Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 11

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

The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Abused and embittered wife Kay Corleone's (Diane Keaton) denouncement speech of her crime boss husband Michael (Al Pacino) regarding their marriage, admitting she'd had an abortion: ("Oh! Oh, Michael, Michael, you are blind. It wasn't a miscarriage. It was an abortion. An abortion, Michael, just like our marriage is an abortion, something that's unholy and evil! I didn't want your son, Michael. I wouldn't bring another one of your sons into this world! It was an abortion, Michael! It was a son, a son, and I had it killed because this must all end!")

Godspell (1973)

The scene in which Jesus (Victor Garber) wordlessly bid all of his disciples farewell as he went into the garden to pray, knowing it was for the last time, as the aching, yearning song "On the Willows" was sung by the cast on the soundtrack.

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

The surprisingly poignant tribute to the travails of the common man during The Great Depression number: "Remember My Forgotten Man", sung by Carol King (Joan Blondell) and by a group of down-trodden tenement housewives - all undercut by a militaristic, gung-ho marching tribute to the United States at the conclusion.

Gone With the Wind (1939)


The final scene, in which Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), tired of Scarlett O'Hara's (Vivien Leigh) manipulations and indecisions, ignored her pleading to stay with a dismissive: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" before leaving, and Scarlett's teary-eyed resolution to keep trying while being reminded by voices of Tara's power: ("I can't let him go. I can't. There must be some way to bring him back. Oh I can't think about this now! I'll go crazy if I do! I'll think about it tomorrow. But I must think about it. I must think about it. What is there to do? What is there that matters?... Tara!... Home. I'll go home, and I'll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!").

The Good Earth (1937)

The self-sacrificing character of O-Lan (Luise Rainer); the terrifying revolutionary mob scene in which the palace "Great House" was ransacked/looted and pregnant O-Lan's stomach was stepped on during the mad rush (causing a miscarriage); and O'Lan's poignant deathbed scene in the film's ending when Wang Lung (Paul Muni) gave her two pearls ("You are the best a man can have") - and as she died - the two pearls rolled from her outstretched hand, and the delivery of the film's final lines at the final fade-out - Wang Lung's words next to the peach tree outside ("O-Lan, you are the earth").

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)


The nostalgic, deathbed scene in which elderly schoolmaster Mr. Charles "Chips" Chipping (Robert Donat) refuted the remark that he had been a lonely man without children, with his exclamation: "I thought I heard you say 'twas a pity, a pity I never had children. But you're wrong...I have...thousands of them...thousands of them...and all boys!"; and his death as he closed his eyes while smiling, as the camera rose up when he passed on - he dreamily remembered many schoolboys filing past to repeat their names at call-over, while the music of the school song swelled in volume in the background.

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

The famous scene of Ma Joad (Jane Darwell) pausing to moon over and then burn her letters/souvenir-keepsakes (a newspaper clipping, a postcard, a china souvenir, and earrings) in the stove before departing in a dilapidated truck on a long drive for California to find employment (including the image of her holding earrings to her ears and viewing herself in a mirror); and her son Tom Joad's (Henry Fonda) stirring "I'll be there" farewell speech to his mother: "...I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be ever'-where - wherever you can look. Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad - I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry an' they know supper's ready. An' when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise, and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there, too"; and the final scene of Ma's final inspiring words in the front seat of a pickup truck: "We're the people that live. They can't wipe us out. They can't lick us. And we'll go on forever, Pa... 'cause... we're the people."

Grave of the Fireflies (1988, Jp.)

The distressing opening image of the death of 14 year-old Japanese war orphan Seita (voice of Tsutomu Tatsumi) in a Kobe subway station as passersby were revulsed by him, and his opening narrated line: "September 21, 1945... that was the night I died" - followed by flashbacks; the death of Seita's mother and his lying to 5 year-old sister Setsuko (voice of Ayano Shiraishi) about it - and her crying while he tried to distract her with gymnastics; the scene in which Setsuko angrily begged her aunt (voice of Akemi Yamaguchi) not to sell her mother's kimonos for rice -- and their selfish aunt's appropriation of most of the rice, accusing Seita and Setsuko of being selfish; Seita's response to a doctor's advice for a malnourished Setsuko: "All she needs is food" -- "Where am I supposed to get food?!"; and Seita's futile vigil over Setsuko's death; and the fleeting vision of Setsuko playing near the bomb shelter at the lake and her funeral pyre; and the unforgettable, poignant shot of the red-hued ghosts of Seita and Setsuko sitting on a hill overlooking the modern, night-time skyline of a thriving Tokyo as fireflies danced around the pair, in director Isao Takahata's uncompromising, unflinching anti-war melodrama about survival during WWII - from the famous Ghibli Studio.

The Great Santini (1979)


The basketball scene in which the hyper-competitive Marine Lieutenant Colonel Bull Meechum (Robert Duvall) became enraged when he lost a one-on-one basketball to his eldest son Ben (Michael O'Keefe), snapped at his wife Lillian (Blythe Danner) before she tearfully stormed off, insisting: "You do NOT talk that way to ME", and egged Ben on by bouncing a basketball off his head as he walked into the house and up his stairs, taunting him: "Gonna cry, little girl?" -- and Ben's sarcastic, angry, tearful speech to his mother when she insisted Bull really loved him: ("Oh, sure, Mom. 'I love you, Ben' - PUNCH! - 'I want you to be the best, Ben' - KICK! - 'And Ben, I think you're great, Ben' - BOUNCE A BASKETBALL OFF OF MY HEAD!"; the scene in which Ben deliberately broke a taunting opponent's arm in a dirty play at the urging of his father, and his condemnation by Coach Spinks (Joe Dorsey): "...Then along comes this idiot who doesn't have the guts to tell his father to take a flying jump when his father is as wrong as he can be. Now what do you think I should do about it?..."; also the scene in which the entire family gang-tackled Bull when he became physically abusive with Lillian; and the scene after Meechum died in a plane crash in which Ben, rife with guilt, admitted that he wished his father would crash.

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

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