Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 13

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

In a Lonely Place (1950)

Beautiful but cool blonde next-door apartment neighbor Laurel Gray's (Gloria Grahame) teary words of goodbye to cynical, hard-living, self-destructive and volatile Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) as he walked away after their relationship has deteriorated by film's end: "I lived a few weeks while you loved me. Goodbye Dix..."

In Country (1989)

The achingly poignant and moving climax in which lively teenaged Kentucky girl Samantha "Sam" Hughes (Emily Lloyd), haunted Vietnam vet and Samantha's uncle Emmett Smith (Bruce Willis) and Samantha's overweight grandmother Mamaw (Peggy Rea) visited the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial in Washington, DC (just built at the time of this film's release) to honor Samantha's father, who died before she was born while serving in Vietnam (Mamaw: "I think I'm gonna bawl") - and Emmett's finding of the names of his fallen comrades.

In the Company of Men (1997)

There was one particularly tearjerking scene in writer/director Neil LaBute's disturbing drama about cruel, premeditated, retributive revenge sought against one innocent female victim. Handsome, misogynistic corporate ex frat-boy Chad (Aaron Eckhart) had proposed a "game" to bespectacled business colleague/nice-guy college pal Howard (Matt Malloy) that they find an unattractive woman, date her, and then unceremoniously dump her during their six week stint at a business branch office. Chad selected deaf and naive secretarial assistant temp worker Christine (Stacy Edwards), a dark-haired beauty, as their innocent, targeted female. In week five, Chad slept with her and she believed he was in love with her. Howard, on the other hand, had genuinely fallen in love with Christine, but was dropped by her. Howard decided to tell Christine (out of guilt, hurt, and jealousy) that Chad's love was a total sham and that they had planned the game together ("He doesn't like you. He loathes you. He detests you and your pathetic retard voice. That's what he calls it...You better wake up. You were used. It was a game"), but she had trouble believing him ("Chad would never do that"). In week six, she met Chad in a hotel room, and asked: "Do you love me?" and then admitted that she knew about his duplicity in the game ("I know what's going on...You two were playing a game on me, right?"). Chad quickly attempted to explain his participation in a "contest" to date Christine, but then admitted he couldn't keep a "straight face" telling the excuse. When he asked how she felt, she slapped him hard across the face. He asked: "It only hurts that much?" and then promptly left the room, dumping her ("The deed's done"). He left her in the room where the emotionally-devastated Christine sobbed uncontrollably.

Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939)

The entire doomed love affair between married world-famous concert violinist Holger Brandt (Leslie Howard) and his 6 year-old daughter Ann Marie's (Ann E. Todd) comely piano teacher Anita Hoffman (Ingrid Bergman in her first American film); the scene in which Holger begged Anita not to get on a train (she was going away to Sweden to escape their forbidden affair); the use of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring as a metaphorical idea and musical theme; and the scene at a tombstone on the French Riviera with its words: "Mon amour dure apres la mort (My love endures after death)" - and her leaving of him: "I have been an intermezzo in his life", and her tears after she had bid him good-bye (without telling him that she was leaving him) -- followed by her Dear John letter: ("...But we know in our hearts that love like ours is wrong -- that it drags itself down with remorse and fears, and the unhappiness of others..."); and the startling, heart-breaking scene in which Holger's daughter was struck by a car when rushing to greet her father, and Holger's line to his bitter son Eric (Douglas Scott): "You see, Eric, even if you don't need me anymore, now it's I who need you"; and the last shot in which wife Margit (Edna Best) forgave Holger for his mid-life crisis/affair: ("Holger ...welcome home ...Holger, welcome home!") [Note: Bergman reprised her star-making role from the original Intermezzo (1936, Swe.), with co-star Gösta Ekman and directed by Gustaf Molander.]

The Iron Giant (1999)


The scene in which a deer was shot by hunters in front of young Hogarth Hughes (voice of Eli Marienthal) and his 50-foot robot friend The Iron Giant (voice of Vin Diesel); and the climactic sacrifice by the Iron Giant to save the small Maine town of Rockwell from a nuclear missile -- just before the explosion in outer space, the Giant realized his heroism: "I'm Superman!" to a swelling score.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)


The sorrowful scene in which George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), while dealing with a "Pottersville" alternate reality in which he wished he had never been born, found his former wife Mary (Donna Reed) - a sorrowful spinster librarian who didn't recognize him, and screamed to get away from him on the street; and the triumphant scene in which a joyful George Bailey was released from the hellish "Pottersville" reality: ("Ha, ha, ha, ha! My mouth's bleeding, Bert! My mouth's bleeding! Zuzu's petals... Zuzu... Merry Christmas!"), and George ran through the town of Bedford Falls, welcoming back his favorite places; and the miraculous heartwarming finale in which George ("the richest man in town") was surrounded by all of his friends and associates in his home next to the Christmas tree to sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Auld Lang Syne - all his friends have paid his rent, and he is toasted by his war-hero brother Harry (Todd Karns): "A my big brother, George. The richest man in town", as he and Mary looked at the handwritten inscription by angel Clarence in the front of the book Tom Sawyer ("Dear George: - Remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings! Love Clarence") and Zuzu noted how an ornamental bell was ringing on the Christmas tree: "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings" (signifying Clarence's promotion to an angel with wings.)

Jacob's Ladder (1990)

In an hallucinatory scene, lethally-wounded Vietnam veteran Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) had a horrific experience in hell/purgatory where he was bluntly told by an Evil Doctor (Davidson Thomson) that he was dead ("You've been killed. Don't you remember?"). He was then visited by his ex-wife Sarah (Patricia Kalember) and their two sons while in the hospital, as he asserted to her: "I'm not dead, I'm alive. I'm not dead." She responded: "Oh, Jacob. I still love you, whatever it's worth," but their reconciliation was dashed when a sardonic disembodied voice taunted: "Dream on" - causing Jacob to break down in tears, as he realized that her appearance was only a wish-fulfilling fantasy while he was dying (as he pleaded: "Help me"). Jacob experienced the ongoing trial of being reconciled with the death of his young 6 year-old son Gabriel (uncredited Macauley Culkin) while he was in Vietnam, when he remembered /imagined Gabe's death by an automobile when the young boy was picking up baseball cards he had dropped in the middle of the street while walking his bicycle. There were scenes of Jacob being thwarted by demons into seeing his son again - until the next-to-final scene (in his old apartment bathed in golden light) in which he finally accepted his own death. In the tearjerking climax, Jacob spotted his dead son Gabe, who was playing with a red music box (playing "Sonny Boy") on the stairs - the boy looked up and greeted him with: "Hi Dad!" As they hugged, Gabe reassured his father: "It's OK" - followed by Gabe telling him: "Come on, let's go up" - meaning their ascension up the staircase into the golden light. Jacob's death on an operating table in Vietnam was then revealed, as an army doctor stated: "He's gone. He looks kind of peaceful... He put up a hell of a fight, though."

The Jazz Singer (1927)

The moving reconciliation scene in which jazz singer Jack Robin (Al Jolson) met his estranged dying father Cantor Rabinowitz (Warner Oland) and later decided to sing "Kol Nidre" in his father's place in the synagogue.

Jean de Florette (1986, Fr.)


The sad scenes leading up to the tragic death of hunchbacked prospective farmer Jean de Florette (Gerard Depardieu), who planned to generate a temporary income of 2000 francs by pawning his wife Aimiee's (then real-life wife Elisabeth Depardieu) heirloom emerald necklace - however, his plans were dashed when she admitted that she'd already sold her necklace for 100 francs, since it had fake emeralds, not real ones; Jean delivered a desperate prayer to God for rain -- and when it did rain in a faraway place, it caused him to scream at God in anger and anguish: "I'm a hunchback! Have you forgotten that? Do you think it's easy? Isn't there anybody up there? There's nobody up there!"; he was killed by a falling rock caused by a dynamite explosion he set off while trying to get water to feed his crops - due to the deliberate blocking of a well spring by wealthy and cruel neighbor-landowner Cesar Souberyan (Yves Montand) who desired the property for himself; Cesar's nephew Ugolin (Daniel Auteuil) expressed grief-stricken guilt over his own duplicity (he had been pretending to be Jean's friend): "It's not me that's crying. It's my eyes," and Jean's daughter Manon (Ernestine Mazurowna) was tearfully angry upon seeing the uncovered well by the greedy Cesar and Ugolin, and she sought revenge against the two co-conspirators in the sequel film. [The film was the first half of a two film series based on Marcel Pagnol's novel L'Eau des Collines, followed by Manon des Sources (1986, Fr.).]

Jeffrey (1995)

The off-screen death of HIV-positive, dim-witted Cats chorus member Darius (Bryan Batt) from a brain hemorrhage, and his middle-aged, flamboyant, quick-witted interior decorator/lover Sterling's (Patrick Stewart) hostile, teary reaction to scared and fearfully-celibate NY actor/waiter Jeffrey's (Steven Weber) feelings of sadness in the face of impending mortality: "You know, Darius once said you were the saddest person he knew...because he was sick, he had a fatal disease, and he was a million times happier than you"; and the scene of Darius' apparition telling Jeffrey: "Hate AIDS, Jeffrey, not life...just think of AIDS like the guest that won't leave, the one we all hate, but you have to remember: Hey, it's still our party" - and the parting glance between Sterling and Darius, as Darius added: "And be nice to Sterling."

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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