Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 29

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

Truly Madly Deeply (1991)


The scenes in which devoted husband and cellist Jamie (Alan Rickman) returned from the dead as a ghost to join his bereaved lover Nina (Juliet Stevenson) in playing Bach on the cello in their London apartment, and later recited Pablo Neruda's La Muerta to her - revealing himself and resuming their relationship.

The Truman Show (1998)

The triumphant moment in which unwitting reality-TV show star Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) rejected omniscient, God-like producer Christof's (Ed Harris) plea to remain in the artificial world (where he had "nothing to fear" - "You belong here with me") rather than venture into the real world (with "the same lies, the same deceit"); Truman smiled beatifically at the camera, and sarcastically uttered his cheerful catchphrase: "In case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!", took a deep farewell bow, and then exited from the massive set through the stage door to freedom from the virtual prison of Seahaven Island's massive set (to the sounds of Philip Glass' stirring "The Opening from Mishima") and a new existence - as TV's Truman Show ceased transmission.

12 Monkeys (1995) (aka Twelve Monkeys)

The sad, long drawn-out death scene of time-traveling, delusional convict James Cole (Bruce Willis), shot in the Philadelphia airport by security guards, and mourned over by grieving present-day blonde lover, psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), as a young incarnation of himself (Joseph Melito) looked on and was knowingly recognized by Railly as he witnessed his own death, at the conclusion of the film

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

The scene in which astronaut David Bowman (Keir Dullea) incapacitated-lobotomized the sentient HAL-9000 computer (voice of Douglas Rain) by turning off its higher functions as it begged: "Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave? Stop, Dave. I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a-fraid..." HAL ended his life by mindlessly singing "Daisy" or "A Bicycle Built for Two."

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)

The scene in which the ghost of David Bowman (Keir Dullea) visited his former wife, appearing on a television, to say good-bye for one last time; also the tearful scene in which Dr. Chandra (Bob Balaban) told HAL-9000 (voice of Douglas Rain) the truth -- that they intended to sacrifice HAL to escape an imploding Jupiter, and HAL's quiet, dignified acceptance of his fate - and his thanks: "I understand now, Dr. Chandra...Thank you for telling me the truth", and Chandra's response and farewell: "You deserve it...Thank you, HAL"; and the fond, final exchange between an ethereal David and a doomed HAL: (HAL: "I'm afraid" - Dave: "Don't be. We'll be together").

Umberto D. (1952, It.)


The melodramatic plight of pensioner Umberto Domenico Ferrari (Carlo Battisti), whose slashed monthly pension caused his heartless landlady (Lina Gennari) to evict him to rent out his room to prostitutes and their johns; the close-knit, dependent relationship between Umberto and his faithful dog Flike and his touching relationship with caring young pregnant maid Maria (Maria-Pia Casilio); and the tearjerking, ambiguous ending in which Umberto, unable to give away his dog, contemplated suicide by stepping in front of a speeding train near a park while holding Flike -- the dog yelped, and squirmed away before Umberto could step in front of the train, and for the first time ran away in abject fear from his beloved master - after he finally coaxed Flike back to him by having the dog perform tricks with a pine cone, he played with the dog in a long shot as the film ended, despite having no place to stay and no income.

An Unmarried Woman (1978)

Martin's (Michael Murphy) tearful admission of having a year-long affair with another woman to wife Erica (Jill Clayburgh) - and Erica's response -- first stonily asking: "She a good lay?", then fleeing and vomiting into a trash can; and the scene in which Erica "erased" Martin's memory by removing all of his belongings and piling them into the living room.

Up (2009)

The emotionally deep, powerful and effective wordless 4-minute montage of 'married life' -- a man's entire relationship with his wife up until her death - in the person of two young kids who met and later married: balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen (voice of Ed Asner) who worked in a zoo and adventurous, tomboyish Ellie (voice of Elie Docter). Theirs was a life journey of growing old, including buying and fixing up a dilapidated two-story home (soon threatened by encroaching city developers), painting their names (and leaving handprints) on their mailbox, taking frequent picnics to a hillside where they laid on their backs and observed cloud animal shapes, dreaming of having a family and setting up a nursery room but experiencing childlessness (miscarriage), his presentation of "My Adventure Book" to her with their mutual dream of going to Venezuela's Paradise Falls by saving spare coins for the journey (but they were never able to go, due to other obligations and debts), her tying of his necktie (numerous times to indicate the passage of time) as their hair greyed, his purchasing of tickets to Venezuela but the abrupt interruption of her failing health and death, and his expression of bereavement at her funeral before returning home alone - as the montage ended.

Walkabout (1971, Australia)

The stunning mating dance (in his own native fashion) that the native aborigine boy (David Gulpilil) during his 'walkabout' performed for the civilized teenage girl (Jenny Agutter) - but that she ignored - with disastrous results when he committed suicide by hanging himself. However, she barely reacted to his death

WALL-E (2008)

In the final scene of Pixar's and Disney's animated science-fiction, odd-couple love story, a crushed and 'dead' WALL-E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class) (voice of Ben Burtt), the last lone garbage-compacting robot on Earth, was rebuilt by EVE (short for Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) (voice of Elissa Knight), a sleek, white-shelled probe droid-robot, who used WALL-E's own spare parts collection to reconstruct him, but he appeared to have lost his acquired sentience, personality and memories; she tried to stir his memory by placing a lightbulb and Rubik's Cube in his grasp and by playing his favorite Hello, Dolly! tape recording - with no luck. He turned and began his robotic task of trash-compacting. She tried to shake some sense into him, but it still didn't jog his memory - he stared back blankly. But then he remembered who EVE was after they clapsed 'hands' and she caused a small spark to occur when she touched his forehead - he came to life, focused his eyes on her, and they enjoyed a second longer kiss together

Waterloo Bridge (1940)

The scene of impoverished ballerina/prostitute Myra Lester's (Vivien Leigh) tragic end as she walked into oncoming traffic on the bridge, and Capt. Roy Cronin's (Robert Taylor) flashback memory years later on the bridge of her words in the film's final melodramatic moments: ("I loved you...I've never loved anyone else...I never shall") as the singing of "Auld Lang Syne" rose on the soundtrack and he fingered her good-luck charm.

Watership Down (1978)


The "Bright Eyes" sequence in which Fiver (voice of Richard Briers) found out that Hazel (voice of John Hurt) had been badly wounded by a shotgun, and chased the ghostly Black Rabbit (voice of Joss Ackland) to reach Hazel before the angel of death could claim him, as Art Garfunkel's melancholy song was played: ("How can the eyes that burn so brightly suddenly burn so pale?"); and the touching final scene in which the Black Rabbit appeared to an aged Hazel, requesting: "I've come to ask if you'd like to join my Owsla [police force]. We shall be glad to have you, and I know you'd like it. You've been feeling tired, haven't you? If you're ready, we might go along now" - and reassured Hazel who had looked back at the young rabbits cavorting in the warren: "You needn't worry about them. They'll be alright, and thousands like them. If you come along, I'll show you what I mean" -- followed by Hazel's quiet death, his spirit joining the Black Rabbit's.

Way Down East (1920)

The spiritually affecting, melodramatic performance of Lillian Gish as Anna Moore, including the scene of the young, innocent country girl's ecstatic reaction to a marriage proposal, soon followed by the scene in which her playboy "husband" Lennox Sanderson (Lowell Sherman) revealed that her marriage was only a mock ceremony; the sequence in which Anna baptized her sick, newborn baby just before it died in her arms; also the innocent love scene on the grass next to the river between Anna and David (Richard Barthelmess) - with the title card: "One heart for one heart, One soul for one soul, One love for one love, Even through Eternity" - but Anna was reluctant to fall in love with David when reminded of the ghosts of her past - she sadly cannot allow him to say such things, feeling unworthy of him due to her checkered past: "So she tells him he must never speak like this again"; and the classic casting-out scene in which she accused and denounced Sanderson before entering into a fierce blizzard; and the final sequence of her daring, last-minute rescue by David from floating ice floes that were perilously close to a precipitous waterfall.

The Way We Were (1973)


The on-and-off, star-crossed romance-marriage-divorce between two radical opposites: Jewish political activist Kate Morosky (Barbra Streisand) and WASP writer Hubbell Gardner (Robert Redford), spanning from the 30s, through World War II to the McCarthy-era 1950's, and the tearjerking final scene in which they met accidentially in New York as she was handing out "Ban the Bomb" leaflets, to the strains of Streisand's performance of the title song (Oscar-winning music from Marvin Hamlisch - "Memíries, like the corners of my mind / Misty water-colored memories of the way we were") when she characteristically brushed the hair back on his brow.

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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