- The scene where Tanya and Andrew's children are taken to the front.
- The Sadistic Choice that Curtis is faced with during the battle with the Axe Gang. In front of him, Mason is wounded but about to escape. Behind him, Franco the Younger has a knife to Edgar's throat. He's torn between saving his best friend or taking a valuable hostage. You can see the despair in his face when he turns his back on Edgar, who is then killed.
- The Hope Spot that Tanya and Andrew experience when they think they've found their children in the classroom, only to be crushed when they discover they're mistaken. The classroom is for the front-end passengers' children only. Tail-end passengers' children are used for slave labor. What makes it worse is how indifferent the rich, spoiled children are to Tanya and Andrew's distress when they ask if they've seen them. One of them cheerfully tells Tanya's that her son looked like he was going to cry when he was brought through.
- The cold-blooded execution of Gilliam at the hands of Franco the Elder. This devastates Curtis and his team. And it's very clear why after Curtis later reveals what he did to become leader and what he meant to everyone in the tail.
- Franco the Elder brutally killing Grey and Tanya. Especially Grey who spends his last moments with a knife pierced through his hand and getting twisted around, until Franco slowly drives it into his heart.
- Curtis describing what life was like in the tail cars during the first few months of the Train. With no food supply, people were forced to do unspeakable things to one another just to survive, and he was one of the worst among them (bear in mind this is all while he was still a teenager). The monologue is delivered with so much sorrow that it's heartbreaking, and it really drives home just how much those memories have haunted him for seventeen years.
- Even more heartbreaking is the fact that he considers everyone following Gilliam's example, cutting off their own limbs for food in order to save the children, to be "a miracle."
- Wilford telling Curtis that Gilliam, the mentor he idolized and respected had been working with him the entire time.
- So you've sacrificed everything to get to one man, to kill him and end his reign of tyranny. What if you get to the end of your journey and you do find him? What if he then robs you of any satisfaction by first showing you how powerless you are, and by explaining that everything you've done to get to him has not only gone according to his plan, but turned out better than even he expected? That everything you believed in was built on a foundation of lies? That it's happened before and it will happen again? And worst of all, he tells you that you're now in charge of keeping the cycle going.
- Then when you consider the real world implications of the movie, and especially everything Wilford says... yeah, Tearjerker indeed.
- Imagine never being alone for seventeen years. No real privacy, no place for quiet thought, nowhere you can go to escape because you're stuck in a moving tin can with a hundred other bodies. It's no wonder Curtis breaks down while standing in the quiet stillness of the Engine.
- Curtis and Minsoo's Heroic Sacrifice at the end.
- There's a somber moment when the tail sectioners are looking out of the windows for the first time in seventeen years, watching a long-frozen and deserted city pass by.Gilliam: Still cold. (Beat) Dead. All dead.
Tearjerker / Snowpiercer