When Is It Okay for a Man to Cry?

by Brett on June 19, 2008 · 161 comments

in A Man's Life, On Manhood

Image from Seattletim

Men are known as the less emotional sex; they are supposed to be bastions of stability; the rock in the middle of a storm; unflappably cool no matter what the circumstance. Of course, it’s not wrong for men to get emotional. It’s unhealthy to keep one’s feelings bottled up and shoved deep down inside. But when is it okay for a man to display his emotions through crying?

The History of the Man Cry

Men have always cried. Yet the acceptability of male crying has varied across time and across culture. There are many references to man tears in ancient Greek and Roman culture. In Homer’s The Iliad there is no conflict between Odysseus’ heroic qualities and the inclusion of many episodes of his weeping for home, loved ones, and fallen comrades. Yet Odysseus never breaks down out of loneliness or frustration, which the ancient Greeks did not feel were acceptable reasons for men to cry. They also expected warriors to understand that there were times when public displays of emotion were acceptable, and times when it was appropriate to cry alone. Odysseus frequently tries to hide his tears from those around him.

The Old Testament is similarly replete with references to weeping. The ancient Hebrews wept as part of their supplications to God and before going to battle. The Gospel writers did not feel that tears were a threat to either the manhood or godhood of Christ and dutifully recorded that “Jesus wept.” Perhaps drawing inspiration from this emotional display, early church thinkers considered tears a gift and a natural accompaniment to spiritual, even transcendent, experiences. The great theologian Thomas Aquinas, like the ancient Greeks, made the distinction between the very public weeping that had characterized Hebraic culture, and the idea that it was frequently best to cry away from people’s prying eyes.

Medieval Japanese and European epics are chock full of male crying. The great warriors in both Beowulf and The Tale of Heiki cry buckets over both great spiritual questions and the death of comrades. The warriors in such stories are expected to cry about issues of war, peace, and ideals, while the women weep over romantic and platonic relationships or out of general sadness, loneliness, or frustration.

Up through the Romantic Era, a permissive, even celebratory attitude toward male crying prevailed. Popular culture was of full of sentimental literature and art featuring men and women falling into each other’s arms and bathing one another with their tears. Tears were seen as proof of a man’s sincerity, honesty, and integrity. But the Enlightenment ushered in a more rational ideal of manhood. Tears came to be seen not as an unmitigated virtue, but as sometimes manipulative, illogical, and false.

During the Victorian Era, those virtues thought to be exclusively feminine in nature were celebrated. Women were seen as dainty and fragile, full or emotion and love. Tears have always had a vulnerable and submissive quality to them, and began to be seen as more befitting a woman than a man. As the 20th century emerged, the ideal of the tearless male emerged with it.

The Man Cry Today

Culture’s view of male crying has continued to evolve into our day. While we still expect men to cry less than women, in some cases it has now become more acceptable for a man to cry than a woman, at least when it comes to our public officials. Hillary Clinton’s tears in New Hampshire brought some compassion, but also criticism that such vulnerability made her ill-suited for leadership. Yet Mitt Romney choked up several times on various news programs without the slightest attention being paid to it. Many see tears as proof that a man is sensitive and humble and thus well-rounded.

Which leaves men in a gray area when it comes to crying in the modern age. Some people these days encourage men to let loose whenever the urge hits. Some adhere to the “you can’t squeeze tears from a stone” philosophy. I think the key to male crying lies somewhere between these two edicts. A man need not be perpetually stoic. There are, of course, times when we feel sorrow or frustration so acutely that it must be let out. Yet there’s a balance between being so sensitive that a Hallmark commercial can make you weep and shedding some tears over something truly significant. Just as there is a balance between releasing some man tears and turning into the kind of blubbering mess that makes everyone feel uncomfortable. Here are some appropriate and inappropriate times to get your cry on.

When It’s Okay for a Man to Cry

Photo by richelleantipolo

1. The death of a loved one. There are few things more painful than the thought of separation from those dearest to our hearts.

2. The death of your beloved pet. A pet can feel like a member of the family. Whether a horse or dog, the bond between a man and his faithful animal runs deep.

3. When you first see the new life you and your wife created. Many a man has found himself choked up as they cradle their newborn son or daughter.

4. When you propose to the love of your life and she says yes. This should be one of the happiest days of your life. You found your best friend.

5. At the altar as you get married. Everyone in attendance loves to see the husband-to-be get a little misty-eyed as his blushing bride walks down the aisle.

6. When your beloved car or truck, especially your first one, gets totaled. There’s a bond between a man and his wheels that when severed, can really sting.

7. Visiting sites that pay tribute to those who laid down their lives for others. Whether running your fingers over the names at the Vietnam War Memorial or watching the oil leak from the sunk USS Arizona, contemplating the sacrifices made by your fellowman should make you tear up.

8. Describing a really spiritual experience. Feeling touched by a higher power can be really affecting.

9. As an athlete, after the final game/match/event that you will ever play in. You’ll never be in as good shape again. You’ll never experience this level of camaraderie again. You’ll never push yourself so hard every day. Go on and let it out.

10. While watching any of the following movies:

  • Field of Dreams
  • Brian’s Song
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • The Pride of the Yankees
  • Old Yeller
  • Iron Giant
  • Life is Beautiful
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Rudy
  • Braveheart
  • Dead Poets Society
  • Friday Night Lights
  • We Were Soldiers
  • Gladiator
  • Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
  • The Champ
  • Glory
  • It’s a Wonderful Life

When It’s Not Okay For a Man to Cry

Devotion to your team is respectable. Turning into a blubbering mess when they lose, not so much.

1. When you favorite sports team loses. I get really into sports. But crying when men who don’t know you from Adam lose a game means you’ve got way too much invested.

2. When those around you are looking to you as a source of calmness and strength. Sometimes your loved ones need you to be a rock.

3. To the point of irrational thinking or paralysis when you have a job to do. I wanted to strangle Upham in Saving Private Ryan when he cried in the stairwell while his fellow soldier was being killed. When you have a job to do, get it together.

4. When you don’t get your way. Little boys cry when they don’t get what they want. Men are disappointed, but resilient.

5. When you’re frustrated. Crying because your overwhelmed and don’t know what to do is a cop out. You don’t have the strength to think of a solution, so you cry so you don’t have to think at all. Man up and figure out your next move.

6. In baseball. There’s no crying in baseball!

7. During any of the following movies:

  • Beaches
  • Steel Magnolias
  • Little Women
  • Jerry Maguire
  • The Notebook
  • Ghost

Source: Crying: A Natural and Cultural History of Tears

Hat tip to Robbie C. for his comments in the forum and post at his blog Urban Grounds for inspiring this post.

{ 160 comments… read them below or add one }

1 James Cassell June 19, 2008 at 10:00 pm

“As an athlete, after the final game/match/event that you will every play in.”
the last part should probably be “ever play in”

2 April June 19, 2008 at 10:58 pm

your movie list should also include The Last of the Mohicans, it gets my husband every time

3 Shatt June 20, 2008 at 1:30 am

I don’t really see why a frustration-cry is a bad thing. It can be cathartic and help you get your act together to start working on the next step.

Just do it in private.

4 Julian June 20, 2008 at 1:42 am

I agree with The Iron Giant and It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life brings me to tears without fail.
You guys should do a post on George Bailey.

5 Sam June 20, 2008 at 1:47 am

Remember The Titans get me every time

6 Alex June 20, 2008 at 3:05 am

A man should cry whenever he needs to and he should not be curtailed by the thought of what other people will think of him for him doing it. It’s an emotional release. You just don’t make any excuses for it. You just forget about it. We give too much of a damn what our peers think of us. Can’t have any nails standing out-must be sheeple.

We should cry when are paradigms are revealed to have feet of clay. When are illusions are revealed for what they are. There’s a lot of that going on right now.

7 John June 20, 2008 at 3:53 am

To the OK list, you MUST add:

11. At your daughter’s wedding – Any man who does not melt when walking his little girl down the aisle to give her away to another good man has no heart and no soul.

8 grimly fiendish June 20, 2008 at 4:23 am

i refute it thus …

http://arabaquarius.blogspot.com/2008/06/crying-men.html

(hehe, all in good fun)

9 soo June 20, 2008 at 4:50 am

Can I add to the list of “When It’s Okay For a Man to Cry” when a girl dumps you, cheats on you, or just breaks your heart. That can be pretty painful and cry worthy. Btw, I really liked this article!

10 Mike June 20, 2008 at 4:53 am

What about crying when your favorite sports team wins (tear of joy!)? Last year I was at the last game of the season when the phillies won (and the mets lost to the marlins), clinching the NL east on the last day of the season! I was jumping up and down, and since the phillies hadn’t made the playoffs in 14 years, yeah I cried from being so happy.

11 Will June 20, 2008 at 4:57 am

As John mentions… everyone (including me) thought it was great when my father-in-law cried escorting my bride to the altar. And when my own father got emotional at the reception.

I would agree (seriously) only really with the limitation of “when others are looking to you to be strong.” Expressing emotion is a wonderful gift. I used to be pretty unemotional (on the surface) much of the time; now, a song can have me react.

12 ScottJ June 20, 2008 at 5:00 am

While I don’t agree with some of the movies on the list, my personal movie that makes me cry is Big Fish. Then again, seeing it shortly after my father passed away may be a factor in that.

13 R June 20, 2008 at 5:28 am

Acceptable Movie addition:
ET ;-)

Acceptable Situation addition:
- Getting kicked in the nuts (if you don’t cry, you have nothing there)
- Cutting an onion

14 Robbie Cooper June 20, 2008 at 5:52 am

Thanks for the links and tip of the hat.

I’m a strong believer that a good cry is all well and good — so do it privately. I think there are times when being strong, for yourself and those around you, trumps your own need to “let it out”.

Sometimes being a man is about more than what “you want.”

15 Andrew Barbour June 20, 2008 at 6:02 am

Iron Giant! Not enough people understand how great a movie that was. Directed by Brad Bird, people–same guy who directed The Incredibles (although that was not a movie at which crying is permitted).

I’d also like to add Big Fish, the Tim Burton movie with Ewan MacGregor and Albert Finney. Saw that after my dad passed away, and it nearly killed me. Fantastic movie.

I also cried like a little girl in pigtails when I watched my son being born–which is fortunate, because it kept me from passing out.

16 Yatrik June 20, 2008 at 6:18 am

Awesome post!!

17 Dax June 20, 2008 at 6:21 am

The first movie I ever cried at was ‘Of Mice and Men’…

18 Daniel June 20, 2008 at 6:51 am

Rocky’s speech to the crowd after his victory in “Rocky II” makes me choke up every time. Yeah, the rest of the Rocky enterprise gets pretty ridiculous after that, but seriously: “Most of all I wanna thank God. Except for my kid being born, this is the greatest night in the history of my life. I just wanna say one thing to my wife at home. Yo Adrian, I did it!”
My brothers and I watched these movies about a million times with our dad growing up, and that moment just reinforced some of the values he tried to teach us: hard work, perseverance, and love of family.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=-OFCDNa5diQ&feature=related

19 Art Gonzalez June 20, 2008 at 8:34 am

I would add that is ok to cry in the birth of your children and also when God answers a prayer in a powerful way. You mention that is not ok to cry when watching “The Notebook”…sorry, I did. I think that it´s the only movie I´ve ever done so, along with “Forrest Gump” (almost there).

Many blessings,

Art Gonzalez
Check my Squidoo Lens at: Quantum Knights

20 Hayden Tompkins June 20, 2008 at 10:09 am

My ex-boyfriend, who was always very easy going and never got worked up over anything, cried when I tried to break up with him. I say ‘tried’ because I just couldn’t when I saw the depth of his emotion.

It stopped me from making a huge mistake, because we were together for another two years. Dating him made me a better woman and ultimately a better wife.

That was the only time I’ve ever known him to cry, and we are still very good friends. Granted, that’s a situation that depends on the couple involved, but his tears completely unmade me.

21 Tito Toronto June 20, 2008 at 10:23 am

Personally, I think the number one rule is that it is Never Okay for a Man to Cry. Therefore, this list should be one of those “exceptions to every rule”.

I would have to argue number 1, 1. The death of a loved one. , only because 2. When those around you are looking to you as a source of calmness and strength. is one of the most important things about being a man.

One last tip, IF Men only need to absolutely cry, it should never be a Bitch-Cry, but only a manly, shed-tears, type of cry.

22 Preston Runquist June 20, 2008 at 11:18 am

One more movie to add to the list… The Green Mile…. gets me everytime.

23 30 days June 20, 2008 at 1:23 pm

I hate it when guys get choked up for sentimental reasons when they’re drunk. Here’s one for temperence – it makes you cry when no sober man would.

24 John Commoner June 20, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Rudy???? Rudy???? You gotta be shittin’ me. Get that off the list, please.

Otherwise, a fabulous guide. Well done.

25 Wesley June 20, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Add to the list of acceptable movies: Where the Red Fern Grows and Hoosiers. Both get me every time.

26 bfwebster June 20, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Ditto on the “seeing your daughter get married”.

Another movie for the list: “Frequency” — probably the closest thing to a chick flick for guys (particularly fathers & son). On the other hand, there’s several on the list I’d probably drop off.

27 Dave June 20, 2008 at 8:13 pm

My Life is the only movie after which I bawled like a baby…I think it should be on the list–especially since it’s a tribute to manliness–what it means to be a devoted dad and a man–to a kid he doesn’t even know yet!

28 Mark June 20, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Another movie that should be added to the “okay” list:

Armageddon

The end always gets me. You know the part with the patch and the switcheroo. Yeah.

I always tear up while watching any movie that has a 21 gun salute and they play Taps. My Grandfather was in the Korean and Vietnam wars and while he made it home safely, many of his buddies didn’t. I always flashback to his funeral when I hear the gunshots and the bugle playing. He’s been gone for a little over 10 years now and I can remember it like it was yesterday. I cry every time and I don’t care who is around to see it.

-Mark

29 Chris June 20, 2008 at 10:48 pm

I think that in addition to movies books should be included. One book thats ending always gets me is The Outsiders by S E Hinton

30 Wrathbone June 20, 2008 at 11:09 pm

There’s an interesting point that hasn’t really been touched on…

A couple weeks ago I happened to catch an episode of Hell’s Kitchen. One of the contestants, a rather portly fellow, must have cried at least three times during the episode. He spent the rest of the time looking like he was about to cry. The sight of his turkey neck waddling as he boohooed through every setback or victory, no matter how minor, was truly sickening. Just tonight while watching Casino on Bravo, they showed some snippets of their reality shows, and it was awash in grown men crying like old ladies.

I think all the aforementioned examples of when it’s ok to cry are perfectly acceptable. But I think our society has neutered men to the point where even the slightest notion of emotional turmoil turns some into complete pansies. I think part of being a man is knowing how to hold back tears, especially when there’s a camera on you.

31 Dave June 21, 2008 at 1:14 am

I’d say the list of movies you can cry in is way to specific. You should be able to tell if it’s aparticularly sad movie or not. Also you should be able to cry when reading a sad book.

32 James June 21, 2008 at 2:55 am

The movie that always chokes me up is Big Fish, I would add that to the list.

33 Greg June 21, 2008 at 6:46 am

I think a distinction needs to be made between out right crying and getting choked up and having a few little tears roll down the cheek.
I did the former when my Grandpa died…publicly and without embarrassment. When my Mother died I hid in a room by myself and cried my eyes out. Then I went into the bathroom, cleaned myself up, and went out and was strong for my sister.
I did the later when I saw my son, daughter, and both my granddaughters for the first time. I will most likely get choked up when I walk my daughter down the aisle and give her away, but I won’t cry.
To show emotion is not sissy or soft, it’s manly and it shows you care, and caring is a good thing. Emotions should be held in check as much as possible, but sometimes it’s just not possible.
Crying at a movie is borderline, but I must admit, I cried while watching some of the movies listed. Reading a good story gets me sometimes, too.
I would say, for the most part, if you’re going to cry, do it so as few people possible notice.

34 Gdub June 21, 2008 at 7:28 am

Another movie that is okay to cry during is Black Hawk Down.

35 Brett June 21, 2008 at 8:08 am

@Hayden-It’s interesting-sometimes women find their husband’s/boyfriend;s tears really touching, and sometimes women say it makes them really uncomfortable and/or they find it a real turn off.

@30 days-So true. Nothing is worse than the sentimental crying drunk.

@Wrathbone-Good point. I think a point that can be added to the “don’t list” is “don’t cry so often that people can’t take you seriously.” Also, the more you cry, the less meaningful your years become. People start thinking, “oh great, so and so is crying again.” But if your tears are rare, when you do cry, people know something truly significant has occurred.

@Greg-I tried to make that distinction when I said, “Just as there is a balance between releasing some man tears and turning into the kind of blubbering mess that makes everyone feel uncomfortable.”

36 Brian June 21, 2008 at 10:36 am

another point in a movie that should be allowed to cry would be in Tears of the Sun, the scene where the guys clear out and find the baby has died and the mother was raped and mutilated and she dies shortly afterward, I tell ya that nails me no matter how many times I see it

37 Evan June 21, 2008 at 11:42 am

I bawled like a baby during Schindler’s List, and feel no less manly for it.

38 bugmenot June 21, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Movie additions: Titanic
TV show list: Many episodes of Third Watch ,7th Heaven and Touched by an Angel, some episodes of some CSI show, pilot episode (1+2) of Earth 2 (5 minutes from the end) , series finale of Angel (“would you like me to lie to you now”)

39 Brett June 21, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Touched by an Angel? I hope you’re kidding.

40 NoPantsJim June 21, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Other Acceptable moments:

1. Season 4 finale of House

2. Season 3, episode 14 of Scrubs

3. The Episode of Futurama where Fry thinks he’s going to get his dog back.

41 Kevin (ReturnToManliness) June 21, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Watched Stranger Than Fiction last night again. Cried again. I absolutely feel MORE manly about it.

Think about it. He gave up at the end and succumbed to his destiny. That is the saddest moment in any man’s life. When you actually believe you have no control over the outcome of your own life. Then the act of succumbing is what made him help dictate his future.

Priceless and Farrell should have been nominated for SOMETHING for his performance…

42 bfwebster June 21, 2008 at 3:02 pm

I have a new one.

When you son leaves for war.

I wasn’t quite expecting my own reaction, but there you have it. ..bruce..

43 Liz June 21, 2008 at 3:51 pm

OK, this really made me laugh, almost until I cried. And I kept thinking, “men can cry during ‘Brian’s Song,” and then, finally, there it was. And of course men cry when their pets die — I know my husband did both times. Believe it or not, a book by a woman who lost her pet
helped him (well, both of us) through it. Tatianna is the cat’s name, and the name of the book — great love story about the bond and unconditional love between owner and beloved pet., and how to cope when the pet dies.

Just might make a man cry again…

44 Edgar C. June 22, 2008 at 12:40 am

John on June 20th, 2008 3:53 am

To the OK list, you MUST add:

11. At your daughter’s wedding – Any man who does not melt when walking his little girl down the aisle to give her away to another good man has no heart and no soul.

——————————————————————————————————————

Total co-sign on that one

45 K June 22, 2008 at 2:02 pm

I had an ex who cried once when I sang to him and again when we broke up. Both times were very touching and endearing.

On the other hand, I had another ex who cried anytime he thought I was mad at him, and at every little thing that wouldn’t even have made me least bit upset. That was definitely a turn-off, not to mention downright annoying.

46 Alexa Claire June 22, 2008 at 6:57 pm

The real answer: ALWAYS.

I understand that this is a blog geared towards being “manly,” and crying isn’t considered “manly.” But, really, isn’t it more manly to be secure with yourself and not worry about what society says is right? Men are human beings, and, as human beings, it is perfectly natural for them to cry. It’s a way to express incredibly strong emotions–whether frustration, happiness, loneliness, etc.

My boyfriend never cries and it is the only thing about him that drives me crazy! Your wife/girlfriend/whatever does not need you to be “a rock.” Rocks are chunks of earth without minds or hearts or feelings. They just need you to be there for them, whether you’re crying or not.

47 dadshouse June 22, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Great list. I cried when I finished running my first marathon. And as a single dad, I’d add Kramer vs. Kramer to that movie list. Here are some other times for me: http://dadshouseblog.com/2008/04/02/pass-the-kleenex-i%e2%80%99m-tearing-up/

48 Captdumpling June 23, 2008 at 9:16 am

Top Gun should be added to the allowed list. It gets me everytime I see Goose die.

49 Dan June 24, 2008 at 6:15 am

I second adding Hoosiers to the list. The closing scene chokes me up every time.

50 Geoff R. Casavant June 24, 2008 at 7:11 am

I would also add To Kill a Mockingbird to your list of movies, and echo the others who said Forrest Gump needs to be included as well.

51 Brad June 24, 2008 at 12:28 pm

I’m going to half to agree with this blog 100%. Yes, you could have added some other moments in life where it would be ok to let the man tears flow, but you cannot list them all.

Most people frown upon the man cry where I am from, when it comes to movies or anything other than a death in the family. This reassures me that I am not a lame ass and I’m a man…..that can cry. :)

Thanks guys for another awesome post.

52 Spacks June 24, 2008 at 9:55 pm

I’m going to be honest here, I think there’s more depth here than just “when a loved one dies.”

I found out my father was in the hospital and I’ve found myself pretty choked up about it–direct family member’s and dire news tend to have an immense emotional impact on me. Specifically in this case I was unable to contact anyone that could update me for hours–adding to the problem is the fact that I don’t live very close to home currently.

Just felt the need to comment since this hit so close to home so recently.

53 Aaron June 25, 2008 at 5:59 pm

The movie EVERY man should cry upon viewing it: The Passion of the Christ

54 Granata June 26, 2008 at 6:47 am

Glad to see Iron Giant on the list. I just recently saw that movie and was really moved by it. I’ve seen it two times since. I watched it with my two-year-old. It might have been a little intense for her at moments but she could not stop talking about robots for the next week. It was wicked cute.

55 Randall C. Stufflebeam June 27, 2008 at 1:19 am

This Topic really hit home for me. I spent 22 and a half years in the Marin Corps and for the first 21 years I pretty much had a steel heart and had my emotions pretty well locked up inside. That all changed when my middle daughter was raped and the trial that we went through. It shattered the wall that I had my emotions hidden behind.

I concur with the suggestion of two movies being added to the list. The first was Armegeddon – what father who has daughters couldn’t relate to the see of Bruce Willis having to break his promise to his girl (for a noble reason)? And the second is the “Green Mile.” That movie wasn’t just a tear jerker, they backed up the tow truck and pulled them out.

56 Brett McKay June 27, 2008 at 7:49 am

Thanks for the comment Randall. And I just want to tell you that “Stufflebeam” is an awesome last name.

57 Nick Simonds June 27, 2008 at 11:16 am

I’d add The Elephant Man to the movie list. Also, the Futurama episode where Fry’s dog waits in front of the his pizza shop for years just to see him again and dies of old age.

58 Peter June 27, 2008 at 2:49 pm

I will cry when any team from Seattle (Mariners, Sonics, Seahawks) wins a championship. I’ve been waiting all 28 years of my life. I’ve been there for Edgar Martinez, Griffey, Largent, Kemp, Payton, the rise and fall of the Kingdome. I’ll shed a little tear of humble respect for those guys whenever it happens. It may be a while…

59 Aaron June 29, 2008 at 9:52 am

It is also OK to cry when you hear a good song that extols the virtues of faith, family and country.

Examples:
Amazing Grace
Lee Greenwood – God Bless the USA
Rodney Atkins – I’ve Been Watching You
I’ll be Home for Christmas (when you’re not home for Christmas)
America the Beautiful (Ray Charles’ version)

60 Randall C. Stufflebeam July 5, 2008 at 11:50 pm

:-) Thanks, Brett!

I would agree with Aaron as well. I can remember the first time I heard the words by Lee Greenwood, “I’d gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today” and those of us listening, stood up. WOW!! What a moment!

And the song, “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me, has evoked many tears when I contemplate what it is that I will do when I stand before the one who died for me.

61 Steve July 6, 2008 at 10:49 am

Derek Redmond. The 1992 Olympics, in Barcelona. Redmond, the British record holder in the 400m, was forced to drop from his event in ’88 summer games by injury. But he was back, and had vowed that he would finish this race. By the back stretch, it seemed not only that he would finish, but that he would win the event, and move on to the finals, and possible Olympic gold. With approximately 175 meters left in the race, Derek heard a ripping, popping noise in his leg, and he went down to the track. The race, and his career, ending for Derek in a sickening tear in his hamstring. Derek’s father, ducking security guards and sidestepping fans and athletes alike, rushes to the track to his son, who is getting up and waving off the medical personnel. The two limp down the last stretch of track, father and son, and Mr Redmond lets go only to let Derek cross the finish line.

If it wasn’t okay to cry watching that, then it never is.

62 boxer July 14, 2008 at 8:40 pm

I saw my Dad first cry while watching Schindler’s List.
And again he cried when we saw I Am Sam – because he’s a single dad.

63 Oz July 16, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Please add Blood Diamond and Armageddon to your movie list.

Blood Diamond
When Solomon is brought to the refugee camp and his wife tells him the rebels took his son.

The speech he gives to his son when he (the son) pulls a gun on him.

The end, at the conference.

Armageddon
President’s Speech and world footage montage (a classic, and the soundtrack by Trevor Rabin is excellent)

When the shuttle Independence crashes.

When Max is blown away and they think all hope is lost and Harry (Bruce Willis) tells Houston to prepare the world for bad news.

When Harry switches places with AJ (Ben Affleck). AJ protests, saying that it’s his job. Harry calls AJ his son.

Harry’s last talk to Grace (Liv Tyler)

When they return to earth and Grace runs toward him.

Whew, glad to that that off my chest…

64 Charles July 17, 2008 at 1:47 pm

Uh, am I at the right blog? I am horrified at some of the things on the article list and in the user comments that apparently warrant tears. Here is my list (and I don’t consider myself to be “supermanly”. My grandfather would probably limit this list to number 1):

1. Death of a loved one (close, not your distant cousin that you didn’t like anyway)

2. Death of pet (ONLY if it is a dog)

3. Birth of children

4. Movies with father/son or sports themes, maybe dog themes if you really love dogs (Rudy, Field of Dreams, and Old Yeller are examples. However, this should be done in private, not in front of your wife/girlfriend)

Crying at the alter or as your propose? That is horrible. That is what the woman is supposed to do! What if you start blubbering like a fool and she just stands there and is excited? You look like a loser.

65 Johnny Sunshine July 21, 2008 at 4:45 pm

No man should ever cry during a movie – no way, no how.

66 Darryl July 21, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Great list. There’s a whole lot of movies that should be on this list. I remember my brother getting choked up and all misty eyed when we watched “Of mice and Men” (yes it was based on the book)that starred Gary Sinise. “Tell me ’bout the rabbits George!” gets him every time!

67 Johan July 24, 2008 at 5:44 am

Another movie in my opinion that should be added is Terminator 2. I remember shedding my first tears when the Terminator killed himself at the end.

68 JD July 26, 2008 at 4:33 am

You might not think you would ever tear up at an Adam Sandler movie, but “Click” sure did it to me.
Chuck Wicks Song Stealing Cinderella. My daughters only 3ys old but it sure makes you realize they will not be kids forever.

69 Kyle M. August 26, 2008 at 11:03 am

Another movie that’s gotta be added is “Blow” when Johnny Depp will never see his Dad again because he’s going to spend the rest of his life in jail, and he leaves a recording for him and it goes back and forth between Johnny Depp saying the recording and his dad listening to it…Then right after is the scene where Depp imagined that his daughter came to visit him in jail… Two scenes in a row that made me cry my eyes out

70 jar0n September 28, 2008 at 7:54 am

@Steve

Your little story of Derek Redmond got me right there..

truthfully, there really usnt a hard and fast rule on what is acceptable to cry too.. each person has his triggers.. though i do agree with with most of the acceptables listed..

71 Eaglecoach October 3, 2008 at 5:00 am

My Life definitely should be on the list. When his father is shaving him, I cried like a baby. Heartwrenching moment. As a history buff, I can’t watch Schindler’s List without tearing up at the end.

72 omar October 28, 2008 at 10:13 pm

@soo
i am so with you bro they should have added that one to the list when a girl of course a girl u really loved and been through a lot together dumps you or stuff like that i tell you that because i am one of theme…… =(

73 Courtney November 16, 2008 at 12:38 am

@Alexa Claire

I agree. I recently broke up with my boyfriend because he neither cried nor ever got jazzed up about anything. Interacting with him was like poking roadkill with a stick and expecting it to do something. On paper he was a “good” guy, but in real life he was like a robot…what’s the point of even being in a relationship if you can’t share your joys and miseries with someone? You might as well just be single!

So guys, please. Try to strike a good balance. Enthusiasm is sexy, too.

74 Erik December 13, 2008 at 12:59 am

I cried when I read about the trial and death of Socrates as related by Plato.
Socrates met his end in a very manly way. His last words to his friend was
to offer a “cock” to be sacrificed to the god of healing. His “disease” was
cured only by death.

One movie I cried at was “Untamed Heart (1993)” when the guy with the bad heart died. I remember because it happens toward the end of the movie. Directors didn’t give enough time to gain control and composed oneself before the hall lights come on. Felt embarrased as hell. I wasn’t alone in the crowd.

along with others in the audience

75 Brett Chapman December 22, 2008 at 9:18 pm

I have another two movies that get me every time…

Mr Holland’s Opus – where they play his music for him.

and this one I am embarassed about…

Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. I cannot get through the Order 66 scenes without tears on my cheeks.. For someone who grew up with Jedi’s and also having read all the comics, all the books related, to see them butchered by their own… Stupid bloody movies… One day I will get past that bit…

76 kasper December 30, 2008 at 2:10 am

Hmmm… I honestly do my best in striving for manliness, I really do, I shave with a vintage safety razor, have an old-school haircut, advocate the use of pen-knives to eat apples and open envelopes etc… But lately I do find myself getting a bit blubbery and teary-eyed in more movies than I’d like-

Firstly- and I defy anyone not to not only cry big man-tears for the whole last part of the film, but also to be in a bit of a funk for a good few days afterwards, and get choked up at the thought of it- Grave of the Fireflies. This one should definitely be added to your list. It’s a Japanese animation from Studio Ghibli who brought you the likes of Spirited Away, but it’s not at all fantastical. It’s just about a boy and his little sister in Japan in WWII and it is too sad to think about. Apparently they play it once a year in Japan on national crying day.

Rather less excusable is crying, as I did, at the end of the recent Peter Jackson version of King Kong, just at the injustice of it all… That poor ape was an innocent I tell you…

77 John January 3, 2009 at 12:13 pm

I have recently been very disappointed in the apparent trend of male (especially high school/college) athletes crying when they lose. I’m not talking about a discreet tear or two, either. I have even seen almost entire teams blubbering like schoolgirls over their misfortune. Buck up, guys! Grow a set! Who taught them that this is acceptable? Is this a result of the lack of REAL men raising boys today? They’ve been told way too much that they DESERVE to win. I got news for you. You only deserve to win if you’re better than your opponent. My daughters cry less on the field. Shameful…

78 John R January 9, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Forest Gump: When he is talking to Jennie at her grave site gets me every time.
I am a crier. I have lost loved ones; have been hurt so many times and in so many ways in my 42 years of Life. My very Best Friend, Jesus Christ has comforted me through it all. He has also wept with me and for me. There is a Bible Scripture that plainly tells us to ” rejoice with those who are rejoicing and weep those who are weeping.” Romans 12:15
If you need to cry….cry; but remember not to purposely make others cry.
If your crying keeps you from performing in a life and death situation…save it for later. You can do this!
If someone is depending on you to be strong…then be strong. Cry later.

79 Ross Buchanan January 24, 2009 at 7:09 pm

I reckon One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest should be on your film list – damn good show always sad

80 Eric Ebacher January 25, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Of course, it’s okay for a man to cry; there are certain times where it is okay, such as when he loses his wife/girlfriend or a child(ren), or when he goes to see certain tearjerker movies; one such example of anything making me cry happened when I was about 17 years old; one Sunday, I was sitting in church with my grandmother, and the preacher at her church asked if anyone wanted to give their life to or back to the Lord. I raised my hand, and as I did, a tear ran down my face, because I had never truly taken God or His word seriously up until that point in my life. About a year later, I was sitting in a movie theater in my home town with a group of kids I was going to school with at that time, and during the last 30-35 minutes or more of the film, which was appropriately titled “A Walk to Remember”, I actually began to feel tears roll down my face, because this film was actually so good and extremely heartwarming. In fact, that night when I got home, I could still feel tears running down my face, though not as much or as hard as during the film or on the way home after the movie was over. So, definitely, yes, there are times when it is okay for a man to cry.

81 laila April 6, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Yes I agree. guys can have their emotional moments or times when they just cry but to be overly sensitive is not cool. like if my boyfriend were to share some tough things hes been through in his life and he gets teary i would be fine but if he cried about little things I don’t even cry about, he should just suck it up. Also I think it is steryeotypical and sexist to say girls cry more than men because everyone has different ways of dealing with pain and sadness and I for one don’t cry very much at all but it does build up into a big blow-up over small things but the thing is men do that too so we shouldnt get all weird about crying, its ok and if we all just move on, there wouldnt be problems with it.

82 Peach April 23, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I agree with almost everything, except for “Not to cry” # 5. When you’re frustrated. Crying because your overwhelmed and don’t know what to do is a cop out. You don’t have the strength to think of a solution, so you cry so you don’t have to think at all. Man up and figure out your next move. – I think that depends, obviously if you cry and give up, ok, it’s a cop-out, but sometimes crying helps to relieve the stress / frustration and allows you to look at the problem more calmly and rationally afterward.

Also, I agree with John’s #11, all tears of pride for children and grandchildren’s big moments should be included.

83 Graham April 30, 2009 at 10:58 pm

I didn’t see my dad cry often. I remember when one of the young men in our church (19 years old) died suddenly. As the pastor my dad spent the morning with the family, very close friends for many years, at the hospital. He came home for a shower and change of clothes around lunch time because he had been woken up and rushed out that morning. He walked into the kitchen and gave me the biggest hug I can remember and sobbed like a baby. He had been brave all morning, strong for the family, supportive. A few stray tears on his cheek. He had been a strong man, friend and pastor – now, he was a father grateful for his family.

I am going to be a father in Sept. I am so blessed to have such an example. My kids will have an example of what a man should be because I had an example.

Paul’s death was a very difficult time for me. It was the first time I really experienced death. He was my friend, guitar teacher and mentor – but the biggest lesson I took out of this came from my dad. In that day I saw a man be strong when others needed him. I saw him be completely vulnerable with his family. I saw him experience extreme emotion at the though that the same thing may one day happen to him – and I have never known as strongly that my dad loves me.

His single tears in the morning showed support and care – his sobbing in the afternoon showed his love.

I believe a real man MUST cry.

84 TheWarHam July 4, 2009 at 3:02 am

I give a definite yes to all the movies, especially the war movies… But Amen to Its A Wonderful LIfe, that is a true manly tear-jerker.

85 Sam August 31, 2009 at 10:27 pm

I second the request for a George Bailey article, but wait until the holiday season. One of the few movies that consistently makes me cry.

86 Evan September 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm

When should a man cry!?

When he is moved to tears! Duh!

My husband doesn’t cry frequently, but he does for all different kinds of reasons – either a good, satsifying, or a sad, satisfying ending of a movie…because of difficult interpersonal relationships, frustration, like if we’re having a bad fight (which doesn’t happen often, because we’re very in touch with our feelings!) Out of love – he cried when he proposed to me, and cried at our wedding ceremony. His tears make him incredibly attractive to me as someone I’d want to spend my life with – a man who is not in touch with his emotions, will not be able to express love or joy, either. You can’t turn off one emotion without turning them all off.

Sometimes it’s just plain inhuman for a man NOT to cry. He and I sometimes get misty-eyed when we see footage of 9/11, for example. It’s APPROPRIATE to cry at something devastating like that!

So go ahead! Cry when you feel moved to, and don’t when you don’t. The women in your life will not judge you. In fact, we’ll probably respect you more.

87 Okie November 2, 2009 at 12:16 am

My grandmother once told me that the only time she ever knew my grandfather to cry was when he had just heard on the radio that Will Rogers had just been killed in a plane crash …

88 Steve Scarfia November 9, 2009 at 1:35 am

First off, this is a great article! As always, Brett delivers the goods. With that said, I disagree with Ghost being in the never cry movie list. That movie is just so emotionally charged at the end, whether for the pain of losing a loved one (again, in that case), the acceptence of that loss, or the thoughts and emotions dealing with the prospect of an afterlife.

I also agree with some that Schindler’s List needs to definitely be on the ‘approved’ list as well.

I would also add Pan’s Labyrinth (the ending). Amazingly enough, most of the commenters above added just about ALL of the other movies that I would amend to this list (Forrest Gump, My Life, etc.)

Still an amazing article though Brett. Keep up the good work!

89 Charles November 9, 2009 at 8:28 am

Hmm.. I don’t think under any circumstances is it ok to cry, with the exception of maybe the death of a loved one. As men, it’s our duty to control our emotions, and not let them control us. Out-of-control emotions always lead to disaster, or killing someone.

90 Jean-Paul Gagnon November 9, 2009 at 9:19 am

I agree in principle with a man having to be in tune with his emotions. Rather than suppressing them, he should be master of them, and not crumble under the complexity emotions may lay on him in trying times. However, should the feeling to weep occur, listen to yourself and try abiding. Goodness knows, it’s probably something like a pressure valve for us lads to let out a different kind of steam you can’t at the gym (or whatever works to get the ‘physical pressure’ out). Finally, I think there is nothing wrong with crying as I suppose it helps a man understand himself better – it enriches the experience of the self like everything else in life.

91 Kyle November 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm

5. When you’re frustrated. Crying because your overwhelmed and don’t know what to do is a cop out. You don’t have the strength to think of a solution, so you cry so you don’t have to think at all. Man up and figure out your next move.

I don’t agree with this number. Sometimes crying clears your mind to give you the right amount of strength to think of a solution. If one were to continue in a helpless wallow, this is when a frustrated cry becomes a cop out. It also depends on how much the man cries when frustrated.

92 matt December 22, 2009 at 11:24 am

Agree 100% with Saving Private Ryan, I’ve seen that movie 14 times, and I can’t even get through the first 20 minutes without tearing up, hell any war story, especially real documentaries are hard for me to get through

the new special on History, WWII in HD is very good by the way, if you like WWII stuff

93 Russ January 20, 2010 at 7:31 pm

I heartily agree with most of the movies above. I would add Memphis Belle to the list. My Father was completely incoherent by the end of that movie.
My Grandfather, who died when I was very young, was a waist gunner in a B-17. He was shot in the chest by antiaircraft fire and somehow lived through the ordeal. The pain and suffering of that time in his life was with him always and surely led to his early death. The pain the war caused my Father all those years was written on his face that day.

94 BlizzardKing January 25, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Sorry gang, but if you don’t cry during The Notebook you have a problem.

Other “you should probably be crying” times include:

–Any live playing of the song “Taps.”

–Various episodes of “Little House on The Prairie.”

–The entirety of the movie “Charly.”

95 Blade February 2, 2010 at 6:26 am

When Marion Barbour gets stuffed at the goal line three straight times and they let Felix Jones run it in for the touchdown. Marion Jones is your number one back, you just lost your fantasy football match up by 5 points. Cry away.

96 Savageparrot March 5, 2010 at 4:32 am

Seriously your man status is revoked if you think it is OK to cry when talking about a spiritual experience. That’s the same as crying when talking about ‘feelings’….

Man fail…

97 Smith April 4, 2010 at 12:54 am

I agree with the guy who said Grave of the Fireflies.

Especially when you find out that it’s based on an autobiography and that everything that happened in the movie, repeat EVERYTHING that happened in the movie other than the boy also dying REALLY HAPPENED to those kids.

And that the boy grew up to write the book that the movie was based on and that he has to live with the guilt of causing his sister’s death FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE!

98 HW April 10, 2010 at 10:16 pm

I can’t say I’ve ever cried during a movie. One movie that especially touched me though was robocop. The burtal and unforgiving way he was killed, how he was brought back and turned into a mindless machine and had no control over this, how he was treated by his creators, and how when he started to remember who he was he realized that his wife and son had left and thought he was dead.

Another particularly sad story was a recent episode of Lost when they show richard’s back story. How his wife is sick, and he seeks help from a heartless doctor who only cares about money. He ends up killing the doctor to get the medicine his wife needs, but upon returning home finds his wife has already died. Then he goes to prison for murdering the doctor, and asks a priest to be absolved of his sins, to which the priest tells him that he will not absolve him, and that he will burn in hell. And this goes on and on, basically everyone he meets and everything that happens to him is horrible, and he ends up in the most hopeless and bleak situation imaginable.

But still, haven’t cried during those. I’m pretty much a rock. And no amount of “you should cry, it’s healthy to cry” will change that. Believe me, there are times when i have wanted desperately to cry, to ease my pain, but couldn’t. When it’s happens it happens whether you try holding back or not, when it doesn’t want to happen it won’t happen. To the ladies, don’t condemn those of us that don’t cry. It doesn’t mean we aren’t emotional.

99 Emily April 16, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I bawl like a baby everytime I watch I Am Legend, when he kills his dog. Any man who has ever had a dog should cry when they watch that. If not, you have some serious problems.

100 Inspector Karamazov April 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm

I agree, but think Schindler’s List should be on the list of movies it’s ok to cry at…

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