Since I’m a man, everyone knows that I am psychically unable to produce tears, but if I could there are certain movie moments that would cause a complete collapse of my manhood. It seems as if the best parts of movies are always the saddest. While there is a long list of potential tear-jerkers that could make this list, I have based the picks off of personal experience.
The Saddest Movie Moments Ever
Home Alone (1990): Marley (The old man across the street played by Roberts Blossom) reunites with his family. I dare you to tell me this scene doesn’t choke you up. It’s just so happy it gets me every time. I don’t know if its the music or the actor’s expressions that makes this moment so tear-jerking, but whatever it is John Hughes did an amazing job.
Up (2009): Pretty much the whole movie, but more specifically the first twenty or so minutes – Oh boy, Up. What to say about this film? The first moments in the movie has next to no dialogue, yet through visuals the audience is pretty much devastated for the rest of the film. The workers at Pixar are the masters of taking light hearted animated features and transforming them into stories that can soften up the biggest of curmudgeons.
Mystic River (2003): Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn) finds out that his daughter has been murdered – Proof that even though some of us might think Sean Penn is absolutely crazy, he can still deliver one of the most heart breaking performances of all time. It’s not even just this specific movie moment either, Penn has been known to force tears out of his audience with films like I am Sam and Milk. Mystic River seems to just stick with me, mainly due to the way that Penn crafts empathy from a situation most of us can’t relate to in the slightest.
The Land Before Time (1988): The death of Little Foot’s mother – Not much to be said about this scene. It’s heartbreaking and that’s putting it lightly. Watching this as children, I’m surprised most of us don’t need therapy. Sad movie, but boy do I love it.
: The death of Mufasa – One of my favorite Disney films for sure. The Lion King sure did know how to reach our emotions. If a baby lion lying with his dead father doesn’t choke you up, what is wrong with you?
Bambi (1942): The death of Bambi’s mother – Apparently the writers over at Disney are twisted because a lot of their movies are pretty traumatic to say the least. Main characters are killed off, people are constantly sobbing and mothers are shot by lunatics. I wont lie to you, Bambi’s mother dying is the saddest moment in the film but not the most disturbing. That award goes to the bird who hides and then gets nervous and tries to fly away only to be shot and killed in front of her friends. Re-watch the movie. That actually happens.
Cast Away (2000): Wilson the volley ball floats away – Yes, a volleyball. Somehow through all the emotions mixed into this movie, the audience cares more for an inanimate object than Tom Hanks himself. As far as the movie itself goes, it’s pretty much two hours of Tom Hanks talking to himself. But as it pertains to emotion, it hits hard. Especially in the case of this particular scene. That poor volleyball.
My Girl (1991): The death of Thomas (Macaulay Culkin) – There is nothing sadder than a little girl losing her first and only friend to a swarm of bees. It doesn’t help that it’s mostly her fault that he died in the first place either. The bee scene and the funeral scene are the only two moments in this movie I can ever remember but goodness gracious are they sad. A person insanely shouting: he can’t see without his glasses, has never been so sad.
Dead Poets Society (1989) – O Captain! My Captain! – If the suicide of a main character (a la The Passion of the Christ I might add) isn’t enough to get to you, how about all his friends standing a top of their desks and reciting poetry? OK, so it doesn’t sound inherently sad but trust me it is. The audience cares so much for all these characters by the climax of the film that when you see them all band together against their better judgment, it’s just moving.
Old Yeller (1957): Mercy killing – Don’t think I need to explain this one too heavily. A boy’s best friend (a dog named Ol’ Yeller) contracts rabies and his owner is forced to shoot him. The pacing of this scene is so well timed and drawn out that it squeezes every bit of sadness out of each second. Heartbreakingly perfect.
RoboCop (1987): RoboCop remembers his family – The title of this film might make it seem like it’s a kid’s movie, but my oh my it is not. While RoboCop is up there as one of the most violent movies I ever saw at a younger age, yet it does have its fair share of moments that pull at your heart strings. To give some context: RoboCop is robotic cop constructed from live tissue of an actual cop who was gunned down during duty. About half way through the movie RoboCop starts having flashbacks to when he was alive and this causes him to return to his now abandoned house. The scene where RoboCop remembers his wife and kids is heartbreaking to say the least. I personally like this movie, but I’m not so sure it is for everyone and maybe not the best movie if you are looking to ball your eyes out either.
First Blood (1982): Rambo’s end speech – Like RoboCop, one wouldn’t exactly expect there to be any truly sad moments in this film. Not only does First Blood have one of the most sorrowful speeches I have ever seen in a movie, it also happens to be Sly Stalone’s best performance ever. By a long shot. Another example of a movie that I like but isn’t exactly a sad movie per se.
Titanic (1997): Family goes down with the ship – Forget about Jack and Rose and that stupid necklace, the family laying on a bed together while the room fills up with water is the most melancholy parts in the entire film (which is saying a lot because this movie never ends and is filled with plenty of sad moments). There is something about parts in films with little to no dialogue or accompanning music that adds to the more powerful moments in film.
Dumbo (1941): Baby of mine – Dumbo’s mom is chained up and can barely hold her own child in her trunk. On top of this she rocks her child back and forth to a song about the love between a mother and her child. I wouldn’t suggest watching this movie you go on a date because you would be an absolute wreck the rest of the day.
The Fox and Hound (1981): Parting ways – After being taken in and cared for by an old lady, Fox is finally released back into the wild more or less against his will. He would much rather stay and live happily with his pseudo mother, but unfortunately can’t. Once again we are welcomed into the happy world of Disney which is full of magic, wonder, beauty and the most emotionally scarring moments in cinema history. You can’t help but love it all just the same though.