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Powerful Movies About Sick & Dying Children

Updated January 12, 2021 1.3k votes 515 voters 66.5k views29 items

There's nothing more tragic than a child with cancer dying before they've had a chance to experience all that life has to offer. The top death of a child movies feature tear-jerking storylines about parents coping with unimaginable tragedy. This is a list of the greatest sick child movies including everything from Ordinary People to My Sister's Keeper to Lorenzo's Oil.

What films will you find on this list of the best movies about dying children? Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is another good film about sick and dying kids. Be sure that you're in the mood to watch a sad movie whenever you press play on one these movies about kids with cancer and other illnesses.

Which movie about the death of a child do you think deserves the top spot on this list? Give your favorites a thumbs up and please add any good films that are missing.

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    My Sister's Keeper

    Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin

    Released2009

    Directed byNick Cassavetes

    A young girl fights for medical emancipation from her parents who until now relied on their youngest child's bone marrow to keep their leukemia-stricken older daughter alive.

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  • 2
    101
    13

    The Fault in Our Stars

    Shailene Woodley, Willem Dafoe

    Released2014

    Directed byJosh Boone

    Two teenage cancer patients take a life-affirming journey to visit a reclusive author in Amsterdam, based on the best-selling novel by John Green.

     

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    Five Feet Apart

    Cole Sprouse, Haley Lu Richardson

    Released2019

    Directed byJustin Baldoni

    A pair of teenagers with cystic fibrosis meet in a hospital and fall in love, though their disease means they must avoid close physical contact.

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  • 4
    91
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    A Walk To Remember

    Shane West, Mandy Moore

    Released2002

    Directed byAdam Shankman

    Adapted from the Nicholas Sparks novel, a rebellious teenage love story stops in its tracks when Jamie (Mandy Moore) is diagnosed with leukemia. 

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    The Lovely Bones

    Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg

    Released2009

    Directed byPeter Jackson

    A young girl who has been murdered watches over her family - and her killer - from purgatory, weighing a desire for vengeance against a desire for her family to heal.

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    Me And Earl And The Dying Girl

    Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler

    Released2015

    Directed byAlfonso Gomez-Rejon

    Based on the critically-acclaimed novel by Jesse Andrews, a snarky high schooler and his best friend find their outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.

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    John Q

    Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall

    Released2002

    Directed byNick Cassavetes

    John Quincy Archibald (Denzel Washington) takes a hospital emergency room hostage after his insurance refuses to cover his son's heart transplant.

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    The Cure

    Annabella Sciorra, Brad Renfro

    Released1995

    Directed byPeter Horton

    An eleven-year-old boy with AIDS and his new friend vow to find a cure for HIV together.

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    21
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    Mask

    Cher, Laura Dern

    Released1985

    Directed byPeter Bogdanovich

    A teenager with a terminal skull deformity and his biker gang mother attempt to enjoy a normal life and all its joys under the circumstances.

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    Everything, Everything

    Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson

    Released2017

    Directed byStella Meghie

    A teenager who's spent her whole life confined to her home due to an autoimmune disorder falls for the boy next door.

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    29
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    Lorenzo's Oil

    Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte

    Released1992

    Directed byGeorge Miller

    A boy develops a disease so rare that nobody knows a cure, so his father decides to learn all about it and try to cure the disease himself.

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    15
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    Bridge to Terabithia

    Zooey Deschanel, Josh Hutchersonm

    Released2007

    Directed byGábor Csupó

    A preteen's life turns upside down when he befriends the new girl in school and they imagine a whole new fantasy world to escape their tragic reality.

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    11
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    If I Stay

    Chloë Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos

    Released2014

    Directed byR. J. Cutler

    After a car accident puts a young woman in a coma and takes her to an out-of-body world, she must decide whether to wake up and live a life much different than she imagined.

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    4
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    Restless

    Mia Wasikowska, Jane Adams

    Released2011

    Directed byGus Van Sant

    A terminally ill teenage girl falls for a boy who likes to attend funerals and is imaginary friends with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII.

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    10
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    Little Women

    Saoirse Ronan, Laura Dern

    Released2019

    Directed byGreta Gerwig

    Four young women, each determined to live life on her own terms, make their unique way in the world, until one develops a devastating illness that brings the family back together.​

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    Run

    Sarah Paulson, Kiera Allen

    Released2020

    Directed byAneesh Chaganty

    A homeschooled teenager with numerous illnesses begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her.

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    Rabbit Hole

    Nicole Kidman, Sandra Oh

    Released2010

    Directed byJohn Cameron Mitchell

    The life of a happy couple plunges down a rabbit hole of pain after their young son dies in an accident.

    More 

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    4
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    The Broken Circle Breakdown

    Veerle Baetens, Johan Heldenbergh

    Released2012

    Directed byFelix Van Groeningen

    Two polar opposite lovers fall for each other, but when the daughter becomes seriously ill, their differences put their love on trial.

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    2
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    Now Is Good

    Dakota Fanning, Kaya Scodelario

    Released2012

    Directed byOl Parker

    A teenager dying of leukemia makes a bucket list of things she would like to do before passing away. At the top of the list is losing her virginity.

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    7
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    Babyteeth

    Ben Mendelsohn, Essie Davis

    Released2020

    Directed byShannon Murphy

    A seriously ill teenager falls in love with a drug dealer becoming her conservative parents worst nightmare.

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    The Sweet Hereafter

    Ian Holm, Sarah Polley

    Released1997

    Directed byAtom Egoyan

    When a bus crash in a small town kills a dozen children, the lone survivor, a paralyzed 15-year-old boy suffering to recover must testify that the accident is a result of the town's negligence.

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    Dying Young

    Julia Roberts, Ellen Burstyn

    Released1991

    Directed byJoel Schumacher

    Answering a newspaper ad for a "hot female" to care for a young man dying of leukemia, Hilary (Julia Roberts) joins the intelligent son of a wealthy family in the fight for his life.

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    5
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    The World of Kanako

    Kōji Yakusho, Miki Nakatani

    Released2014

    Directed byTetsuya Nakashima

    A former detective searching for his missing daughter discovers her mysterious secret life as he follows her trail into the world of Kanako (Nana Komatsu).

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    Ordinary People

    Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland

    Released1980

    Directed byRobert Redford

    The accidental death of the oldest son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son.

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    Camino

    Carme Elias, Jordi Dauder

    Released2008

    Directed byJavier Fesser

    The young daughter of sectarian religious fanatics faces a deadly illness soon after falling in love for the first time.