Entertainment Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse  

Ranker Film
564 votes 149 voters 17.2k views 35 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.

list ordered by
1
48 10
Up is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Laraine Newman
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
2
41 16
P.S. I Love You is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Gerard Butler, Hilary Swank, Judy Garland
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
3
35 13
Ghost is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Swayze
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
4
7 0
Me Before You is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Jenna Coleman
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,
5
7 0
City of Angels is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Elisabeth Shue
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
6
17 4
Replicas is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch
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
7
19 7
What Dreams May Come is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Max von Sydow
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
8
16 5
Message in a Bottle is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Hayden Panettiere, Kevin Costner, Paul Newman
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
18 7
Sleepless in Seattle is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Rosie O'Donnell
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
10
12 3
Mary Poppins Returns is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw
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
11
9 1
Irreplaceable You is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Claire Holt, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michiel Huisman
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
12
7 2
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Sally Field
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
13
6 1
Dan in Real Life is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Emily Blunt, Steve Carell, Dane Cook
Dan in Real Life is a 2007 American comedy-drama film directed by Peter Hedges, starring Steve Carell, Alison Pill, Juliette Binoche, Dianne Wiest, John Mahoney and Dane Cook.
14
16 11
Inception is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard
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
15
8 4
The Time Traveler's Wife is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana, Ron Livingston
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
16
4 1
Bounce is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Affleck, Natasha Henstridge
Bounce is a 2000 American romantic drama film starring Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow and directed by Don Roos.
17
4 2
Just like Heaven is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo, Jon Heder
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
18
8 7
Saving Grace is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Craig Ferguson, Brenda Blethyn, Bill Bailey
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
19
7 6
About Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, June Squibb
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
20
7 6
Moonstruck is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Nicolas Cage, Cher, Danny Aiello
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
21
6 5
Silver Linings Playbook is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper
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
22
3 2
Birth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Anne Heche
Birth is a 2004 American drama film directed by Jonathan Glazer, starring Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Danny Huston and Cameron Bright. The film follows Anna, the daughter of a prominent ...more
23
11 11
The Descendants is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Judy Greer
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
24
3 3
My Life Without Me is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Debbie Harry, Mark Ruffalo, Alfred Molina
My Life Without Me is a 2003 Canadian drama film directed by Isabel Coixet and starring Sarah Polley, Mark Ruffalo, Scott Speedman, and Leonor Watling. Based on the book Pretending the Bed Is a ...more
25
2 2
The Face of Love is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse
Alexis Witt added Robin Williams, Annette Bening, Ed Harris
The Face of Love is an American romantic drama film directed by Arie Posin and co-written by Matthew McDuffie. The film stars Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams, Amy Brenneman, Jess ...more