What's The Big Screen Recipe For A Good Guy-Cry? You Tell Us

In an exploration of men's roles and masculinity in America, All Things Considered asked listeners to 'fess up about the movies that make men cry. Here's what they had to say.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

OK, grab the tissues, get a firm shoulder to lean on. It's time for a big cry.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ANCHORMAN")

WILL FERRELL: (As Ron Burgundy) (Crying).

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Yes, as part of our series on men, we asked our male listeners to tell us what movies make you cry.

CORNISH: Well, thousands of you wrote in about movies such as "The Notebook, "Love Actually," "Kramer vs. Kramer."

BLOCK: Films about men and women and their complicated relationships.

CORNISH: And movies about less complicated ones - think dogs and the occasional cat - "Old Yeller," Homeward Bound," "Marley and Me."

BLOCK: Now we noticed a couple of themes in particular seemed to open those male tear ducts the most. For instance, the bond between father and son.

CORNISH: "Man Of Steel," "Nebraska," and of course, "Big Fish," where a dying father who spun tall tales his whole life asks his son to give him one final story.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BIG FISH")

BILLY CRUDUP: (As Will Bloom) And the strange thing is there's not a sad face to be found. Everyone is just so glad to see you.

CORNISH: This scene causes Will Francis of Dothan, Alabama to quote, "lose all control of my face excretions. This includes snot I've recently found out."

BLOCK: OK, but there is one line in a film that really gets you guys going. It's a story that unites a son and the ghost of his dad on the baseball diamond - "Field Of Dreams." And this is the line.

JONATHAN HILBUN: Hey, dad. You want to have a catch?

MARK RICKENBACH: Hey, dad. You want to have a catch?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FIELD OF DREAMS")

KEVIN COSTNER: (As Ray Kinsella) Hey, dad. You want to have a catch?

CORNISH: That's actor Kevin Costner. Before that, Jonathan Hilbun from Gulfport, Mississippi and Mark Rickenbach from Madison, Wisconsin.

BLOCK: So why does this scene resonate so much among men? NPR reporter - and we should add huge baseball fan - Cory Turner says "Field of Dreams" gets to the heart of father-son relationships.

CORY TURNER: We just never say what we should when we should. And then we have regrets. And this movie is all about giving a son a second chance to say what he should have.

CORNISH: Now some other sports movies that make men cry - the boxing film, "Rocky."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ROCKY")

TALIA SHIRE: (As Adrian) I love you.

SYLVESTER STALLONE: (As Rocky) I love you.

CORNISH: And "Rudy" about a young man - an underdog - who aspires to play football for Notre Dame.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "RUDY")

KEVIN C. WHITE: (As Roland Steele) You ready, champ?

SEAN ASTIN: (As Rudy) I've been ready for this my whole life.

BLOCK: And now from the playing field to the battlefield. Many of you wrote in about war movies - two big ones.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GLORY")

KEVIN JARRE: (As 10th Connecticut soldier) Give 'em hell 54.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: Give 'em hell. Give 'em hell.

CORNISH: "Glory" which tells the story of the first black unit to fight for the North in the Civil War - the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts. And the World War II film, "Saving Private Ryan." [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: We say the 54th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry was the first black unit to fight for the North in the Civil War. But there were other black units that had seen combat before the 54th did.]

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SAVING PRIVATE RYAN")

TOM HANKS: (As Capt. John H. Miller) Earn this. Earn it.

BLOCK: That's actor Tom Hanks, Oscar winner, noted thespian. We wanted to give him another honorary title - the man who makes men cry.

CORNISH: Yes, as we read through your thousands of suggestions, films starring Tom Hanks were mentioned again and again and again. Think of it - he can be an animated cowboy in the "Toy Story" trilogy.

BLOCK: He will make you cry.

CORNISH: He can play a hostage on the high seas in "Captain Phillips."

BLOCK: He will make you cry.

CORNISH: And so many others - "Apollo 13," "Philadelphia," "The Green Mile," "The Terminal," "Big," "Cast Away" and yes, even "Forrest Gump."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FORREST GUMP")

HANKS: (As Forrest Gump) My momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

CORNISH: Well, all you men out there, we're telling you what you're going to get if you watch Tom Hanks on screen.

BLOCK: Big, manly tears or a little bit of a guy cry.

CORNISH: Now for some of Tom Hanks's saddest scenes, head to our website, npr.org. In the meantime, thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

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Correction Aug. 5, 2014

We say the 54th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry was the first black unit to fight for the North in the Civil War. But there were other black units that had seen combat before the 54th did.

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