"It's alright, son. It's gonna be okay."
- The last two lines of the film. "Bye, Dad!" "Bye, son."
- And right before that: "Go have an adventure!"
- Marlin's promise to not let anything happen to Nemo in the beginning of the film.
- Any time that the "Nemo Egg Theme" (the opening title music) is played.
- There's something kind of sweet about Nemo's classmates who, after hearing about Nemo's "lucky fin", tell him about their own quirky features, such as Pearl's slightly shorter tentacle, Sheldon's "H2O intolerance", and Tad's obnoxiousness.
- The entire plot is kicked of by Marlin not wanting the last thing his son says to him to be "I hate you." When Marlin finds out Nemo wasn't actually killed by the fishnet, he's told:
Nemo: Dad... I don't hate you.
- Another one: "I love you, Dad." "I love you too, son."
- This is also a great scene because Nemo actually swims back to give his dad a hug when, earlier in the film, he'd been feeling a little stifled from his father being overprotective.
Dory: Please don't go away. Please? No one's ever stuck with me for so long before. And if you leave... if you leave- I just- I remember things better with you, I do! Look! P. Sherman fourty-two... fourty... two... I remember it, I do! It's there! I-I know it is, because when I look at you... I can feel it. And- and I look at you, and I... and I'm home! Please. I don't want that to go away. I don't wanna forget.
- In a way, Anchor and Chum's immediate attempts to stop Bruce from eating Dory and Marlin are incredibly nice and goes to show that they're concerned not just about Bruce regressing to his primal instincts, but also for the two new fish that they just met a few minutes ago. They constantly apologize to Dory and Marlin as Bruce is making hungry lunges at them, and even go out of their way to help them get home after Nemo is found, showing that they legitimately care about them.
- After they have escaped from a hungry shark and massive minefield explosions, Marlin and Dory are exhausted. Marlin is anxious to find his missing son, Nemo, but now he has lost his best clue for finding him a scuba mask inscribed with the address of the diver who captured Nemo. Dory helps Marlin find hope. Discouraged, Marlin says, "That was my only chance at finding my son; now it's gone!" But Dory is not so easily deterred. "Hey, Mr. Grumpy Gills," she says. "When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim."
- The fish fighting against the net. "Keep swimming! Keep swimming!" Especially when you realize it's Dory's little "Just keep swimming!" motto. The idea that united forces and sheer will can overcome the dangers of the world and win out over fear.
- The scene where Nigel tell Nemo that his father is looking for him and recalls everything he's gone through to do so. That music...it gets you every time.
- And the sweet way Nigel responds to Nemos awestruck My dad took on a SHARK!: I heard he took on THREE!
- Not to mention how after hearing this, Nemo is able to summon up the confidence to jam the filter, a definitive Heartwarming/Awesome.
- Even more awesome because Nemo originally thought his father a coward. The fact that if his Dad was willing to risk life and fin to find him, then dammit, he was gonna jam that filter!
- A crowning moment of awesome is how Nigel even learns of Marlin's exploits. Marlin's heroics and absolute determination to find his son at all costs gained fame and spread across the ocean. From swordfish to albatrosses, there's an entire ocean rooting for the two clownfish to be reunited.
- When the first attempt to jam the tank cleaner fails, Peach peels herself off the tank to help the Tank Gang pull Nemo back in. Also, when they do get him back, Peach is the first one to ask Gill not to make Nemo do that again and is draped around the poor kid like she's hugging him. While she doesn't get as much screen time, it's quite clear she cares about Nemo.
- When Marlin and Nemo finally reunite. Especially when Marlin realizes he's still alive after mistakenly thinking that he was dead.
- And before that, when Dory remembers who Nemo is and just tackles him, spinning him around ecstaticly. She's just so happy to see he's okay!
- While he ends up doing more harm than good, the only reason Dr. Sherman takes Nemo from the reef was because he assumed that he was struggling, even dying from being separated from the reef, and decided to save him. He even seems genuinely remorseful when Nemo pretends to be dead.
"Aw... Poor lil' guy..."
- How everyone in the Tank Gang (well, except for Gil, but he defrosts soon enough) immediately goes out of their way to make sure Nemo's alright and make him feel welcome, realizing he'll probably be scared and upset upon arriving in the tank.
- "Sharkbait... tell your dad... I said... hi."
- Dory gently rebutting Marlin's promise to ensure nothing would ever happen to Nemo, saying that the very same promise wouldn't be much fun for Nemo himself.
Marlin: No, I promised him I'd never let anything ever happen to him.
Dory: Huh, that's a funny thing to promise.
Dory: Well, you can't never let anything happen to him, then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.
- There is actually no outright villian in this movie. Their main obstacles are situational and creatures that are out to get them are acting on instinct. Even the humans weren't intentionally trying to hurt the fish.
Meta and out of canon
- Everyone wanted a Finding Nemo sequel, so Pixar decided to make it.
- One that also doubles as a serious Tear Jerker: Several years ago, Ellen invited a young girl named Leah, who was undergoing cancer treatment, onto her talk show. When Leah was asked how she keeps positive about her treatment, she replied, "A little fish told me to just keep swimming!" After Leah died in 2013, someone on Twitter suggested that they dedicate the aforementioned Finding Dory to her, because "she really knew how to just keep swimming."
- Marlin and Coral interaction on the deleted scenes from the Blu-Ray release where we see how they meet and their life as a married couple, also serves as an Tear Jerker because you know what happens eventually.