Alberta Cancer Foundation

10 Best Cancer-Themed Movies

  1. Dying Young (1991). Julia Roberts stars as a young woman who takes the job as a private nurse to a man (Campbell Scott) who is dying of blood cancer, and the two fall in love.
  2. One Week (2008). Joshua Jackson stars as Ben Tyler, a young Canadian teacher who learns he has an aggressive, stage four cancer requiring immediate treatment, but instead takes a motorcycle trip from Toronto to Tofino, B.C.
  3. My Sister’s Keeper (2009). Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin) looks to earn medical emancipation from her parents who have relied on their youngest child to help their other daughter with leukemia alive.
  4. 50/50 (2011). Inspired by a true story, a funny look at a 27-year-old (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who is diagnosed with cancer, and his ensuing struggle to beat the disease. Anna Kendrick and Seth Rogan also star in this well-done comedy.
  5. Life as a House (2001). When a man (Kevin Kline) is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he takes custody of his brooding teenage son (Hayden Christensen), whose pastimes include getting high, small-time prostitution and avoiding his dad. Things change for the pair when they spend the summer building a house together.
  6. Love Story (1970). It’s tough to forget Ali McGraw tearfully uttering “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Harvard Law student Oliver Barrett IV (Ryan O’Neal) and music student Jennifer Cavilleri (McGraw) share a chemistry they cannot deny – and a love they cannot ignore.
  7. The Bucket List (2007). The title phrase became very popular with the release of this comedy about two terminally ill patients (played by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) who escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.
  8. Crazy Sexy Cancer (2007). Weeks after she was diagnosed, filmmaker Kris Carr began documenting her story, taking a seemingly tragic situation and turning it into a creative expression.
  9. Terms of Endearment (1983). Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger star as mother and daughter in this tear-jerker. The movie covers several years of their lives as each finds different reasons to find joy in life.
  10. Wit (2001). A renowned professor, compellingly played played by Emma Thompson, is forced to reassess her life when she is diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer.