Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 15

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

Ladyhawke (1985)

The joyous tearful reunion-celebration of the lovers Captain Etienne Navarre (Rutger Hauer) and Isabeau d'Anjou (Michelle Pfeiffer) - after the curse had been lifted as Etienne remarked: "You cut your hair!" - in the scene, their companions: the escaped thief Phillipe Gaston - the Mouse (Matthew Broderick) and cloistered monk Father Imperius (Leo McKern) tearfully looked on.

The Land Before Time (1988)

In this G-rated, animated feature (Don Bluth-directed / Spielberg / Lucas-produced), the emotional, heart-stirring scene of the death of the Mother (voice of Helen Shaver) of young Aptosaurus Littlefoot (voice of Gabriel Damon). She was mortally wounded after fighting off Tyrannosaurus Rex 'Sharptooth'; during a nighttime thunderstorm, she reminded him about the Great Valley before dying: ("Dear sweet Littlefoot. Do you remember the way to the Great Valley?" "I guess so. But why do I have to know? You're gonna be with me." "I'll be with you, even if you can't see me." "What do you mean if I can't see you? I can always see you." "Littlefoot, let your heart guide you. It whispers. So listen closely..."). Realizing that the scene would be devastating for family audiences, the film-makers added a post-death scene to soften the emotional impact. Soon after, a depressed, angered and confused, newly-orphaned Littlefoot accidentally slid down a ravine, where he bumped into a wise old armored dinosaur named Rooter (voice of Pat Hingle, who also narrated the film) who consoled him upon learning of his mother's death: ("It is nobody's fault. The great circle of life has begun. But you see, not all of us arrive together at the end." "What'll I do? I miss her so much." "And you'll always miss her, but she'll always be with you as long as you remember the things she taught you. In a way, you'll never be apart, for you are still a part of each other").

Lassie Come Home (1943)


The scene in which Lassie (Pal) was separated from her loving young owner Joe (Roddy McDowell) when his poor family was forced to sell the dog to the rich Duke of Rudling (Nigel Bruce); and the teary scene in which Lassie, having traveled 1000 miles, returned to Joe and was reunited.

The Last American Virgin (1982)

In this teen sex comedy's concluding segment after cute, curly-haired newcomer classmate Karen (Diane Franklin) had become pregnant (her shallow boyfriend Rick (Steve Antin) had made love to her under the school's bleachers and then dumped her when he found out), socially-awkward and sensitive nice-guy pizza delivery boy Gary (Lawrence Monoson) - suffering from unrequited love - helped her to acquire an expensive $250 abortion by selling some of his possessions (including his stereo equipment) and borrowing money in a montage/abortion sequence (to the tune of U2's "I Will Follow"); however, in the downbeat, unexpected, tearjerking ending, after Gary had taken care of her for the weekend in his grandmother's empty house and expressed how much he loved her and embraced her (and was planning on giving her a birthday present of a gold-heart locket with To Karen With Love inscribed on the back), she was back in Rick's arms at her own birthday party where a stunned Gary saw her passionately making out with him; when the two realized that Gary was watching them, they just stared back blankly, leaving a heartbroken Gary crying at the sight as he left and drove away into the darkness in his pizza delivery station wagon - the film's ending!

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

The romantic farewell scene in a cave behind a cascading waterfall between Nathaniel "Hawkeye" Poe (Daniel Day-Lewis) and redcoat colonel's headstrong daughter Cora Munro (Madeleine Stowe) as they were pursued by a Huron war party: "...You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you!..."; and the poignant eulogy by Chingachgook (Russell Means) for his son Uncas (Eric Schweig) after avenging his death by killing Magua (Wes Studi) - he spoke the film's final lines of dialogue: "Great Spirit, Maker of All Life. A warrior goes to you swift and straight as an arrow shot into the sun. Welcome him and let him take his place at the council fire of my people. He is Uncas, my son. Tell them to be patient and ask death for speed; for they are all there but one - I, Chingachgook - Last of the Mohicans" - and the tearjerking moment after he finished his speech, when he gave a tortured look to his adoptive European-born white son Hawkeye as they looked out to the New York wilderness.

The Last Picture Show (1971)

The fishing scene in which ex-cowboy Sam 'The Lion' (Oscar-winning Ben Johnson) reminisced about a girl he swam nude with one day ("...she wanted to swim the horses across this tank. Kind of a crazy thing to do, but we done it anyway. She bet me a silver dollar she could beat me across. She did. This old horse I was ridin' didn't want to take the water. But she was always lookin' for somethin' to do like that. Somethin' wild. I'll bet she's still got that silver dollar"); and the scene of the senseless death of Sonny Crawford's (Timothy Bottoms) mentally retarded brother Billy (Sam Bottoms) -- hit by a truck -- and Sonny's anguished cry: "He was sweepin', ya sons of bitches. He was sweepin'!", before covering Billy's body with his letter jacket; and the scene of coach's wife Ruth Popper's (Cloris Leachman) tirade at Sonny for abandoning her when he returns to her after Billy's death ("What am I doing apologizin' to you? Why am I always apologizin' to you, ya little bastard?...") before empathically realizing Sonny's pain ("Never you mind, honey, never you mind...").

Legends of the Fall (1994)

The scene in which family patriarch Colonel William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins), unable to speak after having suffered a stroke, wrote on a message pad: "AM HAPPY" - to middle son Tristan (Brad Pitt) on his return after years of self-exile; the accidental death of Tristan's "half-breed" wife Isabel Two (Karina Lombard) by a ricocheting bullet, and the reconciliation between the Colonel and his eldest, politician son Alfred Ludlow (Aidan Quinn) when Alfred saved his family from mobster John T. O'Banion's (Robert Wisden) gang.

Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948)

The unrequited love and sorrow of Lisa (Joan Fontaine) - an "unknown woman," revealed in a letter to pianist Stefan Brand (Louis Jourdan); the scene in which as a shy, fourteen year old girl, Lisa stood in fright behind a glass door, holding it open for the pianist she had fallen in love with; the scene on the staircase in which Lisa looked down and witnessed Stefan's return home in the early morning hours with his latest woman-of-the-evening; Lisa's one night of romantic bliss with Stefan including his purchase of a single white rose for her; the sequence at the Viennese fairgrounds - their cyclorama ride, dancing in a deserted dance-hall, her kneeling at the keyboard as he played, and her return up the stairs to his apartment; their goodbye at the train station when Stefan promised to be gone only two weeks; also the sequence in which Lisa left her husband and returned with a bouquet of white roses to offer herself to her pianist love; and the touching scene years later of Stefan looking back and remembering the enamoured young girl shyly holding the door open for him.

Life Is Beautiful (1997, It.)


The life-saving, imaginative illusion and play-acting that clowning, child-like hotel waiter Guido (Oscar-winning Roberto Benigni) gave his young son Giosue (Giorgio Cantarini) to shield him from the ugly horrors of a Nazi concentration camp where they were interned - the fiction that the first prize in the game they were playing was a brand-new armored tank; and Guido's shocking death scene after he was caught by a soldier during an escape and deliberately clownishly marched to his execution by machine-gun fire (offscreen) when he realized his son (hidden in a box) was watching; and the joyous scene in which Giosue was reunited with his mother Dora (Nicoletta Braschi) after American troops liberated the camp, thinking he'd won the "game."

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1979)

The cruel torture/sacrifice of the saintly Aslan (voice of Stephen Thorne) at the Great Stone Table by the White Witch (voice of Beth Porter), as her evil minions taunted, stoned, shaved and muzzled the lion before the Witch killed him with a dagger. [This scene was memorably redone in the live-action version The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005).]

The Lion King (1994)

The extremely sad scene of the cruel death of "Lion King" ruler Mufasa after rescuing young son Simba from a large stampeding herd of wildebeests (the disastrous stampede was engineered by Mufasa's wicked, power-hungry brother Scar and the hyenas), and then falling to his death from a rock cliff to the valley floor far below when Scar wouldn't help him up. Instead, Scar pierced Mufasa's paws with his own claws, sarcastically exclaimed: "Long live the king", and tossed him off; afterwards, Simba vainly attempted to awaken his father, shed some tears, and then cuddled up next to him. Adding to Simba's misery, Scar led him to believe that he was responsible for his father's death, told him to run away, and then ordered his three hyena cohorts to kill Simba.

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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