My Favorite Tearjerkers! :`)

by Cosmic_Cre | created - 09 Sep 2012 | updated - 10 months ago | Public

These are the films that always seem to give me the waterworks.

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1. The Color Purple (1985)

PG-13 | 154 min | Drama

78 Metascore

A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Avery

Votes: 72,641 | Gross: $98.47M

For me this is the crown jewel of tearjerkers, especially as a Southern black woman. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker and directed by Steven Spielberg, the film tells the story of a young African American girl named Celie(Whoopi Goldberg) and shows the problems African American women faced during the early 1900s, including poverty, racism, and sexism.

Celie is transformed as she finds her self-worth through the help of two strong female companions... a blues singer named Shug Avery(Margaret Avery) and her stepson's wife Sophia(Oprah Winfrey) and the love of her younger sister, Nettie (Akosua Busia) after years of physical and sexual abuse by her stepfather(Leonard Jackson) and her husband, Albert(Danny Glover).

2. Stella Dallas (1937)

Approved | 106 min | Drama, Romance

A working-class woman is willing to do whatever it takes to give her daughter a socially promising future.

Director: King Vidor | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 4,180 | Gross: $2.00M

Social climber Stella Martin(Barbara Stanwick) sets her sights on mill executive Stephen Dallas (John Boles) and gets married to him at a most vulnerable time in his life... his father's death and his fiancee's marriage to another man. The only thing these two have in common is the daughter they have together, Laurel(Anne Shirley) whom they both adore, especially Stella who never thought she even had a maternal instinct.

Although her love and devotion to Laurel is strong, it still hasn't stopped her from her vulgar and wild ways, including her friendship with her obnoxious friend, Ed Munn(Alan Hale). Because of several embarrassing encounters with the upper crust of society that her daughter desperately wants to fit in with, Stella decided to make the ultimate sacrifice and gives Laurel up to her estranged husband and his reconciled former fiancee to give her a better life. The power of a mother's love! *SNIFF*

3. Stella (1990)

PG-13 | 109 min | Drama, Romance

45 Metascore

Chronicling a strong, but eccentric woman's devoted relationship to her daughter through the years.

Director: John Erman | Stars: Bette Midler, John Goodman, Trini Alvarado, Stephen Collins

Votes: 2,217 | Gross: $20.24M

Usually, I have a hard time with remakes, but this made me cry just as hard as the original. This is the 90s version of Stella Dallas starring Bette Midler as Stella Claire and Trini Alvarado as her daughter Jenny. This film version differs from earlier versions in that Stella never marries the father of her child, and in fact, declines his proposal early in the film.

4. The Miracle Worker (1962)

Not Rated | 106 min | Biography, Drama

83 Metascore

The story of Anne Sullivan's struggle to teach the blind and deaf Helen Keller how to communicate.

Director: Arthur Penn | Stars: Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke, Victor Jory, Inga Swenson

Votes: 14,862

Young Helen Keller(Patty Duke), blind and deaf since infancy due to a severe case of scarlet fever, is frustrated by her inability to communicate and subject to frequent violent and uncontrollable outbursts as a result. Unable to deal with her, her terrified and helpless parents contact the Perkins School for the Blind for assistance. In response they send Anne Sullivan(Anne Bancroft), a former student, to the Keller home to tutor her. What ensues is a battle of wills as Anne breaks down Helen's walls of silence and darkness through persistence, love, and sheer stubbornness. Anne deserved the Oscar she received for this role! She was nothing short of brilliant. :D

5. Captains Courageous (1937)

Passed | 117 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

A spoiled brat who falls overboard from a steamship gets picked up by a fishing boat, where he's made to earn his keep by joining the crew in their work.

Director: Victor Fleming | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Freddie Bartholomew, Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas

Votes: 8,076

I'm sorry, but if you don't cry after watching this movie, you just don't have a heart. Harvey Cheyne (Freddie Bartholomew) is the spoiled son of an indulgent absentee father, business tycoon Frank Burton Cheyne (Melvyn Douglas). He is shunned by his classmates at a private boarding school, and eventually suspended for the remainder of the term due to bad behavior. His father realizes that the boy needs closer attention and guidance, so he takes his son with him on a business trip to Europe via a trans-Atlantic steamship.

En route, Harvey, as a result of another display of arrogance, falls overboard in the area of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. He is rescued by a Portuguese-American fisherman, Manuel Fidello (Spencer Tracy), and taken aboard the fishing schooner We're Here. Harvey soon sees Manuel as father figure and best friend and wants to stay with him and be a fisherman, but a tragic accident takes Manuel's life. Just a gut wrenching and yet uplifting movie! :`)

6. Boys Town (1938)

Passed | 96 min | Biography, Drama

When a death row prisoner tells him he wouldn't have led a life of crime if only he had had one friend as a child, Father Edward Flanagan decides to do something about. An advocate of child... See full summary »

Director: Norman Taurog | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Henry Hull, Leslie Fenton

Votes: 4,821

Spencer Tracy does it again! He portrays Father Flanagan, who believes there is no such thing as a bad boy and spends his life attempting to prove it. He battles indifference, the legal system, and often the boys themselves, to build a sanctuary which he calls Boys Town. The boys have their own government, make their own rules, and dish out their own punishment.

One boy, Whitey Marsh (Mickey Rooney) is as much as anyone can handle. His brother is in prison for murder, and Whitey himself is a poolroom shark and sometimes a hoodlum. Father Flanagan takes him to Boys Town. This film and the film "Captains Courageous" was what won Tracy two back to back Academy Awards for Best Actor. Well deserved! :`)

7. The Sullivans (1944)

Approved | 112 min | Biography, Drama, History

The lives of a close-knit group of brothers growing up in Iowa during the days of the Great Depression and of World War II and their eventual deaths in action in the Pacific theater are ... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Bacon | Stars: Anne Baxter, Thomas Mitchell, Selena Royle, Edward Ryan

Votes: 2,013

The story follows the lives of the five Irish-American Sullivan brothers, who grew up in Iowa during the days of the Great Depression and served together in the United States Navy during World War II. Their eventual deaths in the Pacific theater aboard the light cruiser USS Juneau (sunk on November 13, 1942 during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal) are also chronicled in this film, which is based on the brothers' true life story.

8. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

89 Metascore

An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 365,099

One of the most beloved movies of all time about a man's worth to the ones that love him most. James Stewart stars as George Bailey, a man whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community would be had he never been born. Still brings tears to my eyes! :`)

9. Ghost (1990)

PG-13 | 127 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

52 Metascore

After a young man is murdered, his spirit stays behind to warn his lover of impending danger, with the help of a reluctant psychic.

Director: Jerry Zucker | Stars: Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Goldwyn

Votes: 182,729 | Gross: $217.63M

A beautiful tale of undying love and sacrifice. "Ghost" centers on a young woman in jeopardy (Demi Moore) and the ghost of her murdered lover (Patrick Swayze), who tries to save her with the help of a reluctant psychic (Whoopi Goldberg). It's so hard for me to look at this movie now that Patrick has passed away. :`(

10. Steel Magnolias (1989)

PG | 117 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

56 Metascore

A young beautician, newly arrived in a small Louisiana town, finds work at the local salon, where a small group of women share a close bond of friendship, and welcome her into the fold.

Director: Herbert Ross | Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts

Votes: 42,977 | Gross: $83.76M

This film is a testament to strength and endurance of friendship among females. The film is about the bond among a group of women from a parish in the Natchitoches, Louisiana, area and how they pull each other through the toughest times in their lives.

11. Beaches (1988)

PG-13 | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

46 Metascore

A privileged rich debutante and a cynical struggling entertainer share a turbulent, but strong childhood friendship over the years.

Director: Garry Marshall | Stars: Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey, John Heard, Spalding Gray

Votes: 21,700 | Gross: $57.04M

This movie has to be the queen of the tearjerker chick flicks!! Two friends from different backgrounds, whose friendship spans more than 30 years through childhood, love, and tragedy: C.C. Bloom(Bette Midler), a New York actress and singer, and Hillary Whitney(Barbara Hershey), a San Francisco heiress and lawyer, become fast friends and keep in touch through letters growing up into adulthood. I still get choked up when I hear "Wind Beneath My Wings", so what? :`)

12. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

94 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, industrialist Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 1,115,221 | Gross: $96.90M

This 1993 film was about Oskar Schindler(Liam Neeson), a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. This man was a war profiteer, an adulterer and a member of the Nazi Party who became an unlikely hero to the hundreds of Jewish refugees he saved. Powerful movie that everyone must watch at least once.

13. The Green Mile (1999)

R | 189 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

61 Metascore

The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt

Votes: 1,044,583 | Gross: $136.80M

This film is already very sad to me, now it's even sadder with Michael Clarke Duncan's recent death. :`( The film tells the story of Paul Edgecombe's(Tom Hanks) life as a death row corrections officer during the Great Depression in the United States, and the supernatural events he witnessed due to an special inmate he befriends named John Coffey(Michael Clarke Duncan).

14. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

67 Metascore

The Guardians struggle to keep together as a team while dealing with their personal family issues, notably Star-Lord's encounter with his father the ambitious celestial being Ego.

Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel

Votes: 507,495 | Gross: $389.81M

In this sequel to the 2014 blockbuster hit, the Guardians travel throughout the cosmos as they help Peter Quill learn more about his mysterious parentage. This movie talked a lot about the true meaning of family and the bond between fathers and sons. This surprising message embedded in a comic book/action film genuinely touched me and made me cry.

15. Somewhere in Time (1980)

PG | 103 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

29 Metascore

A Chicago playwright uses self-hypnosis to travel back in time and meet the actress whose vintage portrait hangs in a grand hotel.

Director: Jeannot Szwarc | Stars: Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer, Teresa Wright

Votes: 24,920 | Gross: $9.71M

This is a real tearjerker about love and loss. Christopher Reeve plays Richard Collier, a playwright who becomes smitten by a photograph of a young woman at the Grand Hotel. Through self-hypnosis, he travels back in time to the year 1912 to find love with actress Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour). But her manager William Fawcett Robinson (Christopher Plummer) fears that romance will derail her career and resolves to stop him. So touching! :)

16. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

PG-13 | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

59 Metascore

When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

Director: Roberto Benigni | Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano

Votes: 567,761 | Gross: $57.60M

This wonderful and critically acclaimed film tells the tragic-comic story of a Jewish Italian, Guido Orefice (played by Roberto Benigni, who also directed and co-wrote the film), who courts and marries a beautiful schoolteacher, Dora(his real-life wife Nicoletta Braschi) and later must employ his fertile imagination to help his family during their internment in a Nazi concentration camp. This film deserved all the praise and accolades it received that year and Roberto's Oscar acceptance speech was a memorable must-see!

17. My Girl (1991)

PG | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

56 Metascore

A young girl, on the threshold of her teen years, finds her life turning upside down, when she is accompanied by an unlikely friend.

Director: Howard Zieff | Stars: Anna Chlumsky, Macaulay Culkin, Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis

Votes: 67,147 | Gross: $59.85M

This coming of age film set in the summer of 1972 starred Anna Chlumsky as Vada Sultenfuss, an 11-year-old tomboy and a hypochondriac. Vada's father, Harry Sultenfuss (Dan Aykroyd), is an awkward widower who does not seem to understand his daughter, constantly ignoring her as a result. His profession as a funeral director, for which the Sultenfuss' residence serves as a funeral parlor, has led Vada to develop an obsession with death.

Vada is teased by other girls in her neighborhood because her best friend, Thomas J. Sennett (Macaulay Culkin), is unpopular and a boy. She befriends Shelly DeVoto (Jamie Lee Curtis), the new make-up artist at her father's funeral parlor, who provides her with some much needed guidance. Throughout the summer, she experiences her first period, her crush on her teacher, Mr. Bixler(Griffin Dunne), her first kiss and a major loss. Just a very heartbreaking scene! :(

18. Hope Floats (1998)

PG-13 | 114 min | Drama, Romance

42 Metascore

Birdee Calvert must choose between her morals and her heart after her husband divorces her and a charming young man, who her daughter disapproves of, comes back into her life.

Director: Forest Whitaker | Stars: Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr., Gena Rowlands, Mae Whitman

Votes: 22,944 | Gross: $60.05M

Birdee (Sandra Bullock) is an unassuming housewife whose life is disrupted when her husband (Michael Pare) reveals his infidelity to her on a Ricki Lake-style talk show. She goes home to her mother (Gena Rowlands) and the small town in which she grew up where everyone knows of her televised marital collapse. Things only get worse as a family tragedy brings her ex-husband back for an official divorce. Meanwhile an old friend, Justin (Harry Connick, Jr.), has entered her life, sparking a romance.

While Justin's intentions are clear and good, Birdee struggles with the decision to let him fully into her life. The scene that sticks out for me is when Birdee's daughter, Bernice, finally sees her father for the selfish jerk he truly is, especially after Bernice's rather unfair assumption that it was her mother's fault for the deterioration of their marriage. Just the scene of that little girl crying her eyes out as her father leaves her behind is just devastating! :(

19. Charlotte's Web (1973)

G | 94 min | Animation, Family, Musical

A gentle and wise grey spider with a flair for promotion pledges to save a young pig from slaughter for dinner food.

Directors: Charles A. Nichols, Iwao Takamoto | Stars: Debbie Reynolds, Henry Gibson, Paul Lynde, Rex Allen

Votes: 15,722 | Gross: $5.23M

A favorite from my childhood, "Charlotte's Web" based upon the 1952 children's book of the same name by E. B. White, is about a pig named Wilbur who is saved from being slaughtered by an intelligent spider named Charlotte.

20. Dumbo (1941)

G | 64 min | Animation, Drama, Family

96 Metascore

Ridiculed because of his enormous ears, a young circus elephant is assisted by a mouse to achieve his full potential.

Directors: Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen, John Elliotte | Stars: Sterling Holloway, Edward Brophy, Herman Bing, Billy Bletcher

Votes: 110,764 | Gross: $1.60M

Jumbo Jr. is a baby elephant who is cruelly nicknamed "Dumbo" by the older, stuck-up female elephants of the traveling circus he and his mother, Mrs. Jumbo perform for. He is ridiculed for his big ears, but in fact he is capable of flying by using his ears as wings. His only true friend, aside from his mother is a circus mouse named Timothy. If the "Baby Mine" sequence in the film doesn't make you cry, then you're probably a walking corpse.

21. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

R | 118 min | Drama, Fantasy, War

98 Metascore

In the Falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú

Votes: 582,038 | Gross: $37.63M

Set in post-Civil War Spain in 1944 (after Francisco Franco has come into power) this film is about Ofelia(Ivana Baquero), a young girl who loves fairy tales, traveling with her pregnant mother Carmen(Ariadna Gil) to meet Captain Vidal(Sergi López), her new stepfather and father of Carmen's unborn child. While there, she befriends her stepfather's maid, Mercedes(Maribel Verdú), who is secretly a spy for the rebel forces Capt. Vidal is trying to eradicate.

To escape the growing chaos due to the violence of the war surrounding her and the revelation of her stepfather's true cruel nature, she retreats into a fantasy world where she befriends a faun who tells her that she's really the lost princess of an underground kingdom and that she must complete three tasks in order to regain her rightful place by her true parents' side.

22. Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

PG | 96 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

74 Metascore

A preteen's life turns upside down when he befriends the new girl in school and they imagine a whole new fantasy world to escape reality.

Director: Gabor Csupo | Stars: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick

Votes: 133,881 | Gross: $82.27M

This movie, based on the Katherine Paterson book by the same name, tells the story of Jess Aarons(Josh Hutcherson) and Leslie Burke(AnnaSophia Robb), ten-year-old neighbors who create a fantasy world called Terabithia and spend their free time together in an abandoned tree house. Their seemingly perfect world is shattered with one of the children's untimely death.

23. Up (2009)

PG | 96 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

88 Metascore

Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.

Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson | Stars: Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger, Christopher Plummer

Votes: 865,934 | Gross: $293.00M

The instrumental 4 minute montage of Carl and Ellie's married life was probably one of the most moving pieces of cinema that I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. :`)

24. Toy Story 2 (1999)

G | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

88 Metascore

When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends set out on a rescue mission to save Woody before he becomes a museum toy property with his roundup gang Jessie, Prospector, and Bullseye.

Directors: John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich | Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer

Votes: 488,350 | Gross: $245.85M

The Emily/Jessie sequence set to Sarah McLaughlin's "When She Loved Me", still makes me misty-eyed.

25. Spirited Away (2001)

PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

96 Metascore

During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino, Rumi Hiiragi

Votes: 573,938 | Gross: $10.06M

This critically acclaimed film by famed director Hayao Miyazaki tells the story of Chihiro Ogino, a sullen ten-year-old girl who, while moving to a new neighborhood, enters an alternate reality inhabited by spirits and monsters. After her parents are transformed into pigs by the witch Yubaba, Chihiro takes a job working in Yubaba's bathhouse and with the help of a young boy spirit, Haku, tries to find a way to free herself and her parents and escape to the human world. This film tapped into a lot of childhood fears I use to have such as fear of death, fear of abandonment, fear of losing my family and that I would be on my own. It really hit me in a very personal place. O.o

26. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

100 Metascore

Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, Richard Thorpe, King Vidor | Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

Votes: 356,687 | Gross: $2.08M

Everyone and their mother knows what this movie is all about, so I won't write a synopsis. The sentiment of "there's no place like home" still tugs at my heartstrings! :`)

27. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Not Rated | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

In the year leading up to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.

Director: Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer

Votes: 18,573 | Gross: $7.57M

Just watching Judy Garland's character Esther, sing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and watching the sadness on her sister, Tootie(Margaret O'Brian) face, it just breaks my heart. :`(

28. The Song of Bernadette (1943)

Approved | 156 min | Biography, Drama

In 1858 France, Bernadette, an adolescent peasant girl, has a vision of "a beautiful lady" in the city dump. She never claims it to be anything other than this, but the townspeople all ... See full summary »

Director: Henry King | Stars: Jennifer Jones, Charles Bickford, William Eythe, Vincent Price

Votes: 5,611

This beautiful film tells the story of Saint Bernadette Soubirous(Jennifer Jones), who from February to July 1858 in Lourdes, France, reported eighteen visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the naysayers who try to discount her story including a jealous nun, Sister Vauzous(Gladys Cooper) who feels if anyone should be seeing visions of the blessed virgin, it should be her because of her never ending devotion to Christ and by the civil authorities led by the Prosecutor Vital Dutour(Vincent Price). Even if you're not particularly religious(and I'm not), you'll find your heart bleeding for Bernadette.

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