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The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made

Updated November 15, 2020 43.7k votes 7.8k voters 172.4k views160 items

List RulesVote 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.

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  • 1
    Requiem for a Dream
    2,017
    446

    Requiem for a Dream

    Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto

    Released2000

    Directed byDarren Aronofsky

    Requiem for a Dream is a 2000 American psychological drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 2
    Schindler's List
    1,774
    411

    Schindler's List

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 3
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
    1,539
    375

    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

    Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon

    Released2008

    Directed byMark Herman

    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (released as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) is a 2008 British... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 4
    Grave of the Fireflies
    953
    252

    Grave of the Fireflies

    Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi

    Released1988

    Directed byIsao Takahata

    Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 5
    The Green Mile
    795
    210

    The Green Mile

    Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise

    Released1999

    Directed byFrank Darabont

    The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 6
    Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
    1,265
    463

    Released2009

    Directed byLee Daniels

    Precious is a 2009 American drama film, directed and co-produced by Lee Daniels. Precious is... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 7
    The Road
    1,056
    378

    The Road

    Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall

    Released2009

    Directed byJohn Hillcoat

    The Road is a 2009 American post-apocalyptic drama film directed by John Hillcoat from a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 8
    Million Dollar Baby
    888
    339

    Million Dollar Baby

    Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman

    Released2004

    Directed byClint Eastwood

    Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 American sports drama film directed, co-produced and scored by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 9
    The Color Purple
    670
    245

    The Color Purple

    Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg

    Released1985

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    The Color Purple is a 1985 American period drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 10
    Hotel Rwanda
    267
    65

    Hotel Rwanda

    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2004

    Directed byTerry George

    Hotel Rwanda is a 2004 American historical drama film directed by Terry George. It was adapted... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 11
    What's Eating Gilbert Grape
    485
    168

    What's Eating Gilbert Grape

    Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio

    Released1993

    Directed byLasse Hallström

    What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a 1993 American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 12
    Boys Don't Cry
    399
    128

    Boys Don't Cry

    Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny

    Released1999

    Directed byKimberly Peirce

    Boys Don't Cry is a 1999 American independent romantic drama film directed by Kimberly Peirce... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #120 of 242 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#30 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books

  • 13
    Sophie's Choice
    446
    153

    Sophie's Choice

    Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline

    Released1982

    Directed byAlan J. Pakula

    Sophie's Choice is a 1982 American drama film directed by Alan J. Pakula, who adapted William... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 14
    What Dreams May Come
    1,000
    420

    What Dreams May Come

    Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr.

    Released1998

    Directed byVincent Ward

    What Dreams May Come is a 1998 American fantasy drama film, starring Robin Williams, Cuba... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 15
    The Lovely Bones
    1,160
    504

    The Lovely Bones

    Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg

    Released2009

    Directed byPeter Jackson

    The Lovely Bones is a 2009 supernatural drama film directed by Peter Jackson and stars Mark... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 16
    The Elephant Man
    611
    244

    The Elephant Man

    Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt

    Released1980

    Directed byDavid Lynch

    The Elephant Man is a 1980 American-British biographical film about Joseph Merrick, a severely... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 17
    12 Years a Slave
    901
    393

    12 Years a Slave

    Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender

    Released2013

    Directed bySteve McQueen

    12 Years a Slave is a 2013 period drama film directed by Steve McQueen, based on the 1853... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #44 of 46 Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes#13 of 236 The Best Movies Based On True Stories

  • 18
    My Sister's Keeper
    714
    304

    My Sister's Keeper

    Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin

    Released2009

    Directed byNick Cassavetes

    My Sisters's Keeper is a 2009 American drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and starring... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 19
    The Mist
    1,025
    475

    The Mist

    Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden

    Released2007

    Directed byFrank Darabont

    The Mist is a 2007 American science fiction horror film directed by Frank Darabont, and based... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 20
    Leaving Las Vegas
    238
    71

    Leaving Las Vegas

    Nicolas Cage, Mariska Hargitay

    Released1995

    Directed byMike Figgis

    Leaving Las Vegas is a 1995 romantic drama film written and directed by Mike Figgis and based... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 21
    Atonement
    261
    83

    Atonement

    Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch

    Released2007

    Directed byJoe Wright

    Atonement is a 2007 British romantic drama film directed by Joe Wright and based on Ian... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 22
    Life Is Beautiful
    312
    124

    Life Is Beautiful

    Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz

    Released1997

    Directed byRoberto Benigni

    Life Is Beautiful is a 1997 Italian tragicomedy comedy-drama film directed by and starring... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 23
    Mystic River
    306
    123

    Mystic River

    Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn

    Released2003

    Directed byClint Eastwood

    Mystic River is a 2003 American mystery drama film directed and scored by Clint Eastwood. It... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 24
    The Deer Hunter
    253
    94

    The Deer Hunter

    Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro

    Released1978

    Directed byMichael Cimino

    The Deer Hunter is a 1978 American epic drama film co-written and directed by Michael Cimino... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 25
    The Pianist
    244
    89

    The Pianist

    Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann

    Released2002

    Directed byRoman Polanski

    The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button