Best Cancer Movies Ever

by spirituality

I've found you 6 touching movies in which cancer plays a crucial part. These movies help you rethink what's important in life and deal with some crucial ethical & emotional issues.

Cancer is the ultimate illness to symbolize the fickleness of life. Depending on the kind of cancer, it will spell almost certain death, or with treatment a good chance of survival. And anything in betweeen. But whatever happens, it will face you with the uncertainty of what comes next, and the certainty of a time of pain and suffering. Chemo therapy, after all, is rarely gone through pleasantly. 

Cancer makes us face the fact that life cannot be controlled and that some things just have to be taken one step at a time. 

Because of the uncertain outcome and the life and death stakes of the disease, cancer in a movie will usually bring out existential questions. 

I just saw Listen to your Heart, a movie in which two kids meet. Both have lost a parent at an early age. The girl has lost most of her hearing. The boy is living off a job waiting tables and makes music in his spare time. This movie is about the girl getting out of the clutches of her over protective mother, love and ultimately - dealing with death. 

I won't give the entire plot away, except to say that this is a celebration of life and love and all the risks that come with both. 

Winner of several awards, including 'best picture' at the Action On Film International Film Festival. 

The cast is mostly unknowns, except that you'll recognize the mother as Cybill Shepherd. 

Autumn in New York is a feel good movie. We meet Winona Ryder who plays Charlotte Fielding a fragile young artist. WIll Keane, played by Richard Gere is an attractive older man who knew her mother. He never had a serious relationship in his life. Charlotte of course changes his life as he learns about commitment and real love. 

These great actors turn a soppy story into a real great movie. 

Stepmom with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon two of the greatest female actors alive. Susan Sarandon plays Jackie a divorced mom who has taken on almost full responsibility of the raising of her two kids. Isabel starts dating her ex Luke (played by Ed Harris). Jackie doesn't take it well when Isabel starts playing a more important role in the kids' lives. However, she is forced to take on a different attitude when cancer is not only discovered, but also doesn't respond to treatment. 

All the characters in this movie face up to the challenges this puts them to and grow from it.\

One of the most psychologically realistic of the movies on this list. No saints here. 

Which is a complete contrast with A Walk to Remember. This is really a movie about teen love. Minister's daughter Jamie meets bad boy Landon. Together they discover love and he turns into someone who can take responsibility. 

Heart wrenching and the kind of movie that makes you believe in the best in everybody. 

There are few movies that actually deal with the ethical issues around modern medical procedures. My Sister's Keeper is one of the rare exceptions. We meet a family that has lived their lives around the disease of the oldest daughter: Kate. Her younger sister Anna was in fact conceived to provide organs so that Kate could survive Leukemia. 

We meet the family at a time when this sad situation is coming to a head: Anna brings her parents to trial, because she doesn't want to continue being an organ delivery system for her sister. 

This ethical dillemma is clearly portrayed and the ending is a surprise twist. 

6 touching movies in which cancer plays a crucial part

Listen To Your Heart
Osiris Entertainment
Only $24.98
Autumn in New York
MGM (Video & DVD)
$14.98  $8.69
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
$9.99  $9.27
A Walk to Remember
Warner Home Video
$12.97  $7.31
My Sister's Keeper
Warner Home Video
$7.97  $2.50
The Bucket List
Warner Home Video
$5.97  $4.41

The Bucket list

This movie suddenly made the term 'bucket list' current. A bucket list is a list of things you want to have done before you 'kick the bucket', aka die. Jack Nicholsonand Morgan Freeman play two mortally ill cancer patients who decide to check off as many things as possible from their list. 

This movie too is not really about romance, but it is certainly a celebration of life. 

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Suggestions by readers

Terms of Endearment

Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger playing a combative mother and daughter who see each other through various ups and downs in love and loss, and most especially through a terminal illness endured by Winger's character. Jack Nicholson deservedly won a

Paramount  / $9.99  $3.50
The Big C: The Complete First Season

Laura Linney stars in her Golden Globe®-winning role as Cathy Jamison, a 42-year-old schoolteacher who has always played by the rules. That is, until she receives a life ...

Sony  / $30.99  $4.95
Dying Young

With little money, a poor education and no luck when it comes to love, Hilary O'Neil (Roberts) answers a want ad and finds her whole world suddenly changed. Hired as the ...

Fox Home Entertainment  / Only $9.98

Since actor-coproducer Seth Rogen helped to bring Superbad to life, 50/50 might also suggest a sex comedy, except Jonathan Levine's film is more like a drama with comedy ...

Summit Entertainment  / $8.55  $1.35
Letters to God

A young boy fighting cancer writes letters to God. A postmaster who is at a crossroads in his life searching for meaning. He is confused over what to do but his decision ...

VIVENDI Visual Enter  / $5.99  $2.95
Updated: 12/08/2015, spirituality
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katiem2 on 04/02/2012

Great movie list for cancer patients to connect and feel a part of something larger than cancer. I love the bucket list, its the most recent one I've seen and it really imparts a vital message for us all. Thanks for the great list.

Adrienne Jenkins on 10/30/2011

Who knew that Tyler Perry would be fearless enough to tackle cancer in one of his raucous comedies in Madea's Big Happy Family?

Sam York on 10/27/2011

A Walk to Remember is amazing! I'm watching Listen to your Heart on Lifetime right now and it's great so far. All of you should watch Letters to God! It's about a little boy who is diagnosed with brain cancer and it really exposes some of the pains of what the courageous kiddos with cancer have to go through on a daily basis. All of these movies are fantastic, though. Cancer is horrible, but our God is bigger. <3

spirituality on 10/24/2011

Thanks :)

Adrienne Jenkins on 10/17/2011

There's also "Dying Young" with Julia Roberts. I just added your Wizzley article as a link from my 50/50 lens.

Darcie on 08/22/2011

These sound like lovely movies of transcendence; cancer presents great change.

spirituality on 07/02/2011

Sounds like a great movie, but from the descriptions I would guess that cancer is only a side line in the story.

kliffgorre on 07/02/2011

I would like to add "American Splendor" starring the super-talented Paul Giamatti. :)

Movie Treasures By Brenda on 07/01/2011

I just read My Sister's Keeper. It was good; I've yet to see the movie.
When you start looking, there are too many movies with cancer in them.

dmcgaw on 06/26/2011

Don't worry - you're not missing much with Netflix. I didn't like it that much except for a few series I wanted to watch. I guess it will be out on DVD eventually right? Everything seems to come out on DVD at some point!

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