Top 10 Romantic Movies With Sad Endings

Not all romantic movies have conventional endings. For these romantic movies, such as La La Land, Blue is the Warmest Colour, Moulin Rouge, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Blue Valentine, Casablanca, and Romeo + Juliet, Titanic, they left us completely heartbroken.

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Top 10 Romantic Movies With Sad Endings

In a perfect world, every romantic film would end with the two main characters holding hands and watching the sunset. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Romantic Movies With Sad Endings.

For this list, we’re taking a look at love stories that don’t have conventional happy endings, closing on a sad or bittersweet note. As you might’ve guessed, spoilers lie ahead.

#10: “La La Land” (2016)

This highly entertaining musical is highlighted by incredible performances from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. While the two spend the majority of the film caught up in a whirlwind romance, the third act brings it to a crashing halt… proving that sometimes the dream of Hollywood success comes with consequences. In the final musical sequence, it’s hard not to get choked up, as it becomes clear that the two main characters are unlikely to cross paths ever again. At least “La La Land” got a happy ending on Oscar night when it took home the award for Best Pictu… oh; wait, sorry, we read the wrong card. Too soon?

#9: “Blue Is the Warmest Colour” (2013)

Definitely the most erotic film to crack our list, this French flick didn’t hold anything back when it came time to shoot some of its steamier love scenes. However, beneath the veil of raw sexuality lies a deeply emotional picture of two young women confronting their own personal and professional limitations. Adèle is a student with conservative parents who falls hard for Emma, a free-spirited painter with an artsy family. While the two share an intense sexual connection, it soon becomes clear that they hold drastically different views of the world. Ultimately, it is a love that simply wasn’t meant to be.

#8: “Moulin Rouge!” (2001)

What is it about musicals and sad endings? Set in turn-of-the-century Paris, this outrageously entertaining film is filled with more than a few tears. When Christian, a young writer, falls for Satine, a courtesan at the famed Moulin Rouge nightclub, the connection is immediate. However, she is promised to another, thus sticking a thorn in the side of their plans for love. As the film unravels, it becomes clear that the two will never be able to live a life together. Ultimately Satine dies, causing Christian, and audiences all over the world, to shed a collective tear. At least there is comfort in the beautiful sets and fantastic music that accompanied this melancholic flick.

#7: “A Walk to Remember” (2002)

Set in small town North Carolina, two teens, Landon and Jamie, are on opposite ends of the social food chain. He is the most poplar guy in school and she is an outsider. After a prank goes horribly wrong, Landon is forced to act in the upcoming school play. He soon notices and falls in love with Jamie, only to discover she is dying of leukemia. Anytime it is revealed that a character is dying of a disease, tears are sure to follow. While Jamie eventually succumbs to her ailment, the love that blossomed between her and Landon never truly dies… but this doesn’t stop the credits being accompanied by a chorus of sobs.

#6: “Brokeback Mountain” (2005)

Unlike the other entries on this list, “Brokeback Mountain” revolves around the tragic love that emerges between two men; cowboys tasked with herding sheep in the Wyoming mountains. Told over a 20-year period, the film is a raw depiction of forbidden love in a time and place when being caught could mean more than just social rejection. While audiences may have been hopeful that this story would end with cowboys Ennis and Jack riding off into the sunset, it was not to be. Who could forget the iconic final scene of an emotionally charged Heath Ledger saying a final goodbye to his best friend and lover? This movie definitely knew how to elicit an emotional response!

#5: “Blue Valentine” (2010)

For some movies, an unhappy ending isn’t enough. They feel the need to rip out the hearts of viewers and pulverize them into oblivion. “Blue Valentine” is one such film. The plot revolves around Cindy and Dean and the tumultuous relationship that develops between them. Over the course of the film, viewers are taken on a roller coaster ride of emotion, as the two protagonists push and pull at each other’s heartstrings. Ultimately, the relationship fails, leading to a heartbreaking final scene that is sure to have you reaching for a tissue.

#4: “The Notebook” (2004)

If you didn’t cry at the end of this movie, you’re probably a robot. Set in both a present day nursing home and the 1940s, the film traces the ups and downs of a relationship between two people from opposite ends of the social spectrum. The love that emerges between the working class Noah and Allie, who hails from a wealthy family, is one for the ages. While various elements attempt to keep them apart, their love always finds a way. It is eventually revealed that Allie has dementia and it is Noah who reads her the story of their life every day, resulting in a bittersweet ending to a beautiful love story.

#3: “Romeo + Juliet” (1996)

Hollywood has been remaking this classic tale for years. From outright adaptations to not-so-subtle homages like “West Side Story,” the tragic story of Juliet and her Romeo is one of the most well known in history. In this version, the tale takes place in the modern town of Verona Beach, with the characters continuing to speak in Shakespearian verse. While the film updates certain elements to fit its new environment, its core remains the same. Romeo and Juliet are from different warring families, ones that will never understand their love. It’s hard to top a sad ending that has the two main characters dying in each other’s arms… but we’ll try.

#2: “Casablanca” (1942)

One of the most respected films of all time, this seminal tale of love rediscovered has continued to inspire the world since its release. The film follows Rick, an American expat living and working in Casablanca during WWII. When an old flame walks into his club, it sets in motion a chain of events that leads the two former lovers down a path of heartbreak, murder, and despair. There are plenty of reasons that this film is considered a classic, from Humphrey Bogart’s legendary performance to an array of endlessly quotable lines that continue to leave their mark. However, it’s the film’s melancholic ending that grabs hold of viewers and never lets go.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Ghost” (1990)

“The Fault in Our Stars” (2014)

“My Girl” (1991)

#1: ”Titanic” (1997)

As far as tragic love stories are concerned, it’s hard to pick one that tops that of Jack and Rose. A classic tale of two people from different worlds coming together in spite of what society thinks, this love story was unfortunately doomed before it even set sail. After meeting aboard the ill-fated ship, a romance quickly blossoms between the poor but sweet Jack and the affluent Rose. While many seek to keep them apart, namely her fiancé Cal, the two manage to find pockets of refuge within the confines of the ship in which to express their love. Ultimately, the real-life tragedy that befell the RMS Titanic spelt doom for the star-crossed lovers.

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