- The opening scenes. The audience watches Jake's brother, Tom, being cremated while his position and avatar are being left to Jake.
- Quaritch makes a speech about safety on Pandora, starting off heartwarming with a promise to try to bring everybody home alive. Then it turns into a tearjerker when he confesses that he will not succeed.
- Just before the attack on Hometree, when Jake confesses he was originally sent to learn the Na'vi's ways on Quaritch's orders, before coming to respect and fall in love with their culture. Neytiri's expression shifts between heartbreak and fury as she clearly believes Jake only tried to gain her affections to make that task easier. Jake is desperately trying to plead with her that his feelings for her are genuine, but she doesn't want to hear it.Neytiri: [close to tears] I trusted you. I TRUSTED YOU!Jake: Trust me now. Please...
- Jake's look of despair when the Omaticaya disregard his warning and prepare for battle. It's clear he knows they're doomed and he's failed to save them.
- The destruction of Hometree, and Neytiri's father's death. The Na'vi desperately fleeing Hometree as it gets bombarded by missiles and crashes down amidst smoke and flame. By itself, we've seen the likes of this before...but then you see the faces of all the personnel back at the base who seem to be having a collective My God, What Have I Done? moment...
- The entire scene is so devastating: watching the incredibly gorgeous and enormous tree being blown up, all the Na'vi running in terror, the humans in their airships laughing at the mass destruction they were causing, Trudy refusing to do so and turning her ship around, proclaiming, "I didn't sign up for this shit", the faces of all the humans at the base who watch in horror, Neytiri's father, the fire and smoke and ashes and screams, everything slowing down, Grace and Jake being ejected from their Avatars and Grace struggling as she was taken away, punching a man in the face and screaming, "you murderer" at Parker, and the slow fade to black as you realize the full extent of what just happened, of what humans have done and are capable of doing...
- Bilingual Bonus for Eytukan's death. Throughout the film, Neytiri calls him "Sempul", which means "father". But in this scene, she says "Sempu". She's calling him "Dad."
- Especially tearjerking for the hundreds of Na'vi breaking down crying.
- The massive Does This Remind You of Anything? moment.
- Selfridge finally realizing that he made a mistake while watching the destruction of Hometree. But it's too late.
- When Jake is formally adopted into the Omaticaya, we see Grace looking on, doing her damnedest not to cry.
- Jake running. You know the scene.
- Tsu'tey's death, especially in the extended cut. "He was my last shadow."
- Quaritch's death.
- Trudy's gunship going down, presumably killing her.
- In the Extended Cut, The Na'vi school. We first see it being used as storage after being abandoned, and after Jake sees some bullet holes in a blackboard and asks Grace, she snappily changes the subject. Later on, after Jake and Grace have grown closer, she tells him exactly what happened. Sylwanin (Neytiri's sister) and a group of young hunters attacked an RDA bulldozer and ran to the school. When the troopers arrived, they not only killed Sylwanin right in front of Neytiri, but also many of the students. Grace's "I got most of the children out" line really drives it home.
- The final battle before Eywa steps in, as T'sutey's Crowning Moment of Awesome is also his Dying Moment of Awesome/Heroic Sacrifice. Trudy is blown to pieces, but not before apologizing to Jake for failing, Norm is shot and is possibly seriously injured, and Neytiri watches as her people are all dying around her, with that striking image of the horse galloping for its life while its entire backside is on fire...
- ...followed by tears of joy as Eywa saves them all and the creatures of the forest help them.
- Neytiri holding human Jake when she saved him from suffocating.
- The entire scene at the Tree of Voices:
- First, Grace's death, and her final words.
- Then Jake permanently enters his Avatar body.
- An unconventional one, but a quick line by Jake at the end: "The aliens went back to their dying world." Suddenly, you remember that, while Jake and Neytiri are happy, tens of billions of humans, the vast majority of whom have done nothing wrong, have nothing to look forward to except misery, starvation, disease and finally death, and the same for their children, and their children's children, until however many generations down the road humanity finally goes extinct.
- Meta one: the death of James Horner, the composer for the first film. The music that he composed was beautiful and the other four movies may not have the same feel without it.
Tear Jerker / Avatar