30 Movies to Bring a Guy to Tears

*I write for an online publication called Thirty Mag. Its for guys and dads.  The hook is their ’30 Things’ feature which is why you continue to see a list of 30 Things from me.  There was part 1 to this list written by someone else so I decided to do a sequel.  You can see the first set of 30 movies on Thirty Mag’s site (which is why you don’t see Field of Dreams on the list).

I scoffed before I read Thirty Mag’s ’30 Movies Guaranteed to Make a Man Cry’. Surely my time tested manhood would never permit me to cry at some Hollywood production.  Then I went through the list and found eyes welling up just reading the list.

It would appear as though my time tested manhood isn’t quite as time tested as I had thought (or hoped). In fact, not long after reading the list, I posted about my emotional side.  A side that either I didn’t realize I had or a side that had not existed prior to getting married and becoming a father.  Amazing what two kids and a wife can do to you.

Age also plays a part.  I have reached the point in my life where trying to exert some sort of faux machismo in order to appeal to my masculine base is long behind me.  At this point in my life I’m just trying to raise my kids, keep my wife from killing me, and maybe enjoying a movie once in a while.

And on that segue; I discovered 30 more movies that, most guys, willing to tuck their “cool” under the tissue box, will find themselves crying at. Not necessarily sobbing, but maybe turning their heads so as to not let their better halves see. Not all of these movies are even very good but there are moments. Moments of emotion that, at the very least, had me teary eyed.

  1. Rocky II:  Look, I tear up at every Rocky movie (except 5 unless you count me crying because of how awful it was) but there is something about the 2nd installment that truly gets to me. It happens when Adrian finally wakes up from her brief coma and tells Rocky, after he says he won’t “mix it up with Creed” and has sat by her bedside waiting for her to wake up, to “Win”…win!” The music starts and that’s it for me.
  2. Kramer vs. Kramer:  I never paid this movie much attention until I was a father. While I’m not a single father, the emotion in Dustin Hoffman’s monologue sitting in court talking about what’s best for his son is something I think any parent can feel.
  3. Sophie’s Choice:  Sophie has to give up one of her two children to the Nazi’s? And her little girl, who is given, is screaming as she is taken away? I’m crying right now thinking about it.
  4. Life as a House:  Ever since my dad died, there is something about movies that feature a father/son dynamic that chokes me up, even if it’s between Kevin Kline and Hayden Christiensen.
  5. Armageddon: NASA uses this film as a training video for their scientists to point out all the scientific inaccuracies used it the film. It’s big, loud, cheesy and yet, at the end, Liv Tyler saying goodbye to her dad for the last time with her hand…*hold on*…pressed up…*I promised myself I wouldn’t cry*…against the screen…I’m going to need a minute.
  6. Brian’s Song:  Yes, this was a TV movie but who cares because Billy Dee Williams’ locker room speech about giving a maximum effort for ‘Pic’? This is ‘Steel Magnolias’ for guys.
  7. Hoosiers:  Watching the scene with Shooter and his son Everett in the hospital after Shooter sobers up always reminds me of the conversation I had with my dad when he got sober (I cried then too). Plus, I tear up a little when they win the state championship even though I know they win…every time.
  8. Marley and Me: I cry when Owen Wilson is talking to Marley in the end at the veterinarian’s office and when the kids eulogize their dead pet.  If you own a dog and don’t cry at this movie…you may just have ice in your blood (or you’re a stone cold cat person).
  9. Forest Gump: Not only am I a big softie when it comes to my kids but I also love my wife very much. So much in fact, watching Forest “talk” to Jenny at her gravestone and breakdown when he “just misses her so much” pulls at my heart (god willing I go before my wife).
  10. My Life:  Is there a portion of this movie that someone isn’t crying during? I think I saw Kleenex had an Executive Producer credit for this movie.
  11. With Honors:  I think it’s a mix of the music along with the eulogy in the end? Maybe I have just slipped further down than I had originally thought?
  12. The Champ:  If you aren’t crying at the end when Ricky Schroder is begging his father to wake up, I would question your humanity.
  13. Scrooged:  Its Bill Murray’s speech in the end…we should all live by those words, right after we wipe our eyes dry.
  14. Cocoon: Again with the husband and wife.  The old man trying to get his wife to come back to life in the pool? Total desperation to do anything you can to help the love of your life? Goddamn those aliens, their swimming pool of life energies, and my wife for making me cry.
  15. Philadelphia: Too many scenes to point out. Just keep the tissues near.
  16. Stand by Me:   As a young boy, no one was more important than my friends. When my friends and I saw this when it came out, we used words like “cool” to describe it and slapping five by “skinning it”. Watching it now I use words like “powerful” and “emotional”.
  17. Parenthood:  It’s the father/son dynamic again, this time between Jason Robards and Steve Martin.  Talking to each other about fatherhood and how to be a good parent makes me want my dad back because there are times when I could use some advice.
  18. Stealing Home:  Love and Mark Harmon. Two things I never would have either paired together or thought could get me all, well…you know.
  19. Project X:  Ah yes, another animal movie.  Government subjecting chimpanzees to radiation tests and they’re dying in front of their chimp buddies. Granted I saw this one a long time ago, but it made me cry then and knowing what sort of guy I am now? Probably today too.
  20. First Blood: What? I couldn’t put a sappy schlock movie for every one of these. Do you not remember John Rambo’s emotional breakdown at the end with Colonel Troutman after he cut through the cops, National Reserve, and Army? This one makes up for Project X.
  21. Mystic River:  I’m sort of used to Sean Penn brooding, sleeping in a tent in Haiti and punching paparazzi, but he’s perfect as a dad dealing with the death of his daughter as he seeks his revenge.
  22. Sleepless in Seattle:  I knew, besides my wife changing my entire wardrobe when we were first married (I don’t know what’s so bad with flannel, it goes with everything) she has also changed my entire outlook on life, especially if she were not to be in it.
  23. In the Bedroom: Dad dealing with his son’s murder. Done and done.
  24. The Lovely Bones: I cry when I hear news stories about kids who were killed, there was nothing stopping the tears as I watched Peter Jacksons’ movie either.
  25. Hotel Rwanda: I cringed, I sat on the edge of my seat, I yelled at the screen, I cried. I was exhausted by the time this movie (which was fantastic) was over.
  26. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape: Don’t mess with my mom.  Sort of a mantra for boys as they grow up. Thankfully I won’t have to cut out a section of wall to get my mom out of the house (but I would, just like Gilbert, if I did).
  27. Terms of Endearment:  Look, just watch it. You don’t have to tell your buddies you did.
  28. Dan in Real Life:  Again with the dead wife? Steve Carrell singing ‘My Love’? Yes Steve, your love opened the door goddammit.
  29. A Walk in the Clouds: I can’t even rationally explain this one to myself let alone anyone reading this except to say, for some reason it gets to me (watch it after Terms of Endearment, when no one else is looking)
  30. Love Story:  Love means never having to say you’re sorry? Yeah, try telling my wife that but that sap still gets to me.

9 responses to “30 Movies to Bring a Guy to Tears

  1. Great list. My top choice would be Field of Dreams, for the last scene of Ray Kinsella and his father John finally playing catch together. I noted it in my last blog post…



  2. I agree with Joe above re: Field of Dreams.


  3. My Life wrecked me.


  4. I would add another: “Glory!”

    The final scene in which the character’s played by Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Andre Brauer are sitting around the campfire talking about the next day’s battle in which they know they are about to die, and coming to peace with the fact because they will die not as slaves, but as men, always chokes me up.


    • Glory was on my first list but as I whittled it down it got left off (I have proof, I’ll show you my notebook). Ultimately, I left it off but I would gladly call it no.30A


  5. Most memorable childhood moment: Seeing my Dad cry at the movie: E.T.


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