Entertainment

Great Movies About Sad Bastards 

Ranker Film
Updated June 14, 2019 499 votes 92 voters 1.8k views 25 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite films about pathetic old (or young!) men who are also kind of dicks.

Sad bastards make entertaining film characters. Whether they're crotchety old men, depressed husbands, or disgruntled students, they're a blast to watch on screen. This is a list of the greatest movies about lonely men including everything from Nebraska to The Wrestler to Her.

What films will you find on this list of good movies about sad bastards? In American Beauty, Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnham, an unhappy executive who feels trapped until he begins taking drastic steps to shake up his life. Adaptation is another great movie about a sad man trying to connect with the world around him. Ben Stiller plays the entertaining, yet off-putting, title character in Noah Baumbach's Greenberg. Other good films about sad bastards include High Fidelity, Lars and the Real Girl, and Broken Flowers.

Which sad bastard movie makes your must-watch list? Give your favorites a thumbs up and please add any titles that are missing.

list ordered by
1
One Hour Photo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Clark Gregg

Released: 2002

Directed by: Mark Romanek

One Hour Photo is a 2002 American psychological thriller film written and directed by Mark Romanek and starring Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Gary Cole, and Eriq La Salle. ...more

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#21 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #37 of 146 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

2
Her is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Scarlett Johansson, Olivia Wilde, Amy Adams

Released: 2013

Directed by: Spike Jonze

Her is a 2013 American romantic science fiction comedy-drama film written, directed, and produced by Spike Jonze. The film's musical score was composed by Arcade Fire, with the cinematography ...more

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#103 of 172 The Greatest Date Movies of All Time #272 of 324 Movies with the Best Soundtrackslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
The Lobster is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden

Released: 2015

Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos

The Lobster is a 2015 science fiction romantic comedy-drama film directed by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos in his English-language debut. Its script was awarded the ARTE International Prize ...more

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#43 of 177 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked #130 of 156 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

4
About Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, June Squibb

Released: 2002

Directed by: Alexander Payne

About Schmidt is a 2002 American comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne, starring Jack Nicholson in the title role. It is very loosely based on the 1996 novel of the same title by Louis ...more
5
Lars and the Real Girl ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson

Released: 2007

Directed by: Craig Gillespie

Lars and the Real Girl is a 2007 comedy-drama film directed by Craig Gillespie. A sweet but socially awkward young man (Ryan Gosling) develops a romantic yet platonic relationship with a doll.

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#32 of 75 50+ Quirky Romance Movies That Are Unique in Their Own Way #9 of 49 Great Quirky Movies for Grown-Ups

6
Falling Down is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Robert Duvall, Michael Douglas, Tuesday Weld

Released: 1993

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

Falling Down is a 1993 drama film directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Ebbe Roe Smith. The film stars Michael Douglas in the lead role of William Foster, a divorcé and unemployed ...more

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#272 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time #16 of 24 Great Movies About Very Dark Heroes

7
American Beauty is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Mena Suvari

Released: 1999

Directed by: Sam Mendes

American Beauty is a 1999 American drama film directed by Sam Mendes. An advertising executive (Kevin Spacey) has a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best ...more

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#292 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #233 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
The Wrestler is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Evan Rachel Wood, Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei

Released: 2008

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

The Wrestler is a 2008 American sports drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Robert D. Siegel, and starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood. Production began in ...more

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#112 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #6 of 34 Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters #211 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

9
Nebraska is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Bruce Dern, Will Forte, Bob Odenkirk

Released: 2013

Directed by: Alexander Payne

Nebraska is a 2013 American comedy-drama black-and-white road film directed by Alexander Payne and written by Bob Nelson. It stars Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, and Bob Odenkirk. The film ...more
10
Adaptation is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Released: 2002

Directed by: Spike Jonze

Adaptation is a 2002 American comedy-drama metafilm directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman. The film is based on Susan Orlean's non-fiction book The Orchid Thief, with numerous ...more

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#235 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #51 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
High Fidelity is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bruce Springsteen, Jack Black

Released: 2000

Directed by: Stephen Frears

High Fidelity is a 2000 American comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Cusack and Iben Hjejle. The film is based on the 1995 British novel of the same name by Nick ...more

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#1,021 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #27 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

12
Punch-Drunk Love is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Adam Sandler, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Emily Watson

Released: 2002

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

Punch-Drunk Love is a 2002 romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Luis ...more

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#764 of 1,196 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #21 of 34 Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters

13
Death of a Salesman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich, Charles Durning

Released: 1985

Directed by: Volker Schlöndorff

Death of a Salesman is a 1985 CBS made for television film directed by Volker Schlöndorff, based on the 1949 play of the same name by Arthur Miller. It stars Dustin Hoffman, Kate Reid, John ...more
14
Anomalisa is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Thewlis, Tom Noonan

Released: 2015

Directed by: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

Anomalisa is a 2015 American stop-motion animated comedy-drama film directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson. A lonely customer service expert (David Thewlis) perceives everyone (Tom Noonan) ...more
15
Barton Fink is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Frances McDormand

Released: 1991

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Barton Fink is a 1991 American period film written, produced, directed and edited by the Coen brothers. Set in 1941, it stars John Turturro in the title role as a young New York City playwright ...more

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#743 of 1,196 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #10 of 34 Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters The Most Memorable Quotes From 'Barton Fink'

16
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside

Released: 2004

Directed by: Brad Anderson

The Machinist is a 2004 English-language Spanish psychological thriller film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Scott Kosar. The film stars Christian Bale with Jennifer Jason Leigh, John ...more

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#27 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #97 of 243 Critically Acclaimed Movies That Kinda Suck #9 of 34 Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters

17
American Splendor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Paul Giamatti, Josh Hutchersonm, Molly Shannon

Released: 2003

Directed by: Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman

American Splendor is a 2003 American biographical comedy-drama film about Harvey Pekar, the author of the American Splendor comic book series. The film is also in part an adaptation of the ...more

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#114 of 165 The Greatest Comic Book Movies of All Time #226 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

18
A Serious Man is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Simon Helberg, Richard Kind, Adam Arkin

Released: 2009

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

A Serious Man is a 2009 dark comedy written, produced, edited and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. The film stars Michael Stuhlbarg as a Minnesota Jewish man whose life crumbles both ...more

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#507 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #64 of 70 The Most Pretentious Movies Ever Made #57 of 60 Movies You Wish You Could Still Watch for the First Time

19
Chapter 27 is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Lindsay Lohan, Jared Leto, Judah Friedlander

Released: 2007

Directed by: Jarrett Schaefer

Chapter 27 is a 2007 biographical film depicting the murder of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman. It was written and directed by Jarrett Schaefer, based on the book Let Me Take You Down by Jack ...more
20
He Was a Quiet Man is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Elisha Cuthbert, William H. Macy, Christian Slater

Released: 2007

Directed by: Frank Cappello

He Was a Quiet Man is a 2007 drama film, written and directed by Frank Cappello. Produced by Jason Hallock and Mike Leahy. The film stars Christian Slater, Elisha Cuthbert, Jamison Jones and ...more
21
Frank is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domhnall Gleeson

Released: 2014

Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson

Frank is a 2014 comedy-drama film directed by Lenny Abrahamson and starring Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy and Michael Fassbender as the title character. The film premiered ...more
22
Love Liza is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Kathy Bates, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stephen Tobolowsky

Released: 2002

Directed by: Todd Louiso

Love Liza is a 2002 tragicomedy film directed by Todd Louiso and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Jack Kehler, Wayne Duvall, Sarah Koskoff and Stephen Tobolowsky.

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#116 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #36 of 37 Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse

23
The Weather Man is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Nicholas Hoult

Released: 2005

Directed by: Gore Verbinski

The Weather Man is a 2005 American comedy-drama film, directed by Gore Verbinski. Written by Steve Conrad, it stars Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine and Hope Davis, and tells the story of a ...more

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#10 of 30 The Worst Movies With Great Trailers #3 of 52 The Best Movies About Having A Midlife Crisis

24
Broken Flowers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Sharon Stone, Bill Murray, Jessica Lange

Released: 2005

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Broken Flowers is a 2005 French-American comedy-drama film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and produced by Jon Kilik and Stacey Smith. The film focuses on an aging "Don Juan" who ...more
25
Greenberg is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Great Movies About Sad Bastards
Ben Stiller, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dave Franco

Released: 2010

Directed by: Noah Baumbach

Greenberg is a 2010 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Noah Baumbach. The film stars Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Greenberg was produced by ...more