12 Sad Movies on Disney+ to Watch When You Need a Good Cry
Over the past few months (OK, the past year), we’ve been craving all the feel-good content, from funny romantic comedies to binge-worthy new titles. But let’s be real: Sometimes, we just want to watch a poignant film that gives us all the feels. Even as we continue to navigate the ups and downs of this weird Covid era, it never hurts to let it all out and just have a good cry (healthy catharsis, FTW). Thankfully, Disney+ offers an impressive library of great options, from Up to Toy Story 3. Below, see 12 sad movies on Disney+ that are sure to make you break out the tissues.
1. ‘Queen of Katwe’ (2016)
Adapted from Tim Crothers’s book of the same title, the biographical film centers on 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga), who lives with her family in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda. After she’s introduced to the game of chess, she becomes fascinated by it and under the guidance of Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), a chess instructor, she becomes a skilled player. Phiona then goes on to compete in national tournaments, giving her a chance to escape poverty and help her family. It’s quite an inspiring story but you should expect a few heartbreaking moments that’ll tug at your heartstrings.
2. ‘Bao’ (2018)
Trust us when we say it’s impossible to watch Bao without shedding a few tears. In this Oscar-winning short film, we follow a middle-aged Chinese-Canadian mother who struggles with empty nest syndrome, but jumps at the opportunity to be a nurturing mother again when one of her steamed buns (called baozi) magically comes to life. But will history repeat itself? Sweet, adorable and will definitely make you hungry.
3. ‘Inside Out’ (2015)
This Pixar comedy film explores the inner workings of the mind in a whole new way, and there’s no shortage of tearjerker scenes. Set within the mind of a girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), we meet the personified emotions who control her actions, including Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). After moving to a new state with her family, Riley’s emotions guide her as she tries to adjust to this difficult change. The story will definitely appeal to adults and kids alike, challenging viewers to deal with their emotions in a healthy way.
4. ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ (2013)
Inspired by the true story behind the making of the 1964 film, Mary Poppins, this Academy Award-winning film follows Walt Disney as he attempts to get the screen rights to P. L. Travers’s (Emma Thompson) novels. Meanwhile, viewers also get a glimpse of the author’s troubled childhood through several flashbacks, which happen to be the inspiration behind her work. Travers’s incredibly rough childhood and the magic of Disney is bound to move anyone to tears.
5. ‘Coco’ (2017)
To this day, we can’t hear “Remember Me” without getting a little teary-eyed. Set in Santa Cecilia, Mexico, Coco tells the story of a young boy named Miguel, an aspiring musician who’s forced to hide his talents because of his family’s ban on music. But after he breaks into the mausoleum of a singer that he idolizes, he enters the Land of the Dead, unearthing family secrets that just might help reverse the ban on music.
6. ‘Avengers: Endgame’
In this tearful installment of Marvel’s Avengers series, we pick up after the final events of Infinity War, where Thanos snaps his fingers and kills off half of the world’s population. Twenty-three days later, the remaining avengers and their allies team up and try to figure out how to reverse his actions. We won’t give away any spoilers, but let’s just say you’ll need a box of tissues for that gut-punch ending.
7. ‘Old Yeller’ (1957)
Set in Texas during the late 1860s and based on Fred Gipson's novel of the same name, Old Yeller centers on a young boy named Travis Coates (Tommy Kirk), who bonds with a stray dog that he meets on his family’s ranch. But when he finds that his furry friend has a deadly virus, he’s forced to make a difficult decision. Warning: You will need tissues…lots of ‘em.
8. ‘Bambi’ (1942)
This movie may be aimed at kids, but it’s by far one of the most emotional movies you’ll ever see (and arguably the saddest Disney movie of all time). Bambi is about a young fawn who gets chosen to become the next Prince of the Forest, but unfortunately, his life (and those of his loved ones) are constantly at risk because of dangerous hunters. The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Sound, Best Song and Original Music Score.
9. ‘Toy Story 3’ (2010)
Prepare to go through at least one box of tissues, because the finale alone is sure to make you sob. In Toy Story 3, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang are accidentally donated to Sunnyside Daycare. But when they learn that Andy, now 17 and college-bound, never intended to get rid of them, they try to make it back home before he goes away.
10. ‘Onward’ (2020)
Meet Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt), two teenage elf brothers who are on a mission to find a mysterious artifact that can reunite them with their late father. As they embark on their exciting new journey, however, they face quite a few challenges, making shocking discoveries that they never could’ve prepared for.
11. ‘Big Hero 6’ (2014)
Big Hero 6 chronicles the story of Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), a 14-year-old robotics genius who tries to avenge his brother’s death by turning Baymax, an inflatable healthcare robot, and his friends into a high-tech superhero team. This one definitely has its funny moments, but the film’s treatment of grief will also make you sniffle.
12. ‘Up’ (2009)
Fair warning: Up will probably have you crying within the first 15 minutes—but don’t worry, things eventually look up (sort of). This Pixar film centers on Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner), an elderly man whose wife unfortunately passes away before they embark on their dream adventure. Still, determined to keep his promise, he turns his home into a makeshift airship by using hundreds of balloons. It’s fun, it’s poignant, and it’s got much more depth than you’d expect.