The Most Tragically Sad Movie Endings Of All Time

People are weird. We pay good money to be given a bit of hope, just enough to make us fall in love with a character, a world, a story, then we're completely satisfied when our newfound friend's world comes crashing down. Some movies make us laugh, others fill us with excitement and explosions, while others have us leaving the theater asking, "What in the world just happened to me?" (Here's looking at you, David Lynch.) But we seem to hold a special place in our hearts for those films that end up breaking open the flood gates of our tear ducts by the final scene, leaving us a pathetic pile of snot, tissues, and catharsis, and in dire need of a good hug.

But not all sad endings are created alike, and there's a big difference between your basic bummer and an absolute soul-wrenching tear-jerker. Let's take a look at some of the most unrelentingly heartbreaking movie endings of all time. Oh, and in case it isn't clear from the title of this piece: spoiler alert!

Road to Perdition, and also salvation

We're used to seeing him in more likable roles, such as Woody from Toy Story, and, of course, Forrest Gump, but the 2002 gangster flick Road To Perdition put Hanks in the unusual role of the anti-hero, the bad guy we root for in spite of his abundance of faults. As The Guardian noted, the atypical part "doesn't really play into his strengths," but that doesn't stop us from burning through boxes of Kleenex like we're soaking up a flood come the movie's tragic end. The character, a mobster named Michael Sullivan, realizes the error of his ways after a rival murders his wife and youngest son. He is subsequently torn by his desire for revenge and the need to protect his firstborn, Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) from the psycho hitman on their trail.

Just when it looks like they've made it to safety in a picture-perfect beach house on the shores of Lake Michigan, in the fictional town of Perdition, Sullivan is shot by the man who has been hunting them, dashing our clearly misguided hopes for his salvation. But the silver lining is in Michael Jr.'s inability to kill the man, despite having a gun and the jump on him. Michael Sr. takes the hitman out with his last bit of life, then shows pride in the son he knows will not follow in his bloody footsteps before dying in the boy's arms.

The story of the guy who lived with bears didn't end well

This one's really not a spoiler, because, well, what do you expect when you try to go live with grizzly bears? (Just sayin'.) Legendary documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog's (pictured above) Grizzly Man collects footage shot by conservationist and/or madman Timothy Treadwell during his 13 summers living among grizzly and brown bears in Alaska's Katmai National Park.

While Treadwell considered himself to be some kind of champion of bear conservation and protection, others, including Herzog himself, denounced Treadwell's obsessive, reckless behavior. The Arizona Daily Sun cited the helicopter pilot who retrieved Treadwell's remains after his death: "He was treating them like people in bear costumes. He got what he deserved. The tragedy of it is, he took the girl with him." That's right. The bear killed Treadwell's girlfriend Amie Hugenard, as well.

Although a camera they had with them recorded the audio of their final moments, Herzog saved his audience from that gruesome experience, only including footage of his reaction to hearing it. The film ends with footage of Treadwell wandering into the woods accompanied by a mournful country song. The ultimate tragedy of the Grizzly Man's story is that his irresponsible desire to be friends with one of nature's fiercest predators ended up taking the life of one of those he claimed to be protecting. As The Anchorage Daily News reported, park rangers had to kill the bear that attacked him in order to recover his remains.

The heartbreaking plot twist at the end of Atonement

Based on the popular book of the same name by English novelist and screenwriter Ian McEwan, Atonement is a gut-wrenching reminder that war is hell, no matter how the movies try to romanticize it. Set during World War II, the film begins in England in the 1930s, when Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley) falls in love with Robbie (James McAvoy), the son of her upper-class family's housekeeper. Cecilia's 13-year-old sister Briony notices the sexual tension between them and, due to an unfortunate string of misunderstandings, becomes jealous and tells a lie that puts Robbie in jail, thus wiping out his chances for love with Cecilia. But the young couple find an opportunity for love in the unlikeliest of places: all-out war. Robbie exchanges his sentence for military service and Cecilia enlists as a nurse. After some dramatic escapes from death, the two finally reunite and live happily ever after.

Just kidding, of course. As it turns out, that happy ending is only the fantasy of Briony (now played by Vanessa Redgrave), who has become a novelist who thought up that fairy tale resolution for a book she wrote. In the reality of McEwan's historiographic metafiction, the lovers died like thousands of others, because, well, war is hell. How's that for a tragically postmodernist ending?

The jaw-dropping superhero genocide at the end of Infinity War

The Infinity Gauntlet was one of those supervillain weapons that we all thought when we first heard of it, "Well, of course the Avengers will stop Thanos (Josh Brolin) before he'll actually be able to use it." As it turned out, however, Avengers: Infinity War had one of the most tragic endings of any superhero movie ever, one that left us fans of the Marvel Universe crushed as we watched some of our favorite good guys fade away like dust in the wind.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) got our hopes up for a second when he smacked his legendary hammer Stormbreaker into Thanos' chest, but as the God of Thunder really should have known, the Mad Titan wasn't going to go down so easily. With something as simple as the snap of his gauntleted fingers, Thanos wiped half of all living things off the face of the universe, and we all watched helplessly as Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and quite poignantly, a teenage Groot, among so many others crumbled to pieces. Probably the most painful to watch was the death of young Peter Parker (Tom Holland), who said to Iron Man just before his existence was erased: "Mr. Stark, I don't feel so good." Because, really, who wants to live in a world without Spider-Man? But don't despair. Watch Endgame.