31.  Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)

Romantic Tragedies ListWhy You Should Watch: Often named as director Leo McCarey’s best film, it makes an important point about the care of elderly parents. Many people claim it is one of the saddest movies they have ever seen since it involves the abandonment of those parents by their children. It’s simultaneously a picture of understanding love and great selfishness.

Content Note: G

Where to Watch: Purchase on DVD.

32.  Me Before You (2016)

Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin in Jojo Moyes “Me Before You.” | Photo: MGM / New Line Cinema

Why You Should Watch: Jojo Moyes original story tackles tough questions of human dignity and the value of life. It is memorably brought to screen by Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke in sensitive performances.

Content Note: Rated PG-13

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

33.  Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Why You Should Watch: Moulin Rouge takes its’ inspiration from the same source as Camille, but it is somewhat updated for modern audiences. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, it stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor. The costumes are gorgeous and the songs in this musical are inspired.

Content: Rated PG-13 for sexuality

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play. Purchase on DVD.

34.  My Girl (1991)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Why You Should Watch: This is such a tearjerker. It has a sense of childhood nostalgia woven in with its’ exploration of deeper topics. This story of life and death, friendship and love is even more emotional as these lessons are viewed through the eyes of two childhood friends. I dare you not to ugly-cry.

Content Note: Rated PG

Where to Watch: Stream on Amazon Prime. Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

35.  One Day (2011)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: Focus Features

Why You Should Watch: Ugh, the unexpected ending nearly killed me! This film is about a friendship where both parties feel more, but play it safe rather than risk rejections. It’s a perfect picture of missed opportunities and bad timing for people who obviously belong together.

Content Note: Rated PG-13 for language, sexuality, and drug use.

Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix. Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

36.  One Way Passage (1932) (Remade as Til We Meet Again in 1940.)

Romantic Tragedies List

Why You Should Watch: Actor William Powell is often remembered as a romantic comedy actor. However, this film about two doomed people who meet and fall in love aboard a cruise ship proves that he was equally skilled at melodrama. Here he is paired with his frequent co-star Kay Francis whose talent is also underrated.

Content Note: PG-like.

Where to Watch: Airing on TCM, April 9 at 6:45 PM EST. Purchase on DVD.

37.  The Promise (2016)

Photo: Jose Haro, Survival Pictures/Open Road Films

Why You Should Watch: Not only does The Promise portray a tragic love triangle, but it is one of the rare films to depict the Armenian genocide. It’s always interesting to see how personal relationships play out against a backdrop of catastrophe, where selfishness or selflessness is drawn to the surface.

Content Note: Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, war violence and sensuality.

Where to Watch: Stream on Amazon Prime. Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

38.  PS I Love You (2007)

Photo: Warner Bros.

Why You Should Watch: Based on a novel by best selling Irish author Cecelia Ahern, this film manages to be both lighthearted and bittersweet. A woman goes on a journey of self-discovery as she processes her grief over her husband’s death. In a subtle way, the movie is a celebration of life and it stars Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, and Harry Connick Jr.

Content Note: Rated PG-13

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

39.  Remember Me (2010)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: Summit Entertainment

Why You Should Watch: Robert Pattinson’s name will forever be linked with a little franchise called Twilight. But around the same time, he starred in this quiet family and romantic drama. It’s one of the few films to feature the events of 9/11 in its’ plot.

Content Note: Rated PG-13 for language, sexual content, violence, and disturbing images.

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

40.  Revolutionary Road (2008)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: Paramount Vantage/DreamWorks Pictures

Why You Should Watch: What happens when two people who really love each other just can’t make it work? Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio pair up again to explore the results of two people in love but with very different dreams for their lives.

Content Note: Rated R for language, intense scenes, and sexuality.

Where to Watch: Stream on Amazon, Hulu, and Epix. Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

41.  Romeo and Juliet (Adaptations)

Romeo and Juliet 1968

Photo: Paramount

Why You Should Watch: This may be one of the most famous romantic tragedies in history, not to mention it really brings the family drama. It is somewhat of a literature archetype. Plus, Shakespeare was a wordsmithing genius.

Content: Depends on the adaptation. But newer adaptations are more likely to show objectionable material.

Where to Watch 1911 adaptation: Stream on Amazon

Where to Watch 1936 adaptation: Rent or Buy from Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes or Vudu. Purchase on DVD

Where to Watch 1954 adaptation: Rent from Amazon. Purchase on DVD.

Where to Watch 1968 adaptation: Stream on Kanopy.  Rent or Buy from Amazon, Youtube, Google Play and iTunes. Purchase on DVD

Where to Watch 1978 adaptation: Rent on Amazon

Where to Watch 1996 adaptation: Rent or Buy from Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes or Vudu. Purchase on DVD

Where to Watch 2013 adaptation: Stream on Max Go. Rent or Buy from Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes, or Vudu. Purchase on DVD

Where to Watch 2015 Mini-series adaptation: Stream on Amazon Prime.

42.  The Shanghai Gesture (1941)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: United Artists

Why You Should Watch: Featuring one of Gene Tierney’s most underrated performances, it also shines a bright light on the theme of revenge gone awry and the personal costs of addiction.

Content Note: Shows scenes of gambling and drug use but not in a graphic manner.

Where to Watch: Stream on Amazon Prime. Rent or buy from Amazon. Purchase on DVD.

43.  Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: Warner Bros.

Why You Should Watch: This tale of first love is absolutely heart-wrenching as the consequences of lost innocence play out. Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty give unforgettable performances in this drama directed by Elia Kazan.

Content Note: Not rated, but explores adult themes and behavior. Sexuality is implied as is rape. There are references to abortion. It also contains mild profanity and some intense emotional scenes.

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Youtube, Google Play and iTunes. Purchase on DVD.

44.  Steel Magnolias (1989)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: TriStar Pictures

Why You Should Watch: This film features strong women and a spot-on depiction of Southern culture. It also features powerhouse performances by Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Daryll Hannah, Sally Field, and Olympia Dukakis. Overall, it’s a story of friendship, marriage and the bond between mothers and daughters.

Content Note: Rated PG

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

45.  Summertime (1955)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: United Artists

Why You Should Watch: Katharine Hepburn will break your heart with her bittersweet performance of a spinster yearning for love. This was filmed in Venice and features gorgeous settings and cinematography as well. It’s visually stunning.

Content Note: PG-like

Where to Watch: Stream on Kanopy. Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

46.  Sweet November (2001)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: Warner Bros.

Why You Should Watch: Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves have good chemistry in this film. Plus, the San Francisco setting somehow is fitting for this story of a woman trying to live life to the fullest.

Content Note: Rated PG-13

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

47.  A Tale of Two Cities (adaptations)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: MGM

Why You Should Watch: Surprisingly, this Charles Dickens novel has only been adapted a handful of times and is long due for another adaptation. Set during the French Revolution, it explores themes of social justice, sacrificial love, and courage.

Content Note: Content varies, but nothing beyond what you would find in a PG-13 film.

Where to Watch 1935 adaptation: Rent or buy on Youtube, Google Play and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

Where to Watch 1958 adaptation: Purchas on DVD.

Where to Watch 1980 adaptation: Stream on Amazon Prime. Purchase on DVD

Where to Watch 1989 adaptation: Purchase on DVD

48.  Tarnished Angels (1957)

Romantic Tragedies List

Why You Should Watch: Ever hear of a little old Southern writer by the name of William Faulkner? This is often considered one of the better adaptations of his work. It’s a harsh look at the complexities and hypocrisies behind hero worship. It also involves a love triangle, sometimes quadrangle, between one beautiful woman and three undeserving men.

Content Note: Unrated but contains a theme of adultery and some violence.

Where to Watch: Purchase on DVD.

49.  Tess of the d’Urbervilles (adaptations)

Period Dramas on Hulu

Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Photo: BBC Worldwide

Why You Should Watch: English author Thomas Hardy had several novels adapted for the screen, including this one. The tragedy of this tale is not just in the romance but in the treatment of its’ innocent title character.

Content Note: Depends on the adaptation, but the newest version is rated TV-14 for violence, sexuality, and a rape scene.

Where to Watch 1979 adaptation: Rent or buy on iTunes. Purchase DVD.

Where to Watch 1998 adaptation: Purchase on DVD

Where to Watch 2008 Series adaptation– Stream on Amazon Prime. Buy on Amazon, iTunes or Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

50.  Testament of Youth (2014)

Testament of Youth

Photo: BBC Films/Lionsgate

Why You Should Watch: It’s hard for a modern generation to fathom the devastation of a World War which decimates the youth population of their generation. The loss of innocence, peace and human life is incalculable as this film portrays. So too, does it capture the necessity of living and loving in the moment as well as the resiliency of those left behind.

Content Note: Rated PG-13 for disturbing images and war violence.

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, iTunes, Google Play or Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

51.  Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: New Line Cinema

Why You Should Watch: Relationships are challenging enough without the added complications of frequent and long-term separations. Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana are wonderful as a couple who love each other enough to work within the limitations and strange demands of his genetic condition causing involuntary time-travel.

Content Note: Rated PG-13, includes some nudity.

Where to Watch: Stream on Amazon Prime. Rent or buy on Youtube, Google Play, and iTunes. Purchase on DVD.

52.  Titanic (1997)

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Why You Should Watch: Forget the fact that it’s historically based, this is now an iconic American film which is part of the public lexicon. Not to mention the story, soundtrack, and costumes are unforgettable.

Content: PG-13

Where to Watch: Rent or Buy from Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes, or Vudu. Purchase on DVD

53.  Tristan + Isolde (2006)

Tristan and Isolde - Medieval Times

From “Tristan and Isolde.”
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Why You Should Watch: The legends of Tristan and Isolde pre-date Shakespeare’s somewhat similar tale of Romeo and Juliet, but is not nearly as well known. This star-crossed love story between members of the warring royal houses of Britain and Ireland is portrayed by an impressive (and beautiful) cast.

Content Note: Rated PG-13

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Amazon, Google Play, Youtube, iTunes, and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

54.  Troy (2004)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: Warner Bros.

Why You Should Watch:  While Troy focuses more on the war between the Greeks and Sparta, that conflict dooms all the romances featured in this story. Regardless of whether it is historically accurate, it stars Peter O’Toole, Brad Pitt, and Eric Bana. It also features Diane Kruger and Rose Byrne in breakout performances.

Content: Rated R for violence, sexuality, and nudity.

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Youtube, Google Play, iTunes. Purchase on DVD

55.  A Walk to Remember (2002)

10 Memorable Film Proposals

Photo: Warner Bros.

Why You Should Watch: One of the first of Nicholas Sparks books to be adapted for the screen. It’s also one of Mandy Moore’s earliest film appearances and co-stars Shane West. Plus, it has a great soundtrack.

Content: Rated PG

Where to Watch: Stream on Hulu and FreeForm. Rent or buy on Youtube, GooglePlay or iTunes. Purchase on DVD

56.  Waterloo Bridge (Adaptations)

Waterloo Bridge Review

Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor as Myra Lester & Roy Cronin Photo: MGM

Why You Should Watch: A tragedy of bad timing, separation by war and eventual desperation, this one wrenches the heart. Basically, it’s a tragic reminder that sometimes love doesn’t always conquer all, but it is worth it.

Content: Though prostitution is alluded to, it is not explicitly shown.

Where to Watch 1931 adaptation: Available in the Forbidden Hollywood DVD Collection, Volume 1.

Where to Watch  1940 adaptation: Rent or buy on iTunes. Purchase on DVD.

57.  The Way We Were (1973)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Why You Should Watch: This brilliant Seventies drama depicts the victories and trials of a young couple whose political views eventually tear them apart. It is a thoughtful, respectful drama about love which stars Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford.

Content Note: Rated PG, but does show a couple in bed.

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, and iTunes. Purchase on DVD.

58.  West Side Story (1961)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: United Artists

Why You Should Watch: What if Romeo and Juliet was set in 1960’s New York and featured star crossed lovers affiliated with opposing Puerto Rican gangs? That is the exact premise of this gorgeous film with memorable music.  It stars Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno. Not to mention, it won ten Oscars, the most ever for a musical film.

Content: Not rated, but includes some mild violence, language, and sexuality.

Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix and Max Go. Rent or buy on Amazon, iTunes, Youtube and Google Play. Purchase on DVD.

59.  Where the Boys Are (1960)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: MGM

Why You Should Watch: On the surface, this is another brightly colored, light-hearted film about teens on Spring Break. But it also explores deeper adult topics which confront the girls as they meet boys that catch their interest. One of them experiences particularly harsh consequences. It’s a story of innocence making way for adulthood.

Content Note: Not rated. Nothing too objectionable, but sexuality is implied.

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Youtube, Google Play and iTunes. Purchase on DVD.

60.  Winter Meeting (1948)

Romantic Tragedies List

Photo: Warner Bros.

Why You Should Watch: Starring Bette Davis, this film has an unexpected, but not unappreciated twist in telling the story of a romance between a prim New Englander and a rough war veteran. Not all love stories end with the same happily ever after. Sometimes that ending is still happy, but different.

Content Note: PG-like

Where to Watch: Airing on TCM, April 25 at 7:15 AM EST. Rent or buy from iTunes. Purchase on DVD.

Feature Photos: MGM, Miramax Film, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox/Warner  Bros., Focus Features, United Artists

What are some of your romantic tragedies? Are there any you would add to this list?

ARE YOU A ROMANTIC REBEL LIKE US? FOLLOW THE SILVER PETTICOAT REVIEW:

Silver Petticoat Review Logo The Silver Petticoat Review is a Romance themed entertainment site. Discussing Books, Film, TV, Theater, and Romantic Living with reviews, news, articles, and more, we’re the go-to place for fans of old-fashioned romance and Romanticism in stories. We’re twin sisters, Amber and Autumn, who hope to help spread the popularity of Romance in Entertainment as well as inspire kindred spirits to live more imaginative, Romantic lives so together we can all create a more beautiful world! We’re damsels not in distress fighting for the all-new optimistic Romantic Revolution! Join us as fellow Romantic Rebels and subscribe. For more information, see our AboutOld-Fashioned Romance 101, and Modern Romanticism 101. Also, make sure to meet our awesome Team.
Want to help us spread the popularity of Romance in Entertainment? Share this article with your friends!

Related Posts