The Movies That Make Grown Men (And Women) Cry

Categories: Movie Reviews, Personal
Comments: 8 Comments
Published on: 2015.01.18

Here’s a happier subject than my usual fare: Which movies make you cry?

Statistics news site 538 reports that 92% of survey respondents — both genders — report that they’ve cried during at least one movie, and of the remaining 8%, at least half admitted during followup questioning that they became “misty-eyed” or “choked up” during a movie.

The article also lists the movies most likely to bring tears to viewers, with 2004’s The Notebook ruling supreme, far ahead of second place. My wife used to cry at this movie until I explained it to her (and she’s still a little upset at me for doing so). Perhaps not surprisingly, Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, and Old Yeller are high up on the list too.

(Before I read the list to my wife, I asked her to guess at some of the titles. She guessed 1-5 easily, and also named #7 and #11.)

Neither of us could understand why Marley & Me is on the list. We both thought it among the most irritating movies of all time.

Thinking back, I probably tear up at more movies than most men — at least more than most men will admit to, and I honestly can’t remember what all of them were. I’ve noticed that within the past four years, I’m more likely to get misty-eyed at movie moments that feature young children, which makes sense because I’m now a father. But those are moments, not movies.

Movies that made me cry, in order of release date:

* Black Orpheus (1959)
* Dead Poets Society (1989)
* Rudy (1993)
* True Romance (1993)
* Iron Will (1994)
* Armageddon (1998)
* Saving Private Ryan (1998)
* The Green Mile (1999)
* Spanglish (2004)
* The Boy In The Striped Pajamas (2008)

There are probably others that don’t spring immediately to mind. It’s also no coincidence that most of these movies came out in the 1990s; it’s when I really began watching lots of movies. Only four of these have I seen more than once, so I have no idea if the others would have the same effect on me if I saw them again.

What movies make you cry?

  1. Do you want me to throw my hat into this thing? If not, I am about to, so delete me before you read on.

    At the end of Saving Private Ryan, I didn’t want to cry. I wanted to kill Germans.

    Dead Poets Society was a film that I wanted to love as an important piece, but it failed to engage me on any level. The only tears I shed were from trying to hold back a yawn.

    Armageddon was cheap and sensationalist from top to bottom. At the end when the bomb goes off and Bruce Willis sees the life of his daughter flash before his eyes, my eyes were rolling, not weeping.

    There’s only one movie that summons those feelings in me, though on at least on occasion, my reactions have been dismissed as overly sentimental. It’s the final scene in Age of Innocence when Daniel Day Lewis has one final chance to go to the love of his life, and walks away instead.

    Heart. Break.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      I didn’t take you for a crier, so I suspected as much. :-)

      (I haven’t seen Age of Innocence, so I can’t comment on that.)

  2. Shari says:

    I’ve concluded that the movie experience (surround sound, lights down) draws one in emotionally more than the actual content. That is, I’m more likely to cry in a theater than at home with any given movie. I can’t think of many specific examples just now, but there were many that I cried at.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      Good points, Shari, though I’m sure it depends on one’s personality (and perhaps one’s home life).

      For me, there are more distractions at the theater than at home, though I suspect it might be otherwise for you. :-) The people munching gluttonously on their 10-lb. buckets of popcorn, the flickering screens as people text, the constant whispering, etc. (I made an exception for the one time I knew the guy was actually blind and his companion was describing the movie to him.)

      At home, I only watch if the kids are asleep (or gone), and it’s usually at night.

      Either way, yes, the immersion has a lot to do with it.

  3. >>I didn’t take you for a crier<<

    During my "why did another neurotic waif break up with me?" period, I cried a lot.

  4. shari says:

    Yes, immersion. That’s a good description. My children get really immersed in movies and tv shows; I think this is because we limit the amount of watching (when we do watch something, it’s an event). They no longer have to run out of the room in scary parts (like the Lone Ranger getting captured) but they do shake and cry and laugh… It’s been so long since I’ve been to a theater (LotR?) that I don’t remember a lot of rude behavior.

    The Age of Innocence was what I watched on my first “real” date. Can’t remember if I cried or not. Now, I thought A Perfect World was about the saddest movie ever. Broke curfew to see the ending (I did call and let the parents know) because I was NOT walking out in the middle of that!

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      “A Perfect World”: Another one I never saw… Hmmm. Of course, I was still in Bible college when both those came out (1993); we weren’t allowed to see movies in the theater. And I rarely had access to a VCR until 1996. :-)

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