Special Report

100 Saddest Movies of All Time

Source: Courtesy of Zenith International Films

71. The 400 Blows (1959)
> Directed by: François Truffaut
> Starring: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier

Considered one of the greatest films of the French New Wave, François Truffaut’s famous film follows rebellious Parisian youth Antoine Doinel as he navigates through troubles at home, school, and eventually a juvenile detention center. A 1959 New York Times review of the film noted its “overwhelming insight into the [protagonist’s] emotional confusion” and its “truly heartbreaking awareness of his unspoken agonies.”

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

72. The Blue Angel (1930)
> Directed by: Josef von Sternberg
> Starring: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron

Set in Weimar Germany, “The Blue Angel” from 1930 follows a schoolmaster named Immanuel Rath as he falls in love with a sexy cabaret entertainer, played by Marlene Dietrich. Rath leaves his position at his school, marries her, and becomes a clown in the her act. Further humiliations are heaped upon the man until he finally loses everything he has..

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

73. The Bucket List (2007)
> Directed by: Rob Reiner
> Starring: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes

This film popularized the term “bucket list” — meaning a catalogue of things one wants to do before one “kicks the bucket.” It’s the story of two terminally ill cancer patients, a billionaire and a blue-collar mechanic, with nothing in common but their disease, who escape from the hospital and set off to do things they’ve always dreamed of doing. For three months, they roam the world, courting danger and collecting new experiences. Ultimately, the billionaire (played by Jack Nicholson) has a seizure and dies, while the mechanic (Morgan Freeman) lives to the age of 81. Both of their ashes are placed atop a Himalayan mountain peak.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

74. The Conformist (1970)
> Directed by: Bernardo Bertolucci
> Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin

A cowardly fascist in Mussolini’s Italy, who wants only to conform to society’s expectations of him, marries a beautiful but boring woman he deems acceptable to society. Heading to Paris on his honeymoon, he is assigned by party bosses to assassinate an old professor of his, now an anti-fascist. Others actually do the deed, killing the man and his wife, while the coward watches impassively.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

75. The Deer Hunter (1978)
> Directed by: Michael Cimino
> Starring: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale

“The Deer Hunter” is among the most haunting films to deal with the effects of the Vietnam War on U.S. soldiers. With relentless realism, the movie follows a group of friends from a working class town in Pennsylvania before, during, and after their tours of duty. The film won five Academy Awards in 1979, including Best Picture.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

76. The Elephant Man (1980)
> Directed by: David Lynch
> Starring: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft

After completing his notorious midnight movie “Eraserhead,” David Lynch turned his visionary sights to developing a film about the severely deformed historical figure Joseph Merrick. The result – 1980’s “The Elephant Man” – is a compassionate and heart-wrenching look at what it means to be human.

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

77. The English Patient (1996)
> Directed by: Anthony Minghella
> Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe

A French-Canadian nurse at the end of World War II in Italy tends a badly burned, semi-amnesiac patient. Flashbacks reveal details of his affair with a married woman and her lonely death, and the fact that he was forced into collaborating with the Germans before enduring the plane crash that left him badly injured. The nurse, whose fiancé has died in the war, finds love with a British-Indian officer, and the burned man — who is revealed to be Hungarian, not English — succumbs.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

78. The Green Mile (1999)
> Directed by: Frank Darabont
> Starring: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse

Based on a Stephen King novel, this fantasy-tinged prison movie centers on a long-retired prison guard’s memories of a mentally challenged convicted child murderer, John Coffey, who turned out to have mysterious healing powers. A pet mouse, a botched execution, and a vision proving that Coffey is innocent are all part of the tale. Coffey is electrocuted anyway, and the guard, “infected with life” by the convict, is fated to live in sorrow into his 100s, watching his friends and family die before him.

Source: Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

79. The Hunt (2012)
> Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
> Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp

A Danish kindergarten teacher is falsely accused of child abuse. He is ostracized by his small community, and arrested. After evidence suggests that he is innocent, he is released despite lingering suspicions of his guilt by the locals. His dog is killed and he is attacked at the grocery store. His supposed victim later recants, however, and life returns more or less to normal — until somebody shoots him a year later on a hunting trip.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

80. The Ice Storm (1997)
> Directed by: Ang Lee
> Starring: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver

Alcohol, sexual experimentation, infidelity, drugs, and suburban ennui animate this depressing story of life in the 1970s in affluent New Canaan, Connecticut. Two dysfunctional families interact as the worst ice storm of the century hits the town.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.