Crying For Film, And Also My Top Crying Scenes

by Daniel Donche on July 18, 2016

Here be spoilers.

I did my first crying scene the other day. It was actually a reshoot, so it was the second time I did it, and I did two takes back to back. I wasn’t prepared for it. It’s not something most people practice for, but I think I did alright.

I’m not saying this for any reason other than context. Crying scenes have always seemed, to me, like the most difficult to do because they carry a larger risk of coming off as ridiculous. We’ve all seen it. “It sounds like they’re laughing.” Sometimes people are too over the top. It’s easy to fuck up a crying scene I guess. And who knows, maybe I fucked mine up. We’ll see in a couple weeks (I’ll add the video here once the film drops).

But since I feel I’m now part of some ultra-awesome unit of actors who have cried on screen, I thought I’d give you my list of favorite scenes that I think epitomize the variety and insane skills of these actors.

Again, some damn spoilers are in this post.

10. Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump

I’ll be damned if Forrest Gump can’t just catch a break. He spent the whole movie chasing Jenny and when he finally gets her, this shit happens. The grave scene is a doozey.

9. Sally Fields – Steel Magnolias

I think she did a great job of expressing a number of emotions in this scene.

8. Sean Penn – Mystic River

Another high-energy performance is right here. While Penn does cry another time in this movie, I think this is the better of the two scenes.

7. Matthew McConnaughey – Interstellar

The reason I love this scene so much is because it’s almost entirely one take of just Matthew’s face. We hear the voiceover he’s hearing and we simply see his reaction.

6. Nick Nolte – Warrior

If you’ve ever seen Warrior, you’ll know what I mean when I say this scene is potent.

5. Tom Hanks – Castaway

I don’t know a single person who wasn’t moved by this scene. I think we found it so powerful because we never realized we could love an object so much until this happened.

4. Matthew Lillard – SLC Punk

This one is powerful because it’s unexpected in the movie and I’ve always felt it was a top-notch reaction to Heroin Bob’s departure. Plus, I’m a fan of drool and spit.

3. Sylvester Stallone – Rocky III

This one hits me hard because of the sounds coming from Rocky.

2. Shailene Woodley – The Fault In Our Stars

This was my number one pick, but I keep reshuffling the top three. I’m stopping here. Just know that she had the top spot until right before I finished this article. Unfortunately, I could not find a clip of this performance.


1. Will Smith – The Pursuit of Happyness

This one is my all-time favorite. He’s crying for a different reason than all the others here (except Captain Phillips below). Will Smith’s performance here is next-level.

Honorable Mentions

Look, there are some great scenes in here, too. Powerful ones. While these ones are memorable, and worth mentioning, they just aren’t some of my all-time favorites. These ones are in no particular order.

Denzel Washington – Glory

This one I had a rough time putting as an HM because it’s so good. The single tear is what sets this one apart.

Meryl Streep – Sophie’s Choice

This is considered one of the most powerful scenes, but I’ve not seen the whole movie. I couldn’t leave it out, though.

Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips

Tom Hanks for yet a third performance. I only give this an HM because I haven’t seen the movie yet, so everything that builds up to it isn’t there for me.

Emma Thompson – Love Actually

What I love about this one is that she’s trying to hold it together, and we all feel bad for her at this point, but she also has to pull it together and go back out to her family like nothing is wrong.

Mel Gibson – The Patriot

I can’t find a clip of this, but I remember liking it.

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Boogie Nights

This classic scene from Boogie Nights is cool because I think we’ve all felt like this before.

Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables

Bonus points for having to cry and sing at the same time.

That’s all there is today, folks. What are some of your favorite crying scenes? Post the videos in the comments!



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