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

97 responses on "64 Movies About Grief and Loss"

  1. I am looking for a movie , I watched in 2010 on Tv. I little remember it was about a mother who was so strict with her girl and send her to live in a boarding school. Where she gets sick and during the rime he finds a boy get attached with him, Her mother ignores her but she ultimately dies at the end. Kindly help me to find the name of that movie.

  2. A Walk To Remember with singer Mandy Moore in it. (She’s also in the tv program This Is Us). She tells the boy not to fall in love with her, because she knows she’s dying. He doesn’t know it till later. He does fall in love & says he wants to marry her & spend the rest her time together. I still haven’t been able to watch it since my husband passed away 5 years ago. And also I can’t watch Ghost with Patrick Swayze. Hopefully one day I will be able to watch it again, they are two of my most favorite movies, but it’s to sad 😢 right now.

  3. The Secret Life of Bees!!!

  4. I am desperately looking for a movie when a gang of kids killed his brother, and they find him hanging from a tree. The youngest brother that was left behind, seeked help by leaning how to fight and kill the kids that killed his brother. Mean while his brother came back has a ghost and told him not to. I cannot remember the name of that movie!! 😩

  5. I’m looking for a movie in which a teenage girl is dying of cancer and becomes home bound. Her supportive friends visit but only when she dies do we discover that she has been doing creative artwork in the walls and within the pages of her books. Any ideas? Thus isn’t a recent movie

  6. I am looking the name of the movie in which an old man tries to fulfill the wishes of a child who is son or grandson of this man the child is dying by the cancer the child’s last wish is that he want to live instead of death.

  7. Looking for an American film, about a Man hears his father has died in a road crash while abroad ( maybe Greece) He goes there, only to discover there was also a woman in the car, also killed. He discovers father has had a long term Lover on every holiday for years. He then meets the dead Woman’s daughter

  8. I’m desperately looking for the name of this movie. I watched it a really long time ago with my mum. All I remember is there is a young boy whose parents died when he was young and he is brought up by his grandfather. He grows up and gets married but then his wife dies in a car crash while going to get medicine for her sick children and last person to die is the old grandfather . Basically it’s a really sad movie about death, very old and this is all I remember about it but not the name. Please help me find the name of this movie

  9. I’m desperately looking for the name of this movie. I watched it a really long time ago with my mum. All I remember is there is a young boy whose parents died when he was young and he is brought up by his grandfather. He grows up and gets married but then his wife dies in a car crash while going to get medicine for her sick children and last person to die is the old grandfather . Basically it’s a really sad movie about death, very old and this is all I remember about it but not the name. Please help me find the name

  10. I’m looking for a movie where there was a family that died but either the wife or husband survived(I don’t remember) but we don’t know that til the end because the movie starts off like the whole family was alive but the one who survived was going crazy and acting like they were really there in the house. I believe there was 2 daughters in the movie I was young when I saw this and my parents don’t remember so if anyone knows what I’m talking about please let me know!

  11. Looking for a movie that had a young boy seemingly normal then gets sick and he leaves clues for his father to follow around the city and its a plan to get his parents back together. I just remember he died in the hospital and was trying to get to the sunlight in the window probably about halfway through the movie. I am thinking it was around 2015-2016.


  12. You missed one of the greatest films of all time, Harold and Maude. It’s a true classic love story of loving someone unconditionally and losing them. One of the best ever made.

  13. I am desperately trying to find the name of a movie… I remember very little about it (unfortunately). It’s about a Mom who has two young children, one of them passes away, while the other one is left behind only to witness her Mom go through deep depression as a result of the loss, to the point where the one child (girl) left behind feels abandoned. One very important, pivotal scene… The little girl (at a certain time, everyday) takes a chair to a hallway located in her house, where photos of her deceased sibling (sister, I think) are hung and she talks to these photos of her deceased sister. I cannot remember the name of this movie.. And it’s making me crazy. Please, help me… Thank you, in advance!

  14. Want to identify a movie where a woman is angry because her dying husbands recent change in behavior made her fall in love with him.

  15. Looking for name of movie I think Susan sarrandon was in where she is divorced and ends up caring for her dying husband with her new husband or boyfriend. I think ed Harris is in it too

    • Stepmother
      Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon and Ed Harris.
      Susan was the dying ex-wife and Julia was the Fiancée helping her cope with her impending death. Great movie!

    • Stepmom Susan Serandon is the ex-wife, dying. Ed Harris is her ex-husband who is marrying Julia Roberts. Great movie, grab Kleenex

  16. Patch Adams was a great film when patch lost his wife he has to build life and continue without her made me cry everytime just recently lost my partner but looking for a film to watch that’ll help me as I’m struggling to cope with losing her especially being only 25 in all

  17. Smoke Signals, Being Mortal, The Farewell Party.
    I was glad to see Ponette…the top of my list.


  18. I’ll second “Shadowlands” and add “Leaving Las Vegas.” Both masterpieces. LLV is not necessarily for the faint of heart, but tells the truth about what it means to love someone all the way to the end without regretting it.

  19. I LOVE Meet Joe Black.

    The relationship between father and daughter is one I idealize as one I could have had with my dad.

    There is a scene when he imparts wisdome on finding love.

    “I know it’s a cornball thing. But love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. I say, fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who loves you back the same way. How do you find him?

    Well, you forget your head, and listen to your heart. And I’m not hearing any heart.

    ‘Cause the truth is honey, there’s no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven’t lived a life at all. But you have to try, ’cause if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.”

    (Bill Parrish in Meet Joe Black)

    • I LOVE Meet Joe Black. It reminds me of me and my father. I lived with him after my parents divorced. He died when I was 15.

  20. In French with subtitles, Trois Coleurs: Bleu.
    A woman survives, but loses her husband and young daughter in an automobile accident. It’s a very beautiful, but heartbreaking portrayal of devastatinging grief. The main character (Juliette Binoche) walks out on her life, only to slowly, gradually find herself again. It really captures that time in grief, when people make bizarre decisions as they struggle just to get through it.

  21. Looking for a movie late 90’s, friends annual cabin trip and one is discovered to be terminally ill. If anyone remembers, it could be an HBO only. Thanks

  22. Up (released in 2009) an animated film produced by Pixar and released by Disney. Funny and very touching story.
    The Way (released in 2010) an American doctor makes the pilgrimage of walking the Camino de Santiago in his grief and as homage to his son, who had been killed earlier during a storm on the his own pilgrimage.

  23. Collateral Beauty with Will Smith…so good!

  24. Gladiator. The final scene when he is reunited with his wife and his son in Elysium. Does me in every time.

  25. The Fundamentals of Caring, My Girl, My Girl 2

  26. “The Upside of Anger”(2005) shows how anger in grief can color perception (118 mins.) Starring Joan Allen, Kevin Costner
    “Still Life” (2013) A council case worker looks for the relatives of those found dead and alone. (92 mins.) Really worth seeing! Starring
    Eddie Marsan,

  27. Captain Fantastic
    What we did on our holiday (comedy)
    Hunt for the Wilderpeople

  28. 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.

  29. 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!

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

  31. And Then There Was One

  32. One Last Christmas

  33. Dying Young , Christmas Shoes

  34. Adam and Adam His Song Continues.

  35. Griffin Loves Phoenix

  36. The Fault In Our Stars

  37. 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.

  38. 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 …..

  39. 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.

  40. 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…

  41. Phenomenon with John Travolys and Kyra Sedgwick

  42. Shadowlands

  43. Saving Private Ryan, and We Were Soldiers

  44. 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?

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

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

  48. Holding The Man (2015)

  49. ‘500 days of Summer’ should definitely be on the list!

  50. 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!

  51. Listen to your heart.

  52. 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.

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

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

  55. The Crossing Guard.

  56. Charlie St Cloud

  57. The Little Princess. Shirley temple movie
    Charlottes web

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

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

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

  61. Fried Green Tomatoes
    Lars and the Real Girl

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

  63. Moonlight and Valentino – great movie for widows

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

  65. 8 Seconds…father, son, regret

  66. 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)

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

  68. 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.

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

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


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

  72. The pod scenes from GRAVITY wrecked my face.

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

  73. 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!

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

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

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

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

  78. 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

  79. 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,

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

  81. 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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