64 Movies About Grief and Loss

Last week Litsa wrote this post about how grief is often (not always) unrealistically portrayed in the movies.  This post sparked a conversation in our Facebook community about what movies (if any) resonate with our readers and their grief experience.  We got a ton of response and the movies were so different and diverse, which of course is no surprise because grief is so unique from person to person.

So, get out your Blockbuster cards log onto Netflix because, together with our readers, we’ve compiled a list of 64 movies about grief and loss.  Technically, not all these movies are about grief and loss, but they all depict elements of the emotional struggles around death, dying, grief, and bereavement.  I have lovingly linked each one of these to their profile on the Internet Movie Database because I am a glutton for punishment.

I would suggest you get all your friends together for a movie marathon, but next thing I know you’ll be blaming me because no one wants to come to your depressing parties.

  1. Steel Magnolias
  2. Beaches
  3. Tender Mercies
  4. Bonneville
  5. Terms of Endearment
  6. Truly Madly Deeply
  7. PS I love you
  8. The Notebook
  9. One True Thing
  10. The Bucket List
  11. Rabbit Hole
  12. Ghost
  13. The Other Woman
  14. My Life
  15. Philadelphia
  16. What Dreams May Come
  17. Ponette
  18. Delores Claiborne
  19. Wuthering Heights
  20. Ordinary People
  21. Out of Africa
  22. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  23. Step Mom
  24. The Kite Runner
  25. Mystic River
  26. The Descendants
  27. Two Weeks
  28. Miss Potter
  29. The Lovely Bones
  30. The Doctor
  31. Alex, the Life of a Child
  32. Love Story
  33. Patch Adams
  34. Up
  35. Burning Man
  36. The Sweet Hereafter
  37. Last Tango in Paris
  38. Seven Pounds
  39. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
  40. My Sister’s Keeper
  41. Sophie’s Choice
  42. Catch and Release
  43. Moonlight Mile
  44. White Oleander
  45. Monster’s Ball
  46. Things We Lost In the Fire
  47. Reign Over Me
  48. In the Bedroom
  49. To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday
  50. The Big Chill
  51. About Schmidt
  52. Nights in Rodanthe
  53. Taking Chance
  54. In the Gloaming
  55. Wit
  56. Message in a Bottle
  57. Lorenzo’s Oil
  58. We Bought a Zoo
  59. Beautiful Boy
  60. The Laramie Project
  61. Marley and Me
  62. The Broken Circle Breakdown
  63. August: Osage County
  64. The Family Stone

We could have gone on for several more, but 64 is our magic number.  Let us know which movies we missed in the comments below or on Facebook.

Hey do you like subscribing to things?  Me either, but if I were you I’d still subscribe to ‘What’s Your Grief’.

March 28, 2017

56 responses on "64 Movies About Grief and Loss"

  1. Surprised (or maybe I missed it) that “A Monster Calls” isn’t on here. My mom just passed from cancer and me, that movie, my puppy, and a box of tissues just watched that movie and it resonated so well.

  2. Great list, and some great suggestions too in the comments.

    Mine is one I saw not long after losing my dad and I watched it again several times since; it’s funny, intelligent, beautiful and deeply touching. I would give a lot to have a couple more hours with that person I so dearly loved.

    Watch “About time” if you haven’t seen it yet; totally worth it!

  3. Beginners with Evan McGregor and Christopher Plummer. Gentle and beautiful.

  4. And Then There Was One

  5. One Last Christmas

  6. Dying Young , Christmas Shoes

  7. Adam and Adam His Song Continues.

  8. Griffin Loves Phoenix

  9. The Fault In Our Stars

  10. The Winter Guest – Emma Thompson and her mother, Phyllida Law. Directed by LAN Rickman. Elegiac and beautiful portrayal of grief, and finding one’s way through.

  11. Sophies Choice!My life as a Dog, Aurevoir Les Enfants, Ragtime, lars and the real girl, Stand by Me, Blue Valentine…i cannot believe that Sophies choice is not number 1! The loss of innocence is a huge loss …..

  12. Philomena…I saw this after my adult son died…her searching and desiring all and any information she could get…it did not matter what it was, she needed all info to complete the picture just as I wanted ALL the info, good or bad, to give me a complete picture of my son’s life.

  13. Carol Burnett made a movie long time ago, I can’t remember titles of any movies!!! It was about the loss of her son in Vietnam…

  14. Phenomenon with John Travolys and Kyra Sedgwick

  15. Shadowlands

  16. Saving Private Ryan, and We Were Soldiers

  17. I lost my son last year. He was born premature at 25 weeks. Almost a month later, the day after father’s day he passed. Is there a movie for a grieving father that anyone can recommend?

  18. Hello,I log on to your blogs named “64 Movies About Grief and Loss” daily.Your writing style is awesome, keep up the good work! And you can look our website about proxy list.

  19. Hi..
    I am searching for a movie that I saw years ago about a Dr. that lost all of her family and went abroad to deal with her grief. I cannot remember who is in it, where she went (I know this is not much help) but I do remember it was a really great movie about loss and rediscovery. If anyone has any idea what I am talking about I would love to know the name of it.. Thank you! And thanks for this list, there are a few movies on here I have not seen and look to be really amazing.

  20. The Face of Love with Snnette Benning, Ed Harris and Robin Williams (2014)

  21. Holding The Man (2015)

  22. ‘500 days of Summer’ should definitely be on the list!

  23. Thsee posts have been extremely helpful. I was looking for suggested lists of movies to begin a discussion on separation, loss, and grief. We’ll have plenty to discuss. In light of recent events of course we’ll have to add Purple Rain. Thanks for this post!

  24. Listen to your heart.

  25. Titanic is the only movie I’ve ever been so emotionally moved by when it comes to grief and it’s not even on the list.
    The documentary about the Boys of Company C and their battle of Cu Chi also seemed like it was about grief, although it was also about how soldiers deal with combat experiences.

  26. Brokeback Mountain – best movie about regret I’ve seen.

  27. This is a great List. I would suggest Departure, The Sixth Sense, Grave of the the Fireflies to this list.

  28. The Crossing Guard.

  29. Charlie St Cloud

  30. The Little Princess. Shirley temple movie
    Charlottes web

  31. Don’t miss Sleepless in Seattle!!!!!

  32. Cake – main character is a mother who lost her son (toddler)

  33. Chasing Ghosts – central character is 10 whose brother died.
    All the Wilderness – central character is a teen whose father died.

  34. Fried Green Tomatoes
    Lars and the Real Girl

  35. One Special Night – I lost my husband to dementia so this is my go to movie when I’m missing him.

  36. Moonlight and Valentino – great movie for widows

  37. A River Runs Through It, Jack Frost, A Christmas Visitor, The Way

  38. 8 Seconds…father, son, regret

  39. Inception
    Jersey Girl
    Synecdoche, New York
    Lethal Weapon
    The Bourne Supremacy (makes more sense if you see it after The Bourne Identity)
    Batman Begins
    Star Trek 2 (Wrath of Khan) & 3 (Search for Spock)

  40. Yes, I totally forgot about this one but it was definitely a great grief movie.

  41. In America…. a heart wrenchingly touching movie showing how a family tries to recreate life and still be a family after the loss of a child.

  42. Thanks. This is all really helpful info for our programs (children and adult.)

  43. Oh that sounds interesting! We made up a Harry Potter grief model that the kids might like =)


  44. We did a whole session on grief in Harry Potter for the teen group I facilitate.

  45. The pod scenes from GRAVITY wrecked my face.

    Also – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a good one.

  46. Litsa, you started a wonderful conversation! A first! Keep going. Makes all of us think more clearly…and that’s exactly what you want! 🙂 YES, go for another 64!

  47. Wow, thanks Rea for tons of great additions! We may need to get started on a 64 more movies about grief list!!

  48. How about Our Town? It gets me every time!

  49. Oh, I’m intrigued! Will definitely have to check it out!

  50. Wonderful list-wanted to add a favorite from 1984: “Places in the Heart”.

  51. Paperclips
    Dr. Zhivago
    Mrs. Miniver
    How Green was my Valley
    Tea with Mussolini
    Into the Arms of Strangers: the Kindertransports
    The Lion King
    The Killing Fields
    It’s a Wonderful Life
    The Pianist
    Schindler’s List
    One Day in September
    Erin Brokovich
    Little Women
    A Christmas Carol

  52. Rocky Balboa!
    (The last of the Rocky movies)
    I know, I know…not what you think of for grief movies, but very strong story about grief and loss in men. This is an excellent tool to view grieving from a male perspective, the fight stuff is cheesy but the emotions, the reflection on Rocky and Adrienne’s relationship, the loss of meaning and identity at the end of life….good stuff to talk about and explore the grief experience for men,

  53. GREAT post Marty!!! Everyone should definitely check out Marty’s link for even more movies, broken down by category of loss. Thanks for sharing!!

  54. Thanks for compiling this list, Eleanor! Movies are a wonderful way to get in touch with feelings, and for many, a very effective tool to use in better understanding and navigating grief. I encourage mourners to read a bit about whatever movie they plan to see in advance, so they’ll have some idea of what to expect and how a certain film may affect them. See, for example, my article, “Grief Observed: Using Movies to Move through Grief,” http://www.selfhealingexpressions.com/grief_movies.shtml ?

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