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The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made

Updated February 17, 2021 104.2k votes 13.7k voters 421.5k views170 items

List RulesVote up the greatest films that are relentlessly bleak and depressing, with characters struck down by 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. Some movies seem tragic even if no one actually dies.

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.

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  • Schindler's List1
    5,361
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    Schindler's List

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas2
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    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

    Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon

    Released2008

    Directed byMark Herman

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    #1045 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time#179 of 338 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History

  • The Green Mile3
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    The Green Mile

    Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise

    Released1999

    Directed byFrank Darabont

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    #3 of 549 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made#25 of 372 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

  • Hotel Rwanda4
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    Hotel Rwanda

    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2004

    Directed byTerry George

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    #13 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies#2 of 52 The Most Woke Movies of All Time

  • The Pianist5
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    The Pianist

    Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann

    Released2002

    Directed byRoman Polanski

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    #108 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked#69 of 221 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

  • The Color Purple6
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    The Color Purple

    Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg

    Released1985

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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    #198 of 512 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked#5 of 91 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

  • 12 Years a Slave7
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    12 Years a Slave

    Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender

    Released2013

    Directed bySteve McQueen

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    #44 of 46 Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes#114 of 340 The Best Political Films Ever Made

  • Sophie's Choice8
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    Sophie's Choice

    Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline

    Released1982

    Directed byAlan J. Pakula

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    #52 of 63 Movies Set in Brooklyn#33 of 48 Great Romance Movies Set During World War II

  • Boys Don't Cry9
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    Boys Don't Cry

    Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny

    Released1999

    Directed byKimberly Peirce

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    #115 of 230 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#30 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books

  • The Lovely Bones10
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    The Lovely Bones

    Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg

    Released2009

    Directed byPeter Jackson

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  • Grave of the Fireflies11
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    Grave of the Fireflies

    Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi

    Released1988

    Directed byIsao Takahata

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    #104 of 542 The Best Animated Films Ever#6 of 80 Animated Movies That Make You Cry The Most

  • Requiem for a Dream12
    3,014
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    Requiem for a Dream

    Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto

    Released2000

    Directed byDarren Aronofsky

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    #42 of 53 The Saddest Romance Movies That Will Make You Cry#192 of 261 The Best Ensemble Movies

  • My Sister's Keeper13
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    My Sister's Keeper

    Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin

    Released2009

    Directed byNick Cassavetes

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    #7 of 34 The Best Mother-Daughter Movies Ever Made#5 of 32 The Best Dramas About Relationships Between Sisters

  • I Am Sam14
    671
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    I Am Sam

    Sean Penn, Dakota Fanning

    Released2001

    Directed byJessie Nelson

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    #113 of 291 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time#132 of 196 The Biggest Tearjerker Movies of All Time

  • Life Is Beautiful15
    987
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    Life Is Beautiful

    Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz

    Released1997

    Directed byRoberto Benigni

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    #882 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#103 of 105 The Best Valentine's Day Movies

  • What's Eating Gilbert Grape16
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    What's Eating Gilbert Grape

    Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio

    Released1993

    Directed byLasse Hallström

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  • Beaches17
    1,168
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    Beaches

    Bette Midler, Mayim Bialik

    Released1988

    Directed byGarry Marshall

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    #259 of 541 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies#234 of 305 The Funniest '80s Movies

  • Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire18
    2,198
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    Released2009

    Directed byLee Daniels

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    #91 of 661 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked#72 of 96 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels

  • What Dreams May Come19
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    What Dreams May Come

    Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr.

    Released1998

    Directed byVincent Ward

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    #50 of 128 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made#138 of 164 Live Action Movies With The Best CGI Effects

  • Mystic River20
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    Mystic River

    Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn

    Released2003

    Directed byClint Eastwood

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    #295 of 450 The Best Movies For Guys#22 of 247 The Best Whodunit Movies

  • The Elephant Man21
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    The Elephant Man

    Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt

    Released1980

    Directed byDavid Lynch

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    #34 of 224 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made#17 of 50 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the '80s

  • Seven Pounds22
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    Seven Pounds

    Will Smith, Rosario Dawson

    Released2008

    Directed byGabriele Muccino

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    #46 of 47 The Biggest Oscar Bait Films of All Time#19 of 59 The Best Serious Movies Starring Comedians

  • Million Dollar Baby23
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    Million Dollar Baby

    Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman

    Released2004

    Directed byClint Eastwood

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  • The Pursuit of Happyness24
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    The Pursuit of Happyness

    Will Smith, Thandie Newton

    Released2006

    Directed byGabriele Muccino

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    #56 of 85 The Greatest African American Biopics#2 of 37 The Best Single Dad Movies Ever Made

  • To Kill a Mockingbird25
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    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck

    Released1962

    Directed byRobert Mulligan

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