This top-10 list has been a lifetime in the making since it deals with the top movies that make me cry. Now I don't drop tears at the drop of a hat mind you, because I am a masculine male secure in his masculinity (who's prone to be a bit redundant, repetitive and iterating at times).
You'll note that there are some common themes in the list of movies that move me, namely: self-sacrifice or duty on behalf of others; loss of a key relationship whether it's family or friend; or overcoming insurmountable odds or adversity. These are the themes that are sure saline drivers for me. Here's the list:
10. Sophie's Choice - This is a horribly sad movie for any parent with more than one child since the main character (Meryl Streep) is forced to make the ultimate choice between her two children. As a father of two daughters this movie will make ANY grown man cry. As such, I still get to keep my Man Card despite my blubbering.
9. The Yearling - I originally saw it as an impressionable 11-year old boy, which is mainly why it still makes me cry (I think). Even though this is a formulaic movie with marginal acting, the premise of the young boy willingly choosing to set his pet deer free rather than see it killed is a tear-jerker.
8. The Notebook - For the sake of honesty and integrity I had to add this to the list. I know, I know....this officially means my Man Card is revoked....
7. Toy Story 3 - People always freak out when I mention that I tear up at his movie because - A.) it's an animated movie and B.) it's about flippin' toys!! My retort is that the scene at the fiery garbage dump where the toy collective exchange glances atop the sliding refuse pile, as they've resigned themselves to their fate, is as poignant a movie moment as I can remember.
6. Hanover Street - This is a little-known love story that's woven into a plot similar to Force 10 from Navarone. Hanover Steet is set in WWII England and stars Harrison Ford, Leslie-Anne Down and Christopher Plummer in an unconventional love triangle that includes: action, betrayal, intrigue, suspense, adultery, sacrifice, redemption...and tears.
5. Dumbo - This is one of the shortest feature films produced by Disney, yet it is also the hardest to watch with our kids. When Dumbo witnesses the caging and separation from his mother - there's not a dry eye among the Constantino clan. Both my daughters pick this as the one movie that makes them cry every time. By contrast, neither of them shed a tear at Bambi.
4. Charlotte's Web - This movie is the last animated feature that makes me kinda weepy. I'm talking about the one from 1973 with the voice talents of Debbie Reynolds, Henry Gibson and Paul Lynde, NOT the live-action version with Julia Roberts and Dakota Fanning - (the second one makes me throw up a bit in my mouth.) Conversely, the final exchange between Reynolds (Charlotte) and Gibson (Wilbur) in the animated version balances the peace and frantic despair associated with death of a loved one. It's powerful. You can disagree but you'd be wrong.
3. Brian's Song - I don't know a single guy who hasn't cried during a viewing of this 1971 classic sports movie that portrays the real-life buddy story of Chicago Bears' players Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and Gayle Sayers (Billy Dee Williams). The unlikely duo is forced to become roommates, but a lifelong friendship is forged and tested once Piccolo is diagnosed with cancer. "I love Brian Piccolo" - that line still makes me a bit misty.
2. Rudy - This is another football movie that chronicles the seemingly insurmountable challenges of an under-sized, blue-collar football player with limited athletic skill and sub-par grades who dreams of playing for Notre Dame. It's an emotional roller coaster for Sean Astin's character and the viewer - it's hard not to cry when he does because you can relate to someone that everyone says can't achieve their goal. This underdog movie of inspiration and perseverance through adversity, showcases the axiom that "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."
1. Old Yeller - From underdog to ultimate dog, do I even have to write anything about this one? Here's the story: frontier boy + best dog in the world + fight with rabid wolf + "Travis get the gun" = copious amount of man tears.
Obviously, there are some glaring omissions to this list - which ones need to be here? Which ones should be removed? What's the one movie that moistens your eyes just thinking about it?