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The Crying Game

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Mark Kermode | 14:48 UK time, Tuesday, 10 January 2012

There's an interview with Steven Spielberg on the Kermode and Mayo's Film Review show this Friday.

He's talking about his new film War Horse and among the subjects we cover is the emotional business of crying in the cinema.

What I want to know is what films have made you cry - not just the obvious tearjerkers mind you - and why?

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  • Comment number 1.

    A simple answer to your question is: Grave of the Fireflies. That film, nearly every time I watch it, has the power to destroy me, reducing me to a bumbling mess of tears, and literally feeling as if I've been hit by a train. Even thinking about it now, as I write this comment, is enough to make me well up.

    On another note (and this is perhaps strange in retrospect but...) Terminator 2: Judgement Day. As a kid, watching Arnie as the Terminator lower himself into the lava pit and giving Eddie Furlong that last thumbs up was enough to make me a wreck. Sadly, doesn't seem to have the same effect now...

  • Comment number 2.

    I'd have to say "Paths of Glory" by Stanley Kubrick.

    I often hear people talking about how Kubrick movies lack emotion. And I had no problem with that.
    Then one night i sat down to see Paths of Glory. Boy where thay wrong! When I saw the ending I cried at least two minutes after the film was over. I couldn't sleep because i was thinking about those soldiers. A beautiful and realy emotional movie by one of the greatest directors of all time!

    Best wishes from Serbia!

  • Comment number 3.

    Field of Dreams, every single time without fail I blub at the ending. Having lost my father a few years ago this film without a doubt not only helped me through a traumatic time,but also showed me how close a bond every boy/man can have.
    Even as im writing this those words 'Dad wanna have a catch' are making me well up.

  • Comment number 4.

    One film that makes me cry every time is 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', specifically the scene where the beach house collapses during Joel's final memory. Everything about that sequence brings on tears, the score, the writing, the performances, and Kate Winslet whispering 'Meet me in Montauk'. Lots of manly coughs are required...

  • Comment number 5.

    For me many films have provoked tears, but the one that I found utterly devastating, that left me audibly blubbering after the credits had finished rolling was Life is Beautiful.
    The contrast between the first and second half of that film make what happens in the end all the more upsetting.

  • Comment number 6.

    Off the top of my head...

    The Skin Inside Me's conclusion had me welling up at the end when all is revealed, without wishing to give anything away.

    Same for much of Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (totally agree with Vidak, the man is extremely emotional when he chooses to be, in which raw humanity juxtaposes with a society that suppresses emotion with protocol), The Doom Generation's horrifyingly sad conclusion ('Amy! I love you!') which erodes all the sillier and repetitive bits in it and just shocks you into tears, Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant's coda in the bus station, the scene in Jubilee when a punk girl kicks a cop to death after she murdered Adam Ant (?), crying as she does so, The unexpected moment of vulnerability in A Fistful of Dollars when the man with no name mentions to a woman and her child he knew a woman like her once and couldn't rescue her, no details though...

    And, on another note, Little Miss Sunshine. The scene where Richard, the father, doesn't get his funding for his company, and his father - who spends the entire film badmouthing him - leans across and tells him 'you tried to do something on your own, which is more than most people can, and I'm proud of you'... I'm welling up inside thinking about that subtle, understated scene now

  • Comment number 7.

    Perhaps, more interestingly in my opinion, are there any film moments that can make you 'well-up' just *thinking* about them?

    Jenny Agutter's "Daddy, My Daddy!" in 'The Railway Children' will always do it for me (and I'm sure I'm not the only one).
    When it was on TV over Christmas I just saved myself the bother and left the room 10 mins before the end - though not before I again realised just how well-directed that movie is.

    Another one is the "Superman" moment in the wonderful 'Iron Giant'.

  • Comment number 8.

    "Awakenings" with Robin Williams + Robert DeNiro .
    DeNiro's character has ben in a coma / catatonic like state for years + is miraculously brought out of it by a drug the medical profession don't understand . The sight of him as the effects of the drug wear off + he starts to lose control of his body + revert back into a catatonic state is heartbreaking + has me in tears every time .
    Just thinking about it while typing this has got me welling up .

  • Comment number 9.

    I like crying with films, often I'll tear up a little, but it's rare that I REALLY cry. Those I can remember are
    Ghost - aged 8ish
    The Green Mile - aged 10/11
    A.I. - aged 11
    The Elephant Man - aged 12
    The Fly - aged 13, and since
    The Truman Show - aged 17
    The Orphanage - aged 18
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - aged 18, and countless times since
    Leaving Las Vegas - aged 18
    Toy Story 3 - aged 20, and since
    The Suitcase, an episode of Mad Men - aged 21. Three times in the same day, full-on tears.
    Phoenix, an episode of Breaking Bad - aged 21.

    Can't think of many more, there must be some.

    I teared up during Sex and the City 2, because it was so atrocious.

  • Comment number 10.

    I have to agree with Ahmed, it has to be "Grave of the Fireflies". I remember watching it as a 16 year old Akira fanboy and I ended up in tears for several minutes.
    Second is "The Orphanage". Both these films have the same effect on me even after several viewings.

    I think both these films do a fantastic job at being emotionally powerful without feeling manipulative like more popular american productions such as Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino or The Help.

  • Comment number 11.

    I wanted to place at least one scene in the list from the Toy Story series, but my choice wouldn't be, as is now common place, the ending of Toy Story 3 (as brilliant and moving as it was). No, my choice would be from the first Toy Story, in the scene where Buzz finally discovers he is a toy, but still attempts to jump out of the window, to free himself from Andy, and in determination to prove he is still almighty space ranger.

    The orchestration of Randy Newman's song 'I Will Go Sailing No More' that plays as Buzz tries and ultimately fails to escape truly had me weeping as an impressionable 5 year old, who really believed there was the possibility that BUzz Lightyear could fly. But final shot that pans out showing how miniscule Buzz is compared to the rest of the world, still has me bawling as a teenager, and will with no doubt continue to affect me as I reach adulthood.

  • Comment number 12.

    *But the.....pardon my english :)

  • Comment number 13.

    phoebe cates christmas speech in gremlins... is that wrong?

  • Comment number 14.

    Pan's Labyrinth made me shed a tear or two, the new Senna film, the Lives of Others and I have to agree with those who mentioned The Orphanage.

  • Comment number 15.

    can't believe no one's mentioned von Trier's Dancer In The Dark...

  • Comment number 16.

    ^ That Gremlins speech (which was shown on channel 5 at 4:00 in the afternoon) was where I found out there was no Santa Clause. THAT made me cry.

  • Comment number 17.

    The end of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", that music with the two events that occur still makes my bottom lip quiver even after seeing it dozens of times.

    Another film from Africa (might have been a TV movie) not sure of the title, saw it a couple of times on BBC2 way back in the early nineties, about two boys who runaway. One boy was white and one was black in apartheid Africa. I only really remember the end and won't spoil it here but it made me blubber too.

    That's about it really. The mark of a truly great film in my opinion is if it gets any emotional response from me at all. Doesn't matter what the emotion is but most films now are just mediocre.

  • Comment number 18.

    The first ten minutes of Up reduced me and my husband to floods. We'd been married for three years then and were still dealing with all the teething problems of marriage, so that sequence seemed so terribly beautiful and poignant.

    The 'first flight' sequence in How To Train Your Dragon had me sobbing, I think because I was still fighting bad bouts of depression at the time, and that sequence is so uplifting that it actually physically hurt for me to feel that happy. I still watch that film to this day when I'm feeling low.

  • Comment number 19.

    Moulin Rouge always makes me cry. I first saw it when I first went to uni and missing my then boyfriend, I blubbed like a baby all the way through. Edward Scissorhands also sets me off when Kim pretends he's dead to save him.

    I think what tends to get me is films where you know a character loses someone they love and can never see them again. It always sets me off!

  • Comment number 20.

    The film that made me cry the most recently was Gareth Edwards' Monsters, but it was'nt crying induced by tragedy. Rather, it was induced by the ability of the two central characters, through their shared humanity, to connect with each other and make life beautiful in the worst circumstances. This empathy was mirrored by the empathy I felt for such fully-realised characters, connecting me to them and bringing me into their joy.

    Surely this kind of joyous crying is very obviously the best experience you can have in a cinema?

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm a big David Lynch fan. His movies really hold up to multiple viewings and can be totally different upon each viewing. The last time I watched 'Eraserhead' the opening scenes of Henry wandering about a wasteland, treading in puddles, gave me a strong sad clown vibe, with something in the score calling to mind silent comedies. There was a real underlying tragedy there, that I hadn't sensed previously. That moved me.

    Also, I seem to remember you finding 'The Dark Knight' a cold experience Mark, but I cannot watch Batman's sacrifice at the end, without tearing up.

  • Comment number 22.

    I cry at the end of most films to be honest but "Up" is the only one that made me cry in the 1st 10 minutes.

  • Comment number 23.

    Perhaps not an obvious choice is the Sidney Lumet film, Serpico. Although it didn't psyhically make me cry, it brought me close to tears.

    I think it's the fact that the ending is so depressing. After all the trouble he goes through trying to expose corruption in the NYPD and then ends up alone with his sheepdog on that street near the dock as the credits roll. One of Al Pacino's best performances.

  • Comment number 24.

    A Midnight Clear (1992), starring Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinise and a whole host of young US acting talent.
    Quite simply one of the most poignant and underrated WW2 films ever made.
    Kudos to Dr K if he's seen it too - shamefully, not many people have.

  • Comment number 25.

    Recently I watched Jane Campion's Bright Star about the poet John Keats. I already knew how the film was going to end yet Abbey Cornish's performance made me weep uncontrollably.

  • Comment number 26.

    There have only really been two films that I have found myself wiping away the tears.

    The first is United 93 (Paul Greengrass). Paul Greengrass's powerful reconstruction of the events of 9/11 and the fate of the passengers of United Airlanes 93 that crashed in Pittsburgh.

    By the time the passengers begin to fight back, I found myself in floods of tears. It was the fact I knew what the fate of these people were. I knew what was going to happen long before it ever did. It was a devastating moment when the film ended even though I knew it would end that way. A powerful, emotional film of a truly traumatic day.

    The other film that has made me cry (surprisingly) is A.I Artificial Intelligence. It was the moment when David's adoptive mother is reincarnated by the alien beings. All he wanted was love and he got it. It was that moment at the end knowing that he would be alone forever, yet had gained something. That knowledge that he was loved and will always be loved. I love that film and will defend all those naysayers who deem it as schmaltzy sentimental rubbish.

    My sister cries at everything remotely sad. She cried at the end of Moulin Rouge, Romeo and Juliet, Wall E, Evita (?) but the funniest film that she has ever cried at was Michael Bay's Armageddon. Yes, it was when Bruce Willis was blown sky high sacrificing himself for his daughter. My sister was in tears.

  • Comment number 27.

    I know many others have said this but Grave of the Fireflies but it really is one of the saddest film I have ever seen. I think that the audience knowing right from the get-go what is going to happen makes the film all the more poignant. I wholeheartedly agree with Roger Ebert on his view of this film being one of the most humane war films ever committed to celluloid.

    Another film I must mention is John Cassavetes 'A Woman under the influence.' I think this really does take the cake for the film that made me cry most (Even Toy Story 3 didn't top the sheer sob factor of this film). The descent of ALL of the characters in to their own varying states of insanity accumulates with the final words 'Do you still love me?' '... Lets go and clean up...' I thought I was going to suffocate from my non stop balling.

  • Comment number 28.

    Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom is full of welling up moments, but just to be sure, he added an epilogue listing the inconceivable number of mortal "accidents" that befell South African activists while they were in custody, including Biko's.

  • Comment number 29.

    The most recent new film to do this to me was Senna. Watching his final lap gave me the strongest sense of dread ever watching a film, knowing he was going to die gave me possibly the most awful feeeling of my life.

    Coincidentally I was watching The Lion King with my girlfriend last night and no matter how times I watch that film Mufasa's death breaks me everytime. Its not just his death, but Simba tugging on his ear saying "daddy" is truly heartbraking

  • Comment number 30.

    A film that made me cry and still does is Midnight Cowboy. A beautiful and gritty (though now dated) film about the friendship between a not to bright gigalo and a smart and handicapped con man. In my opinion its the best bromance film ever made and the ending still make me cry floods.

    A recent example of a not to obvious tearjerker was The Lives Of Others. For those of you that have seen it, the ending is very moving and just shows how total delusionment can lead to an act of kindness that is both an act for good and sacrifice.

  • Comment number 31.

    The last film to make me cry was 'The Elephant Man' Right at the end where he tidies his room and goes to bed "like normal people" and you know he's going to die. That was properly sad.
    Weirdly, 'Vera Drake' makes me almost cry every time I see it. Not sure why. Basically throughout the entire second half but the scene in particular where Vera whispers into Stan's ear what she has been doing all these years.
    Just as a footnote. I've had it with my local multiplex. I'm not going to patronise it anymore. This is Cineworld on the Isle of Wight. The ticket prices are extortionate, the amount of adverts before each film is far too long and (most importantly) the choice of film they show is so poor. We aren't getting 'The Artist' or 'Shame', we didn't get 'Melancholia' or 'Tyrannosaur' or 'Take Shelter'. The biggest problem is is that there isn't any other choice here on the Island. The Quay Arts Centre seems to have finished with it's cinema and the two other cinemas we have only show a more limited selection than Cineworld. The only real option is to get on the ferry and go to Southampton or Portsmouth and I can't afford that. It's started to make me think that we should take matters into our own hands...

  • Comment number 32.

    Frances, starring Jessica Lange as actress Frances Farmer was an unexpected tearjerker. The last scene in Toy Story 3 caught me unawares too, as I thought the scene in the incinerator was the final one! My 10 year old Grandson couldn't quite understand why I was crying so much!.

    Ultimately, I lose it when kids cry. So, the two teariest moment of all for me are the scene in Shadowlands when the recently widowed C.C.Lewis, along with his adopted son, burst into tears in the attic and a similar scene at the end of Finding Neverland when Johnny Depp comforts newly orphaned Freddie Highmore. Blimey, I'm welling up now...

  • Comment number 33.

    Children in Men made me cry, the sequence in which the soldiers and the rebels stop fighting to let the mother and child through is so so powerful

  • Comment number 34.


    I completely agree. No film has ever made me cry as much as Dancer in the Dark. The final scenes always leave me in a heap; an emotional, exhausted wreck.

    A lot of films bring me close to tears, but only Dancer in the Dark had them streaming down my face.

  • Comment number 35.

    I have to say, children's animations really get me. And not just the obvious ones like Bambi and Up.
    3 notable ones for me:
    Beauty and the Beast - the moment the Beast says "Belle, you came back" and "at least i got to see you one last time" is just so perfect and romantic.

    How to Train Your Dragon - The moment you see the main character loses a limb, making him the human counterpart to his fire-breathing friend, was just a really nice touch and really represents the friendship between the two. (tear)

    Bolt - When the dog without powers does something extraordinary and rescues the girl from the fire i just welled up.

    Maybe it's animals. I love the heroic and sentimental moments that these sort of animations are famous for. But my tears were happy not sad. Actually, i cry more for the happy uplifting moments than the sad ones.

  • Comment number 36.

    What man doesn't suddenly get something in their eye at the end of King Kong. But I wonder if their isn't something more to the whole crying game. I recently heard that there is a certain musical chord or note that can actually trigger the 'heart strings' as it were. I can vouch for this as in the Detroit Cobra's version of Bad Girl I well up at the same time everytime I hear it. Maybe those sound boffings have been adding it to the soundtracks. A tearful 'brown note' prehaps?

  • Comment number 37.

    I guess the most unusual film I've cried at was Anvil the Movie when Lips starts crying after arguing with his band mate. I just well up because he is seems so sweet and innocent.

    I also cry watching Miss Potter when Renee opens her jewellery box and Ewen sings and dances with her.

    Also Lovely Bones - when all the murdered girls are together at the tree and you hear the gorgeous vocals of This Mortal Coil. When I saw that for the first time in the cinema I was totally choked.

    Also in Sense and Sensibility when Alan Rickman carries a soaking wet Kate Winslet back to the house and also the marriages at the end.

    For properly sad films though I think the most I cry at every time is The Killing Fields and John Lennon's Imagine.

  • Comment number 38.

    Tends to scenes rather than "whole films". Two immediate examples are: the bathroom scene in Rainman when Ray Babbitt has a meltdown and the post-funeral gathering in Snowcake, particularly at a certain point.

    Having Asperger Syndrome myself, scenes like these are really hitting something home. It's also possible that, due to the sensory aspect of the autistic spectrum (other explanations may be applicable), the audio-visual imagery may be hitting me strong.

  • Comment number 39.

    'Stand By Me'. The ending when he talks about never having any friends like the ones when he was twelve gets me every time, simply because this truth is the saddest part of childhood. I love that film.

  • Comment number 40.

    For some bizarre reason i cry over the closing battle scenes in. I can only describe it as a passionate and violent joy. I love the endulgant rightiousness and vengance of the battle scenes. i just really, really want aslan (or as i call him "jesus-cat") and his allys to kick the proverbial out of the witch and her minions. I seem to watch it the way a football supporter would a derby.

  • Comment number 41.

    Battle of Algiers - whenever I see it half the audience cries - it's the tension I think.
    The Life and Times of Harvey Milk had me sniffling.

  • Comment number 42.

    The actual only thing I've cried over is the TV short film The Snowman in years when I re-watched and never as I child did I cry when watching it. But apart from that the best know tearjerkers have only just made me the tiniest bit well-up. I have no soul I know haha

  • Comment number 43.

    Babe: the moment when "Pig" says that he wants his mum and, for some reason, his impromptu oinking of "Jingle Bells"

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: When Kate Winslett says to Jim Carrey, "I wish you'd stayed" and he replies, "Now I wish I'd stayed - I wish I'd done a lot of things, I wish I'd - I wish I'd stayed"

    Godfather Part III: the dances at the end to Cavalleria Rusticana

    I totally agree with LBScarlet about Anvil, too, but the moment that gets me is right at the end when the band comes out onstage in Japan expecting an audience of zero only to find the place packed to the rafters: not only chin-wobbling but THE greatest punch-the-air moment in cinema history...

  • Comment number 44.

    Any of the Transformers films but for all the wrong reasons ...

    A genuine one would be the end of 'Excalibur' when the boat transports Arthur to Avalon. The symbolism of the end of England is emotional ...

    Also, and for similar reasons, the end of 'Battle of Britain' when Olivier looks at the sky and the amazing music begins to build to the main theme climax leading to Churchill's (paraphrased and therefore misconstrued) quote about 'The Few' onscreen.

    Grave of the Fireflies ... yes indeed.

  • Comment number 45.

    Off the top of my head... Atonement, Big Fish, Cinderella Man, Edward Scissorhands, The Elephant Man, ET, Gladiator, How to Train Your Dragon, Into the Wild, It's a Wonderful Life, Million Dollar Baby, Pan's Labyrinth, The Royal Tenenbaums, Saving Private Ryan, The Shawshank Redemption, Toy Story 3 and Up.

    Maybe a surprising one, but Inception does. When Fischer (Cillian Murphy) confronts his father (Pete Postlethwaite) in the snow fortress level, and discovers his father's true feelings for him. The father-son theme makes it poignant, but so too does Postlethwaite's deterioration - he died six months after the film was released, and that adds retrospective weight. But mainly, it's Murphy's acting which induces the emotion.

    Most I've bawled at would have to be Finding Neverland. Get weepy just thinking about the final scene. I am a mammoth softie it would seem.

  • Comment number 46.

    The Iron Giant is on my list of all time favourites and one of the few films to make me cry. It is a great story of friendship between the two main characters, which makes the final scenes all the more emotional.

  • Comment number 47.

    The end of The Truman Show, which culminates in the devious Ed Harris trying his up-most to keep Jim Carrey's Truman from escaping his alternate reality, always has me reaching for the box of tissues as my eyes fill up. Of course those tears are ones of joy come the uplifting closer.

    The Elephant Man is extremely emotive. I think Hopkins is very under-rated in this movie. The recital of the lords prayer scene is extremely profound.

    Some films that are not neccessarily tear jerkers in the main but still have scenes of immense power such as Rainman - The bonding scene at the end for example or when Cruise teaches him to dance - both of those scenes incredibly powerful. Many other films of this ilk around too.

    Not really film related but too add - The mid season finale of The Walking Dead season 2 had me wiping the tears away long after the credits rolled, Stunning.....

  • Comment number 48.

    I cried at the end of 'The Lives of Others' but it really wasn't because of sadness, it was because of joy. One of the only films i know that can do that to people.

  • Comment number 49.

    Apart from ET, the film that did it for me was Death in Venice - particularly the end. A combination of the music, acting and visual sweep had me devastated.

  • Comment number 50.

    I want to say up front that I don't cry a lot at films. I watch many. many movies and there's a low percentage of films that can actually do that to me (and there's NEVER any blubbering). With that said...

    Superman, when Pa Kent dies. It never fails. There are probably a few films about fathers and sons that do that to me, though.

    Cast Away, when Chuck loses Wilson. I'm sorry to say that's true.

    The Elephant Man... Practically the entire film, especially the moments involving Anne Bancroft and the "I am a human being" moments... Oh and the final moments... And the... Well, just the whole thing.

    The Abyss... The resuscitation scene.

    The Natural, especially, when Roy Hobbs voices his regrets about what he could have been.

    Two scenes in Midnight Run. Out of all of DeNiro's films, I think this is the one where he shows how great of an actor he is. There are two scenes that are guaranteed tto get me choked up. The first is the scene where he visits his ex-wife for the first time in 9 years. When his young daughter offers him money while he's backing out of the drive, but he refuses to take it... I'm not kidding, I'm getting a little misty eyed typing this... And the second scene is just the momentary expression on DeNiro's face at the end when the villain asks him a very insulting question about his ex-wife.

    The Goonies... Several moments with Sean Astin, but mostly the end scene with Sloth and Chunk.

    When Riggs is debating "To be or not to be". The "Meeeeeerrrry Christmas from Bugs Bunny is what does it, I think.

    More Spielberg (produced) films, Young Sherlock Holmes, has a pretty good tearjerking moment when Watson witnesses Holmes crying for the second time in his life... Or when Harry leaves the Hendersons in the appropriately named Harry and the Hendersons.

    Gattaca, when Vincent and Anton have their showdown at the end...

    Hoop Dreams... Okay, documentaries are generally depressing, but this one wasn't, but.. when William Gates talks about his uncle (or someone) asking him "If you make it, are you going to remember me?" and what Gates said what he was thinking but didn't say :If I don't make it, are you going to remember me?" That's not the only great uplifting documentary, though. 'Man On Wire' had many great emotional moments. Phillippe Petit is a pretty inspirational guy (even if his art caused him problems in personal relationships)...

    The Remains of the Day... Geez, Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson) crying her eyes out near the end with the stoic Mr Stevens (Anthony Hopkins) watching as her trolley pulls away... that's a heartbreaker. Unrequited love...

    Another Sean Astin film does the trick... Rudy, when the title character played by Astin gets emotional for not making the team (not the last chance... the second to last chance).

    Joe Vs. the Volcano when Joe and Patricia(?) are floating on the luggage and Joe watches the moon rise. I have to say, Tom Hanks is one of those actors who can cry on command,and he sometimes blubbers when he does so. Crying and blubbring are two different things. Crying is okay as far as I'm concerned, blubbering is not (see also Julia Roberts). This is one of the few times when he blubbered and it evoked an emotional reaction from me.

    "That'll do, pig."

    The final scene of The Straight Story where the two brothers finally meet and basically say nothing (Farnsworth was an underrated stuntman turned actor).

    A little talked about film starring Lili Taylor and River Pheonix (Dogfight) always did it for me. There were several moments in the film that elicits tears. the 4 Bs... Lili Taylor's heartbreak. And yes, even the reunion scene. Quite possibly Lili Taylor's finest hour if not Pheonix's, too.

    Smoke Signals, one of the very few native American films is emotionally stirring. It's another 'fathers and sons' movie at its core. There's just something about those types of films that strike a chord in people no matter what your relationship between you and you parents (or your children) is.

    Wow. Did I really type all of that? I'm sorry. I'm a cryin' fool. I'll stop, but I will say that the film War Horse) you'll be talking about on Friday made me cry, too. Full review here:

  • Comment number 51.

    Warrior. I've seen it 6 times now and bawled my eyes out at the ending every time.

  • Comment number 52.

    Planes Trains And Automobiles. The ending where we realise John Candy has no home and his wife has died never fails to bring a tear to my eye.

  • Comment number 53.

    "Cinema Paradiso" and "Billy Elliot". Stories about kids with big dreams and enough luck to find the right person to form and guide their talent at a crucial stage. It's the rarest magic of getting every emotion in its right self-expressing place at a very young age. Gets me every time.

  • Comment number 54.

    The two that always get me are Blade Runner and The Green Mile. I just go into floods of tears whenever I think about their endings, let alone when I see them.

    If I had to rationalise or explain why, I would put it down to the spiritual significance of these endings. The Green Mile's final act, where John Coffey is executed and we discover Mr. Jingles alive in the woods, is perhaps the greatest rendering of Christianity on film since Whistle Down The Wind. The image of the lights exploding behind Tom Hanks will stay with me forever - in the death of the innocent lamb, the whole world is filled with light.

    Blade Runner also has great spiritual significance for me. The Tears in Rain scene, which I consider the definition of perfect cinema, sees the resolution not only of the characters but the question of what it is to be human. On the one act, Batty's act of compassion is proof of his humanity; on the other it is a recognition on Deckard's part that defining what is human is so complex as to render it impossible, and the realisation that compassion or love is all that matters. Then, to make the bawling complete, Batty releases the dove as he dies, carrying his soul towards heaven while his physical form and memories vanish like tears in rain.

    That's what I think, anyway. Good blog :)

  • Comment number 55.

    The ending of The Green Mile made me cry because of the sad music composed by Thomas Newman which is absolutely grand.

  • Comment number 56.

    Tell No One has sprung immediately to mind. It's all because having lost someone in sudden circumstances myself the tiny yet forlorn hope it all might be a mistake is always there. In this great thriller the bereaved husband finds his wife is not dead after all and the moment they are reunited really gets me verytime.

  • Comment number 57.

    The penguin's death in Batman Returns made me shed some tears even though he was a nasty character and the ending of Edward Scissorhands.

  • Comment number 58.

    CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS in 3D. Looking at those drawings that are 40,000 years old was an inspiring

    HUGO- At the end when it becomes clear that the connection between Hugo and Isabelle will go toward something greater than themselves. Namely, a film.

  • Comment number 59.

    Definitely 'Up'. I'd been expecting a happy animated comedy about an old man, balloons and talking dogs, but started crying approximately 3 minutes in (during the opening montage, when his wife found she couldn't have children), and kept on going throughout the entire film.

    I'm neither joking nor exaggerating when I say that the only other time I've felt so emotionally put through the ringer when leaving a film was 'Schindler's List'. I never want to see it again.

  • Comment number 60.

    Only one film has ever made me cry, 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape', when DiCaprio finds his mother up stairs, even a man's man has to give way. The Shawshank Redemption almost had me but I just kept the floodgates closed.

  • Comment number 61.

    Perhaps a slightly unusual one, but the final scene of Blade Runner: The Director's Cut always gets me teary eyed. 'It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?' It's my favourite film, so perhaps I'm just upset that it will be a little while before I re-watch it again!

  • Comment number 62.

    Great Topic Mark,

    A film that I had a rather profound and unexpected reaction to was The Karate Kid remake from 2010 which for my money was that part

  • Comment number 63.

    Ordinarily I don't cry during films - because a little voice in my head reminds me that what I'm seeing isn't genuine. However the only time I did cry during a film was the climax of the first documentary I saw at the cinema - 'Senna'. Perhaps it was the fact that 'Senna' is formulated only with real footage which made the film's emotional punch harder and sharper than anything staged can truly replicate.

  • Comment number 64.

    Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid's duel between Jack Elam's Alamosa Bill Kermit and Kris Kristofferson's Billy is the thing that got me pretty good.there is a lot in that film about desperation,fear and the harsh time of the films setting.i think it really captured the futility of a lot of lives in those law less times and that is pretty heart breaking.

  • Comment number 65.

    I didn't expect to cry during Murder by Decree (Christopher Plummer's Holmes vs Jack the Ripper film). It must've been the Genevieve Bujold scene in the asylum.

  • Comment number 66.

    PS I Love you, Then She Found Me and Third Star = Guaranteed everytime, I've never cried at anything else.

  • Comment number 67.

    As a young boy I found the scene in My Girl where Macaulay Culkin dies utterly heartbreaking. Seriously.

    As an adult, however, the last time I properly cried in the cinema was the end of Mysterious Skin. I walked out of the Soho Curzon a broken man.

  • Comment number 68.

    Great Topic Mark,

    A film that I had a rather profound and unexpected reaction to was The Karate Kid remake from 2010 which for my money was that particular years most underrated film.

    The pleasant surprises were many but notably from Jackie Chan, who proved that he has some talent for acting after many years of enjoying his kung-fu buffoonery. The "Bromantic" and father/son-like relationship between Chan and Jaden Smith builds and builds as the film progresses, seeing the emotional highs and lows of their journey galvanised by a superbly sweeping soundtrack sent me into floods of tears at various points in particular when Chan breaks down in front of Smith - A truly magical scene and film

  • Comment number 69.

    As a film lover that always enjoys a good cry the epitome for me was a 1996 French film, Ponette, directed by Jacques Doillon. This fantastic film centres on the eponymous lead, played by Victoire Thivisol, who is attempting to come to terms with the death of her mother. Victoire Thivisol's precocious performance (she was four at the time of filming) is mesmerising and utterly believable, as for crying, the entire hour and a half film is watched with a near constant flow of tears, varying from small sobs to shoulder heaving torrents. It is a hard to find gem, I recommend everyone to seek it out, but be warned you'll need an industrial size box of tissues.

  • Comment number 70.

    Here is me and my girlfriend's list;

    Toy Story 3, the hand holding scene in the furnace.

    Moulin Rouge (GF), the ending gets her every time.

    Terminator 2 (me), the bit where he "self terminates". I was young ok?

    UP (me), I cried at the start, let alone the end.

    Lion King and Bambi, though I've never actually seen Bambi, my girlfriend does say it's sad.

    Truman Show.

    The Notebook, this is my worst, it gets me every time. I'm crying because I'm happy when she remembers, then I just sad.

    Senna (me), I knew he was going to die, and even watching the other accidents that weekend made me well-up a bit.

    That's all we can think of right now. Though I'd add that I may of cried at the latest series of The Walking Dead.

  • Comment number 71.

    Whenever I watch Con Air I cant help but shed a tear. When Nicholas Cage meets his daughter for the first time its a wonderful moment, epecially with How Do I Live by Leanne Rimes playing in the background, the only song to be nominated for both best song at the Oscars and worst song at the Razzies.

    Platon and Manttan gets me all the time aswell.

  • Comment number 72.

    The Elephant Man!!!
    I reckon this is David Lynch's second best film, only just beaten by Eraserhead's imaginative surrealism and cinematics. Miles better than Mulholland Drive (I would probably count The Straight Story in the top three if I had seen it - it's on my to-watch list I promise). The beauty that The Elephant Man has as a tear-jerker, that I think truly makes a great 'weepy' film, is that I never felt as though I was being emotionally blackmailed. That is a very rare thing and am sure this will be the case for War Horse. Is this related to the fact that it takes a lot to make me cry at a film? I don't know...

  • Comment number 73.

    Made in Dagenham - the scene where Rosamund Pike visited Sally Hawkins to say that she had studied people who changed history and wanted the chance to meet one - that moment was SO loaded with emotion that I just blubbed my face off. Did not see that coming!

  • Comment number 74.

    The Iron Giant always gets me. And I have to agree with Planes Trains and Automobiles and Moulin Rouge.

  • Comment number 75.

    For me it's always the FANTASTIC 'Withnail & I' which sets me off. My younger brother, Chris, died in 2007 (aged 21) and it was a favourite film to the both of us. I find the gentle and largely unspoken friendship and love the protagonists Withnail and Marwood have for each other is a real reminder of my feelings for my late brother...and yet through the tears I still chuckle as the fabulous dialogue enters my ears: 'We've gone on holiday by mistake!' What a film!!

  • Comment number 76.

    Firstly, I saw War Horse today & thought it was truly beautiful. Sure, a little predictable but it's great to see a big-budget family film that isn't headache-inducing or littered with product placement; this is classic storytelling and it's a glorious affair.

    Rather embarrassing but the ONLY other film apart from War Horse that has made me cry (yup, I wept in the cinema during Spielberg's latest) is the Steve Martin remake of Cheaper by the Dozen.

    The scene where he rushes to stop his token ginger child from boarding a train is appallingly moving and made me gush with tears. It's had that very same affect on further viewings too.

    Right, I'm ready for abuse now...

  • Comment number 77.

    I well up at the end of The Apartment. It gives hope to schmucks like me everywhere.

  • Comment number 78.

    The most recent film to make me well up was Wendy and Lucy, I challenge anyone who's ever had a dog not to shed a sneaky tear at the end.

    Although not a film I also bawled my eyes out during Woody's reconcilliation with Lol in the third episode of This is England '88. Powerful stuff.

  • Comment number 79.

    Field of Dreams - single most overpowering emotional response to a film I've ever had. Why? In those pre-internet days thought it was going to be an interesting little movie about baseball. I've never, before or since, been so completely blind sided by anything. That evening in the QFT as I blubbed like a child as the movie reveals itself is the moment I realised the power cinema has over our emotions. I've never experienced anything like that instant. Before or since.

  • Comment number 80.

    Edward Scissorhands does it for me every time. Two people who choose not to be together because they love each other - makes me well up just thinking about it.

  • Comment number 81.

    it has to be GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES went in their with the expectation of seeing some studio ghibli war story for kids came out thinking did that just happen i cried and cried and cried i thought it will play along the lines of my neighbour totorro but it didnt it was just heartbreaking since then i have recomended it to all my friends and the same result

  • Comment number 82.

    CITY LIGHTS the last scene when the tramp reunites with the blind woman was just so heartbreaking the funny thing is most of the film played out as a slapstick comedy and i didnt expect to start weeping i thought chaplin would start to make us laugh further on in the scene never happened anyway the effect still has lost no momentum as i showed it to my younger brother who is not a silent movie fan and the same result so you know film we are going to watch over the weekend [the artist]

  • Comment number 83.

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. First time I saw it I thought 'meh'. Second time and I couldn't stop myself bawling. And I mean that really full on crying when you start coughing and mooing with emotional pain. Why? Well, something about that film gets right at what it is to be human; even what it means to have a childhood and why that's just so damn special. And as we watch Jim Carey's character fighting to hold onto what's most precious, we realise what's most precious to us - that time we went exploring, the time we gave a friend a present, the time we made a picture and the teacher said it was good work.

  • Comment number 84.

    This speech from Return of the King...gets me everytime....

    Frodo: [voiceover] And thus it was. A fourth age of middle-earth began. And the fellowship of the ring... though eternally bound by friendship and love... was ended. Thirteen months to the day since Gandalf sent us on our long journey... we found ourselves looking upon a familiar sight. We were home. How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on... when in your heart you begin to understand... there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend... some hurts that go too deep... that have taken hold. Bilbo once told me his part in this tale would end... that each of us must come and go in the telling. Bilbo's story was now over. There would be no more journeys for him... save one. My dear Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in the story will go on.

    And the scene in Children of Men when Clive Owen carries the baby past the soldiers on the stairs and everyone and everything powerful, says so much without a word being spoken............

    I thank you

  • Comment number 85.

    The first time I remember blubbing in the cinema was as a teenager.

    I had gone to see Schindler's List with friends and sat in stunned silence throughout. However the following day I went to the cinema with my boyfriend of the time and they showed the trailer for Schindler's List as part of the previews - I just erupted. I was in floods for the rest of the evening.

    Fortunately the film we were there to watch was Shadowlands so my tears weren't too out of place.

    Since then pretty much anything can make me cry. Most recently Wall-E on the tv when the captain realises there so much more to life than their existence on the ship.

  • Comment number 86.

    Nearly forgot - I agree with everyone on Grave of the Fireflys. Possibly one of the most harrowing films ever.

  • Comment number 87.

    The scene in a film that surprised me, when it made me suddenly start to well up, was from Deep Impact. Billed as the thinking man's asteroid disaster movie. The scene that always gets me is where the parent's hand over the baby in the traffic jam to Elijah Wood and his girlfriend so they can escape with the baby to higher ground on the motorbike.

    And on the general topic of crying at films I remember watching a Lassie film with my brother and sisters as teenagers and all of us deriding it's lameness. Then my dad pointed out that he can remember in the past each and everyone of us watching Lassie and crying. He then went to point on that in embracing our cynicism we had lost something, that films and stories were no longer as enjoyable and moving to us as they used to be.

  • Comment number 88.

    A couple of unexpected moments that make me cry.

    First, that tiny moment in the otherwise execrable Titanic which, in a brief cutaway from the mayhem on deck, we glimpse an elderly couple simply lying in bed, holding one another, accepting their fate.

    Second, the shocking moment in The Princess Bride when the avenger Inigo Montoya finally faces his father's killer. He is offered power and riches by the villain, who eventually offers "Anything you want". Mandy Patinkin's eyes narrow and he spits "I want my father back you sonofabitch", before skewering him. Chilling yet oddly cathartic in a romp of a film.

  • Comment number 89.

    When Leonard Lowe, played by Robert De Niro, has lunch with Paula, played by Penelope Ann Miller, and due to his tics & body spasms tells her that he will have to stop seeing her.
    He shakes her hand to say goodbye and turns to leave but Paula doesn't let go of his hand. She then gets up, pulls him close and starts dancing with him. It's a brilliantly played scene that caught me totally unawares when I first saw it and to this day I still get a lump in the throat when just thinking about it.

  • Comment number 90.

    Cliche no.1: never cry at films EXCEPT...

    1. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance* - there's a particular scene about 2/3rds through involving a father and his daughter... simple but utterly devastating

    2. Gallipoli - " fast as a Leopard..."

    GF cries at adverts (e.g. the "John Lewis" kid), anything involving animals, old men or children being harmed or in pain (in that order) e.g. The Wrestler.

  • Comment number 91.

    A film I was surprised to cry at was up though after discussing with freinds I found out i was not alone. The reason I think I cried at it and not just at the opening scenes was because at that point in my life I was just out of hospital after 3 months I was in a wheel chair, on strong pain killers and at the lowest low I have and hope to ever get to. Up was message I needed uplifting ( no pun intended) it made me laugh at the beginging and cry. By the time the plot got going the main was at the lowest of lows, he felt guilty, he was grieving and he hadn't accepted the passing of his wife. He was so low the only way he though he could recapture his youth a beloved was to go on a weird unrealistic fantasy he had day dreamed about as a boy. The ending really spoke to me and still dose, there's no big dumb resolution where the main gets his house back he dosn't need to go to the home and he adopts the child, instead at the end the main just let's go of his love and continues on with his life. This film put a big smile on my face and a tear down my cheek, I love it Pixar at it's best, a simple but not over done message witch boiled down to "get on with it".

  • Comment number 92.

    Films work best when they keep their emotions in check so that any tears are a genuine reaction of the viewer like 'Schindlers list' which has half the audience in tears but leaves me dry eyed. And 'Casablanca' always had me cheering.

    The ones that get me are 'Touching the void' when Joe decides hes not going any further and resolves if no one comes to just lie there and die.
    But for me one of the most moving scenes is at the end of 'The Third man' when Harry Lime is nodding to Holly Martins that brief exchange says so much without words about friendship and understanding.

  • Comment number 93.

    When I was young I used to cry at the end of Terminator 2. All the time.

    I also watched Cast Away when I was young and had to pretend I had something in my eye when Wilson drifted away. "WIIILLSSSSOOOOONN!!!!"

    And the ending of Pan's Labyrinth still has me sobbing like the wimp I am.

  • Comment number 94.

    Oh, to add on Of Gods and Men was breathtakingly moving.

  • Comment number 95.

    Lynch's "The Elephant Man": I saw it at the cinema when it came out, and it's the only time in my entire life I've seen an audience leave the cinema in complete silence...

    "Dumbo": still breaks me up... that scene where his mum's locked away...

    "E.T." of course...

    The fantastic Bernard Hill's speech in "The Two towers", as he's preparing for what he thinks is the last battle... and the scene where he breaks down at his son's funeral...

    And maybe because I'm now acutely aware of getting old (I'm 51), Pixar's "Up" had me blubbering like a baby within the first 5 minutes...

    Actually, when I think about it, despite my masculine, manly, macho outward appearance, I'm the world's biggest softie when it comes to crying at films... I just lose myself in the film utterly, and feel everything the character feels...

  • Comment number 96.

    The first film that springs to mind for me is The Lion King. I saw it in the cinema at the age of about ten, cried my eyes out then and even watching it now as an adult, that scene (you know the one I mean) still makes me cry.

    I'm also quite suprised that no-one has mentioned Brokeback Mountain yet. I was a tearful mess by the end.

    In terms of films where I didn't expect to find myself crying, there are three that stand out for me:

    The Order 66 scenes in Star Wars: Episode III.

    The final part of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Reepicheep goes paddling away and Edmund, Lucy and Eustace are saying goodbye to Caspian and Aslan, leaving Narnia having been told that only Eustace can come back again.

    The final part of Source Code. I can't say any more or go into specifics without the risk of spoiling the film, but it was very poignant.

  • Comment number 97.

    My first proper sob at a film was The Jungle Book when you think that Baloo is dead, the fact that he then comes to and all is well just made me cry even more, though with joy.

    I also cried at the end of My Girl when Anna Chlumsky breaks down at the funeral, being about the same age as her and Macauley Culkin really rammed home my own mortality, maybe even for the first time in my life.

    Finally, although I don't really rate the movie, I really cried hard at the end of Forrest Gump when he is talking to Jenny's grave. When Forrest says "he's so smart" I can never hold on to dry eyes as you realise that not only has Forrest and Forrest Jr lost her, but she has lost them. This made me face the fact that I will (more than likely) have to bury my parents, again confronting me with harsh truths that I had never dwelled on before.

  • Comment number 98.

    Michel Gondry's "The Science Of Sleep". I usually am given strange looks for this one, but I identify with the character of Stephan so much, so deeply, and intensely, that it is cathartic for me to see someone write, direct and act a story that seems to parallel my own life. They are tears of relief, but also tears of years of sadness and frustration being siphoned out of my body.

    The other film that really made me cry as an adult were David Lynch's "The Straight Story", which is horribly touching. I don't know if I can pinpoint exactly what it was, but Lynch was quoted as saying, "Tenderness can be just as abstract as insanity", so I can say The Straight Story was the opposite of Eraserhead.

  • Comment number 99.

    One film that never fails to make me cry is Roman Polanski's "Tess." The way the film juxtaposes Tess's hopeless situation with her continual efforts to find happiness is utterly devastating. Another film, which also stars Nastassja Kinski, that brings me to tears is "Paris, Texas" by Wim Wenders, and for many of the same reasons: the feeling that there can be no happy resolution to the characters' situation.

    Kinski herself is an incredibly underrated actress; few are able to play frailty so well that anytime you see them hurt, your heart is shattered. She's a great performer, and deserves to be thought of as more than just a sex-symbol.

  • Comment number 100.

    I'm a sympathetic crier. As soon as I see someone cry, I completely tear up. I've cried in so many movies but some of the ones that packed a deep emotional punch for me that get me every time are:

    Schindler's List - I cried on and off all night after seeing this movie.
    The Piano - The scene where she looks down to the beach to see her piano alone and the devastated look on her face.
    Up - The beautiful montage scene gets me every time.
    The Notebook - When you realise what the notebook is and who it is written by.
    The Elephant Man - Practically the whole movie.
    The Lion King - The Circle of Life - as soon as I hear the music, I choke up.
    War Horse - The latest movie I bawled through on more than one occasion. I cried at the trailer alone. However, the scene of Joey running through No Man's Land just got me.
    Date With an Angel - A little known, cheesy 80s movie, when the main character is dying and the angel wraps her wings around him. I have to stop, I'm crying just typing this LOL.


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