Olivia Harvey
November 23, 2017 9:00 am
Buena Vista Pictures

Some days you’re just down in the dumps and need a good cry. You don’t necessarily have a reason to be sad, but the purge of pent up emotion is just needed in order to wake up to a happier day. We’ve been there and we’ve found that a good sad movie can do wonders on a dreary day. We’ve collected our favorite 15 cry-worthy films — most available on Netflix — that will make you weep, sob, and go through a box of tissues in the span of an hour and a half.

Of course we all know the classic sad films like Titanic, Old Yeller, and Schindler’s List will always be available to stir up some much needed emotion. But we decided to deepen our search and expand our dismal horizons.

The below films encompass both fictional and true romance, real-life stories of loss and gain, finding love in the face of tragedy, and remembering horrific events that changed the course of history. Seriously guys, stock up on tissues before digging into this list. You’re going to need them.

Turn out the lights, wrap yourself in the most comforting blanket you own, and get ready to ugly cry your heart out.


They fell in love amidst history’s most tragic event. Now, 30 years later, Hannah finds out that her first love, Tomasz, who helped her escape a Nazi concentration camp and whom she thought was dead for all these years, is actually alive. Hannah must decide if she should upheave her new life, with her husband and children, to find Tomasz.

2Never Let Me Go

The students at Hailsham are kept away from the public and safe inside the confines of their boarding school. They’ve been told they’re special and are encouraged to be creative, but are strictly told to never daydream about their futures. That’s because their futures are nonexistent due to Hailsham’s dark secret.

3The Place Beyond the Pines

Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper play two juxtaposing fathers doing what they both think is best to support their young families. The film takes heartbreaking twists and turns while following each of them down their equally troubled paths, and proves that the bond between father and son is unbreakable.


Based on a true story, this Korean film recounts the horrible rape of an 8-year-old girl by a man who was only sentenced to 12 years in prison. The sentencing caused country-wide outrage and the family struggles to rebuild and cope with their daughter’s physical and emotional damage.

5Anna Karenina

Because of her high status in Russian society thanks to her marriage to a Russian aristocrat, Anna Karenina meets her downfall the same night she meets the dashing Count Vronsky. This is her first experience with romantic love and her new affair causes turmoil not only for her marriage and self image, but for society as a whole.

6The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

When the son of a Nazi commandant meets a young boy living in the confines of a concentration camp, the horrors of World War II are revealed through the eyes of eight year olds. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas could easily be the saddest film on Netflix, so make sure you have plenty of tissues to sop up your tears from scene one, onward.

7Fruitvale Station

In 2009, Oscar Grant was shot and killed by police officer Johannes Mehserle at Fruitvale district station in Oakland. This film tells Grant’s story and the recounts the aftermath which included the arrest of the police officers involved in Grant’s wrongful death and the protests and riots that were reactively sparked.

8The Pursuit of Happyness

The true story of a father who tries his best to make ends meet for his son, but falls short in doing so. Having to live the life of homelessness for a year, Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith, does what he can — including taking an unpaid internship — in order to build a better future for himself and his son, played by real son Jaden Smith.


Tom and Shane were in love and everyone knew it. They were the perfect couple who travelled the world together, had secret ways for declaring their love for one another, and were the envy of all their friends. But when Tom lost his life in a tragic accident, his family turned against Shane and caused more strife and mourning than was ever necessary.


Every day, doctors talk to families about the future of their loved one on life support. And every day, families must decide whether to keep their loved one alive or let them go. This short Netflix documentary explores those decisions through the eyes of both families and the doctors posing the question and we learn that the necessary decision is never easy for both parties.

11Love Story

A classic Romeo & Juliet-esque tale of star-crossed lovers who fall for one another despite being from different sides of the tracks. Based on the best-selling novel from 1970, Oliver and Jenny’s story will certainly make you feel emotional as you walk with them through the highs and lows of their relationship.


Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to office in California in this biographical retelling of Milk’s campaign and tragic assassination. We watch as Milk gives hope to his fellow gay rights activists and how his demise impacted the entire country.

13Remember Me

Getting tied up in a scheme to get back at the police officer who wrongly arrested him by dating and dumping the officer’s daughter, Tyler ends up falling for her thus entangling him in a web of lies and deceit which is only amplified by outside sources and surrounding family members.

14Dead Poets Society

If watching Robin Williams in one of his best roles isn’t enough to make you weepy, then the plot of Dead Poets Society will. Williams plays a unconventional teacher, Mr. Keating, who teaches English at a strict all-boys school. He introduces his students to the art of poetry and to the Dead Poets Society, a club that causes a stir amongst other teachers at the school.

15Grave of the Fireflies

One of Studio Ghibli’s most tragic films, Grave of the Fireflies tells the story of orphaned children trying to survive in the Japanese countryside during the aftermath of World War II. They try their best to keep their spirits as they are often overlooked by their fellow citizens and remain starving, grief-stricken, and alone.