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Saddest Movies on Disney+ to Watch Right Now


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by Xtreme HD IPTV

Disney+ is the streaming home to tons of terrific stories. Its prolific backlog of animated films, the expansive MCU, and the many documentaries found on National Geographic are just a handful of examples. Being a service run by Disney, you can also expect a plethora of its content to leave you in tears. In a good way, of course. We all need a good cry every once in a while, and Disney’s track record of crafting emotionally powerful stories is always a safe bet for turning on the waterworks.

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If you want to cry, Disney+ has got you covered. As an aggregate of other Disney-affiliated properties, there’s plenty of content that stretches beyond just their animated films, making it a stellar service for all kinds of emotionally gripping dramas. It’s time to get the tissue boxes and ice cream pints ready. These are just some of the saddest movies on Disney+ to watch right now.

Updated on Jan. 11, 2024, by Ben Hathaway: This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.

25 Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)

While Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is no Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s a more than worthy addition to the franchise, and it received way too much skepticism and outright negativity both before and just after its release. It’s a rollicking adventure with a few memorable villains and, by the time the credits have rolled, a very special cameo. Specifically, Karen Allen’s Marion Ravenwood, from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

The cameo is both very effective and a heartbreaking ribbon tied onto the film’s saddest subplot. Namely, the death of Mutt — Indy and Marion’s son from Crystal Skull. What’s extra impressive about Dial of Destiny is how it gives a little extra worth to the far inferior film that preceded it. There are also other losses in the film that hit hard, such as Antonio Banderas’ character. Not to mention, it’s just outright sad knowing this is the last time Ford will play Indiana Jones.

24 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

While it’s mostly deemed the worst of the Spider-Man films, there’s still some merit to The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Its chief asset is, like the first movie, the chemistry between leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Unfortunately for all involved, by the time the credits roll, the latter is no longer in the picture.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

It’s hard to know what this would have turned The Amazing Spider-Man 3 into, but it certainly wouldn’t be the feel-good hit of the summer movie season. Stone’s Gwen Stacy breaking her neck is a pivotal moment in the comics’ history, much less Marc Webb’s sequel, and given the strength of the stars’ real-life chemistry and likability, it hits extra hard. But, at least it led to one of the more poignant moments in Spider-Man: No Way Home (which does give a potential hint as to where Garfield’s take on the character would have gone in ASM 3).

23 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther franchise suffered a major blowback with the untimely loss of the wonderful Chadwick Boseman. But, he and the cast made do and turned out a remarkably solid sequel in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. This is especially true of the first act, which is focused on T’Challa’s funeral.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

Angela Bassett’s work in Wakanda Forever is the best performance in the MCU thus far, and that’s probably how it will remain. It’s obvious throughout the film just how much Boseman meant to everyone involved, but Bassett genuinely feels like a grieving mother. While she didn’t win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the 95th Academy Awards, it’s quite telling that she still received an honorary Oscar less than a year later, in Jan. 2024. Her performance conveys the grief we all felt over losing him.

22 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had a disappointing dad plot that certainly came close to jerking tears, but that was nothing compared to Rocket’s throughline in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The result is the best MCU film since Avengers: Endgame, though Spider-Man: No Way Home certainly ranks high as well. That’s mostly due to the depth of Rocket’s backstory, not to mention a few solid jokes along the way.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

In other words, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 isn’t overwhelmingly sad, but it can come close. Rocket Raccoon’s past is filled with torture, experimental procedures, and cute furry friends. Although the cute furry friends in question don’t survive. For a superhero film to establish furry little characters, give them personalities, and then kill them off? That’s risky, and while it can detract from the film’s momentum, it’s also the most crushingly poignant aspect.

21 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

First and foremost, Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had a troubled production, and it very much shows. There’s a tonal imbalance that permeates throughout and one wishes Raimi were given an MCU project to work on from the very beginning, not just as a replacement. But, he does bring his humanity to the project, with America Chavez (and her traumatic backstory) fitting in very well with other likable Raimi characters such as Ash Williams and Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

The way Chavez discovered her universe-hopping powers couldn’t be sadder. When she and Strange are transported to Earth-838, they walk by a shop and are involuntarily exposed to one another’s tear-jerking memories. Both the audience and Strange see that the first portal she opened sucked in her mothers, ostensibly (but not definitely) killing them.

20 Togo (2019)

togo

Togo

Release Date
December 20, 2019

Togo is one of Disney Plus’ saddest films that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults if they’re in the mood for a good cry. Inspired by the real-life story of Leonhard Seppala (Willem Dafoe), the film charts the relationship between Sappala and his Siberian husky, Togo, eventually training him to lead the serum run of 1925.

What Makes it Heartbreaking?

Togo is full of raw emotions and passion that are told with conviction and endearment through its lead actor, Willem Dafoe. The visual effects in the film are extraordinary, especially when paired with Ericson Core’s enthralling vision and all-encompassing cinematography. For fans of snowcapped settings, Togo is a sheer treat to watch, just don’t expect to retain dry eyes throughout the duration.

19 Moana (2016)

moana

Moana

Release Date
November 23, 2016

Despite being an animated coming-of-age story, Moana is a bonafide tearjerker that will tear out your heart and make you question some pertinent things about life. The Academy Award-nominated film centers around Moana, a chieftain’s daughter who goes on an epic journey to return the heart of a goddess in exchange for saving her people from a blight.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

Cute animation, clever dialogue, and roaring humor aside, Moana is a deeply moving film that highlights the importance of empathy and righteousness without being overly dramatic or preachy. The film also tackles adult sentiments like the theme of losing a loved one with a sense of everyday reality rather than being patronizing. In other words, it’s as likely to make adults cry as children, if not more so.

18 Bao (2018)

Bao

Bao

Release Date
June 15, 2018

Runtime
8

Bao is Pixar’s first short film that was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival before winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Short at the 91st Academy Awards. The film revolves around a lonely woman who suffers from empty nest syndrome, who gets another chance at motherhood when one of the buns she cooks comes alive, sending her into shock and happiness.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

Animated films have an inherent childlike quality to them that makes them cute and endearing. But when such films deal with complex emotions like feelings of loss and guilt, then the animated visuals are lent a certain depth of depth and intrigue. Bao is a great example of this juxtaposition that crossbreeds complex emotions and cute animations with an additional layer of good writing. Whether you’re a parent or not, we can all connect with ideas of grief and isolation, so when it’s portrayed so sadly here, it’ll bring a tear to anyone’s eye.

17 Inside Out (2015)

inside out

Inside Out is another Academy Award winner for Pixar’s stable of animated films. Considered by many to be one of the best animated films to have ever been made, Inside Out delves into the mind of a little girl named Riley and explores her core emotions like anger, disgust, joy, sadness, and fear, along with the impact they have on her actions.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

Inside Out should be on everyone’s watchlist as the film provides an honest and relatable insight into the mind of a little girl through a fresh lens of animation and humor. What’s most impressive here is that the film manages to be both educational and entertaining. There’s a dearth of information out there for understanding and coping with our emotions, so this is a plot that resonates easily with children and adults.

16 Queen of Katwe (2016)

Based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, a girl who aspired to become a chess Grand Master and lift her family out of poverty. Apart from her struggles in the outer world, Queen of Katwe explores Phiona’s battles from within her own house. By the end, a tale has been crafted that celebrates the human spirit in the face of all-encompassing odds.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

If you’re in the mood for an underdog tale that’s told with conviction and raw emotion, then Queen of Katwe should definitely be on your watchlist. Mira Nair’s film perfectly captures the trials and tribulations across different classes along with the gender divide, and it’s a plotline that resonates no matter which part of the world the viewer is watching it in. What’s most emotional about it, though, are the central performances from Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, two of the best actors working today.

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15 Howard (2018)

An underrated gem of a documentary that highlights not just the story of Disney’s signature human spirit, but that of a man not known to the audience. Howard Ashman’s life as a once-in-a-generation lyricist is brought to grand life through the lens of Don Hahn. The songwriter had an integral role in lending songs to Disney Renaissance classics like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

The documentary allows viewers to understand Howard’s personal life, his childhood, the obstacles he faced, as well as the creative drive that led him to write beloved classics. From having a stutter to finding his voice, the film chronicles his story with the help of interviews and archival footage. Howard never sugarcoats the truth. Instead, it beautifully honors Ashman’s legacy.

14 West Side Story (2021)

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Set in 1957 Manhattan, West Side Story is Steven Spielberg’s latest rendition of an iconic musical. The original film already featured enduring themes of society and politics and this remake only brought more nuance and vitality to it. We follow two young souls, Maria and Tony, who are directly affiliated with rival gangs. As their romance ignites across differences and hatred, the movie highlights how absurd prejudices tear cities and hearts apart.

What Makes it Heartbreaking?

Rachel Zegler displays immense talent in her first leading role here. Moreover, each song and dance brims with raw emotion, making the film more breathtaking and poetic than ever. But let’s not forget that Tony and Maria’s story is emotional enough to leave you in tears.

13 Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, this magical film follows the story of Walt Disney, and his unparalleled devotion to pursuing author P.L. Travers to allow him to bring her cherished character, Mary Poppins, to life on the big screen back in the 1960s. Saving Mr. Banks is a beautiful biopic that demands a rewatch.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

Talking about the era first, the 1960s were a time when artists were finally finding a voice and the creative freedom to talk about what bothered them. So for Travers to look back upon her childhood trauma, and to witness, for the very first time, her parents as imperfect people, is truly heartbreaking to watch. But that’s also what makes us and her human. Walt respects her story, dark nights and all, and assures her to do justice.

12 Dumbo (2019)

dumbo

Dumbo

Release Date
March 27, 2019

Dumbo follows Holt, a circus performer responsible for taking care of a young elephant with oversized ears. Despite being ridiculed for the way he looked, when everyone learned that Dumbo could fly, men with bad intentions came after him. It’s a tale of ignorance and greed, two factors that sadly purvey our society daily.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

Disney’s adorable elephant first made a debut on screen in 1941. At the time, a different generation was there to acknowledge the wonder and joy he brought into their lives. Since then, the film’s been remade, its concept toyed with, but one thing holds steady: it’s hard to watch people abuse this cute little flop-eared elephant.

11 Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Over a decade’s worth of heroism came to a conclusion in Avengers: Endgame. Following the events of Avengers: Infinity War, we see the team of our favorite, smarter-than-science heroes facing their biggest challenge – to reverse The Snap. No mission is ever easy, but the Avengers manage to find a way.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

With the help of Scott Lang’s quantum theory, Tony Stark’s genius, and Smart Hulk’s newfound sensibilities, the team travels through time to confront their toughest challenge and get bust on the battlefield to confront failures and losses. From the very start of the movie, when Thor kills Thanos with one swift strike to the end, where Rogers and Stark sacrifice themselves for the sake of those they hold dear, the movie has fans moved to the core. Moreover, the film also marks the end of a saga, which in itself is saddening.

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10 Logan (2017)

wolverine 3

Logan

Release Date
February 28, 2017

Runtime
135

2017’s Logan was conceived as the final film of the Wolverine trilogy, which originally started with X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. Instead of going out with a bang, however, Logan goes for something a bit more solemn. An aging Wolverine, played once more by Hugh Jackman, finds himself suffering as his healing abilities start to falter. As he tends to a dementia-riddled Professor X along the border of Mexico, the sudden arrival of a new mutant on his doorstep will force him out of hiding.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

Logan is a surprising entry in the X-Men universe, taking a darker, grittier approach to superheroes that’s more in line with what you’d expect from a neo-Western. While not as overtly sad as other films in this list, Logan’s story does have a way of creeping up on you. Its bittersweet ending will likely leave longtime X-Men sniffling, while its compelling father-daughter dynamic with Wolverine and X-23 (Dafne Keen) makes for some genuinely devastating moments.

9 The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

The Fault in Our Stars was a staple novel of 2012, practically guaranteeing a film adaptation about two years later. Released in 2014, the film adaptation sees Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort playing a pair of star-crossed friends in a coming-of-age romance story. Unfortunately, there’s a tragic twist. Both of them are currently battling different forms of cancer. The two spend as much time together as they can, knowing that their future together isn’t certain.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

The Fault in Our Stars was a smash hit when it originally premiered, quickly climbing to number one at the box office for its opening weekend. Critics all seem to agree on one major sticking point when it comes to The Fault in Our Stars‘ content: it’s going to make you cry. It won’t just be a small sniffle, either. This could very well be the saddest film on Disney+.

8 Old Yeller (1957)

Old Yeller

Old Yeller

Release Date
December 25, 1957

Director
Robert Stevenson

Cast
Dorothy McGuire , Fess Parker , Jeff York , Chuck Connors , Beverly Washburn , Tommy Kirk

Disney’s Old Yeller is as iconic as it is tragic. Given its impact on the world of dog-oriented fiction, chances are you already know what makes this classic 1957 film so sad. Of course, if you don’t, we won’t spoil it for you here. Tommy Kirk, Fess Parker, and more star in a heart-wrenching drama set in the post-Civil War frontier. When the patriarch of a rural family heads out on a cattle drive, an unexpected furry friend makes themselves right at home.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

The Mastador playing our titular Old Yeller, Spike, would perform in several other films throughout the 1950s and 1960s, with notable performances including The She-Creature and The Westerner. He enjoyed an impressive career in the film industry, with most remembering him for his impressively friendly disposition. If you’re wondering why we’re telling you this, it’ll make more sense when you see Old Yeller for yourself.

7 Christopher Robin (2018)

Christopher Robin may look innocent and charming on the surface, but underneath its fuzzy exterior is a story that’ll tug on your heartstrings. Ewan McGregor stars as our title character, now a full-grown adult working in the middle of London. Having distanced himself from the Hundred Acre Wood after a rough upbringing, Christopher now finds himself without an imagination. Pooh, unable to find his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, travels to London to enlist Christopher’s help in finding them. However, in the time they’ve spent apart, Christopher may not be so willing to help out.

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

A surprisingly melancholic return for the Winnie the Pooh franchise, Christopher Robin is a movie that most of us can relate to in our adult years. It’s a film that reminds us of just how important our relationships are, with McGregor giving this bitter reinterpretation of Christopher his all. Underneath its quips and whims, there’s a story that’ll leave you feeling misty-eyed once it’s all over.

6 Finding Nemo (2003)

By now, Finding Nemo is a childhood staple. Filled with some of the most hilarious moments in Pixar’s early output, Finding Nemo is also a film that only becomes more emotional with time, painting a bittersweet story marred by tragedy. After Marlin (Albert Brooks) survives a vicious attack that destroys his family, the trauma forces him to keep his one and only son attached at the hip. But when Marlin’s overprotective nature leaves his son Nemo (Alexander Gould) in the fish tank of an Australian dentist, Marlin will have to confront his past with the help of a bubbly blue tang, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres)

What Makes It Heartbreaking?

Aside from featuring an all-star cast, Finding Nemo‘s memorable adventure is supplemented with an emotional core. The genuine stakes found in this ocean-spanning adventure, combined with the growth and development of Marlin and Dory, make for a surprisingly mature story underneath its overt laughs. Just remember: fish are friends, not food.

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