Not all romantic films end with happily-ever-after. Many love stories end in goodbyes and even death, yet still portray romance like no other.
Tragic romance movies can be some of the most affecting movies for viewers, gripping them with characters and stories and relationship developments that aren’t found in other genres—complete with twists and revelations that slam us with tragedy and heartache.
Here are some of the best tragic romance movies that captivated viewers’ hearts and left them in tears by the end.
6. Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Romeo + Juliet (also known as William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet) is a tragedy film adapted from William Shakespeare’s own Romeo and Juliet. It’s a story of two lovestruck people: Romeo Montague (played by Leonardo Dicaprio) and Juliet Capulet (played by Claire Danes).
As the son and daughter of two rival clans, the love between the two is unbreakable even though everything and everyone around them seems to be against their relationship.
The best scenes include their first meeting of each other and the infamous staged death, which turns into a real one after Romeo poisons himself believing Juliet is dead, while the latter shoots herself after waking up only to see him dead.
5. Titanic (1997)
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Titanic is a story of unexpected love found between unexpected people in an unexpected time, produced by the now-famous James Cameron. It’s a disaster film based on the sinking of the RMS Titanic after it hits an iceberg during its maiden voyage.
The film features the story of the Titanic framed as memories of Rose Dawson Calvert, the woman in the painting who wears the necklace “The Heart of the Ocean.”
The movie has many scenes that capture our attention and emotionally attach us to both Jack and Rose, like when he brings her to the deck where normal passengers dance and sing to their hearts’ content.
Falling in love with someone who’s already betrothed or agreeing to a lukewarm marriage because you’re in financial crisis are both heartbreaking situations, but letting someone you love drift down to the bottom of the ocean is the most tragic end of all.
4. A Walk to Remember (2002)
A Walk to Remember is a heart-touching story of a cool and badass guy named Landon, who finds true love with the most unexpected person: Jamie, the quiet girl who’s content living in a world away from other teens.
Though the feelings become mutual at some point in the movie, Jamie rejects Landon because she’s dying of cancer. This film shows how people will try to make things happier for those they love, especially when they aren’t sure how long they’ll still be with them.
Even though tragedy strikes Jamie, Landon manages to live on because she teaches him that death can’t separate the joy and peace that love brings. He realizes that the short time he had with her is a memory he can cherish for the rest of his life.
3. Midnight Sun (2018)
Would you take the ultimate risk and put your life on the line just to be with someone you love? That’s the big question faced by the main character in the film Midnight Sun.
Midnight Sun is a movie based on a Japanese film called A Song to the Sun and features a disease called xeroderma pigmentosum, a genetic disorder that causes damage to the body if exposed to sunlight.
Having a disease that prevents you from living a normal life is devastating, but not for Katie Price, who still lives happily through music and life outside during nighttime. Although Katie manages to live 17 years of her life hiding from the sun, she takes the risk to set sail with Charlie in broad daylight and spend her last hours with him.
What makes the heartbreaking even more heartbreaking is how the film features her being happy and vibrant throughout her date nights with him, performing in front of crowds and even doing things she hasn’t done before. The happiness they share together seems never-ending.
2. Your Lie in April: The Movie (2016)
Your Lie in April: The Movie is based on a manga series of the same name, which features two characters: an award-winning pianist who doesn’t play anymore, and a free-spirited violinist.
Like any film that features music, the main characters share a common interest in music, even though Kosei Arima (the pianist) keeps his love of music hidden after experiencing a traumatic tragedy in his life. Kaori Miyazono (the violinist) becomes his inspiration to play music again.
What’s heartbreaking is that she’s dying of cancer, but still lives her life as lively as anyone can. The most emotional moment of all is when… well, we’ll let you experience that one for yourself.
1. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
The Fault in Our Stars is a film based on a novel of the same name by John Green. It’s a coming-of-age movie that asks how someone can support the one he loves even though he himself needs attention.
Hazel Grace Lancaster has thyroid cancer that spread to her lungs, while Augustus “Gus” Waters has bone cancer that took one of his legs but is now in remission. Though they live as normally as anyone, their moments together come to end as Gus’ illness returns and kills him slowly.