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74 Sad Romantic Movies That Will Make You Cry

Photo: Getty
still image from A Walk To Remember

If there’s one thing I’m known for, it’s my penchant for crying during movies. A good tearjerker, particularly of the heart-wrenching romance genre, will get me every time.

Sad romance movies are one of those rare genres you have to be in the right mood for. Watching a bad sad movie at the wrong time can just end up making you feel depressed.

That said, the best romantic movies, no matter how sad, are the ones that stir your heart and give you a newfound appreciation for love. We tend to cry while watching romantic movies because we can all relate to the feeling of wanting to love and be loved.

Looking for sad romantic movies to make you cry? Here's our list of the 74 best sad romance movies and where you can watch them.

The 74 Best Sad Romantic Movies Of All Time

1. Titanic (1997)

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 is steamy. Honestly, 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.

Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon

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2. The Notebook (2004)

Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, the film starts off with a man who’s trying to get his Alzheimer’s-suffering wife to remember the past. The story is so heartbreaking and beautiful. It’s really hard not to turn into a blubbering mess watching the lives of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling unfold.

Where to watch: Amazon

3. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

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

Two cowboys, a forbidden love, tons of Wild West scenery are combined with an outstanding cast of actors like Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhall, and Heath Ledger make this movie a hit. What’s not to love?

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon

4. The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

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.

Where to watch: HBO Max, Amazon

5. Love, Simon (2018)

"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. In this coming-of-age film, Simon deals with very real concepts of love, friendship, hopelessness, and finding oneself.

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon

6. A Walk to Remember (2002)

Anyone who has ever seen this movie will tell you it’s an obvious pick for a list of sad romantic movies. It’s a coming-of-age story that features lovable characters and one heart-wrenching scene.

It follows two young high schoolers who end up developing a powerful and inspirational relationship in which they discover truths that take most people a lifetime to learn.

North Carolina never looked so romantic, nor has it ever worked as such a beautiful backdrop for a sad story.

Where to watch: Amazon

7. Blue Valentine (2010)

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.

Where to watch: Tubi, Amazon

8. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)

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 falls for someone only to have affection thrown back in his face. It's one of the saddest movie endings of all time because it's real.

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.

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon

9. Remember Me (2010)

The name alone hints at something sad, fateful, and tinged with tragedy. Both characters in this film already start off by showing they had endured serious tragedy before falling in love with each other. Uplifting, right?

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

Where to watch: Amazon

10. Amour (2012)

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 if we’re lucky enough to find someone who will stay with us.

Where to watch: Amazon

11. Up (2009)

"Up" isn’t really what most people think about when they hear the phrase “sad romantic film”. However, 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.

Where to watch: Disney Plus, Amazon

12. Ghost (1990)

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.

Where to watch: Amazon

13. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Is there anything more appropriate 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.

Where to watch: Amazon

14. Atonement (2007)

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.

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon

15. Never Let Me Go (2010)

"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. So, what happens when two Donors fall in love?

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon

16. The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

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.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon

17. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

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.

Where to watch: Amazon

18. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

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.

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

Where to watch: Amazon

19. The Lucky One (2012)

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.

Where to watch: Amazon

20. Shakespeare In Love (2008)

Contrary to what the name may suggest, "Shakespeare in Love" doesn’t actually involve a script written by Shakespeare.

The film is a story about a relationship between William Shakespeare and a young woman who poses as a man in order to star in one of his plays.

This film definitely has tear-jerking moments, but it’s not all depressing. There’s some comedy, a little steamy romance, and scenes that will glue you to your seat.

Where to watch: Amazon

21. If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

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.

Where to watch: Amazon

22. A Star Is Born (2018)

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 inevitably snaps.

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon

23. Moulin Rouge (2001)

This musical might be one of the only ones 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.

Where to watch: Amazon

24. Brief Encounter (1945)

This might be one of the oldest films to be featured on this list. 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.

Where to watch: HBO Max, Amazon

25. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

"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.

Where to watch: Vudu, Amazon

26. 500 Days of Summer (2009)

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.

Where to watch: Amazon

27. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

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, 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.

Where to watch: Disney Plus, Amazon

28. West Side Story (1961)

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" in the form of New York street gangs.

On the streets of the upper west side, two gangs battle for control of the area. The situation becomes even more complicated when a gang member falls in love with a rival's sister.

Where to watch: Amazon

29. Chungking Express (1994)

"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, a woman 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.

Where to watch: Available to order on DVD, Blu-ray or VHS on Amazon

30. Like Crazy (2011)

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.

Where to watch: Amazon

31. Blue Jay (2016)

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.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon

32. P.S. I Love You (2007)

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.

Where to watch: Amazon

33. It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

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.

Where to watch: Amazon

34. Her (2013)

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.

Where to watch: Amazon

35. About Time (2013)

When Tim discovers the family secret—that all the men in his family can time travel—he uses the power to ensure he ends up with the woman of his dreams. But as we all know, changing one thing in the past can set off a domino effect.

What starts out as an incredible life-changing tool soon causes some mishaps. This story about love and family is one of my all-time favorites. It's the best mix of funny, sweet, and tragic moments.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon

36. All The Bright Places (2020)

Two classmates collaborating on a project discover are both struggling emotionally—one with grief over the death of her sister, the other with mental illness. Together, they embark on adventures around Indiana and become closer before tragedy strikes again.

This is adapted from the YA novel of the same name, based on the author's personal experiences.

Where to watch: Netflix

37. Me Before You (2016)

A tragic accident leaves a man paralyzed and deeply depressed. When his parents hire a small-town woman to care for him, she makes it her mission to show him life is still worth living.

Based on the novel by Jojo Moyes.

Where to watch: Amazon, YouTube

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38. The Theory of Everything (2014)

Stephen Hawking probably isn't the first name that comes to mind when you think "romance," but this biopic centered around the late physicist's relationship with his wife Jane might change that.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon

39. Five Feet Apart (2019)

Cystic fibrosis patients Stella and Will have to stay at least five feet apart for health reasons. But following that protocol becomes increasingly difficult as they fall in love.

Where to watch: Amazon, Netflix

40. The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)

Based on the novel, this high school drama features themes about friendship, belonging, trauma, mental illness, and, yes, love.

Ezra Miller and Emma Watson shine in their roles as best friends to the titular "wallflower."

Where to watch: Fubo

41. Marriage Story (2019)

A story about divorce rather than marriage, this heart-wrenching film chronicles a couple's journey through the separation process while they co-parent a son.

Where to watch: Netflix

42. The Spectacular Now (2013)

An unlikely romance blooms between popular teenage alcoholic Sutter and bookish Aimee after she finds him passed out on a lawn following a breakup.

Where to watch: Amazon

43. My Girl (1991)

Love stories aren't reserved for adults. It follows Vada a young girl, on the threshold of her teen years. She finds her life turning upside down when she is accompanied by an unlikely friend.

This story of childhood love and friendship will destroy you.

Where to watch: Amazon

44. The Best of Me (2014)

High school sweethearts Amanda and Dawson are reunited decades later after the death of a mutual friend. But things can't go back to the way they were.

Where to watch: Amazon, YouTube

45. Irreplaceable You (2018)

Two childhood best friends-turned-lovers are crushed when one of them receives a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Where to watch: Netflix

46. The Vow (2012)

After a car accident leaves Paige with severe memory loss, her husband Leo must get her to fall for him all over again. You'll cry even harder when you remember this is based on a true story.

Where to watch: Amazon

47. One Day (2011)

This film chronicles a romance between college sweethearts by visiting the same day each year.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon

48. The Last Song (2010)

Miley Cyrus returns to the screen as a teenager reconnecting with her father after her parents' bitter divorce. A handsome local played by Liam Hemsworth helps her rediscover her love of music, and ultimately, her father.

For fans of the former couple, the saddest part of watching this might be the fact that Miley and Liam are no longer married.

Where to watch: Amazon, Disney+

49. 6 Years (2015)

A seemingly "perfect" relationship begins to unravel as one partner is forced to choose between work and love.

Where to watch: Amazon

50. The Last Five Years (2014)

This movie adaptation of a musical explores the decline of the relationship between a writer and an actress through song alone.

Where to watch: Amazon

51. Dear John (2010)

Nicholas Sparks and Channing Tatum team up again for this classic snail mail romance about love letters between a soldier and his civilian sweetheart. Will love survive despite the raging war?

Where to watch: Amazon

52. The Light Between Oceans (2016)

A lighthouse keeper and his wife are devastated by miscarriages. One day, a boat carrying an infant and a dead man washes up on the shores of their island. The two decide to keep the baby, but it isn't happily ever after.

Where to watch: Amazon

53. Before We Go (2014)

Two strangers stranded in Manhattan (possibly the best city in the world to be stuck in) for a night join each other for adventures and finally face their problems, which turn out to be much bigger than missing a train.

Where to watch: Amazon, Tubi

54. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

While her husband and children are away at the state fair, Francesca Johnson spends four days in a whirlwind affair with Robert Kincaid, a photographer who is passing through. The details of the affair are discovered after Francesca's death, and her children must decide whether to bury her next to their father or scatter her ashes with Robert's, who was her one true love.

Where to watch: Amazon

55. Charlie St. Cloud (2010)

With Stanford on the horizon, high school senior and sailor Charlie's future looks bright. But after his younger brother dies in a car crash and his spirit becomes visible to Charlie, he gives up on his dreams to honor his brother's wish of playing catch every day at sunset.

Because of this promise, Charlie remains anchored to his hometown, and only the prospect of love with a former classmate might help him move forward.

Where to watch: Amazon, Starz

56. Adrift (2018)

This is the incredible true story of a couple who found themselves adrift in the Pacific Ocean after Hurricane Raymond in 1983.

Where to watch: Amazon, Netflix

57. Now Is Good (2012)

A teenage girl dying of leukemia has a bucket list that includes losing her virginity.

Where to watch: Amazon

58. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

A London writer exchanges letters with residents of the German-occupied island of Guernsey during World War II. Post-war, she travels to the island to write a book about their experiences and their wartime book club, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Where to watch: Netflix

59. The Painted Veil (2006)

Kitty and Dr. Walter Fane are trapped in a loveless marriage in Shanghai. After Kitty falls for a diplomat, her husband decides to punish her by taking her to a remote Chinese village ravaged by the cholera epidemic.

Where to watch: Amazon, YouTube

60. Holding The Man (2015)

"Holding The Man" tells the tragic love story of high school sweethearts who face the devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

Where to watch: Amazon

61. A Ghost Story (2017)

After dying in a car crash, a man returns to the house he shared with his wife as a classic ghost in a white sheet, seeking connection.

Where to watch: Amazon, Netflix

62. The Way We Were (1973)

A privileged man and a Jewish activist form an unlikely romance but are ultimately divided by their politics. Even five decades later, this Oscar-winning tale of love doomed by fundamental differences still resonates.

Where to watch: Amazon

63. Revolutionary Road (2008)

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio reunite as lovers in this 1950s story of a suburban couple who decides to move their family to Paris in an attempt to revive their lives and marriage.

Where to watch: Amazon, YouTube

64. The Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

After catching his wife with another man, Pat suffers a mental breakdown and is admitted to a psychiatric unit. Upon his release, he makes it his mission to win back his wife, but things don't go quite as he planned.

Young Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for her performance as Pat's eccentric love interest, Tiffany.

Where to watch: Amazon

65. Once (2007)

The indie Irish film that won an Oscar and inspired a Broadway musical is known for its beautiful love song "Falling Slowly," but it's not actually a traditional love story at all. In this twist on the typical guy meets girl tale, a heartbroken street musician meets a flower seller who plays piano, and the two form a musical and romantic bond.

Where to watch: Amazon

66. Moonlight (2016)

This coming-of-age film about a young, gay, bullied Black boy growing up poor in Miami with his drug-addicted mother explores themes of neglect, love, family, and sexuality.

Where to watch: Amazon, Netflix

67. Sophie's Choice (1982)

Sophie is a Holocaust survivor. Her lover, Nathan, is an American Jew. Their love begins to unravel after a young novelist named Stingo enters the picture.

Where to watch: YouTube

68. Terms of Endearment (1983)

This dramedy follows a widow, her daughter, and their complicated love lives.

Where to watch: Amazon, Hulu, YouTube

69. Forrest Gump (1994)

The classic journey through history is about so much more than romance, but at its center is the love Forrest has for his childhood friend Jenny. The part where Forrest tells Jenny, "I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is" is one of the saddest movie scenes ever.

Where to watch: Amazon

70. Malcolm & Marie (2021)

In this black-and-white film, a troubled couple gets into an argument after a film premiere, and it becomes clear that they shouldn't be together.

Where to watch: Netflix

71. Carol (2015)

Based on the book "The Price of Salt", this is the story of Carol, a married mother who falls for retail store clerk and aspiring photographer, Therese in 1950s Manhattan.

Where to watch: Amazon

72. If I Stay (2014)

After a car accident sends her into a coma, Mia is trapped between two worlds: that of the living (her grandparents and boyfriend) and the dead (the rest of her family, who died in the crash).

Where to watch: Amazon

73. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Awkward teen Nadine is struggling. Her dad died recently, her older brother is dating her best friend, and she's contemplating suicide. But things start looking up when she meets Erwin Kim, who gives her a sense of belonging.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon

74. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

This beautiful French film tells the story of an unwilling bride-to-be and the artist who must paint her portrait for potential suitors. It gives "paint me like one of your French girls" a whole new meaning. And yes, it's one of those lesbian period dramas.

Where to watch: Hulu

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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.