Saddest Movies Ever Made - Part 4

Posted on 1 Nov 00:00

Sad movies generally bring out empathetic emotions in the audience. One reason may be that these movies cause us to empathize with the characters, to draw us into what the characters are feeling. There are many types of sad film genres, including tragedy, death, heartbreak, etc. Here are a few watch-worthy sad movies.

1.  Forrest Gump (1994)

Plot: This film features Forrest Gump, born with physical and mental challenges that he overcomes. Series of events accidentally cause him to have an extraordinary life. His through a number of coincidences, he has ringside seat to a great percentage of the most memorable events of the second half of the 20th century. 

Director: Robert Zemeckis.

Main Cast: This film had a large cast. Its principal cast includes Tom Hanks (as Forrest Gump), Robin Wright (as Jenny Curran, Forrest’s childhood friend that he fell in love with), and Gary Sinise (as Lieutenant Dan Taylor).

Commercial Performance: 'Forrest Gump' was a tremendous commercial success. It was a top office box hit that grossed $683.1 million on a budget of  $55 million.

Awards and Nominations: 'Forrest Gump' was a critical success that garnered numerous accolades from several critics. At the 67th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for thirteen awards, out of which it won six; Best Actor (Tom Hanks), Best Director (Robert Zemeckis), Best Film Editing (Arthur Schmidt), Best Picture (Wendy Finerman, Steve Starkey, and Steve Tisch), Best Visual Effects (Ken Ralston, George Murphy, Allen Hall, and Stephen Rosenbaum), and Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published (Adapted Screenplay) for Eric Roth. It also won two Saturn Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Gary Sinise) and Best Fantasy Film (Wendy Finerman, Steve Starkey, and Steve Tisch). The Golden Globes awarded the film three awards for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama (Tom Hanks), Best Director (Robert Zemeckis), and Best Motion Picture – Drama (Wendy Finerman). The American Film Institute found the film great. It recognized it in many lists, including the AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies, AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs, and AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions.

2.  Gallipoli (1981)

Plot: 'Gallipoli' is set in 1915 in Western Australia, where 18-year-old Archy Hamilton, a stockman and prize-winning sprinter, longs to go for the Australian Imperial Force competitions and serve there. As a young person, he aspires to be like Harry Lasalles, the world champion over 100 yards whom he idolizes. Archy’s uncle trains him, and he eventually lives his dream. Alongside his friend Frank, Archy boards a train to Perth and a ship to Cairo. They eventually enlist in the armed forces to face their biggest battle.

Director: Peter Weir.

Main Cast: Mark Lee (as Archy Hamilton), Mel Gibson (as Frank Dunne), Bill Kerr (as Jack), and Harold Hopkins (as Les McCann).

Commercial Performance: This film was commercial success. Its budget was $2.8 million, and the movie grossed $11.7million. 

Awards and Nominations: 'Gallipoli' was a critical success and received many awards and nominations. The AACTA Awards nominated the film for twelve awards, out of which it won eight for Best Film (Robert Stigwood and Patricia Lovell), Best Direction (Peter Weir), Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted (David Williamson), Best Actor (Mel Gibson), Best Cinematography (Russell Boyd), Best Editing (William M. Anderson), and Best Supporting Actor (Bill Hunter). The Australian Cinematographers Society awarded the film the Cinematographer of the Year Award (Russell Boyd), while the AWGIE Award gave the film the Feature Film - Original Award (David Williamson). The National Review Board selected the movie for the Top Ten Films.

3.  Gone Girl (2014)

Plot: 'Gone Girl' is set in Missouri. It follows a young man, Dunne, who is a writing teacher. Amy, Dunne’s wife, goes missing, with Dunne being the prime suspect. As the investigation takes place, evidence of struggle is unveiled in the house. Dunne's demeanor is apathetic to the point that the detectives compare his demeanor to a sociopath's. Consequently, Dunne's twin sister, has her doubts him.

Director: David Fincher.

Main Cast: Ben Affleck (as Nick Dunne, a teacher), Rosamund Pike (as Amy Elliott Dunne, Nick's missing wife), Neil Patrick Harris (as Desi Collings, Amy's wealthy ex-boyfriend), and Tyler Perry (as Tanner Bolt, Nick's attorney).

Commercial Performance: 'Gone Girl' is one of the most successful thrillers in the movie industry. The movie grossed $369.1 million with a budget of $61 million.

Awards and Nominations: 'Gone Girl' was a critical success and it won twenty-nine awards and eighty-nine nominations. The African-American Film Critics Association awarded Tyler Perry the Best Supporting Actor Award. The movie won two awards from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, the Best Woman Screenwriter (Gillian Flynn) and the Best Adapted Screenplay (Gillian Flynn). The Austin Film Critics Association also awarded the movie two awards, Best Actress (Rosamund Pike) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Gillian Flynn). The Golden Globe Awards nominated the movie in four awards; Best Director (David Fincher), Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama (Rosamund Pike), Best Screenplay (Gillian Flynn), and Best Score (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross).

4.  Good Will Hunting (1997)

Plot: The plot features a twenty-year-old self-taught genius, Will Hunting, who, despite being smart, does janitorial jobs at MIT. In his free time, Hunting drinks with his three allies, Chuckie, Billy, and Morgan. In his Mathematics class, Dr. Lambeau posts on a  black board a mathematical problem that most students cannot solve, but Hunting anonymously solves it. The professor places another problem on the board, and Will is caught solving it.  He runs away from the scene.  The profession takes Will under his wing to help him rise to his full potential.  However, there are many emotional hurtles that Will must overcome to reach his potential.

Director: Gus Van Sant.

Main Cast: Robin Williams (as Dr. Sean Maguire), Matt Damon (as Will Hunting), Ben Affleck (as Chuckie Sullivan), and Stellan Skarsgård (as Professor Gerald Lambeau).

Commercial Performance: 'Good Will Hunting' is one of the most successful American dramas. This movie was produced on a budget of $10 million, and it grossed $225.9 million.

Awards and Nominations: 'Good Will Huntin' won many awards. At the 70th Academy Award, the film received two awards for Best Supporting Actor (Robin Williams), Best Original Screenplay (Ben Affleck & Matt Damon). At the same event, the movie received seven nominations, including Best Picture (Lawrence Bender), Best Supporting Actress (Minnie Driver), and Best Original Dramatic Score (Danny Elfman). The film won a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay for Ben Affleck & Matt Damon.

5.  Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Plot: This animated tale, 'Grave of the Flies', portrays a frustrating meditation on the cost of wars on humans. At the center of the film is a teenager who lives in Kobe, Japan, Seita, who must take care of his younger sister, Seita, because of an American bombing during World War II that led to Seita and Setsuko being separated from their parents.

Director: Isao Takahata.

Main Cast: Tsomu Tatsumi (Seita Yokokawa), Ayano Shiraishi (Setsuko Yokokawa), Yoshiko Shinohara (Mrs. Yokokawa), and Akemi Yamaguchi (Seita and Setsuko's aunt).

Commercial Performance: This film was a box office success that grossed $516,962. There is no information regarding the budget.

Awards and Nominations: Isao Takahata won three awards; the Blue Ribbon Awards (Special Award) and two awards from the Chicago International Children's Film Festival (Animation Jury Award and the Rights of the Child Award).

6.  Harold and Maude (1971)

Plot: 20-year-old Harold is obsessed with death, and senior citizen, Maude, is a fun-loving 80-year-old eccentric. When they meet at a funeral, Gordon and Harold enter a taboo romantic relationship where they review the theme of life from a fresh perspective. Family and friends are appalled by the union which leads to Harold's emotional growth.

Director: Hal Ashby.

Main Cast: Ruth Gordon (as Dame Marjorie ‘Maude’ Chardin, a 79-year-old free spirit), Bud Cort (as Harold Parker Chasen, a young man with the death obsession), Vivian Pickles (as Mrs. Chasen, Harold's wealthy and controlling mother), and Cyril Cusack (as Glaucus).

Commercial Performance: 'Harold and Maude' was produced on a budget of $1.2 million.

Awards and Nominations: The Golden Globe Awards nominated Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon the Best Actor and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy film awards, respectively. The American Film Institute appreciated the movie and identified it in the following lists; 2000: AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs (45th), 2002: AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions (69th), 2006: AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers (89th), and 2008: AFI's 10 Top 10: 9th in the Romantic Comedy Film.

7.  Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Plot: This film is about a hotel manager in Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina. Paul leads a happy life with his and children. He displays immense courage and benevolence by saving the lives of many helpless refugees by harboring them in his hotal at a time when a communal war is rampant.

Director: Terry George.

Main Cast: Don Cheadle (as Paul Rusesabagina), Sophie Okonedo (as Tatiana Rusesabagina), Nick Nolte (as Colonel Oliver with a loose basis on General Roméo Dallaire), Joaquin Phoenix (as Jack Daglish with a loose basis on peacekeeper Stefan Stec), and Fana Mokoena (as General Augustin Bizimungu).

Commercial Performance: This film grossed $33.9 million on a budget of $17.5 million.

Awards and Nominations:  At the 77th Academy Award, the film was nominated for Best Actor (Don Cheadle), Best Supporting Actress (Sophie Okonedo), and Best Original Screenplay (Keir Pearson and Terry George). The film won the American Film Institute Awards 2004 Top Audience Award. Rupert Gregson-Williams, Andrea Guerra won the 2005 18th European Film Best Composer Award. During the 2004 Golden Satellite Awards, the movie won three awards for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama (Don Cheadle), the Best Motion Picture Drama, and the Best Original Song (Jerry Duplessis, Andrea Guerra, and Wyclef Jean).


Even though sad films can move a person to cry, they are beneficial to one's health and psychology. Sad movies can help one to release stress and help raise our endorphin level.  This article has discussed seven films that, although are sad, have lots of therapeutic value.

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