Watchworthy

The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made 

Ranker Film
Updated July 22, 2020 43.3k votes 7.6k voters 167.8k views 157 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. 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.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
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

Released: 2000

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

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

More Requiem for a Dream 

#32 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #273 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

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

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

More Schindler's List 

#8 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #4 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
The Boy in the Striped P... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Lenie Ekamper added Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, Vera Farmiga

Released: 2008

Directed by: Mark Herman

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

More The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 

#135 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #48 of 76 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #74 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

4
Precious: Based on the N... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Paula Patton

Released: 2009

Directed by: Lee Daniels

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

More Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire 

#17 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #82 of 628 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
The Road is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Viggo Mortensen

Released: 2009

Directed by: John Hillcoat

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

More The Road 

#248 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #360 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #24 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

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

Released: 1988

Directed by: Isao Takahata

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

More Grave of the Fireflies 

#156 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #244 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #134 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

7
The Lovely Bones is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon

Released: 2009

Directed by: Peter Jackson

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

More The Lovely Bones 

#152 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #369 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #85 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

8
What Dreams May Come is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Max von Sydow

Released: 1998

Directed by: Vincent Ward

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

More What Dreams May Come 

#153 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #362 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
Million Dollar Baby is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Rex Botengan added Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank

Released: 2004

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

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

More Million Dollar Baby 

#1,084 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #328 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
The Green Mile is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Siersha 2 added Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell

Released: 1999

Directed by: Frank Darabont

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

More The Green Mile 

#19 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #8 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #608 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

11
The Mist is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Benjamin Scott McNair added Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden

Released: 2007

Directed by: Frank Darabont

The Mist is a 2007 American science fiction horror film directed by Frank Darabont, and based on the 1980 novella of the same name by Stephen King. After a storm of never-before-seen proportions ...more

More The Mist 

#268 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #47 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #52 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

12
12 Years a Slave is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch

Released: 2013

Directed by: Steve McQueen

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

More 12 Years a Slave 

#22 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #145 of 628 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
JamesGirl_21 added Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne

Released: 1985

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

More The Color Purple 

#50 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #173 of 363 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #4 of 628 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

14
My Sister's Keeper is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Elisabeth Gade Kjelmann added Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin, Emily Deschanel

Released: 2009

Directed by: Nick Cassavetes

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

More My Sister's Keeper 

#60 of 76 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #60 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #1 of 25 Great Movies About Sick & Dying Children

15
The Elephant Man is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Xavier Indeglia added Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft

Released: 1980

Directed by: David Lynch

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

More The Elephant Man 

#104 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #20 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #231 of 363 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

16
Sophie's Choice is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Kaitlyn Kristina Arnould added Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter MacNicol

Released: 1982

Directed by: Alan J. Pakula

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

More Sophie's Choice 

#424 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #53 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
What's Eating Gilbert Gr... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Jon DeSpirito added Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis

Released: 1993

Directed by: Lasse Hallström

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

More What's Eating Gilbert Grape 

The Most Memorable Quotes From 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' #62 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #85 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

18
The Pursuit of Happyness... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
LaWanda McPeak Sanders added Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith

Released: 2006

Directed by: Gabriele Muccino

The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on Chris Gardner's nearly one-year struggle with homelessness. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the film features Will ...more

More The Pursuit of Happyness 

#485 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #14 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #43 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

19
Boys Don't Cry is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Tamm Walters added Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Natalie Zea

Released: 1999

Directed by: Kimberly Peirce

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

More Boys Don't Cry 

#119 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #8 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

20
Room is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen

Released: 2015

Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson

Room is a 2015 independent drama film directed by Lenny Abrahamson, based on the novel by Emma Donoghue. After being held captive for seven years, a woman (Brie Larson) and her son (Jacob ...more

More Room 

#219 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #79 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

21
Kids is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Rosario Dawson, Chloë Sevigny, Harmony Korine

Released: 1995

Directed by: Larry Clark

Kids is a 1995 American drama film written by Harmony Korine and directed by Larry Clark. It features Chloë Sevigny, Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, and Rosario Dawson, all in their film ...more

More Kids 

#7 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #31 of 119 The Most Awkward Movies to Watch with Your Parents #10 of 45 The Most Controversial Movies of All Time

22
Manchester by the Sea is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler

Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan

Manchester by the Sea is a 2016 American drama film directed and written by Kenneth Lonergan. After the death of his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is shocked to ...more

More Manchester by the Sea 

#151 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #104 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

23
Mystic River is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Rick LeRoy added Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon

Released: 2003

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

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

More Mystic River 

#20 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #317 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

24
Seven Pounds is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Jon DeSpirito added Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson

Released: 2008

Directed by: Gabriele Muccino

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

More Seven Pounds 

#68 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #176 of 628 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #240 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies

25
Life Is Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
Heather Robison Hillman added Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz, Richard Sammel

Released: 1997

Directed by: Roberto Benigni

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

More Life Is Beautiful 

#126 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #487 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Filmslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever