Movies that make grown men cry

Yahoo UK Movies Features
28 September 2011

While they'll blink furiously to keep from showing it, or blame it on having something in their eye when caught, there are plenty of films out there that'll have men in tears.

Evoking the kind of emotions many men feel when their football team loses a vital match in the last minute, the following movies contain classic tear-jerking moments:


Field of Dreams

If you can't cry at the end of 'Field of Dreams', then something is wrong with your tear ducts. What do you do when you see the ghostlike appearance of your young baseball-playing father? In that most American of traditions, you play catch of course. And, by God, when Costner chokes up, in a manly fashion we hasten to add, there shouldn't be a dry eye in the house.

Shawshank Redemption
Tim Robbins plays a man sentenced to life at Shawshank Prison. During the many years that follow he befriends an older inmate (Morgan Freeman at his sagely best). There are many scenes that tug the heartstrings (including one-off treats to beers on the roof and opera music blasted into the yard) but for true male meltdown you can't beat the final image, where, as free men, the two meet up on a sun-soaked beach and go to embrace each other before the camera cruelly pulls away. Splendid stuff.

Critics deride Ron Howard's firefighting drama as pure hokum — an accusation that may have some elements of truth but, by God, it's entertaining hokum, largely achieved by Kurt Russell at his gruffest. Finding out that a one-night stand with his estranged wife doesn't mean a return to the family life that he craves should have been a warning that Howard isn't shy about adding some sentiment to all the macho firefighting action. And then there's the ending — a near-done Russell screaming for all to hear "That's my brother, goddammit!" as he watches his younger sibling save the day. Tissues at the ready.

The Wrestler
While we thought about 'The Champ', we eventually plumped for Ram's supposed death in the ring instead. A second chance at life outside his wrestling persona is beaten into submission by Mickey Rourke's character's self-destructive behaviour. Bloodied, battered and with little gas left in the tank he climbs to the top of rope, milks the crowds support and their fleeting adulation, and leaps….
The only thing that could make it more of an essential man-cry moment is to have a sad Bruce Springsteen song playing in the background... Oh wait!

The Transformers: The Movie
The 1986 cartoon movie, in case you were wondering - not the recent CGI blockbuster. A chance to see your favourite cartoon adventure on the big screen was too hard to resist. Things that were expected — bigger action sequences, better animation and a smattering of guest voices. Things that no one was expecting — killing off the main character and scarring a generation of children. Bambi's mother's death was nothing compared to the loss of Optimus Prime!

While they may be seen as some of the most macho of all sports movies (at one point Stallone practically ends the Cold War single-handedly) the 'Rocky' films still have many lump—in-the-throat moments — whether it's Mickey or Apollo Creed dying in 'Rocky III' and 'IV' respectively or bedridden wife Adrian whispering "Win" in the second movie. However, it's the end of 'Rocky' that is pure guy-cry. From the minute his coach pleads with his plucky fighter to stay down after yet another trip to the canvas, only for 'Rocky' to pull himself up much to his far superior opponent's disbelief, it's just one big heartfelt climax — resulting in Stallone's repeated cry for 'Adrian!' Stirring stuff.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
There are things you didn't do on screen in the early '90s — killing Arnie was very much one of them. The death of Arnold Schwarzenegger's robot in 'T2' rocked this young teenager (at the time) to the core — leaving me wailing at the screen like an irate Charlton Heston in 'Planet of the Apes' - "You really did it! You maniacs, god damn you, god damn you all to hell!" Yet, as shocking as it was, Arnie's fateful plunge was a moving one - ending with a thumbs-up before he is finally terminated. I'm welling up just writing this.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
A classic film, with a classic emotional ending. Jack Nicholson makes you care for his character Randle McMurphy far more than you actually should (he's not exactly a choir boy). But care for him you do, until you're left sucker punched when he is wheeled out of surgery after a lobotomy operation. All that's left is for the Chief to smother his dear friend with a pillow, before escaping from the mental asylum. Heartbreaking indeed.

Billy Elliot
Stephen Daldry's tale of a young aspiring dancer set amidst the strike-hit Britain of the '80s is rousing stuff — culminating in the eye-watering scene where Billy's father and elder brother watch him take to the stage as the lead in 'Swan Lake' 14 years later.
However, it's an earlier moment that surely ignites the battle between male viewers and falling tears - when Billy's dad sees his son dance for the first time and realises that he needs to pay for his training, leading him to cross the picket line.

'Toy Story 3' has been rightly lauded for its hugely moving third chapter, which has seen scores of men in floods of tears. However, Pixar did something far more impressive a year earlier. 'Up's much talked about silent montage near the start is quite simply stunning cinema — leaving you half-sobbing and half-gobsmacked as a 'cartoon' deals with life and death in such a mature and truly moving fashion.

Agree with our choices? What films make you cry?

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