Top 10 – Tragic Love Stories: Part 1

Well my original plan was to have this top 10 done and out on Valentine’s Day mainly because tragic love stories where people don’t end up together seem to be more of a reality than the rom-com’s with the whole cliché of they lived happily ever after the end. I decided to make a long list of possible films which I could have put in my top 10 list.

In the list you will find many different love stories but all a lot shorter than they should have been.

Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, The Bridges of Madison County, Splendor In The Grass, Titanic, Brokeback Mountain, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Romeo & Juliet, City of Angels, Ghost, Love Story, A Walk to Remember, (500) Days of Summer, Phantom of the Opera and The Way We Were.

Tragic Love Stories: Part 2

WARNING: This post contains spoilers!!!

10. Phantom of the Opera (2004)

The Phantom really did love Christine and for some brief moments we are lead to believe that she loves him too. But does she really love him in the same way her loves her?

Why its tragic?

Christine leaves the Phantom heart-broken when she goes with Raoul.

Most Heartbreaking Moment

Phantom singing the reprise of “All I Ask of You” when he realises Christine is planning to run away with Raoul.

Most Heartbreaking Quote

“Say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime. Lead me, save me from my solitude. Say you’ll want me with you here beside you. Anywhere you go, let me go too. Christine, that’s all I ask of…”
[Christine pulls off his mask]

9. Ghost (1990)

Molly and Sam looked like the perfect couple with a love everyone would dream about (recreating the famous pottery scene with Unchained Melody playing). Making the word “ditto” enter everyone’s speech and using it when someone says “I Love You”. But that is all short-lived when Sam is murdered and taken away from Molly, he can’t just leave her he has to make sure she is alright first.

Why its tragic?

Molly has the love of her life taken away from her all too soon.

Most Heartbreaking Moment

The ending when Molly can see Sam for the last time and they say goodbye.

Most Heartbreaking Quote


8. The Way We Were (1973) Review

A love story based around a couple who were total opposites and did not like each other to begin with, but then ended up falling in love.

Why its tragic?

Hubble and Katie were total opposites and in that reason alone were perfect for each other.

Most Heartbreaking Moment

Has to be the ending when they bump into each other and it is so obvious that they want nothing more than to be together. The music beginning to play and the song “The Way We Were” hitting in, is just all so tragic.

Most Heartbreaking Quote

“Your girl is lovely, Hubbell.”

7. Splendor in the Grass (1961) Review

High school romance and first love are mixed together for Deanie and Bud

Why its tragic?

They look destined to be together and make a life with each other, until Bud goes with someone else which causes Deanie to have a breakdown under the pressures of teenage life.

Most Heartbreaking Moment

When Deanie goes back to visit Bud after a few years in the mental institute and realises that they will never be together as he is now married with children. The fact that the woman he is married to actually looks a lot like her as well makes it even more heartbreaking.

Most Heartbreaking Quote

“Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower, we will grieve not; rather find strength in what remains behind.”

6. Titanic (1997)

It was the ship of dreams and Rose met the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Jack Dawson. They made plans to be together when the boat docked in America however as the ship hits the iceberg the lovers are ripped apart when Jack goes down with the ship. Rose was rescued but Jack had already gone. She never told anyone about Jack until telling her story of the Titanic and he was always the love her life. They are eventually re-united when she dies at the end.

Why its tragic?

Real life which only lasted a few weeks while aboard the ship of dreams. They did not have a life together and know one even knew about her true love.

Most Heartbreaking Moment

Has to be when Rose realises that Jack has died and tries to wake him up for the boats that came back to save people.

Most Heartbreaking Quote

“A woman’s heart is an ocean of secrets.”

“Never let go.”

5. Gone with the Wind (1939)

Scarlett and Rhett really were made for each other, but Scarlett is too busy fighting for Ashley who she cannot have to actually realise her deep love for Rhett. Until it is too late.

Why its tragic?

They are not together in the end when she eventually admits she loves him.

Most Heartbreaking Moment

When Scarlett eventually realises that she loves Rhett, tries to tell him but it’s too late as frankly, my dear he don’t give a damn.

Most Heartbreaking Quote

“Frankly, my dear I don’t give a damn.”

4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) Review

Benjamin and Daisy had known each other forever, unfortunately though when they met Daisy was a young girl and Benjamin was an old man. But they were round about the same age, Benjamin started out looking very old and was getting younger in appearance everyday.

Why its tragic?

With Benjamin’s appearance getting younger it does not make it possible for them to spend their life together. They only have a limited amount of time they can be together when they met in the middle and eventually looked round about the same age.

Most Heartbreaking Moment

When Daisy leaves the room Benjamin is staying in who now looks like a teenager as you know this is going to be the last time they see each other. The next time they see each and Benjamin looks like a small child but cannot remember anyone or anything. Also the moment when Benjamin tells Daisy he wants to remember them just as they are now when they met in the middle. As they both know that will not last very long.

Most Heartbreaking Quote

Benjamin: “I was thinking how nothing lasts, and what a shame that is.” Daisy: “Some things last.”

3. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Ennis and Jack’s relationship is a forbidden love which lasts years and years. Both get married and have children but their affair continues over years.

Why its tragic?

They can never actually be together as they know so many people think what they feel towards each other is wrong. They could not accepted by the people around them and would lose everything.

Most Heartbreaking Moment

The shirt sniffing moment after Jack has died and Ennis visits his parents house and the end scene when Ennis hangs the shirt up, next to a picture of Brokeback Mountain.

Most Heartbreaking Quote

“I wish I knew how to quit you”

“Tell you what… truth is, sometimes I miss you so bad I can hardly stand it… “

2. Casablanca (1942) Review

Rick and Ilas had an affair/romance years before in Paris and found their paths crossed again in Casablanca when World War II was taking place. The song “Time Goes By” is poignant in this love story with Sam being told, you played it for her you’ll play it for me. It very much helps describe the couple who want more than anything to be together again. Only problem is Ilas is in Casablanca with her husband Victor.

Why its tragic?

Rick lets her go to make sure she has a better life than she would with him. Even though he really does love her and wants to be with her.

Most Heartbreaking Moment

Just when we are fooled into thinking Rick will leave on the plane with Ilas, he tells her that she must leave and if she doesn’t go with her husband she will eventually regret it.

Most Heartbreaking Quote

Rick: If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Ilsa: But what about us?
Rick: We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you.
Rick: And you never will. But I’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that. Now, now… Here’s looking at you kid.

1. The Bridges of Madison County (1995) Review

Robert and Francesca spend only 4 days with each other but share a love which will last a life time. She was not willing to leave her children and husband to be with Robert even though it was exactly what she wanted. It shows us how love can really catch you off guard and you cannot help who you fall in love with. But it does not always mean that your going to be with them. Even if you both feel the same way, sometimes it just isn’t meant to work out, but should they have at least given it a try?

Why is it tragic?

While you want them to be together because it is such a powerful love, it really is not possible for Francesca to leave her children. She always loved Robert and

Most Heartbreaking Moment

When she see’s him for the last time, standing in the rain. Both upset, she moves her hand to get out of the car at the traffic lights but doesn’t go to Robert. It really breaks my heart every time and makes me cry so much. It’s all about the actions and emotions of the pair as not many words are needed to explain what is going on and how they both feel. Her husband would never know what went on and that his wife’s heart really belonged to someone else.

Most Heartbreaking Quote

” This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime.”

“And in that moment, everything I knew to be true about myself up until then was gone. I was acting like another woman, yet I was more myself than ever before.”


51 thoughts on “Top 10 – Tragic Love Stories: Part 1

Add yours

  1. Splendor In the Grass, The Way We Were, Titanic, and Gone With The Wind for me.

    Bridges Of Madison County just never did it for me.

    Really good and inspired list!

    1. Titanic was a film which when I first saw it at the cinema being 11, I did not get the whole love story and how sad it actually was. Now when watching I do cry a lot, haha.

      I don’t know what it is about the Bridges of Madison County but it just gets to me so much every time.

      I almost missed out The Way We Were from the list, so glad I remembered about it at the last moment.

      1. Hahahaha………..The Way We Were is epic.

        I loved Sex In The City when Carrie went up to big and and did the Hubble hair. I think we’ve all met a “Hubble”. 🙂

        1. hi Heather,
          I would just like to say that ya The Way We Were is epic but in Sex in The City there is another scene which I liked but I don’t mean to say that the scene about which you are talking about was not good no not at all both these two scenes were good I liked. Would you like to know which scene I am talking about.
          Don’t take me negatively theres really another good scene …………………………..

  2. It has got to be Splendor in the Grass. So damn depressing, but lovely. I am surprised that Romeo & Juliet (68) or West Side Story didn’t make it. And I really CANNOT stand Bridges of Madison County.

    My personal pick for most tragic is The English Patient, both romances are tragic.

    Great list by the way.

    1. Thanks. I still haven’t got round to watching West Side Story (but have the DVD).

      The English Patient is also a film I must watch at some point.

    2. I never ever cry during sad movies, but Days of Wine and Roses with Jack Lemon got me started half way through and I couldn’t stop. This movie is a real heartbreaker. Love it!

  3. Well any post that mention The Phantom of the Opera gets major points from me!! 🙂 I fell in love with Gerard in this movie, his performance is heartbreaking… and that scene you speak of never fails to get me all teary-eyed. Agree with Encore about The English Patient + Romeo & Juliet (I mean, the quintessential tragic love story!), but I’d add Atonement & Roman Holiday (though not exactly tragic, but kind of sad). Oh, Wuthering Heights comes to mind, too.

    1. Yeah Phantom really was so heartbreaking. I was lucky to see it on the stage a few years ago as well.

      I haven’t seen Roman Holiday or Wuthering Heights yet.

  4. I finally watched Brokeback Mountain and totally agree with its place on this list, as with most of the others here.

    The only one that I think you missed which could be on this list is maybe Atonement.

      1. I agree with you about Atonement. I saw it awhile after it’s release and never connected so emotionally to the characters.

        Notebook was also tragic, though it didn’t make me bawl, the situation is remarkably sad.

  5. i really watched a walk toremember,titanicromeoen juliet they are really boonming en thanx for puting them there coz they move mi

  6. This is an oldie…Brief Encounter. I remember watching it when I was a teenager and crying my eyes out. A little bit like Bridges of Madison County…which I also love.

  7. I guess Atonement should be in this list… and another movie SOMEWHERE in TIME… it wass a touchy and Tragic movie also… both are my favourite…

  8. Gone With the Wind is what comes to mind when I hear the words “tragic love story”. I get chills just thinking about it!

    Nice list, by the way. I thought they could have done a better job when making a movie out of the Phantom, but the on-stage production never fails to leave me in tears by its end. And I’m really glad to see Brokeback Mountain listed! Beautiful film.

  9. The Way We Were and Splendor In The Grass, definitely.

    I thought “Love Story” was tragic too. Young love ending much too soon. . .

  10. Splendor in the Glass, Ghost and Bridges of Madison County, are great depressing love films, all of which made me cry.

    Frankly I have to be honest; ‘Titanic’ really pissed me off. Truly if she wasn’t so selfish and they took turns sharing the wall panel Jack wouldn’t have died of hypothermia. It ruined it for me because I was so annoyed.

    Also not mentioned or over looked is:

    ‘Kama Sutra (A Tale of Love)’ is a beautiful (Indian) movie. Visually it is so sensual and breathtaking and the love story between Maya (Indira Varma) and Jai Kumar (Ramon Tikaram) is so sexy and tragic.

    ‘The Fabulous Baker Boys’ is my favorite movie of all time. The love story between Jack (Jeff Bridges) and Susie (Michelle Pfeiffer) is so real and although you hope they find their way back together, your left not truly knowing the outcome.

    ‘Against All Odds’ is a sexy neo-noir 1984 film, and remake of ‘Out of the Past’. What a sad ending. When all Jeff Bridges character (Terry) can do is stare at Rachel Ward’s character (Jesse) from a distance and she’s just looking at him crying.

    Honorable Mentions: Love Story, West Side Story, The Notebook, The Man in the Moon & Legends of the fall.

  11. Personally I can’t stand Gone With The Wind,and don’t consider it a tragic love story at all,since Scarlett obviously didn’t love anyone but herself…I can’t believe Wuthering Heights isn’t on the list.Heathcliff had so much more depth and character than Rhett Butler.

  12. I love this list, but, you have made one HUGE mistake. Romeo and Juliet is not on the list! Not only should it be on the list, it should be number 1!

  13. My top 10 list of tragic movies will be:

    10. Sweet November
    9. A Walk To Remember
    8. Message In A Bottle
    7. Autumn in New York
    6. Cold Mountain
    5. Up Close and Personal
    4. City Of Angels
    3. The English Patient
    2. Dr. Zhivago
    1. Atonement

  14. My list of Tragic movies would be…

    * Devdas
    * Veer-Zaara
    * Mohabbatein
    * Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
    * Kal Ho Na Ho
    * Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha
    * Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega
    * Asoka
    * Kyon Ki
    * Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke

  15. Hi all, don’t know if this would be the right place but can someone help me with a movie name. Its a love story made in Berlin around the time when the Berlin wall came up. There was a couple that worked in West Berlin. The girl lived in East Berlin, she goes to East Berlin to get something or somerone (can’t recall) and she is stuck there now. The two people meet at teh berlin wall gate after some 15 odd years. The female has a daughter, the daughter is from the guy but girl says that she is a basker’s child. Can anyone recall the name of the movie.

    Regards… Kashif Sarwar

  16. The Promise (Das Versprechen), 1995 – two young lovers in Berlin are separated when the Berlin wall goes up in 1961, and their stories intertwine during the three decades to German reunification. Directed by Margarethe von Trotta.

  17. I agree for mentioning Atonement. Last scene were legedary Vanessa Redgrave is talking about the book..than we discover that in was her atonement to them and that they never saw each other again..

    1. Doesn’t it just show how powerful Tragic Love Stories can be . . . I even came up with more 10 more that needed to be in a list, in Part 2

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