15 Best Tearjerker Movies That Will Make You Cry

Tearjerkers are a film genre designed to make the viewer cry. Tearjerkers are usually loved stories with tragic endings. 

The term was first used in 1961 and has been used in film reviews since then.

People watch these movies because they want to feel emotions. They want to feel something, anything at all, even if it’s sadness or pain.

Although there isn’t a category for tearjerkers, if a film makes you cry, it generally fits the definition.

Tearjerkers are effective because they allow you time to develop an emotional connection to the characters you’re watching before they compel you to start crying.

1. Goodwill (1997)

American drama Good Will Hunting Gus Van Sant, who also served as its director, starred Robin Williams. 

The screenplay by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck tells the story of a young man with extraordinary mathematical ability who is drawn into academia.

The movie starts with an FBI agent interrogating Will Hunting (Matt Damon) about his past crimes. 

He states that he has no father and doesn’t know his mother’s name or where she lives. He was raised in various foster homes, never staying in one place for more than six months. His only living relative is a half-brother who resides in Boston.

In his teenage years, he started working as a janitor at MIT while attending night school to complete his high school diploma.

 One night, Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) comes to him for help on a math problem: how can you factorize large numbers? Will solves it instantly and then goes on.

Where to watch – HBO Max, Prime Video, Redbox., Vudu, or Apple T.V

2. The Lion king (1994)

Walt Disney Feature Animation released the American animated musical movie The Lion King in 1994.

In association with the Australian company Pacific Data Images, The movie is the 32nd animated picture from Disney. The narrative occurs in an African lion kingdom called “Pride Rock.”

The Lion King is the tale of Simba, a young lion who will take over as king from his father, Mufasa.

However, after Mufasa is killed by Simba’s uncle Scar and tricks Simba into thinking he is responsible, Simba runs away and becomes friends with two meerkats named Timon and Pumbaa. 

Scar tells him that if he ever wants to be king again, he will have to come out of hiding and defeat Scar in a fight for the throne.

Walt Disney Pictures released The Lion King on June 24, 1994. 

Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers served as directors & produced by Don Hahn with an original score composed by Hans Zimmer.

Where to watch – Disney+ Hotstar

3. Ghost (2001)

A household that relocates to a new home and finds that it was once the home of a serial killer. 

The daughter begins to have visions and sees a ghost boy. The family tries to understand what is happening.

The movie Ghost is about a family who moves into what they think is their dream home but soon finds out that they built the house on an old burial ground, and as such, ghosts are living in the walls. 

This movie has been rated PG-13 for scary images and violence.

Where to watch – Netflix

4. The Notebook (2004)

The Notebook is a classic tearjerker. It is the tale of two young lovers who work together to keep a vow made to their being torn apart by the machinations of their families.

It is a love story that spans decades and challenges the boundaries of life, death, and time.

This movie was released in 2004 and has become one of the best-selling DVDs ever. 

It stars Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling as two star-crossed lovers from different social classes in 1940s North Carolina who meet at a carnival, fall in love, and then get separated when her family moves to New England for work and his family moves to Michigan for better opportunities. 

The plot follows their struggles to be together through war, marriage, money woes, old age, and death in each other’s arms.

Where to watch – HBO Max, Netflix, and Peacock

5.UP (2009)

UP is a 2009 animated film with a story about the adventures of a young boy named Carl Frederickson and his talking dog, where Carl is now 78 years old and living alone in his home. The movie starts with Carl as an old man in the year 1988. 

He has spent most of his life trying to keep a commitment he made to himself as a childhood self – that he would find true love and get married by age 35.

 The film then flashes back to when Carl was still young and follows him and his best friend, Dug, as they go on various adventures together. 

Then, the film cuts to the present, when He falls head over heels for her.

Where to watch –  Disney+ 

6. Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump is a 1994 film directed by Robert Zemeckis and based on a novel of the same name. It tells the story of a man with an I.Q. of 75 who, despite his disability, manages to live an extraordinary life.

The movie starts with Forrest as a six-year-old boy living in Alabama with his mother. 

They are both destitute and live in shabby conditions. One day, Forrest is sitting on the porch when he sees Jenny Curran running by him and into her house. 

She immediately captures his heart, and he decides to marry her one day.

Forrest goes to school, where other kids bully him for being different from them, but he doesn’t let it get him down. 

He is still determined to marry Jenny one day, so he keeps chasing after her until she finally starts talking to him.

Jenny’s father eventually finds out about their relationship and forces

Where to watch -Pluto TV

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

Love You is a tearjerker mixed with a romantic comedy/drama movie directed by Richard LaGravenese and starring Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, and Harry Connick Jr.

The story of an American romantic drama film is about a woman who is single and falls for a man who is engaged. 

They meet when he saves her from being hit by a car, and they start exchanging letters after he tells her that he has always wanted to write one but never found the right person to write them to. 

It was written and directed by another woman.

Where to watch –  Netflix, voot

8. Beaches (1988)

It follows the story of two friends from childhood to womanhood, their love and loss, and how they cope with life’s challenges.

The film stars Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey, Teri Garr, John Heard, James Read (actor), and Kevin Kline.

Where to watch – Prime Video, Vudu, Redbox. or Apple T.V

9. Marley and Me ( 2008)

Marley and Me is a 2008 American family comedy-drama, which stars Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, based on the memoirs of John Grogan.

The movie tells the story of John Grogan’s life with his dog Marley.

The movie starts with was written by Scott Frank John and Jenny Grogan getting married. They are then shown to have a son named Jack, living in a suburban area with their dog Marley. 

The story continues with Marley getting into trouble around the neighborhood, but he never seems to learn his lesson.

Later in the movie, Jenny has another son named Patrick, who is born prematurely due to her high blood pressure during pregnancy. The family must now adapt to the new addition and care for Marley’s needs.

Where to watch – Disney plus

10. E.T. (1982)

E.T. is a science fiction movie released in 1982, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, and Pat Welsh.

The story of E.T. follows Elliot (Henry Thomas), a 10-year-old boy who is living with his older brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton), and their mother, Mary (Dee Wallace). 

The family lives in a small suburban house on the outskirts of California with their housekeeper Karen (Pat Welsh). 

Elliot’s only friend is an imaginary alien named E.T., who he has been communicating with through his bicycle since they first met in the nearby forest earlier that year.

One night while Michael is out at his girlfriend’s house, Mary becomes ill.

Elliot discovers she has contracted pneumonia as a combat nurse in World War II and cannot be left alone because she might try to commit suicide again. 

Where to watch – Peacock T.V., ROW8, Prime Video, Vudu, Redbox. or Apple T.V. on your Roku device

11. Bambi (1942)

Bambi is a 1942 American animated film.

It was directed by David Frankel and produced by Walt Disney. The story is about a young deer’s life.

It was based on Felix Salten’s 1923 novel of the same name and adapted into more than 30 languages. 

The movie follows Bambi from his birth, through his mother’s death, to his maturing years.

Bambi was released in theaters on August 13, 1942, and it has also been released in VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital H.D. formats.

It later became one of the most widely praised movies of all time, with a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8/10 score on IMDB.

Where to watch – Prime Video, Vudu, Redbox. or Apple T.V

12. The Green Mile (1999)

The Green Mile is a movie about a prison guard in the 1930s who realizes he has the power to heal. The movie’s literature is based on Stephen King and stars Tom Hanks as the prison guard Paul Edgecomb. He’s joined by Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, and James Cromwell.

The Green Milerelates the tale of Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), a prison guard on death row in 1935 at Cold Mountain Penitentiary in Georgia. In his time at Cold Mountain, he has seen all sorts of prisoners come through his cell block—from hardened criminals to political prisoners—but none as unusual as John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan). Coffey is a giant man with supernatural powers that allow him to heal people from their afflictions and sicknesses. Coffey’s ability is questioned when he’s accused of raping and murdering two young girls from Delacro.

Where to watch – Netflix

13. The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a romantic drama that relies on the writings of  Audrey Niffenegger. 

It tells the story of Clare and Henry, both born with an unusual genetic disorder that causes them to travel uncontrollably time.

The movie is about Clare, a young woman is a resident of Chicago, falls in love with  Henry DeTamble-a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels through time involuntarily. Their whirlwind romance becomes literal when he takes her on his journeys from New York City to Venice in the 18th century and back to contemporary times.

Where to watch – Hulu, Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, YouTube

14. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Frank Capra directed the 1946 motion picture It’s A Wonderful Life. The movie tells the story of George Bailey a person who has sacrificed his goals for others.

The movie starts with George Bailey (James Stewart) as an adult, looking back on his life and all he has done for others. He is frustrated with his life and feels he should have done more.

His wife, Mary (Donna Reed), tries to reassure him that he has made a difference in many people’s lives.

George’s Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell) comes over to tell George that their boss Mr. Potter wants him to come work for him instead of being a partner at the Building and Loan Company where he works now. Mr. Potter says that if George doesn’t come work for him, he will close down the Building and Loan Company which would put many people out of work, including Uncle Billy, who is just one.

Where to watch -fuboTV or Amazon Prime

15. I Am Sam (2002)

I Am Sam is a great movie with a heartwarming and emotional story. It teaches us to keep pursuing our goals, no matter how impossible.

The story of I Is Sam is about an autistic man who is fighting for custody of his daughter.

 His ex-wife has remarried, and the new husband wants to adopt the daughter and make her live with them in another state. 

The judge agrees to let the child stay with her father if he can prove that he can care for her. So, he hires a woman named Susan to take care of his daughter while he goes to work, but she soon realizes that this job is not as easy as she expected.

Where to watch – Prime Video

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