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Tear Jerker / Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

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  • After Khan steals the Genesis torpedo and the others leave Kirk and Carol alone, she asks him how he's feeling. For one brief moment Kirk lets the mask of command slip away, and we see just how tired he is:
    Kirk: There's a man out there I haven't seen in fifteen years who's trying to kill me. You show me a son that'd be happy to help. My son... my life that could have been... and wasn't. How do I feel? Old... worn out.
  • Spock's Heroic Sacrifice. Kirk's tone goes from triumphant to worried in a heartbeat.
    Kirk: Engine room. Well done, Scotty!
    McCoy: (voice cracking) Jim... I think you'd better get down here.
    Kirk: Bones?
    McCoy: Better... hurry.
    • The moment when Kirk notices Spock's chair is empty and runs down to Engineering, suspecting the worst.
      • In a truly sublime acting performance, William Shatner breaks viewers' hearts as much with his face as with his lines. The look on his face when he first realizes what's happened and bolts from the bridge is amazing. It's easy to forget, because of his propensity to ham it up, that he is actually a very skilled actor.
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    • Kirk tries to save Spock, far too late to do anything to help him. Bones and Scotty tell him he can't enter the room, and that there is no hope.
      • They don't just tell him; McCoy knew how Kirk would react and was ready with himself, Scotty and a spare crewman to physically restrain Kirk from opening a door holding back unholy levels of radiation in his attempt to get to Spock.
        McCoy: NO!, you'll flood the whole compartment!!
        Kirk: He'll die!
        Scotty: Sir, he's dead already!
        McCoy: It's too late...
      • Again, it takes three men to hold back one.
    • Kirk calling for Spock, sobbing, even though they're Separated by the Wall. Spock, blind and dying, pulls himself up, straightens his jacket and painfully stumbles over to Kirk. Even at the last, Spock will never ignore his captain and his friend.
      • Especially tragic when you consider that in spite of his physical pain and weakness, Spock straightens his uniform, determined to face his commanding officer with dignity—and in an instant that dignity is lost when he walks, blinded by the absorbed radiation, into the glass wall.
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    • The whole of their final exchange.
      Spock: Don't grieve, Admiral. It was logical. The needs of the many... outweigh...
      Kirk: ... the needs of the few.
      Spock: Or the one.
      • "I never took the Kobayashi Maru test... until now. What do you think... of my solution?"
      • "I have been, and always shall be, your friend. Live long... and prosper."
      • Kirk's small, quiet "" as he sits there in Engineering, separated from his best friend for (seemingly) all time. The man is broken.
    • Kirk giving the eulogy at Spock's funeral. "Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels ... his was the *chokes* most ... human."
      • The eulogy deserves to be reproduced in full. Warning: will cause many Manly Tears.
        Kirk: We are gathered here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human.
      • Kirk's attempt at being The Stoic for the duration of the speech is punctuated by a heart-rending pause as he chokes up on his words, complete with quivering chin and near tears as he desperately maintains his best attempt to be somewhat composed....*sob*
      • Now that Leonard Nimoy actually has left us...
        Bones: "He's not really dead, as long as we remember him."
      • It elicited the tears even before, considering that Deforest Kelley was the first of the original cast to pass away, as if the character was telling us this about his actor.
    • For those familiar with A Tale of Two Cities: 'It is a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done before...' (*sniff*)
    • If you're trying to get through this scene with a dry eye, James Horner's soundtrack is not your friend. The end of the cue "Genesis Countdown" is Kirk's reaction to Spock's sacrifice. Unreleased on the soundtrack, but prominent in the movie, is Scotty on the bagpipes at Spock's funeral; his rendition of "Amazing Grace" swells into a full orchestra as the torpedo is fired toward the Genesis Planet, just as the sun rises over it. Cue Manly Tears, a lot of them.
    • The lingering shot of Spock's coffin as it comes to rest on the planet and pans out, showing the miracle the Genesis device has created... and then Leonard Nimoy's voiceover reciting the famous Opening Narration.
      Spock: Space: the final frontier. These are the continuing voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: To explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.
  • "...And also that I'm proud... very proud... to be your son."
  • The death of Khan himself. First, he and his people lost everything in their "comfortable" exile, and then Khan himself sees all the rest of his people die in the pursuit of his vengeance, and finally goes down quoting Captain Ahab from Moby-Dick: "From Hell's heart, I stab at thee..."
  • The death of Peter Preston, Scotty's nephew, especially when he brings him to the bridge in his own arms. (Even Saavik sucks her breath in in shock and Spock closes his eyes in anguish.) Finally, Scotty tearfully states after Preston dies, "He stayed at his post... when the trainees ran."
    Peter: Is the word given, Admiral?
    Kirk: The word is given. Warp speed.
    Peter: Aye... [dies]
    • In a scene deleted from the theatrical version, but put back in the Director's Cut, Scotty introduces the enthusiastic cadet to Kirk as "My sister's youngest, Admiral. Crazy to get to space!"
    • Combines a little with Fridge Horror when you stop and think about the Inferred Holocaust that goes along with Khan's attack; it hits hard to think how many of the trainees, even among those who ran, didn't make it out alive. (The novelization confirms that many of the trainees were killed in the attack.)
    • In the novelization, Saavik had been tutoring Peter Preston. After Peter's death, Saavik goes into a conference room and completely trashes it in a blind rage. After Spock's death, the night before the funeral, she keeps a vigil over the coffins of both Preston and Spock, "the only two people she had ever cared about in the universe." This time, there's no anger: she breaks down and sobs quietly.
  • Even Khan's devoted right-hand-man Joachim gets a bit of this:
    Joachim: [to Khan] Yours is... superior... [dies]
    Khan: [embracing Joachim's body] I shall avenge you.
    • It's implied that he wasn't just Khan's right-hand-man, but also his surrogate son.
  • It's subtle, but the way Khan repeats "Admiral...Admiral..." when he learns of Kirk's new rank. It helps reinforce just how, while Khan has been rotting in this hellhole, Kirk has gone on with his life and recognized for his accomplishments.
    • One could argue that moment (learning that after all he and his people had suffered because of Kirk's neglect, that the man had been promoted) is when Khan Noonien Singh went completely insane.
  • The fate of Captain Terrell. Even when he's forced to betray Kirk and the Genesis team, the man just sounds so helpless.
    • He essentially was helpless. It took all his will power just to end that mind control by turning the phaser on himself.
    • The despairing little "please" Terrell utters as he pulls the phaser on the landing party. He sounds utterly trapped.
    • And Chekov. "I'm. . . sorry, Admiral." Remember how much Chekov liked and looked up to Kirk throughout The Original Series. . . and now, under mental control by a genetically-engineered madman, he's forced to hold a phaser set to kill on his former commanding officer, mentor, and friend.

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