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Heartwarming / Return of the Jedi

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The gang is reunited.
  • Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and Lando risking their lives to rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt.
    • There's also moment when Lando has fallen into the Sarlacc pit and one of its tentacles has gotten him. Han, despite the fact that Lando set him to be captured by the Empire (Which he was forced to do for the sake of the people of Cloud City), does not hesitate to help him. Of course, Chewie likely explained the whole situation earlier, but after what Han went through because of Lando, it would still be a leap to let bygones be bygones.
  • When Han and Chewbacca are reunited. Chewie even gives him a Bear Hug. He's just so elated to have his best buddy back. He even "pets" Han.
  • One of Jabba's guards is seen consoling Malakili after his rancor is killed.
  • Han was skeptical about Luke's plan to save him. But who can blame him? The first plan they did together, saving Leia aboard the Death Star, barely worked out, and the last time they were together, Han had to save him from Hoth's subarctic temperatures, that again, both barely survived. But after they get away, Han is grateful, telling him "Thanks for coming after me. I owe you one."
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  • When the heroes are about to be executed by Jabba:
    Han: How we doin'?
    Luke: Same as always.
    Han: That bad, huh?
  • When Luke joins the rebel briefing (after realizing Leia is his sister), Leia immediately hugs him in front of everybody, notices he is looking at her intently, and asks "What is it?". Luke simply says "ask me again sometime."
    • The scene where he does tell her is one of the most touching scenes in the saga.
  • After Leia has been hit by blaster fire outside the shield generator bunker and Han is kneeling over her as troopers close in, she pulls out her blaster pistol and they reverse their CMofH from Empire.
    Han: I love you.
    Leia: I know.
  • The final lines between Luke and Vader/Anakin. Of course they border on Tear Jerker.
    Vader: Luke... help me take... this mask off.
    Luke: But you'll die.
    Vader: Nothing... can stop that now. Just for once... let me... look on you with my own eyes.
    (Luke does just that, revealing the pale, emaciated face of Anakin Skywalker; Anakin greets his son with a weak, but unmistakably proud smile)
    Anakin: Now... go, my son. Leave me.
    Luke: No. You're coming with me. I'll not leave you here, I've got to save you.
    Anakin: You already have, Luke. You were right. You were right about me. Tell your sister... you were right.
    (Anakin briefly smiles again, then his face goes limp)
    Luke: Father... I won't leave you!
    • Anakin's smile the moment he lays his eyes on his son. It tells us his emotion with just one expression, he's proud of his children.
    • The line that "nothing can stop [his death] now" is doubly heartwarming when you remember that much of Anakin's Start of Darkness in the prequels was caused by his inability to accept death as natural and inevitable, particularly the deaths of his loved ones. The scene can be read as Anakin both coming to terms with his past and encouraging his son not to make the same mistakes.
  • The original theatrical ending. The highlight of the ending is when Luke joins the celebration and Leia runs up and hugs him. For some reason, the 1997 endings onward truncate and split up this scene. And of course, Luke seeing his father as the man he would have been had he not turned to the dark side, sharing a friendly look with Obi-Wan and then favoring his offspring with a loving smile.
    • It's kinda funny but, the updated version's ending is just as charming in it's own way. The young Anakin comes onto the scene as a Force spirit and gives everyone a rather shy smile. It's really very adorable.
    • The Special Edition ending has the entire galaxy celebrating when the second Death Star is destroyed, which means that the Imperial army is gone and freedom and democracy have returned. It's just... the fireworks, the cheering, the energy... *sniff*
      • Made even better when Luke sees his redeemed father's spirit, returned to the man he once was before he fell to the dark side, or as the man he would have been had he not turned, depending on your preference of editions, sharing a friendly look with his old master, and then favoring his son with a loving smile.
    • C-3PO dancing with an Ewok during the celebration.
    • At the the very end, in the last few seconds before it irises to the end credits, you can hear Leia laughing.
  • Luke and Darth Vader's interaction when Luke surrenders himself. Luke tries so hard to speak to his father and bring him back from the Dark Side, even though Vader repeatedly denies that there's any hope left for him. Heck, the fact that he calls him "Father" is an indicator that some love is there between them.
    • The fact that we see the first possible kernels of Obi-Wan and Yoda being wrong about Vader in this scene; Luke offers Vader to come with him, and for the first time across the entire trilogy, Vader's shell breaks and the Dark Lord of the Sith seems weary, quiet, and resigned. Doubles as a Tear Jerker if you consider that Vader is entirely aware of how his master operates at this point, and that Luke is his intended replacement.
  • The hug between Luke and Wedge, especially when you consider how Wedge and Rogue Squadron fought nonstop while Luke trained in the Force. Their relationship may have been mainly professional, but their embrace is warm and brotherly, each sharing their relief and thanking the other for their tenacity.
    • Hell, including Wedge in the final celebration period. He's a tertiary character at best and usually only shows up in a fighter cockpit, but he made it through all three movies and became a massive Ensemble Dark Horse doing it.
  • Threepio's "bedtime story" for the Ewoks. Highlighted by Leia snuggling close to Han, followed by an Ewok snuggling close to Han. Han's expression following the latter becomes a Funny Moment.
    • Doubly heartwarming when you consider that, in both the sequel trilogy and the Expanded Universe, Han and Leia have a child / children together, meaning Han, Leia and a little thing all cuddled together could have been in-universe foreshadowing for what will happen later
  • Luke's Moment of Awesome, when he declares "I am a Jedi, like my father before me," to the Emperor, also doubles as Heartwarming, since it shows to Anakin/Vader that despite all he's done, his son still believes in his inner goodness. And when Vader's killed the Emperor and is slumped against the railing, clearly dying by inches, Luke crawls over to him and supports him, doing his best to help.
  • One of the, possibly, more thoughtful tweaks to Return of the Jedi was showing various locations celebrating the fall of Emperor Palpatine. Yes, even Mos Eisley and the Imperial capital are celebrating his death.
  • It's blink-and-you-miss-it, but in the second movie, Vader says, "Only your hatred can destroy me." Think about it: it would kinda suck if your own son hated you, wouldn't it?
  • Luke's Shut Up, Hannibal! to The Emperor, but one line always stands out because of its multitude of heartwarming implications;
    Luke: I am a Jedi, like my father before me.
    • Darth Vader's son, who has every reason to deny even the remotest connection with him, has just openly, and proudly acknowledged the relationship between them. Considering he's been trying to get his son on his side for two movies now, that's gotta mean something.
    • That the man he was, someone who has made so many terrible mistakes, is a person his son has decided is worthy of his respect and admiration. In fact, the implication of that statement is that he still considers his father a Jedi, and is therefore capable of redemption.
    • His son has utterly surpassed him; he's mastered himself and the ways of the Jedi, has gained power greater than his own without falling to the dark side, and has shown up alone to face the most powerful evil in the galaxy and has basically just won by refusing to give the Emperor what he wants—how proud would that make anyone feel, to see their son be so epically awesome?
  • How the Emperor is defeated—not through force of arms, but through the love of a father and son. Heart Is an Awesome Power, indeed.
  • This Alternate Character Interpretation: Darth Vader seemingly throwing away the fight just so Luke can win; deep down, he knows the Emperor expects only one of them to come out alive and he isn't willing to kill his own child, so in an act of attempted sacrifice, he toys with Luke long enough to get him angry and leads both of them towards the shaft, allowing Vader to put himself on the railing and allowing Luke to deal him every blow till he cuts his arm off, allowing Luke to come out as the victor.
  • Han misinterpreting Leia when she says she loves Luke, and willing to step out of the way when Luke returns, not knowing Luke and Leia recently found out they're brother and sister. Even though it would break his heart to lose Leia, he loves them both so much that he'd be willing to part with his One True Love so she could be with one of his best friends. If that's not love, I don't know what is. Also counts as some serious Character Development from the Han at the beginning of A New Hope.
    • Then Han's adorable shocked expression when Leia clarifies that she found out Luke was her brother. Han met Leia shortly after Alderaan was blown up, with her parents and friends. He realizes that, rather than this revelation splitting them apart, it will bring them closer together.
    • Leia saying that she loves Luke is, in it of itself, sweet and heartwarming!
  • The Japanese dub has a sweet moment. Throughout the movie Luke respectfully calls Vader "father". But when Sidious starts torturing him, Luke calls him "dad", calling out for him as his child rather than a Jedi Knight.
  • The fact that Yoda gets to pass away peacefully. Most Jedi go out fighting, or get ambushed by some bad guy or another...but Yoda? He lies down in his home with his student next to him, falls asleep, and just...lets go, becoming one with the Force. If that's not an Obi-Wan Moment, what is?
  • Luke's Big "NEVER!" when Darth Vader learns Leia's existence and muses she may be corrupted more easily, and the rage-fueled ass-kicking he delivers to the Sith afterwards. No one is allowed to snuff his twin's light.
  • "Yub-Nub", the Ewok celebration song from the original ending. As epic and triumphant as the wider-scale celebration in the Special Edition is, there's something more personal and tight-knit about the Ewoks singing victory music for their new allies.
  • It's heavily implied through an unsubtle conversation that Han gave the good word for Lando to take the role of General, making clear he is redeemed in Han's eyes and they are buddies again. The ending even has Lando getting bear hugged upon arrival by Han and Chewbacca (who was all set to crush his windpipe for his betrayal in Empire).
  • The baby Ewok.
  • Han lends Lando, the guy who (under tremendous duress with considerable regret) betrayed him into Darth Vader's hands, his beloved Millennium Falcon, to lead the fighter assault on Death Star II. Han loves that ship like it's his child, but realizing the odds Lando will be facing, nevertheless entrusts the fastest ship in the fleet to his comrade, despite all that water under the bridge. Solo's comment "I know what she means to you" has even more poignancy after viewing Solo, where we see the turbulent beginnings of Han and Lando's relationship, especially their battle over the Falcon's ownership. For Han to put all that aside and think only of the welfare of his friend is nothing short of a wonderful testament to the power of forgiveness and true friendship.
    • In a way, it must also be nice for Lando to be reunited with L3-37 after a very long time.
  • An ironic fact about Vader's sacrifice to save Luke is that it captures the spirit of Plagueis' story. Palpatine notes that Plagueis had the power to save others, but his ability to save people from death did not apply to himself. In the moment that Vader killed Palpatine, he had the power to save Luke but not himself. However, the irony of Vader's situation is that he was empowered to save Luke because he was at a point where saving a loved one mattered more to him than his own life. He was able to save others because saving himself was immaterial. Palpatine and Plagueis were not as noble in their thinking.
  • When Palpatine is torturing Luke, it's clear to see the moment that Anakin realizes that, for the first time in a quarter of a century, somebody needs him. And not just anyone, but his son. And Padmé's son. Who loves him. And in that moment of realization, Darth Vader is no more, and Anakin Skywalker is back.