As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.
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The animated film
- Anastasia's dance with the Czar, her father, during her Disney Acid Sequence dance. No matter what opinion you have about Czar Nicholas II, the flashbacks and visions involving the family, Alexandra (the mother), the older sisters (Tatiana, Olga, and Maria), and the little brother (Alexei), strikes as heartwrenching considering what happened to the family in reality.
- Another moment is when her sisters come out of the painting and exchange gestures of affection, with one even putting beads around her neck. Anastasia later recalls how Olga teased her for a drawing the former made, but in these few moments her sisters, either as ghosts or as memories, are giving her their blessing for surviving.
- Alexei never approaches his sister during the Disney Acid Sequence; he stands with his mother and watches solemnly. The Reality Subtext is even sadder: Alexei suffered from hemophilia and as the only male heir was hypnotized by Rasputin to keep the bleeding under check.
- Blink and you'll miss it but Vlad is there as well, in the background when her dress changes, looking as jolly as ever and probably a little drunk. He's the only character from this entire sequence who isn't either dead or traumatised and it's oddly heartbreaking that he STILL goes along with the con and doesn't recognise Anastasia.
- The nightmare is a long, drawn-out Kick the Dog moment, though perhaps Rasputin thought that he would be giving Anastasia a Dying Dream by hypnotizing her into jumping into the freezing ocean. First Alexei approaches Anastasia with a large smile, and encourages her to follow him to where her sisters and father are jumping into a swimming pool. Alexei shows off his Cheerful Child side by jumping in and losing his hat. It shows what life might have been like for Anastasia if her family had managed to go into hiding and survive, so that she could have grown up with her sisters and her Ill Boy of a brother. This makes the transition of her father turning into a demon much harder to take.
- The reunion between Anastasia and her grandmother Marie, namely when Marie examines the locket, realizes it's the one she gave Anastasia, and provides the music box. Her voice gains hope, slowly, as she sings the lullaby with her grown-up granddaughter. Also doubles as a Heartwarming Moment.
- In the same scene, when Marie first sees Anyas necklace, she says, in a choked voice, it was our secret then quickly states Anastasias and mine, making it seem as though she is accepting Anya really is her granddaughter at this point, but she cannot quite allow herself to believe it yet after having been disappointed so many times before.
- Dimitri's reaction when he realizes Anya's true identity. The girl he's fallen in love with and thought was his equal is the real Grand Duchess. And they can't be together because he's a former servant and is now unworthy of her.
- Perfectly shown in his defeated conversation with Vlad.
Vlad: That means Anya has found her family! And you—
Dimitri: Will walk out of her life forever.
Dimitri: Princesses don't marry kitchen boys.
- Later scenes add to this: Him being forced to bow to her, refusing the money, and his expression when he sees Pooka holding her crown. No one's telling Dimitri he's not good enough for Anya - he just knows he is. The instinctive values here can't be emphasized enough. He was a servant at the beginning who admired the Princess but was never noticed. He obviously spent years trying to move past that, and now, because of a difference in title, Anya is unreachable again. They're still the same people, she's still the same girl he's insulted and saved and comforted, but suddenly that's it, he's just as inferior to her as when they were children. And he can't do anything about it.
- The film itself could be this for anyone familiar to what actually happened to Anastasia. To put it simply, animated!Anastasia lived happily ever after with Dimitri while her Real Life counterpart (along with most of the Russian Royal Family) was executed at the age of 17. Even her other real life inspiration, Anna Anderson, was deemed an impostor and spent a large amount of her life institutionalized over her mental health before dying of pneumonia.
- Any scene with the Dowager Empress Marie. Take out the whole revolution and royalty thing and all you have is an old woman who watched her son and grandchildren die.
- Made even worse by the fact that in real life, she was fairly well-liked as Empress, and not even Russian. Also in real life, she refused to believe that Nicholas died and that he was in hiding with her grandchildren.
- After seeing a rather cheerful grandmother indulging her granddaughter, it's rather sad to see her bereft about losing her child and grandchildren. Then add those impostors that keep coming and claiming they're Anastasia, as she said, her heart can't take it any longer. She pretty much gave up there.
- The scene where they're trying to get on the train at the beginning. You can see there are tears in Anastasia's eyes during the part where she tries to catch up with the train and Marie grabs onto her granddaughter's hand, saying, "Take my hand! Hold onto my hand!" and Anastasia cries, "Don't let go!" However, they both lose their grip on each other's hand and Anastasia falls to the platform, hitting her head and getting knocked out cold, all while Marie desperately shouts her granddaughter's name and all the passengers are holding her back from jumping off the train to get to her.
- The mere fact that, even though Anastasia found her grandmother, her parents and siblings are all dead. She wanted to remember them so badly, but when she finally did, it was only to realise that most of her family was brutally killed.
The stage version
- Anya frequently flinches at any sound resembling gunshots. At one point, she recalls how she pressed her younger brother to her chest.
- The showdown between Gleb and Anastasia, involving him pointing the gun at her... before promptly aiming it at himself.
- With Lily's help, Anastasia finally gets to meet her grandmother... but the Dowager Empress has met so many impostors that she won't even look at her. Then the Dowager Empress angrily says that Anastasia is after money, like the others.
Dimitry: She only wants what's rightfully hers! Your recognition and your loving embrace! Try to imagine her life since her parents, sisters, little brother were murdered!
Dowager Empress: I do not need reminding of what happened to my family. I lost everything I loved that day!
Dimitry: So did she.
- In this version, Dmitry is not a former servant, but a street orphan who once shared a moment with young Anastasia during a parade. As adults, he recalls this to Anya, who then remembers it as well. There's a moment where they are both elated, and they nearly kiss. Then Dmitry stops himself and kneels to her instead.
Dmitry: Your Highness.
- "Close the Door", where the Dowager Empress gives up hope that Anastasia could be alive.
In my heart, I know
You're a lie that I've waited for
Tell them all to go
Tell them all "No more!"
Tell them I close the door
- Also depending on the version, there may be a little Anastasia waiting just behind her in the doorway, and when she says she gives up, little Anastasia will look down sadly and walk away. What makes it even sadder is that the Dowager Empress doesn't even turn around to acknowledge her.
- Near the end, Anya and her grandmother finally meet.
Dowager Empress: If you're not Anastasia, it will kill me as surely as they killed my family in that cellar. I can't take any more! Do you know what it means to lose everything, young woman? My son, his children, everything I loved and held dear with all my heart, all lost and gone in one terrible moment, and for what?
- In the Prologue, the Dowager Empress receiving the news that her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren have all been murdered.
Dowager Empress: All of them?
- "Stay, I Pray You": the Russians about to board the train to Paris bidding farewell to their homeland forever, saying goodbye to everything they had ever known.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Count Ipolitov led the ensemble in saying goodbye. He never got to leave Russia, as he was dragged off the train and shot after the very next song.
- The Dowager Empress died in 1928, aged 80. The musical's events take place in 1927. It's either the good kind of tearjerker (she got to see Anastasia before she died) or the bad (she waited and searched for ten years only to die shortly after she was reunited with her favorite granddaughter).