These 25 Saddest Movies for Teens Will Drain Your Tear Ducts! Prepare Some Tissues!

Are you looking for something to watch for family movie night? Why not try these saddest movies for teens! A healthy dose of sadness will enrich your life and clean your soul. Such movies also remind you that it is okay to feel emotional and cry. A relatable sad story, for instance, will make your own struggle feel easier.

We have watched dozens of sad movies to determine which is the saddest. Here are the results of our extensive research! So, grab your popcorn, cozy blanket, and some tissues because you are about to join us in exploring the saddest movies for teens!

What impact do heartwarming movies have on teen audiences in terms of real-life decision-making and perspective?

Heartwarming movies can teach teen audiences about valuable life lessons. The relatable characters from the films and the plot may resonate deep within their heart. These movies can teach them how to live a better life. 

Sad Movies That Will Make You Cry!

Here are some movies featuring excellent heartwrenching plots and outstanding acting that you must check out! These movies will undoubtedly make you feel emotional; we guarantee it.

1. The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars

As one of the most emotional movies of all time, you must be heartless if you do not cry watching the Fault in Our Stars! It’s a beautifully tragic love story involving a teenager suffering from cancer. This short description alone shows that this movie will wreck you emotionally. We shall not spoil the plot, so go watch it now and be ready to cry your eyes out. It’ll teach you about mortality and inspire you to find meaning in your life.

2. The Farewell

saddest movie for teens
The Farewell

From the title alone, you’ll expect to see one of the most emotional films on this list. It is also one of those Inspiring true stories adapted for teen viewers. Based on the life experiences of the director, Lulu Wang, the Farewell is about saying the last goodbye to a beloved family member. What would you do if someone that you deeply love is terminally ill? This must-watch film will really make you think and feel!

3. West Side Story (2021)

West Side Story (2021)
West Side Story (2021)

Taking inspiration from the classic Romeo and Juliette, West Side Story is a definite tear-jerker! It’s about a teenage boy and a girl from rival gangs in a forbidden relationship. When you see lovers who can not be together, you definitely empathize. Perhaps you’ve experienced a similar situation? The incredible story and the excellent delivery of the actors place this movie on the list of the best emotional teen movies of all time 

4. Train to Busan

saddest movie for teens
Train to Busan

Here is the most heartbreaking zombie movie we have ever watched! You get to follow the journey of a family trying to escape the gnarly Living Dead outbreak. Watching them flee and overcome hardship, you will feel a strong connection to the characters. It leaves you wondering which one will survive. The movie is also about love and sacrifice that will make you feel so emotional. We highly recommend Train to Busan for Halloween movie night with family!

5. Marriage Story

Marriage Story
Marriage Story

If you crave teen movies that teach valuable life lessons, watch Marriage Story! For most of you, marriage is still a long way to go. Yet, this movie will give you a glimpse into what it is like. Marriage is not always dreamy and lovely doovey but also stormy. And going through a family divorce is hell, and perhaps you can relate to this gut-wrenching film. Available on Netflix, Marriage Story is a film to enjoy for a family movie night!

6. Pawn

saddest movie for teens

It is impossible to watch Pawn without shedding a tear! The premise is definitely strong: one day, two men working as debt collectors came to collect money from a poor mother. Penniless, she had to give away her little daughter to the men as collateral. The movie then tells the life story of the trio and how these men suddenly have to learn about fatherhood. As they live together, they develop a loving bond that will invite you to cry and laugh! This Korean drama features incredible actors, especially the kid.

7. The Terminal

The Terminal
The Terminal

Every movie starring Tom Hanks is always good, and The Terminal is no exception! Due to war in his homeland, our main character could not get official papers to leave the airport. Now stranded, he has to survive inside the airport for months. And that’s where the story begins! The character’s resilience will touch you, and you will root for him. There are also romance and tragedy mixed in. The combination between the comedy and the dark parts is well executed!

8. Pieces of a Woman

saddest movie for teens
Pieces of a Woman

Now, this movie is something that probably you’d like to watch together with your parents. It’s pretty hard to explain, but it’s basically a courtroom drama that involves childbirth! Sounds a bit gnarly, we know, but it’s actually quite an interesting topic to explore. It is incredibly enticing if you’re interested in the legal implications that are going on in the plot. You get to see the excellent acting of Vanessa Kirby, giving birth, and how she reacts to the tragedies that follow.

9. The Green Mile

The Green Mile
The Green Mile

Here is another movie starring Tom Hanks that you have to watch! Green Mile is a drama about a wrongly convicted man facing death row. Here, as the warden, Tom Hanks is trying to reconcile his conscience as he is torn between the truth and his duty. It’ll teach you to overcome prejudice and not judge people by appearance. This movie is even more y relevant today, with the prevalent racial issue.

10. Life of Pi

saddest movie for teens
Life of Pi

If you were stranded on a boat with a tiger, what would you do? Well, Life of Pi will tell you what it feels like. But, of course, the movie is actually much deeper than that. It carries hidden messages and mindblowing metaphors about life and death.  With incredible CGI animation, watching Life of Pi is like experiencing a dream. 

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11.  Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump

You can never have enough of movies starring Tom Hanks! Forrest Gump is definitely his most iconic role throughout his career. This movie is an endearing story about a man with a low IQ and how he lives his simple life. It will make you laugh and cry and ultimately inspire you to live fully.  We recommend watching this movie with your guardians because of its PG-13 rating!

12. Space Sweepers

saddest movie for teens
Space Sweepers

Here is another sci-fi movie that will make you emotional! When a group of space debris cleaners found a little girl in a wreckage, their life changed. The child is presumed to be an android with untold firepower. You will enjoy the characters’ struggle to overcome dilemmas and how they eventually bond with the girl. The movie is cute, and the CGI effect is outstanding, capturing that futuristic feel well.

13. We Bought a Zoo

We Bought a Zoo
We Bought a Zoo

Some uplifting teen films can leave you in a pool of tears, and We Bought a Zoo is one of them. Here, you get to enjoy Matt Damon acting as a dad, trying to deal with the mess in his family. As he and his family try to repair their relationship, somehow, they end up owning a zoo! It’s a very heartfelt movie where you get to learn about courage. It also teaches you about the importance of communication between father and children. You gotta watch it to get the whole experience!

14. All the Bright Places

saddest movie for teens
All the Bright Places

Here is one of the best movies that inspire hope in young adults! Mental disorders, depression, losing loved ones, and suicide are among the hardest topics to discuss. Through All the Bright Places, you can approach these unpleasant subjects in a different way. This movie is also relatable to your inner struggle. While the plot touches on those dark themes, it’s also uplifting with all the loving messages. That is why we highly recommend this film!

15. The Tomorrow War

The Tomorrow War
The Tomorrow War

Who says that sci-fi films can not be so emotional? The Tomorrow War proves that action and emotion can mix together. It sure has aliens, time travel, and gun-blazing action. But, it also has a bond between characters that makes you feel something. 

Are there any studies on the psychological effects of watching sad movies during adolescence?

Scientifically speaking, negative emotions, such as sadness, can leave lasting impressions longer than happy emotions. Therefore, sad movies may affect adolescents more profoundly. If you are a parent or a guardian, you must accompany your kids when they watch sad movies. This is why you can help them process their emotion.

Saddest Animation Movies That Will Break Your Heart!

Remember to underestimate animated films! They can be just as heartbreaking as regular movies, if not more. The following are our favorite titles, with captivating animation and heartfelt messages! One of these will surely make you cry!

1. Grave of the Fireflies

saddest movie for teens
Grave of the Fireflies

Let’s start the list with this animated movie from the legendary Studio Ghibli! Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka) tells the tragic story of a brother and his little sister in post-World War II Japan. The subject and the setting are undoubtedly unique. This movie tells you that in war, ordinary citizens are always the victims, no matter which side you are! The neverending suffering the siblings have to endure will indeed move you to tears. It’s about empathy and resilience!



WALL-E is a masterpiece by Pixar studio that follows the charming adventure of a little trash compactor robot. The movie starts strongly as you watch that the earth is a giant dumpster. And WALL-E, the last of his kind, diligently tries to clean up the polluted planet. Even though he only produces beeping noises, you can understand his loneliness. In any case, he has captured the hearts of millions of fans, adults and children alike! 

3. A Silent Voice

saddest movie for teens
A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice is our favorite anime movie here down in the office! It is about a teenage girl who cannot hear and speak and her former bully boy seeking redemption. It’s also about the unlikely romance between the two and their journey of overcoming the hardship of growing up. This beautifully animated movie raises awareness about disability, bullying, and depression. It’s very eloquently put and has the right amount of melancholiness, making it truly one of the best and saddest movies for teens!

4. Up


The opening sequence of Up is, without a doubt, the saddest animation of all time! We absolutely guarantee that part, which we shall not spoil, will make you cry! Up is about the unlikely, meaningful story of an old man in the last leg of his life and a boy at the start of his. The iconic balloon house from Up symbolizes that no matter how old you are, your adventure is never-ending. If you want a sad yet uplifting movie to watch with your family, this is it!

5. Soul

saddest movie for teens

What happens after you die? Will you have regrets? Will you be able to realize your dream before then? Soul is such a thought-provoking animation that will make you question your life. It starts off unexpectedly, and tragically, you will not believe what you just saw. It definitely resonates with your soul. Prepare tons of tissues because you are in for an awesome, heartfelt ride! If the plot doesn’t convince you, the animation alone makes Soul worth watching because the quality is up there among the masterpieces.

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6. The Iron Giant

saddest movie for teens
The Iron Giant

Remember not to underestimate old animated movies! The Iron Giant came out in 1999 and has left a lasting and profound impact on whoever watches it ever since. The tale of a beautiful friendship between a boy and a nameless, gentle giant robot will squish your tear duct dry. This movie will even leave adults in a wreck; we know because we used to watch this movie together in the office!

7. 5 Centimeters per Second

saddest movie for teens
5 Centimeters per Second

Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship? Now, this anime movie is the culmination of that situation. It’s about the struggle of two childhood friends to be with each other even though they keep moving farther away. Every time the characters drift apart, you will feel that bitter-sweet pang. The incredible animation and the soundtrack will leave you breathless. In fact, we believe that 5 Centimeters per Second is one of the best-animated films about young love of this century!

8. The Tale of Princess Kaguya

saddest movie for teens
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Here is another classic Studio Ghibli that will make you feel emotional! The story takes inspiration from a Japanese folktale about a legend of a divine princess! She was reborn in the mortal plane inside a bamboo stalk and lived among humans. The story is relaxing, perhaps mundane, yet comforts you. Furthermore, the enchanting hand-drawn animation will take your breath away. It’s unique and beautiful yet fills you with a sorrowful vibe. 

9. Weathering With You

saddest movie for teens
Weathering With You

Weathering With You is a unique film about the misadventure of a lonely boy who runs away from home and an orphaned girl who can control the weather. You can feel the angst, and the hint of tragedies will produce a rain of tears! The plot really captures youth selfishness and explosive energy. Plus, the bitter-sweet romance will melt your heart. The quality of the animation and the story make it one of the best teenage heartbreak films you have to watch!

10. Josse, Tiger and the Fish

saddest movie for teens
Josse, Tiger and the Fish

Movies that resonate with teen’s feelings would be ideal for family night to enjoy on the weekend. Josse, Tiger, and The Fish are suitable for that occasion. The movie explores how it feels to love someone and touches a little bit about disability. Yes, the girl, one of the main characters, is in a wheelchair. Thanks to the dynamic between the main characters, the movie is achingly sweet, guaranteeing some tears.

Are animated films as effective as live-action ones in delivering heartwarming stories to teenagers?

Yes, absolutely! Even animation can move your heart just as fine. After all, we are capable of extending our empathy. In our article, we have specially compiled the saddest animated films that you have to check out!


Movies that make teens cry are suitable for their mental well-being. After all, it’s good to call occasionally, especially when you feel numb. When you are feeling stuffy, tears will cleanse your soul. Sad movies that can make you tug your heartstrings will help you to unload your burden. We know that growing up is not easy. But you can sort out your feelings better by watching relatable sad movies that resonate with you. 

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Moreover, teen emotional connection to films can help them understand their inner struggle. You can find solace in the fictional characters in the movies listed above. However, remember to discuss real-life challenges with trusted adults and professionals. Movies can ease your heart, but they are not medicine. Nevertheless, our recommendation of the saddest movie for teens can make your day! Happy watching!

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Questions & Answers (Q&A)

Are there heartwarming teen movies based on bestselling young adult novels?

Plenty of heartwarming teen movies are based on bestselling young adult novels. In fact, the Fault in Our Stars on the top of our list is based on a novel by John Green. We absolutely recommend you to read it!

In the landscape of modern cinema, are there emerging genres or sub-genres specifically targeting the emotional narratives of today’s teenagers?

Yes, there is an emerging sub-genre in modern cinema that targets the emotional narratives of today’s teenagers. They are often referred to as “teen coming-of-age dramas” or “YA (Young Adult) films.

How do sad movies reflect the challenges faced by today’s teens?

Sad movies often reflect the challenges faced by today’s teens, like mental health struggles, social pressures, identity crises, and the complexities of modern relationships.

How do streaming platforms like Netflix, categorize or recommend sad movies for teens?

Streaming platforms like Netflix use algorithms to categorize and recommend sad movies for teens. Elements like content’s genre, user preferences, viewing history, and emotional themes affect your recommendation.

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