Movies About Death, Dying, & Grief

Grief & Death Movies

Movies about death, dying, and grief can be a helpful recourse for dealing with your own loss, or learning about the grief experienced by others. They can provide a way to become more informed about the human experience, to raise questions about the purpose of life, to contemplate the afterlife, or to become more empathetic.

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Death & The Movies

Films can be used to broaden your vision of life and death, address deep-seated fears, find comfort in a shared experience, or simply learn about a topic many people find difficult to talk about. The stories told by these movies help us empathize, externalize grief, and process through related experiences.

For these reasons and more, we’ve compiled a massive list of movies about death and related issues. You’ll find documentaries and dramas; short films and animated features; dramas and comedies. Whatever your reasons for being here, you’ll be sure to find something of interest in this comprehensive list.

Massive list of films about death and grief

These films are organized by several categories, so you may find a few that are mentioned in both the “Movies by Genre” and “Movies by Topic” sections.

Movies About Death, Dying, & Grief

Here’s the overall layout:

  1. Part 1: Movies by Genre
    1. Feature Films: Drama
    2. Feature Films: Comedy
    3. Feature Films: Family-Friendly
    4. Feature Films: Classics
    5. Documentaries
  2. Part 2: Movies by Topic
    1. Movies About Death
    2. Movies About Dying
    3. Movies About the Afterlife
    4. Movies About Grief
    5. Movies About Cancer & Illness
    6. Movies About Suicide
    7. Movies About the Funeral Industry
  3. Bonus: TV Shows

We’ve included everything from light comedy to stark and depressing art films, animated classics to indie and foreign selections. Under each section, we feature an “Editor’s Pick,” which will be on the milder side (no horrific or agonizing content, and generally appropriate for a wider range of ages and temperaments). We also tried to make this one of the best movies you probably haven’t already seen, as something that will provide a fresh or unique take on death, grief, and life.

Part 1: Movies by Genre

FEATURE FILMS: DRAMA

Editor’s Pick: Tender Mercies. Robert Duvall won his first, and to date only, Academy Award for his performance as country-western singer Mac Sledge. Tender Mercies is the understated tale of a broken-down, middle-aged country singer as he gets a new wife, reaches out to his long-lost daughter, and tries to put his troubled life back together.

MORE DRAMA FILMS

Beautiful Boy (Michael Sheen, Maria Bello)

Bernie (Jack Black)

Big Fish (directed by Tim Burton)

Biutiful (Javier Bardem)

The Boys Are Back (Clive Owen)

Brian’s Song (James Caan, Billy Dee Williams)

Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron)

City of Angels (Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan)

Collateral Beauty (Will Smith)

Cries & Whispers (directed by Igmar Bergman)

Dallas Buyer’s Club (Matthew McConaughey)

The Dead (directed by John Huston)

Dead Man Walking (Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn)

The Descendants (George Clooney)

Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) 

Dying Young (Julia Roberts)

Elizabethtown (Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst)

The Face of Love (Annette Bening, Ed Harris)

Field of Dreams (Kevin Costner)

Flatliners (1990, Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts)

Flatliners (2017, Nina Dobrev, Kiersey Clemons, Ellen Page)

The Fountain (Hugh Jackman, directed by Darren Aronofsky)

Ghost (Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore)

The Green Mile (Tom Hanks)

Heart and Souls (Robert Downey Jr.)

Hereafter (Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard)

The Hours (Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep)

I Will Follow (directed by Ava DuVernay)

Imaginary Heroes (Sigourney Weaver)

In the Gloaming (Glenn Close, Bridget Fonda)

Last Night (1998, Don McKellar)

Last Orders (Michael Caine)

Life as a House (Hayden Christensen, Kevin Kline)

Love Story (Ali MacGraw, Ryan O’Neal)

The Lovely Bones (directed by Peter Jackson)

The Man in the Moon (Reese Witherspoon)

Manchester By the Sea (Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams)

Marvin’s Room (Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio)

Meet Joe Black (Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins)

Memento (directed by Christopher Nolan)

Million Dollar Baby (Best Picture Winner, 2004)

Missing in America (Danny Glover)

Monsieur Lazhar (directed by Philippe Falardeau)

Moonlight Mile (Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon)

The Mourning Forest (directed by Naomi Kawase)

My Girl (Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis)

My Life (Michael Keaton, Nichole Kidman)

My Life Without Me (directed by Isabel Coixet)

My Sister’s Keeper (Cameron Diaz)

Mystic River (directed by Clint Eastwood)

Never Let Me Go (Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield)

Nights in Rodanthe (Richard Gere, Diane Lane)

Okuribito (Departures) (Best Foreign Language Film, 2009)

On Golden Pond (Best Actor, Henry Fonda; Best Actress, Katherine Hepburn)

Ordinary People (Best Picture Winner, 1980)

The Pianist (Best Actor, Adrien Brody)

P.S. I Love You (Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler)

Rabbit Hole (Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart)

Reign Over Me (Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle)

Return to Me (David Duchovny, Minnie Driver)

The Road (Viggo Mortensen, Robert Duvall)

Sarah, Plain and Tall (Glenn Close, Christopher Walken)

Savages (Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman)

Seven Pounds (Will Smith)

The Seventh Seal (directed by Ingmar Bergman)

Shadowlands (Anthony Hopkins)

The Sixth Sense (Bruce Willis)

Sophie’s Choice (Best Acress, Meryl Streep, 1983)

Stand By Me (directed by Rob Reiner)

The Sweet Hereafter (Ian Holm)

Taking Chance (Kevin Bacon)

Tender Mercies (Best Actor, Robert Duvall, 1983)

Things We Lost in the Fire (Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro)

Three Colors: Blue (directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski)

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (Michelle Pfeiffer)

Tree of Life (Brad Pitt, directed by Terrence Malick)

The Virgin Suicides (directed by Sophia Coppola)

What Dreams May Come (Robin Williams)

Whose Life Is It Anyway? (Richard Dreyfuss)

Wit (Emma Thompson)

Wristcutters: A Love Story (dark indie romantic comedy)

Related: 50 Best Sympathy Gifts for Someone Who is Grieving

FEATURE FILMS: COMEDY

Editor’s Pick: Waking Ned Devine. This little jewel is set in a small town in Ireland, complete with beautiful scenery. When an elderly man learns that he has the winning lottery ticket, he promply suffers a heart attack and dies of shock. Soon the townspeople learn of his fate and the reason for it, and together scheme to claim the prize in memory of the deceased Ned Devine.

MORE COMEDIES

50/50 (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen)

Bonneville (Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates)

The Bucket List (Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman)

The Cemetery Club (Ellen Burstyn, Olympia Dukakis)

Death at a Funeral (Directed by Frank Oz)

Death Becomes Her (Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis)

Elizabethtown (Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst)

Four Weddings and a Funeral (Hugh Grant)

Funny People (Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen)

Harold & Maude (Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort)

Heaven Can Wait (1943, directed by Ernst Lubitsch)

Heaven Can Wait (1978, Warren Beatty)

Just Like Heaven (Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo)

A Little Bit of Heaven (Kate Hudson)

Miss You Already (Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette)

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (Joan Plowright)

The Pallbearer (Gwyneth Paltrow, David Schwimmer)

Patch Adams (Robin Williams)

Raising Helen (Kate Hudson, Joan Cusack)

Return to Me (David Duchovny, Minnie Driver)

Steel Magnolias (Sally Field, Dolly Pardon)

Stepmom (Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon)

Two Weeks (Sally Field, Ben Chaplin)

Unstrung Heroes (Andie MacDowell, John Turturro)

Waking Ned Devine (Indie film set in Ireland)

Wristcutters: A Love Story (dark indie romantic comedy)

FEATURE FILMS: FAMILY-FRIENDLY

Editor’s Pick: Song of the SeaA beautifully animated, heartwarming, and atmospheric fantasy film that connects with children and adults on many levels. Weaving in Celtic folklore and fantasy, the film follows Ben, a young Irish boy, and his little sister Saoirse, a girl who can turn into a seal, as they go on an adventure to free the fairies and save the spirit world.

MORE FAMILY-FRIENDLY FILMS

All Dogs Go to Heaven (Animated, Don Bluth) iTunes – Amazon

Bambi (Animated, Disney)

The Book of Life (Animated, Channing Tatum)

Brian’s Song (James Caan, Billy Dee Williams)

Bridge to Terabithia (Josh Hutcherson) iTunes – Amazon

Charlotte’s Web (1973, animated)

Charlotte’s Web (2006, live action)

Coco (Animated, Pixar)

Finding Nemo (Animated, Pixar)

Fly Away Home (Jeff Daniels, Anna Paquin)

Grave of the Fireflies (Animated, a Japanese classic)

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (Richard Gere)

Harry Potter (8-film series)

The Land Before Time (Animated, Don Bluth)

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Jim Carrey)

The Lion King (Animated, Disney)

Little Women (Winona Ryder, Christian Bale)

Love Comes Softly (Katherine Heigl)

Marley & Me (Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston)

My Dog Skip (Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson)

The Neverending Story (directed by Wolfgang Petersen)

Paper Planes (Sam Worthington)

Ponette (Directed by Jacques Doillon)

Sarah, Plain and Tall (Glenn Close, Christopher Walken)

The Secret of NIMH (Animated, Don Bluth)

Song of the Sea (Animated, Tomm Moore)

The Stone Boy (Robert Duvall, Glenn Close)

Up (Animated, Pixar) iTunes – Amazon

A Walk to Remember (Mandy Moore)

We Bought a Zoo (Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson)

Wide Awake (Denis Leary, Rosie O’Donnell)

The Yearling (Gregory Peck)

Related: 12 Amazing(ly Clean) Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen

FEATURE FILMS: CLASSICS

Editor’s Pick: Here Comes Mr. Jordan. Robert Montgomery stars as a headline boxer whose airplane crashes on the way to his next fight. A “heavenly messenger,” new on the job, snatches Joe’s spirit prematurely from his body. Before the matter can be rectified, Joe’s body is cremated and the celestial Mr. Jordan grants him the use of the body of wealthy Bruce Farnsworth, who’s just been murdered by his wife. Joe tries to remake Farnsworth’s unworthy life in his own clean-cut image, but then falls in love; and what about that murderous wife?

MORE CLASSIC FILMS

A Christmas Carol (1951, Alistair Sim)

Charley and the Angel (Fred MacMurray)

Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)

Dark Victory (Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart)

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison)

Heaven Can Wait (1943, directed by Ernst Lubitsch)

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (Robert Montgomery, Claude Rains)

Ikiru (To Live) (directed by Akira Kurosawa)

It’s A Wonderful Life (James Stewart, Donna Reed)

Rebecca (directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Best Picture, 1940)

The Seventh Seal (directed by Ingmar Bergman)

Stairway to Heaven (Powell & Pressburger)

The Yearling (Gregory Peck)

DOCUMENTARIES

Editor’s Pick: Gates of HeavenThe first documentary from Errol Morris, this great film studies the eccentricities of pet owners and how they respond to the relocation of the local pet cemetery. But it does so in such a way as to cause self-reflection: as we, the viewers, react to the hopes and beliefs of these animal lovers regarding their departed pets, we begin to question our own assumptions about life, death, and the afterlife.

MORE DOCUMENTARIES

A Certain Kind of Death – Unblinking and unsettling, this documentary lays bare a mysterious process that goes on all around us – what happens to people who die with no next of kin.

The Bridge – The Golden Gate Bridge is often the place where suicides occur. This documentary crew spent a year filming The Bridge, and the result is a moving examination of the lives of those who chose to end their own lives.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father – A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend’s ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

Dying at Grace – Director Allan King documents the final months of five terminally ill cancer patients at the Toronto Grace Health Centre.

Flight From Death: The Quest for Immortality – Explores the ongoing research of a group of social psychologists studying the effects of ‘death anxiety,’ a possible root cause of many of our behaviors on a psychological, spiritual, and cultural level.

Gates of Heaven – From famed documentarian Errol Morris, and examination of the devotions, emotions and at times, obsessions exhibited by animal lovers when a pet cemetery is moved to a new location.

How to Die in Oregon – In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Since then, more than 500 Oregonians have taken their mortality into their own hands. In this documentary, filmmaker Peter Richardson gently enters the lives of the terminally ill as they consider whether to end their lives by lethal overdose. At the heart of the film are the patients themselves, their families and friends, as they grapple with the legal option they are allowed in Oregon.

Into the Abyss – In this fascinating exploration of a triple homicide case in Conroe, Texas, master filmmaker Werner Herzog probes the human psyche to explore why people kill and why a state kills. Through intimate conversations with those involved, including 28-year-old death row inmate Michael Perry (scheduled to die within eight days of appearing on-screen), Herzog achieves what he describes as a gaze into the abyss of the human soul.

Lightning Over Water – Director Nicholas Ray is eager to complete a final film before his imminent death from cancer. Wim Wenders is working on his own film Hammett (1982) in Hollywood, but flies to New York to help Ray realize his final wish.

The Suicide Tourist – Do we have the right to end our lives if life itself becomes unbearable, or we are terminally ill? With unique access to Dignitas, the Swiss non-profit that has helped over one thousand people die, filmmaker John Zaritsky offers a revealing look at two couples facing the most difficult decision of their lives and lets us see as one Chicago native makes the trip to Switzerland for what will become the last day of his life.

Part 2: Movies by Topic

MOVIES ABOUT DEATH

Editor’s Pick: Bright Star. A quiet, contemplative romantic biopic of the famous poet John Keats. Directed with a deft touch by the marvelous Jane Campion.

MORE FILMS ABOUT DEATH

Bernie (Jack Black)

Bright Star (Directed by Jane Campion)

The Bucket List (Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman)

Charley and the Angel (Fred MacMurray)

Death at a Funeral (Directed by Frank Oz)

The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Jon Voight, Jeff Daniels)

Flatliners (1990, Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts)

The Fountain (Hugh Jackman, directed by Darren Aronofsky)

The Green Mile (Tom Hanks)

Heaven Can Wait (1943, directed by Ernst Lubitsch)

Heaven Can Wait (1978, Warren Beatty)

Into the Abyss (Documentary, directed by Werner Herzog)

The Land Before Time (Animated, Don Bluth)

Last Orders (Michael Caine)

Lightning Over Water (Documentary)

Little Women (Winona Ryder, Christian Bale)

The Lovely Bones (directed by Peter Jackson)

Memento (directed by Christopher Nolan)

Missing in America (Danny Glover)

My Girl (Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis)

Mystic River (directed by Clint Eastwood)

Nights in Rodanthe (Richard Gere, Diane Lane)

On Golden Pond (Best Actor, Henry Fonda; Best Actress, Katherine Hepburn)

Ordinary People (Best Picture Winner, 1980)

Return to Me (David Duchovny, Minnie Driver)

The Pianist (Best Actor, Adrien Brody)

The Road (Viggo Mortensen, Robert Duvall)

Savages (Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman)

The Seventh Seal (directed by Ingmar Bergman)

The Sixth Sense (Bruce Willis)

Sophie’s Choice (Best Acress, Meryl Streep, 1983)

Taking Chance (Kevin Bacon)

MOVIES ABOUT DYING

Editor’s Pick: Ikiru (To Live). Directed by legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, Ikiru is a compassionate film that affirms life through an exploration of death. Kanji Watanabe (played by Takashi Shimura) is an aging bureaucrat with stomach cancer who is impelled to find meaning in his final days. Presented in a radically conceived two-part structure and shot with a perceptive, humanistic clarity of vision, Ikiru is a multifaceted look at what it means to be alive.

MORE FILMS ABOUT DYING

Big Fish (directed by Tim Burton)

Biutiful (Javier Bardem)

Brian’s Song (James Caan, Billy Dee Williams)

Cries & Whispers (directed by Igmar Bergman)

Dark Victory (Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart)

Dead Man Walking (Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn)

The Descendants (George Clooney)

Dying at Grace (Documentary)

Dying Young (Julia Roberts)

The Fault in Our Stars (Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort)

Ikiru (To Live) (directed by Akira Kurosawa)

In the Gloaming (Glenn Close, Bridget Fonda)

Last Night (1998, Don McKellar)

A Little Bit of Heaven (Kate Hudson)

Love Story (Ali MacGraw, Ryan O’Neal)

Million Dollar Baby (Best Picture Winner, 2004)

The Mourning Forest (directed by Naomi Kawase) YouTube

My Life (Michael Keaton, Nichole Kidman)

My Life Without Me (directed by Isabel Coixet)

Never Let Me Go (Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield)

The Grey (Liam Neeson)

Savages (Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman)

Seven Pounds (Will Smith)

Shadowlands (Anthony Hopkins)

Stepmom (Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon)

Two Weeks (Sally Field, Ben Chaplin)

Unstrung Heroes (Andie MacDowell, John Turturro)

A Walk to Remember (Mandy Moore)

MOVIES ABOUT THE AFTERLIFE

Editor’s Pick: Heaven Can Wait. Some of the films in the list below take a serious look at what happens after we die. This one, most decidedly, does not. Heaven Can Wait (our favorite is the 1943 version directed by Ernst Luitsch) follows Henry Van Cleve after his death as he presents himself at the gates of Hell, only to find he is closely vetted on his qualifications for entry. Heartwarming and humorous.

MORE FILMS ABOUT THE AFTERLIFE

All Dogs Go to Heaven (Animated, Don Bluth)

Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron)

City of Angels (Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan)

Field of Dreams (Kevin Costner)

The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Jon Voight, Jeff Daniels)

Flatliners (1990, Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts)

Flight From Death: The Quest for Immortality (Documentary)

The Fountain (Hugh Jackman, directed by Darren Aronofsky)

Gates of Heaven (Documentary)

Ghost (Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore)

Heart and Souls (Robert Downey Jr.)

Heaven Can Wait (1943, directed by Ernst Lubitsch)

Heaven Can Wait (1978, Warren Beatty)

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (Robert Montgomery, Claude Rains)

Hereafter (Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard)

Just Like Heaven (Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo)

The Lovely Bones (directed by Peter Jackson)

The Sixth Sense (Bruce Willis)

Stairway to Heaven (Powell & Pressburger)

Truly, Madly, Deeply (Alan Rickman, Juliet Stevenson)

What Dreams May Come (Robin Williams)

MOVIES ABOUT GRIEF

Editor’s Pick: Shadowlands. Anthony Hopkins stars in this emotionally moving romantic drama based upon the real-life romance between the British writer C.S. Lewis and a divorced American poet named Joy Gresham. But when Joy is diagnosed with cancer, Lewis’s Christian faith is put to the test–he cannot fathom why their happiness together would be so drastically challenged. Together, they find a way to accept and honor the time they have shared together, and under the sensitive direction of Richard Attenborough, Shadowlands arrives at a conclusion that is both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.

MORE FILMS ABOUT GRIEF

Beautiful Boy (Michael Sheen, Maria Bello)

Brian’s Song (James Caan, Billy Dee Williams)

Bonneville (Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates)

The Cemetery Club (Ellen Burstyn, Olympia Dukakis)

Collateral Beauty (Will Smith)

The Descendants (George Clooney)

Elizabethtown (Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst)

The Face of Love (Annette Bening, Ed Harris)

I Will Follow (directed by Ava DuVernay)

Imaginary Heroes (Sigourney Weaver)

Love Comes Softly (Katherine Heigl)

The Man in the Moon (Reese Witherspoon)

Marley & Me (Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston)

Marvin’s Room (Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio)

Monsieur Lazhar (directed by Philippe Falardeau)

Moonlight Mile (Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon)

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (Joan Plowright)

The Neverending Story (directed by Wolfgang Petersen)

Ordinary People (Best Picture Winner, 1980)

Ponette (Directed by Jacques Doillon)

Rabbit Hole (Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart)

Raising Helen (Kate Hudson, Joan Cusack)

Reign Over Me (Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle)

Return to Me (David Duchovny, Minnie Driver)

Sarah, Plain and Tall (Glenn Close, Christopher Walken)

Shadowlands (Anthony Hopkins)

The Stone Boy (Robert Duvall, Glenn Close)

The Sweet Hereafter (Ian Holm)

Taking Chance (Kevin Bacon)

Tender Mercies (Best Actor, Robert Duvall, 1983)

Things We Lost in the Fire (Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro)

Three Colors: Blue (directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski)

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (Michelle Pfeiffer)

Up (Animated, Pixar)

We Bought a Zoo (Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson)

What Dreams May Come (Robin Williams)

Wide Awake (Denis Leary, Rosie O’Donnell)

MOVIES ABOUT CANCER & ILLNESS

Editor’s Pick: Lorenzo’s Oil. For Augusto and Michaela Odone (Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon), the news that their five-year-old son, Lorenzo, has a rare terminal disease is sobering, to learn there is no known cure is devastating. Despite the prognosis, the Odones embark on an extraordinary mission of love, consulting and sometimes colliding with the world’s top doctors and scientists in the quest to save their son. Based on a true story.

MORE FILMS ABOUT CANCER & ILLNESS

50/50 (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen)

Biutiful (Javier Bardem)

Dallas Buyer’s Club (Matthew McConaughey)

The Doctor (William Hurt)

Dying at Grace (Documentary)

Dying Young (Julia Roberts)

The Fault in Our Stars (Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort)

The Fountain (Hugh Jackman, directed by Darren Aronofsky)

Funny People (Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen)

Ikiru (To Live) (directed by Akira Kurosawa)

Life as a House (Hayden Christensen, Kevin Kline)

Lightning Over Water (Documentary)

A Little Bit of Heaven (Kate Hudson)

Lorenzo’s Oil (Nick Nolte, Susan Sarandon)

Love Story (Ali MacGraw, Ryan O’Neal)

In the Gloaming (Glenn Close, Bridget Fonda)

Miss You Already (Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette)

My Life (Michael Keaton, Nichole Kidman)

My Life Without Me (directed by Isabel Coixet)

My Sister’s Keeper (Cameron Diaz)

Now is Good (Dakota Fanning)

Patch Adams (Robin Williams)

Return to Me (David Duchovny, Minnie Driver)

Seven Pounds (Will Smith

Shadowlands (Anthony Hopkins)

A Walk to Remember (Mandy Moore)

Wit (Emma Thompson)

MOVIES ABOUT SUICIDE

Editor’s Pick: The Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge is often the place where suicides occur. This documentary crew spent a year filming The Bridge, and the result is a moving examination of the lives of those who chose to end their own lives.

MORE FILMS ABOUT SUICIDE

Beautiful Boy (Michael Sheen, Maria Bello)

The Big Chill (Tom Berenger, Glenn Close)

The Bridge (Documentary)

Harold & Maude (Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort)

The Hours (Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep)

How to Die in Oregon (Documentary)

Imaginary Heroes (Sigourney Weaver)

Monsieur Lazhar (directed by Philippe Falardeau)

The Sea Inside (Javier Bardem)

Seven Pounds (Will Smith)

The Suicide Tourist (Documentary)

The Virgin Suicides (directed by Sophia Coppola)

Whose Life Is It Anyway? (Richard Dreyfuss)

Wristcutters: A Love Story (dark indie romantic comedy)

MOVIES ABOUT THE FUNERAL INDUSTRY

Editor’s Pick: Bernie. In the tiny, rural town of Carthage, TX, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) was one of the town’s most beloved residents. He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow. Based on a true story and told in quasi-documentary style with interviews from people who actually knew Bernie, this is a dry and somewhat morbid comedy/”mockumentary” filled with understated dark humor.

MORE FILMS ABOUT THE FUNERAL INDUSTRY

A Certain Kind of Death (Documentary)

Bernie (Jack Black)

Gates of Heaven (Documentary)

My Girl (Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis)

Okuribito (Departures) (Best Foreign Language Film, 2009)

TV Shows About Death, Dying, & Grief

Here are some excellent television shows that prominently feature grief, death, and dying as themes.

Dead Like Me – 2 seasons. A college dropout, Georgia “George” Lass is killed by a toilet seat that falls from the MIR space station on her first day at a temp agency. Upon death, she is recruited for a team of grim reapers – undead who mix among the living and take people’s souls just before they die. Along with fellow team members Mason, Roxy, Betty, and leader Rube, George discovers life after life.

Drop Dead Diva – 6 seasons. A vapid aspiring model killed in a car crash gets brought back to life as an intelligent, overweight lawyer, hoping to find the meaning of inner beauty.

Go On – An irreverent sportscaster, pressured by his boss to join a grief support group because he can’t move forward after the death of his wife, finds connection with the group’s extremely varied members.

The Killing – 4 seasons. A moody, atmospheric police procedural. The first two seasons cover a single case, and what sets this series apart is how deeply it examines the family of the murdered girl as they process their grief.

The Leftovers – 3+ seasons. Three years after the disappearance of 2% of the global population, a group of people from New York struggle to continue their lives, while they cope with the tragedy of the unexplained nature of the event.

Longmire – 6 seasons. Western-style police procedural set in modern-day Montana. The protagonist, small-town sheriff Walt Longmire, grieves the death of his wife while serving the community and bringing criminals to justice.

Monk – 8 seasons. Follows a germophobic and obsessive-compulsive private detective as he solves mysteries in San Francisco, mourns the loss of his wife, and tries to cope with everyday life. Tony Shalhoub won multiple Emmy awards for his acting as the title character in this charming mystery series.

The OA – Having gone missing seven years ago, the previously blind Prairie returns home, now in her 20s with her sight restored. Brit Marling created, wrote, and stars in this dark and mysterious series that explores the interplay between life, consciousness, and death.

On Our Own Terms – A four part documentary miniseries on end-of-life care in the USA.

Pushing Daisies – 2 seasons. This short-lived cult classic series is a “forensic fairytale” that follows Ned, a young man with a very special gift. As a boy, Ned found that he could return the dead briefly back to life with just one touch. Now a pie maker, Ned puts his ability to good use, not only touching dead fruit and making it ripe with everlasting flavor, but working with a private investigator to crack murder cases by raising the dead to name their killers.

Six Feet Under – 5 seasons. A modern classic family drama set in a funeral home, with a darkly comic outlook on life and the business of dying.

Time of Death – This six-episode documentary series from 2013 follows brave, terminally ill individuals as they live out their final days, supported by family, friends, healthcare teams and hospice workers who gently help guide the process.

Massive list of films about grief, loss, death, dying, and more.

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