The Survey Says
Some movies make you smile and some make you laugh, some excite you and some scare you. But some movies actually set their goal on drawing out a tear or even a river.
ESGI and ThinkFives asked hundreds of teachers what movies made them cry. Here are the top weepers according to the teachers we surveyed. Grab a tissue as even the memories of these films might cause you to moisten.
Based on the novel by Fred Gipson, Old Yeller is set in Texas in 1869. While his father is away on a cattle drive, 15-year-old Travis Coates (Tommy Kirk) takes over management of the family farm. Adopting a strict business policy, Travis is irritated when younger brother, Arliss (Kevin Corcoran), adopts a frisky stray dog.
But soon Travis is as fond of the dog as everyone else in the family; moreover, Old Yeller is an excellent watchdog. But while fighting off a mad wolf, Yeller is infected with rabies.
The rest of the drama would lead to a spoiler alert but I think you see what’s coming,
Earning eight million dollars domestically on its first release, Old Yeller convinced Walt Disney to devote more and more time to live-action films and less time to animation — which at the time was a great business move.
The two meet as children in Atlantic City (played by Mayim Bialik and Marcie Leeds) and are reunited in the 1960s, when CC is a struggling singer and Hillary is trying to break free from her strict upbringing by becoming an activist.
The two ladies room together, but fall out when both are attracted to off-Broadway producer John Pierce (John Heard). CC wins John, but she quickly outgrows him as she matriculates into a bawdy performer.
The story comes full circle allowing the two to room again and ultimately bring tears. It’s hard not to hear Wind Beneath Your Wings and not get inspired or sad or both.
By now who doesn’t know the plight of the Titantic, the unsinkable ocean liner that hit an iceberg on its maiden trip? And who doesn’t know, The Titanic, the movie, an epic, action-packed romance following the brief but eternal love between Jack and Rose.
Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) is a 17-year-old, upper-class American suffocating under the rigid confines and expectations of Edwardian society who falls for a free-spirited young steerage passenger named Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio). Once he opens her eyes to the world that lies outside her gilded cage, Rose and Jack’s forbidden love begins a powerful mystery that ultimately echoes across the years into the present. Nothing on earth is going to come between them—not even something as unimaginable as the sinking of the Titanic (well spoiler alert – maybe it does).
The film grossed $1.8 billion and may have produced that many tears as moviegoers hoped that Jack would reunite with Rose.
Based on screenwriter Robert Harling’s award-winning off-Broadway play, Steel Magnolias tells the story of six southern women whose lives interconnect in a beauty parlor in their small Louisiana town.
M’Lynn Eatenton (Sally Field), mother of headstrong Shelby (Julia Roberts), is worried about her daughter’s upcoming marriage, fearing for the children that the diabetic, seizure-prone Shelby wants to have. Their friends at the beauty parlor —Truvy (Dolly Parton); Annelle (Daryl Hannah), Clairee (Olympia Dukakis), and Ouiser (Shirley MacLaine), cope with a variety of problems, among them a failing marriage for Truvy, and some chameleon-like changes for Annelle.
What makes the drama especially poignant is that it is a tribute to playwright Robert Harling‘s sister Susan, who passed away due to complications from diabetes. Not surprisingly this mother-daughter tear-jerker is #2 on teachers’ lists.
Coming in at #1 is the weepy, The Notebook. Why do teachers love The Notebook? For many, it’s a beautiful story of true love and triumph. The part that gets people so choked up is that their love lasted all the way to the very end. They promised to love each other forever, and they did.
As teenagers, Allie (Rachel McAdams) and Noah (Ryan Gosling) begin a whirlwind courtship that soon blossoms into tender intimacy. The young couple is quickly separated by Allie’s upper-class parents who insist that Noah isn’t right for her. Several years pass and, when they meet again, their passion is rekindled, forcing Allie to choose between her soulmate and class order. This beautiful tale has a particularly special meaning to an older gentleman (James Garner) who regularly reads the timeless love story to his aging companion (Gena Rowlands).
And then there’s the emotional release, the crying, the tears, the roller coaster ride of emotions. This adoption of the Nicholas Sparks novel is at once heartwarming and heartbreaking and will capture you with its sweeping and emotional force.
What is the saddest movie you remember?