts, especially in the first half, and then something very sad happens, which reminds you of what the story is really about (which you've forgotten a bit while laughing at Sammy Davis Jr., Jr. and Alex) and then the truth of what's actually gone on kind of creeps up on you and by the end you feel like you've been hit by a train. I love this movie, but it's a real weepy for me, I cried through most of the last half (and the number of movies which have actually made me cry are very few in number - I don't cry in movies).

Also Casablanca (the Marsellaise scene and the ending get me every time).
posted by biscotti at 11:27 AM on August 27, 2006

The United States of Leland has gotten me sniveling 3 times.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 11:35 AM on August 27, 2006

Ditto Whale Rider. Had me bawling.
posted by fuzzbean at 11:45 AM on August 27, 2006

The Inner Light, a Star Trek Next Generation episode, always does it for me.
posted by darkmatter at 11:48 AM on August 27, 2006

I had never heard the story behind Boys Don't Cry so when I saw it I hadn't harded myself and was broken hearted by the story.

...I'm going to chip in on the chorus of folks recommended Lilja 4-ever and Dancer in the Dark.

Dancer had me sobbing, not just crying. sobbing. I have the dvd and I couldn't even watch the extra materials because when I tried, I started sobbing again. It's a terribly manipulative movie.

btw, when you are in the mood for a more normal movie, the same guy who did Lilja did Fucking Åmål, which is pretty good.

...Are you ever inclined to cry out of joy? I am trying to think of a movie good for that, but can't off the top of my head.
posted by bleary at 11:55 AM on August 27, 2006

Margaret's Museum. I actually prefer this over The English Patient. The relationship's more real.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:02 PM on August 27, 2006

Crying for happiness: Pleasantville.

Crying for pure, wretched sadness: Fahrenheit 9/11.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:11 PM on August 27, 2006

I hate to admit it, but just thinking about the ending of Fly Away Home makes me tear up. I also second Whale Rider. Inspired by darkmatter, here's my list of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes that bring me to tears: ditto The Inner Light, The Offspring, and Darmok. A nerd and a crybaby. That's sad enough in itself!
posted by owen at 12:22 PM on August 27, 2006

Just saw Life as a House recently. It was really moving, and very overlooked critically. I cried like a baby, but it was ultimately a very hopeful film.

I also cried over Walk the Line, re Johnny Cash and June Carter. Great performances, great material.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:33 PM on August 27, 2006

Response by poster: bleary: I watched Together last weekend and so *nearly* cried a the end when they kissed and Abba kicked in....
posted by forallmankind at 12:35 PM on August 27, 2006

Response by poster: btw: thanks everyone so far for your suggestions - my Blockbuster Online queue is turning into a great bawl list....
posted by forallmankind at 12:45 PM on August 27, 2006

Dead Poet's Society. Philadelphia. Homeward Bound.

Strongly second: Life is Beautiful. Dumbo. Boys Don't Cry.

Also, the movie of RENT makes me cry, but mainly because it reminds me of the first time I saw the stage version. But it still might work if you allow yourself to get into it.
posted by lampoil at 12:49 PM on August 27, 2006

E.T.! I'm bawling just thinking about it.
posted by Snerd at 12:51 PM on August 27, 2006

If you're a fan of primates, Project X is pretty rough...
posted by Sloben at 12:53 PM on August 27, 2006

Braveheart never fails to get to me. My Life, too, especially if you've had a loved one with cancer. If you have kids, try Sophie's Choice.
posted by Addlepated at 1:02 PM on August 27, 2006

I noticed that no one has mentioned Meet Joe Black (and that's a long enough movie for a good bawl) or The Notebook. Both are great crying movies, and for what it's worth, it's a good, healthy kind of sad, not a tragic, horrifying kind of tear-jerker. No one gets killed, but people die, as it should be.
posted by folara at 1:43 PM on August 27, 2006

Oh, and if you're of the Christian persuasion (and can overlook the director's bigotry) The Passion of the Christ was quite upsetting, and I did sob pretty hard at that one, too.
posted by folara at 1:45 PM on August 27, 2006

I am really, really difficult to make cry, no matter what the media. That said, Philadelphia, with Tom Hanks did it.

I know it's not a movie, but the book Where the Red Fern Grows made me cry more than any type of media ever has, and then some.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 1:46 PM on August 27, 2006

When I see "The wizard of oz" and Dorothy steps out of her tornado wrecked house (in black and white)out into technicolor Oz I cry Every Single Time. YMMV.
posted by Iron Rat at 1:50 PM on August 27, 2006

Actually, on the topic of books, Hemmingway is really depressing. For Whom the Bell Tolls is really good, and might make you cry. Ditto A Farewell to Arms.
posted by chunking express at 2:08 PM on August 27, 2006

Oh, and I'm sure people think its a cheese-fest, but the Shawshank Redeption gets me teary every time.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 2:54 PM on August 27, 2006

Chaplin's City Lights. You will laugh a lot and the ending will destroy you.
posted by rleamon at 2:55 PM on August 27, 2006

the thin red line makes me cry several times every time i see it.
i could only make it through requiem for a dream once and that's mostly because of Ellen Burstyn's amazing performance.
i third the english patient and snow falling on ceders. both are two of my all time favorites.
i also tear up at the end of american beauty.
posted by jessica at 2:58 PM on August 27, 2006

You can't miss the episode of Futurama entitled `Jurassic Bark'. Sounds ridiculous? Imagine a big broad shouldered hairy guy sitting in a chair dabbing at tears because of a cartoon. *sob* I know that episode has had a similar effect on many people.
posted by tomble at 3:15 PM on August 27, 2006

More TV: Try watching the entire 4th series of *Blackadder*, Blackadder Goes Fourth. The first five episodes are hilarious, but the final episode takes a very sad turn, and by that time you've gotten to know the characters. Whenever I rewatch the series, I usually skip this episode to avoid getting all teary.
posted by cadge at 3:46 PM on August 27, 2006

Snoopy Come Home and Life is Beautiful make me tear up evry time.
posted by joshjs at 3:47 PM on August 27, 2006

Another good one if you have kids, because you can order it and pretend you're ordering for your kids, and then watch it yourself and cry like the little girl it's made for, is Because of Winn-Dixie. Good god, it's got kids AND puppies AND sweet old people who die AND motherless children AND ... I must get a tissue.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:55 PM on August 27, 2006

Kinda surprised it hasn't been mentioned... I always thought The Champ was the definitive tear jerker.
posted by Failure31 at 4:11 PM on August 27, 2006

Breaker Morant. Betrayal by authority in the name of political expedience.
posted by Araucaria at 4:28 PM on August 27, 2006

dark victory with bette davis

as an alternate method, you could always try peeling an onion
posted by pyramid termite at 5:19 PM on August 27, 2006

Nobody Knows/Dare mo shiranai.
posted by malphigian at 5:26 PM on August 27, 2006

My sister and I have both seen various men in our lives cry while watching Fried Green Tomatoes. Not sure if this is because the film moved them to tears, or because they were strongarmed into watching a chick flick.
posted by Marla Singer at 5:35 PM on August 27, 2006

Four Weddings and a Funeral - the funeral scene gets me every damned time.

The Breakfast Club - the scene in the library when everyone is telling the others what crappy lives they live.

- the ending.

Dittoing The Bridges of Madison County, The English Patient, Whale Rider and Fried Green Tomatoes.
posted by deborah at 5:58 PM on August 27, 2006

Crying is a strange and amazing thing. Maybe there is a reason you don't want to cry now, but that in the future you might be open to that. Your therapist might consider not telling you how you should be and be with you as you are right now. Or the therapy might look at the barriers to tears. When a heart is broken or you go through grief, tears flow freely. There is nothing particularly unusual about not crying for years IMO.
posted by madstop1 at 6:12 PM on August 27, 2006

Pay It Forward mad my dad-- a hardened army colonel-- cry.
posted by chickletworks at 6:20 PM on August 27, 2006

One more...the Prince of Tides (from the Pat Conroy book) got me crying too.
posted by bim at 6:57 PM on August 27, 2006

Seconding City Lights.

Also, The Straight Story. Directed by David Lynch, the movie is based on a true story and is a quiet departure from his other films.
posted by macguffin at 7:00 PM on August 27, 2006

Dancer in the Dark. didn't just make me tear up, it knocked me on my ass bawling for nearly 45 minutes.
posted by criticalsass at 7:02 PM on August 27, 2006

Joy Luck Club made me cry like crazy but that might just be the mother-daughter relationship thing, so if you're a guy it might not work.
Also Nthing Life Is Beautiful.
posted by ch1x0r at 8:28 PM on August 27, 2006

My Life Without Me

I'm not much of a movie cryer and this had me still weeping an hour after it was finished.
posted by gomichild at 8:49 PM on August 27, 2006

Gods and Monsters made me cry--and I rarely do so at movies.
posted by brujita at 9:43 PM on August 27, 2006

well, considering how many people have said similar things about movies that didn't do much for me, it seems that this is a very personally specific thing. That said, Once Were Warriors positively killed me. i sometimes tear up at movies, but that is the only one I can remember sobbing through.
posted by lgyre at 10:15 PM on August 27, 2006

You can't miss the episode of Futurama entitled `Jurassic Bark'.

Agreed. I get teary describing the last scene to other people.

(Fourth season btw)
posted by chronic sublime at 1:00 AM on August 28, 2006

I can't believe no one has mentioned Lorenzo's Oil! Despite Nick Nolte's appallingly bad Italian accent, that movie just shatters me.
posted by msali at 7:56 AM on August 28, 2006

The end of Schindler's List has never failed.
posted by itchie at 8:31 AM on August 28, 2006

Second for Schindler's List. Third for Big Fish.
posted by jeversol at 8:52 AM on August 28, 2006

You can't miss the episode of Futurama entitled `Jurassic Bark'.

Third to this. And also the Futurama episodes "The Luck of the Fryish," "Leela's Homeworld," and "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings."

And yet, I don't cry a lot at television. Only two other episodes of any other series have brought me to tears: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine "The Visitor," and Babylon 5 "Sleeping in Light." Out of only six television episodes of any series that make me cry, four of them are from Futurama. Damn good show.

Oh, the original question was about movies? OK, here are the ones that do it for me:
Edward Scissorhands
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (shut up)
Waking Ned Devine
Secondhand Lions
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:10 AM on August 28, 2006

Totally have to watch The Notebook. My father in law, mother in law, husband, and I were all sobbing by the end. And Father in law does. not. cry.
posted by orangemiles at 10:13 AM on August 28, 2006

I'll second Terms of Endearment, Iron Giant and Bang the Drum Slowly. I cried over Dancer in the Dark, but only because it was 2 hours of my life I'd never get back.

Unmentioned so far: Testament -- aftermath of nuclear war, kids dying from radiation, mother stoically sewing their shrouds -- I pounded on the floor and sobbed.
posted by forrest at 3:30 PM on August 28, 2006

To add to what I said last night: movie audience tears are different than your own tears in response to your own life, so maybe it makes some sense to practice crying by watching sad movies, though your own sadness now or someday is something quite different.
posted by madstop1 at 5:38 PM on August 28, 2006

Seconding Edward Scissorhands--it is NOT the movie to see right after you lose your dog.
posted by brujita at 10:33 PM on August 28, 2006

Update: I watched the 70s cartoon version of Charlotte's Web last night on TV and cried and cried.
posted by lampoil at 9:33 AM on August 29, 2006

lamoil: I watched it fairly recently. The movie didn't set me off but the book does each time I read it. And book-wise I have to agree with Where the Red Fern Grows. *sniffles just thinking about it*
posted by deborah at 2:41 PM on August 29, 2006

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