Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Disney

Go To

"For every laugh, there should be a tear"
Walt Disney's personal opinion on how tearjerking and heartwarming moments should be equally balanced

While Disney movies will probably revolt you with their kid-friendliness, they can also be genuinely emotional. With features such as Bambi, Dumbo, the Winnie-the-Pooh films, and Tangled, Disney animation, as well as that of Pixar, manage to tug at many viewers' heartstrings.


    open/close all folders 


    Disney TV 

Other Disney TV

  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers
    • The third part of "To The Rescue" has a moment: Gadget has just met the chipmunks and seen Monty for the first time since she was a little girl, and Monty asks for her father. She says he's gone, in a tone that tells everyone that he's gone permanently... everyone, that is, except Dale, who asks when he'll be back. She reveals that he won't be coming back; she had lost him about a year prior. To compound this, when Monty says he'll be missed, she tells him, "He already is." Then she cheerfully offers to make them a chair. That's right, make them a chair.
    • "The Case of the Cola Cult" when Gadget decides it's better for the Rescue Rangers if she leaves them. She packs her tools and walks out in the rain, crying. Not only is this a sad scene, it's also hard to see Gadget cry.
  • In A Sitch In Time right at the start where Kim and Ron are saying their goodbye's as his family is moving to Norway and the two of them are standing on the top of a hill desperately trying not to cry and in proper teen fashion completely unable to tell the other how much this separation hurts.
    • Also, in So The Drama, when Kim ends up betrayed by Eric/Synthodrone 901 and is on the verge of the Despair Event Horizon, bitterly declaring, "Drakken's won. I should have stuck to babysitting," until Ron talks her out of it.
  • TaleSpin has the episode "Her Chance to Dream", where Rebecca falls in love with Captain Stansbury, who is really a ghost that haunts the island where Louie's business now resides. She is so enamored by the ghost that she believes that she's dreaming when the ghost summons up his old ship and tries to spirit her away so that they can be together. The scene where Baloo and Louie try to get her to summon the ghost back to the afterlife becomes downright tear-extracting when Rebecca screams "I just want to be happy!" and when Baloo makes her snap out of her dream state by telling her to think of her daughter Molly.
  • Witch in "H is for Hunted". Nerissa turns a soulless clone of Will into an actual living optimistic girl with a huge passion for life, with the plan to drive her to such desperation she'll kill the real Will Vandom to take her place. The plan itself fails when both Will and her altamere realize they aren't actually enemies. Nerissa uses the distraction to try to kill Will more directly with a lightning bolt ... which the altamere jumps in front of. Fading rapidly she manages to say "that's what sisters do... right?"
  • Even Playhouse Disney has crossed this territory. In PB&J Otter, there's the song Nothing Lasts Forever from the episode "Hope Castle".
  • The Timmy Time episode "Timmy's Snowball". In it, Timmy makes a snowball which he cherishes deeply and wants to take everywhere with him. He then tucks it into his lunchbox with a handkerchief, and (predictably) it melts and Timmy becomes understandably upset and confused. Anyone who has ever lost something they loved dearly as a small child can definitely relate.
  • The finale of Pepper Ann as well, it reminds you to never let go of your friends.
  • Walt Disney Presents has the episode "The Goofy Success Story", as Goofy becomes a huge movie star, but then becomes depressed when he doesn't win a single Oscar, to the point he nearly commits suicide. He gets better, thankfully. (For those wondering why it takes this dark a turn, it's a parody of the climax of the Judy Garland version of A Star Is Born, which was released the year prior.)

    Other Tearjerkers 
Other Animated Films

  • Frankenweenie: Victor mourning Sparky's death after being hit by a car at the ball game. Specifically, the quote "I don't want him in my heart. I want him here with me." It's literally the main plot point so one knows it's coming, but anybody who has suffered the loss of a dog WILL cry at that scene. And at the end, when it appears Sparky has died for good, Victor hugging him and saying "It's okay, boy. You don't have to come back. You'll always be in my heart" is absolutely heart-wrenching.
  • James and the Giant Peach. "My Name Is James." 'nuff said.
  • Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers where Mickey is chained in the dungeon and left to die and realizes that all of his friends have either been killed or abandoned him, his supposed greatness was all just a setup by the Big Bad, and he's utterly failed in everything, including protecting his charge and love interest. The look of utter hopelessness on his face is heartbreaking, and he tosses aside his Musketeer hat and just cries.
    • There's such utter despair from Mickey Mouse, and it didn't help that five minutes later the tide comes in and he comes within a hair's breadth of drowning - passing out and sinking and everything - believing himself to be completely alone.
    • Released on the same DVD is Don Bluth's Disney Swan Song, The Small One: after an unsuccessful day of Small One's owner trying to find someone who will love him as much as he did, Small One leads them back to the Tanner, prepared to give up his life, until Joseph buys him, and then the title song plays as the star appears over the manger.
  • "The Little Matchgirl": The music, the atmosphere, everything about it will make even the most bitter man cry. And a little hint: they didn't change the ending; somebody dies.


  • "Wherever You Are." Have fun.
    • That entire movie is traumatic.
  • Rabbit's vision of his future in "Springtime With Roo", showing that he's such a Control Freak, all his friends have abandoned him. Finding all their houses completely empty and covered with dust and cobwebs is just...
    Rabbit: I don't understand. Roo was looking so forward to—
    Narrator: Spring Cleaning Day, was it?
    Rabbit: No...Easter.
    • The flashback showing what pivoted Rabbit's mean spiritedness. He gleefully took up the role of Easter Bunny every year, though his usual meticulous work-obsessed attitude sucked the fun out of it for the others, leading them to give Roo an egg hunt without him. Rabbit feels rejected, especially since he is convinced Roo, who he was trying to impress, likes Tigger more than him. When a guilt ridden Tigger finds this out, he apologizes and claims he was just trying to keep Roo happy. Rabbit however is still hurt and miserable.
  • "Forever and Ever" hits even harder when you find out how much the real Christopher Robin grew to resent Winnie-the-Pooh...

Classic Disney Shorts

  • The ending of Mickey's Good Deed. Earlier in the short, Mickey sold Pluto to a rich man's Spoiled Brat son just so he could afford to eat. Even after spending the money to buy Christmas presents for a poor mother and her large litter of kittens (the eponymous good deed), Mickey sits by a campfire with a roast chicken, and laments that he'll never see Pluto again. Thankfully, Pluto escapes and rejoins his old companion in a very heartfelt scene.
  • The ending of The Old Mill.
  • Elmer Elephant, when the other animals are taunting Elmer for his nose and send him sulking away crying. Anyone who was bullied as a kid would remember how much that kind of treatment hurt.
  • The second Silly Symphonies version of The Ugly Duckling (as if that story weren't depressing enough).
  • Puppy Love in which Mickey and Minnie get into a huge fight when she thinks Mickey put a bone in her box of chocolates (it was really Pluto and Fifi) and they nearly break up.
  • The ending to The Barn Dance.
  • "The Moose Hunt". Mickey grieving after he thinks he shot Pluto (who is playing dead).
  • Similarly, "Squatter's Rights," has the ending scene where Mickey thinks Pluto was shot, when in truth the butt of the gun knocked him out and Chip and Dale poured ketchup on him. Mickey has no idea of any of this though and thinks his dog was just killed, proceeding to cradle Pluto's head while tears pour out his eyes.
  • The ending of "Donald's Happy Birthday". Donald, thinking the nephews bought a box of cigars for smoke, he forces them to smoke the entire box in an almost sadistic manner. When he finds out that the box was actually a birthday present for him, he feels so guilty he shrinks to the size of a bug.
  • The featurette "Goliath II", where Goliath is spanked and branded a traitor for trying to run away.
  • The end of "Goofy and Wilbur." Wilbur was eaten by a frog and then the frog was eaten by a stork. Goofy is horrified and starts crying, but then attempts to cheer himself up, reminding himself that Wilbur wouldn't want him to do nothing but mourn and that he can find other grasshoppers. Then he breaks down even harder, yelling "But they're not Wilbur!" Goofy's crying isn't played comically over-the-top either: it sounds like someone genuinely grieving for a pet they loved.

Theatrical Adaptations


    Other Media 
Video Games

Western Animation

  • There's a horrifying Mood Whiplash right at the end of the mostly wacky and lighthearted Make Mine Music!. We speak, of course, of The Whale Who Wanted To Sing At The Met, the story of Willie, an opera-singing whale who dreams of being a star despite the species barrier, and a crazed sailor Tetti-Tatti who is convinced that the singing is a result of Willie having swallowed opera singers. The majority of the short is light-hearted wacky cartoon gags, as Willie sings a repertoire of his best songs and Tetti-Tatti is foiled in his every attempt to harpoon Willie (as his own crew love the singing so much they don't allow him). And then, just as the short winds to a close, suddenly Tetti-Tatti takes the harpoon gun and does the deed. The music stops as we see the absolute heartbreaking silhouette of a harpooned Willie leaping from the water one last time before sinking beneath the sea. Just to drive the point home, we see Willie's seagull friend sitting by the sea, sobbing uncontrollably as the narrator tries to soothe him. The sadness is mitigated only slightly by the reveal that Willie now plays sold-out shows in heaven. Disney dealt with some deep issues here - some of us won't realize our dreams before we die, and that this world is full of people who "aren't used to miracles" and will destroy them.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: