Top 10 Tearjerkers by Sam

I’ll be dead honest with you. I have cried in a movie before. And when I say cry, I do not mean sob and make moans and groans. I mean something drops in my heart and water comes to my eyes, and perhaps a tear or two will drop down my cheek and onto the floor.

If we’re being honest with each other, I think most people would fall under this category of having a tear fall out of ones eye at some stage of their life. Or even that “heart drop” feeling we get when watching a movie that is incredibly emotional. Whatever our reaction may be; we generally call this type of movie a “tearjerker.”

Here is my compilation of what I consider to be the top 5 tearjerkers. (Some of them may surprise you.)

Update: When I first compiled this list, I struggled to think of more than 5 tearjerkers, but once completed, with help from the suggestions people had for me, I realised I had missed out on some key emotional movies. So I decided to make this list a Top 10 Tearjerkers, and as you will see, the list below is amended.

10. The Notebook (2004)

Directed by Nick Cassavetes

Yes, this film is probably one of the highest regarded chick flicks there is, but it isn’t as conventional as your usual modern-day chick flick. I haven’t ever actually physically cried while watching this film, but the ending is quite sad all the same. Hence, it’s number 10 on the list.

9. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Directed by Gabriele Muccino

Will Smith gives a stellar performance in The Pursuit of Happyness as the real life Chris Gardener. The amount of turmoil that Smith’s character undergoes is tremendous, and it makes that final scene where Smith walks out of the interview such a happy, albeit emotional sequence.

8. My Girl (1991)

Directed by Howard Zieff

I don’t think I’ve ever watched this film entirely. But I’ve seen enough to get quite upset whilst watching it. I don’t think many people would expect what happened in this film to actually happen, and therefore it comes as quite a shock. It is quite a sad film, and it makes it to number eight.

7. Dead Poets Society (1989)

Directed by Peter Weir

This is a classic film, one of the many directed by Peter Weir (a home-grown Aussie, for those who don’t know). The final scene of this film is quite stirring, emotionally, in a highly respectful way. The scene I’m referring to is actually one of the most iconic and memorable scenes in film history. Oh captain my captain!

6. The Passion of the Christ


Directed by Mel Gibson

As a follower of Christ, The Passion was a hard film to watch. It was a really great film, and I recommend it, but don’t go into the film lightly. Expect to be shocked. I would definitely not classify this film as a “tearjerker,” but it is an extremely emotional film. To watch this graphic, and might I add, realistic portrayal of what they did to the creator of the universe is not easy, but it certainly opens up the viewers eyes as to how much Jesus went through to take away the sin of the world.

5. Cast Away (2000)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

This was a great movie, and it all pretty much relied on Tom Hanks’ performance, and his interaction with the Island. Throughout the course of the film, I found myself being constantly impressed at the new skills Hanks would develop, and it became apparent that this island had become almost a home to him.

His relationship with his ball ‘Wilson’ was a great element of both humour and sadness to the script. It is ‘Wilson’ that actually provides one of the most moving scenes of the entire film, and I found myself struggling emotionally when first watching this scene. Heartbreaking.

4. The Green Mile (1999)

Directed by Frank Darabont

The Green Mile is a classic Darabont picture. Darabont is the vision and director behind the masterpiece, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile is another of Darabont’s masterpieces. Whilst I won’t spoil the plot of the film, it is quite an emotional journey, and does something inside of me each time I watch it.

3. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

This is a great film by the great director, Steven Spielberg. If you’ve watched this film, then you would be lying to me if you said you didn’t get at least a little emotional during the course of this film. Who would have thought an alien could make me shed a tear?

2. Click (2006)

Directed by Frank Coraci

If you haven’t seen this film, you will be extremely confused by the inclusion of Click on this list. I’m not going to spoil the ending, but I will confess that I have shed a tear on three occasions when watching this film. I held it in when I saw it at the movies, and my most recent viewing on DVD I didn’t feel the emotion swell, but the other three times, it was a struggle. Enjoyable movie, great effort by Adam Sandler, and the ending was necessary for me not to feel overwhelmingly depressed.

1. La vita è bella (Life is Beautiful) (1997)

Directed by Roberto Benigni

I watched the last half of this film a few times when I was quite young, and it was quite impacting, and despite the fact that for some time I couldn’t quite remember the title of the movie, I remembered a few key scenes, and I knew it was a special film.

On watching it in more recent years, I came to the full realisation of the high quality of this film, and saw it as a masterpiece. Ironically, to the best of my memory, I never shed a tear whilst watching this film. But, it is an extremely emotional film and each time I watch it, I always wish the ending would change. But, alas, it doesn’t, and it rips my heart out to watch that final scene play out each time. Despite its great sadness, it is still a great ending. Therefore, La vita è bella sits as number one (quite deservedly) for the top tearjerkers.

What about you? Can you face the truth and admit to me a film (or even more) that you have shed a tear in? Or perhaps even felt emotionally stirred by the films content? Well feel free to confess all in the comments below.

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10 Comments on “Top 10 Tearjerkers by Sam”

  1. riki Says:

    by the way, really like what you guys are doing and the reviews you are putting out,
    but for me the three films that always get me close to crying are i am legend, million dollar baby and into the wild

    • Neil Says:

      Million Dollar Baby and Into The Wild are brilliant films, I agree.

      Hal Hollbrook without a doubt steals every scene he is in, particularly in his farewell to Hirsche’s character. Truly wonderful.

  2. Dave Says:

    For me The Passion, The Dead Poets Society and The Notebook. How about that for diversity?

    • filmstank Says:

      Yeah bro, that list actually makes quite a lot of sense. I’m going to alter my list and add some honourable mentions as well.

      • Dave S. Says:

        I’m chuffed you amended the list. There are probably others but they were the first ones that comes to mind when I recall choking up and shedding a tear. Actually Sleepless in Seattle had some good scenes from Tom Hanks that were emotional too.

  3. Dave Says:


    I am right along side you with Pursuit of Happyness. That film was so sad, one might even argue a little too sad. Sure there were a couple small glimmers of hope and feel-good moments, but in my opinion, there was way too much ‘pursuit’ and not enough ‘happyness’.

    On a side note, I really appreciate the spelling of ‘Happyness’. This, alone, does make me quite happy.


    I think your list would be quite similar to mine. As much as I would hesitate to acknowledge that I’ve viewed The Notebook, I have, and it’s quite a powerful film. That final scene is soooooo sad. At the risk of entirely losing my brute manhood, I’m going to end this response right here…..

    Dave @ filmstank

  4. Neil Says:

    I’m gonna pull out a big stinker here and say that, after watching Click a second time, I would say that the sentimentality of the film at some points is rather false, especially one of the final scenes in the rain. I dunno, that’s just my opinion. A really great Sandler tear-jerker is Reign Over Me, a truly underrated film. Also as well, look into Punch-Drunk Love.

    I have a request. Top 20 (or so) Most Underrated Male Performances. I’ve watched so many films where I see a great performance that did not get the accolades it deserved. Anyways, thanks again guys. Legend stuff.

    • filmstank Says:

      It’s funny you mention Reign Over Me and Punch-Drunk Love, as I’ve actually seen both of those films. I agree with you on Reign Over Me, Sandler handles himself exceptionally in that film, and delivers some pretty good emotionally-driven stuff. Punch-Drunk Love, hmmm, not sure what to say about it. Very out-there for Sandler, but to me it just seems that the film was made for the purpose of being ‘out-there,’ and not really for the content. But that’s just me.

      That’s a great idea for a list. I’ll try and do a top 20, if not definitely a top 10. Thanks for the great idea.

  5. Karen Says:

    I’ve enjoyed looking at your recommendations of Top Tear Jerkers. I would have to say West Side Story would have to be the top for me. Like you were saying in Life Is Beautiful, you wish the ending would change (Don’t go out there Tony!) but it doesn’t. I would have seen that movie and the live musical upwards of 10 times, yet cry (a lot) every time! Agree about My Girl – as you say, surprising, and The Passion of the Christ – an incredible movie and tough to watch. Glad I’ve seen it – couldn’t do it again though.

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