Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

5 tear-jerking breast cancer movies

Hollywood has its own interpretation of breast cancer in film. The top 5 tear-jerking movies with breast cancer plots often involve a dysfunctional family and lots of sadness.

As we honor those who have battled breast cancer this month, here’s a look at how Hollywood has handled the breast cancer storyline on film. Get your hankies out, these are five films with tear-jerking breast cancer plots.

Pieces of April

In this 2003 film, a young Katie Holmes plays a quirky girl who has a hard time fitting into her dysfunctional family. Although she’s been estranged from them, she decides to invite them over for a Thanksgiving dinner, one that will probably be the last for her mother who is dying from breast cancer. The dinner does not go as planned, but life lessons are learned through the tough journey for Holmes’ character.

The Family Stone

Another dysfunctional family movie with Sarah Jessica Parker and Diane Keaton headlining an ensemble cast. This 2005 film goes through the chaos of family holidays when a son brings home his uptight girlfriend who doesn’t mesh well with his family. While all the drama goes down around them, the matriarch of the family is losing her fight to breast cancer.

Terms of Endearment

Perhaps the weepiest of the lot, this 1983 movie starring Shirley McClaine and Debra Winger follows — you guessed it — a dysfunctional mother and daughter’s relationship through the years. The Oscar®-winning film’s plot leads up to Winger’s diagnosis of breast cancer and her eventual death, which requires an entire box of tissues to get through.


You cannot have a sad movie without thinking of the Lifetime channel. In 2011, the network produced a groundbreaking look at how the disease impacts the lives and families of breast cancer patients. An anthology of five short films was created and directed by celebrities like Alicia Keys, Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore. The stories dive into the journey through laughter, but also through many tears.

My Breast

This is an older film from the Lifetime network, but still a tear-jerker. The 1994 TV movie follows a career woman, played by Meredith Baxter, who makes drastic life changes when she discovers she has breast cancer. The sentimental film tackles some of the loneliness and isolation patients sometimes feel when they are suffering from breast cancer.

Image courtesy of LIFE/

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.