5 Battle Movies that Make Guys Cry

Guy Cry Battle Movies

These manly battle movies each had a sentimental part where guys just can’t help but get all choked up.

The goal of this series is to show that being “manly” and being disconnected with your emotions do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. While the approach to these articles is one of comedy and satire, the emotional core of these movies is very valid. Manly movies often times have the potential to make guys cry, for example:


Let’s be honest here, this list could go on forever. Battles by their very nature are about loss, and films about those battles milk that loss for all its worth. In this list, I’m not focusing on “war” movies because that’s a whole thing about geopolitical mumbo jumbo that I’m too bored to get into. I just want to talk about films that center around a fight, a battle, a hardship that the main character has to eventually take part in. Do they spend the entire movie preparing for that battle, or is the entire runtime devoted to the battle itself? Either way, these types of movies can get even the dude-bro-iest of dude-bros to shed a tear.

1. Fight Club

Shut up, I know I’m breaking the first rule! Twist ending aside (the butler did it) this film is all about battle. There’s the overt fight between office workers who’ve had enough of suppressing their animal instincts, and then there’s the internal battle that our main character fights throughout the plot.

I feel the sad part of this film is the loss of identity that Edward “Third best Hulk” Norton experiences at the end. He realizes not only that all of the actions of Brad Pitt were actually his, but has accidentally created an atmosphere where his followers will not deviate from the plans he’s set forth. Finding himself a cult leader, he realizes he’s made a mistake but his devoted followers think his requests to stop are just a test. After spending the first hour or so of the movie trying to find out who he really is and craft the life and world that he wants, Edward has no identity or power because he also crafted an enemy to take it all for himself. And when he shoots himself at the end it is false hope. Mental health doesn’t work that way, so either real life logic comes in and Brad Pitt will be back, or movie logic comes in and Edward Norton’s personality actually lost, giving up and letting Brad Pitt take over. That’s bleak.

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2. Gladiator

This film should be on TV more, because it was huge at the time and I think it still holds up. You’ve got fighting lions, warriors with codes, secrets behind closed doors, and don’t forget whiny McCaesar.

Much like Kratos, this film has a warrior whose wife and son were brutally murdered. Maximus Prime (not his name) is made big boss instead of the current big boss’ son Joaquin Phoenix. Since artificial intelligence cell-phones weren’t invented yet, Joaquin has nothing to do but murder his Dad, try to murder Maximus, and crucify Maximus’ family. What gets me is that Maximus never wanted to be Caesar. Had Joaquin just not acted like a dick, Maxy probably would have supported him. As Max sees his family in the afterlife welcoming him at the end, you gotta believe he was thinking “Dude, I DIDN’T EVEN WANT THE JOB!?”

3. Braveheart

It’s a film about Scottish independence from the English, but really it’s a film about how much Mel Gibson loves showing movie audiences torture. In that respect it’s kinda weird, but it’s done so well you can’t help but love it.

The torture scene is particularly what makes guys sad, but it’s more of a proud cry. Mel Gib-Scotland is tortured sooooo bad that even the crowd that was initially into it starts crying out for mercy. Mel of course rubs his nipples and asks for a second helping. The pride of this man being wrecked in front of a crowd yet still staying strong is a “Pride-cry” moment, which is a thing don’t tell me it’s not.

4. Rocky III

Remember when we saw Sylvester Stallone shirtless and didn’t shudder? I know, right? Everyone remembers this installment as the one with Mr. T, and the one where Mickey dies. Guess which one makes guys sad?

Let me put it to you this way: Rocky is like Batman, and Mickey is like Alfred. Picture if, during the third Batman film, after Bane broke Batman, Bruce Wayne crawls over to Alfred and says “I’m not done yet!” to which Alfred says “(silence)” because he just died. Bruce Wayne, beaten and defeated, now saddled with the guilt that his loss disappointed Alfred to death.

That’s what happened to Mickey.

5. Rocky IV

Two Rocky movies in the same list? What is this, Sly Stallone night at the ApolloooooDOOO YOU SEE WHAT I JUST DID THERE?

Speaking of Apollo, yea he gets beaten to death by the entire Soviet Union compressed into humanoid form. If Rocky III was about Alfred dying, this film would be Jim Gordon dying. Apollo Creed started as Rocky’s enemy, then became his best friend, and even took Mickey’s place as trainer in the previous film. Then Apollo enters what he thinks is a “Pro Wrestling” level of seriousness match, and is promptly murder-death-killed by Ivan Drago, also known as Dolph Lundgren, also known as “How the HELL does that man have a degree in chemical engineering?!”

I know. True story. Smart guy.

First Rocky loses his trainer, now he lost his best friend. He has to fight Whiplash from the Iron Man comics, and no one’s in his corner but some weird ’80s robot and his brother-in-law, who is human garbage. How much can you take away from a man before he stops getting in the ring? Not enough, evidently.

To make matters even worse, Rocky’s most devoted supporter, his quantum of solace (if you’ll allow it…and even if you won’t) Adrian spits the whole plan in his face and basically says, “You will not win. You get in the ring with that monster and he’s going to kill you, and I refuse to watch that happen.” Every pillar of faith that the man has comes crumbling down just before he flies into a hostile country and enters into a boxing match with a dude who kills people with his fists.

Like what you see? Secure enough in your masculinity for more? Check out more Guy Cry Cinema or watch Dan on No Right Answer, the weekly debate show that knows what’s really important: Pointlessly arguing about geek culture.


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Daniel Epstein
Father, filmmaker, and writer. Once he won an Emmy, but it wasn't for being a father or writing.