29 Movies That Don't Have Happy Endings

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As the title might suggest, you're going to have spoilers if you haven't already seen these movies. If you're still willing to continue, then be my guest.

We didn't put together the best movies with sad endings; we wanted to have some from each genre. The movies were listed according to their IMDb ratings. Enjoy the list.

The storylines were taken from IMDb.

29. Knowing (2009)

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IMDb: 6.2

Director: Alex Proyas

In the fall of 1959, for a time capsule, students draw pictures of life as they imagine it will be in 50 years. Lucinda, an odd child who hears voices, swiftly writes a long string of numbers. In 2009, the capsule is opened; student Caleb Koestler gets Lucinda's "drawing" and his father John, an astrophysicist and grieving widower, takes a look. He discovers dates of disasters over the past 50 years with the number who died. Three dates remain, all coming soon. He investigates, learns of Lucinda, and looks for her family. He fears for his son, who's started to hear voices and who is visited by a silent stranger who shows him a vision of fire and destruction. What's going on?

28. Drag Me to Hell (2009)

IMDb: 6.6

Director: Sam Raimi

Christine Brown is a loans officer at a bank but is worried about her lot in life. She's in competition with a competent colleague for an assistant manager position and isn't too sure about her status with a boyfriend. Worried that her boss will think less of her if she shows weakness, she refuses a time extension on a loan to an old woman, Mrs. Ganush, who now faces foreclosure and the loss of her house. In retaliation, the old woman place a curse on her which, she subsequently learns, will result in her being taken to hell in a few days time. With the help of a psychic, she tries to rid herself of the demon, but faces several hurdles in the attempt.

27. Buried (2010)

IMDb: 7.0

Director: Rodrigo Cortés

Waking groggy in pitch darkness, Paul Conroy, an American truck driver working in Iraq in 2006, slowly realizes he is trapped inside a wooden coffin, buried alive. With his cigarette lighter, he can see the trap he is in, and he quickly realizes that there's not enough air for him to live long. He finds within the coffin a working cellphone, which allows him contact with the outside world. But the outside world proves not to be very helpful at finding a man buried in a box in the middle of the Iraqi desert. Paul must rely on his best resource--himself.

26. Pay It Forward (2000)

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IMDb: 7.1

Director: Mimi Leder

Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother's alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him.

25. The Mist (2007)

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IMDb: 7.2

Director: Frank Darabont

A violent storm hits a town in Maine, then an approaching cloud of mist appears the next morning. As the mist quickly envelops the area, a group of people get trapped in a local grocery store, among them, artist David Drayton and his five-year-old son. The people soon discover that within the mist lives numerous species of horrific, unworldly creatures that entered through an inter-dimensional rift, possibly caused by a project on a nearby military base. As the world around them turns into a literal Hell-on-earth, the horrified citizens try desperately to survive this apocalyptic disaster.

24. I Am Legend (2007)

IMDb: 7.2

Director: Francis Lawrence

Robert Neville is a scientist who was unable to stop the spread of the terrible virus that was incurable and man-made. Immune, Neville is now the last human survivor in what is left of New York City and perhaps the world. For three years, Neville has faithfully sent out daily radio messages, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But he is not alone. Mutant victims of the plague -- The Infected -- lurk in the shadows... watching Neville's every move... waiting for him to make a fatal mistake. Perhaps mankind's last, best hope, Neville is driven by only one remaining mission: to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus using his own immune blood. But he knows he is outnumbered... and quickly running out of time.

23. Now Is Good (2012)

IMDb: 7.3

Director: Ol Parker

A girl dying of leukemia compiles a list of things she'd like to do before passing away. Topping the list is her desire to lose her virginity.

22. The Descent (2005)

IMDb: 7.3

Director: Neil Marshall

A woman goes on vacation with her friends after her husband and daughter encounter a tragic accident. One year later she goes hiking with her friends and they get trapped in the cave. With a lack of supply, they struggle to survive and they meet strange blood thirsty creatures.

21. A Walk to Remember (2002)

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IMDb: 7.4

Director: Adam Shankman

In Beaufort, North Carolina, a prank on a student goes terribly wrong and puts the student in the hospital. Landon Carter, a popular student with no defined plans for the future, is held responsible and forced to participate in after-school community service activities as punishment, which include starring as the lead in the school play. Also participating in these activities is Jamie Sullivan, the reverend's daughter who has great ambitions and nothing in common with Landon. When Landon decides he wants to take his activities seriously, he asks Jamie for help and begins to spend most of his time with her. But he starts to develop strong feelings for her, something he did not expect to do. The two start a relationship, much to the chagrin of Landon's old popular friends and Jamie's strict reverend father. But when a heart-breaking secret becomes known that puts their relationship to the test, it is then that Landon and Jamie realize the true meaning of love and fate.

20. A Royal Affair (2012)

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IMDb: 7.6

Director: Nikolaj Arcel

In 1767, the British Princess Caroline is betrothed to the mad King Christian VII of Denmark, but her life with the erratic monarch in the oppressive country becomes an isolating misery. However, Christian soon gains a fast companion with the German Dr. Johann Struensee, a quietly idealistic man of the Enlightenment. As the only one who can influence the King, Struensee is able to begin sweeping enlightened reforms of Denmark through Christian even as Caroline falls for the doctor. However, their secret affair proves a tragic mistake that their conservative enemies use to their advantage in a conflict that threatens to claim more than just the lovers as their victims.

19. Funny Games (1997)

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IMDb: 7.6

Director: Michael Haneke

Two seemingly well-educated young men, who call each other Paul and Peter among other names, approach a family on vacation. They are, apparently, friends of the neighbors, and, at the beginning, their true intentions are not known, but soon, the family is imprisoned and tortured in its own house violently, which the viewers are forced mostly to imagine and to share a certain complicity with the criminals. It might be some kind of game with the lives of husband, wife, son, and dog, but why are they doing it?

18. House of Sand and Fog (2003)

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IMDb: 7.6

Director: Vadim Perelman

An emotionally broken woman, Kathy, suddenly finds herself homeless after her house is wrongly repossessed and auctioned. Seeking respite from his marriage, Lester, a sympathetic sheriff's deputy comes to the aid of Kathy and becomes intimately involved in her situation. Soon, Behrani, a proud emigrant Iranian and his family move into the house only to find their new lives burdened by harassment from Lester and Kathy as they attempt to reclaim her former home. The once prosperous colonel denies Kathy's pleas for he knows his recent purchase promises a profitable return and a better future for his adolescent son and his wife. But latent consequences lie beneath Behrani's well intentioned plan as Kathy's emotions spiral out of control and her actions spark a tragic chain of events that will leave no resident unscathed in the House of Sand and Fog.

17. Titanic (1997)

IMDb: 7.7

Director: James Cameron

84 years later, a 101-year-old woman named Rose DeWitt Bukater tells the story to her granddaughter Lizzy Calvert, Brock Lovett, Lewis Bodine, Bobby Buell and Anatoly Mikailavich on the Keldysh about her life set in April 10th 1912, on a ship called Titanic when young Rose boards the departing ship with the upper-class passengers and her mother, Ruth DeWitt Bukater, and her fiancé, Caledon Hockley. Meanwhile, a drifter and artist named Jack Dawson and his best friend Fabrizio De Rossi win third-class tickets to the ship in a game. And she explains the whole story from departure until the death of Titanic on its first and last voyage April 15th, 1912 at 2:20 in the morning.

16. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008)

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IMDb: 7.8

Director: Mark Herman

Young Bruno lives a wealthy lifestyle in prewar Germany along with his mother, elder sister, and SS Commandant father. The family relocates to the countryside where his father is assigned to take command a prison camp. A few days later, Bruno befriends another youth, strangely dressed in striped pajamas, named Shmuel who lives behind an electrified fence. Bruno will soon find out that he is not permitted to befriend his new friend as he is a Jew, and that the neighboring yard is actually a prison camp for Jews awaiting extermination.

15. The Machinist (2004)

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IMDb: 7.8

Director: Brad Anderson

Trevor Reznik is a lathe-operator who suffers from insomnia and hasn't slept in a year. Slowly, he begins to doubt his sanity as increasingly bizarre things start happening at work and at home. Haunted by a deformed co-worker who no one seems to think exists, and an ongoing stream of indecipherable Post-It notes he keeps finding on his fridge, he attempts to investigate what appears to be a mysterious plot against him and, in the process, embroils two women in his madness.

14. Atonement (2007)

IMDb: 7.8

Director: Joe Wright

When Briony Tallis, 13 years old and an aspiring writer, sees her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner at the fountain in front of the family estate she misinterprets what is happening thus setting into motion a series of misunderstandings and a childish pique that will have lasting repercussions for all of them. Robbie is the son of a family servant toward whom the family has always been kind. They paid for his time at Cambridge and now he plans on going to medical school. After the fountain incident, Briony reads a letter intended for Cecilia and concludes that Robbie is a deviant. When her cousin Lola is raped, she tells the police that it was Robbie she saw committing the deed.

13. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

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IMDb: 7.8

Director: James Mangold

Rancher Dan Evans heads into Bisbee to clear up issues concerning the sale of his land when he witnesses the closing events of a stagecoach robbery led by famed outlaw Ben Wade. Shortly thereafter, Wade is captured by the law in Bisbee and Evans finds himself one of the escorts who will take Wade to the 3:10 to Yuma train in Contention for the reward of $200. Evans's effort to take Wade to the station is in part an effort to save his land but also part of an inner battle to determine whether he can be more than just a naive rancher in the eyes of his impetuous and gunslinging son William Evans. The transport to Contention is hazardous and filled with ambushes by Indians, pursuits by Wade's vengeful gang and Wade's own conniving and surreptitious demeanor that makes the ride all the more intense.

12. Lilja 4-ever (2002)

IMDb: 7.9

Director: Lukas Moodysson

While waiting for her mothers reply to take her to the USA, Lilya idles the time away smoking, drinking and having fun with her, too, outcast friend Volodya. In time, the chance of a new life becomes non-existent; her life is going nowhere. Meeting a young man, she then finds a plane ticket in her hand and a new life in Sweden: a job, an apartment and prospects. All is not what it seems. There shall be work, there shall be housing and there shall be no escape. This is the stark, frank and disturbing vision of the life of a young victim of the underground sex trade and in all its tone of realism of abject poverty, despicable actions and of wanting to show that dreaming of a better life is not a crime but that life can shatter the illusion of a happy ending.

11. The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)

IMDb: 8.0

Director: Cyrus Nowrasteh

A drama set in 1986 Iran and centered on a man, Sahebjam, whose car breaks down in a remote village and enters into a conversation with Zahra, who relays to him the story about her niece, Soraya, whose arranged marriage to an abusive tyrant had a tragic ending.

10. Le scaphandre et le papillon (2007)

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IMDb: 8.1

Director: Julian Schnabel

The true story of 43 year-old magazine editor Jean-Dominique Beauby who after suffering a stroke is found to have locked-in syndrome, where he is paralyzed from the neck down. He can see and hear but cannot speak, communicating only by blinking his left eye for yes or no. Literally trapped inside his body, he faces a terrifying situation despite the support he has from an an expert medical team and his family. It's only when his speech therapist Henriette Roi devises a system for him to "speak" one letter at a time by blinking his eye does the world open up for him. The film is based an Bauby's book, which he dictated, one letter at a time.

9. Donnie Darko (2001)

IMDb: 8.1

Director: Richard Kelly

Donnie Darko doesn't get along too well with his family, his teachers and his classmates; but he does manage to find a sympathetic friend in Gretchen, who agrees to date him. He has a compassionate psychiatrist, who discovers hypnosis is the means to unlock hidden secrets. His other companion may not be a true ally. Donnie has a friend named Frank - a large bunny which only Donnie can see. When an engine falls off a plane and destroys his bedroom, Donnie is not there. Both the event, and Donnie's escape, seem to have been caused by supernatural events. Donnie's mental illness, if such it is, may never allow him to find out for sure.

8. Shutter Island (2010)

IMDb: 8.1

Director: Martin Scorsese

It's 1954, and up-and-coming U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. He's been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons, but before long he wonders whether he hasn't been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright sinister. Teddy's shrewd investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, more dangerous criminals "escape" in the confusion, and the puzzling, improbable clues multiply, Teddy begins to doubt everything - his memory, his partner, even his own sanity.

7. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

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IMDb: 8.4

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Drugs. They consume mind, body and soul. Once you're hooked, you're hooked. Four lives. Four addicts. Four failures. Despite their aspirations of greatness, they succumb to their addictions. Watching the addicts spiral out of control, we bear witness to the dirtiest, ugliest portions of the underworld addicts reside in. It is shocking and eye-opening but demands to be seen by both addicts and non-addicts alike.

6. Braveheart (1995)

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IMDb: 8.4

Director: Mel Gibson

William Wallace is a Scottish rebel who leads an uprising against the cruel English ruler Edward the Longshanks, who wishes to inherit the crown of Scotland for himself. When he was a young boy, William Wallace's father and brother, along with many others, lost their lives trying to free Scotland. Once he loses another of his loved ones, William Wallace begins his long quest to make Scotland free once and for all, along with the assistance of Robert the Bruce.

5. Hotaru no haka (1988)

IMDb: 8.5

Director: Isao Takahata

The story of Seita and Satsuko, two young Japanese siblings, living in the declining days of World War II. When an American firebombing separates the two children from their parents, the two siblings must rely completely on one another while they struggle to fight for their survival.

4. The Green Mile (1999)

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IMDb: 8.5

Director: Frank Darabont

Death Row guards at a penitentiary, in the 1930's, have a moral dilemma with their job when they discover one of their prisoners, a convicted murderer, has a special gift.

3. La vita è bella (1997)

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IMDb: 8.6

Director: Roberto Benigni

In 1930s Italy, a carefree Jewish book keeper named Guido starts a fairy tale life by courting and marrying a lovely woman from a nearby city. Guido and his wife have a son and live happily together until the occupation of Italy by German forces. In an attempt to hold his family together and help his son survive the horrors of a Jewish Concentration Camp, Guido imagines that the Holocaust is a game and that the grand prize for winning is a tank.

2. Se7en (1995)

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IMDb: 8.7

Director: David Fincher

A film about two homicide detectives' (Morgan Freeman and (Brad Pitt desperate hunt for a serial killer who justifies his crimes as absolution for the world's ignorance of the Seven Deadly Sins. The movie takes us from the tortured remains of one victim to the next as the sociopathic "John Doe" (Kevin Spacey) sermonizes to Detectives Somerset and Mills -- one sin at a time. The sin of Gluttony comes first and the murderer's terrible capacity is graphically demonstrated in the dark and subdued tones characteristic of film noir. The seasoned and cultured but jaded Somerset researches the Seven Deadly Sins in an effort to understand the killer's modus operandi while the bright but green and impulsive Detective Mills (Pitt) scoffs at his efforts to get inside the mind of a killer...

1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

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IMDb: 8.7

Director: Milos Forman

McMurphy has a criminal past and has once again gotten himself into trouble and is sentenced by the court. To escape labor duties in prison, McMurphy pleads insanity and is sent to a ward for the mentally unstable. Once here, McMurphy both endures and stands witness to the abuse and degradation of the oppressive Nurse Ratched, who gains superiority and power through the flaws of the other inmates. McMurphy and the other inmates band together to make a rebellious stance against the atrocious Nurse.

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