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The 6 Saddest Films Ever Made

Schindler’s List

Who doesn’t love a good cry from a good movie? Movies have the power to bring out all sorts of emotions, but sadness is such a powerful feeling that if any film can extract some liquid from the eyes, it must have done something right. While the sad levels vary depending on who you are and what kind of day you’re having, there are a few films you can always count on making you cry. Here are some of the saddest films that are sure to make the eyes water and leave tissues wet.

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Requiem for a Dream
If you want to experience the ultimate trip in depression, look no further than the savagely tragic drug drama Requiem for a Dream. Whereas most dramas on the subject of drug use tend to pull back, Requiem dives face first into the chaotic mental landscape of unfortunate individuals who become crippled by their addictions. This is a film that will not only evoke tears, but get under your skin for its psychologically dark imagery and depictions of people spiraling down the path to hell.

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Grave of the Fireflies
Easily the saddest war film ever made, and animated no less, Grave of the Fireflies tells the tale of an orphaned brother and sister, Seita and Setsuko, trying to survive in Japan during wartime. While they were lucky enough to survive the firebombing of their village, they face an even greater hardship of trying to survive on their own. With hardly any money or food, the two slowly waste away in a cave as Seita desperately tries to salvage what little of Setsuko’s innocence is left as they both face death’s door. If you never thought you’d cry at a cartoon, just try not to whimper when the tearful moment arrives of Setsuko’s quiet and morose passing, set to bitterly sweet music amid Setsuko’s most tender moments.

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Forrest Gump
His mama always said life was like a box of chocolates and the mentally challenged Forrest (Tom Hanks) certainly had plenty of different chocolates. His American tale takes many emotional turns where Forrest seems to find just the right thing to say in the most tearful moments. His high school sweetheart Jenny throws rocks at her old home where her father once beat her, eventually collapsing to the ground in tears; “Sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.” He later asks Jenny to marry him and she declines as she thinks he’s too dim; “I may not be smart, but I know what love is.” And the moment when he discovers she had conceived a 4-year-old son with Jenny is so tenderly sweet for his shock and curiosity it’s sure to generate some weeping.

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Schindler’s List
One of the most quintessential historical pictures on the Holocaust, Schindler’s List is a masterpiece of humanity’s darkness and sadness. The film follows German industrialist Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) who saved the lives of Jews during World War II by employing them in his factory. Not only is the picture incredibly sad for being blunt and brutal with depicting the atrocity of exterminating Jews, but also for the aftermath in which Oskar painfully admits he still could have saved more. It’s impossible to forget that imagery of the girl in the red coat and all the potential her life once held.

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If romantic period pieces seem a little dull, Titanic is the perfect blend of a movie being tragically heartbreaking as it is pulse-pounding. James Cameron’s dramatic retelling of the catastrophic event pairs Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet together in a sexy romance amid the nightmarish sinking of the titular ship. The love between them is just as exciting as the sinking. There’s a reason it’s considered one of the biggest blockbusters of the 1990s.

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When the Wind Blows
In this underrated animated classic, an elderly couple try to prepare for the coming of an atomic bomb, placing their trust in the government’s procedures. When the bomb finally hits, they’re already doomed from the radiation, but attempt to rationalize their decreasing health as just a part of old age. And the rest of the movie proceeds with them slowly withering away, either refusing or being ignorant of their inevitable demise. The final scene, which was performed by the voice actors in one long take, depicts the most frightening and somber depictions of approaching death that I’ve ever witnessed on film.

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