15 Sad Movies on Netflix

By on March 2, 2016

Whether you just went through a break up or merely want a tearjerker, Netflix is the place to go for your sad movies. Grab a box of tissues, pull up a blanket and pour yourself a drink because these 15 sad movies on Netflix will have you in tears. If we missed out on any of your favorite films, make sure to leave a comment with the title at the bottom of the article.

cinema paradiso

1. Cinema Paradiso

The only negative about this film is that it is in another language. Despite this minor drawback, it is one of the best foreign language films ever created, and it is worth watching if you are fine with reading along with the subtitles. The movie stars Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio in an old world, Sicilian village. Torn apart by war, the village is not an easy lace to live. Salvatore Di Vita breaks free from the stress of the war town world that surrounds him in the peaceful respite of the town’s movie theater. While there, he meets with Alfredo, who loves movies and is the projectionist for the theater. Unfortunately, the movie theater ends up catching on fire, and Alfredo ends up becoming blind. Salvatore rescues him from the fire and ends up taking his role of projectionist at the theater. The movie is a heartwarming tale of love and friendship through even the most difficult times, and it will leave you in tears.

a little bit of heaven

2. A Little Bit of Heaven

Released in 2011, A Little Bit of Heaven was directed by Nicole Kassell. It stars a fairly typical young woman who is enthusiastic, vibrant and full of life. Unfortunately, she ends up discovering devastating news from her doctor. While this news would send most people into a depression, she takes a different route. Rather than be controlled by the diagnosis of a terminal cancer, she lives each moment to the fullest. As the movie progresses, she falls in love and deals with her situation using humor.

imitation of life

3. Imitation of Life

While this is one of the oldest films on the list since it was released in 1959, it is certainly worth watching. Direct by Douglas Sirk. It focus on racial roles in the society of the day. At the time, Lora Meredith (played by Lana Turner) is a widow who wants to become a Broadway star. When she is at the beach one day, she loses track of her daughter, Susie. Susie ends up being found by Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore) who is a single, black mother who is just trying to raise her daughter, Sarah Jane. Unlike Annie, Sarah appears to be white because she looks like her father instead of her mother. Lora takes in the Annie and Sarah Jane temporarily to thank them for finding her daughter. Annie ends up staying on for longer because she becomes the housekeeper so that Lora can pursue her acting career. In addition to a love story that unfolds later on, the movie also portrays issues surrounding race in the 1950s since Sarah Jane decides to reject her mother’s heritage and pass herself off as white.


4. Lifted

Starring Uriah Shelton, Nicki Aycox and Dash Mihok, this film was written and directed by Lexi Alexander. The film focuses on the story of 13 year old Henry Matthews. After his reservist father is deployed to Afghanistan, Matthews is left to pick up the pieces and remake his life. He receives the support and input of a local pastor, which leads him to take part in a singing contest in the area. For anyone who has ever had a family member deployed, this movie will hit home.


5. Iris

Starring Kate Winslet and High Bonneville, this film tells the story of a British novelist, Iris Murdoch. In the story, Hugh Bonneville plays the character of Iris’ lifelong love interest, John. It follows the tale of them meeting and falling love while they are students at the University of Oxford. Later in the story, the characters are played by Judy Dench and Jim Broadbent as the lovely Iris ages and develops Alzheimer’s disease. If you plan on watching this movie, make sure to bring along a lot of tissues because it will leave you in tears by the end.

rabbit proof fence

6. Rabbit-Proof Fence

Released in 2002, this film is based in 1931 Australia. Directed by Phillip Noyce, it follows the tale of three young, half-aboriginal girls. These girls are removed forcibly from their families due to a decree by the government. After their removal, they manage to escape back into the outback, but are still pursued by the Australian police.

an affair to remember

7. An Affair to Remember

The American Film Institute officially lists this as one of the top five most romantic films ever to appear on the silver screen. In an Affair to Remember, Terry McKay (played by Deborah Kerr) and Nickie Ferrante (played by Cary Grant) are both on a transatlantic ship called the SS Constitution. They are traveling from Europe to New York, and they end up falling in love after meeting on the ship. The pair make a deal to meet in six months’ time at the top of the Empire State Building. During the ensuing time period, they are supposed to end their current relationships and start their new careers. As Terry goes to the Empire State Building to meet Nickie, she ends up getting hit by a car. Will she ever meet with Nickie? Will their love be strong enough for him to wait for her and find her?

blue valentine

8. Blue Valentine

Written and directed by Derek Cianfrance, this movie was released in 2010. It follows the story of a young couple who discover that they are pregnant. They decide to get married for the future child, but they quickly discover that their relationship is not going to work. The film is fairly heartbreaking as the two personalities clash on screen.

how to die in oregon

9. How to Die in Oregon

Released in 2011, this movie was directed by Peter Richardson. Unlike the other movies on this list, it is actually a documentary. If you were looking for a sad movie, there are few films—especially documentaries—that are sadder. It follows the passage of Oregon laws surrounding assisted suicide. Throughout the movie, the director focuses on how doctors and family members deal with the option of assisted suicide and the people who choose to use this option.

the diary of anne frank

10. The Diary of Anne Frank

Released in 1959, the Diary of Anne Frank is based on the diary that Anne Frank actually kept during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. With the Nazis invading the country, her family goes into hiding within a terribly small attic space. They live for months in the space with a friend bringing them food. The Diary of Anne Frank follows the experience of the 14 year old girl in the family, and the story (spoiler alert!) ends with the family members getting shipped off to a concentration camp. In addition to being based on a real story, this movie wins points for the sheer profoundness of the tale. This is another movie that you will want to bring along some tissues to watch.

short term 12

11. Short Term 12

If you want sad movies on Netflix, Short Term 12 is the movie to watch. It stars the character of Grace (played by Brie Larson) and Mason (played by John Gallagher, Jr.). Grace runs a group facility for teenagers and Mason is her co-worker as well as her long term partner. The film introduces the stories of a teenager named Jayden, who has a history of self-harm. It also shows 18 year old Marcus who is unwilling to grow up and leave the facility. Meanwhile, Grace is having problems with opening up, and an unexpected pregnancy is setting her on edge. The film received positive reviews by cinema critics due to its moving, touching plot lime.


12. Warrior

Released in 2011, Warrior was directed and written by Gavin O’Conner. It focuses on the story of Tommy, who is a skilled martial arts fighter and his brother, Brendan. While Tommy is an ex-marine, Brendan is just a school teacher and both boys grew up with an alcoholic father. Although they are no longer close, both brothers are trying to improve their financial circumstances by taking part in martial arts fights. The story follows a lead up to a confrontation between the boys in the fighting ring and their personal journeys toward healing the rifts in the family’s past.

red dog

13. Red Dog

As one of the few Australian films on this list, this movie is one of the best. It blends hilarious comedy with sadness for a wild ride of a film. In the movie, Thomas (played by Luke Ford) is a truck driver in Western Australia. The movie starts at a bar where Thomas is trying to stop some local men from putting down a dog. The men end up relaying the entire story of the extraordinary dog, who was a loyal friend to his master, John, who recently died in a tragic accident.

the boy in the striped pajamas

14. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Released in 2008, this movie was directed by Mark Herman. It follows the tale of an unlikely friendship between two boys in World War II. One boy is the son of a German commander who runs the prison camp that is just beyond the boy’s house. Meanwhile, the other boy is Jewish and lives within the concentration camp. The German boy is too young to understand what the concentration camp is or why he cannot be friends with the Jewish boy. While there are heartwarming moments at times, the ultimate end to the tale is beyond tragic.

PS I Love You

15. P.S., I Love You

Released in 2007, P.S., I Love You is one of the saddest movies you will find on Netflix. It follows the tale of Holly and Gerry, who are are completely in love. Unfortunately, their love is cut short when Gerry ends up dying from an illness. Holly is left to pick up the pieces alone, but Gerry manages to communicate with her from beyond the grave. On her thirtieth birthday, Holly is given a birthday cake and one of the many tapes that Gerry had unexpectedly left for her. Each message ends with the phrase “P.S. I Love You” and urges her to get out, enjoy life and be happy. While Holly is extremely attached to these messages and needs them to move on, her mother and friend worry that the constant stream of messages from Gerry are preventing her from moving on from the past.

Whether you are looking for a romance or a tragic drama, these sad movies on Netflix will keep you entertained. With bits of humor sprinkled in, they provide a pleasant mix of sadness and levity.

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