- Optimus Prime's death. Likely one of the most famous Tear Jerker scenes across the Transformers franchise.
- "Until that day...'till all are one." Those last four words would recur in numerous Transformers series, bordering on Arc Words for the whole mythos.
- Optimus's death actually had kids walking out of theatres crying, refusing food and locking themselves in their rooms. Back in those days, beloved characters dying was Serious Business.
- And the touching Vince Di Cola theme for the scene.
- Had the remix made during rehearsals at BotCon '97 been the one in the movies, the reactions could well have ended even worse then they already had.
- This scene was mitigated by a large margin when Optimus Prime was resurrected at the end of the third season by the nation's collective outcry, but still.
- Many are likely to disagree, but it's Megatron's "death". Megatron has always seemed so strong and menacing, a Nightmare Fuel character to the hilt. To see him humbled so and then abandoned was expected for the den of evil that is the very definition of the Decepticons in the G1 cartoon. What is truly inspiring is that this powerful figure, reduced to such a pathetic state, has no choice but to plead for help. After which, without hesitation, Soundwave picks him up and carries him, saying, "As you command." Soundwave has never had a better moment.
- Of course, not even he nor his other minions object to unceremoniously throwing him out with the other injured Decepticons when there is no longer any choice. And done personally by Starscream to add insult to injury. Optimus died with dignity, cherished and surrounded by respecting comrades. Megatron "died" being ejected into the cold void of space by his troops like dead weight.
- Actually, it's more the way Optimus Prime just calmly picks up his rifle as he's about to do the deed. One of the greatest rivalries in animation, about to be ended in a manner far more reminiscent of someone putting down a rabid dog (which a baby-killer like Megatron actually is, really). Though the way Prime blows off Megatron's pleas for mercy still make it a Moment of Awesome.
- How about the fact that for once Megatron, the proud warrior who conquered the pits of Kaon itself, is reduced to BEGGING in front of what amounts to the Transformers version of the devil.
- To elaborate on this. Before this moment Megatron always held his pride above all else. He never backed down and refused to be a servant, having already been one, so seeing him basically GROVEL in the face of a being that is basically his equivalent to evil incarnate... It's tragic seeing a powerful figure reduced to cowering in fear.
- The scene preceding Optimus's fatal wounding — where he charges in and basically takes out half the Decepticons single-handedly — contains The Touch, Stan Bush's one contribution to popular music that has withstood the test of time. The sheer, barnstorming track combined with Optimus Prime's awesomeness just puts you on a hell of a tear-inducing high that gets smashed right back down when Optimus gets fatally wounded. And then the track comes back in the finale, when Rodimus Prime arises.
- Seeing the Autobots getting slaughtered on the shuttle. An injured Ironhide getting his head blown off by Megatron in a futile attempt to grab him is particularly chilling:Megatron: You're an idiot, Starscream. When we slip by their early warning systems in their own shuttle and destroy Autobot City, the Autobots will be vanquished forever!Ironhide: (crawls over to Megatron and grabs his leg, mortally-wounded) No...!Megatron: Such heroic nonsense. (cruelly smirks at Ironhide, and then blasts him point-blank with his Fusion Cannon)
- Ironhide's Defiant to the End moment is both this and a Moment of Awesome. Ironhide was always one of the toughest, most durable and confident Autobots in Prime's army, and to see him so badly injured he can barely crawl is difficult to watch. And yet, despite those injuries, he knows if the Decepticons get to Earth, more of his friends will die. He just tries so hard to save his friends with whatever is left of his strength, and Megatron just coldly snuffs out his life. Whatever Megatron might call it, it was definitely heroic, and heartbreaking.
- Ironhide's death becomes even more depressing when you remember that he and Chromia were implied to have a thing going on in the show's episode "The Search for Alpha Trion". Somewhere, Chromia is distraught because her boyfriend died in battle.
- Prowl's horrific death, just before Prime's.
- An understated one as Arcee attempts to drag away Windcharger. Eventually she gives a brief sad pause at what she is now aware are nothing more than corpses.
- Just seeing Wheeljack and Windchanger's lifeless corpses can be this.
- Even worse is that all of these characters were killed off for the sole purpose of justifying the discontinuation of their toys to make way for the new ones.
- A small one that's easily missed: when the Decepticons retreat into Astrotrain, Rumble can be see hugging Megatron's fusion cannon. He almost looks traumatized.
- It's times like these that you remember Rumble and Frenzy are basically child soldiers.
- The final scene of the movie after Hot Rod becomes Rodimus Prime after touching the Matrix. After inadvertently causing Optimus's death, he fulfills his destiny and finally finds his redemption as Optimus says through the matrix: "ARISE, RODIMUS PRIME." Hot Rod can do nothing but whisper "Optimus." Then proceeds to unload a can of whoopass on Galvatron and destroy Unicron from the inside as well. Tears of awesomeness for sure, especially with the music track which was most appropriate.
- The deleted scene where Ultra Magnus leads most of the characters who didn't show up in the movie (Sideswipe, Inferno, Red Alert etc.) to stop Devastator. They blow him up and force him to split into the individual Constructicons. The Autobots, being outnumbered and having used up their weapons flee, but Scavenger (the Constructicon who killed Prowl!) shoots Red Alert in the back. Inferno cries out to his best friend, but Ultra Magnus holds him back. Finally Inferno transforms and flees with the others.
- Another storyboard shows that Megatron was laughing at Red Alert's demise. (That's what he was looking at when Optimus comes to fight him.) Anyway, the gun Megatron used to kill Prime was Red Alert's! There was a deleted shot that showed Red collapsed in front of Optimus and Megatron during the fight. You can tell that he dragged himself over there and dropped his gun when his spark gave out.
- In a meta-sense, Orson Welles. He was so sick at the time, his voice had to be filtered and augmented by a synthesizer. He died five days after recording his lines.
- Unicron destroying Lithone in the opening scene is made ten times more harrowing by the harmonic scenes of it's habitants beforehand, complete with children playing and laughing just before the planet gruesomely devours them all.
Tear Jerker / The Transformers: The Movie