movies ever made.
Fritz Lang's "M" may be one of the first police procedural thrillers, detailing the investigation of a serial child-killer, but it's also one of the most deeply sad movies ever made. The reason for this is its unblinking look at a mother whose child is never coming home, thanks to Peter Lorre's serial killer Hans Beckert. She prepares lunch for her daughter, and then grows more and more panicked until finally learning the terrible truth. It's a sequence that sticks with you long after the movie ends, with the power to depress again and again.
"They Live By Night"
Here's another depressing movie set in the criminal underworld, but the sad part is the criminals themselves, not their victims. Farley Granger plays a young one-time loser who just wants to get out of the world of crime and live a normal life with his girlfriend. But quitting the robbery business isn't like quitting the Boy Scouts, and he's forced back into crime by no choice of his own. Unfortunately, the police aren't as sympathetic as we in the audience are, so the stakes are life and death. It might not have a happy ending, but this depressing movie is 100 times more memorable than most "happier" ones.
"The Best Years of Our Lives"
It's easy for people to say that they "support the troops," but when it comes to be crunch time this can be easier said than done. Take "The Best Years of Our Lives," a movie made in the 1940s about veterans returning home from World War II. Unfortunately, the world they come back to is much different than the one they left. Wives and daughters are a little older, and relations between them are understandably awkward after such a long separation. Many of them have trouble readjusting to their old jobs, if they're lucky enough to have had jobs waiting for them at all. Sometimes the most depressing movies are the ones that are most true to life. That's definitely the case with "The Best Years of Our Lives."
Speaking of true-to-life, the plot of Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" might not be very realistic, but the emotions being powerfully illustrated most certainly are. And they are depressing as hell. "Vertigo" is about unrequited love, and being crippled by fear and loss. And about how emotionally devastating it would be to regain someone you thought was gone, only to have them snatched away from you again. If that's not depressing, maybe you need something stronger than movies to get you down.
"The Deer Hunter"
Another depressing movie about the military, but unlike "The Best Years of Our Lives," this is about people preparing to go to war, going to war, and then coming home, rather than just coming home. It's up to the viewer to decide which part is more depressing, but the Russian Roulette scene set in the thick of the Vietnam war makes "The Best Years of Our Lives" look like "Singin' in the Rain."
"4 Months, 3 Weeks, And 2 Days"
It shouldn't be a surprise that a movie about black market abortions in Romania during the late 80s would be depressing, but that doesn't make this powerful drama any less powerful. In addition to being depressing, it's an excruciatingly tense look at one woman's attempt to terminate her pregnancy – and the places she has to go and the people she has to deal with to get this done aren't exactly safe. This might not be a fun movie to watch on a Sunday afternoon, but it is most definitely one of the most depressing movies ever made.