Entertainment

The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made  

Ranker Film
38.5k votes 6.9k voters 148.5k views 129 items

List Rules Vote up the greatest films that are relentlessly bleak and depressing, with characters struck down by beat after soul-crushing beat of nonstop psychological torment.

These films are depressing, but they're also remarkable. After all, what's better than depressing movies when you need to sit down and have a solid cry? The best utterly depressing movies are about heartbreaking tragedies in every form. This is a list of the most depressing movies of all time including everything from The Hours to Blue is the Warmest Colour to The Lovely Bones.

What films will you find on this list of good movies that are utterly depressing? Requiem for a Dream follows a group of friends who will stop at nothing to fulfill their dangerous drug addictions. Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, and Ellen Burstyn all gave devastatingly real performances in this Darren Aronofsky film. 12 Years a Slave is one of the most depressing movies ever made since it focuses on the real-life horrors of slavery in America. Melancholia is unique in its examination of depression as the world comes to an end. Other good depressing movies featured on this list include Room, Revolutionary Road, and Manchester by the Sea.

Do you have a favorite depressing film? Give the best movies a thumbs up and please add any crushing classics that are missing.

 

list ordered by
1
Requiem for a Dream is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn
Requiem for a Dream is a 2000 American psychological drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans. The film is based on ...more
2
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Greg Kootstra added Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas ...more
3
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Lenie Ekamper added Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, Vera Farmiga
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (released as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) is a 2008 British historical-drama film directed by Mark Heyman, based on the novel by John Boyne. During World War ...more
4
The Green Mile is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Siersha 2 added Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell
The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film is told in a flashback format and stars ...more
5
Precious: Based on the Novel P... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Paula Patton
Precious is a 2009 American drama film, directed and co-produced by Lee Daniels. Precious is an adaptation by Geoffrey S. Fletcher of the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire. The film stars Gabourey ...more
6
Grave of the Fireflies is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Dorsett Scott Peake added Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi, Ayano Shiraishi
Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli. It is based on the 1967 semi-autobiographical novel Grave of ...more
7
The Road is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Viggo Mortensen
The Road is a 2009 American post-apocalyptic drama film directed by John Hillcoat from a screenplay written by Joe Penhall, which is in return based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2006 novel of ...more
8
Million Dollar Baby is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Rex Botengan added Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank
Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 American sports drama film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood, and starring Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. This film is about an ...more
9
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
JamesGirl_21 added Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne
The Color Purple is a 1985 American period drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker. It was Spielberg's eighth film as ...more
10
Boys Don't Cry is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Tamm Walters added Hilary Swank, Chloƫ Sevigny, Natalie Zea
Boys Don't Cry is a 1999 American independent romantic drama film directed by Kimberly Peirce and co-written by Andy Bienen. The film is a dramatization of the real-life story of Brandon Teena, ...more
11
What Dreams May Come is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Max von Sydow
What Dreams May Come is a 1998 American fantasy drama film, starring Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Annabella Sciorra and Max von Sydow. The film is based on the 1978 novel of the same name ...more
12
My Sister's Keeper is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Elisabeth Gade Kjelmann added Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin, Emily Deschanel
My Sisters's Keeper is a 2009 American drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and starring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassilieva, and Alec Baldwin. Based on Jodi Picoult's novel of the ...more
13
The Lovely Bones is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon
The Lovely Bones is a 2009 supernatural drama film directed by Peter Jackson and stars Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli, and Saoirse Ronan. A film ...more
14
Sophie's Choice is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Kaitlyn Kristina Arnould added Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter MacNicol
Sophie's Choice is a 1982 American drama film directed by Alan J. Pakula, who adapted William Styron's novel of the same name. Meryl Streep stars as Sophie, a Polish immigrant who shares a ...more
15
12 Years a Slave is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch
12 Years a Slave is a 2013 period drama film directed by Steve McQueen, based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free ...more
16
What's Eating Gilbert Grape is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Jon DeSpirito added Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis
What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a 1993 American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis, Darlene Cates, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Peter Hedges wrote the ...more
17
The Elephant Man is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Xavier Indeglia added Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft
The Elephant Man is a 1980 American-British biographical film about Joseph Merrick, a severely deformed man in 19th century London. The film was directed by David Lynch and stars John Hurt, ...more
18
The Mist is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Benjamin Scott McNair added Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden
The Mist is a 2007 American science fiction horror film based on the 1980 novella of the same name by Stephen King. The film was written and directed by Frank Darabont, who had previously ...more
19
Hotel Rwanda is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Siersha 2 added Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle
Hotel Rwanda is a 2004 American historical drama film directed by Terry George. It was adapted from a screenplay written by both George and Keir Pearson. It stars Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo ...more
20
Atonement is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Siersha 2 added Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Saoirse Ronan
Atonement is a 2007 British romantic drama film directed by Joe Wright and based on Ian McEwan's 2001 novel of the same name. The film stars James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola ...more
21
Leaving Las Vegas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Siersha 2 added Nicolas Cage, Mariska Hargitay, Elisabeth Shue
Leaving Las Vegas is a 1995 romantic drama film written and directed by Mike Figgis and based on a semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by John O'Brien. Nicolas Cage, who has ended his ...more
22
Seven Pounds is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Jon DeSpirito added Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson
Seven Pounds is a 2008 American fantasy drama film, directed by Gabriele Muccino, in which Will Smith stars as a man who sets out to change the lives of seven people. Rosario Dawson, Woody ...more
23
Life Is Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Heather Robison Hillman added Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz, Richard Sammel
Life Is Beautiful is a 1997 Italian tragicomedy comedy-drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. Benigni plays Guido Orefice, a Jewish Italian book shop owner, who must employ his ...more
24
Beaches is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Greg Kootstra added Bette Midler, Mayim Bialik, Barbara Hershey
Beaches, is a 1988 American comedy-drama film adapted by Mary Agnes Donoghue from the Iris Rainer Dart novel of the same name. It was directed by Garry Marshall, and stars Bette Midler, Barbara ...more
25
Mystic River is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Rick LeRoy added Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon
Mystic River is a 2003 American mystery drama film directed and scored by Clint Eastwood. It stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laura Linney. ...more