“Sa-a-a-d movies always make me cry,” sang Sue Thompson in her 1961 hit song of (almost) the same name. In her case, as it turned out, it wasn’t really the movie that brought tears to her eyes but the sight of her best friend and her “darlin’” making out in the dark in front of her. But movies themselves do make people cry — and not just lovelorn teenagers, either.
What makes a movie sad? Doomed romance, dashed hopes, the demise of a beloved institution or a way of life…and death, of course — of a loved one, a self-sacrificing hero, a sad-eyed animal.
Everyone has a different idea of what’s sad and what isn’t, to be sure; like humor, it’s a matter of taste and temperament. You might be sobbing through a film’s finale while somebody next to you is nodding off from boredom. You might be laughing at the absurdity of a cinematic twist of fate while everybody else in the theatre is sniffling and dabbing at their tear ducts.
By researching published lists of sad movies and weighing in ourselves, based on our own film-going experiences and definitions of “sad,” 24/7 Wall St. was able to come up with a list of what we think could fairly be considered the saddest movies ever made. You may disagree with some of our choices, wondering where your favorite poignant epic is, or how we could be saddened by this or that silly flick, but trust us: These hundred films will bring tears to almost everybody’s eyes.
In case you’re tempted to watch some of these for the first time, by the way, be forewarned: There are spoilers galore in the summaries that follow.