Tear Jerker / The Dark Knight Trilogy
aka: The Dark Knight Saga

I know the rage that drives you; that impossible anger strangling the grief until the memory of your loved one is just poison in your veins. And then, you catch yourself wishing for the person you loved to never have existed so you'd be spared your pain.
Ducard, Batman Begins

While The Dark Knight Trilogy is better known for its epic or frightening moments, it has some memorable emotionally-intense moments as well.


Batman Begins

  • Ducard's Freudian Excuse, especially in light of the actor who played him going through something similiar since the movie came out.
  • When Bruce's parents are murdered in front of him. Although the scene has been done many times, it is still saddening to see young Bruce lose his parents.
    • Turned up to eleven in the two or three scenes after that. That little kid (Gus Lewis) inspires Tear Jerker after Tear Jerker, with Gary Oldman and Michael Caine contributing unmercifully (well, to the audience, not to Bruce). If your bottom lip isn't trembling by the time Jim Gordon has helplessly tried to comfort young Bruce, then it won't matter. The "A little dinner" scene between Michael Caine and Gus will rip the waterworks from you anyway. He breaks down gutwrenchingly, and the arc of Caine's performance against that is just perfect:
      Bruce: If I hadn't wanted to go ... if I hadn't ... gotten scared
      Alfred: Oh, no, no, no, no. It was him. And him alone. Do you understand?
      Bruce: ... I miss them so much, Alfred!
      Alfred: ... (choking up) So do I, Master Bruce. So do I.
  • Alfred has a lot of really moving dialogue in Begins that shows just how loyal and attached he really is to the Waynes.
    Bruce: "Why do you give a damn, Alfred? It's not your family.
    Alfred: "I give a damn, because a good man once made me responsible for what was most important to him in the whole world."
  • Alfred admonishing Bruce regarding his cavalier attitude toward his public image:
    Bruce Wayne: We need to send these people away now.
    Alfred Pennyworth: Those are Bruce Wayne's guests out there, sir. You have a name to maintain.
    Bruce Wayne: I don't care about my name.
    Alfred Pennyworth: It's not just your name, sir! It's your father's name! And it's all that's left of him. Don't destroy it.
  • Bruce watching Wayne Manor burn above him in the Cave below, feeling as if he just destroyed everything that ever existed of his parents and what they stood for along with it.

The Dark Knight

He could not save Rachel in time.
  • After Batman went through the trouble of rescuing a group of imitators from the mob, and told them not to try that again because he didn't want them to get hurt or killed by lack of training and equipment—the Joker captures, tortures, and kills one of them.
  • The part with the bombs on the ferries, when the huge convict and the random, seemingly stoic and pragmatic man are holding the detonators for the bombs on each other's boats. The convict takes the detonator from the police officer and casually hurls it out the window, completely ready to accept his fate, while the man on the other ferry tries to trigger the bomb, looks down at it, and with his hands trembling, he puts it back down. The scene right there is so powerful, human, and heroic for the ordinary citizens of Gotham.
    • The huge convict's line before throwing the detonator out the window: "Give that remote to me, and I'll do what you should have done ten minutes ago."
      • A very subtle one that a lot of people miss: right when the convict throws the detonator out the window, he goes to sit down in... not shame, but resolution. A group of other convicts circles him as if to say "it's all right, you did the right thing" and all look as if they are comforting him. That says so much right there...
    • The aftermath of the Joker's sadistic choice shows Batman summing up the implications of this for The Joker's philosophy.
      What were you trying to prove? That deep down, everyone's just as ugly as you? You're alone.
  • Some of it's due to the "Funny Aneurysm" Moment factor, but fans didn't even like Rachel Dawes, yet they still cried at her cut off sentence when she dies in the explosion.
  • Rachel's letter to Bruce, and what Alfred ends up doing with it.
    • Bruce's speech about how Rachel was going to wait for him after she died. Alfred smartly takes the letter away from the breakfast tray and burns it. In context of Batman's speech about having faith being rewarded, Bruce would have likely quit being Batman right there and then had he read the letter.
    • As a side note, you can't help but find Foreshadowing to her eventual decision during her dinner with Bruce and Dent. Her mention of Caesar as a counter point to Harvey can be seem as her disenchantment with Bruce's role as the Dark Knight.
  • Batman standing alone at the site of Rachel's death, with two firefighters pointing at him as he broods.
    • Bruce slumped on his chair after Rachel's death. It's sad enough in context, but what makes it absolutely heartbreaking is the way the shots and Alfred's dialogue mirror the aftermath of his parents' funeral in Batman Begins. Even after all his training and accomplishments, Bruce is still the same traumatised little kid.
  • She's in it so briefly, but the lady playing Gordon's wife gives a fine performance. Her whole role is a tearjerker - from freaking out and yelling at Batman (hiding in the shadows) when the police notify her of her husband's "death", to the moment when Jim comes back and they share a tender moment, to the ending when she desperately tries to protect her children by hiding their faces and screaming, "Jim, help him!" as Two-Face holds the gun on her little boy. There should be an Oscar category for "Best supporting supporting actress."
  • Two words: Harvey freaking Dent. Anyone with even vague knowledge of the character from any of the adaptations knows what's coming, but that won't save you from every scene of his transformation into Two-Face punching you in the gut and then spitting on you for good measure. The horrifically realistic facial burns do not help.
    • Seeing Harvey's sanity break when he finds out Rachel has died. Harvey, in the hospital bed, reaches over to grab the coin he'd given Rachel, and turns it over to see the burnt side. The look of sheer, horrifying anguish on his face, followed by the silent screaming and shaking breakdown right afterward, hits hard. It's done in almost complete silence, but the minimal soundtrack and Eckhart's acting really sell it.
    • When the corrupted Harvey Dent rants at Gordon for failing to save Rachel, he threatens to kill Gordon's son in response, and uses a coin flip to decide whether or not to actually do it.
      • When Jim Gordon is desperately trying to save his son:
        Jim Gordon: I'm sorry! For everything! Please don't hurt my son [...] You're right, Rachel's death was my fault. But please don't punish the boy... punish me.
        Two-Face: I'm about to.
    • When Batman shows up, insisting that Harvey doesn't want to hurt Gordon's son and asking him to put the gun down. Harvey spends a moment genuinely showing regret, and then yells that it doesn't matter what he wants, it's about what's fair. He truly doesn't want to kill the kid, but feels he must anyway. That is when you know just how hard Harvey's fallen into madness.
      "It's not about what I want, IT'S ABOUT WHAT'S FAIR!"
    • The exchange between Batman and Harvey at the end.
      Batman: You were the best of us! He (The Joker) wanted to prove that even someone as good as you could fall.
      Harvey: (a look of horror passes over his face, then with bitterness) And he was right.
    • The look on Harvey's face when he says "And he was right" adds another level of gut-wrenching sorrow. This is somebody who has realized that he's gone too far to turn back now.
    • "We thought we could be decent men in an indecent time, but we were wrong." That line is so powerful and Aaron Eckhart just nails it.
    • "The world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance. Unbiased. Unprejudiced. Fair."
    • When Harvey Dent, a fundamentally decent human being, points the gun at his own head for being one of the people responsible for Rachel's death and says with resignation, "My turn." When the coin comes up in his favor, he actually looks disappointed.
  • How are we not including Gordon's final monologue, set to the scene of Batman running from the cops, "because we have to chase him"?
  • Meta Example: Heath Ledger died young of accidental overdose shortly after his scenes were filmed, and never got to see his Joker performance on the silver screen, much less receive recognition for the finished product in his lifetime. The Oscar was accepted posthumously on his behalf by family members.

The Dark Knight Rises

"I'm so sorry. I failed you. You trusted me, and I failed you."
  • Alfred's line to Bruce in the second trailer. The sorrow in his voice is heartbreaking.
    Alfred: You are as precious to me as you were to your own mother and father. I swore to them that I would protect you, and I haven't.
    • The entirety of the scene, where Alfred relates how Bruce's suffering is impacting on him and reveals his own Failure Knight feelings, resulting in him leaving Gotham is heartbreaking. Alfred crying about how he failed the Wayne family in the ending will shatter your heart into a million pieces.
    • If you can watch the moment where Alfred, after Bruce's memorial, breaks down before the gravestones of Thomas and Martha Wayne over what he views as his failure to protect their son without tearing up even slightly, you may wish to check to see whether you're a robot.
  • Minor but sad; as the cops talk about Gordon at the Harvey Dent Day party, one mentions how Gordon's family ended up leaving him and Gotham as a result of the events in the last movie.
  • Gordon preparing to give a speech, only to have flashbacks of an infuriated Harvey Dent/Two Face screaming at him from the previous film stop him.
  • The Talia background reveal, with Bane suffering greatly to help her escape from the prison.
    • Also, "Goodbye, my friend." It shows how much Talia and Bane truly love each other, with Talia sounding heartbroken at having to leave Bane to die along with the bomb, and Bane perfectly, 100% willing and ready to die so that Talia's plan will succeed.
  • The death of Batman. Even if he does get better.
    • What makes this death hurt so much is that it's fucking Batman. It's the death of a hero, the death of someone who's sacrificed so much just make sure that no one ends up like he did. For a man like him, he truly carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and if he isn't there to carry it; who will?
  • In the climax, Blake is on a bridge with a bus full of kids after the bridge's pathway is taken out and the nuclear bomb is set to go off in seconds. He tells the kids to stay in the bus where they'll be safe, lying to them so that they have hope in their presumed last moments.
    • Listen to the cop's voice when he yells for Blake to stop walking. He clearly doesn't want to shoot him or blow the bridge, but he doesn't want Bane to blow the whole city. He just sounds so desperate.
  • After the Gotham Uprising, there is a short scene when Selina picks up a broken picture frame in an abandoned house, showing a happy couple with their children. The house is currently torn apart, and the family is nowhere to be seen, implying they were either killed or dragged off, kids and all. The tone in Selina's voice noticeably waivers when she says "This was someone's home." It really drives home just how badly the people of Gotham are suffering, and just how evil Bane and Co. really are for spinning such a tragedy as a GOOD thing.
    • Her reaction to her friend's reply ("It's everyones's home now") cannot be underestimated as well. This is a woman who used to desire for the rich to suffer as much as the unfortunate did under the impression that all of them were self-serving bastards who deserved it, only to learn that the hero of Gotham is a rich guy himself, making the first crack on her perception of the wealthy and, after Bane's 'revolution' is said and done, she's witness of the sheer cruelty and madness that was born out of it; the picture of the family just further scores that there were innocent people amongst those she once despised who ended up losing everything to the wrath of Bane's enforcers.

Alternative Title(s): The Dark Knight Saga