The 25 most depressing movies ever made

15. The Elephant Man (1980)

The movie: Poor John Merrick (John Hurt) is ridiculed from pillar to post over his grotesque appearance. After a lifetime of ill-treatment, he is diagnosed with a terminal disease and kills himself. Thoroughly disheartening stuff.

Most miserable moment: Merrick's suicide is obviously distressing, but his heartfelt plea to the baying mob is perhaps more affecting still: "I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!"

14. Melancholia (2011)

The movie: This list could easily have been titled "Ranking every Lars Von Trier movie." Yes, Melancholia is another stark entry from the Danish filmmaker. The world is on the cusp of apocalypse as a planet threatens to collide with Earth extinguishing all life as we know it. And it's right on Kirsten Dunst's wedding day, too! 

Most miserable moment: There's about a million. But, the worst has got to be the moment when Dunst's brother-in-law (Kiefer Sutherland) realises the optimistic reports about the comet avoiding Earth were a lie - everyone is going to die. Instead of comforting his family, he kills himself.

13. Hotel Rwanda (2004)

The movie: A harrowing account of Rwanda's modern-day holocaust in which around one million Tutsis were murdered whilst the UN stood by and watched, it's a raw watch, but utterly necessary.

Most miserable moment: Stomach-churning horrors wait around every corner, but the machete-led slaughter of a group of Tutsi women is particularly shocking.

12. Revolutionary Road (2008)

The movie: A striking portrayal of domestic misery, as Kate and Leo find themselves suffocated in suburban hell, a place of hopeless emptiness. Thwarted ambition, failed love and an unwanted pregnancy add up to a far less romantic yarn than the star duo's last collaboration

Most miserable moment: Winslet's self-administrated, and ultimately fatal abortion brings things to fever-pitch. The shot of Di Caprio as a broken man sitting on a park bench, is also gravely upsetting.

11. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

The movie: This animated Japanese film tells the tale of a pair of orphaned children struggling to keep their heads above water in war-ravaged Kobe. A powerful piece of anti-war propaganda, its not one to watch if you're feeling a bit low.

Most miserable moment: Having seen his sister die of malnutrition, Seitsuke wearily cremates her body, before decanting her ashes into a small tin. Cheerful stuff.

10. House of Sand and Fog (2003)

The movie: Ben Kingsley's retired Iranian colonel wrestles with Jennifer Connelly's washed-up addict over ownership of the titular dwelling. It doesn't turn out particularly brightly for either of them.

Most miserable moment: Having seen his son accidentally killed by the police, Kingsley's character fatally drugs his wife before slipping a plastic bag over his head and asphyxiating himself. Grim in the extreme.

9. Irreversible (2002)

The movie: Gaspar Noe treads down a harrowing path in this grim-as-fuck cautionary tale about being a good samaritan. The lesson, in short, is don't be one, which we soon learn when Monica Bellucci's Alex tries to help a woman being harassed by a stranger in a dark, underground walkway. 

Most miserable moment: The agonising, ten-minute-long uninterrupted shot of Bellucci being brutalised. 

8. Happiness (1998)

The movie: Oh Todd Solondz, you funny guy. Happiness is one of those 'ironic' titles as there's nothing remotely happy about the sad, uncomfortable interactions that take place here. If you can manage to sit through one of the most difficult-to-watch films ever made, you'll know it explores the lives of three sisters and their families. They're all proper fucked up. 

Most miserable moment: Any time Dylan Baker's character, a pedophile, spends time with his son's friend. 

7. Scum (1979)

The movie: This account of life inside a borstal, in all its grisly detail, is every bit as depressing as it sounds. Bruising, bleak and brutal, it's still an incredibly gruelling watch more than thirty years later.

Most miserable moment: The gang-rape of the timid Davis shows a broken system at its most appalling.

6. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

The movie: Hilary Swank's tough-as-nails boxer Maggie ends up a paraplegic, burdened by a heartless family and reduced to biting through her own tongue in the hope of bleeding to death. 

Most miserable moment: Well, aside from Maggie's devastating predicament, when Clint Eastwood cries! A weeping Clint is the icing on the cake here. It's all wrong!

Click 'Next Page' to see the top 5 films in our countdown of the most depressing movies ever made.  

Gem Seddon

Gem Seddon is GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter, working to keep all of you updated on all of the latest and greatest movies and shows on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Outside of entertainment journalism, Gem can frequently be found writing about the alternative health and wellness industry, and obsessing over all things Aliens and Terminator on Twitter.