Top 10 Most Depressing Films EVER Made

Everybody knows that the way to an Academy Award is to pile on as much depression and misery as humanly possible, a fact proven by the heroic Kate Winslet in Extras:

And THAT is why despair is so fashionable at the cinema. The more tears they squeeze from us, the more they wrench at our hearts and the more they make us want to open an artery and slowly bleed to death is directly proportional to how much of an impact a film will make at the awards ceremonies.

So, without any further ado, here are the 10 most depressing films ever made (in Best For Film’s opinion, at least!):


#10 – The Piano Teacher
All the sad films have pianos in them

Interested in a little known film about self-mutilation, sexual repression, fetishes, voluntary rape and lost dreams? Didn’t think so.


#9 – Veronika Decides To Die
The title says it all, doesn’t it?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the presence of Buffy Summers would make this a fun and feisty flick about a girl who seriously kicks ass. Instead, you’ll discover a shadowy wisp of a woman who has discovered life is completely devoid of any magic or mystery:

Oh. My. God. And it’s even got a piano in it! Hand me a plastic bag, I need to suffocate myself so I don’t hear anymore…


#8 – Repulsion
Because Polanski had to make it on here somewhere!

Polanski’s first English language film is one of the forerunners of the bleak-chic genre. Whilst Macaulay Culkin liked being left Home Alone, Catherine Deneuve doesn’t find it nearly as much fun. Sexually repressed, with a dark past lingering in the back of shot, she goes insane with surreal fantasies of seduction and rape. And she murders people. Let’s not forget that she murders people…


#7 – Never Let Me Go
For the tortured facial expressions alone

Love triangle between three organ-donor clones. They’re doomed anyway, so there’s no point getting too attached to any of them, no matter how big and sorrowful they make their eyes (Carey Mulligan, we’re looking at you!). It’s just a big sobfest of doomed love and doomed life and just plain and simple doom. DOOM!


#6 – Grave Of The Fireflies
If you thought cartoons were fun, think again!

Studio Ghibli’s animated war tragedy is one of the most horrifying cartoons ever drawn. Nothing good happens, ever and, everytime you THINK something good might happen, it’s bulldozed into annihilation by some new horror. Why is this such an excellent account of the war? Because it emphasises personal loss and society’s failure to protect the innocent. Deep weep-worthy stuff.


#5 – They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
They do what now?!

With a title like that, how could this film ever offer an optimistic view of life? I doubt you’ll be surprised that this flick is disturbing on many levels, telling the epic story of exhausted and hopeless Americans undertaking a gruelling dance marathon in the shabby La Monica Ballroom. If I tell you that horses are shot to be put out of their misery and that the characters of this film end up completely miserable, you may get an inkling as to where this one is inevitably going to end up. Sad for horses AND humans!


#4 – Requiem For A Dream
Sounds pretty but is, in fact, the ultimate suicide companion

“Better get him over to the hospital. I don’t expect him to live out the week.” And, for those who watch this movie, better get yourselves some chocolate. I don’t expect you to ever be happy again without it. This film is all about addicts, addictions and the misery of dependence. No happy endings and not a single grain of positivity in this big bag of bad mood rice. It’s a brutal film and will assault every fibre of your being; just try and think of a wonderful thought when the credits roll. Just you try!


#3 – The Pianist
What did I tell you about pianos?

What’s that? Polanski made it on the list AGAIN? Man, he really is the king of misery and he certainly doesn’t spare us any grief with this masterpiece. No atrocity is subdued; torture, humiliation, devastation and death are all examined in great detail, making this Holocaust narrative more terrifying than any horror film I’ve ever seen. And it got THREE Oscars, proving Winslet correct in her theory…


#2 – The Elephant Man
Who, unlike Superman, was ugly, couldn’t fly and didn’t have a girlfriend.

“I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!”

And that’s all I have to say on the matter.


#1 – Revolutionary Road
The film which proves that marriage will kill us all…

Am I putting a story about two people ABOVE the Holocaust? Apparently so. This film is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most dangerous flicks out there; after watching it for the first time, I lay on the sofa for hours and didn’t think of anything. My mind was blank, my senses were numb; love was futile and life seemed pointless. I was finally made aware of the hopeless emptiness. “The hopeless emptiness? Now, you’ve said it. Plenty of people are on to the emptiness, but it takes real guts to see the hopelessness.” A few days later, I was back to normal and yet this film sticks with me as it touched a nerve. Have I bought into the same ridiculous delusion as everyone else? Oh God, even remembering it sends waves of crushing despair surging through my body. I need to sit down. No, I need to lie down. In the dark. All alone. Oh God…

About The Author