Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 24

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

Salaam Bombay! (1988, India)

The wrenching drama of abandoned eleven-year-old Krishna (real-life street rag-picker Shafiq Syed) who headed to the big city of Bombay (with demands from his mother to not come home until he had acquired 500 rupees to reimburse his brother for breaking his bicycle), where he joined hordes of homeless urchin children and down-and-out adults scrambling to survive the harsh streets; and the memorable heartbreaking scene when Krishna hires a letter-writer to send a message back home, only to realize that he doesn't even know where his village is, or what it might be called; also, Krishna (now called Chaipau - literally "tea boy") and his unrequited love for a terrified, captive 16 year-old Nepalese virgin named "Sweet Sixteen" Rekha (Anita Kanwar) who is being sold into prostitution in the red-light district, and his awkward attempt to set her free by lighting a fire; and his torturous existence in a harsh, high-walled reform school; and the famous image of Krishna running aimlessly down a Bombay street through traffic.

Same Time, Next Year (1978)

The achingly poignant Marvin Hamlisch score and title song: "The Last Time I Felt Like This" - sung by Johnny Mathis and Jane Olivor; the 1966 scene in which George Peters (Alan Alda) tearfully came to terms with the death of his son Michael in Vietnam, during one of his annual extramarital trysts with lover Doris (Ellen Burstyn); and the "final" good-bye between George and Doris when she refused his marriage proposal, and George's unexpected return, admitting that he couldn't live without her - in the tearjerking, crowd-pleasing finale.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The poignant, sacrificial death of Capt. John Miller (Tom Hanks), and his heroic, dying order to Private James Ryan (Matt Damon) with the terse words: "James... Earn this. Earn it"; and the scene 50 years later at Miller's grave as the older, teary-eyed Ryan asked his wife: "Am I a good man? Tell me that I have been a good man" and uncomprehendingly - she reassured him; also with the final image of a back-lit American flag billowing in the wind.

Schindler's List (1993)

The upsetting, brutal scene of the clearing and liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto, and the fate of a girl in a drab red coat: still wearing her coat, she was later spotted on a cart piled with corpses; the exhumation and incineration of the corpses in graves, the arrival of a boxcar of female workers at Auschwitz and the intense shower scene; Schindler's heartwrenching goodbye to his accountant Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley) ("I didn't do enough") - and Schindler's final address to his workers following the war; also the final coda (in color) pairing real-life survivors with their counterpart actors/actresses as they placed rocks on the real-life grave of Schindler.

The Secret of NIMH (1982)

The touching scene of tiny little field mouse Mrs. Brisby (voice of Elizabeth Hartman) administering medicine to mortally-threatened pneumonia-inflicted son Timmy (voice of Ian Fried) to the tune of Paul Williams' "Flying Dreams"; and Nicodemus' (Derek Jacobi) description of the National Institute of Mental Health's (NIMH) laboratory: "...There were many animals there, in cages. They were put through the most unspeakable tortures to satisfy some scientific curiosity. Often at night, I would hear them crying out in anguish..."

Secrets & Lies (1996, UK)


The climactic birthday scene in which all of the hidden secrets, evasions and personal issues were finally revealed -- highlighted by frumpy, middle-aged working class mother Cynthia Purley (Brenda Blethyn) telling her bitter, street sweeper daughter Roxanne (Claire Rushbrook) that successful, soft-spoken, compassionate black optometrist Hortense Cumberbatch (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) was actually her half-sister, and Cynthia's silently suffering photographer brother Maurice's (Timothy Spall) angry speech about : "Secrets and lies! We're all in pain! Why can't we share our pain? I've spent my entire life trying to make people happy, and the three people I love the most in the world hate each other's guts, and I'm in the middle! I can't take it anymore!"; also the final overhead shot of Cynthia, Roxanne and Hortense settling comfortably in the backyard as a new family, and Cynthia's contented last line: "This is the life, ain't it?"

Sense & Sensibility (1995, UK)


The scene in which spirited Marianne Dashwood (Kate Winslet) discovered that womanizer John Willoughby (Greg Wise) - the man she had fallen madly in love with during a torrid affair - failed her and was instead engaged to a rich woman, and her trance-like recitation of William Shakespeare's 116th Sonnet ("Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds...") while staring at his mansion during a heavy rainstorm - leading to her near-death of pneumonia; and the surprising news from stepbrother-in-law bachelor Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) to his shy love interest Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thompson) that he never married greedy Lucy Steele (Imogen Stubbs) - but that his brother Robert (Richard Lumsden) did -- and Elinor's exultant, near-hysterical half-laughing/half-crying response to the news that he was now available; and the joyous double-marriage of Elinor with Edward and Marianne with the older, wiser Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman), as the Colonel tossed coins in the air for the witnesses.

Seventh Heaven (1927)

The love scenes in the 7th floor bohemian loft ("Seventh Heaven") between street angel-waif Diane (Janet Gaynor) and Parisian sewer worker Chico (Charles Farrell) after her attempted suicide by stabbing; and the climax that featured their jubilant reconciliation in an ethereal shaft of light.

Shadowlands (1993)


The scene in which a teary-eyed C. S. "Jack" Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) realized he was truly in love with dying, cancer-stricken Joy Gresham (Debra Winger) during their first marriage of convenience: ("It's impossible. It's unthinkable. How could Joy be my wife? I'd have to love her, wouldn't I? I'd have to care more for her than for anyone else in this world. I'd have to be suffering the torments of the damned. The prospect of losing her..."); the scene in which Jack remarried Joy, this time for love; also Joy's deathbed scene, with Jack telling her: "Don't talk, my love. Just rest...just rest" - and kissing her just before she died: "I love you, Joy. I love you so much. You made me so happy. I didn't know I could be so happy. You're the truest person I have ever known..."; and the scene in which Jack and Joy's young son Douglas (Joseph Mazzello) shared tortured grief and uncontrollable weeping in the attic: (Douglas: "I would like to see her again" Jack: "Me too").

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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