The Best Movies About Grief

Over 200 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Movies About Grief
Voting Rules
Vote up the best, most heartwrenching movies in which characters are grieving a death.
Latest additions: Aftersun
Most divisive: Monster's Ball

This list contains information on the best films about grief, ranked from best to worst by user votes. The best films about grief come in many forms. Some movies about grieving death are about losing a spouse while other good movies about grief are about the death of a child. Many of the best grief movies feature award-winning actors.

What films will you find on this top movies about grief list? Ghost has to be near the top. Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze star as a couple whose afterlife romance inspired movie-goers in 1990. Whoopi Goldberg even won an Academy Award for her performance as the match-making medium in the film. Ordinary People is another good movie about grief.

In the Bedroom examines how grief can quickly turn into revenge. Other good films about grieving death include The Door in the Floor, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and The Lovely Bones.

Do you have a favorite movie about grief? Give the best films a thumbs up and please add any good features we may have missed.

Ranked by
  • Ghost
    1
    Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg
    85 votes
    • Released: 1990
    • Directed by: Jerry Zucker
    In Ghost, banker Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) is tragically murdered, but his spirit remains earthbound. Through a psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg), he seeks to communicate with his distraught fiancé, Molly Jensen (Demi Moore). His mission becomes twofold: conveying his undying love for Molly and uncovering the truth behind his untimely death. The film, a blend of romance and supernatural thriller, won two Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Goldberg. As an intricate plot unfolds, audiences are left grappling with themes of love, loss, and justice beyond the grave.

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  • P.S. I Love You
    2
    Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow
    68 votes
    • Released: 2007
    • Directed by: Richard LaGravenese
    In P.S. I Love You, a romance-meets-drama film, Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank) finds herself navigating the choppy waters of widowhood after her husband Gerry's (Gerard Butler) untimely death. But Gerry, in his love and foresight, has left Holly a series of letters designed to ease her grief and guide her towards reclaiming life. The movie weaves through these poignant moments as Holly discovers each letter. Directed by Richard LaGravenese, this film is an exploration of love, loss, and self-discovery set against the backdrop of Ireland's awe-inspiring landscapes.

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  • What Dreams May Come
    3
    Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding, Annabella Sciorra
    60 votes
    • Released: 1998
    • Directed by: Vincent Ward
    In What Dreams May Come, we plunge into the surreal, ethereal narrative woven by director Vincent Ward. Chris Nielsen (Robin Williams), a loving husband and father, meets an untimely end in a car accident. This tragedy propels him into a stunningly vivid afterlife, where he navigates landscapes born from his own imagination. When he learns his wife Annie (Annabella Sciorra) is trapped in her own version of hell due to her despair, he embarks on a daring rescue mission with a tracker Albert (Cuba Gooding Jr.). The film is a visual masterpiece that earned an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. It's a profound exploration of love and the afterlife, with compelling performances from its leading cast.

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  • John Wick
    4
    Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen
    49 votes
    • Released: 2014
    • Directed by: Chad Stahelski
    Step into the world of John Wick (Keanu Reeves), a retired hitman, leading a quiet life after the loss of his wife. This peace is shattered when a mobster's son steals his cherished car and kills his puppy. The pup, an endearing last gift from his deceased wife, becomes the catalyst for Wick's return to his old life. It's a high-octane action thriller that plunges you deep into New York's hidden underworld, where Reeves showcases exceptional martial arts skills in breathtaking choreographed sequences. A saga of vengeance, John Wick stands as an exemplar in its genre, winning several awards for its stunning cinematography and tight storytelling.

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  • Manchester by the Sea
    5
    Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
    54 votes
    • Released: 2016
    • Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan
    After the death of his older brother Joe, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is shocked that Joe has made him sole guardian of his teenage nephew Patrick. Taking leave of his job as a janitor in Boston, Lee reluctantly returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea, the fishing village where his working-class family has lived for generations. There, he is forced to deal with a past that separated him from his wife, Randi (Michelle Williams), and the community where he was born and raised.

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  • The Wolf and the Lion
    6
    Molly Kunz, Graham Greene, Charlie Carrick
    8 votes
    • Released: 2021
    • Directed by: Gilles de Maistre
    After her grandfather's death, 20-year-old Alma decides to go back to her childhood home -- a little island in the heart of a majestic forest. While there, she rescues two helpless cubs: a wolf and a lion. They forge an inseparable bond, but their world soon collapses when a forest ranger discovers the animals and takes them away. The two cubs must now embark on a treacherous journey across the wilderness to reunite with each other and Alma.

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