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Tear Jerker / The Wizard of Oz

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Oh, Auntie Em, don't go away! I'm frightened! Come back! Come back!
"Now I know I've got a heart, because it's breaking."
—The Tin Man
  • Watching poor Dorothy helpless to defend Toto from Miss Gulch when the old bag comes for him. All the poor girl could do in the end was watch helplessly as her beloved dog is taken from her.
    • Aunt Em and Uncle Henry don't have it any easier. Dorothy keeps appealing to them, but there's literally nothing they can do.
      • The RSC stage play (the one most often licensed to schools and regional theatres) makes it even worse with an extended scene after Miss Gulch leaves, where the distraught Dorothy lashes out in anger at Aunt Em, who can only spell out the harsh truth of situation to her. But Dorothy won't listen and even berates the farmhands for their uselessness, finally saying that she never wants to see any of them again.
    Aunt Em: She had an order from the sheriff, Dorothy. What did you expect us to do? Wave a wand and make it disappear?
  • When the Wicked Witch has the heroes cornered, and gleefully lets poor Dorothy know that she's going to have to watch each of her friends die in front of her.
    "How about a little fire Scarecrow?"
  • Dorothy crying when she's imprisoned by the Witch.
    Dorothy: I'm frightened!
    • When Dorothy sees an image of Aunt Em in the crystal ball, hopelessly looking for her. No sooner does Dorothy fail to communicate with Em is her image replaced by the Wicked Witch, who then proceeds to mock her.
    Wicked Witch: (the Witch then turns to cackle directly at the audience) I'll give you Auntie Em, my pretty! HAHAHAHAHA!
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  • In the book, the Wicked Witch enslaves Dorothy to do custodial duties like scrubbing the floors of her castle. How’s that for extreme cruelty?
  • Try as hard as you like, you'll probably never find someone who didn't cry the first time they watched as Dorothy said goodbye to her new friends just before she left the land of Oz to return to Kansas.
    • "(looks to the Scarecrow and gives him a hug) I think I'll miss you most of all."
    • Even more so with the Tin Man's line as Dorothy says goodbye: "Now I know I have a heart, because it's breaking."
  • Everyone's reaction after the Guard tells them "The Wizard says Go Away!" They're all sad, but poor Dorothy bursts into tears. Then they all sit down and try to cheer her up, in vain. Even the guard is literally weeping buckets.
    Guard: Oh, Please. Don't cry anymore. I'll get you in to the wizard somehow! Come on, I had an Aunt Em myself once! (sobs hysterically)
    • And of course the guard is played by — Frank Morgan! The moment takes on Fridge Brilliance if we assume the guard is actually the Wizard in disguise... he was accidentally swept away from his home to Oz just like Dorothy was!
  • A huge tear jerker comes in the form of the Dark Reprise of "Over The Rainbow" that was meant to be sung in the witch's castle. The audio still survives, and it's every bit as heart breaking as you'd expect. It was recorded live on set and reportedly reduced the cast and crew to tears.
    • The RSC stage version (mentioned above) includes this reprise. It's heartbreaking to hear Dorothy sing the song that was once about longing to escape from the troubles of her home, but is now about longing to go back there.
  • Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch, managed to give her character one of these when she appeared on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, so younger viewers could understand that the Wicked Witch wasn't real, just a nice old lady wearing a costume and playing pretend. True to form, Fred Rogers and Margaret talked about the Witch like she might have been if she had been a real person, and as nasty as she was, she was a very unhappy person who never got any of the things she wanted, and none of her victories made her happy.


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