- Arlo's hatching. While it was a Foregone Conclusion that Arlo wouldn't hatch as big as his egg indicated, it's still heart-breaking to see how much smaller he is. This is comparable to a preemie. Between this, and baby Arlo's frightened expression, and the bittersweet acoustic guitar music, it will make you weep something fierce.
- Poppa's death, and the effect it has on his family.
- When Arlo gets his foot stuck in between rocks, he starts panicking, hyperventilating and such. It then shifts to night, and Arlo is still in the same spot, but with a tear stained face, implying that he had been crying. He was even more scared during this time, so you can't help but feel sorry for him here. Fortunately, Spot came along and dug out the ground underneath and freed his leg.
- When Arlo tells Spot how he misses his family and uses five sticks to represent each member of his family. Spot understands him and gets three sticks to represent his own family. Then he puts the two bigger sticks down and buries them in the sand, indicating that his parents are deceased. This is followed by Arlo burying the Poppa stick in the sand, then collapsing over the buried Poppa stick and starting to cry.
- According to this article, the layout artist's father passed away during production, and had said that doing the scene was "therapeutic" for him.
- When Arlo suddenly loses the river home:Arlo: (panicking) I'm never getting home! (despairing) I'm never getting home...(falls to his knees)
- When Spot is taken by Thunderclap, and Arlo gets trapped in some vines. He gets hit in the head with a rock and thinks he sees Poppa getting him out. Arlo follows him and tells him they need to go back for Spot, but Poppa doesn't respond. It's only until Arlo sees that Poppa isn't leaving footprints in the mud that he realizes this isn't Poppa, hitting him that he really and truly is gone for good.
- The audience just saw Arlo hit in the head with a rock, so they're pretty sure that what they were seeing next was a dream or hallucination from the concussed youngster. Arlo thinks it's real, but the audience knows otherwise, so the sheer relief and joy in Arlo's voice when he sees Poppa is immediately heartbreaking, as is the way he lovingly nestles his head against his father's side.
- Arlo and Spot sharing a goodbye when Arlo realizes Spot needs to be with the group of humans they encounter. The fact that there's no dialog makes it worse.
- As a blog post put it... "Imagine if this movie was about a farm boy and a wolf dog. I just made you tear up imagining that now, didn't I?"
- When Arlo arrives home, he comes to his weary mother lying in the field, weakly pulling up crops. When she sees him, she mutters, "Henry?"
- It's heartwarming too, as Henry had told Arlo that "you're me and more". Goes to show just how much Arlo's grown and how much more he resembles his dad.
Tear Jerker / The Good Dinosaur
MTV called The Good Dinosaur "the cry you need this holiday season", and for good reason. It's worthy of being the latest accomplishment in the output of a company known for bringing on the tears.