Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 22

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

Pretty Woman (1990)

The ultimate rescue of street prostitute Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) by her Prince Charming - corporate raider Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) - in the film's Cinderella-like fantasy-conclusion as he arrived in a limousine and greeted her on the fire-escape balcony (with her statement: "I want the fairy tale" accompanied by a kiss and red flowers).

The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

The emotional turmoil New York Yankees star first baseman Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper) suffered after learning in his mid-30s that he was afflicted with the uncurable disease of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and his famous farewell speech in his # 4 uniform on July 4, 1939 in front of a packed Yankee Stadium of 62,000 fans, before which he was accompanied by his tearful wife Eleanor (Teresa Wright) in the dark tunnel leading to the infield, where he was honored and then spoke: "...People all say that I've had a bad break. But today -- today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

The Queen (2006)

The scene in which Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) - embattled and despised by the British public for her family's silence in the week between former Princess of Wales Diana's (played by Herself in archival footage) death and funeral - drove into the country and wept after her Land Rover stalled in a stream, and then encountered by chance a large "14 point" stag on the Balmoral estate - she shooed it away to safety when hunters approached; and the upsetting symbolic scene in which she later visited the stag in a bleeding room - it had been killed and beheaded by a paying guest/hunter on a neighboring estate - and her statement: "I hope he didn't suffer much"; and the tearjerking scene in which the Queen, forced to have a royal funeral for Diana, perused the thousands of bouquets left for "the people's princess" in front of Buckingham Palace's gates - and saw such bitter, callous sentiments as: "You were too good for them" and "Your blood is on their hands"; and the sweet moment of vindication when a little girl told the thankful Queen that the bouquet she brought was for Her Royal Majesty ("These are for you") and not the Princess; and the formal, respectful curtseys and head bows by the mourning crowds as she passed them, and the final closing shot as recently-appointed Labour Party Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) and the Queen walked through the Royal Gardens at Buckingham Palace and amiably chatted about the issues of the day.

The Railway Children (1970, UK)


This nostalgic Victorian era family drama by writer/director Lionel Jeffries (his directorial debut film) was one of the best children's/family films ever made (it was also filmed as a 1968 BBC serial); the tearjerking, emotionally heart-swelling ending occurred when missing father Charles Waterbury (Iain Cuthbertson) returned after being framed and wrongly arrested for the crime of treason and sent away to prison during Christmas; he was reunited at the train station with his oldest daughter Roberta (or Bobbie) (Jenny Agutter), as she ran along the platform and called out: "Daddy! My Daddy!"

Rain Man (1988)

The emotional farewell scenes between idiot savant autistic Raymond ("main man") Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman) and his slick, car-dealing brother Charlie (Tom Cruise) after a memorable cross-country road trip together; they touch heads together (Charlie: "I like having you for my brother" Raymond: "I'm an excellent driver") and then the camera slowly zooms in - also their parting after a short discussion at the Amtrak train station: (Charlie: "I'll see you soon." Raymond: "Yeah, One for bad, two for good." Charlie: "Bet two for good." Raymond: "It's three minutes to Wapner." Charlie: "You'll make it." Raymond: "Yeah.")

Ran (1985, Jp.)

The senseless death of loyal son Saburo Naotora Ichimonji (Daisuke Ryu) from a stray bullet as he rode on horseback with his newly-reconciled elderly father Lord Hidetora (Tatsuya Nakadai), who had murmured into his son's ear how hopeful he was of their newfound relationship as father and son; and Hidetora's anguish over the death after Saburo slipped off his horse to the ground.

Random Harvest (1942)

The marriage proposal scene between WWI-era amnesiac John Smith (or "Smithy") (Ronald Colman) and music hall actress Paula Ridgeway (Greer Garson) during a picnic in the countryside, as he told her: "My life began with you. I can't imagine a future without you..."; and the final revelatory scene about three years later at the countryside cottage in which wealthy aristocrat Charles Rainier (also Ronald Colman), who had lost all memory of his life with Paula, approached their familiar-looking old cottage after going through the squeaky gate and blossoming bough - he used a long-treasured key to open the door; behind him at the gate, his devoted and faithful secretary Margaret Hansen/Paula (also Greer Garson) (with tear-stained cheeks) softly called out to him: "Smithy? Oh, Smithy! Oh, darling" -- he unraveled the clue and recognized her voice - and remembered his former life being married to her - he turned around, softly responded "Paula!" to his long-lost love, and they came together to embrace and kiss as the music built to a crescendo -- and a fade to black as the film ended

The Reader (2008)

In director Stephen Daldry's Holocaust love story, adapted by David Hare from Bernhard Schlink's neo-classic novel, the film flashbacked to the summer of 1958 when 15 year-old virginal German schoolboy named Michael Berg (David Kross, and Ralph Fiennes as an adult) engaged in an erotic, passionate and secret summer-time affair with beautiful, hard-working, uneducated, repressed 36 year-old tram conductor Hanna Schmitz (Oscar-winning Kate Winslet); they had sex on a regular basis, after which he would read literature outloud to her (The Odyssey, Huckleberry Finn, The Lady with the Little Dog, War and Peace, and Lady Chatterley's Lover); his life was forever changed by the relationship; as a law student in 1966 in Heidelberg, he witnessed Hanna's Nazi war-crimes trial for being an SS guard at a satellite of Auschwitz near Cracow during the war; the trial revealed that Hanna had the weak and sickly women also read to her outloud before they were sent to the gas chambers; she admitted, falsely to the judge (to conceal her embarrassment about being illiterate), that she had written the report about the deaths of 300 trapped prisoners in a locked church fire; unlike five other female scapegoating defendants who were sentenced to a few years in prison, she was sentenced to life imprisonment; in 1988 after almost twenty years in prison, Hanna was to be paroled in one week, and Michael saw her during a poignant, painful prison visit for the first time in decades during which there was no real physical contact; he had been sending her audio cassette tape recordings of his readings of her favorite books (and she had painstakingly taught herself how to read and write), fulfilling his role as "The Reader," without any other kind of correspondence or replies to her letters; she told him: "You've grown up, kid"; he detailed how he had made arrangements for a job and apartment for her after her release; he also revealed how his own brief marriage hadn't lasted and then asked: "Have you spent a lot of time thinking about the past?" - she asked: "You mean with you?"; he responded: "No, no, I didn't mean with me"; she told him about her thoughts of the past: "It doesn't matter what I feel. It doesn't matter what I think. The dead are still dead"; he replied: "I wasn't sure what you'd learned"; she responded: "Well, I have learned, kid. I've learned to read"; when he came back a week later to pick her up, he sadly learned that she had committed suicide in her room - she had stacked up library books on a table (including copies of War and Peace and The Odyssey) before standing on them and hanging herself (off-screen); as he visited her cell, he was told: "She didn't pack. She never intended to leave"; in her 'will,' she had written: "tell Michael I said hello," causing him to sob uncontrollably; in the film's final scene in a steady rain, Michael took his grown-up daughter Julia (Hannah Herzsprung) to visit Hanna's grave in a church graveyard (where they had taken a bike ride when he was 15), as she asked: "Who was she?"; the film ended with them walking slowly away from the grave, with his voice-over: "I was 15. I was coming home from school. I was feeling ill. And a woman helped me"

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

The concluding tragic scene in which panicky teen Plato (Sal Mineo), with an empty gun in his hand, attempted to flee from the observatory, but was shot down by gunfire from the police cordon; anguished by the senseless killing and his failure to avert violence with his utmost effort, Jim Stark (James Dean) kneeled and crawled next to his friend's body, mourned the death of his surrogate 'son' who was unable to reach the adult world, and asked: "Hey jerk-pot. What did ya do that for?"; Plato's distraught maid/housekeeper (Marietta Canty) delivered his epitaph: "This poor baby got nobody. Just nobody" as Jim zipped up the red jacket on his friend's corpse, and told ambulance workers: "He was always cold."

The Red Balloon (1956, Fr.) (aka Le Ballon Rouge)

The sad, tragic scene in this short 34-minute film in which bullies with a slingshot popped and deflated young towheaded schoolboy Pascal's (Pascal Lamorisse) beloved bright red balloon to the ground; and the very sweet, uplifting, magical surprise ending in which Pascal discovered his resurrected red balloon accompanied by thousands of other colored balloons from around Paris, that lifted him up and carried him off on a ride to another world.

The Red Shoes (1948, UK)

The melodramatic tragic death scene when young, red-headed prima ballerina Victoria (Vicky) Page (Moira Shearer) fell to her death just before an encore concert presentation of The Red Shoes ballet - the controlling red shoes willfilly took her to a balcony overlook and forcefully pulled her off (into the path of an oncoming train on the tracks below), followed by a closeup of her bloody legs (and tights) and feet wearing the shoes; when she requested that conductor-composer husband Julian Craster (Marius Goring) remove her red ballet shoes, she died; and the film's final images of the ballet being performed as planned without her (with a spotlight shining on the floor where she would have been dancing) and the announcement "There will be no performance of The Red Shoes tonight."

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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