The Saddest Movies of All Time

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Sophie’s Choice (1982)
> IMDb rating: 7.6 / 10
> Tomatometer score: 78%
> RT audience score: 85%
> Directed by: Alan J. Pakula
> Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter MacNicol, Rita Karin

In this film based on William Styron’s novel of the same name, Sophie, a Polish immigrant living in Brooklyn just after World War II, recounts to a young writer the horrible circumstances of her “choice.” Arrested and sent to Auschwitz with her two children, she is forced to decide which one will be killed and which will survive.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Silkwood (1983)
> IMDb rating: 7.2 / 10
> Tomatometer score: 74%
> RT audience score: 78%
> Directed by: Mike Nichols
> Starring: Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, Cher, Craig T. Nelson

Meryl Streep plays real-life whistleblower Karen Silkwood in this gripping biographical drama. It follows her efforts to uncover safety violations at her place of employment, the Kerr-McGee plutonium plant. She soon finds herself the target of vicious harassment with tragic consequences.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Mask (1985)
> IMDb rating: 7.2 / 10
> Tomatometer score: 93%
> RT audience score: 83%
> Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich
> Starring: Cher, Eric Stoltz, Sam Elliott, Estelle Getty

This award-winning drama tells the true story of teenager Roy L. “Rocky” Dennis (played by Eric Stoltz), who suffers from craniodiaphyseal dysplasia. With support from his no-nonsense mother (Cher), Rocky learns to overcome prejudices and gain acceptance from his peers. Bring tissues.

Source: Courtesy of GKIDS

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
> IMDb rating: 8.5 / 10
> Tomatometer score: 100%
> RT audience score: 95%
> Directed by: Isao Takahata
> Starring: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi, Yoshiko Shinohara

Animated films are infrequently amongst the saddest, especially when they involve children. “Grave of the Fireflies” is the major exception. The harrowing anime follows the lives of a young brother and sister in Japan during the final days of World War II. Film critic Ernest Rister has called it “the most profoundly human animated film [he’s] ever seen.”

Source: Courtesy of Vestron Pictures

Paperhouse (1988)
> IMDb rating: 6.6 / 10
> Tomatometer score: 100%
> RT audience score: 71%
> Directed by: Bernard Rose
> Starring: Charlotte Burke, Jane Bertish, Samantha Cahill

This British drama follows sickly 11-year-old Anna into a dream world of her own creation. It’s there that she meets a young boy named Marc, who turns out to exist in real life. The story is based on a 1958 novel, which had previously inspired a six-part TV series called “Escape into Night.”

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