Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 14

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

Jerry Maguire (1996)


Cocky sports super agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) admitted his love to his stunned wife Dorothy Boyd (Rene Zellweger) in front of her friends during a divorced womens' support group meeting in her own living room, stressing:

"I'm looking for my wife...If this is where it has to happen, then this is where it has to happen. I'm not letting you get rid of me. How about that?...Our little project, our company had a very big night. A very, very big night, but it wasn't complete. It wasn't nearly close to being in the same vicinity as complete, because I couldn't share it with you. I couldn't hear your voice, or laugh about it with you. I missed my wife. We live in a cynical world, a cynical world, and we work in a business of tough competitors. I love you. You complete me, and I just...."

Dorothy interrupted with tears: "Aw, shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello. You had me at hello" - they embraced (viewed from outside the window).

Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

The extreme long-shot of Joe Banks (Tom Hanks) leaving his doctor's office after finding out that he had an incurable terminal disease - so lonely for contact he hugged a woman's Great Dane outside the office - with Ray Charles' mournful rendition of "Old Man River" on the soundtrack; and the astonishing fever-dream Joe hallucinated of a gigantic full moon on the horizon to which he bowed and prayed: ("Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how big... thank you. Thank you for my life").

Johnny Belinda (1948)

Mute rape victim Belinda McDonald's (Jane Wyman) silent recitation of the Lord's Prayer in sign language at the bedside of her dead father Black (Charles Bickford).

The Joy Luck Club (1993)


The criss-crossing stories stretching over 30 years told by the "Joy Luck Club" (a mah-jongg group of four aging Chinese women) - Suyuan Woo (Kieu Chinh), Lindo Jong (Tsai Chin), Ying-Ying St. Clair (France Nuyen), and An-Mei Hsu (Lisa Lu) - about their lives in China and their coming to America and their relationships with their Chinese-American daughters; including the hairdresser salon scene in which frustrated child chess prodigy Waverly Jong (Tamlyn Tomita) admitted to her passive-aggressive controlling mother Lindo how she never seemed satisfied with her: ("You don’t know the power you have over me. One word from you, one look and I’m four years old again, crying myself to sleep. Because nothing I do, can ever, ever please you"); the scene in which abusive husband Lin Xiao (Russell Wong) calls his wife Ying-Ying a whore while in the presence of his opera singer mistress (Grace Chang): "She is a whore, just like you"; and the semi-accidental, vengeful drowning of Ying-Ying's son while washing him in order to end the connection between herself and her cruel and unfaithful husband; and the scene of the older and mentally-unstable Ying-Ying telling her obedient daughter Lena (Lauren Tom) to demand respect and tenderness from her dominating, miserly husband Harold (Michael Paul Chan): ("Then tell him now. And leave this lopsided house. Do not come back until he gives you those things [i.e., respect, tenderness], with both hands open").

Kes (1969)


The senseless, cruel murder of a baby kestrel by protagonist Billy's (David Casper) older brother Jud (Freddie Fletcher).

The Kid (1921)


The heart-breaking scene in which social workers tried to take The Kid (Jackie Cooper) away from his de facto foster parent The Little Tramp (Charlie Chaplin).

The Killing Fields (1984)


The tearful reactions over the plight of Cambodia (abandoned by the callous United States, invaded by the vicious Khymer Rouge); the close relationship between New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) and Cambodian assistant, friend and interpreter, Dith Pran (Dr. Haing S. Ngor); their separation when the Khymer Rouge took over Phnom Penh; the trials Dith underwent while a prisoner of the Khymer Rouge and his escape through "the killing fields"; and the famous reunion scene and Dith's memorable response to Schanberg's begging for forgiveness: "Nothing to forgive, Sydney. Nothing", as John Lennon's "Imagine" played.

Kings Row (1942)

The melodramatic scene of playboy Drake McHugh (Ronald Reagan) waking up, calling to Randy Monoghan (Ann Sheridan) and looking toward the foot of his bed to discover that both his legs have been amputated by a vindictive doctor following a railroad accident ("Where's the rest of me?"); and the embrace between legless Drake and Parris Mitchell (Robert Cummings) while Randy repeated over and over again at the door: "Mary, Blessed Mother of God," and the final triumphant scene of Parris running off to meet his new love Elise Sandor (Kaaren Verne) as Erich Wolfgang Korngold's music swells at the end.

Kitty Foyle (1940)

The concluding scene in this 'women's picture' in which hard-working and self-reliant Philadelphia woman Kitty Foyle (Ginger Rogers) made her final decision before her mirror-reflection 'conscience' ("You're no longer a little girl, you're a grown woman now") with a snowglobe in her hand -- about her choice for marriage, either to (1) upper-crust philanderer and ex-husband Wyn Strafford VI (Dennis Morgan) who was on the dock ready to sail for South America, or to (2) struggling and idealistic Dr. Mark Eisen (James Craig) at the hospital - the scene provided an answer to the question; she left a note with the doorman regarding her choice of life's path: ("...I'm going to be married tonight -- (to taxi driver: "St. Timothy's Hospital")) - and the astonished doorman's last line: "Well, Judas Priest."

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)


The scene in which separated dad Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) read a heartless letter from "Mommy" Joanna (Meryl Streep) to their young son Billy (Justin Henry): "Mommy has gone away...Being your mommy was one thing, but there are other things too and this is what I have to do...I will always be your mommy and I will always love you. I just won't be your mommy in the house, but I'll be your mommy at the heart. And now I must go and be the person I have to be"; and Ted's heart-felt defense plea on the courtroom witness stand at a child custody hearing, admitting that he's not a perfect parent, but pleading that his ex-wife Joanna should not take Billy: "Billy has a home with me. I've made it the best I could. It's not perfect. I'm not a perfect parent. Sometimes I don't have enough patience 'cause I forget that he's a little kid. But I'm there. We get up in the morning and then we eat breakfast, and he talks to me and then we go to school. And at night, we have dinner together and we talk then and I read to him. And we built a life together and we love each other. If you destroy that, it may be irreparable. Joanna, don't do that, please. Don't do it twice to him."

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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