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Top 10 Movie Endings That Will Make You Cry

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
We’ve concluded that these conclusions will leave no eye dry. For this list, we’ll be going over a variety of endings to films that are very likely to leave those watching them crying. Because this is a list about movie endings, there will naturally be spoilers ahead. Our list includes “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “My Girl,” “Titanic,” “The Green Mile,” and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Movie Endings That Will Make You Cry.

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Top 10 Movie Endings That Will Make You Cry

We’ve concluded that these conclusions will leave no eye dry. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 movie endings that will make you cry.

For this list, we’ll be going over a variety of endings to films that are very likely to leave those watching them crying. Because this is a list about movie endings, there will naturally be spoilers ahead.

#10: “The Fault in Our Stars” (2014)

Based on the John Green novel of the same name, “The Fault in Our Stars” follows a pair of young cancer patients who fall in love. While the premise alone suggests a tragedy, the engaging love story will nonetheless pull you in and the ending still manages to surprise; as Gus, who is apparently in remission, ends up being the one to succumb to the disease. Hazel’s pre-funeral eulogy is very touching and the message Gus leaves behind after his death will have you sobbing, if you aren’t already.

#9: “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” (2009)

A remake of a film based on a true story, “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” explores the friendship between Parker, a professor, and the titular dog that he accidentally gains ownership of. Every day, Hachi follows Parker to the train station and then waits for him to return. Sadly, Parker eventually dies while at work and so never returns by train; prompting Hachi to spend years waiting for his master to return home, eventually dying in the train station - having become a permanent fixture there. While the story it’s based on has spawned plenty of tributes in pop culture, “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” still manages to tug at our heartstrings with its particular take on a familiar, tragic story of man’s best friend.

#8: “Gladiator” (2000)

This is the epic story of Maximus, a Roman general who experiences betrayal and the loss of his wife and son. “Gladiator” follows Maximus as he rises through the gladiatorial pits to confront the emperor responsible for his fall from grace. Despite being stabbed before his duel with the vile ruler, Maximus nevertheless manages to overcome this handicap to defeat his hated foe, before finally succumbing to his wounds. The final sequence of Maximus reuniting with his family in the afterlife, with that hauntingly beautiful music, is just a whole whirlwind of tear-jerking emotion.

#7: “Brokeback Mountain” (2005)

A tragic romance between two cowboys torn between their love for each other and their families -not to mention societal pressure- “Brokeback Mountain” cranks the heartache even higher with its conclusion. Jack, who repeatedly pushed for a life with Ennis, dies unexpectedly in an accident; leaving his infrequent lover heartbroken, with only mementos of their time together to comfort him during his time of grief. When Ennis’ daughter asks for his blessing to marry her boyfriend, he merely asks if they love each other - heavily suggesting that he’s learned that that is all that really matters. His final look at his closet shrine to Jack is just heartbreaking.

#6: “Marley & Me” (2008)

Yep, it’s another dog movie. When a friend of couple John and Jenny suggests they adopt a dog to see if they’re ready for parenthood, the rambunctious Marley proves a handful. But he ultimately endears himself to the pair and proves a valued part of their family once they start one. Sadly, like most pets, Marley eventually reaches the end of his life before his owners, and his sickness and slow decline make for a very real and relatable situation that many pet owners can empathize with. Having to put down a pet you’ve raised is gut-wrenching, and “Marley & Me” condenses that entire experience, start to finish, into less than two hours for the audience.

#5: “My Girl” (1991)

A coming of age story about a hypochondriac girl named Vada, “My Girl” follows her attempts to come to terms with the changing world around her, as well as the guilt she feels for the death of her mother, who died shortly after giving birth to her. Unfortunately, Vada is again given an opportunity to blame herself when her friend Thomas J. dies of an allergic reaction to bees while looking for a mood ring she lost near a fallen hive. Her grief, while it does help bring her closer to her father, is hard to watch; particularly if you know the pain of having lost someone when you were young.

#4: “Million Dollar Baby” (2004)

When grizzled boxing trainer Frankie takes on Maggie, an eager up and coming boxer, their relationship develops into a pseudo father/daughter friendship. Tragically, Maggie’s final match ends prematurely when a sucker punch leaves her quadriplegic. With her real family seemingly only interested in the money she’s made, Maggie sends them away. Grieving for her lost mobility and feeling suicidal, Maggie asks Frankie to end her life, since she can no longer do it herself. While they may not be related by blood, he’s the only family she has, so seeing Frankie wrestle with and ultimately grant Maggie’s wish is a real uppercut to the feels.

#3: “Titanic” (1997)

A romance set aboard the infamously doomed “unsinkable ship,” “Titanic” follows Jack and Rose’s relationship as they meet and fall for one another aboard the vessel. Despite overcoming social disapproval due to their differing social classes and real danger, the pair are separated by death when Jack dies of hypothermia in the water while awaiting rescue. An elderly Rose, who relates her story to researchers of the sunken ship, later passes away in her sleep and appears to reunite with Jack and all the others who died aboard the Titanic in a final dream - possibly the afterlife. This touching tribute to the dead lovers and the real people who died aboard the ship is sure to sink even the hardest of hearts.

#2: “The Green Mile” (1999)

Given that this film follows prison guards and the death row inmates they watch over, it should hardly be a surprise that the ending is tragic. There are a number of traumatic executions and deaths during “The Green Mile,” but its last is easily the most heartbreaking. Gentle giant John Coffey can heal and resurrect people with his supernatural powers, but ultimately finds himself accused of murder after being found trying to resurrect two murder victims. John’s innocent terror at dying will get even the most cynical viewer weeping. While the leader of the guards lives unnaturally long, allowing him to tell John’s story, it’s bittersweet consolation to the loss of such a good, sweet man.

Before we get our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Seven Pounds” (2008)

“Steel Magnolias” (1989)

“Toy Story 3” (2010)

“Terms of Endearment” (1983)

“Ghost” (1990)

#1: “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” (2008)

Set in and around a Nazi concentration camp, “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” follows an unlikely friendship between a German boy, Bruno, and a Jewish boy, Shmuel, in the camp within occupied Poland. Although riddled with historical inaccuracies, the film’s strongest aspect is the central friendship between the two boys who don’t understand the realities of their situation. This youthful ignorance and innocence lead to disaster though, as the conclusion sees Bruno dress in “striped pyjamas” to help Shmuel find his father - which ultimately leads both to be locked inside and killed in a gas chamber. Few things are as horrific as the Holocaust, but that already awful chapter in human history is made even more devastating when focusing on the death of children.

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