Most Emotionally Moving Films

  1. Nostalghia - Andrei Tarkovsky (1983)
  2. The Passion of Joan of Arc - Carl Theodore Dreyer (1928)
  3. Schindler's List - Steven Spielberg (1993)
  4. Landscape in the Mist - Theo Angelopoulos (1988)
  5. The Color of Paradise - Mahid Majidi (1999)
  6. The Sacrifice - Andrei Tarkovsky (1986)
  7. Leaving Las Vegas - Mike Figgis (1995)
  8. Paris, Texas - Wim Wenders (1983)
  9. It's a Wonderful Life - Frank Capra (1947)
  10. Possession - Andrei Zulawski (1981)
  11. Inland Empire - David Lynch (2006)
  12. Ikiru - Akira Kurosawa (1952)
  13. 21 Grams - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (2003)
  14. The Willow Tree - Majid Majidi
  15. Tokyo Story - Yasujiro Ozu (1953)
  16. The Traveling Players - Theo Angelopoulos (1975)
  17. Andrei Rublev - Andrei Tarkovsky (1966)
  18. Eternity and a Day - Theo Angelopoulos (1998)
  19. Breaking the Waves - Lars Von Trier (1996)
  20. Dancer in the Dark - Lars Von Trier (2000)
  21. The Sweet Hereafter - Atom Egoyan (1997)
  22. The Weeping Meadow - Theo Angelopoulos (2007)
  23. Maborosi - Kore-eda (1995)
  24. Werckmeister Harmonies - Bela Tarr (2000)
  25. Satantango - Bela Tarr (1994)
  26. The Godfather, Part 2 - Francis Ford Coppola (1974)
  27. The Deer Hunter - Michael Cimino (1978)
  28. Come and See - Elim Klimov (1985)
  29. Persona - Ingmar Bergman (1966)
  30. Stalker - Andrei Tarkovsky (1979)
  31. Vertigo - Alfred Hitchcock (1958)
  32. Time - Kim ki-duk
  33. Last Tango in Paris - Bernardo Bertolucci (1972)
  34. Cries and Whispers - Ingmar Bergman (1972)
  35. Underground - Emir Kusturica (1995)
  36. Synecdoche, New York - Charlie Kaufman (2007)
  37. Limelight - Charlie Chaplin (1952)
  38. Mirror - Andrei Tarkovsky (1974)
  39. Late Spring - Yasujiro Ozu (1949)
  40. Funny Games - Michael Haneke (1997)
Author Comments: 

Definition of "Moving" being applied: "Producing strong emotion, especially sadness or sympathy".

For me, It's A Wonderful Life would be #1 (the title is hilariously deceptive: it is the saddest film). That's is pretty much the only film that can continue to make me cry.

It's a good one and will definitely be on here. I'd probably place it in the top 40 or so, but then again, it's been years since I saw it, so I'll probably watch it again before putting it anywhere on this list.

The scene with the druggist and the poison gets me every time and I can't begin to really get why.

I think my connection to the film is from being kind of a small-town-hick-afraid-of-getting-stuck myself.

And goddamn I really really really gotta get on watching Nostalgia I am really fucking behind on my Tarkovsky-watching-&-re-watching.

Ah yes, that is a great scene!

Re: Nostalghia...please do: we're talking about what is basically the greatest film ever made! So emotionally devastating because it is done with such staggering personal conviction + virtually infinite profundity - in other words, the emotion of the film has incredible depth of meaning and feeling, creating a "layered, reverberating experience" that is endlessly compelling and moving.

Another glowing recommendation for Nostalgia

I was thinking of going through all his films chronologically. As the last three Tarks that I've watched have been Steamroller and Violin, Ivan's Childhood, and Andrei Rublev, but maybe I should just skip right through to get to the only other feature of his I have not seen (I also have a DVD of the production of Moussorgsky's Boris Godunov that Tarkovsky directed and I gotta get on watching that too!) .

Tarkovsky's student films are interesting but you're lucky to catch glimpses of his future genius. Ivan's Childhood is a strong step forward with a lot of great moments but I think Andrei Rublev should be the priority, masterpiece. That and Edvard Munch are the best movies about being an artist that I can think of.

I neeeed to see Boris Godunov. Tarkovsky + Moussorgsky + Puskin; how can it go wrong.

No no, I mean the ones that I just recently watched were Steamroller and Violin, Ivan's Childhood, and Andrei Rublev (and in that order too ( there! (and also in my favourite scripts and favourite acting lists)))-- so I was thinking I'd go for watching his films chronologically now.
Andrei Rublev is totally amazing as damn near perfect as Stalker and Sacrifice. <3 It's as perfect a film as Rublev's Trinity is perfect a painting. It gave Tarkovsky a certain freedom to be completely transparent with his artistic musings by making it about an artist.
But yeah I was thinking of just going through his movies now, rewatches and all... So now I'd go for Solaris then Mirror then Stalker then Nostalgia (then Voyage in Time) then Sacrifice!
If just going straight for the ones I haven't seen for the sake of completion, I'd just be watching Nostalgia and Voyage in Time.

Wanna watch Boris Godunov with me? We can have dinner and see an opera? ~<3 I do have the DVD.
The only shame about it is that Tarkovsky didn't live long enough to direct the video recording of it. That would have been perfect.
Tarkovsky stage direction + Moussorgsky + Pushkin + Tarkovsky camera direction = anything I could ever want in anything.

Going through chronologically would have rewards I'm sure, as his films became, for the most part, increasingly autobiographical/personal as his career went on (which isn't very common).

And increasingly great, it seems, considering Stalker (personal favourite film) and Sacrifice (in personal top-20-best-films) and you and Marquee being as big on Nostalgia as you guys are...

Yep, especially from The Mirror on, he was on a plane very few artists have ever reached.

Rocky Iv, Rocky III, Rocky II, Rambo II, Over the Top, Commando, Predator, Occhio Malocchio Prezzemolo e finocchio.

Darnitt :) I forgot all those!

Well i'm obviously joking. I would say Cries and Whispers, Antichrist, The Deer Hunter.

Well, I don't agree on Antichrist, but the other 2 are up there

City Lights!
Mulholland Drive (?)

Double post...

Possibly, I definitely need to see both of them again. Especially Mulholland Dr, which for some reason I haven't seen in years. Not sure if it would place high on this particular list but in memory it seems one of the more possible upgrades on my "Greatest Films - Extended" list.

Also, this list needs to be updated...

I was going to write this on your "Recommend" page, but I'll leave it here instead: Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow. An inspiration for Tokyo Story, it is one of the best, most moving, touchingly simple, tough-minded and perfect films I've ever seen. I saw it for the first time a few weeks ago, and it still lives with me.

Thank you! This list really needs to be updated (probably when I make my next cycle through films). Top four should probably be something like Nostalghia, Landscape in the Mist, Sacrifice, The Passion of Joan of Arc ... I think?

Anyway, thank you for the recommendation. This is the perfect place for it :-)

Additional note: Your aforementioned Tokyo Story would also likely be a bit higher -- perhaps top 15, maybe even top 10.

:)! I probably find Late Spring more affecting than Tokyo Story, but both films are devastating masterpieces so I can't fault your choice. The more Ozu appreciation the better!

Late Spring would rank well too; really not sure which one would top the other. Its very difficult to rank them all perfectly on this element alone of course. ... Probably the biggest jump would be Paris, Texas -- possibly top 10.


Hmmmm, possibly... Its an excellently crafted film in every respect. Not sure just how moving I find it. In your opinion, is it more moving than any of these or are you recommending it for 41+?

I'm afraid I haven't watched most of these. I'd say it's definitely more moving than Vertigo at least. Also, I see City Lights still hasn't made it.

I would most likely disagree with it being more moving than Vertigo (unless Vertigo drops some notches upon revisiting), but City Lights is a great choice that should make it on here at some point.

Vertigo is more devastating and powerful, whereas Casablanca is more on the sentimental, heartwarming side.

Yeah, I agree with that distinction.