22 Films Guaranteed to Make Even the Toughest Hearts Weep

Movies can make viewers feel all kinds of emotions, and the most intense one is often heartbreak.A recent internet survey asked, “What is the most emotionally draining movie you ever watched,” and we’ve listed the top 22 answers below.

Schindler’s List

Schindler’s List (1993) - universal Pictures
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

One person recalled watching Schindler’s List for the first time a couple of years ago at the age of 27. They shared that the movie had a profound impact on them, resulting in horrible nightmares and a lingering emotional distress that lasted for days. Despite expecting a sad film, they were taken aback by the intensity of their emotional response.

Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

One person shared how their spouse had a deeply emotional response to Million Dollar Baby, leading to hours of ugly crying and what they described as literal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

As a result, the movie became a sensitive topic, prompting their spouse to change the subject whenever it was mentioned.

Atonement

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

After watching Atonement, one viewer described feeling a sense of emptiness, as if they were in a void, once the movie concluded. They acknowledged its quality as a super good but very sad film.

Another person expressed their intense emotional reaction to Atonement, emphasizing that they were completely caught off guard by the film’s ending. They had expected a love story with a hopeful resolution following the initial tragedy but were instead deeply affected by the unexpected and melancholic outcome.

The Color Purple

The Color Purple Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Recalling their theatrical viewing experience, one viewer recounted the emotional impact of The Color Purple. They highlighted the powerful reaction of the audience, describing the weeping during the sisters’ separation and the subsequent sobbing and wailing upon their reunion at the end.

The emotions were so intense that people remained seated, crying for at least five minutes after the movie had finished, leaving everyone emotionally shattered.

The Green Mile

The Green Mile (1999) - Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

The emotional toll of The Green Mile left one person feeling emotionally drained and depressed, ultimately influencing their overall perception of the film.

Another viewer shared their overwhelming emotional response to a specific scene in The Green Mile. They confessed to never having cried harder during a movie than during Coffey’s poignant “I’m tired, boss” moment. The experience was so devastating that they vowed never to watch the movie again.

Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda MGM Studios
Photo Credit: MGM Studios.

One person voiced their opinion that Hotel Rwanda deserved recognition and should be considered a contender for the win, acknowledging its brilliance and relevance.

Reflecting on the film’s themes, another individual praised Hotel Rwanda for its thought-provoking nature. They pondered how similar events might have occurred without widespread knowledge, leading them to contemplate the often-hidden occurrences of such atrocities.

The Pianist

The Pianist Focus Features
Photo Credit: Focus Features.

Describing a particularly heartbreaking scene, one viewer expressed how it affected them both in the moment and to this day. The pianist’s attempt to free two boys in the basement, resulting in the death of one, left a lasting emotional impact and made the film emotionally draining for them.

Another person raised concerns about exposing children to The Pianist, sharing that they knew many who had seen the movie before the age of 12. They believed it was a traumatizing experience and argued that it was definitely not suitable for young audiences.

Mother

Mother (2009) - CJ Entertainment
Photo Credit: CJ Entertainment.

Describing their viewing experience, one person found Mother to be excruciating yet compelling. They considered it the worst movie they had ever seen due to the combination of losing their ticket money and the intense visual and emotional assault. They likened the experience to being a victim of a mugging.

Expressing mixed feelings, another viewer struggled to determine whether they liked or hated Mother. They noted that it wasn’t advertised as the train wreck it turned out to be, leaving them with conflicting emotions.

Uncut Gems

Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems A21
Photo Credit: Netflix.

Summarizing the predominant emotion throughout Uncut Gems, one person characterized it as stress, emphasizing that there was not a single break from it throughout the entire film.

On the other hand, another viewer walked out of the movie early on because they sensed the mounting stress and chose to spare themselves from further emotional turmoil. However, by the end, they acknowledged it as the best movie they had ever seen and expressed relief that the intense experience was finally over.

Requiem for a Dream

Requiem For A Dream (2000) - Artisan Entertainment
Photo Credit: Artisan Entertainment.

Requiem for a Dream left a lasting impact on one viewer, to the extent that they felt genuinely depressed after watching it. Although they were not in a great emotional state prior to viewing the film, they believed it pushed them over the edge.

The same viewer reflected on Requiem for a Dream’s pervasive sense of hopelessness, stating that even the mere thought of it evoked a fresh wave of awful feelings. It had been over ten years since they last watched it, yet its impact remained strong.

Room

Room A24
Photo Credit: A24.

Room (2015) had a profound emotional effect on one person, causing them to cry their eyes out, both while watching the film and reading the book it was based on. They described several scenes that pushed them to the brink, eliciting intense heart-pounding and emotional distress.

Another person shared that every time they watch Room, they find themselves crying throughout the entire duration. Despite being one of their favorites, they acknowledged that it is an emotionally challenging film to experience.

Dogville

Dogville Filmek AB. Zoma Films UK
Photo Credit: Filmek AB/Zoma Films UK.

Expressing a mix of admiration and emotional difficulty, one person proclaimed their love for the artistic and cinematic concept of Dogville, even though they found it too traumatic. They appreciated its beauty and innovation but acknowledged that it left them feeling hollow.

The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter EMI
Photo Credit: EMI.

Referring to a specific scene, one person alluded to its impact, confident that others would understand which scene they were referring to.

Life Is Beautiful

Life Is Beautiful Melampo Cinematografica
Photo Credit: Melampo Cinematografica.

Describing Life Is Beautiful as one of the greatest movies they had ever seen, one viewer emphasized its emotional impact and the exhausting nature of the second and third acts. They expressed how it left them feeling drained for the remainder of the night.

Recalling a personal experience, another person shared that they saw Life Is Beautiful alone in a theater and sobbed so intensely that they struggled to breathe.

Dancer in the Dark

Photo Credit: Zentropa Entertainments.

Expressing a strong sentiment, one person stated that they wouldn’t trust someone who didn’t feel at least a little upset by Dancer in the Dark, highlighting the bleakness of the film.

Agreeing with the sentiment, another viewer affirmed that Dancer in the Dark is indeed bleak, appreciating the mention of it in the list.

Melancholia

Melancholia Zentropa Entertainments. Memfis Film
Photo Credit: Zentropa Entertainments/Memfis Film.

One viewer commended Kirsten Dunst’s portrayal of depression in Melancholia, relating it to their own experiences.

Commenting on the film’s storytelling approach, another person noted that director Lars von Trier did not conceal the impending events. They found it evident early in the second act, leading to a full-fledged existential crisis throughout the remainder of the film.

The Fountain

The Fountain Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Expressing a sentimental attachment, one person shared that they always find it incredibly sad when the tree dies in The Fountain. Despite this, they considered it one of their favorites due to its captivating visuals and audio.

Reflecting on their emotional state by the end of the film, another viewer found the ending weirdly redemptive. They attributed this reaction to their prior emotional devastation and the resulting confusion of emotions.

Come and See

Come and See Mosfilm
Photo Credit: Mosfilm.

Expressing their emotional response to Come and See, one person expressed that the nightmarish experience depicted in the film, aimed at conveying an anti-war message, was too emotionally draining for them. They described it as an emotionally dreadful experience, comparing it to the artificiality of Hollywood productions.

Highlighting the stark contrast between Come and See and mainstream Hollywood movies, another viewer emphasized the film’s ability to immerse audiences in its nightmarish portrayal of war, considering it far more intense and authentic.

Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now Omni Zoetrope
Photo Credit: Omni Zoetrope.

Apocalypse Now left one person feeling deeply depressed, eliciting strong negative emotions.

Drawing on their imagination, another viewer likened the night-time fight for the bridge in Apocalypse Now to their perception of what hell would be like—eternal torment and chaos.

Eden Lake

Eden Lake Pathé
Photo Credit: Pathé.

Expressing a belief that Eden Lake would have garnered more recognition if more people had seen it, one viewer described it as a dark and harrowing film that left a lasting impact.

Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine _ Hunting Lane Films. Silverwood Films
Photo Credit: Hunting Lane Films/Silverwood Films.

Concurring with a previous comment, one person agreed that there is nothing quite like Blue Valentine, stating that they never want to watch it again.

Revealing their personal coping mechanism, another viewer shared that they turn to Blue Valentine when they need an emotional release, allowing themselves to have a complete breakdown and release their tears.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

What_s Eating Gilbert Grape Paramount Pictures
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Reflecting on the emotional weight of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, one person acknowledged that simply thinking about the film for more than a few seconds drains them emotionally. Despite its challenging nature, they recognized its quality and praised it.

Another viewer acknowledged that What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is indeed a very good film, albeit extremely difficult to watch.

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The Godfather (1972) Paramount Pictures
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

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Walter in the Big Lebowski Working Title Films
Photo Credit: Working Title Films.

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Back to the Future - Universal Pictures
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

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Smile Paramount Pictures
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

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Photo Credit: Andrea-Raffin/Shutterstock.

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Source: Reddit

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