Boys Do Cry: 'The Champ' Takes Title as Saddest Movie, EVER

Gay Guy,

I'd guess that you've seen a Zeffirelli film for two. Ever seen "The Champ?"

I'm a sucker for boxing movies of all kinds, and even fell for the FX series "Lights Out" this spring. Anyway, "The Champ" is NOT a great film. It suffers greatly from Jon Voight's over-stylized performance as a down-on-his-luck boxer seeking one last shot at redemption (aren't they all?).

Spoiler alert. The film takes an intense turn in its tragic finale, when the son (a very young Ricky Schroder) witnesses the death of his father after a fight. "Wake up, Champ!," he cries as he cuddles and prods the lifeless body of his now redeemed father.

I embedded a 10-minute version below. Skip to 4:30 for the really tough stuff. How much can you take?

Smithsonian Magazine has a write-up on the detailed research that identified this scene as the saddest ever made. The process took years. It's especially hard to test the impact of negative emotions (fear, anger, sadness) without stepping outside of ethical guidelines. How do you make a subject sad without hurting or deceiving them? That's where movies come in...

"The Champ seems to be very effective in eliciting fairly pure feeling states of sadness and associated cognitive and behavioral changes."

GG, Readers, what's the saddest movie you've ever seen?

--Straight Guy

Link: Smithsonian: The Saddest Movie in the World


Anonymous said...

Sophie's Choice
The Killing Fields

Anonymous said...

What about "Old Yeller"? This isn't even the saddest sports movie. Ever seen "Brian's Song"?

Tom Shales always calls Schroeder "that icky Ricky Schroeder" and now I know why . . .

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive