Thursday, July 28, 2011

There'll Be Sad Scenes (To Make You Cry)...

According to a recent article on, the 1979 remake of The Champ, which starred Ricky Schroder, Jon Voight and Faye Dunaway, may include the saddest scene in movie history. At least in the world of science.

Despite its critical drubbing, the final scene of The Champ has become a must-see in psychology laboratories around the world when scientists want to make people sad. It has been used in experiments to see if depressed people are more likely to cry than non-depressed people (they aren’t). It has helped determine whether people are more likely to spend money when they are sad (they are) and whether older people are more sensitive to grief than younger people (older people did report more sadness when they watched the scene).

I saw The Champ in February of 1983. While it may seem odd that I remember that exactly, my parents rented the video (remember video stores?) for me when I was home sick that weekend. I remember crying really hard during that last scene. And then the next day, my grandfather died, so this movie has always been surrounded by an aura of extreme sadness for me.

Inspired by a blog post on, I started thinking about what movies truly make me cry. Of course, being an utter emotional cripple most of the time, it might have been easier to make a list of those movies that don't make me cry.

Particular movies that stand out in my head as real tearjerkers: Brian's Song, Running on Empty, Field of Dreams (the scene where Kevin Costner plays catch with his dad gets me every single time), Big Fish, Super 8, Longtime Companion, A Single Man and Four Weddings and a Funeral (my heart melts every time John Hannah recites Auden's Funeral Blues). And that's just a small number of movies that make me cry. I steered clear of most of the obvious tearjerkers.

Never one to suffer in silence, I posed the question "Which movies make you cry?" to my Facebook friends. The answers I received included: Terms of Endearment, The Color Purple, Testament, Running on Empty, My Sister's Keeper, Man on Fire, Star Wars (apparently when the Death Star blows up it provokes strong sadness), Ghost, Somewhere in Time, My Life, Steel Magnolias, My Girl, Sophie's Choice, The Notebook, Father of the Bride, E.T., Beaches, Without a Trace and Invictus.

So, what about you?

What movie(s) choke you up? I know I'm missing some, because everything makes me cry, even the Folgers' coffee commercial where the son comes home from the army in time for Christmas.

I'll be interested in your feedback...

1 comment:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird, Edward Scissorhands (I know, ridiculous), Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Bambi, The Godfather, Part II (when Pacino is sitting there all alone at the end), Longtime Companion, Sense and Sensibility, Last of the Mohicans, Requiem for a Dream, Philadelphia (my God, I'm all teary just thinking about it), The Piano (and The Pianist too), Into the Wild, Brokeback Mountain, East of Eden, Saving Private Ryan, Midnight Cowboy, Atonement, The Deerhunter (OMFG!!!) Braveheart, Gallipoli, and my all-time biggest blubberfest: Schindler's List. I started weeping about 15 minutes in and sobbed off and on for the entire film. By the time it was finished, my face was as swollen as the Pillsbury Dough Boy's, and I had those gasping post-cry hiccups that never seem to go away.