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Heroic Sacrifice / Animated Films

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"Only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart."

  • In 9:
    • 9 attempts to do this in order for 7 to take the talisman from the Fabrication Machine and therefore destroy it, but 1 pushes him out of the way at the last second and is killed in his place.
    • "Sometimes, 1 must be sacrificed for the good of many."
  • In Bambi II, a doe gets trapped in a hunting snare as vicious hounds close in. She begs Bambi to run and save himself, though accidentally chooses the same words his mother gave before her iconic end in the first film, triggering Bambi and leading him to lead the dogs away from her. Obviously due to the Foregone Conclusion from being an Interquel, Bambi suffers only a Disney Death.
  • In Barnyard, Ben protects the hens from Dag and his gang of coyotes, but said coyotes dogpile on him and maul him to death.
  • Big Hero 6:
    • Baymax saves Hiro and Callahan's daughter from the worm hole by propelling his rocket-powered right handed glove out of the hole's collapsing opening, but in doing so he condemns himself to remain in the worm hole until his battery runs out. Luckily however, the closed fist also contained his personality chip, allowing Hiro to restore him by building a new body.
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    • Happens to Tadashi in the beginning of the movie, where he attempts to save Callahan, who didn't need saving, and died in an explosion in the fire. This sets up the plot of the entire movie.
  • The Book of Life:
    • Carlos Sanchez sacrifices himself to buy some time so the children can run to warn General Posada that Chakal is coming for San Angel.
    • After being resurrected, Manolo traps himself and Chakal under a church bell with a lit pack of dynamite to save San Angel from the subsequent explosion.
    • Just before this, Joaquin secretly gives Manolo the Medal of Everlasting Life so he can survive the battle and marry Maria. Without protection, he loses an eye in the explosion. He expected to perform a real heroic sacrifice, too - he clearly didn't expect Manolo to shove him out of the danger zone.
  • In Brother Bear, Sitka dislodges a glacier to save his brothers while fighting against Koda's mother. He dies and is given a funeral pyre, but she survives, prompting Kenai to avenge Sitka by killing her, which in turn prompts his ghost by turning Kenai into a bear as punishment.
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  • In Coraline, Other Wybie and Other Father are created for the sole purpose of adoring Coraline. And they do, enough to defy the Other Mother. Other Wybie is killed for helping Coraline escape back to her own world the first time, and Other Father is drowned and then destroyed entirely when the mechanical giant mantis that was forcing him to fight Coraline falls through the garden bridge, but not before he succeeds in giving her something she needs to win against the Other Mother.
  • In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Gromit lets go of the rope that kept him in the air while riding a plane from a dogfight ride and starts plummeting downwards. The were-rabbit (Wallace), holding on to the flagpole on top of a building, sees this and jumps down to catch him, cushioning his fall. The drop is seemingly fatal, but he gets better.
  • In Frozen (pictured above), Anna forgoes a kiss from Kristoff to thaw her frozen heart and allows herself to freeze to death to prevent Hans from murdering her sister Elsa. This is the "Act of True Love" that saves her, several seconds later.
  • The Flight of Dragons: Smurgle, who wasn't even supposed to be a part of the quest, does battle with the Ogre of Gormley Keep when Peter makes a tactical error that nearly ends up getting him killed. While he is able to slay the Ogre, even mocking him, the effort is too much for his elderly body and he dies of heart failure soon after.
  • In Home, this is attempted by Oh, to save the Gorg pod when he was about to be crushed by the mothership. He throws the pod to Tip since he wouldn't be able to escape it.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon Stoick and Gobber plan to distract the Red Death to give the rest of the Vikings time to get away. They're only saved by Hiccup and Toothless taking over the fight for them, leading to Hiccup himself making the sacrifice as he loses his lower left leg (and very nearly his life) to win the battle.
  • Inside Out: Joy & Bing Bong wind up getting trapped inside the memory dump, the part of Riley's mind that forgets and erases old memories. They try using Bing Bong's rocket to escape, but there just isn't enough power to get the two of them out. Bing Bong bails during the last attempt and lightens the load enough for Joy to escape. Bing Bong is erased because of this and is ultimately forgotten by Riley.
  • The Iron Giant: When the military accidentally fire an atomic bomb at a populated village, the titular character flies off into space to intercept the bomb. He gets better, though.
  • In The Jungle Book (1967), Baloo ends up facing the wrath of Shere Khan by grabbing his tail, to protect Mowgli and give him time to get away. Shere Khan mauls him, and after the tiger is defeated, it looks like that Baloo had been killed during the scuffle. Bagheera even gives a eulogy about the courage Baloo had shown...and it turns out that Baloo is alive and relishing the eulogy.
  • In Kung Fu Panda 2, a large part of the plot is about Po trying to find out what happened to his real parents. Near the end, he finally remembers that his mother hid him in a basket of radishes, then sacrificed herself to draw away the wolves that had destroyed their village.
  • In Kung Fu Panda 3, Po tries to send Kai back to the Spirit Realm by doing the Wuxi finger hold on him, but it doesn't work because it only works on mortals. What does he do? He holds onto Kai and does the hold on himself so that they'll both be sent to the realm.
  • The Last Unicorn with Lir.
  • Used twice in Leafie, a Hen into the Wild:
    • The first happens when Wanderer dies protecting his unhatched son from the one-eyed weasel.
    • The second happens at the end when Leafie allows herself to be eaten by the one-eyed weasel so she can produce enough milk to feed her kits.
  • In The LEGO Movie, Emmet, realizing that he is attached to the Think Tank's Self-Destruct Mechanism's power source, hurls himself into the Infinite Abyss of Nothingness to save Wyldstyle and the Master Builders. After a brief voyage into the Real World, he comes back swinging.
  • In the 2004 film Mulan II, Shang does this. The princesses can also be seen as performing this, as they risk their happiness for political alliance.
  • In My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), Derpy Hooves sees Tempest Shadow about to petrify Twilight and she tries to rescue the Princess even as Rainbow Dash does. Derpy ends up Taken for Granite and the resulting distraction gives the Mane Six their chance to escape. She gets better, natch.
  • Pinocchio gave up his life to save Geppetto from Monstro when he began to sink into the sea despite Geppetto's plea to swim to shore and save himself. It was this act of bravery and unselfishness that allowed Pinocchio become a real boy.
  • The finale of The Plague Dogs has Rowf and Snitter on the run from the troops, who believe that the two dogs were carrying bubonic plague. That's when the Tod comes back to warn them and even leads the enemy dogs away from them as best as he can, ultimately leading to the troops and their dogs killing him.
  • This forms part of Jack's backstory in Rise of the Guardians. Back when Jack was human, he and his little sister were out on a frozen lake when the ice began to crack beneath her feet. Jack then used his staff to swap their positions, getting his sister out of danger, and falling through the ice himself. The selfless act was witnessed by the Moon King who resurrected Jack as a Guardian Spirit with ice powers.
  • Towards the end of Shrek 2, Harold, who has by the majority of the movie shunned Shrek, jumps in front of him just as the Fairy Godmother tries to blast him with her wand. He doesn't end up dying, but the magic from her wand broke the spell that made him human, turning him back into a toad. However, in a novel of Shrek the Third, it is mentioned that turning him back into a frog messed with his lifespan, causing him to die in the next film.
  • During the final assault on Ecoban at the climax of Sky Blue, Goliath jams a bomb onto Locke's tank and detonates it, destroying the tank and killing himself in the process. Unfortunately, Locke survives.
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water:
    • SpongeBob offers himself for sacrifice to the Sandwich Gods.
    • Karen uses up all her processing power to help Spongebob and Plankton go back in time to set things right.
  • Strange Magic: The Bog King sacrifices himself by holding up a falling building long enough for everyone else to get away. He survives.
  • In Tangled, Flynn is mortally wounded by Mother Gothel. Rapunzel offers a heroic sacrifice (of the non-fatal variety) by promising to stay with Mother Gothel forever if Gothel will only let Rapunzel heal Flynn with her magic hair. Unwilling to allow Rapunzel to be imprisoned forever because of him (since he knows that she will never break her word), and because telling her not to doesn't work, Flynn performs a heroic sacrifice of his own by cutting Rapunzel's hair with a shard of glass before the healing incantation can be sung. Yes, he got better, but he didn't know that he would at the time.
  • In Tarzan, Kerchak rushes to Tarzan to protect him from Clayton after he shoots Tarzan in the arm.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph pulls this off to set off a volcano of Mentos and Diet Cola to act as a beacon to lure away the Cy-Bugs invading the Sugar Rush game, also taking out King Candy/Turbo in the process. Of course, he didn't expect Vanellope to quickly master her glitching to use it as a Teleport Spam to rescue the big guy in the end.


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