Tear Jerker / Bambi

"Your mother can't be with you anymore."

Bambi (1942)

  • The death of Bambi's mother is perhaps the most iconic tear-jerker scene in Western Animation (even moreso than the infamous Futurama episode "Jurassic Bark", where Fry tries to revive his dead dog, Seymour). It traumatized a lot of children and jokes about the scene are often met with cries of "Dude, Not Funny!". Steven Spielberg even recalled in his childhood waking up in the middle of the night and going to his parents' room to check if they were both still alive.
    Great Prince of the Forest: Your mother can't be with you anymore.
  • Besides the death of Bambi's mother, there's also the scene where some pheasants try to hide from Man in the grass. One of them, despite the others' worried warnings, lets panic get the best of her and flies off sobbing hysterically that she "can't stand it any longer." All the others can do is sadly watch her get shot and fall from the sky, dead.
  • What arguably makes it even worse is that Man, who is treated as one of the biggest dangers the forest animals will ever face, likely never spared a second thought to what kind of impact he makes. While hunters in cartoons are usually portrayed as assholes who just kill because they enjoy it, the hunter(s) in this movie never appear onscreen, and probably fall under Obliviously Evil rather than Egomaniac Hunter.

Bambi 2 (2006)

  • Shortly after meeting Ronno, Bambi's friends are all picked up by their mothers. Bambi just stands there and watches them with a smile until their backs are turned. It's a harsh reminder to him and the viewers that his mother is gone.
  • Bambi's dream where he sees his mother, runs up to nuzzle her, and is reassured that she'll always be with him — only to wake up and realize that he was nuzzling a rock. The particular piece of music that accompanies this scene is simply called "Bambi's Dream", but it features the melody from "Love is a Song." And just in case that wasn't sad enough, it also contains a few notes that sound for all the world like "Whispering Winds."
  • After being told to leave with surrogate mother Mena, a heartbroken Bambi argues with his father for seemingly rejecting him, basically telling him he wishes he was dead. As he prepares to leave with Mena later, however, he turns back and nuzzles his father one last time. The Great Prince remains still, but his despondent expression says it all.
  • Arguably, Bambi's Disney Death. No one in the audience is going to believe he is dead, but the Great Prince sure did.
    [Bambi falls off a rock down a slope]
    Great Prince: BAMBI!!!
    • A subdued one but look at the other characters as this happens. The others are hanging their heads mournfully, while Thumper just slowly hops up closer with a shattered empty gaze, unable to comprehend his best friend is seemingly dead.
  • "This is where I first met your mother." Keep in mind that up until this point, the Great Prince has pointedly refused to discuss Bambi's mother at any length...not out of concern for Bambi, but to spare himself what is obviously a great deal of pain. The effort it takes to say this one line is written all over his face, and it is heartwrenching.
  • The midquel as a whole conveys the Great Prince as a Broken Ace, shattered by the lost of his partner and attempting to remain aloof and unaffectionate to his son under good intentions, fearing it will ruin his upbringing. Any moment Bambi doesn't get the gestures of love and approval he wants is only more heart wrenching because you can tell by facial acting exactly what his father really wants to tell him. Bambi's Disney Death is sad not from any suggestion Bambi could be gone, but being the pivot the Great Prince finally breaks down and realizes how worthless this attitude really is.
  • The clear implication during the climax that Bambi is basically reliving the trauma of his mother's death, right down the trapped Mena repeating her final words. After an utterly chilling stare from the realisation he has lost his mother, his father and now even his adoptive mother, Bambi pretty much pulls a Heroic Sacrifice and turns the vicious dogs onto him. No kid should have to undergo all that.