- The end of Hair (movie, not musical), starting when Berger realizes he's being shipped to Vietnam in Claude's place, through his reprise of Claude's song, and all the way to the shot of the rest of the Tribe at his grave.
- For that matter, Michael's backstory in the 2007 remake of Halloween (2007). Sheri Moon Zombie isn't exactly the greatest actress on Earth, but still, imagine going through what Deborah goes through - having to live with the knowledge that your son has brutally murdered four people and countless innocent animals, then watching him slowly retreat further and further inside his own mind until he stops speaking altogether, starting when he's just ten years old.
- Also in the 2007 version of Halloween, the fact that Michael ends up killing one of the only people - with the possible exception of Doctor Loomis - at Smith's Grove who actually seemed to care about him. It's Ismael, the orderly played by Danny Trejo. One of the last things Ismael does is gently try to calm Michael - who he calls 'Mikey' - down and get him back to his room.
- The Hand That Rocks the Cradle: The scenes where Solomon is accused of molestation and then his bike is taken away.
- Happy Feet:
- The blackest moment in the film: Mumble has been in the zoo for some five months, and he's lost his mind. He hears something, and turns around. It's — it's Gloria! And, his mother, and — and, look! There's the other little guys, and — when he offers the fish, and his mother can only reply: "It's alright, honey. We can wait." And, promptly disappears.
- The main character's reunion with Gloria. Magnificently underplayed.
- The line, "Don't ask me to change, Pa. 'Cause I can't." is heartbreaking.
- The ending of the 1943 movie Heaven Can Wait (1943), when Satan sends Henry to the elevator going up, where his beloved wife is waiting for him at the top. Also a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Heavenly Creatures:
- The ending, from the tea shop scene through the credits. Knowing that Honora is going to die, and that even (and perhaps especially), her murder isn't going to be enough to let Pauline and Juliet be together and will ultimately separate them forever just kills me. This is intensified by the acting, you can tell that at least Juliet (and maybe even Pauline) knows that this is only going to make things worse, and yet they can't see any other way forward. The inevitable and total nature of the tragedy is heartbreaking.
- And the music — Butterfly's Humming Chorus, with all that it implies, makes it that much worse.
- It was a condition of their release that they never meet again. Just as St. Mario sings "you'll never walk alone". Oh my God.
- So many moments in Alan Bennett's play/film The History Boys...
- The scene when Hector breaks down into tears in class.
- The bit where Posner and Hector discuss the poem "Drummer Hodge."
- Most of the Posner/Dakin subplot, but especially Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.
- All of the last 10 minutes of the film.
- When Hector tells Irwin that he's spent his career knowing he's a laughingstock, and having his heart broken over and over with no resolution to it. And warning Irwin not to end up like him.
- Most of the history discussed through the story is equally distant. But watching the discussion off the Holocaust drove the point home that people her own age can still be devastated by something half a century before as though it happened to them personally, because in a very real sense, it has.
Posner (after gradually becoming agitated, yelling): The difference is, I didn't lose any relatives in the dissolution of the monasteries!
Irwin: Good point!
Scripps: You keep saying 'good point'. Not 'good point', sir, true!
- Hollywoodland has a very beautiful scene between Eddie Mannix (played by Bob Hoskins) and his wife, Toni (played by Diane Lane) where he tells that if she had anything to do with the death of George Reeves that it didn't matter and he would make sure she was safe from any of the consequences.
- House of Flying Daggers: The last third or so of this movie, particularly the ending, when Mei is threatening to kill Leo with the dagger stuck in her chest if he attacks Jin, and then Jin throws away his sword and starts hobbling towards Leo, desperately yelling at her that he is closer to Leo than she is, so she cannot save him with her dagger, because he knows that if she pulls it out she will bleed to death. And then... yea.
- The first 5 minutes of How Green Was My Valley: "Can I believe my friends all dead, when their voices are still a-glory in my ears? No, and I will stand to say no again! There is no fence around time that has gone. You can go back and have what you like of it, if only you can remember. And so I can close my eyes on the valley as it is today and see it as it was when I was a boy. Green it was, and possessed of the bounties of the earth. In all Wales, there was none so beautiful..." And then there was the end...
- In Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru, the protagonist, who knows he will die of cancer, has dedicated his remaining life to building a park for children. Before he dies, he sits slowly rocking back and forth on a swingset, singing a song called "Life is Brief"note . One of the most touching movie moments ever.
- Immortal Beloved:
- "Ode to Joy"
- The scene where Beethoven and Johanna miss each other at the hotel.
- The part where they have to turn him around so that he would notice people are applauding. Doubly so because it really happened.
- Inception. The contents of the safe in the third dream level is nothing short of horribly, joyfully heartrending.
- The real intention behind the word, "disappointed" and his face as he sees the pinwheel and realizes that his father really did care for him...only to watch him die again.
- Seconded. Cillian Murphy's face when he looks into the safe is absolutely devastating.
- Oh, it gets worse. Some people say that Pete Postlethwaite told Cillian Murphy he was dying of pancreatic cancer just before they shot that scene. If that's true, the look on Murphy's face is at least partly genuine.
- Mal's suicide. Mostly because of the raw, underplayed delivery of the line "Mal! No! Jesus Christ!"
- The ending has aspects of this. You see Dom reunited with his children, happy for the first time in years. Then the camera pans over.
- YMMV, as many (myself included) believe that the top falls over. The ending is left up to you.
- When Arthur explains Mal to Aridane. The look on his face.... Just hurts...
- There's an independent film called Ink, a dramatic fantasy about the forces of good and the forces of evil fighting over the soul of a man, using his estranged daughter, who's maybe about seven-years-old, as bait. It's a beautiful, heartwrenching movie, and the very definition of Tear Jerker.
- Go watch the lovely horse film International Velvet. Now try not to cry at the plane scene, where one of the riders' horses has to be put down when he freaks out on a transatlantic flight and they can't risk the other horses flipping out as well.
- There's the Anthony Hopkins/Cuba Gooding, Jr. film Instinct. That massacre scene absolutely ruined me.
- Interview With A Vampire. When Claudia and Madeleine are thrown into a well that is exposed to the sunlight, Louis is trapped in a wall-up coffin, forced to listen to their screams. When he is finally released, he reaches out to touch their scorched corpses, and watches in horror as they crumble into ash.
- Inu No Eiga: Say, Marimo...
- The documentary Invisible Girlfriend. This film focuses on Charles, a man who suffers from schizophrenia, and who believes that Joan of Arc is his Invisible Girlfriend. However, he also remembers a real bartender in New Orleans, a woman named Dee Dee, who he decides is his Invisible Girlfriend made real in flesh and blood. He decides to bicycle the 400 miles to New Orleans (he doesn't have a driver's license) to meet up with her again. While this could have ended any number of ways, what happens when he goes back to the bar where Dee Dee works is particularly heartwrenching.
- The death of Yinsen in Iron Man - especially since we learn that the family that he had been hoping to see again were dead — and that he had always planned to go out this way, to be reunited with them. (Though if you didn't see that twist coming...) Even Tony looked choked at that one.
- It turns out that it was the weapons manufactured by Tony's company that were responsible for the destruction of Yinsen's hometown and the murder of his family. This only serves to make Tony's redemption all the more noble and touching.
- "You're all I've got, Pepper."
- In the sequel, Tony complains that his father Howard Stark never cared about him. He's proven wrong when he comes across an old film reel that contains footage of Howard admitting that even though he's never shown it, he's always loved Tony and considers him his greatest invention.
- Is Anybody There? is sadistic when it comes to this. The scene that stands out as being specifically made to make people cry is Clarence feeling ridiculous, but still quietly and desperately asking for his wife in the mirror again and again.
- Also, the end, when the old people each get their moments of happiness and Edward opens up and plays soccer with the mentally handicapped old man who he'd previosly yelled at, who is just so damn elated about it. Also, Edward's moment with the badger.
- The ending of Jack.
"What do I want to be when I grow up? Alive."
- Jacob's Ladder. There's one scene, in particular, where Jacob is crying over the death of his son that's like a punch in the gut. Tim Robbins does an incredible job of portraying the feelings of grief and anguish that his character feels.
- Also the beautiful ending - Jacob realising he's dead and reuniting with his son. A great impact of Maurice Jarre's music here.
- Troy's death in Jarhead.
- Throughout most of The Jazz Singer, Jakie Rabinowicz (Al Jolson) is estranged from his father, a Cantor at the synagogue, for not singing in the traditional family way. When he returns years later, his father is suddenly taken ill, and he has to choose between a big break on Broadway and becoming the Cantor at the synagogue. He chooses the latter, and delivers a heartbreaking rendition of Kol Nidre. His father suddenly sits up, exclaims "...we have a son again," and then passes away. The mother is especially heartbroken, since she'd believed Jakie's singing would help to bring a miracle to pass. Then - just when you think it couldn't possibly get any worse - his father's spirit materializes and touches him, acepting his atonement for disrespecting his family.
- The entirety of Journey of August King, but especially the ending. August King (Jason Patric) takes a runaway slave named Annalees (Thandie Newton) to safety. Along the way, he's lost everything that once mattered to him, and when her former master catches up with him, he destroys August's house to punish him. August tells him, "Two days ago I thought I was pretty well off, and now I have nothing. I've never been so proud."
- A French/German/English film called Joyeux Noël: The entire second half of the movie. (Hint: It's about WWI.) Particularly one part where a Scottish soldier, on Christmas morning, curls up with his brother's frozen corpse while weeping.
- The German lieutenant picks up a Christmas tree and gets up over the trenchline, doing nothing but singing a Christmas carol with all his strength.
- Possibly the most saddening scene in that movie is when, after the truce, the German soldier is running toward their trenches, and the Scots desperately try to warn him by shooting in the air before being forced to shoot him by their officers. Even worse, he was a French soldier disguised as a German whom the Germans smuggled behind their lines to visit his mother.
- The Joy Luck Club - The very last scene, when Jing-Mei meets her long lost sisters in China, and has to tell them their mother has died. Becomes a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when they seize on the fact that they have a sister, a family member they never knew they had.
- "妹妹(Little Sister)!" "姐姐(Big Sister!)" And that was enough...
- J.T. was a made-for-TV movie about an impoverished inner-city youth who adopts a stray cat for Christmas. He slowly nurses it back to health...and then a car runs it over and kills it.
- Michael Winterbottom's Jude, especially when Jude's little boy hangs his two baby brothers and then himself "because we were to menny". And the rest of it is none too cheerful, either. And the ending of the book is even bleaker.
- Jude finally breaks down and starts crying after reading the suicide note.
- Amy Adams. Junebug. The hospital scene. Rachel Weisz does not deserve her Oscar.
- Juno. That entire scene at the end where she decides to give up her baby, and then spends some time with her boyfriend at the end, as they sing that love song to each other... Hold on, I need a moment...
- Jurassic Park. More specifically, when John Hammond realizes that the park is dangerous and explains why he wanted to build it in the first place. The way he talks about his old flea circus is just so sad. The man is the archetypal adorable grandfather and you're watching the dream of his lifetime break right in front of his eyes.
- Just Like Heaven. Most of the 2nd half, and particularly when Elizabeth wakes up and... doesn't remember who David is. It gets better, but that didn't stop that moment from being a total tear jerker.
- Kal Ho Naa Ho is about a guy who falls in love with a girl, but convinces her that he is married so he can set her up with a friend of hers, because the guy has a heart condition and only weeks to live and wants his beloved to be happy.
- The 2010 remake of The Karate Kid, when Mr. Han talks about the accident that he caused, killing his wife and son. "I try and I try, but I can't remember what we were arguing about...I hope it was something important."
"Every year, I fix the car. Still fix nothing."
- A Korean movie named Keurosing (Crossing): There are no words to express how tragic this movie is. Not only does the protagonist's wife die of tuberculosis before he can reach her with free medicine, but also his son attempts to illegally cross Mongolia, dying in the cold desert night as he waited for his delayed father to pick him up. The father arrives just hours after his child's death.
- Kidulthood has a few, most notably Katie's suicide, and also Trife's final words saving Sam's life.
- Kick-Ass: "I was using low-velocity rounds, child." Everyone else in the cinema is laughing, and I'm weeping like a child. Even though it was the whole point of the training, he still couldn't bring himself to use full-power ammunition. What? It is just me? Oh well.
- The low-velocity rounds? Maybe. But rest assured, "I love you too, Daddy. Sleep tight." completely destroyed me.
- The deaths of Sidney, Chang, and the title character in John Woo's The Killer.
- The last one was especially wrenching since the Killer didn't even get to say goodbye to his love interest or die in her arms because he's just as blind as she is at this moment and they miss each other when groping for each other while crawling on the ground — a result of Sally Yeh and Chow Yun-Fat having to shoot on different days during the scene.
- Every single time (not yet King) George struggles to speak in The King's Speech. And in the scenes when he explains to Lionel that it was his (unintentionally) abusive father and brother and (intentionally) abusive nanny that all helped make him what he is.
- The end of the Korean film The King and the Clown. The main characters, Jang-saeng, who had his eyes burned out by hot irons for a crime he didn't commit, and Gong-gil, who attempted suicide out of guilt but was stopped, choose to end their lives together by jumping from a tightrope in the King's courtyard, just as the palace is about to be stormed by a civilian uprising.
Jang-saeng: The world's but a stage! Kingly is he who struts for a while, then exits in style! Then together again, we shall royally this blessed earth roam!
- William reuniting with his father in A Knight's Tale.
- Knock Knock Knocking at Heaven's Door: Watching Slim Pickens sitting by the edge of the river he had planned to float down as he slowly died from being gutshot in Pat Garret and Billy the Kid.
- Knowing. How so? Well it turns out the final prediction is an advance solar flare that'll kill every single living organism on Earth. So, how does the main character stop this? Well, he doesn't and the thing that actually happens is that his son is taken away by Aliens to repopulate a new world with another girl. Those two saying goodbye to each other is just so emotionally moving that it more than makes up for all the earlier chuckle worthy drama. Oh and AFTER this, he goes back to his sister and parents, where they all get incinerated WHILE HUGGING. Goddamn you, movie. * sniff*
- Ed Exley's speech about why he became a cop in L.A. Confidential. Not so much the speech itself (though it is moving), but the reaction he gets from his partner, the crooked but conflicted Jack Vincennes, when he asks why Jack became a cop. The normally ultra glib Vincennes is silent for a long, long moment before giving the devastated answer "I don't remember."
- Also when Dudley kills Jack
- The ending of Ladder 49, when Joaquin Phoenix tells John Travolta that there's no way he can get out of the burning warehouse and to call the other firefighters back. He tells Travolta to take care of his wife and children for him. Then Travolta looks back at the rest of the firefighters on the scene with an anguished look on his face and gives the order to evacuate the building. The scene then cuts to Joaquin Phoenix's wife tending to their children at home, and she looks outside to see the chief's car pull up in front of her house and John Travolta and a priest walk out.
- One of the last scenes of The Lake House, when Kate puts the warning message for Alex in the mailbox, trying to prevent his death, and then just falls to her knees, holding onto the post and sobbing for him to be all right: "Don't try to find me. Come to the lake house. I'm here."
- The death of Littlefoot's mother in the original The Land Before Time.
- The end of Lady Hamilton (American title, That Hamilton Woman):
"What happened after?"
"There is no then. There is no after."
- Almost the entirety of The Laramie Project, which, given the subject matter, isn't too hard to imagine.
- Specially when the students stand up in front of the Fred Phelps stand in and his group quietly... dressed up in white tunics, like angels.
- The Last Emperor when the old Pu Yi visits the Forbidden City, sees the little boy trying out the throne, and Pu Yi shows him the cricket. Then he's gone, and the camera pans to a tour guide telling a group of English-speaking tourists, that the last emperor of China died the year that scene took place, meaning he might have been a ghost (same with the cricket!), watching a little boy that might have been him, playing in the place that used to be his home
- It drives the point home that after watching Pu Yi's sad and astonishing life for 2 hours, the guide summarises it in 2 or 3 sentences.
- The ending of Last Night, a movie about a group of people in Toronto spending their last day before the end of the world. In fact the whole film.
- Uncas's death and Alice's suicide in The Last of the Mohicans. The looks they exchange after he's been wounded and they realize he's going to die are heartbreaking, and her expression before stepping of the cliff is hauntingly beautiful - sad but completely calm. And the entire sequence is hammered home by a perfect score.
- Katsumoto's death in The Last Samurai was plenty sad already, but the real clincher was when he spoke his final words, shortly after glimpsing sakura trees near the battlefield (referring to a discussion he had with Capt. Algren earlier in the movie:
- "Perfect...they are all...perfect..."
- The entire surviving Imperial Army gathered around Katsumoto's body and, despite having suffered massive casualties during the battle, every last one of them knelt in respect.
- Watching Lawrence of Arabia won't make you cry, but there's a very high probability you'll feel down for a few days afterwards... The beginning and ending of the movie are sad and bittersweet enough to depress most people, and the last hour is particularly wrenching because of Ali's heartwrenching lines, from the angry "Surely you know the Arabs are a barbarous people. Barbarous and cruel. Who but they? Who but they?" after Lawrence has a Turkish garrison massacred, to his final exchange with Auda after he leaves Lawrence in Damascus.
- NO PRISONERS!!!!!! NO PRISONERS!!!!!!
- The ending of Legally Blonde 2 when Bruiser is reunited with his mother.
- Lethal Weapon
- Lethal Weapon 3: Murtaugh shoots and kills Darryl, one of Nick's friends, and completely breaks down, trying to resuscitate him. Seeing Murtaugh, usually the most calm and collected cop, breaking down over it is a real shock. Similarly, a lot of the climactic fight of Lethal Weapon 4, when Murtaugh is trying to find Riggs, is similarly disturbing.
- The boat scene in Lethal Weapon 3 where Riggs finally explodes about Murtaugh retiring
- Most scenes toward the end of Letters from Iwo Jima. When Kuribayashi is just lying on the beach, remembering being lonely "driving home alone". And when he kills himself with his souvenir pistol.
- The 'elite' soldier's desertion, only to be carelessly shot anyway; the letter; the little kids singing on the radio; all of these are Tear Jerker moments, but the worst? "BANZAI! BANZAI!"
- The moment at which Kuribayashi commits suicide, despite being essentially conjectural:
Kuribayashi: "Is this still Japanese soil?"
Saigo: "Yes; this is still Japan."
- Shimizu's death. After crying while privately confiding to Saigo that he doesn't want to die for nothing (a Tear Jerker moment in itself), he makes a pact to surrender with Saigo. He goes first and makes it, until a Jerk Ass soldier forced to be his guard shoots him so he can get off guard duty—just so he could die for nothing.
- The ending, where the unsent letters all fall from newly found bag, as the voices of the soldiers who wrote them echo on the screen. Letters that were never sent or received, almost burned if not for Saigo.
- The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: "I still wish I could breathe underwater."
- In the climax of The Life Aquatic, Steve finally sees the Jaguar shark he's pursued throughout most of the film. With the entire crew of the Belafronte crammed into the small submersible and watching in awe, Steve says (in reference to when the shark ate his best friend, Estaban), "I wonder if it remembers me." When he says this, he starts crying uncontrollably, prompting the entire crew to put their hands on his shoulders in support. Bill Murphy's acting sells the scene.
- My Life as a Dog is a story based on an autobiography of a boy who gets bustled from home to home when his mother falls ill and eventually becomes slightly abusive. The story is tender and very well-acted on the children and adults' parts.
- The Bittersweet Ending of Life Is Beautiful.
- The entire second half of the movie in the concentration camp has a number of tear jerker moments. One is of the heartwarming kind when Guido finds a microphone for a loud speaker and repeats his trademark line to his wife, Dora, "Buongiorno, Principessa!" (Italian for Good Morning, Princess!). A second one comes from knowing that Guido dies to save his wife and son.
- The soldiers take Guido away to shoot him, and he, knowing his son is watching, marches off with a funny walk and a smile on his face. And then...::bang::.
- In Little Miss Sunshine when Dwayne realizes he's color blind and can't achieve his dream of flying jets. His subsequent breakdown was heartrending to watch, especially when you consider how emotionless he's been up until then. Then it was followed closely by a Tear Jerker Crowning Momentof Heartwarming when his little sister Olive simply and silently sits down and puts her arm around him, prompting him to pull himself together and go back to the family.
- Abigail Breslin confiding in her grandfather. "I don't wanna be a loser."
- Another beautiful one is the scene right after the grandfather dies, when they're on the highway and Olive asks if they think there's a heaven.
- The 1995 version of A Little Princess, when Sarah is dragged kicking and screaming away from her amnesiac father, begging him to remember her. Turned into happy tears when he remembers her at the last moment, running out into the rain and screaming her name.
- Before that, after Sarah's father is believed dead and she's spending her first night in the attic, "Poppa?"
- And she does the only thing she can, drawing the 'protection circle' from her story with a bit of chalk on the floor, and huddling there. It makes me just sob.
- Sarah's " we are all princesses" monologue. Even though she's lost everything, she keeps her hope and belief that she has worth.
Sara:I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren't pretty, or smart, or young. They're still princesses. All of us.
- When she calms down the litle girl that's crying about her mother and she gives the speech about how their mothers are beautiful angels in heaven watching over them. Waterworks.
- Beth's death scene in Little Women.
Beth: If God wants me with Him, there is none who will stop Him. I don't mind. I was never like the rest of you, making plans about the great things I'd do. I never saw myself as anything much. Not a great writer like you.
Jo: Beth, I'm not a great writer.
Beth: But you will be. Oh, Jo, I've missed you so. Why does everyone want to go away? I love being home. But I don't like being left behind. Now I am the one going ahead. I am not afraid. I can be brave like you.
- Though mostly a ginormous action film, The Longest Day had at least one tear-jerking moment, when one slightly mad Frenchman walks up to the British troops coming off Juno beach, dressed in his Sunday best, offering champagne and simply saying "Welcome! Welcome to you all!"
- The shot of the nuns marching fearlessly through the battle to aid the wounded is pretty powerful.
- Paulie's Driven to Suicide scene on the roof at the end of Lost and Delirious.
- The plot-thread of Love Actually in which the rather shy, lonely Laura Linney finally gets together with her long-time crush... only for him to abandon her when she has to interrupt their evening to calm down her mentally-ill brother.
- Even worse: Emma Thompson discovering her husband's infidelity while a sad Joni Mitchell song plays very sadly.
- The scene where Liam Neeson's character breaks down and cries over the death of his wife is just so much worse now.
- The little boy hugging Liam Neeson, all smiles... Gahh!
- The opening scene of people greeting each other at the airport, with the narration "When the planes hit the Twin Towers, none of the phone calls from people on board were messages of hate or revenge. They were all messages of love."
- The Lovely Bones: "I wish you all a long and happy life." Damn you, Saoirse Ronan with your big blue eyes and your acting talent. *cries uncontollably*
- How is Love Story not on here? God, that ending...
- The Magdalen Sisters. The very last minute of the film will stay with you for the rest of your life.
- And speaking of Anderson, that singalong to the devastatingly sad Aimee Mann song in Magnolia.
- The scene in The Majestic, where Peter goes to tell Harry that he's not Luke:
I'm not... I'm not ready to say goodbye."
- The "Slipping Through My Fingers" duet between Sophie and Donna in Mamma Mia!!. Especially when Sophie asks her mother to give her away at the wedding which also makes it a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. This was then followed only a few minutes later by Donna singing The Winner Takes All to Sam.
- Man on Fire: The ending where Creasy dies. The song had been played other times in the movie, but right there it just fits so well. And the shot of the mountain from inside the car, that goes still right at the moment of his death.
- Another Jim Carrey tearjerker is Man on the Moon, in which he plays the infamously eccentric Andy Kaufman. The scene that tends to bring people to tears comes as he is wasting away from lung cancer and goes down to the Philippines to partake in so-called "psychic surgery" as his very last resort; as he is laid down for the treatment, he sees that it's a con accomplished with sleight-of-hand. Realizing he's doomed, he laughs. The image dissolves from this to him lying in a casket at his funeral.
- A fair bit of The Man Who Fell to Earth is tearjerking. Notable example? When Mary-Lou asks what Thomas's children are like, he replies with a mournful gaze across a lake, "They're like children. They're just like children."
- And then there's the ending: Thanks to the government's intervention and his own weakness, Thomas is left an alcoholic holding on to thin strands of hope that will never come to pass — his planet and family are dead and will never hear his goodbye, and no one loves him on Earth. And We Are As Mayflies to him... Tears? How about rage?
- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. It's a bit hard to explain why if you haven't seen it, since it all just fits perfectly. Suffice to say, a man goes against all his principles and then has to live with other people praising him for it — or did he?
- Perhaps it's because for all his principles and achievements in civilizing the West, Senator Stoddard realizes it wouldn't have been possible without men like Tom Doiphon. Meanwhile, Stoddard gets all the acclaim and gets the girl while while Doniphan dies alone and forgotten.
- The last parts of Marley and Me.
- The end of Martian Child where David talks his adoptive son Dennis (who was abandoned by his parents and locked into a delusion that he was actually a Martian sent to earth) down from the roof by telling how stupid his parents must have been to abandon him, how special Dennis is and how much David loves him will bring an immediate tear to the eye of anyone who lived through a childhood of loneliness and abandonment and just couldn't understand why.
- The Marx Brothers: Harpo Marx isn't the type of person one expects to be on this list. The horn-honking mute womanizer is often responsible for all the Crowning Moments of Funny that Groucho isn't responsible for, but there's a reason that they gave him the name Harpo. This scene is bipolar in its very nature, and most of their movies had moments exactly like this; one minute Harpo will be up to his old antics, but as soon as he sits down at that harp, the world stands still in awe of his innate skill.
- What makes these scenes all the more poignant is that not only is he actually playing, but he never took a lesson in his life. He would later try to take lessons from professional concert harpists, but they, too, would instead find themselves watching his, dumbstruck at how good he was already.
- With all due respect to Harpo's obvious talent, part of the reason professional lessons would have been of no benefit is that Harpo's technique, being entirely self-taught, was very unorthodox and completely "wrong" compared to the way professional harpists manipulate the instrument. So, for Harpo to gain anything from those teachers, he would have to first "unlearn" his self-taught technique, and start practically from scratch learning to play the harp "correctly." And in the end, he probably wouldn't have been as good.
- Harpo has another uncharacteristically emotional scene in The Cocoanuts. Polly is crying by herself when Harpo wanders into the shot with his usual wide-eyed expression. He watches her for a moment without her noticing, then pulls a lollipop out of his coat and taps her on the arm with it, offering it to her. She looks between him and the lollipop a few times, then just breaks down, hugs him and cries on his shoulder. Given Harpo's usual interactions with women, this scene was heartbreakingly sweet.
- Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has quite a few moments, but the one that got me were the scenes where the creature helps the family and has the conversation with the blind old man only to have it ripped away because the rest of the misunderstanding family. Played beautifully by Robert De Niro.
- The ending of The Mask of Zorro especially Diego's death
Alejandro: "Whenever brave deeds are rememebered, your grandfather will live on."
- The Matrix Trilogy. "It is done".
- "Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo." Considering that it's Smith who echoes one of the last things the Oracale said to Neo just makes it all the more beautiful...A sort moment where you realize that Smith has been wrong about everything he ever said.
- The endings of the "Beyond", "Program" and "World Record" shorts in The Animatrix. The former is notable because it could probably stand on its own, and still be just as depressing. Any more would be a spoiler.
- The Animatrix story The Second Renaissance after the human armies have been defeated and humanity's been tortured into submission. We get the image of a child dancing in the snow, what we can see on a pullout as nuclear fallout in a destroyed landscape, until he hears his parents calling him, and he runs toward them giggly until his parents morph into Agents and reach out to drag him into the white door (i.e.- the matrix) while he screams and tries to escape.
- The countless of robot skeletons in imagery clearly remniscent of the Nazi death camps is seriously powerful too, along with the imagery of helpless androids and gynoids beaten to death by human mob. That war made both sides into victims and bastards.
- One shot, the single short montage shot in which the skeletal, terribly humanlike robotic Horseman of the Apocalypse, still riding over the twisted-metal remains of his fallen compatriots, simply comes apart at the seams and dissolves into scrap — and the next machine we see is a full-blown Sentinel, a many-eyed tentacular machine that is utterly inhuman. The complete abandonment of the human form, the complete loss of what made the machines justified in the first place.
- The Matthew Shepard Story: The whole story of Matthew Shepherd is sad enough, but towards the end, when Shepherd is in the hospital and a cop is describing how she found him, she mentions how his face was bruised and bloody except for two clear streaks coming from his eyes...
- The majority of Mean Creek, but particularly after George drowns. Whether you think he was a bully or simply misunderstood, you can't deny that he didn't deserve that.
- Meet Me in St. Louis, when Judy Garland's character was trying to put on a brave face about the impending move for her younger sister's sake and then the kid ran out into the yard, crying, and started destroying all her snow people because she didn't want anybody else to have them if she couldn't.
- Memoirs of a Geisha. Loss of family, spending your life trying to impress somebody who might not even know why, the dying art, the ruined town, former friends' lives ruined... Somehow, it's even worse seeing it than reading it, and the Happy Ending is surprisingly depressing. There's something indescribably tear-jerking about watching what's supposed to be this beautiful, mysterious world transformed into something cheap and gaudy. After watching a movie about how hard the main characters worked to maintain this illusion, how dedicated they were, the sheer enormity of all they lost and gave up because of it –- it's seriously depressing to see it all reduced to a tourist attraction, and to realize that all of that sacrifice came to nothing in the end.
- Henrik Vanger finding out what happened to Harriett in ''Men Who Hate Women.''
- Midnight Cowboy. It's possible that for some time, you'll get depressed when hearing a harmonica.
- Joe holding Ratso in his arms, as the bus pulls into Miami at the end.
- A Mighty Heart
- Most obvious is the anguished, torturous Howl of Sorrow when Marianne watches the video of Daniel's execution.
- The short scene of Daniel and Marianne's wedding, especially when knowing his eventual fate.
- "If you could say one thing to your husband now, what would you tell him?" "I love you."
- The entire film. Anyone who's even slightly aware of the real-life story behind it knows how it ends, which can make watching the characters desperately trying to find him both heart-breaking and somewhat futile.
- A Mighty Wind: Mitch and Micky's kiss at the end of the tribute concert
- Million Dollar Baby. It would be an awesome boxing flick. But then comes paralysis, followed by euthanasia... Really depressing.
- Why has no-one mentioned Millions yet? Its full of downer moments but the biggest one is when Damian runs off with the remaining money with intent to burn it. He has already seen it tear his already dysfunctional family further apart and has had their house bombarded with beggars and news reporters. Over the train tracks, he sees another saint (he sees saints throughout the book) when he asks her what her miracle was she says. "I made you." it is his dead mother. The conversation they have is heart rending. And then, to top it off, his brother Anthony arrives just too late to see her.
- Milk. The candlelight vigil at the end.
- '"I ask this... If there should be an assassination, I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise. I would like to see every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out - - If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door... And that's all. I ask for the movement to continue. Because it's not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power... it's about the "us's" out there. Not only gays, but the Blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us's. Without hope, the us's give up - I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. So you, and you, and you... You gotta give em' hope... you gotta give em' hope."'
- The Downer Ending of The Mission, specially the death of Father Gabriel. If not the whole damn movie.
- The "If I Didn't Care" scene in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, during which Delysia - who is singing the titular song, and who has been bubbly and seemingly superficial and uncaring about the consequences of her multiple infidelity throughout most of the movie - finally understands exactly what it is that she's giving up; her only chance at being loved and happy - with Michael, the poor pianist who truly loves her and whose heart she has broken - in favour of her superficial, career-advancing flings with her wealthier but ultimately uncaring other lovers. You can see and hear the character's heart breaking right up there on stage; her voice cracking is bad enough, but especially affecting is the moment she realizes she can't keep singing and stares helplessly at Michael, who takes over from her with equal emotion. Fortunately, it all ends happily.
- A lot of scenes in Moon can be real tearjerkers:
"I wanna go home!"
- When Sam finds out that his wife died a long time ago, and he had no idea.
" How did mommy die, sweetheart?"
- "We're not programs, GERTY. We're people."
- The entire soundtrack is a combination of this and Awesome Music.
- The ending: Sam #6 going back to Earth as Sam #5 watches from the crashed rover, and Sam #7 waking up....
- Several scenes in Moon Child. Overall, it's a pretty sad movie. There's Toshi's death scene where Sho is screaming his lungs out. There's Kei's scene in prison where he is asking the inspector to throw him out into the sunlight so that he can die (with an apathetic face). There's Sho begging Kei over the phone to come save him because he doesn't know what to do anymore. But the absolute worst is Sho's "death" scene, where he has just been shot in a showdown against a traitorous friend and is bleeding on the floor. Kei comes in several seconds to late, shoots Son in anger, and holds onto Sho while he keeps coughing up blood. All he can do is scream at him not to leave him as Sho makes their signiture salute and lays there drowning in his own blood. For a movie about vampires and yakuza, there sure are a lot of these moments.
- The scene where Yi-Che, who has been relatively mute for most of the movie, finally speaks.
- The Chinese film Mother Love Me Once Again is the story of a single mother and the child she bore from a rich man who loved her, then left her.
- Satine's death at the end of Moulin Rouge!. Probably because other than the above, it's a textbook happy ending.
- The opera it is mostly based on is even more emotionally manipulative at the end.
- The end of the original 1952 version: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec lies on his deathbed, after having become an acclaimed artist, and as he realizes that all he ever wanted was the simple days at the cabaret, the dancers from the first scene come back to dance one last time before his eyes, then fade out as he dies.
- Mrs. Doubtfire
- The initial argument scene is very upsetting... yeah his character was irresponsible... but Robin, her hero, is getting yelled at. And anyone whose parents have had a divorce have probably cried too.
- The ending. Unlike the rest of the film, it's not funny at all, but it is still a great ending. Robin Williams has given no shortage of proof that he is a very versatile actor, but there's no greater feat than that. You see a man who you know is dressed as a woman, and your first instinct is to laugh, and as though that wasn't enough, you've just spent the whole film laughing at the character. Yet somehow, the way the character delivers a moving speech intended for the children of parents who divorced has a way of making you sit up straight, ignore his crossdressing and actually want to listen and cheer at what he has to say. When you see that sort of "one in a lifetime" scene, it makes you say, that's talented acting, directing and writing at work.
- Understanding the "true meaning" of Mulholland Dr. turns a weird, interesting oddity into a profoundly disturbing, heartbreaking... well, Tear Jerker. The whole film can be summed up as: That thing you fear most, that eats away at you at every waking moment and haunts your nightmares? It's real.
- For some this may be considered Narm, but for some people the scene from The Mummy Returns where Rick and Imhotep are hanging off the edge of this... Cliff thing, and if they let go- they're in Hell. Evy and Anakh Su-Namun are watching them... When Evy comes to Rick's rescure even though he tells her to run that's part one. Part two is when Imhotep begs for help, but Anakh Su-Namun yells "No", and runs. Imhotep just watches, then he smiles, and let's go . After everything he had done for her, and she abandones him. * Sniffs*
- The scene where Evie dies. Rick's breakdown, Alex's heartbroken "Mum?", and Jonathan of all people being forced to be the strong one and comfort the others after he's just watched his sister murdered. Heartbreaking.
- Tiny Tim in The Muppet Christmas Carol. Damn you, Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. Tiny Tim always... always liked watching the ducks on the river... Seeing the empty chair, the hat, the crutch, and the little reprise of "Bless us All"...
Ebenezer Scrooge: It's so quiet. Why's it so quiet, Spirit?
- Kermit/Bob Cratchit's speech about meetings and partings, and the Reality Subtext of Muppet Christmas Carol being the first film done by the Muppets following the deaths of Jim Henson and Richard Hunt.
- The song "When Love Is Gone", sung during the breakup between Scrooge and the woman he loved is so heart-renchingly sad it was cut from the DVD edition. Apparently too many people were sobbing like Rizzo at the end of the scene to make it through the rest of the movie...
- When Beaker gives Scrooge his scarf as a gift. Michael Caine's reaction is great. This is probably the first gift anyone has ever given Scrooge, ever.
- When The Muppets did a tribute for Henson just after his death, they are told in a letter by an absent Kermit (Kermit was voiced by Henson) to get a show ready for some guy named Jim, who the Muppets have never heard of. After a series of video testimonials from various stars about how wonderful he was, having a usual wacky show ready to go off, they find letters to Kermit written by children saying how sorry they are...and then they realize that Jim is dead. After a moment of quiet shock, Fozzy suddenly says "Cancel it. Cancel everything. We can't do a tribute for a guy as great as this, not with whoopie cushins and penguins." The others agree, but Robin speaks up, saying "Uncle Kermit thought we could do it. Maybe this Jim Henson isn't really gone. Maybe he's still somewhere inside us, believing in us!" and you can tell by his voice that little Robin is desperately trying to believe his own words. He starts singing the wonderfully moving song "Just One Person" and is slowly joined by Scooter, then Gonzo, then others until the entire Muppet cast is singing about how maybe if you believe in yourself, others will believe in you "and maybe even you can believe in you, too." Tears were already flowing...when Kermit walks in the door and quietly praises "What a good song. I knew you guys could do the tribute for Jim." It was made clear that the Muppets and puppeteers were not giving up on the joy they brought people, they were not giving Kermit up, and that they would keep doing it all in Jim's memory. Such a beautiful, beautiful tribute...
- In Muppet Treasure Island, Long John is forced to aim his pistol at Jim, and despite being the movie's ruthless villain, can't fight his tears of regret, let alone shoot the kid.
- Muriel's mother in Muriel's Wedding arrives late to the wedding and is stood in the back. When Muriel walks directly past without seeing her, her mother starts to cry. Cue tissues.
- No love for PBS's Masterpiece Theater's My Boy Jack? Especially this scene...
- My Dog Skip: The scene where the cute little doggie gets hit in the head with a shovel.
- My Girl
- The funeral scene. Made all the more heartbreaking by Vada's apparent denial of her friend's death — she runs right up to his open casket and breaks down, asking if he wants to play with her, and where his glasses are.
"Where are his glasses? He can't see without his glasses! Put his glasses on! Put on his glasses!"
- The scene after Vada has accepted the situation, and encounters her friend's mother in town. She knows her friend is in good hands.
" Don't worry about Thomas J. My mother will take care of him."
- My Name Is Khan is one of the saddest movies ever. Made all the more heartrending because the main character is autistic and cannot understand the grief of the people around and the sheer wretchedness of the events as they unfold. So the viewer is forced to feel extra grief to make up for what he can't fee. When his stepson is killed by classmates worked into a fury over 9/11, you start crying. Then when his wife blames him because he is Muslim and she and her son were Hindi and tells him to leave, your heart shatters into tiny pieces. And then when you can see that he really doesn't get just why it's so bad and just what it's done to everyone, it's like a giant foot has come and crushed those tiny shards of your heart into dust. Fortunately, the ending lifts your spirits a little.
- The ending of the film Lo. Justin meets April for one last time, and she convinces him that they can't be together since they would be hunted down, even though Justin insists he still loves her and that she still loves him. As she's leaving, Justin looks away, then back and sees the demon Lo, gazing at him sadly before disappearing. Lo was April and it is terribly heartbreaking.
- In Kung Fu Panda 2, the best example is Po finally remembering Shen's attack on his villiage, especially the final moments when he remembers drifting away before seeing his mother run trying to lure Lord Shen away.
- Mozart and the Whale thrives on this. Donald and Isabel are both autistic and the only ones who can understand each of them are each other. And with that, they are clumsy, awkward, and shy to the point of terror and each of their obsessions are constantly running into each other. They end up Happily Married, but boy do they earn it.
- My Little Pony: The Movie: The scene towards the end, when Paradise Estate is about to be buried by the Smooze. The Little Ponies there are all on the roof, ready to Face Death with Dignity. The adult ponies get the foals to close their eyes so they won't have to see it. Mercifully, Megan's group returns with the Flutter Ponies and the day is saved, but still. Yeah, that was upsetting.