- The twins forgetting how to talk to animals when they both turn one year old. Mary Poppins Comes Back wrings similar sadness out of Annabel forgetting her cosmic journey into the world, after she spends one week on Earth.
- Every time Mary Poppins leaves the Banks family, especially when she leaves the children mementos and reminds them that nothing lasts forever. When Jane and Michael ask Mary Poppins in the second and third books how long she will stay, she gives rather vague answers, making her departures unpleasant surprises for the Banks family. P.L. Travers claimed that even she cried when Mary Poppins left the Banks children for good in Mary Poppins Opens the Door.
"Practically perfect people never permit sentiment to muddle their thinking."
- The song "Feed The Birds".
- Doubly so when you learn that "Feed The Birds" was Walt Disney's favorite song. He would frequently ask the Sherman Brothers to play it for him after their Friday afternoon strategy sessions. They played it at his funeral. And even after he died they would go to his empty office on a Friday afternoon and play it for him. Y'all can go cry now.
- And triply so when you learn, years later, that the bird lady was played by Jane Darwell, already no spring chicken when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath a quarter of a century earlier. It was her last film role.
- Quadruply so when you learn that Darwell was one of Disney's favorite actresses, and he personally traveled to her retirement home to request that she be in the movie. That's saying something.
- What makes it worse is when Mr. Banks goes past the cathedral as he makes his way to getting fired; a Dark Reprise (or perhaps regular reprise, since it sounded dark anyway) swells as he looks at the utterly empty steps of cathedral, then up into the air.
- In fact, that cathedral scene is easily the biggest tearjerker in Disney history.
- The absence of the bird lady heavily implies that she passed away, and that by denying his children the chance to give their money to her and telling them to ignore her, they'll never be able to show the woman kindness ever again. In other words, not only did Mr. Banks take his children for granted, but life itself. Of all his actions in life, this is one thats impossible to make up for.
- Ultimately, the story of Mr. Banks. He's a cold and selfish misogynist looking to be remembered in the world of banking. His life is turned upside down by the introduction of Mary Poppins, who brings fun to his family until he realizes what a failure in life he's been. He is ridiculed before his peers, sacked from his job, and then reconciles with his family, intending to spend more time with his children. And he recovers his job at the end!
- Near the end, when Bert is describing George Banks's attitude towards his work and family (for emphasis, to a slow melancholy version of "The Life I Lead", where Mr. Banks had described much the same thing near the start of the film):
You're a man of 'igh position, esteemed by your peers
And when your little tykes are cryin', you 'aven't time to dry their tears
And see them grateful little faces smilin' up at you
Because their dad, 'e always knows just what to do.
You've got to grind, grind, grind at that grindstone
Though childhood slips like sand through a sieve
And all too soon they're up and grown
And then they've flown
And it's too late for you to give.
- Mr. Banks opens the song with an equally sad statement to the position in which he's found himself. The whole song, A Man Has Dreams, is pretty depressing.
A man has dreams of walking with giants.
To carve his niche in the edifice of time.
Before the mortar of his zeal has a chance to congeal
The cup is snatched from his lips. His flame is snuff ab'rning.
He's brought to rag and ruin in his prime.
- Mary Poppins finishes packing for her departure, then watches Jane and Michael go off with their parents without a backwards glance. Just because something is right and correct doesn't automatically make it less sad.
- However, in Mary Poppins' view: "Practically perfect people never permit sentiment to muddle their thinking."
- Oh, balderdash. Her umbrella didn't buy that line, and neither should anyone else.
- Michael and Jane run away from the bank and into Bert, who comforts them and he tells them their father loves them, and they say that he doesn't love them at all. Bert explains their father to them, and how no one is there for him, at the end of the day, and how Bert feels sorry for Mr. Banks having a dead end job.
Bert: You know, begging your pardon, but the one my 'eart goes out to is your father. There he is, in that cold, heartless bank day after day, hammed in by mounds of cold, heartless money. I don't want to see any living thing caged up.
Jane: Father... in a cage?
Bert: They makes cages in all sizes and shapes, you know. Bank-shaped, some of 'em, carpets and all.
Jane: Father's not in trouble. We are.
Bert: Oh. Sure about that, are you? Look at it this way. You got your mother to look after you, and Mary Poppins, and Constable Jones and me. Who looks after your father? Tell me that. When something terrible happens, what does he do? Fends for himself, he does. Who does he tell about it? No one. Don't blab his troubles at home. He just pushes on at his job, uncomplaining and alone and silent
- Michael apologizes for inadvertently causing the bank riot, and gives his father the tuppence, hoping it'll make everything better. Awwwwww.
- Just a passing remark at the time, but Dawes Jr.'s remark about how, when Dawes Sr. laughed himself to death over the "wooden leg" joke, he'd never seen his father happier in his life is really sad when you unpack it. Poor Dawes Sr. had evidently been just as closed-off and distant from his child as George Banks had been. But his grim facade of respectability never cracked enough for him to share even a moment of happiness with his family until Dawes Jr. was a grown man. Sand through a sieve, indeed.
- Most of the above moments, but especially Mr. Banks' walk of shame to the bank, the empty cathedral steps, Bert's sad reprise of "The Life I Lead", and the kids being upset over Mr. Banks being "in a cage", all become even more of a Tear Jerker after viewing Saving Mr. Banks and understanding their significance and meaning to P.L. Travers.
- The end of the Laughing Gas/Visit with Uncle Albert scene when Mary tells the kids it's time to go. It makes poor Uncle Albert and Bert very sad. It turns into a Funny Moment with Bert's bad joke to Albert, and this only makes Albert cry more due to how bad it is, causing Bert to cry himself.
- Happy tears more than sad but these lines from Chim Chiminey:
Up where the smoke is all billered and curled
'Tween pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world
When the's 'ardly no day
Nor 'ardly no night
There's things 'alf in shadow
And 'alf way in light
On the roof tops of London
Cor... what a sight...
- Mary's departure and the moment when she says goodbye to Bert and kisses him on the cheek.
- The reprise of "Being Mrs. Banks," where Mrs. Banks, after being cowed and uncertain for all of the play, reaches out to her husband with courage and love.
George, dear, I know it hurts your pride, dear,
But you can't just run and hide, dear, for can't you see that I'm here,
And I am on your side!
- George's lament that precedes this, a Dark Reprise of "Cherry Tree Lane," is also a tearjerker:
Illusions may shatter, but memories stay
The things that really matter, I lost on the way.
The sovereign, the master, and long may he reign
The famous "good for nothing" of Cherry Tree Lane.