Top 12 Tear-Jerkers

There has been a lot of crying in our house lately.

Don’t worry – no one died or anything. It’s just our daughter’s way of communicating (she’s a month old).

But even before she came to live with us, it wasn’t uncommon for there to be a lot of crying in our house. Not from my wife as you’d expect. And not from our dogs – unless they have to potty.

But from me.

When Sarabeth and I are sitting on the couch watching a movie, she’ll know I’m crying because she can feel the couch do sort of this, shake   …….    shake   ……….. sh-sh-shake thing.

That’s because I’m whimpering, trying to keep it in.

She’ll look over at me and see my face all scrunched up like a funny-looking old man on the front of those good-spirited birthday cards.

But sometimes there’s just no stopping it. Even if I’ve seen the movie a dozen times.

Maybe you’re like me and you need an occasional cry.

If so, this list of my top 10 tear-jerkers is dedicated to you. 

Article continues after advertisement.


Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 8.08.08 PM

man in boxWork provided Robbie Lake the perfect escape from his family. But his life is turned upside down when he is unexpectedly fired. When he finds a new way of escape through a cardboard box, everything changes. The imaginary world of his childhood has evolved in his absence and is now more savage and hostile than even he could have dreamed. Robbie is drawn in by the excitement of his secret world, but will the cost of abandoning his family prove too high? 

THE MAN IN THE BOX second edition coming soon! Like it on Facebook.







12. Big Hero Six

“I will deactivate when you are satisfied with your care.” This is not your typical animated movie. It infuses Marvel-style action sequences with hilarity and unexpected sucker-punches to the gut throughout. It’s no wonder it’s the third highest-rated Disney movie of all time.


11. Finding Nemo

Director Andrew Stanton said that he wanted to create a movie that would leave people – especially dads – in tears by the end. With the combination of a haunting score, dazzling animation, and tapping into our biggest fears as parents, Finding Nemo offers multiple cheek-drying moments. Oh, and check out this fan theory that kind of makes Nemo a thousand times sadder:


10. Up

First ten minutes. Need I say more? Actually, yes. That scene toward the end when he’s going through their adventure book … that doesn’t receive as much attention, but man, that just starts me bawling all over again – just as soon as I recovered from the opening!


9. The Rookie

Call it sappy, call it great acting, call it what you’d like. But when the manager calls Dennis Quaid into his office to tell him he’s been drafted by the major leagues, AND he’ll be playing in his hometown after being gone from his family for several months … it’s a pretty tough scene to get through, but in a good way.

8. Meet the Robinsons

Meet the Robinsons is mostly a goofy movie filled with silly stuff for little kids that I have to be in the mood for. But this movie’s centered around adoption, and the last five minutes or so are just perfect for any adoption advocate to enjoy. Plus, the song “Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas is Ah-MAY-zing!


7. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

“My friends, you bow to no one.”


6. We Bought a Zoo

This one caught me off guard. They played the widower father story very well in this movie. We were laughing pretty hard at the end of the credits because of how difficult it was for me to get a grip.

my life

5. My Life

The guy has cancer and isn’t expected to see the birth of his son. I mean, he doesn’t even get to teach his boy to shave someday!

the cure

4. The Cure

Spoiler alert: That cute kid from Jurassic Park dies at the end. Forget the tissues – bring out a mop!


3. Toy Story 3

The opening home video montage. Woody walking out on the gang. The incinerator scene. Giving the toys away. The last playtime. Take your pick. You’ve seen it; you know the feeling.


2. My Dog Skip

Another unexpected tear-jerker. I thought this was just going to be a cute little comedy about a boy and his dog, you know, like Beethoven or …Old Yeller. I know, I know, I should have seen it coming, but I just didn’t. Well, at least you’ve been warned.


INSIDE OUT – Pictured: Joy. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

1. Inside Out

This isn’t your typical family movie. It’s really a love-letter to parents. This movie did all sorts of terrible things to me. It brought up memories from my childhood long suppressed. Regrets. Forgotten laughs. It made me weep for the death of my childhood – a funeral that never took place. But it did something greater. It inspired me to be the best damn dad I possibly can be to my growing kids and to understand their moods.

Go on. Admit you cry. Share your go-to tear-jerkers below.


About Andrew Toy
I'm in the beginning stages of starting my own publishing company that's unlike anything you've ever heard of in the industry. The direction of AdoptingJames is taking a 90-degree turn and will be more writing/publishing-focused. Stay tuned for huge updates and exciting news!

54 Responses to Top 12 Tear-Jerkers

  1. That’s exactly why I refused to watch My Girl. Once I heard the little boy died in the end, I wanted no part of the movie. As it is, young children (boys in particular), dying suddenly due to accidents….too close to home for me. Brings back too many memories of my youth and losing my brothers. I’d be in a funk for days.

    I did love several of the movies you posted, though. 🙂

  2. Erick says:

    You’re not alone…I do most of the crying over movies in our house too…my wife hates sad movies. Anyway, a couple of recent flooders for me are Les Miserables – Anne Hathaway’s Fantine is heart wrenching to watch…also, The Impossible with Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts was incredibly heart breaking and heroic at the same time…

  3. Erick says:

    Oh…forgot to mention Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close…Amazing film!!

  4. stephen says:

    Up gets me every single time and I know it’s coming, but from parents who can’t have biological children man is it powerful.

    I might add Marley and Me. Dog movies are the worst because you know something bad is going to happen.

    • Up has been a very hard one for Sarabeth and me. But we still love it all the same. We’re appreciative that Pixar “gets it” from that hard perspective. And Marley and Me didn’t get to me, probably because I know how it would end. I think it only works for me when it’s unexpected.

  5. We’re both criers, my husband and I. The one that really had me sobbing was The Eddy Duchin story. I can’t remember which one we were watching when he said, “Now I’m going to have to go put my shirt in the dryer. Stupid movie!”

    “Stupid movie,” is now our code phrase for, “don’t mind me, I’m just going to bawl my eyes out over this right now.”

  6. Honestly? I think Pixar designed the first few minutes of UP as a sociopath litmus test. It chokes me up every time I see it. Eventually when we face concerns of killer robots in human skin being intermingled among us, we will have a reliable detection method.

    I’d like to mention one more animated feature. All Dogs Go to Heaven had me blubbering when I was a kid. I watched it recently and it hit me equally as hard. Call me a softy I guess.

  7. Jazmin Or says:

    Crying is good, especially when the end gives some hope. I’m more to girly movies, even if I am an avataress and u’d expext me to like this janre 🙂

  8. oh.. great movies all… Return to Me (Minnie Driver/David Duchoveny) is a great one, love that movie, and I always cry at P.S. I love you… those are my crying movies…

  9. My husband even cries in neighbors there’s just something wrong with that! 😀

  10. spiceupyourlife says:

    “Up” was more happy tears, but I love the list!

  11. annemarieoliver says:

    There are too many to name but… did you ever see “City of Angels!”? I cry like a baby every time!! Actually truth be told, I sob so uncontrollably my face is unrecognizable the next day!! :). I am glad to hear that there are many other “leakers” out there.

  12. Debi Smith says:

    I’m definitely a softy for “Up”, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”, and “We Bought A Zoo”. I’m also a softy for “Untamed Heart”, “Benny & joon”, “Stepmother”, and “The Last Samurai”…just to name a few. 😀

  13. Chris says:

    Completely agree with My Dog Skip. Underrated movie in my opinion. UP as well had me going. I think The Lion King has to be the number one for me though.

  14. jeanmliao says:

    Accurate list. I’ve never seen The Cure but sometimes I’m in the mood to watch sad movies so maybe I finally will.

  15. scarmich says:

    Ever see “Simon Birch”? It is an old movie but definitely a tear jerker! 🙂

  16. Andrew how can you pass over Marley and Me

  17. Return of the King gets me every time, too. I also cry in “Taggerung” when (SPOILER ALERT!!!) Cregga dies. :-S

  18. Pingback: Review: Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks | adoptingjames

  19. When I watched “Braveheart” for this first time with my now-husband, he asked several times if I was okay because I was crying so hard. I also cry every time Rue dies in “The Hunger Games.” Even though I have seen it multiple times, it still gets me!!! Oh, and I cry in multiple Harry Potter movies…

    • The Battle of Stirling was so stirring to me that I memorized the speech. My wife is a total mess when Rue dies, or is ever even mentioned. And Deathly Hallows Part I totally did me in and I was mess because of it, in a good way of course 🙂

  20. Tammy Villarreal says:

    I think that the 2 tearjerking movies that are fighting for the #1 spot in my book are When A Man Loves A Woman and only because I have two boys that are 13 & 14yrs.apart from my little one, the tying vote for movie most definitely in my book is Charlie St.Cloud.I really think I cried literally through the whole movie.

  21. How about The Fox and the Hound , American Tale, or even Finding Nemo.

  22. Pingback: “Something Move Me” | adoptingjames

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: