Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 12

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

The Green Mile (1999)


The flashbacked scenes in which illiterate, mystical child/giant and faith healer - black condemned convict John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) - resurrected Mr. Jingles - the small brown mouse (by blowing life into it in his hands), healed Louisiana death row prison guard Paul Edgecomb's (Tom Hanks) urinary infection and the brain tumor of Warden Hal Moores' (James Cromwell) wife Melinda (Patricia Clarkson); the scene of the botched execution of Delacroix (Michael Jeter) - and the execution of the doomed and noble Coffey by the electric chair (for an alleged crime he didn't commit), and the moment he shared his gifted power with Paul as he was being electrocuted -- and sang "Heaven, I'm in heaven... heaven... heaven..." - from the movie Top Hat; and the bittersweet ending in which Edgecomb, now a 108 year-old man (Dabbs Greer) in a retirement home (after being bestowed with the 'gift of life' - with his speech about outliving all of his friends and families, regarded as his punishment for making "a Miracle of God ride the lightning"), where every day he still fed a piece of toast to gray-haired Jingles.

Groundhog Day (1993)

Time-stuck weather forecaster Phil Connors' (Bill Murray) heartfelt, romantic speech to sleeping romantic interest Rita (Andie McDowell) after reading James Joyce's poem "Trees" to her: "What I wanted to say was, I think you're the kindest, sweetest, prettiest person I've ever met in my life. I've never seen anyone that's nicer to people than you are. The first time I saw you, something happened to me. I never told you, but I knew that I wanted to hold you as hard as I could. I don't deserve someone like you. But if I ever could, I swear I would love you for the rest of my life" - and when Rita woke up briefly to ask: "Did you say something?" - Phil's modestly whispered response: "Good night, Rita"; and the moment when Phil lept back into bed with Rita the next morning - after verifying that it really was a new day - February 3rd - and cried out about his release from his temporal stasis: "Do you know what today is?...Today is tomorrow! It happened!"

Hamlet (1996)

Kate Winslet's brilliant tearjerking portrayal of a driven-insane Ophelia (by her father Polonius' (Richard Briers) death at the hands of her lover/fiancee Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh)), offering reeds and calling them various flowers: "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. That's for thoughts..." before she collapses to the floor and bids Queen Gertrude (Julie Christie) good-bye - before she sets out to commit suicide (off-screen).

Happy Feet (2006)

The scene of Mumble's (voice of Elijah Wood) singing lessons by frustrated teacher Mrs. Astrakhan (voice of Miriam Margolyes), in which he ultimately launches into a powerful, virtuoso soft-shoe dance to a triumphant score -- to the utter dismay of his parents and Astrakhan; and the heart-wrenching scene when exiled Mumble futilely chases an "alien" fishing boat through large, choppy waves and ends up half-dead on the beach of a large city - he is placed in an aquarium where he slowly loses his mind, with the achingly-poignant moment when he performs a soft-shoe routine for a little girl (a biped "alien") on the other side of the display glass.

High Sierra (1941)

The heartbreaking scene of aging gangster Roy "Mad Dog" Earle's (Humphrey Bogart) visit to see a post-surgical club-footed Velma (Joan Leslie) ("We can still be friends..."), the film's suspenseful manhunt high up in the Sierra Mountains as police pursued Earle in a doomed last stand when his 'tarnished angel' friend Marie (Ida Lupino) refused to call out to him as she told the authorities: ("He's gonna die anyway, I'd rather it was this way. Go on, all of you, kill him, kill him...") - and after he had been shot dead when he called out to Marie in the open - her sad repetition of the word "Free" for Roy's "crash out" after the mongrel dog Pard had licked his hand with the final, blurry fadeout on Marie's tear-stained face as it filled the frame before a pan up to the mountains.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)


The emotional ending in which the trio of pets, Chance (voice of Michael J. Fox), Sassy (voice of Sally Field), and Shadow (voice of Don Ameche), finally complete their 250 mile journey home.


How Green Was My Valley (1941)

The tragic death of Huw Morgan's (Roddy McDowell) father Gwilym (Donald Crisp) when he drowned in a mine shaft accident, with his last words to his son, who was cradling him in his arms: "There's a good old man, you are"; and the nostalgic ending in which Huw recalled the happier memories of his youth as a chorus sang during a montage of the Morgan family at supper time, of Huw's first view of Bronwyn (Anna Lee) with the double basket on her hip, of Angharad (Maureen O'Hara) at the gate watching and waving at Mr. Gruffydd (Walter Pidgeon) and Huw returning through a hillside of blooming flowers - a view of Huw and his father walking hand-in-hand over the crest of a hill, as they did in the film's opening sequence, and a glimpse of the five brothers in an open field.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

The extremely touching scene in which beautiful gypsy girl Esmeralda (Maureen O'Hara) mercifully offered a drink of water to the deformed hunchback bellringer Quasimodo (Charles Laughton) after a public scourging; and Quasimodo's heartbreaking closing line next to a gargoyle high atop Notre Dame: "Why was I not made of stone like thee?"

I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932)

The visually impressive and chilling, downbeat fade-out ending when hunted, falsely-accused fugitive James Allen (Paul Muni) responded to his fiancee Helen (Helen Vinson) about how he lived - "I steal" - as he receded into the shadowy darkness.

I Am Legend (2007)

The scene of virologist scientist Dr. Robert Neville (Will Smith) mercy-killing his loyal companion and dog Samantha ("Sam") after it was attacked and wounded by a pack of infected, zombie-ish dogs when trying to protect him from Dark Seekers; anguished, he cradled his beloved German shepherd in his arms after injecting it with an experimental serum and then sang Three Little Birds by Bob Marley ("Don't worry about a thing, 'Cause ev'ry little thing, Gonna be alright") - but after noticing the dog's hair loss, tooth growth and increasingly aggressive behavior, he realized it was infected and snapped its neck (or suffocated it); the next day after burying Sam, he visited the neighborhood video/DVD rental store where a pretty female mannequin was posed in one of the aisles, and went up to it - piteously entreating the unresponsive figure: "I promised my friend that I would say hello to you today. Hello. Hello. Please say hello to me. Please say hello to me."

Imitation of Life (1959)


The scene in an alley in which Frankie (Troy Donahue), the date of light-skinned Sarah Jane Johnson (Susan Kohner), racistly asked: "Is it true?...Is your mother a nigger?" - and then accused her of lying and slapped her to the ground; and later the scene in a Hollywood motel room in which Sarah Jane allowed her estranged black-maid mother Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore) (who was in the employ of actress Lora Meredith (Lana Turner)) to hold her just "once you were still my baby"; and the funeral scene with Mahalia Jackson singing "Trouble of the World" as Sarah Jane returned for the funeral and sobbed at her mother's casket. [This film was a remake of director John M. Stahl's Imitation of Life (1934), with Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers.]

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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