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Resources Media

Films for Adults and Children
Non-Canadian Producers and/or Directors

  Feature Films for Adults by non-Canadians
  Documentaries for Adults by non-Canadians
  Movies and Documentaries for Children by non-Canadians

This page contains non-Canadian resources.
Canadian books, movies and documentaries for adults and children, on death and bereavement,
and source acknowledgements, are listed on the main 'Media Resources
' page

Please feel free to contact us with any further titles for feature films and documentaries on death or bereavement.


Feature Films for Adults by non-Canadians

  Act of Love, 1980, directed by Jud Taylor (TV movie based on book "Act of Love: The Killing of George Zygmanik" by Judith Paige Mitchell) — acquittal of a man who shoots his crippled brother; Wikipedia article
Amour: the movie, 2012, directed by Michael Haneke (co-production between the French, German, and Austrian companies Les Films du Losange, X-Filme Creative Pool, and Wega Film; and nominated for 5 Academy Awards) — a devoted older couple who face the decline of the wife from a series of strokes and the dedicated care provided by the husband , until he can no longer take it; Wikipedia article
  An Act of Murder, 1948, directed by Michael Gordon (also known as "Live Today for Tomorrow" and "I Stand Accused") — the trial of a judge who kills his terminally ill wife; Wikipedia article
  After Life, 1998 (known in Japan as "Wonderful Life") by Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda — set at the 'waystation' where those who have recently died are processed for heaven; Wikipedia article
  Angels in America, 2003, critically acclaimed HBO miniseries (based on play by Tony Kushner) directed by Mike Nichols — focused on the spreading AIDS epidemic and its effect on the social and political climate; Wikipedia article
  Babe, 1975, directed by Buzz Kulik (TV movie) — story of Babe Didrikson Zaharias, who became a 1932 Olympic gold medalist and feminist icon for women athletes, and her death from colon cancer; Wikipedia article on Babe's life
  Beginners, 2010, written and directed by Mike Mills — dealing with several interrelated deaths and coming to terms with them; Wikipedia article
  The Bramble Bush, 1960, directed by Daniel Petrie — complications when a doctor falls in love with his dying friend's wife, and the trial that ensues; Wikipedia article
  Brian's Song, 1971, (Television movie - considered one of the best ever — eventually shown in theatres) directed by Buzz Kulik — semi-biographical story of Brian Piccolo, Chicago Bears footballer dying of cancer, as told primarily by his friend, Gale Sayers, Pro Football Hall of Famer; Wikipedia article
  The Bucket List, 2007, directed by Rob Reiner — two very different terminally-ill men support each other to fulfill their 'bucket list' — list of things to do before they "kick the bucket; Wikipedia article
  Christmas In August, 1998, by South Korean director Hur Jin-ho (this film had a critical influence on the Korean film industry Japanese remake directed by Shunichi Nagasaki) — a portrait photographer, who is in love, deals with an unnamed illness and his impending death; Wikipedia article
  City of Angels, 1998, directed by Brad Silberling — two angels who watch over the living, one of whom has special responsibilities for the dying and chooses to become human; Wikipedia article

Cries and Whispers, 1972, Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman — two sisters care for a third who is dying, and struggle between wishing for her death and recovery; Wikipedia article

  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 2008, directed by David Fincher (based on book with same name, by F. Scott Fitzgerald) — about a man who ages in reverse, and dies as an infant; Wikipedia article
  The Cuckoo, 2002, directed by Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Rogozhkin — three people, each from different cultures and speaking different languages, winter together in Lapland through part of World War II, as people die around them; Wikipedia article
  Dark Victory, 1939, (remade for TV as "Stolen Hours" in 1976), directed by Edmund Goulding — a socialite/heiress marries her doctor, not knowing that her cancer surgery was not successful; Wikipedia article
  Death Be Not Proud, 1975, directed by James Goldstone — based on John Gunther's book about the dying of his 17 year old son from a brain tumor; Wikipedia article
  Departures, (Okuribito), 2008, by Yojiro Takita (Japanese film that won the 2009 foreign language academy award) — husband eventually finds fulfillment and respect in his work preparing the dead, after several family deaths; Wikipedia article
The Descendants, 2011, directed by Alexander Payne — father juggles his emotions and those of his two daughters as they grapple with the impending death of his wife, who will soon be taken off life support: Wikipedia article
  Do You Remember Love, 1985, directed by Jeff Bleckner (much-praised TV movie) — college professor declines from Alzheimer's Disease, and the effect on her husband and children; considered a drama, but educational as well
  Dream with the Fishes, 1997, directed by Finn Taylor — about a suicidal man who keeps attempting suicide and builds a relationship with a terminal man; Wikipedia article
  Dying Young, 1991, directed by Joel Schumacher — a young man dying of leukemia who hires a woman who has become disenchanted with relationship, yet falls in love with him, and undertakes to teach him "the meaning of life" before he dies; Wikipedia article
  An Early Frost, 1985, directed by John Erman — Emmy-award winning script and first movie about AIDS, about son who tells his parents that he is gay and dying of AIDS; Wikipedia article
  The Eddy Duchin Story, 1956, directed by George Sidney — semi-biography of a society piano player as he dies of leukemia; Wikipedia article
  The End, 1978, directed by Burt Reynolds — a man who discovers that he has an incurable disease and his attempts to find a painless and foolproof way to kill himself; Wikipedia article
  The Event, 2003, directed by Thom Fitzgerald — a series of unexplained deaths that occur among the gay community in New York's fashionable Chelsea district that may include an assisted death; Wikipedia article
  The English Patient, 1996, directed by Anthony Mingella — Oscar-winning Best Picture on the issues of euthanasia in World War II; Wikipedia article
  First You Cry, 1978, directed by George Schaefer (TV movie) — based on Betty Rollin's autobiographical book "First You Cry" focused on her fight with breast cancer; Wikipedia article
  The Fountain, 2006, directed by Darren Aronofsky — three parallel lives across centuries, searching for the eternal Fountain of Life; Wikipedia article
  The Gathering, 1977, directed by Randal Kleiser (TV movie with 1979 sequel 'The Gathering, Part II') — estranged father assembles family for last Christmas gathering, on the provision that the children not be told that he is dying; Wikipedia article
  A Good Death, directed by Wannie de Wijn — Dutch film on euthanasia, now with English subtiltles
  Ghost, 1990, directed by Jerry Zucker (nominated for 5 Academy awards) — a man's love for his partner enables him to remain on earth as a ghost, and help her avoid his murderer, through a medium; Wikipedia article
  Harold & Maude, 1971, directed by Hal Ashby — young Harold, who is intrigued with death, develops a relationship with older Maude; Wikipedia article
  The Hours, 2002, directed by Stephen Daldry (based on the Pulitzer Prize novel) — Oscar-winning story about three women who each find a reason to take their own lives; Wikipedia article
  The Hunger, 1986, by Egyptian director Aly Badrakhan — deals with the themes of poverty and death in early 20th century Cairenes; Wikipedia article
  Igby Goes Down, 2002, directed by Burr Steers — a brilliant rebellious teenager who returns home when his older brother is helping their terminally ill mother to die with the aid of drugs and a plastic bag; Wikipedia article
  IKIRU ("To Live"), 1952, Japanese film co-written and directed by Akira Kurosawa (loosely based on Leo Tolstoy's short story "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" ) — a man, dying of cancer, finds meaning in one final worthy art; Wikipedia article
  The Invention of Lying, 2009, written and directed by Ricky Gervis and Matthew Robinson — in an alternate reality, the first person to ever lie creates myths about heaven to comfort his dying mother; Wikipedia article
  Iris, 2001, directed by Richard Eyre — biographical film about the relationship between British novelist Iris Murdoch and John Bayley, until her death — based on Bayley's memoir "Elegy for Iris"; Wikipedia article
  It's My Party, 1996, directed by Randal Kleiser (based on the true events of the death of Harry Stein) — a man, dying of AIDS, invites his friends to have a party on his last night alive; Wikipedia article
  Jacob's Ladder, 1990, directed by Adrian Lyne — imagery and hallucinations during the death of a Vietnam veteran; Wikipedia article
  Japón, 2002, by the Mexican director Carlos Reygadas (although it didn't get much exposure, it is considered the 100th Greatest Film of All Time) — man leaves Mexico City to go to prepare for his death, staying with an old Indian widow; Wikipedia article
  La gueule ouverte (English version - "The Mouth Agape"), 1974 (French also called The Gaping Mouth and The Gaping Maw) written and directed by Maurice Pialat — realistic, and possibly semi-biographical, story about navigating through the ordeals of last-stage terminal illness; Wikipedia article
  L'Amour A Mort (English: "Love Unto Death"), 1984, directed by Alain Resnais — Wikipedia article
  The Last Supper, 1994, directed by Cynthia Roberts — a dancer, dying of AIDS, chooses euthanasia with the assistance of his lover and his doctor, creating his ultimate work of art by choreographing his own death; Wikipedia article
  Last Wish, 1992, directed by Jeff Blecker (TV movie) — Betty Rollin's story of assisting her mother's chosen time of death
  Little Mo, 1978, directed by Daniel Haller (TV movie) — story of tennis star Maureen Connelly, better known as 'little Mo' and her early death from cancer at age 34; Wikipedia article
  Longtime Companion, 1989, directed by Norman René (and nominated for an Oscar and other awards) — deals with the life and deaths of gay men with AIDS in the 1980s; Wikipedia article
  A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story, 1977, directed by Fielder Cook (TV movie) — story of the baseball star who gave his name to the disease ALS, based on the 1976 autobiography My Luke and I, written by Eleanor Gehrig and Joseph Durso; Wikipedia article
  Love Story, 1944, directed by Leslive Arliss — the relationship between a young concert pianist dying of heart failure, and a military pilot going blind; Wikipedia article
  Love Story, 1970, directed by Arthur Hiller (written by Erich Segal, based on his novel with same name) — well-known story about a young couple dealing with the woman dying of leukemia; Wikipedia article

Maborosi (known in Japan as Maboroshi no Hikari meaning "phantasmic light" or 'a trick of the light'), 1995 by director Hirokazu Koreeda (based on novel by Teru Miyamoto) — focusing on the reasons for an apparent, but not proven, suicide of a young husband; Wikipedia article

  Marley & Me, 2008, directed by David Frankel (based on book-memoirs, with same name, by John Grogan) — Marley the dog provides material for a new columnist who writes about the misadventures of his dog and his family until Marley dies; Wikipedia article
  A Matter of Life and Death, 1981, directed by Russ Mayberry (TV movie) — true story of Joy Ufema, crusading nurse who modernized ways of treating the terminally ill
  Meet Joe Black, 1998, directed by Martin Brest (loosely based on the 1934 film "Death Takes A Holiday") — Death takes on a body (Joe Black) and learns about life and love; Wikipedia article
  Million Dollar Baby, 2004, directed Clint Eastwood (highly-acclaimed and award-winning film) — soul-searching before deciding on assisted dying; Wikipedia article
  Murder or Mercy?, 1974, directed by Harrey Hart (TV movie, also called 'Murder by Prescription') — noted doctor stands trial for the mercy killing of his terminally-ill wife
  My Life, 1993, directed by Bruce Joel Rubin — dying man videotapes his last days for his unborn son; Wikipedia article
  New Age, 1994, directed by Michael Tolkin — two successful "yuppies" deal with assisting each other's death, as a result of losing life's illusions; Wikipedia article
  Nirvana 13, directed by Jitin Rawat — internationally awarded Indian film addressing different perspectives of the pragmatic and spiritual aspects of life and death and euthanasia
  On Borrowed Time, 1939, directed by Harold S. Bucque — the fall-out when an old man claims that Death is caught in his apple tree; Wikipedia article
  On Golden Pond, 1981, directed by Mark Rydell (Oscar-winning movie) — the psychological problems of terminal old age; Wikipedia article
  On the Beach, 1959, directed by Stanley Kramer (based on the 1957 novel with the same name by Nevil Shute, and remade in 2000 for televeison) — Australians deal with impending death from nuclear fallout; Wikipedia article
  One True Thing, 1998, directed by Carl Franklin — a journalist puts her life on hold to care for her dying mother, and faces her mother's choice re 'right to die'; Wikipedia article
  Pride of the Yankees, 1942, directed by Sam Wood — the story about, and tribute to, the New York Yankees first baseman, Lou Gehrig, dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; the disease was eventually named after him; Wikipedia article
  Promises in the Dark, 1979, directed by Jerome Hellman — a doctor is challenged by dealing with the parents of a young girl who wants full disclosure about her illness (terminal cancer)
  PS I Love You (from book by Cecelia Ahern), 2007, directed by Richard LaGravenese — how a husband comforts his wife after his death; Wikipedia article
  Right of Way, 1983, directed by George Schaefer — elderly couple plan their joint death via car exhaust, against the wishes of their daughter, a social worker and others; Wikipedia article
  The Right To Die, 1987, directed by Paul Wendkos (TV movie) — psychologist with ALS wants control over her own time of death; Wikipedia article
  Taste of Cherry, 1997, by Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami — man searching through a city suburb for someone willing to bury him when he has died; Wikipedia article
  The Sea Inside, 2004, directed by Alejandro Amenabar (based on the real-life story of Ramon Sampedro) — award-winning film about a quadriplegic sailor and his 29 years of struggling to be assisted to die; Wikipedia article
  The Shadow Box, 1980, directed by Paul Newman (award-winning TV movie) — three terminally ill patients spend a day in discussion at a rustic retreat; Wikipedia article
  Six Weeks, 1982, directed by Tony Bill — twelve year old who is dying from leukemia, and her mother and doctor, fulfill her final wish; Wikipedia article

The Sleepy Time Gal, 2001, written and directed by Christopher Munch — mother with cancer looks for the daughter she gave up for adoption; Wikipedia article

  Soylent Green, 1973, directed by Richard Fleischer — in a futuristic 'greenhouse affected' world, a man considers euthanasia, but then learns what Soylent Green, the primary food source of the people, really is; Wikipedia article
  Sunshine, 1973, directed by Joseph Sargent (TV movie that sparked a short-lived series; the theme song was 'Sunshine on my Shoulder') — young mother, husband and doctor debate her dying process; Wikipedia article on the song
  Synecdoche, New York, 2008, written and directed by Charlie Kaufman — a slowly dying theatre director spends years developing his final play which blurs the lines between 'play' and 'reality'; Wikipedia article
  The Switch, 1993, directed by Bobby Roth (TV movie) — a particularly excellent film about a paralyzed man who sues for, and wins, the right to have a switch installed on his ventilator that will allow him to turn the machine off
  Talk to Her, 2002, directed by Pedro Almodovar (Spanish with sub-titles) — highly-regarded movie about friendship between a writer and a male nurse who are both involved with two comatose women, and the different outcomes of their illnesses; Wikipedia article
  Tuesdays with Morrie (from book by Mitch Albom), 1999, award-winning television film, directed by Mick Jackson — newspaper columnist visits his old professor, who is dying from Lou Gehrig's disease, on Tuesdays, and their conversations about dying: Wikipedia article
  The Ultimate Solution of Grace Quigley, 1985, directed by Anthony Harvey (two other versions of the same film were made) — elderly woman hires hit man to kill her to avoid a lengthy death; Wikipedia article
  When The Time Comes, 1987, directed by John Erman (TV movie) — dealing with the assisted-dying issues of a young woman with four months to live
  Where Dreams May Come, 1998, directed by Vincent Ward — journey through earth, heaven and hell and final reunion; Wikipedia article
  Whose Life Is It Anyway?, 1981, directed by John Badham (originally a 1972 TV movie and then play by Brian Clark) — a quadriplegic sculptor formally sues for the right to end his life through disconnection from life-support; Wikipedia article
  Wit, 2001, written and directed by Mike Nichols — with 4th stage ovarian cancer, Vivian chronicles her life as a guinea pig for experimental treatments, and who she finds compassion from as she dies; Wikipedia article
  A Woman's Tale, 1991, directed by Paul Cox (Australian drama) — focused on 78-year-old woman afflicted with cancer who is determined to have "a good death" (the actress playing her was in fact dying from cancer, and died two days after winning Australian Academy Award); Wikipedia article
  You Don't Know Jack, 2010, directed by Barry Levinson (award-winning TV Movie) — about the life of Dr. Jack Kevorkian in the 1990s who defied the law by assisting the chosen deaths of more than a hundred people; Wikipedia article

[The "Final Exit" website also keeps a list of relevant films on their Media Coverage page.]

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Documentaries for Adults by non-Canadians


After A Suicide, 1996, produced by Diane Conn — a filmmaker dealing with the suicide of her mother, and her own attempts; Filmakers Library

A Good Death, directed and produced by Scott Greenberg — following six hospice patients through the last weeks of their lives; more info
A Good Death, a film about end of life care and advance care planning Produced by PRN Films, Prof D. Robin Taylor and Dr. Paul Trotman — describes the struggles of patient, Mr. Martin Cavanagh, and his family during the last months of his life with COPD (made in New Zealand); more info
  Dax's Case: Who Should Decide? — severely handicapped man and his right to refuse treatment; Filmakers Library
  Deathing (from book by Anya Foos-Graber) by the Hartley Film Foundation
  Dying, 1998, by Michael Roemer — memoirs of three people dying with terminal cancer; Filmakers Library
  Death and Dying — the Movie — exploring how to find peace in this world before dying; Filmakers Library

Dying with Dignity Experiences in the Netherlands, 2002, directed by Rob Hof for NOS — four dying patients and their journey to choosing euthanasia in the Netherlands, the first country to allow legal euthanasia; Filmakers Library


Facing Death, 1994, Produced by Lars Westman/SVT — 20 years of Lars' mother's life through to her death; Filmakers Library , and Wikipedia article

Homegoings, 2013, by Christine Turner — honoring the rich palette of tradition, history and celebration of African American funerals: more info.
  How to Die in Oregon, directed by Peter Richardson (award-winning 'right to die with dignity' documentary) — on terminallly-ill people who might make the choice: info and trailer
  The Gifts of Grief from filmmaker, grief counselor and educator Nancee Sobonya — transforming grief into a greater appreciation of life; see GiftsofGrief
  I Want to Die At Home, 1990, produced by Vincent Burke — loyal friends and family support a woman dying at home; Filmakers Library
  Is This Life Worth Living?, 1989, produced by Slawomir Grunberg — three families consider the ethical issues involved in sustaining the life of a severely brain-damaged or comatose patient; Filmakers Library

In the Parlor: The Final Goodbye, (not yet complete), produced by Heidi Boucher (also a Home Death Guide) — evocative trailor for a documentary film examining the ever growing trend of families taking a more active role in caring for their own dead; and the intimate insights and experiences of three families who chose this for their loved ones after death..   

  A Journey Back — Coping with A Parent's Suicide, 1991, produced by Louise M. Gallup — a woman's process in coming to terms, fifteen years later, with her father's suicide; Filmakers Library
  Last Rights — Facing End-of-Life Choices, 2009, by Karen Cantor, Singing Wolf Documentaries — personal exploration of four families and their terminally-ill loved ones as they face death; Filmakers Library
  LIFE Before Death, 2012, narrated by David Suchet and produced by Moonshine Movies (Australian) — life-affirming film about living well and dying better, advocating for making the most of every moment in our life before death; see Lifebeforedeath to purchase copy
  Lightning Over Water, 1980, by Wim Wenders and Nicholas Ray — about the last days of Ray's own life; Wikipedia article

Living Your Dying, A Video Documentary by Mitsuo Aoki and directed by Robert Pennybacker — death not merely as an end, but as a vital, inseparable part of life; see also LivingYourDying for copy of video

  A Matter of Life or Death: Withdrawing Life Support, produced, written and directed by Roger Weisberg for Public Policy Productions — ethical issues about 'right to die'; Filmakers Library
  Men Like My Father, Families Like My Own — Men and Grief, 2001, directed by D.J. Johnson (produced at USC School of Cinema-Television) — a tender portrait of the grief men suffered after losing a wife; Filmakers Library

The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman, directed by Nancy Jewel Poer, 2010 — full-length documentary-biography of Jack's last two weeks of life, which he called 'his last great adventure', and being cared for at home after his death

  On Our Terms — (Bill) Moyers on Death (4-part documentary series — see PBS for more information)
Passing Through Our Hands A documentary style video showing how families can care for their own loved ones when they die at home, by Donna Belk (Texas)
  Peter Wegner is Alive and Well and Living in Providence, 2003, by Edward Beiser — making difficult decisions about treatment for a family and patient with serious brain injuries and coma; Filmakers Library

Pioneers of Hospice: Changing the Face of Dying, 2003, produced by the Madison-Deane Initiative — on the legacies of modern hospice and palliative-care founders Dame Cicely Saunders, Florence Wald, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Balfour Mount; Filmakers Library

Quality of Mercy - A Case for Better Pain Management, 1989, Produced by Richard J. Adler
— concern about the low priority of pain control; Filmakers Library
Solace: Wisdom of the Dying produced by Camille Adair offers a rich blend of perspectives ranging from experts such as authors Stephen and Ondrea Levine, Roshi Joan Halifax, Larry and Barbara Dossey, to the practical and authentic wisdom born from everyday people facing their mortality.  Solace Website (trailer, buying film and Solace teachings)
A Yearning for Sodom, 1989, directed by Hanno Baethe, Hans Hirschmüller, Kurt Raab (TV documentary) — demystifing death from AIDS
Why Has Bodhi Dharma Left for the East? 1989, written, produced and directed by Bae Yong-kyun (Korean film) — three Buddhist monks (a child, an adult, and an old man) question the beginnings and endings of life; Wikipedia article

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Movies and Documentaries for Children by non-Canadians

  Angels Don't Have Headlights - Children's Reaction to Death in the Family, 1989, produced by Edward Mason, M.D. — four children (aged three to eleven) reveal their fantasies, their fears and their grief after a death in the family; Filmakers Library — documentary
Bridge To Terabithia, 2007, directed by Gabor Csupo (feature film from book by Katherine Paterson) — a young boy creates a magical world, and then deals with a friend's drowning death; Wikipedia article
Bunny, 1998, written and directed by Chris Wedge, one of the founders of Blue Sky Studios (Oscar-winning short documentary) — 7 minute animated film exploring dying and life after death, which is an ideal ice-breaker for introducing end-of-life concepts for children
Charlotte's Web, 2006, directed by Gary Winick and produced by Paramount Pictures (feature film from book with same name by E.B. White) — a pig named Wilbur deals with the death of his spider friend, Charlotte, and her resulting children; Wikipedia article

Tuck Everlasting, 2002, directed by Jay Russell (Disney pictures, feature film from book by Natalie Babbitt, also previously produced by One Pass Media in 1981) — issues re choices to live immortally; Wikipedia article

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Last updated July 2015   © CINDEA  (To use more than a brief extract, please contact us for permission.)