Films have the ability to evoke all kinds of emotions. However, society tells us that men are not supposed to cry at films as it is a sign of weakness. Unless you are a robot or have a heart of stone, all guys have watched a film that, at the very least, made them misty-eyed. Today we are breaking down barriers and taking a look at films that it’s okay for guys to cry to. These films are not “chick flicks,” but they have such honest emotion in them that even the steeliest of men will be reaching for the tissues.
10. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
On paper, you wouldn’t think that Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial would be a film that causes pretty much every man and woman to cry. However, you will not find a more touching story about friendship, and this is something that everybody can feel emotional about. It is a film that most of us watched growing up, but has even more impact later on in life once viewers realize the importance of friendship. Whilst the adults want to experiment on E.T., Elliot wants to interact and develop a relationship with the odd alien. They form a unique and touching relationship, and the tense dash to get E.T. home, as well as the heartfelt goodbye, is as emotional as any other moment cast onto film. Although over 30 years old, this remains one of the most famous and popular films of all time because it is a story packed with so much heart.
In a sequence that lasts roughly four minutes near the start of the film, Pixar’s Up causes utter heartbreak and leaves even the toughest of men with a few extra drops in their eyes. The montage shows an eight-year-old Carl Fredricksen meeting Ellie, and the pair become friends through a shared love of exploration. We then watch them grow up, get married, buy a house, plan to have kids but tragically learn that Ellie is unable to, make plans to travel but never do, before Ellie passes away as an old woman. It is a heart-wrenching and beautifully crafted sequence, and it is fair to say that not many had anticipated such an emotional moment in an animated film. This is a testament to Pixar’s astonishing storytelling ability. The rest of the film is more light-hearted, but also very touching for people of all ages.
8. Good Will Hunting
This film is now, even more, moving following the devastating death of Robin Williams, but it has always been a movie known to make guys well-up. Directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who also star, Good Will Hunting follows the story of an unrecognized genius, Will Hunting (Damon), working as a janitor who begins therapy with Dr. Sean Maguire (Williams). He is the only therapist who gets through to Will and challenges him, and the two form a special relationship which culminates in an extremely moving scene. Will manages to battle his demons, but Sean also benefits from their time spent together. Another moving part of the film is Will’s relationship with his best friend Chuckie (Affleck), who states that he wants Will to move away to pursue something greater and how it is an insult to his friends if he does not use his talent.
7. Forrest Gump
Tom Hanks has the inherent ability to portray extremely likeable characters, and this is most evident in the 1994 classic Forrest Gump. From the very first scene, you can’t help but love his kind-hearted and slow-witted character. This is only furthered as we learn of his astonishing life against the backdrop of American history, and there are dozens of tear-jerking moments throughout the film. The two moments that are too much for even the toughest of men are when Forrest learns that he has a son who is very smart (unlike his father), and the moving monologue he gives when stood at Jenny’s tombstone towards the end of the film. Forrest Gump is one of the most beloved and popular films of all time, and this is entirely due to the titular character who you can’t help but care for from the get-go.
6. Saving Private Ryan
Never before has a film depicted war in such bleak fashion, and this makes Saving Private Ryan an incredibly powerful and moving movie that makes you think. The horrors of war that are depicted are enough to make anyone extremely emotional, but the story is also incredibly moving. The film sees a group of soldiers traverse Nazi-occupied France to find Private Ryan (Matt Damon) and bring him home, as his three other brothers have been killed in action. The unit, led by Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks), must make sacrifices for each other along the way, and upon finding Private Ryan he tells them that he wants to “stay with the only brothers [he has] left.” The film’s final scene is also incredibly powerful, as it takes place in the present day when Private Ryan visits Miller’s grave, leaving hardly a dry eye in the house.
5. Toy Story 3
The Toy Story films have an enormous impact on the audience, both male and female, as they explore the relationship that we have with our toys and the process of growing up that we have all gone through. For many of our readers, the first film was released at a time where we were still just kids and this makes them relatable and nostalgic. Toy Story 3 is a movie that most would admit shedding a tear too, as it saw Andy embrace adulthood by giving away his toys to a girl down the road (not to mention the incredibly dark yet emotional moment of near incineration for Woody and his friends). Overall, the Toy Story films, and particularly this installment, speak to the inner child of every man and is a beautifully crafted tale by Pixar.
4. The Green Mile
Anybody that says they didn’t cry at the death of John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) is lying, as this is one of the saddest scenes in movie history. The Green Mile, directed by Frank Darabont and an adaptation of the Stephen King novel, follows Paul Edgecomb’s (Tom Hanks) life as a death row corrections officer. Here he meets John Coffey, an enormous African-American man who is convicted of raping and killing two girls despite being an incredibly shy, softly spoken and child-like person. He also has the ability to heal others simply through touch. After learning of his innocence, Paul offers to let John go, but he refuses as there is too much pain in the world. He is later given the electric chair, and in an almost unbearable moment, he pleads not to have the hood over his head as he is afraid of the dark.
3. Old Yeller
For both men and women, often what evokes the most emotion from films is not human characters, but animals. None more so than man’s best friend, the dog. Whilst Marley & Me easily could have been included on this list, we have opted for the 1957 classic Old Yeller as the film that many guys can’t help but cry to. Anybody that has had to make the awful decision of putting a dog down will be able to painfully relate, but devastatingly in the film it is down to his owner, Travis (Tommy Kirk), to shoot his best friend and the dog that he grew up with. This ultimately is Travis’s first step into adulthood, and therefore speaks to the male audience greatly. Whilst the younger audience will also be devastated by the death of Old Yeller, it is the adults who it deeply affects, especially those that have had a pet.
2. The Shawshank Redemption
One of the most moving films of all time, it is hardly surprising to hear that so many men shed a tear at this 1994 classic, which was directed by Frank Darabont and an adaptation of Stephen King’s novella. Another story of friendship, the film sees Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for a crime he did not commit, and inside he strikes up a friendship with Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), who is also the film’s narrator. Not only is the bond they form a moving one, as they promise to meet in a small Mexican coastal town if they are ever released, but The Shawshank Redemption also features an utterly heartbreaking death. This is after Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore) is released, but struggles to adjust to life outside prison after over 50 years, which sees him hang himself in a particularly moving and emotional sequence.
1. Schindler’s List
Famously one of the most powerful and emotional films ever created, it should come as no surprise to find Schindler’s List here. Regardless of gender, this movie is always a difficult watch due to the very heavy subject matter. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List is based on the life of Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson), who was an ethnic German businessman who saved the lives of over a thousand Polish-Jewish refugees during the holocaust by employing them to work in his factories. There are some very difficult parts to watch throughout the course of the film which ensure that emotions are running high throughout, but the scene towards the end of the film when Schindler is about to flee the Red Army and is given the engraved ring by the Jewish workers is exceptionally powerful, and his response furthers this. A moving and also incredibly important piece of film.