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Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse 

Ranker Film
Updated March 23, 2020 971 votes 259 voters 29k views 39 items

List Rules Vote up the best films about a lover dying, whether a husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

The death of a spouse or a lover is one of the most devastating losses in life. The top movies about a spouse dying find widows and widowers trying to put the pieces of their life back together in a time of great sadness. This is a list of the best movies about the death of a partner including everything from The Fugitive to Ghost to What Dreams May Come.

What films will you find on this list of the best spouse dying movies? The Descendants tells the story of a husband coping with the fact that his wife is dying while learning that she was having an affair. George Clooney stars in this 2011 film directed by Alexander Payne. Sleepless in Seattle is another good movie that deals with the death of a wife - Tom Hanks's character is a single dad. Up is unique among wife dying movies, thanks to its vivid animation and light-hearted, yet bittersweet, tone. Other good films featured on this list include Moonstruck, P.S. I Love You, and Moonlight Mile.

Which movie do you think is the best? Give your favorites a thumbs up and please add any notable films that are missing.

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list ordered by
1
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright

Released: 1994

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin ...more
2
Sleepless in Seattle is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Rosie O'Donnell

Released: 1993

Directed by: Nora Ephron

Sleepless in Seattle is a 1993 American romantic comedy-drama film directed and co-written by Nora Ephron. Based on a story by Jeff Arch, it stars Tom Hanks as Sam Baldwin and Meg Ryan as Annie
3
Up is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Laraine Newman

Released: 2009

Directed by: Pete Docter

Up is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy-drama film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Pete Docter, the film centers on an ...more
4
P.S. I Love You is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Gerard Butler, Hilary Swank, Judy Garland

Released: 2007

Directed by: Richard LaGravenese

P.S. I Love You is a 2007 American drama film directed by Richard LaGravenese. The screenplay by LaGravenese and Steven Rogers is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Cecelia Ahern. It ...more
5
Ghost is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Swayze

Released: 1990

Directed by: Jerry Zucker

Ghost is a 1990 American romantic fantasy/crime thriller film starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn, and Whoopi Goldberg. It was written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry ...more
6
What Dreams May Come is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
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
7
Me Before You is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Jenna Coleman

Directed by: Thea Sharrock

Me Before You is a 2016 American-British romantic comedy drama film directed by Thea Sharrock and adapted by Jojo Moyes from her 2012 novel of the same name. The film was released on June 3,
8
Message in a Bottle is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Message in a Bottle Hayden Panettiere, Kevin Costner, Paul Newman

Released: 1999

Directed by: Luis Mandoki

Message in a Bottle is a 1999 American romantic drama film directed by Luis Mandoki. Based on a novel with the same name by Nicholas Sparks, the film stars Kevin Costner, Robin Wright, and Paul ...more
9
Replicas is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch

Released: 2019

Directed by: Jeffrey Nachmanoff

Replicas is a 2019 American science fiction thriller film directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff. In a Christofascist collectivist future, a daring synthetic biologist (Keanu Reeves), after a car ...more
10
City of Angels is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Elisabeth Shue

Released: 1998

Directed by: Brad Silberling

City of Angels is a 1998 American romantic fantasy drama film directed by Brad Silberling. The film stars Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. Set in Los Angeles, California, the film is a very loose ...more
11
Mary Poppins Returns is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Mary Poppins Returns Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw

Directed by: Rob Marshall

Mary Poppins Returns is a 2018 American musical fantasy film directed by Rob Marshall. In 1935, during the era of the Great Depression in the United Kingdom, the now grown-up Jane (Emily ...more
12
Inception is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

Released: 2010

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph ...more
13
The Time Traveler's Wife... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana, Ron Livingston

Released: 2009

Directed by: Robert Schwentke

The Time Traveler's Wife is a 2009 American romantic science fiction drama film directed by Robert Schwentke. The story follows Henry DeTamble, a Chicago librarian with a paranormal genetic ...more
14
Irreplaceable You is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Claire Holt, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michiel Huisman

Released: 2018

Directed by: Stephanie Laing

Irreplaceable You is a 2018 American drama film directed by Stephanie Laing. The lives of two best friends and romantic soulmates comes crashing down when one is given a terminal cancer
15
Silver Linings Playbook ... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper

Released: 2012

Directed by: David O. Russell

Silver Linings Playbook is a 2012 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by David O. Russell, adapted from the novel The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. The film ...more
16
The Descendants is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Judy Greer

Released: 2011

Directed by: Alexander Payne

The Descendants is a 2011 American drama film directed by Alexander Payne. The screenplay by Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash is based on the novel of the same name by Kaui Hart Hemmings. The film ...more
17
About Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
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
18
Moonstruck is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Nicolas Cage, Cher, Danny Aiello

Released: 1987

Directed by: Norman Jewison

Moonstruck is a 1987 American romantic comedy film directed by Norman Jewison and written by John Patrick Shanley. It stars Cher, Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, Vincent Gardenia, and Olympia ...more
19
Saving Grace is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Craig Ferguson, Brenda Blethyn, Bill Bailey

Released: 2000

Directed by: Nigel Cole

Saving Grace is a 2000 British comedy film, directed by Nigel Cole and based on a screenplay by Mark Crowdy and Craig Ferguson. It was co-produced by Fine Line Features, Homerun Productions, ...more
20
Shadowlands is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Claire Bloom, Joss Ackland, Alan MacNaughtan

Released: 1985

Directed by: Norman Stone

21
I Still Believe is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
I Still Believe KJ Apa, Britt Robertson, Shania Twain

Released: 2020

Directed by: Andrew Erwin, John Erwin

I Still Believe is 2020 Christian biographical drama film directed by the Erwin Brothers and based on the memoir of singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp and his first wife, Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp. ...more
22
The Tracker is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Dolph Lundgren, Cosimo Fusco, Marta Gastini

Released: 2019

Directed by: Giorgio Serafini

The Tracker is a 2019 Italian American action thriller directed by Giorgio Serafini. Fifteen years after his family was kidnapped and killed after an exchange gone bad, Aiden Hakansson (Dolph ...more
23
Catch and Release is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
lienocka359 added Jennifer Garner, Juliette Lewis, Timothy Olyphant

Released: 2006

Directed by: Susannah Grant

Catch and Release is a 2007 romantic comedy film released by Columbia Pictures. It is the directorial debut of Susannah Grant, who wrote the film Erin Brockovich. It stars Jennifer Garner as a ...more
24
Demolition is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper

Released: 2016

Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée

Demolition is a 2015 American drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. A successful investment banker, Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal), comes to terms with losing his wife in an ...more
25
Just like Heaven is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo, Jon Heder

Released: 2005

Directed by: Mark Waters

Just Like Heaven is an American romantic comedy fantasy film released on September 16, 2005, in the United States and Canada. Set in San Francisco, it was directed by Mark Waters, starring Reese ...more