Lights! Camera! Action! Bawl!

My top TEN tear jerker flicks:

Sometimes, I like to cry. I’ve always been in touch with my emotional side and I find it very cleansing to find outlets to bring on the tears in ways that are safe, yet productive. When I DO get in this weepy state of mind, the movies listed below are the ones I locate first to support me in my effort to just let it all flow!

It’s very difficult to pick only ten since I sometimes I’ll cry at a flavored coffee commercial, but here are my cinematic choices in no particular order. I have also included links on most of the scenes, if you’re so inclined to watch.

1. The Color Purple (1985):
Two scenes actually kill me EVERY time in this Spielberg (non-Academy Award nominated) classic. The first is when Shug Avery sings “God Is Tryin’ to Tell You Somethin’” while walking briskly to her father’s church and he opens his arms to hug her. Also, who can forget the final scene when Celie and Nettie see each other for the first time in many years? I’ve watched this scene so many times and I KNOW my eyes are gonna start flooding as soon as I see those beautiful colored capes blowing in the wind with the dust… I’m gone. As the long lost sisters run through the fields of purple as they shout each other’s names. I lose it every time.

2. Brian’s Song (1971):
This television movie of the week back in 1971 was what they would classify today as a “biopic.”  Two scenes stand out in my claim to cryin’ shame: Gale Sayers’ (Billy Dee Williams) haltingly spoken locker-room address to his fellow players on Brian Piccolo’s (James Caan) cancer, breaking down into uncontrollable sobs to prematurely end his speech. And later, his tear-jerking acceptance of the George S. Halas Award for Courage: “I love Brian Piccolo. And I’d like all of you to love him too. And tonight, when you hit your knees – please ask God to love him.” Priceless.

3. Beaches (1988):
Starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey as life-long friends CC and Hillary and their relationship as Hillary slowly dies from a cardiac illness. The movie ends with CC taking Hillary home to die in comfort. While I KNOW it’s all a ploy, I fall for it every time.

4. Steel Magnolias (1989):
Sally Field, Sally Field, Sally Field (as M’Lynn Eatenton) pouring out her torment at the loss of daughter Shelby, at the funeral as Olympia Dukakis (as Clairee Belcher) screams “hit THIS!”  Simply classic.

5. Castaway (2000):
One word… Wilson. The incredible acting skills of Tom Hanks to make me fall in love with his friendship and eventual loss of the face of a volleyball. The scene where Wilson is floating away in the ocean… sigh, I can’t finish this description. : )

6. Schindler’s List (1993):
Most people will want to feel like bawling throughout the entire film, but the most impactful moment for me personally, is when I see the little Jewish girl’s body (red coat) in a wheelbarrow full of corpses. Even though I only briefly saw her earlier in the film hiding under a bed, the stark visual of the red coat in a world of black and white horror just has the most incredible impact on me.

7. Ghost (1990):
I feel almost guilty having this one on my list because it was such a ploy to bring on the flood gates, but it too, gets me every time. The final scene when Demi Moore’s character (Molly), sees and hears Patrick Swayze’s character (Sam) before his flight into eternity truly turns on my emotional faucet. Who wouldn’t want that last chance to say goodbye to a dead love with the music of Karl Michael’s “Hereafter” swelling in the background?

8. Mask (1985):
I was never a typical Cher fan really, but I couldn’t help to tear up at the end of this loosely adapted true story about the relationship of young Rocky Dennis, played amazingly by Eric Stoltz (who had a massive skull deformity) and his “biker chick” mother, Rusty (Cher). Rocky doesn’t show up for school one morning as Rusty gets a phone call asking where he is. She goes to his bedroom to find him dead. Mother has not only lost her son, but she has lost one of the only people in her troubled life that truly understood her. Very teary scene.

9. UP (2009):
I think one of the reasons the beginning of Up is so touching is that it comes out of completely nowhere, seeing as most folks think they’re about to see a movie about some old dude who sails around the world in a balloon house. But I should have known that Pixar is more than just a bunch of flashy colors, and without a doubt, the death of Carl’s wife is the saddest moment found in any of their films. Not your typical animated pic.

10. Brokeback Mountain (2005):
The scene of Ennis’ first discovery of the blood-stained shirts in Jack’s childhood bedroom some time after his death. The shirts belonged to himself and ex-lover Jack (who had died while changing a tire that exploded, although Ennis imagined it as a gay-bashing incident) from when they fought together years earlier on Brokeback Mountain – he held the shirts to his face and breathed in their scent; and the melodramatic ending, in which Ennis once again saw their two old shirts (hanging in the back of a closet in the trailer of his father). The two shirts were both together on one hanger, intertwined – Jack’s blood-stained shirt was tucked inside of Ennis’s – he also saw a postcard of Brokeback Mountain tacked next to the shirts and straightened it – he tearfully and regretfully cried about their forbidden homosexual love affair: “Jack, I swear…”

Very Honorable mentions:
Green Mile, Rudy, ET, My Dog Skip, Sophie’s Choice, Saving Private Ryan, Life is Beautiful, The Notebook, Marley and Me, I am Sam, Rosewood, My Girl

I’ve certainly killed a lot of trees with all the boxes of tissues I’ve gone through. What are YOUR favorite tear-jerkers?



Filed under Life..., Top TENS

9 responses to “Lights! Camera! Action! Bawl!

  1. christine

    “My Sister’s Keeper” The bond between sisters is amaxing. I think I cried so many times during that movie. Having a sister whom I am close to I can totally get the closeness these 2 sister shared.

    • Have yet to see this one Chris, although it’s definitely on my list!
      Side note: I sure wish I hung with you a little more in school, you have a great heart. : )

      • Christine

        I know the feeling Ed. I feel that way about you. But thanks to Facebook we can virtually hang out now.

  2. Karen

    Great topic Ed! Agree with most. “Sophie’s Choice” breaks my heart everytime. “Bambi” was really my first traumatic episode…I even had it on a “record” (so I could torture my self ad nauseum) that told the whole story-Bambi’s mom “Run Bambi Run!!!!” Really LOUD Gunshot. OMG they killed her. Devastates me. “Old Yeller” even my dad cried at that one in the movie theatre. “Love Story” corny as hell. “Four Weddings and a Funeral” “Harold and Maude” even Kenmore appliance commericals with the old people dancing in the kitchen…I’m pathetic!!! : )

    • Karen…
      I actually HAD Bambi as a lead in on this blog because that too was one of my FIRST impressions of sadness in film! I took it out because I couldn’t lead it in properly. I can remember VERY vividly seeing that movie for the first time and hearing “the gunshot,” as well as the first time Bambi meets his “father.”
      I remember Old Yeller too! Wow.
      Thanks for commenting as always. Hope all is well with you and your family!

  3. Definitely that scene in The Color Purple–I can tear-up just thinking about it! Ed–I cry watching the nightly news.

  4. i always get yelled at for my lack of movie knowledge. ” did you grow up under a rock?” i am often asked…why yes…yes i did…worse yet..i work for the cable company..i can watch tons of movies for i? nooooo… i did see ghost though… crazy for swazey …schindlers list was another good one…but sadly thats about all i got for ya.

    • Working for a cable company? That’s like being a kid in a candy store! FREE adult films for EVERYone! LOL.
      I enjoy movies alot and I actually DID live under a rock once for a few months too!

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