People love watching their happy ending movies, but they also love watching the tragic ones. What gives? Maybe it’s because some romantic stories need not be happy towards the end. Perhaps life is realistic that way. Or maybe, some people get attracted more to the tragedy of a love affair rather than the happy ever after of it. Which is true for you, movie lover?
For us here, we love our romantic movies. Even if they turn out to be sad sometimes, that’s still okay. So let’s see what kind of sad romantic movies we can recommend for you, to binge watch on a good day – or a bad one. Take a peek!
1. Romeo and Juliet
Perhaps nothing comes close to the tragedy that befalls two star-crossed lovers. They’re not destined to be together from the beginning, yet they persisted. And they’re not also destined to end up together towards the end. Somehow, they still managed to sneak in some time in their life, to enjoy a pure and precious love.
This is how some people want to see Romeo and Juliet’s story. It’s really at the top of our list of sad romantic movies for a reason. And yes, Shakespeare knows it! It’s about this young teen named Romeo, who crashes a party of their family’s enemy. But in that party, his heart gets hooked by the beauty and allure of their enemy family’s daughter, Juliet.
Of course, all hell breaks loose soon after the two try to get together. Politics and clan wars pepper their secret and brief love affair. But they persist, and try to fight their own fates. So go watch the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli film version to see how it’s done the Shakespearean way!
2. The Notebook
Of course, there will be a Nicholas Sparks novel-turned-film in this list of sad romantic movies. The man sure knows what sells, and what becomes a good film later on. Case in point: The Notebook.
This 2004 film is actually another version of the star-crossed lovers’ narrative. A young man from the poor side of life meets an upper-class woman visiting for a while. Of course, they get attracted to each other. Of course, they also fall in love during the summer vacation. But what happens after that?
Now this is where it gets tragic. The upper-class parents try to tear the two lovebirds apart. The mother doesn’t even give her daughter the letters the lover wrote. So of course they drift apart, given there’s a world war at hand. However, they get reunited later on after the war. But life is already different at that time.
What happens next? Go see it. Watch out for the ending, because even Shakespeare didn’t see that extra dose of tragedy coming!
By now, everyone knows the tragic love story of Jack and Rose. This is due to James Cameron’s global hit called Titanic.
The 1997 film reeks of tragedy on the outset. What kind of love could happen on an ill-fated first-and-last journey of the famed Titanic liner? That in itself is a dead giveaway – pardon the pun!
But this movie still belongs here in our list of sad romantic movies we recommend watching. if only for the sheer spectacle of the crash, watch it for the cinematic magic. But also, watch what happens when two ill-fated lovers also make do with their limited time aboard that ship. It is indeed such a romantic classic.
4. City of Angels
What if you’re an angel whose task is to look over humans, invisibly? But then, you get intrigued by a human, and interact with her. Later, you fall in love. But your status is in the way. What do you do?
This is the premise that the 1998 film City of Angels offers. Yes, granted that it’s in our list of sad romantic movies, we still recommend it for all to see. It stars Nicolas Cage as Seth, the angel smitten with Maggie, played by Meg Ryan. Both turn out stellar performances that you can’t help but hug a pillow and cry at the end.
The film is actually a remake of sorts of Wings of Desire, a 1987 German film by the critically acclaimed filmmaker Wim Wenders. Go watch this original, and then see the Hollywood version. They’re both worth it.
5. Immortal Beloved
What if you were never given the chance to be with the love of your life, what would you do? Well, if you are famed composer and musician Ludwig van Beethoven, just mention that you have this love in your papers, and let people speculate.
This is practically the premise of the film Immortal Beloved. Starring Gary Oldman in the role of the famed composer, the film is like an investigation about a certain person mentioned in Beethoven’s papers. No names were given, just a reference to an “immortal beloved.”
The film is about looking for this immortal beloved of his. The search happens in the beginning, though, just when Beethoven is about to die. So this is basically a postmortem attempt of decoding his one true love. Go watch it to see who it is!
Perhaps there’s nothing more tragic than having your loved one die, just before you could eke out a good life together. But what if your loved one gets killed in front of you, and his death is not by accident? This is the premise that the 1990 global hit Ghost pursued.
It’s no wonder that this film is one of the top sad romantic movies ever! The ghost of the killed loved one lingers around the love of his life. It’s so sad for him to see her suffer. That’s why one does all he could, just to touch her or even kiss her once again.
So sappy, yet so romantic, and so tragic even! Watch this film and see why it was such a phenomenal romantic movie hit for Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze back then.
Atonement means looking for forgiveness for some sin that was committed. In this case, it’s about a young girl trying to give two ill-fated lovers the happy ending they deserved. That happy ending could have been theirs, if this young girl didn’t intervene, early on in life.
That’s basically the premise of the 2007 hit film Atonement. Starring a young Keira Knightley and James McAvoy as the ill-fated lovers, the storyline is adapted from the novel by English novelist Ian McEwan. The young girl was played by a preteen Saoirse Ronan, while her older self was played by Vanessa Redgrave.
Such a powerhouse casting for a narrative that’s as sad as it is haunting. Go watch it and see why it deserves a spot in our list of recommended sad romantic movies.
8. An Affair to Remember
One of the romantic templates of Hollywood is An Affair to Remember. When it comes to romance and tragedies and serendipitous love circumstances, this one is the mother of all that!
This 1957 classic stars the dapper Cary Grant as Nickie, a playboy who gets smitten with a woman while on a cruise ship. That woman is Terry, played by Deborah Kerr. Aboard that ship, the two find themselves attracted to each other. However, they are both in relationships that they already want to end. So they make a pact to meet each other at a certain day and time, at the top of New York City’s Empire State Building, when they are already free from their bonds.
But six months is a long time, and so many things could happen before they meet. True enough, Terry gets hit by a car, missing their meeting date. Nickie thinks that he got stood up, so he feels bitter about her. So do you want to know what happens eventually? Well, go see it and figure out why it’s in our list of recommended sad romantic movies to watch in this lifetime. This one’s a must!
9. Boys Don’t Cry
If you’re a woman who feels more like a man, what would you do? You can try living your life as a man. But what if you fall in love with a woman, who thinks you’re a man? Then that’s the tragedy there that could erupt.
This is basically the premise of the 1999 film Boys Don’t Cry. Starring Hilary Swank in her Oscar-winning role as Brandon Teena, this biographical film is about the real-life Brandon’s attempt at living a life as a transgender man. This is indeed difficult, seeing how transgender people are not very welcome in many sectors yet, even in the US, especially in conservative areas during that time.
But still, a love blooms, and lovers pursue feelings. But be prepared for the very tragic ending, as it will really leave a hole in your heart. Go see it and figure out why it deserves its spot in our list of highly recommended sad romantic movies.
10. Brokeback Mountain
Another LGBT-themed love story of super-sad proportions is the highly controversial 2005 film by Ang Lee. It’s entitled Brokeback Mountain, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as the two star-crossed cowboys who found love amidst the mountains.
The story is based on a short story by American writer E. Annie Proulx. The film version is an award-winning one, snagging major awards in many prestigious international film festivals. It also bagged many nominations at the Academy Awards, even winning some, like Best Director.
Indeed, stories like gay love might be common for us today. But this love story took place in the early 1960s, back when love was still strictly defined for a man and a woman. That’s what makes this one such a tragedy. While you feel the love and eagerness of the two men for each other, you are also certain that their love will not find a happy ending, given their circumstances. So go watch this classic, and see why we recommend it as one of the best sad romantic movies ever.