35 Best Sad Romantic Movies That Will Make You Cry

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35 Best Sad Romantic Movies That Will Make You Cry
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If there’s one thing I’m known for, it’s my penchant for crying during movies. A good tearjerker, particularly of the romance genre, will get me every time — not to mention cause me to run out of tissues.

Sad romantic movies are one of those rare genres that you have to be in the right mood for. A bad sad movie will end up just making you feel depressed. The best sad movies, on the other hand, remain in your heart and give you a newfound appreciation for love.

Looking for sad movies to make you cry? Here are some of the best romantic movies to try, both classic and recent.

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1. Titanic

In the late 90s, Titanic was the be-all and end-all of sad romantic movies. It’s a tale of love between a rich woman and a poor man — one that’s destined to end in death. The music is amazing, the sex scene steamy, and Leo just killed it in this one.

Assuming that you’re looking for a true classic romance story, you really can’t go wrong with Titanic. It’s one you’ll want to watch again and again.

2. The Notebook

Ugh, this film. It starts off with a man who’s trying to get his Alzheimer’s-suffering wife to remember the past. The story it tells is so heartbreaking and beautiful, it’s really hard not to turn into a blubbering mess watching it.

Guys have told me that they use The Notebook as a date night movie because of how incredibly easy it is to get romantic afterward. You have been given the heads up.

3. Brokeback Mountain

Sad romance movies don’t always have to focus on heterosexual couples, you know. Back when it was released in the early 2000s, Brokeback Mountain was a serious trailblazer that proved romantic heartbreak can go beyond the bounds of heterosexuality.

Two cowboys, a forbidden love, and a lot of Wild West scenery. What’s not to love?

4. The Phantom of the Opera

I know I can’t be the only one who finds this musical to be a tearjerker, especially when you take a look at the way Christine’s two suitors act. Christine wanted to sing and be guarded by an “angel of music.”

She met a lovely male suitor... as well as a disfigured man who quickly became obsessed with her. It becomes clear that the Phantom does love her, but that he knows he can’t keep her. The strange balance between a mental illness struggle, obsession, and a love triangle makes it tragic in its own right.

5. Love, Simon

Brokeback Mountain is pretty groundbreaking in its coverage and acceptance of LGBTQ people, but have you seen Love, Simon? In it, Simon is searching for his elusive “Blue” in hopes of romance.

It’s a true tearjerker, but the scene where Simon’s mom confronts him about being gay? Yeah, pass the tissues.

6. A Walk to Remember

Anyone who has ever seen this movie will tell you it’s an obvious pick for a list of sad romantic movies. It’s one of the few movies that can make a totally stoic person ugly cry in a heartbeat. It’s a coming-of-age story that features lovable characters and one totally heart-wrenching scene.

I’m not going to ruin it, but I will say that North Carolina never looked so romantic, nor has it ever worked as such a beautiful backdrop for a sad story.

7. Blue Valentine

Many of these movies will have you believing in true love with all your heart and soul, but not this one. Blue Valentine is a movie that shows a couple falling in love, only to have their relationship fall apart.

This is one of the better sad romantic movies for people just going through a rough breakup. It’ll have you wondering if love is real at all and make you realize that sometimes things just fall apart.

8. Boys Don’t Cry

Edgy as can be and incredibly poignant for anyone who is trans, Boys Don’t Cry is a movie that’s heartbreaking for multiple reasons. The lead character is lovable and falls for someone, only to have affection thrown back in his face.

The true story of a man who was killed for being trans is both shocking and a grim reminder that some people end up dying for the chance to be loved in the body they want to have.

9. Remember Me

Remember Me. The name alone hints at something sad, fateful, and tinged with tragedy. Both characters already start off the film by showing they endured serious tragedy before they fall in love. Uplifting, right?

It would be, if the movie didn’t take place in New York City on 9/11. Grab a tissue.

10. Amour

We all know about the happily ever after, but what about the moment where one spouse inevitably dies? Amour starts off with a couple in their 80s that spent most of their lives together. When one has a heart attack, they are forced to face their mortality together.

It’s a scenario that most of us will experience once if we’re lucky enough to find someone who will stay with us. That makes it all the more upsetting.

11. Up

Up isn’t really what most people think about when they hear the phrase “sad romantic film,” but hear me out. The entire premise of the old man’s balloon-driven house journey is because of his late wife.

The entire movie is pretty much a story that shows how dedicated he is to his former wife, and how much he loves her. That’ll make anyone’s heart soar.

12. Ghost

Did you ever have a lover who died? If so, Ghost will hit you right in the feels — hard. This romantic movie is all about a couple who has a long, happy life cut short by murder.

Molly survives, but Sam doesn’t. Despite Sam being dead, he still sticks by his grieving ex as a ghost. It’s touching, and at the same time, very comforting.

13. Romeo + Juliet

Is there anything more apropos for a list of sad romance movies like the most famous tale of star-crossed lovers ever written? Romeo + Juliet is a modern-ish take on William Shakespeare’s most famous play.

There’s wild love, gang wars, as well as the classic story of how all were punished for the feuds between the Montagues and Capulets.

14. Atonement

Atonement is one of those rare romance movies you really have to admire, and not just because of the cinematography. This movie involves a loving couple stuck in the middle of a war, torn apart due to a jealous sister’s lies.

After the couple is separated, the once-jealous sister Briony continues to beg for forgiveness. Can she truly atone for destroying so many lives? It’s a wonderful story of enduring love against all odds.

15. Never Let Me Go

Okay, you better keep your tissues on deck, because this one’s a doozy! Never Let Me Go is both disturbing and romantic. This sci-fi movie takes place in an idyllic school that caters to Donors, test tube babies that were bred to donate organs to wealthy individuals.

In this world, Donors aren’t viewed as human. They are not supposed to fall in love; they are meant to take pride in how many organs they give until they die, and yes, they know it, too. So, what happens when two Donors fall in love? Can they get reprieve from forced organ "donation"?

16. The Time Traveler’s Wife

If you love sci-fi but don’t want the darkness of Never Let Me Go, give this one a try. A doting wife finds herself in trouble when her husband is diagnosed with a genetic disorder that makes him randomly travel through time.

This one is sad, yet action-packed. It’s touching, yet at the same time, shocking. I love it, and so will you.

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17. Life Is Beautiful

World War II launched millions of stories of action, horror, and the worst in humanity. Life Is Beautiful might just be one of the most heartbreaking romance movies to ever take place during this period of human history.

This movie follows the lives of a couple who met before the war, get interned in a concentration camp during Hitler’s rise to power, and try to escape. To protect their young son, the father sacrifices his life — all while keeping a smile on his face.

18. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Aging is a natural part of life, but what if it wasn’t? What would happen if we all aged in reverse? Benjamin Button was born with a strange quirk that causes him to regress in age the older he gets.

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When he falls in love with a girl who ages normally, heartbreak becomes inevitable. It’s a beautiful story with mortality as a theme.

19. The Lucky One

Are you superstitious? US Marine Sergeant Thibault is, and after returning home from his third tour in Iraq, he has only one charm to blame. That charm is a photo of an unknown woman, and he decides to find out who she is.

The Lucky One features a wild chase for love, organic relationship behavior, and a little bit of sadness. It’s bittersweet, to say the least.

20. Shakespeare In Love

Contrary to what the name may suggest, Shakespeare in Love doesn’t actually involve a script written by Shakespeare. Despite this, it could still give the old playwright a run for his money.

This film definitely has tearjerking moments, but it’s not all depressing. There’s comedy, a little steamy romance, and just awesome scenes that will grab you and hold you glued to your seat.

21. If Beale Street Could Talk

Very few sad romantic movies tackle political discussions, but that’s precisely what makes If Beale Street Could Talk so amazing. This romance story shows the ugly effects of racial profiling, and how it tears apart families and couples.

It’s a story that shows a struggle against a legal system stacked against the very people it’s supposed to protect. You need to see this incredibly insightful, dramatic film.

22. A Star Is Born

A common trope in showbiz is the famous singer who dumps their significant other once they start making it big. It’s so common, it’s almost ascertained as a part of being famous altogether. A Star Is Born has been remade three times, all because it’s so accurate in its portrayal.

When a man discovers a hot new singer, they fall in love. Unfortunately, her rising through the ranks of showbiz means that the relationship will grow increasingly strained until it finally snaps. Heartbreaking.

23. Moulin Rouge

This musical might be one of the only to rival Phantom in terms of tragedy. It’s a tale of a love affair between a gentleman and a lady of the night — one that ends in sorrow and tragedy.

Along with being very well-written, this flick offers some serious eye candy. Sad endings never looked so lavish.

24. Brief Encounter

This might be one of the oldest films to be featured on this list, but damn, does it have staying power! Made in 1940, Brief Encounter follows a housewife and a respected doctor who meet briefly on a train ride. However brief their meeting is, they fall in love.

The problem? Society and their current roles won’t allow for their torrid affair. Anyone who ever felt tied down to the wrong person or job will fall hard for this movie.

25. Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name spans multiple genres, all of which are entertaining and thought-provoking. It’s a coming-of-age film featuring a young man by the name of Elio. It’s an LGBTQ film because Elio falls in love with a sexy young Oliver. It’s also a drama, a romance movie, and an art film.

Anyone who’s a fan of cutting romance movies featuring honest-to-God conversations every LGBTQ person experiences will love this.

26. 500 Days of Summer

Did you ever look over a relationship and wonder what went wrong? It seemed so good at the start, but then, your relationship just soured? 500 Days of Summer is a movie that takes a spin on that concept.

After a bitter breakup, Tom relives his relationship in order to trace exactly what happened that made it turn bad. His ex doesn’t believe in boyfriends, and he’s a total romantic. It was doomed from the start.

27. The Fault in Our Stars

Most coming-of-age romances deal with two healthy people, but not this one. The Fault in Our Stars features two angsty adolescents that are diagnosed with cancer. They meet, they fall for each other, and start their first (and last) relationship.

Their love for one another will make you wonder how you can make more out of your own life.

28. West Side Story

Though it’s not quite as much of a tearjerker as Moulin Rouge or other similar musicals, it’s hard to ignore the amount of sorrow in West Side Story. This catchy musical is a modernized version of "Romeo and Juliet."

You’ll still sniffle a bit, sure, but the amazing tunes will keep you smiling long after the curtain closes.

29. Chungking Express

Chungking Express is a great choice if you want to have a little neo-noir in your romance flicks. This movie focuses on two cops located in Hong Kong, the women they have become enamored with, and answering the question of “What if?”

Gorgeous visuals and a beautifully sad pair of stories make this a must-see, even if you’re not a typical romance type.

30. Like Crazy

Perhaps one of the most poignant political romance movies you’ll see, Like Crazy zeros in on the terrible unfairness of immigration policy. When a British girl falls for an American boy, it seemed like everything was going to be a breeze.

Unfortunately, rigid immigration policies meant that Anna was forced to return to the UK. She later gets barred from reentering America. Watching them struggle against laws that keep them apart is heartbreaking, and a struggle couples throughout the world face.

31. Blue Jay

Don’t be fooled by the black and white cinematography; this drama is actually fairly recent. That said, the art house vibe really does set the tone for this morose love story. It’s a relatable story; two high school sweethearts find each other years after their romance initially ceased.

The story should be nice, but there’s one major traumatic blemish that keeps this relationship from blossoming once more. It’s so realistic, you’ll swear you lived through it yourself.

32. P.S. I Love You

This classic chick flick has all the trappings of a classic love story: a terminal illness, everlasting love, romantic gestures, and an emotional roller coaster of a story. When a man dies of a brain tumor, he leaves behind dozens of love notes.

It’s a story about lost love that will twist a knife in your heart in the most beautiful way.

33. It's A Wonderful Life

This classic movie dates back to 1946, and though it's over 70 years old, it still manages to warm hearts. In it, a depressed man by the name of George Bailey considers suicide. Thankfully, his guardian angel reminds him of all the ways he helps others around him.

The romantic scenes in this movie are striking, and yes, there are a couple of sad scenes to enjoy too. It's not quite as heartbreaking as others on this list, so it's good if you're looking for a "tearjerker lite" type of film.

34. Orange

Anime fans can tell you that this genre has quite a few movies that are absolutely devastating. Orange might just be the most painful to watch. In this series-turned-movie, a girl by the name of Neho starts receiving anonymous letters telling her to take care of a male friend (Kaheru) who will eventually take his own life.

As she starts to bond with him deeply, the two fall in love. Neho saves Kaheru by choosing to accept her feelings for him, thereby sacrificing a future as a happy wife and mother.

35. Her

What exactly defines love? What defines attraction? In the sci-fi movie Her, these questions become the forefront of an incredibly sad story. The entire movie follows a man who was recently divorced from a highly driven, icy woman. As he starts to settle into his own routine, a computer operating system starts to chat with him.

The OS, which calls itself Samantha, soon develops a personality that bonds with him. Sadly, it's a love that can never be.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. When she's not writing, she's drinking red wine and chilling with some cool cats. You can follow her on Twitter.

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