Once Is Enough: 9 Great Films We Will Never Watch Again

Viggo Mortensen in β€˜The Road’/Still Β© Magnolia Pictures

Have you ever seen a terrific movie, and from the moment the credits roll you realize you will never watch it again? Specifically, we are talking about dramas that are masterfully created, brilliantly acted and directed, but ultimately, due to their upsetting subject matter, make you cringe at the thought of experiencing them a second time. While we acknowledge the importance of reading books and viewing movies that take you outside your comfort zone, sometimes once is enough.

On a related note, we were stunned to learn that controversial filmmaker Spike Lee has a remake of classic Korean revenge flick "Oldboy" in the works. In case you aren't familiar, "Oldboy" is based on the popular Japanese manga comic series that tells the story of Oh Dae-su, who upon his release after a fifteen-year imprisonment has five days to find and kill his captor. It's a brilliant and visceral film but has the distinction of having one of the most upsetting twist endings of all time. We will have to think long and hard before committing to seeing Spike Lee's interpretation of this tale on screen. The "Oldboy" remake got us thinking about other cautionary films. With that said, the following ten dramas are brilliant but lethal to our serotonin levels if seen more than once.

It is impossible to take your eyes off Michael Fassbender (for a few reasons) in 2011's "Shame" in his role as Brandon: an attractive, successful man in his early thirties who has to hide his ravenous sex addiction when sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) decides to unexpectedly visit. Director Steve McQueen demands the viewer draw his or her own conclusions from the film, as no suggestions are offered as to how Brandon became so depraved, or more importantly, if he will ever be able to lead a normal life.

"The Road"
Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road about a father and son trying to survive in an unforgiving, post-apocalyptic world was a grim yet poetic story on the page, but became even more disturbing to watch as the 2009 film, starring Viggo Mortensen. Though a bleak story, there are rays of light that seep through in the form of Mortenson's tender relationship with his son, and the extent to which he goes to preserve the boy's humanness throughout their depressing existence. We always advocate reading the book before seeing the movie, and in the case of "The Road," we consider it a prerequisite: The movie won't be nearly as worthwhile without having Cormac McCarthy's beautiful prose running through the back of your mind.

"Revolutionary Road"
Jack and Rose, err, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet decimate the American Dream as young married couple Frank and April Wheeler in director Sam Mendes' adaptation of Richard Yates 1961 novel, Revolutionary Road. The Wheelers first fall in love as bright-eyed optimists, but find themselves mired in a suburban rut soon after saying their "I dos." To deal with the fact that their greatest fear of "becoming like everyone else" is coming true, Frank takes up a mistress, and April tries to convince him that they should start over with a clean slate in romantic Paris. "Revolutionary Road" offers a complex look at an unhappy marriage, and it is impossible to not applaud DiCaprio's and Winslet's performances. We also recommend reading the book in advance of viewing the movie, as knowing the internal dialogue of both characters is important to fully understand what is driving their behavior.

"Little Children"
Kate Winslet seems to have a formula when it comes to selecting film projects: Her criteria tends to demand "book-based" and "depressing." It clearly works, allowing her to flex her impressive acting chops. "Little Children," which is adapted from Tom Perotta's novel incorporates intersecting stories focusing on life in the suburbs, with characters that include an unhappy man and woman who begin an affair in their children's play group, a registered sex offender, and an ex-cop with anger issues. "Little Children" brims with emotion throughout, often walking the line between laugh-out-loud funny and horribly upsetting. The film boasts an impressive cast in addition to Kate Winslet including Patrick Wilson and Jennifer Connelly, but the real star is Jackie Earle Haley as a registered sex offender who lives with his elderly mother. His scenes are one hundred percent the reason we have no desire to watch this movie a second time.

"House of Sand and Fog"
Buckets of blood are spilled vying for a California bungalow in Andre Dubus' novel House of Sand and Fog, which was adapted into a 2003 feature film. Jennifer Connelly plays scattered recovering drug addict Kathy who is reeling from her husband's abrupt departure and is then evicted from her house due to unpaid taxes. Meanwhile, Iranian immigrant Behrani (Ben Kingsley) purchases Kathy's former house as a gift for his son and wife, to remind them of their home on the Caspian Sea before they had to emigrate to the United States. Kathy unleashes her emotional instability on Behrani and the two clash over possession of the house. We can't believe that this beautifully and tragically rendered "House of Sand and Fog" is director Vadim Perelman's first film -- and because we'll likely never watch it again, we wish we'd catch word of his next project.

"Leaving Las Vegas"
Remember back to before Nicholas Cage became a walking parody of himself, and was a well-respected actor? To us, his crowning dramatic achievement (second to "Adaptation") is his Academy Award-winning performance in "Leaving Las Vegas," in which he plays a raging alcoholic screenwriter, Ben, who loses everything and decides to end it all in Las Vegas by drinking himself to death. Before Ben can fully commit to his plan, he has a fateful encounter with prostitute Sera (Elisabeth Shue) that turns into an unexpected friendship. They make a pact to not judge one another on their respective life and career choices, which begs the question: Can you watch someone you care about hurt themselves without intervening? "Leaving Las Vegas" is based on John O'Brien's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, which is just as bleak and powerful as the movie.

"The Devil's Double"
The most upsetting element of the 2011 film "The Devil's Double," about a man forced to become the body double of Sadaam Hussein's sadistic son, Uday, is that it may have actually happened. Iraqi author Latif Yahia penned three memoirs about his experiences as Uday Hussein's body double, and though his accounts have been challenged, the subject matter is jaw-dropping and at least partially rooted in truth. Dominic Cooper delivers a truly Oscar-deserving performance as both Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia. There were many scenes that induced nightmares, but our nomination for the worst was when Uday attends a wedding and forces the new bride to sleep with him.

"Requiem for a Dream"
We can't think of a better PSA to keep kids off of drugs than "Requiem for a Dream." Hubert Selby Jr.'s 1978 novel about four Brooklynites who each fall into debilitating drug addictions while trying to achieve their dreams was masterfully adapted into a 2000 film by Darren Aronofsky staring Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, and Ellen Burstyn. The last thirty minutes of this film lead to a truly upsetting crescendo: ultimately, a film from which we got enough with one viewing to last a lifetime.

It's quite clear that a novel about an overweight, illiterate, black teenage girl living in the ghetto, pregnant for a second time with her father's child, is not exactly a walk in the park. The novel Push by Sapphire, which was turned into the 2010 film "Precious," is not an easy story to stomach, but is ultimately a tale that is as hopeful as it is horrific. First-time actress Gabourey Sidibe made us cry and cheer as sixteen-year-old Precious Jones, whose bleak existence takes a turn for the better thanks to a persistent teacher. While it was impossible to take our eyes off Gabourey, comedian Mo'Nique blew us (and the Academy) away in her award-winning performance as Precious' abusive mother, Mary.

"Hard Candy"
Before Ellen Page scored her breakout role as a snarky, pregnant teen in Diablo Cody's "Juno," she delivered a psychotically memorable performance in "Hard Candy." Page plays Hayley, a teen who meets up with an older gentleman named Jeff, played by Patrick Wilson, after chatting with him online in an attempt to expose him as the pedophile she suspects him to be. The pacing of the film is relentless, and at times the suspense is unbearable: The cat-and-mouse game between Wilson and Page is hypnotic to watch, and ultimately, unforgettable to get out of your mind. In terms of vengeance flicks, this is among the best.

What other dramas do you love but will never watch again?

  • Denise Mott

    Glory. I just hear the music and break into sobs. Oh, and the mini-series The Temptations -- it was a while before I could even listen to their music again.

    • Jac

      Dancer in the Dark. Watched it once...alone... I was so distraught after seeing, but IT WAS SO GOOD!!!

  • Great list! Most of these (I've seen all but two), I've sworn I would watch again and even own, but somehow I can't work up the stomach to go there again. My wife and I call these hard films: hard to recommend, hard to watch, hard to love, but deeply affecting.

    I'd add "Dogville" to the list.

  • Bobbi ODonnell

    Full agreement, especially Revolutionary Road, and also that one movie where Joaquin Phoenix has a hit and run accident with his son....those movies wrench your 'gut' and are a once only view....

  • Courtney

    The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. I can barely think about it. I had nightmares hoping it wasn't a true story before finding out the truth. Sadly, it's probably some child's reality.

  • Marja

    The reflecting skin. It is a great film but I definitely don't want to see it again.

  • JaySin420

    Haven't seen most of these but I totally agree about The Road. I loved that movie but I wouldn't even think about watching it again.

    • bonnie

      Bad Boy Bubby and Threads should be up there too

  • Tad

    Irreversible with Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel

    • ja


    • Steph

      Agree strongly.

  • Danielle Vaughn

    I've only seen two of these. The Road, which I read the book first, still made me cry. I have seen it several times since. Precious, which was great, but found couldn't watch again. It was hard watching the first time.

  • Shadab

    21 Grams should replace The Devil's Double. The remaining list is excellent

    • Jeff

      Yes. Three of the most honest and difficult performances I've ever seen.

  • Bri

    Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is too brutal to watch a second time.

    • Teri

      I completely agree. Very well done, powerful movie, but I could not sit through it again.

    • Marlies

      Second that!

  • "We Need to Talk About Kevin" could definitely be on this list.

    • Angela

      Absolutely - this movie is always the first thing that comes to mind when there is a school massacre. It still gives me shivers.

  • In The Realm Of The Senses aka Ai No Corrida (1976). Needed a cold shower after watching this film. Made art and pornographic intertwine with each other.

  • Jason

    I definitely can relate with a few of these, Road to Perdition came to mind for me.

  • Christopher Johnson

    Dancer In The Dark

    • Hud

      Second this, for sure

    • Ryan

      Agreed - Dancer in the Dark was a brilliant film that I have no desire to ever watch again!

  • Pauline Vernon

    Great list, to which I'd add a film that was adapted from yet another heart-rending book - Sophie's Choice.

  • Ida

    Atonement. The ending made me feel down for days.

    • hillary


    • Ali

      That's the movie for me, too. It's not just the ending for me, though. From the moment Robbie is arrested, my heart is wrenched and broken. At the end, when you see his face, I cannot....I cannot watch it again.

  • The film on Flight 93 by Paul Greengrass. Don't remember if it was "Flight 93" or "United 93".

    Also worth mentioning," Tae Guk Gi:Brotherhood of War

    • Jeff

      Good point. Saw it once. Told my parents I loved them afterward. Never again. Because who suggests "United 93" for movie night?

      But I still regularly remark on its brilliance.

    • Rob Gibson

      This is the only movie I have ever watched that left me feeling absolutely numb. I was numb for 2-3 days afterward. Just kept replaying the whole thing over in my head. Never had a movie hit me on a level that deep.

  • Emvirginia

    Sophie's Choice. Brilliant, moving, and utterly, gut-wrenchingly devastating. From the novel by William Styron.

  • Steve

    I think Irreversible by Gaspar Noe is a film well-suited for this list. I understand this is a very scarring film...but the early scene where the man travels through the gay club looking for the rapist--the entire time the camera is spinning, one of the only scenes I have ever seen where I've felt truly shaken and violated--all the way to the fire extinguisher smashing

  • All of these--I totally agree. And I'd add "Monster" to the list. My friend and I said that very thing as we left the theater after that one--amazing but we just needed to see it the one time.

  • Anita Hunt

    Sophie's Choice. I still have nightmare thoughts

  • Nathan

    I can never watch again: Passion of the Christ

  • Mark Lee

    Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. I saw this in daytime with two other guys, and we were all flabbergasted and felt tainted. It's to Michael Rooker's credit and his talent that he continued to have a career after this.

  • Chip Zimmerman

    I totally agree that The Road must be read. Just don't read it in the dark or in high places. It definitely affects you. Also I'd like to nominate The Woodsman with Kevin Bacon. Great flick but seriously disturbing.

  • Corinne

    Blindness with Julianne Moore and Mark Rufalo was very interesting, but tough to watch.

  • M.T.

    Schindler's List.

    • TJ

      I totally agree. The one scene with the street curb still haunts me.

  • jenn

    American History X

  • Chris

    United 93

  • Fi Hutcheson

    Great list, I particularly agree with Requiem for a Dream. I would add Tyrannosaur - phenomenal British film with Patrick Mullins, Olivia Colman and Eddie Marsan. A really incredible film but once was almost more than enough!

  • abraham poespo

    This list is agreeable. I only want to say that films with genocide backgrounds are likely to be the most terrorizing stuff to watch and you just dont want to do it again. "Hotel Rwanda", "Welcome to Sarajevo", and this classic film called "Salo" to name a few.

  • nathan

    the new old boy is dog balls. totally change the end and fuck it up

  • Alicia

    PALINDROMES. I only wanted to watch it once. Watched it twice to fully understand. It's a beautiful and thought provoking film on teenage pregnancy and abortion. Also very disturbing. It's main character is played by different actresses of all age and size.

  • Laurie

    Thr Ruins....great book and ever scarier movie. Make me hate ivy!

  • Patrick

    Definitely 12 Years A Slave. It was an absolutely brilliant movie, but there is no way I could watch it again. Once is enough for a lifetime.

  • Azaria Scout

    I'd add Poker House to the list. I had to stare at a wall for half an hour after watching that film because I was too overwrought.

    • Evee

      I definitely agree, I had no idea what I was getting myself into with that one. Amazing, thought provoking story but so tragic. I literally searched as hard as I could to find out what happened to them all after but no luck. I really hope their adult lives were much kinder, and that's a severe understatement.

  • Ditto "The Road". Also "Awakenings" (I cried for at least a half hour after watching it) and "The Devil's Advocate" - warped and bleak.

    • ron

      Lars von Trier's Antichrist.

  • Gretchen

    For me, it will always be Dancer in the Dark. Beautiful movie but the last fifteen minutes tore me to pieces.

  • I read the Road, and was too upset to see the movie. The scene in the book about the cannibals and their prisoners was one of the most disturbing literary images I have ever encountered.

    Missing from this lists is Lars Von Triers "Melancholia" that movie is a must see, very good, powerful performances by Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg but very, very, very depressing.

  • Tim

    Agreed 100% about the road. So powerful and wonderfully made but so depressing with all it's shades of beige and gray that I couldn't beat it again

    Also, Nic Cage in 8mm. I usually love anything he's in but that subject was so horrifying. Eapeciat the scene where he finds the producer, and has him tied up where the film was shot and calls the girls mom to ask what she wants him to do. My heart ripped right there. I have the DVD away the next day

  • Wendy

    The Pillow Book. One of my all-time favorite movies, but I could never bring myself to watch it again.

  • Alex Q

    21 Grams
    The Grave of the Fireflies
    Before the Devil Knows You're dead

    This is my Top 3 list of most depressive movies of all time. πŸ˜‰ Shame is a great movie, I've seen it three times, I still think there is a lot to say about it (the mark of good movies).

  • Don

    Million Dollar Baby.

  • Eliot

    We Need To Talk About Kevin.... brilliant, disturbing, never again

    • Evee

      Just saw this for the first time because of another comment, point blank it should have been on the list.

  • Guy

    Mystic River. An amazing film, and I never want to go through it again....

  • 12 Years A Slave. Probably the only movie I've ever cried after. Then there's The Deer Hunter...didn't cry, but felt incredibly low and depressed.

  • T

    Grave of the Fireflies. And The War Zone.

  • Luke

    I would add "Blue Valentine" to the list. Breaks your heart to see Ryan Gosling love his wife and especially his daughter so much and still can't make his family work.

  • Goat

    The Gambler, with James Caan. It's a precursor to Leaving Las Vegas but not as warm and fuzzy.

  • dmib

    Funny Games: It ruined the entire genre for me.

  • Darryl Sanchez

    Well, I have to admit that i LOVE bleak and depressing films! I watched "Shame" twice, and, for me, the hardest part to sit through is the one where he tries to pick up a gal in a bar and gets beat up. "The Road" is my all-time favorite read: I couldn't put it down and read it in one night. I sat through the film three times, no problem. "Revolutionary Road" I only saw once: It left me devastated! That final closing shot (with the old guy turning off his hearing aid) was shattering. I hope to see it again soon. Saw "Little Children" twice, and, indeed, the scenes with Haley are supremely difficult to watch. Never saw "House of Sand and Fog"; however, I caught a bit of it on cable once, and Connolly's character appeared very difficult in the scene I watched. I saw "Leaving Las Vegas" seven times in the opening weekend. It was my favorite film of that year. Never saw "The Devil's Double." I was floored by "Requiem For A Dream" and have seen it a good half-dozen times. "Precious," once was enough, not because it was "difficult," but simply because it was too predictable. Lastly, "Hard Candy," for me, was the most difficult sit-through. One time was MORE than enough! I felt bad for the guy.... (Haha! Wouldn't you know it: Of course, I'm a GUY!!!) πŸ˜€

    • Evee

      Watched Hard Candy after reading this list, I have to agree I had some major moral conflict with that one. Reminds me of the way I felt after reading Lolita. You go in hating him but assume that maybe just maybe she is in the wrong, don't know what to do with a tie....

    • Apathygrrl

      That's funny because I've seen Hard Candy at least a dozen times. I love that movie. I don't usually like bleak and depressing movies, so maybe that's why I liked it so much. I found it to be more of a psychological thriller.

  • Balazs

    Dancer In The Dark.......................................

  • PalisadesHog

    The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover by Peter Greenaway is another, as is Happiness by Todd Solondz. I couldn't sit through a second viewing of Ordinary People, for that matter.

  • Keyar

    I hate to admit that of these films I've only seen Hard Candy, have been caught in the mainstream bog the last few years, maybe a good way to break out of it is watching a couple of these films.
    Anyway, the only film that I'm sure that I'll never watch again is Grave of the Fireflies. Before watching it, I had never shed a single tear to a movie or series but at the end the tears wouldn't stop. And it seemed like it was that movie which finally broke the dam cuz since then I've cried many times, mostly to series(I need to get attached to a character), both regular and animated.

  • Homer

    Since when is a sloppy "Scarface"-wannabe film like "The Devil's Double" great?

  • Paul

    "Happiness" and "Your Friends and Neighbors" are great movies that I find it difficult to recommend. There was also another movie with Aaron Eckhart where he and another guy are corporate douchebags who both try to seduce a deaf woman. I can't remember the name, but it was good... and I'll never watch it again.

  • Mani

    Another movie to add to the list is Mark Herman's "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"

    • Evee

      Even a veteran of the tragic sort of films like me couldn't handle that ending.

  • David

    I'd add "The Lovely Bones" to this list. Never again.

    • Evee

      The build up was amazing from what I remember but as always the ending is what counts.

  • Elisabet

    "Dancer in the dark", great movie, but I'm never gonna watch it again..

  • Carolyn

    It's an anime but I would also count Grave of the Fireflies. It's a punch straight to the gut and will depress you for days but it's a masterpiece.

    • Laukaz

      Couldn't agree more. Definitely not watching Hotaru-no haka anymore...

  • Amanda

    I would add "Children of men". It tore me appart. Brilliant and devastating.

  • Gwen

    Ken Loach's "Kes" (1969). A heartbreaker I almost wish I hadn't seen at all.

  • Chris


    Great flick. I recommend it. But I'll never watch it again.

  • heather

    Brownback Mountain! Great film/story....but so damn sad.

    • Ingmar

      I assume you mean Brokeback Mountain?

  • Heather

    12 Years A Slave, fantastic movie but so hard to watch.

    On another note, Revolutionary Road I've watched a few times, I love it. The performances are all so amazing I just can't NOT watch it.

    • Heather


  • Pamela

    Definitely 12 Years a Slave. And absolutely magnificent, strong movie but to wrenching for more than once.

  • Janne

    Irreversible starring Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel.

  • Skarloss

    Grave of the Fireflies.
    (Mic dropped)

  • Ashley

    8MM. Exposes the darkest levels of the porn industry.

  • Debby

    I would add 7 pounds to that list. As a movie afficianado I can truthfully say I likely WILL see Nebraska again. But the rest of these movies left me with disturbing dreams and a deep appreciation for the writing talents of writers like Cormac McCarthy. Sapphire punched me in the heart with Precious. I have yet to see the Uday Hussein movie and Hard Candy, more from a lack of leisure time and less from desire to see the story. Intersting list though.

  • Hyde

    Welcome to the Dollhouse is my ultimate one time only movie.

  • Diva Dahing

    "Kids." Absolutely horrifying but realistic depictions of casual sex, rape, and HIV. If I had teenage kids, I'd never let them out of my sight.

    • jenn

      i second that, the MOST terrifying movie ever

  • Emily

    Rabbit Hole with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart.

  • Kristin

    Definitely Blue Valentine needs to be added. It was so depressing because it was so real. I forced myself to watch it because it was artfully made, but I will absolutely never watch it again. Made me upset for a week.

  • Shannon

    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Excellent film but the few times I've attempted a second viewing, I haven't been able to bring myself to press "play"

  • Kathryn

    Tears of the Sun. I watched this with my husband and though it was a great film I could never being myself to watch it again. I can't remember many details from the movie but the ones I do remember are why I can't bare to watch it again.

  • Lisa

    The Mist.

    • Michelle

      Thank you! I kept expecting to find this on the list above as I read through it, or even in other comments.

      It was a powerful and excellent movie...that I will never watch ever again.

  • Tom

    Pan's Labyrinth. I saw it once. I have the DVD. I need to watch it again. I just keep avoiding it. Very powerful imagery. Multiple plot lines. Sadistic. Violent. Amoral. Redeeming. Emotions torn in all directions. Probably the greatest movie I have ever seen.

    • Second this one!

    • Angela

      Pan's Labyrinth also has the beautifully creepy piano music that will haunt you. I just love it.

    • Apathygrrl

      I love Pan's Labyrinth! I own a copy of it.

  • Nic

    I agree with all of these, plus most everyone's suggestions as well. Another hard movie for me to watch was "Happiness" left me as uneasy as the rest of these other films. As well as most Gus Van Zant films.

  • Laukaz

    Well there are some in fact. For now i can think of: The Antichrist, Monster, Boys don't cry and A time to kill are a no no!

  • Kai


  • Warren

    Amour..gut wrenching.A mesmerising deconstruction of love and ageing

  • Nate

    A clockwork orange..

    • Amanda

      I agree.

  • I loved American History X but will never watch that again.

  • Audrey Forrest

    Boy in the Striped Pyjamas!!!

  • Lily

    Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door

  • paulina

    Definetly An American Crime with Ellen Page. It burned into my mind.

    • Alex Quezada

      La Vie En Rose, that movie ripped my heart into a million pieces.

    • Apathygrrl

      Holy crap, An American Crime was one disturbing movie! I love Ellen Page so I watched this movie without really knowing what it was about, and I felt so sick to my stomach afterwards that I thought I was going to throw up. I will definitely never be able to watch that movie again. I also agree with Requiem For A Dream. Very disturbing. That ending does stay with you.
      Once was enough for me for The Road, Precious and Shame, not because they're too hard to watch, but just that I saw them once and have no desire to see them again. The rest I haven't seen except for Hard Candy.
      On the other hand, I've watched Hard Candy several times. I really like that one.

  • meghann

    And cold mountain with Nicole Kidman was an amazing movie, but I would never ever watch it is way to hard on the emotions

    • Kris

      Cold Mountain? amazing? Ugh! I couldn't wait for it to end.

  • Shell

    The one I couldn't get over was AI -Artificial Intelligence (2001) with Jude Law and Haley Joel Osment.

  • Lori Stoner

    Kids. Disturbing as hell. Million Dollar Baby. depressed me for DAYS. Hotel Rwanda. Suspenseful and traumatizing. The Pianist- when they run out of bullets and you're going RUN, RUN! And you realize, there's nowhere to run and he's broken and tired. The insidious small ways freedoms are taken away until you're trapped in a ghetto. The movie starts with some of the people being tender to children and by the end everyone is so immune to violence children are not shielded πŸ™ Stayed with me for weeks.

  • Jon Forbing

    It's not a drama, but other people have posted horror films above (and I would argue that "Hard Candy" could definitely be considered a horror movie)...

    For me, the definition of a great movie I can never watch again is "The Devil's Rejects". So effective, so brutal, so terrifying, and all three of those are both reasons why it's great and reasons why I can't ever watch it again.

  • Simon H

    Snowtown. Compelling, powerful, visceral and brutal. No way could I watch it a second time though.

  • Marty CS

    Seven, Funny Games, Schindler's List

  • Seven,of course

  • John B.

    Schindler's List. It's amazing and a masterpiece, but still OMG extraordinarily hard to watch!

  • Georgina

    'Naked' by Mike Leigh--excellent film but what a sad and nihilistic protagonist (played superbly by the fantastic David Thewlis) who is very difficult to see as a sympathetic character. I loved the film when it came out and may have watched it once more, but it will be a long while before I sit through it again (although come to think of is about time)!

  • Jake Graig

    "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and her Lover." Very disturbing film. I had a hell of a time sitting through the first viewing. Watching it again is not even an option.

  • Rose

    "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". Beautifully acted, but left me so sad.
    I'll also never watch "Saving Private Ryan" again. The scene in the barn where the German stabs the young soldier? It was so horrible. Brutal.
    I also agree with the comments about "Atonement" and "The Gambler". Just too sad. Beautifully made, and excellently acted - but - left me bereft for days!

  • jennaputt

    Saving Private Ryan , Lone Survivor and a few other war movies of that ilk. The subject matter is brilliant, heroic but heartbreaking. Other films like Casino, Goodfellas, The City of God I won't watch again because of how sickeningly violent they are. I recognize that they are "well done" but I don't want to see so much bloodshed and violence again.

  • Amanda

    I've seen The Road, Devils Double and Requiem for a Dream what else needs to be on this list is Grave of Fireflies and The Generals Daughter I could only watch those once and that was enough. But they are all fantastic regardless.

  • Laci

    How can you leave out "Schindler's List"?!?!?!? Great movie. Too heavy to watch twice.

  • Nancy LePage

    Sophie's Choice, Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Hotel Rowanda, and The Mission were all powerful and beautifully performed. But it would be difficult to watch them again.

  • Bri


    • Judy

      Melancholia was the first one that popped into my head. I can't believe no one has mentioned The Deer Hunter.

  • paz

    This list should be named 10 movies,
    it is nothing without enter the void,
    incredible movie, to watch only once

    • john

      seconded. Pretty much anything by Gaspar Noe. Never again.

  • unca chuck

    One word. Deliverance.

  • Corin

    Gary Oldman's directorial debut "Nil by Mouth" and Tim Roth's equivalent "The War Zone". Gruelling.

  • lindsay

    How has no one said The Machinist with Christian Bale. After I saw it, I was like 'Wow, that was intense...but there is no way I will EVER watch it again.'

  • Tim Simpson

    The 13 warrior, don't do it.

  • "Requiem" was the first film to come to mind upon seeing this article title. Then, "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover." Never watched "Blue Velvet" a second time. And I see a comment about "Blue Valentine" - just tried to watch that this past week, upon a recommendation, and couldn't make it through the whole thing. Lastly, I've been avoiding "12 Years a Slave" because I'm just not sure I'm ready to be in a theatre for that one.

  • Huh

    I think Irreversible, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Dancer in the Dark all go on the list. Can't say I agree with any of the above ones, though, they're all pretty great (and I've watched most of them dozens of times).

  • Kurtis

    I second Dancer In The Dark, Atonement, and Awakenings.

    I would add Never Let Me Go and Away From Her.

  • Breila

    "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". Absorbing, repugnant, and ultimately sob-inducing.

  • Sheena

    Schindler's List. Everyone should HAVE to see that movie, but no one should haveto watch it twice. t

  • John

    You pretty much nailed it for me.

  • Shannon

    You forgot The Human Centipede. And I would totally watch Hard Candy again.

  • John

    Schindler's List

    Sid and Nancy

    12 years a slave

  • Melissa Anderson

    Mysterious Skin, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Descent, & In the Bedroom to name a few

  • Amber

    PI. That movie had me seeing in black and white daze as I tried to figure out why I watched it.

  • Victor

    Schindlers List is one movie as great as it was and as many awards it received I cannot bear to watch again.

  • Holly

    Schindler's List. And Sophie's Choice.

  • Laura B

    Schindler's List. Smooth Talk. The Good Son. Atonement.

  • One Day... So beatiful, so true, so realistic, so sad...

  • Lu

    "Dogtooth". It's amazing but I wish I didn't know.

  • ladyrio

    These are mostly modern films. My list also contains: Blue Velvet, Schindler's List, Platoon - all excellent excellent films but disturbing in their own ways. Really, very little beats Dennis Hopper and the oxygen tank (or whatever that gas was).

  • Michelle

    I saw An American Crime with Ellen Page once and I will never watch it again. I just can't take it seeing someone being abused
    like that.

  • Karla

    Dead Man Walking
    Natural Born Killers
    Eyes Wide Shut
    The Ice Storm

  • Savage Grace (2007) was like that for me.

  • Pat Clements

    The Killing Fields.

  • woodytobiasjr

    Pasolini and Von Tier were left off.


    plague dogs is a great movie and it is humanly imposible to watch it twice

  • Francie

    "A Clockwork Orange" and "American Beauty."
    On a side note, I LOVE "Hard Candy."
    A psychotherapist would have a heyday with me... πŸ˜‰

  • Derek Gillingham

    "Amour". Powerful, moving, and ultimately tough to watch. It's a beautiful movie, and extremely well done, but I'm not sure I will be able to watch it again. At least any time soon.

  • Erin

    Boy in the striped pajamas. No one could watch that twice.

  • Zippy Slug

    District 9. Amazing movie, but I knew before I had made it out of the theater that I'd never watch it again.

  • Tula

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Saving Private Ryan.

    Irreversible. Hotel Rwanda. Boys Don't Cry.

  • Justin

    I'd add the Japanese film Nobody Knows (Daremo Shiranai). I bought it on a recommendation and only watched it once. Tears for hours afterward. Haven't been able to revisit it. I find a few additions from other commenters interesting. I still enjoy Glory every few years, and have watched Dancer in the Dark more times than I can count (though it still chokes me up). Grave of the Fireflies should be required annually by the UN for leaders of all member states to remind them of the costs of aggression.

    Finally, I'll add that Spike Lee thinking that he can add anything to the original Oldboy is hubris.

  • unmono

    Lars Von Trier's Dancer in the Dark is a great film. I love it but will never see it again. Once is enough!

  • Karen

    I've only watched Requiem for a Dream, Precious and Little Children. All three were depressingly awesome. Learnt a lot about Life's Lessons. And on further note, I'll add The Machinist to the list. More depressing than Christian Bale's any other films, even The Dark Knight.

  • John

    Grave of the Fireflies.

    What a tearjerker. But I have seen it about three times and I know I will again. I got it on Blu-ray but I'm hesitant to pop it in unless I have a full weekend of crying to look forward to.

  • Rain

    Monster - great film,

  • lucy

    I love requiem. Watch it all the time. And the reason no one would watch hard candy again was because it sucked. Snooze fest from the start.

  • Shakes

    I agree with most of these however I have watched both the road and requiem for a dream multiple times and still would watch them again

  • mike


  • Tomek

    Donnie Darko!

  • Mihaly

    Great List! I do agree with most of them and I also recommend to read the Road by McCarthy before you watch the movie. I also warmly recommend to read everything by McCarthy.
    I would add to the list (joining to most of you) the Dancer in the dark. I can't forget that film, but I will remember for the last 15 min. in all of my life.
    An other shocking movie for me was the Biutiful by Inarritu. Worth to watch, great movie, with very impressive performance by Javier Bardem, but you can't exorcise from your mind for days (or more).

  • Kalejandra

    The Impossible. I was exhausted after watching it..that's never happened before or since.My body ached, due to awkward position I was sitting in for being so darn tense. I can't bring myself to watch it again, buy it nor recommend it...

  • Ross

    The anime Grave of the Fireflies is one of these. A beautiful and tragic rendering of two orphan children's struggle to survive in wartime. It was amazing and I'm so glad I watched it, but it was ultimately too heartrending for me to watch again!

  • Skruffbagg

    A glaring ommision from this is the movie Kill List.

    Though it is extremely difficult to understand and may actually force a second viewing, and the ending wasn't exactly everyone's cup of tea, I recommend it as a brilliantly acted, brutally shot horror film that will stay with you forever.

  • molly b

    The Stoning of Soraya M

  • Peter Mullan's 2002 'The Magdalene Sisters'. Harrowing, true and extremely uncomfortable to watch. But utterly brilliant.

  • Saul

    "fresh"Boaz Yakin 1994

  • carnation

    lovely bones - i love stanley tucci in pretty much anything he does but this movie was just too much... Passion of the Christ too.. made me cringe wince and cry....

  • Dockie


  • Rob

    I would add "7 Days", it's a french movie made in Quebec. Not certain if it has an English subtitle version but damn if this could be shown to pedophiles or pedophiles to be, this might just change their minds.

  • shady

    I'd add The Social Network

  • Dgad57

    I would have to add "Panic in Needle Park". The acting is phenomenal by Al Pacino and Kitty Wynn... But watching the downward spiral of these two characters just eats away at you. I saw this years ago...I still remember some of the scenes vividly.

  • Jason


  • Joseph Powell

    Saving Private Ryan, because of a particular scene--those who've seen this film know what I'm talking about.

  • Cynthia

    The Stoning of Soraya M. and The Audition, and Temptation of Christ.
    Stoning was a movie I knew I had to sit through..but I can, only, handle it once.

  • alwaysright

    "Affliction" way to perturbing to want to view again. Awful!!

  • Melanie

    The Butterfly Effect, especially the director's cut ending. Wow, good but SO depressing. The guy couldn't buy a break.

  • Blondmyk

    I'll not ever watch "Brokeback Mountain" again for pretty much the same reasons as all of the above. It was so hard to watch knowing the mix of emotions that all of the characters would have been going through, and the horrible ending that literally made me cry. Nope...never again. Sorry.

  • Nydia Rivera

    Sophie's Choice with Meryl Streep, Peter McNichol and Kevin Kline made me physically ill.

  • Scott Bartholomew

    12 Years a Slave

  • Meghan

    "Sleepers". I could not watch Keven Bacon in anything for a long time after I watched this movie.

  • Dan

    Henry. If you watch this movie more than once you are a pretty sick individual.

  • Dyamonde

    Once Were Warriors - Tragic story all around. . .Saw it once, but will never watch again.

  • Alexis

    Alpha Dog. I think it hit so hard because it was a true story and you really connect with the kid. Haven't watched it since it came out.

  • Vanna

    American Psycho
    City of God
    The Human Centipede
    The White Massai
    Das Boot
    Black Swan (was just too wierd - did not like it)
    Hotel Rwanda

  • I agree with this list 1000 percent- I already had Requiem and Leaving Las Vegas on the tip of my tongue before reading this as I have always told people they were two that I love and, yet, can never watch again.

    I will also add Life Is Beautiful to this list, as it was so wonderfully made but so incredibly sad I just don't think I could do it again....

  • RatTaxi

    Monster. I've watched it multiple times bc of the great performances, but it's a hard one. I agree with the person who said Reflecting Skin, too. I've never watched.

  • Kimberly

    Cruising (Al Pachino) and The Boost (James Woods) are two of mine. As a matter of fact, I could not even finish watching The Boost!

  • Schindler's list was riveting but I am not sure I could watch it again. I did read the book first and cried all the same

  • Michelle

    Incendies is another one. It starts out slow but oh so heart wrenching!