Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 23

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

The Remains of the Day (1993)


The scene in which rigidly polite, reserved British butler James Stevens (Anthony Hopkins) presided over an international dinner function, knowing his under-butler father (Peter Vaughan) had passed away; the touching scene in which Stevens was reluctant to reveal the book he was reading (a simple love story) to housekeeper Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson); and the final scene of urgent, but unfulfilled and repressed longing and love between them in which Kenton, now Mrs. Benn, departed on a trolley car, after their lingering handshake in the rain - with Stevens finally showing the outward emotion of regret, crying in his car during a rainstorm - the splattering raindrops on the windshield obscured his own tears.

The Road Home (1999, China) (aka Wo de fu qin mu qin)

The brilliant sequences (flashbacking to the past 40 years earlier) shot in vibrant color, especially of the unique and legendary 'romantic love' courtship period when young, bright red-jacketed, pig-tailed and infatuated Di Zhao (Zhang Ziyi) fell in love at first sight with her future husband Changyu Luo (Zheng Hao) - a teacher from the city who came to her small rural village of Sanhetun in Northern China; the scenes of her painstakingly preparing a meal dish for the working men building the schoolhouse - hoping that Luo would choose her food; and the scenes of Di's loss of a prized red hair barrette given to her by Luo, her long and urgent cross-country chase after her beloved's vehicle when she tripped and broke her meal dish (of mushroom dumplings), and her waiting in the bitter cold for his return, in this old-fashioned love story with a grandiose score.

The Roaring Twenties (1939)

The memorable death scene of rough gangster Eddie Bartlett (James Cagney) in the snow on the steps of a church in the arms of Panama Smith (Gladys George) and her epitaph: "He used to be a big shot."

RoboCop (1987)

The heart-breaking scene in which RoboCop (Peter Weller) strolled through his former home (now up for sale), and had intermittent, ghost-like flash-backs of his old life as Police Officer Alex Murphy, with the POV shots of his wife Ellen (Angie Bolling) and son Jimmy (Jason Levine) -- at one point Ellen told him intimately: "I really have to tell you something...I love you!"

Rocky (1976)


The climactic ending in which boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), after "going the distance" with Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), ignored interviewers and press crowding him in the ring, and instead called out for Adrian (Talia Shire): ("Adrian! ADRIAAAN!") - and finally after reaching her - holding and embracing her with a mutual "I love you!" to the sound of Bill Conti's triumphant score.

Rocky III (1982)

The scenes surrounding the traumatic death of Rocky's (Sylvester Stallone) long-time, loyal trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) - during Rocky's defense of his title against James "Clubber" Lang (Mr. 'T') in Philadelphia in 1981. Even before the big contest, a name-calling brawl broke out between the two opponents as they approached the ring. Mickey was shoved aside by a charged-up and angry Lang and suffered a heart attack. As ailing Mickey was cared for in the dressing room, he urged Rocky to go out and fight: "Take him, take him good. Get it over with, why don't you?...Now get out there and do it." Lang won the championship in an upset defeat of Rocky in the second round. Defeated, Rocky returned to the dressing room where Mickey was dying, and still awaiting an ambulance. He told Mickey about the "knock-out" defeat (misinterpreted by Mickey as a win for Rocky), to which the delirious trainer replied: "I love you, kid" - before expiring. Rocky collapsed onto the chest of his long-time friend and deeply wailed and mourned the loss ("Mick, don't go away. We got more to do...'). A small memorial service at a mausoleum led by a Jewish rabbi (Gravemarker: In Loving Memory, Mickey Goldmill, April 7, 1905-August 15, 1981).

Roman Holiday (1953)

There were two moving, tear-jerking scenes in this classic film:

First, the sad goodbye scene between Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) and commoner newspaper reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) after they had spent a wonderful day together. She gave Joe difficult-to-hear directions after he drove her to the Embassy gate so she could return to her royal duties: "I have to leave you now. I'm going to that corner there and turn. You must stay in the car and drive away. Promise not to watch me go beyond the corner. Just drive away and leave me as I leave you... I don't know how to say goodbye. I can't think of any words" - Joe suggested: "Don't try" - and they sadly hugged and kissed each other for the last time.

The second bittersweet scene was the Princess' final press conference in which Princess Ann said farewell to all the city's newspapermen - and to Joe - in the lineup. They both had to pretend that they didn't know each other. She could only be polite and impersonal: "So happy Mr. Bradley" and not reveal the secret of her day with him. During her final goodbye to everyone, she slowly turned toward the audience, gave a wide smile toward everyone (and then directly toward Joe), held the tear-inducing gaze, and then departed. After the press corps had left, Joe stared at the door through which she left, never to see her again - with echoing footsteps, he slowly walked out of the room. The camera with a backward-moving tracking shot followed his retreat from the girl he had loved, as he turned one last time at the end of the hall to sadly look back before leaving.

Rome, Open City (1945, It.)

The shocking, realistic scene in which pregnant widow Pina (Anna Magnani) ran after a military truck hysterically screaming the name of her lithographer fiancee and underground leader Francesco (Francesco Grandjacquet), when she was abruptly machine-gunned and killed on her planned wedding day, in front of her ten year-old son Marcello (Vito Annichiarico) and brave parish priest Don Pietro (Aldo Fabrizi).

Romeo and Juliet (1968)


Franco Zeffirelli's beautiful version of the classic Shakespearean "tale of two star-crossed lovers", and the classic double-suicide, Romeo's (Leonard Whiting) poisoning and especially Juliet's (Olivia Hussey) "happy dagger" scene; and the final somber epilogue with the funeral procession of the corpses of the two dead teens to the tolling of bells, and the off-screen narration of Laurence Olivier: "A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun for sorrow will not show his head, For never was a story of more woe, Than this of Juliet and her Romeo."

Rudy (1993)


The climactic and inspirational scene (based on a true story) in which underdog, small-framed and big-hearted Daniel E. 'Rudy' Ruettiger (Sean Astin) beat unsurmountable odds - he heroically won the game; in the only play of his career, which lasted just 27 seconds, he sacked the Georgia Tech quarterback, and was then victoriously carried off the field on the shoulders of his Fighting Irish Notre Dame football teammates in 1975 - fulfilling his dreams and having his family witness his triumph.

The Rules of the Game (1939, Fr.) (aka La Regle du Jeu)

The famous scene of the shooting party featuring the graphic slaughter of pheasants and rabbits, with the disturbing shot of a rabbit in the last throes of dying, clutching its fore-paws to its breast; and the sweet, heart-breaking scene in which upper-class heiress Christine de la Cheyniest (Nora Gregor) admitted she loved her close friend - the clownish, middle-aged, low-brow Mr. Octave (director Jean Renoir) in a greenhouse: ("You know, it's you I love. Do you love me?...Then kiss me" -- when Octave gave her a warm peck on the cheek, Christine protested: "On the mouth, like a lover" - they kissed each other passionately and hopelessly, knowing their love affair was an impossibility).

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

Previous Page Next Page