Thursday, July 28, 2011

Movie Rant: Saddest Movie of All Time?

The Champ, starring Ricky Schroder and Jon Voight.
So, two American psychology professors did a little research and determined that the nearly three minute climax of the 1979 boxing flick, The Champ, makes it the "saddest movie ever made."


They've supposedly been working on this research project since 1988 (!!) in order to find the saddest film clip ever (I wish I had that job! Seriously). After testing more than 250 movies on a bunch of subjects, The Champ came out the champ of tearjerker moments.

Random, right? You'd think the most tear-worthy scenes would be from films like Titanic, Schindler's List or anything involving the tagline "based on a true story." Nope. Supposedly even the most cynical of viewers lost their composure watching the climax of the Franco Zeffirelli flick.

The Plot:  Billy Flynn (Jon Voight), a former boxer-turned-horse trainer, raises his little son T.J. (Ricky Schroder, that kid from Silver Spoons) all by himself after his wife, Annie (Faye Dunaway), abandoned the family years earlier. Billy struggles to save what little money he can, but ultimately decides to return to the ring one last time to earn more money so his son can have a better life. After winning the final fight and being named The Champ, Billy suddenly dies and (*cue tears*) his little son tries to wake him up.

Now, I've never seen this film but after this research study was released I looked up the climax scene (linked below). It's a little hard to get completely wrapped up in it having not seen the whole movie, but I can see why it would be very touching for a lot of people. All credit must be given to Ricky Schroder who is super-cute and can cry with the best of them in this scene. It looks like he gives a great performance ...something rare for child actors. My only beef with this study is that it calls The Champ the "saddest movie of all time" ...but I highly doubt the other nearly two hours of the films are sad. It shouldn't win that distinction based on one scene alone. A more appropriate title would have simply been "saddest movie scene of all time."

I couldn't choose one "saddest movie scene of all time", just like I couldn't pick "saddest overall movie of all time" ...there are too many to count. I wouldn't even know where to start.

Question: Do you have a pick for either "the saddest movie of all time" or "the saddest movie scene of all time"?


  1. For me, I would probably say, as cliched as it is among film buffs is, Bicycle Thieves. How can anyone not get sad over the ending of that film not to mention the situation a father and son have to go through?

    That was devastating to watch.

  2. Interesting review!! Admitedly I've never even heard of this movie!!
    I've mentioned it before to you in a similar post of yours, but for me the saddest movie I've seen is still The Bridges of Madison County.
    The cemetry scene in Saving Private Ryan always gets me as that is one of the most intersting periods of history for me, Normandy. Those rows and rows of white crosses, and the beautifully tended grounds always bring a lump to my throat!
    And believe it or not I would add ET!! I can remember way back as a kid seeing it with my mother and sister. They, along with the whole theatre, were quite literally bawling their eyes out at the ending!! I'm not overly big on Speilberg but he produced something special there pulling on the hapless audiences heart strings! ( Surprised he hasn't stuffed it all up with a, ET Returns, or some such thing!!).

  3. @theVoid99: Agreed! If I had to make a list of Saddest Movie Scenes (hey! there's any idea!), that would definitely be near the top of my list ...if not number one. So, so sad.

  4. @BRENT: Well, I've never seen it and I heard of it but never knew what it was about so I was a little lost like you at first.

    I'm thinking I might do a list of Saddest Movie Scenes in the near future. So many are coming to mind now, including the ending of E.T., as you mentioned. That scene killed me when I was a kid.

  5. Hands down, "The Champ" is the saddest movie I've ever seen. I remember watching it years ago and I was a complete "basketcase" at the end. It's a movie that has stuck with me throughout the years.