Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 10

The Greatest Tearjerkers of All-Time
Movie Title/Year and Brief Tearjerker Scene Description

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)


The scene of Matthew's (John Hannah) poignant reading of W. H. Auden's Funeral Blues at the moving funeral of "splendid bugger" Gareth (Simon Callow), following his sudden heart attack: ("Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum, Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come..."); also the final scene of Charles (Hugh Grant), after an aborted 'fourth' wedding ceremony, finally declaring his true and utter love for Carrie (Andie MacDowell) in the rain (Carrie: "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed") and awkwardly not asking for her hand in marriage - with Carrie's response: "I do," accompanied by a kiss and a lightning bolt in the sky.

Frankenstein (1931)

The heart-breaking, initially-censored scene in which the Monster (Boris Karloff) played with a little girl named Maria (Marilyn Harris) at lakeside - she was not repelled by his hideous appearance or fearful of him and invited him to play and be her friend. They joined in a game of flinging flower-petals into the lake, one-by-one, to watch them float. When the Monster's few flower blossoms were gone, he puzzled for a moment at his empty hands, and then innocently and ignorantly picked up Maria and tossed her into the water - where she quickly sank and drowned. He staggered away from the lake - expressing some confusion, despair and remorse - shaking and wringing his hands and possibly perceiving the horrible thing he had just done.

Fright Night (1985)

The drawn-out, excruciating yet poignant death of freshly-sired teenaged vampire "Evil" Ed Thompson (Stephen Geoffreys) after being stabbed with a wooden stake while in wolf-form by washed-up B-movie horror/vampire actor Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall).

The Front (1976)

The mentally-deteriorating, despairing and troubled character of TV comedy actor and Grand Central host Hecky Brown (Zero Mostel) - including the scene in which he was fired for being a suspected Communist and then committed suicide in his hotel room by jumping from the window; and the bittersweet finale after cashier/bookie and 'front'-man Howard Price (Woody Allen) testified before the HUAC and told the committee to "go f---k themselves" - when he boarded a train bound for federal prison as he kissed girlfriend Florence Barrett (Andrea Marcovicci) and crowds waved placards of support - Frank Sinatra's rendition of Young at Heart played on the soundtrack as the real-life dates of blacklisting were posted after the cast and crew's names.

Gallipoli (1981, Aus.)


The senseless, suicidal bayonet charge scene of young Australian soldiers against impenetrable Turkish trenches in 1915, and the famous death moment of Archy Hamilton (Mark Lee) was captured in freeze-frame. Before charging the guns, accompanied by Tomaso Albinoni's mournful Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ, Archy chanted the mantra that his track coach and uncle Jack (Bill Kerr) used while training him:

What are your legs? Springs, steel springs. What are they gonna do? They're gonna hurl me down the track. How fast can you run? As fast as a leopard. How fast are you gonna run? As fast as a leopard. Then let's see you do it...

Ghost (1990)


The scene in an alleyway of Sam Wheat's (Patrick Swayze) unexpected murder while Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) cradled his bloody body in her arms.

Another equally moving scene was the pottery wheel scene - to the tune of the Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody - in which spirit-ghost/lover Sam tried to reveal himself to the grieving Molly at her pottery wheel.

In another scene, spiritualist medium Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) convinced the bereaved Molly that Sam was trying to contact her by using Sam's favorite expression: "Ditto."

In the finale, Sam kissed Molly and bid her goodbye before he passed on into The Light of heaven:

Molly: "Sam?"
Sam: "Molly."
Molly: "I can hear you. Oh, God." (They kissed. He bid goodbye to spiritualist Oda Mae (Whoopi Goldberg).)
Sam: "I love you, Molly. I've always loved you."
Molly (tearfully): "Ditto."
Sam: "It's amazing, Molly. The love inside, you take it with you. See ya."
Molly: (responding likewise) "See ya. Bye."

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

The later scene in which ghostly sea captain and lover Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), Gull Cottage's former owner who had been haunting the bedroom and thoughts of Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) in his non-flesh-and-blood form, bid good-bye to her while she slept, telling her that she must find her own way in life - and that she had only been dreaming of a sea-captain haunting the house: ("You've made your choice, the only choice you could make. You've chosen life and that's as it should be. And that's why I'm going away, my dear. I can't help you now...You must make your own life amongst the living, and whether you meet fair winds or foul, find your own way to harbor in the end...It's been a dream, Lucia"); and the transcendent ending many years later in which white-haired, elderly widow Lucy died in her British seaside cottage's chair when captain Daniel Gregg reappeared, and greeted her with outstretched hands: "And now, you'll never be tired again, come Lucia, come my dear." Rejuvenated and young again, she walked off, hand-in-hand with him downstairs and through the front door into the afterlife with him.

Gladiator (2000)


The death scene of the moving last moments of condemned, enslaved Colosseum gladiator "The Spaniard" (Russell Crowe), who had earlier revealed himself as vengeful General Maximus Meridius. In the arena during one-on-one combat with treacherous Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), he had already been stabbed with a stiletto (causing punctured lungs) and was slowly dying.

Weary from his own wounds, Maximus saw visions of himself entering into his home's wooden gates in the afterlife. Before dying, he ordered Quintus (Tomas Arana): "Free my men, Senator Gracchus is to be reinstated. There was a dream that was Rome. It shall be realized. These are the wishes of Marcus Aurelius."

As he succumbed in the arms of Commodus' sister Lucilla (Connie Nielsen), his own ex-lover, he told her (his final words): "Lucius is safe." She urged him to go to his dead family: "Go to them." As he perished, his body floated upwards and he experienced visions of his family in the afterlife as they greeted him on a dusty road and he waded through waving yellow reeds. She reassured that he had greeted them: "You're home." Lucilla stood up and addressed everyone: "Is Rome worth one good man's life? We believed it once. Make us believe it again. He was a soldier of Rome. Honor him." Fellow gladiators surrounded Maximus and carried his body out of the arena.

The film concluded with newly-freed gladiator Juba (Djimon Hounsou) burying Maximus' two small statues of his wife and son in the dirt of the Colosseum where he had died ("Now we are free. I will see you again, but not yet. Not yet").

Glory (1989)


James Horner's moving score accompanied by the Boys Choir of Harlem; the bull-whipping scene in which rebellious runaway soldier Trip (Denzel Washington) was punished - his back scarred from repeated lashings after being tied to a cart wheel - on false charges of desertion (he was looking for his shoes) with his steely eyes locked on white regiment leader Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick) as a single tear flowed down his cheek; and the unit's pre-battle campfire spiritual scene in which ex-gravedigger Sgt. Major Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) led the soldiers in prayer and singing - including Trip's confession: ("Y'all's the only-est family I got. I love the 54th"), followed by the stirring battle-cry "Give 'em Hell, 54" shouted by Union soldiers (led by screenwriter Kevin Jarre) as the Massachusetts 54th Regiment marched to launch a doomed suicidal assault on Fort Wagner in South Carolina; and Shaw's self-reflective moment as he looked out over the sea one last time and freed his horse; the scene of the frenzied assault on Fort Wagner after the men had been stirred by the death of Shaw, making it as far as the inner sanctum, but ultimately destroyed by the interior cannons; also the final image of Shaw's burial in a mass beach grave with his soldiers (including Trip next to him) - and the end credits shot of "The Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial" relief sculpture by August Saint-Gaudens in Boston Common.

Greatest Film Tearjerkers, Moments and Scenes
(alphabetical by film title)
Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10
Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20
Part 21 | Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26 | Part 27 | Part 28 | Part 29 | Part 30

Previous Page Next Page