Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 19

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

The Notebook (2004)

A romantic love story viewed over many years was the subject of this intense tearjerker. Young, privileged and pretty Southern debutante Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) shared a passionate rain-soaked kiss after an idyllic afternoon rowboating through a spectacular duck-filled setting with earthy mill worker Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling), as she learned for the first time that he had written her 365 love letters (one each day for a year) - although her domineering mother had intercepted them and disapproved of his 'low-class' status. Noah professed his love on the dock: "It wasn't over. It still isn't over!" Later, another emotional scene was the moment that Allie finally made a choice between Noah and her parent-approved fiancee Lon Hammond, Jr. (James Marsden) - and drove to Noah's fixed-up mansion to move in and be with him. In the final scenes, it was revealed that nursing home patient Allie Hamilton/Calhoun (Gena Rowlands) had severe Alzheimer's Disease and could only remember the story of their love for a few minutes. She and frail heart patient Noah or "Duke" Calhoun (James Garner) had met and fallen in love when in their teens - in old age, Noah repeatedly rekindled their love by re-reading from her old faded notebook diary (written by Allie as a present to Noah years earlier, with the handwritten dedication in its front: "Read this to me, and I'll come back to you"). After one of the readings telling of their love for each other, Allie briefly remembered their love during a special candlelight dinner in the nursing home when they shared a dance together - Allie requested: "Do you think I can be her tonight?" - but then she rapidly 'forgot' and panicked. In the final scene in the rest home, she remembered him as they held hands in her bedroom, where he promised he would always be there and never leave her. She asked him: "Do you think that our love can create miracles?" He replied: "Yes, I do. That's what brings you back to me each time." She asked a second question. "Do you think our love can take us away together?" He responded: "I think our love can do anything we want it to." They fell asleep in the same bed, and passed away together.

Now, Voyager (1942)


The final famous tearjerking scene between Jerry Durrance (Paul Heinreid) and Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis), in which Jerry asked once more: "Shall we just have a cigarette on it?" to which she responded breathlessly: "Yes, sir," holding out an opened cigarette box. He took two cigarettes and put them in his mouth, lit them both, and then handed one over to Charlotte; the film ended with Charlotte's most memorable line on the balcony - although she knew Jerry would never leave his wife, they found something far more enduring and happy: "And just think, it won't be for this time only. That is, if you'll help keep what we have. If we both try hard to, to protect that little strip of territory that's ours...Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars." As the music swelled, the camera moved between them and ascended above the trees to a starry night sky.

Of Mice and Men (1939 and 1992)

One of the saddest scenes of all time was the mercy-killing of child-like brute Lennie (Lon Chaney, Jr./John Malkovich) by his best friend and guardian George Milton (Burgess Meredith/Gary Sinise). Lennie had accidentally killed Mae (Betty Field/Sherilyn Fenn), the wife of the ranch boss' son Curley (Bob Steele/Casey Siemaszko), and George was faced with killing his friend to spare him from Curley's wrath and a lynch mob.

Before a tragic and tear-jerking mercy killing in the film's final scene, George promised his friend that they would finally have a place of their own - he distracted him with the retelling of their dream of a ranch of their own, before shooting him in the back of the head:

(1939 Version):
George: We're gonna have a little place...We're gonna have a cow, pigs and chickens. And then down on a flat, we're gonna have a field of alfafa.
Lennie: ...for the rabbits...and I get to tend the rabbits.
George: You tend the rabbits.
Lennie: And we could live off the fat of the land.
George: Just keep lookin' across that river. (He turned Lennie around) Like you can really see it.
Lennie: Where?
George: Right there. Can't you almost see 'em?
Lennie: Where, George?
George: Keep lookin'. Just keep hopin'.
Lennie: Aw, I'm lookin', George. Aw, I'm lookin'.
George: It's gonna be nice, Lennie. There ain't gonna be no trouble. No fights, there ain't gonna be nobody mean to nobody, steal from. Things are gonna be right.
Lennie (excitedly): Yeah, I can see it. Right over there. George, I can see it.

(1992 Version):
George: We're gonna get a little place...We're gonna have a cow, and some pigs, and we're gonna have, maybe-maybe, a chicken. Down in the flat, we'll have a little field of...
Lennie: Field of alfalfa for the rabbits.
George: ...for the rabbits.
Lennie: And I get to tend the rabbits...

Lennie's last pitiful words were about his oft-repeated task.

[Memorably remade in 1992 with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise (pictured).]

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

The tough training of drill instructor Sgt. Emil Foley (Louis Gossett, Jr.) - notably of naval candidate trainee Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) who was powerfully determined to not quit his recruit training: (Foley: "I want your DOR...All right, then you can forget it! You're out!" Mayo: "I ain't gonna quit...Don't you do it! Don't you - I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to g... I ain't got nothin' else. I got nothin' else"); the tragic scene of Mayo's buddy Sid Worley (David Keith) committing suicide by hanging (in the nude in a motel bathroom) after a failed relationship with Paula Pokrifki's (Debra Winger) manipulative work friend Lynette Pomeroy (Lisa Blount); and the rousing romantic finale (often considered cheesy) in which Zack kissed and then carried a surprised paper factory worker/girlfriend Paula away from her job in his arms: (Lynette: "Way to go, Paula! Way to go!") - to the sounds of "Up Where We Belong" during the credits.

The Old Maid (1939)

The tearjerker sequences of selfless old maid Aunt Charlotte Lovell (Bette Davis) 'almost' telling her unknowing, free-spirited illegitimate daughter / love child Clementina "Tina" (Jane Bryan) the truth of her parentage on the eve of her wedding day to handsome Lanning Halsey (William Lundigan) - Tina was raised by her sister Delia Lovell Ralston (Miriam Hopkins); Aunt Charlotte tenderly told Tina at her bedside of her love: "If I've been severe with you at times, I haven't meant it. I love you very much"; also the final scene of the new bride's last kiss given to her special aunt by the special request of Delia.


Los Olvidados (1950, Mex.)

The travails of a young gang member named Pedro (Alfonso Mejía) who prostituted himself to survive; the poignant image of a bloody-nosed, battered Pedro looking forlornly through a dirty window; and the heart-breaking, graceless disposal of slain Pedro's body -- put in a sack and carried out of town on a donkey -- while Pedro's mother passed in the street, ironically not knowing her son was dead.

Old Yeller (1957)


The devastating scene in which young Travis (Tommy Kirk) had to kill his faithful companion Ol' Yeller with a rifle when the dog contracted rabies.

On Golden Pond (1981)


Estranged daughter Chelsea Thayer's (Jane Fonda) complaint about dealing with her father Norman (76 year-old Henry Fonda): "I act like a big person everywhere else. I'm in charge of Los Angeles, and I come here, I feel like a little fat girl"; the teary confrontation and ultimate reconciliation between Norman and daughter Chelsea at the dock (Chelsea: "It just seems that you and me have been mad at each other for so long..." Norman: "I didn't think we were mad; I thought we just didn't like each other" - ending with "I want to be your friend"), culminating with Chelsea eagerly doing "a real g-ddamned back-flip" off the diving board for an appreciative Norman; and the final scene in which Ethel (Katharine Hepburn) prayed when aging husband Norman collapsed due to angina: ("Dear God, don't take him now. You don't want him. He's just an old poop"), with Ethel's beaming, reassuring line to Norman: "You are my knight in shining armor!", and the final line by Norman, using slang he had learned from 13 year-old Billy (Doug McKeon): ''Wanna dance or would you rather just suck face?''

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)


The famous ending in which just-married James Bond (George Lazenby) lost his new wife Tracy Di Vicenzo (Diane Rigg), when Blofeld's (Telly Savalas) henchwoman Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat) strafed their limousine with machine-gun fire - missing Bond but killing Tracy - this heart-breaking scene was punctuated by Louis Armstrong singing: "We Have All the Time In the World."

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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