Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 3

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

The Big Parade (1925)

The scene of French girl Melisande's (Renee Adoree) farewell to her lover, World War I American soldier James Apperson (John Gilbert), as he was taken away in an army truck and she ran after it -- James tossed his watch, dog-tags chain and shoe to her, which she clutched to her breast; also the scene of James' return from war and amputation, as he came down a French road in a traveling suit - hobbling on a wooden leg and steadied with a cane, returning to the girl of his dreams as he promised. In the gripping, moving finale, he tried feverishly to quicken his pace and run into her arms, as they called out: "MELISANDE! JIMMEE!" They were finally reunited and overjoyed as they embraced and hugged each other once more.

The Birth of a Nation (1915)

Mentally and physically scarred Benjamin "The Little Colonel" Cameron's (Henry B. Walthall) homecoming, in which his arrival on the doorstep of his old ruined home was greeted by a hug from his initially reticent sister Flora (Mae Marsh) -- and the brilliant side-shot in which the house itself seemed to beckon him back home as hands and arms of his unseen mother (Josephine Crowell) held him lovingly and pulled him inside.

Blade Runner (1982)

Bladerunner cop Rick Deckard's (Harrison Ford) cruel undressing of Rachael's (Sean Young) humanity when she insisted that she was human (by showing him a picture of her and her mother and by describing her intimate, implanted memories first about playing doctor with her brother and then seeing a spider egg hatching) with his retort: ("Implants! Those aren't your memories. They're somebody else's. They're Tyrell's niece's [memories]") - the retraction of his comments came too late, as a tear flowed liberally down Rachael's cheek -- followed by a long shot of her throwing the photo to the floor and fleeing Deckard's apartment (later, she would tearfully come to terms with her artificiality: "I'm not in the business. I am the business"); and the famous scene in which replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) gave a poignant, eloquent speech before dying, after he had saved Deckard's life: ("I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.")

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

In this film's shocking and tense "ballet of blood" finale - an ultra-violent, country backroads ambush was set for outlaw doomed lovers Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) - in their final freeze-frame of life, with a silent glance at each other, Bonnie and Clyde revealed both panic and love in their faces - knowing that something was ominously wrong and that they were facing their ultimate destruction, the natural result of the escalating violence; their frenzied corpses writhed in slow-motion as they were gunned down, 'shot,' and riddled with bullets - they died cinematically-beautiful, abstracted deaths to accentuate the romance of the myths and the larger-than-life legends that surrounded them; their last moment of 'life' occurred when Clyde rolled over gently in slow-motion and Bonnie's arm dangled unnaturally and then stopped moving. Bonnie's flowing blonde hair, streaked in sunlight and gently blowing in the breeze, cascaded down in many arcs as she hung out of the car.

Born Free (1966)


The climactic scene in which adult lion Elsa, previously an orphaned cub, was released into the wild to enjoy a free life after being raised by two Kenyan game wardens George and Joy Adamson (husband and wife Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna), to the strains of the Oscar-winning title song and score by John Barry.

The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

The surprisingly poignant scene in which nature and technology meet: the Toaster (voice of Deanna Oliver), hiding from woodland animals, encountered a flower standing in a single ray of light; the flower saw its own reflection in the Toaster's shiny metal chrome and thought it had found a companion, but the Toaster backed away and dismissively explained: "Oh, no. It's just a reflection. It's not real"; undeterred, the flower embraced the Toaster anyway; panicked, the Toaster then hid behind a bush - taking a peek through the leaves and saw that the flower, now wilted and dying, was bent over in sorrow, rejection and loneliness - a petal dropped to the ground like a tear; the Toaster walked away, looking back in guilt and with some pensiveness, learning a lesson about cameraderie, as he would be more friendly and supportive of his other appliance friends from now on.

Braveheart (1995)


Scottish legendary kilt-clad, war-painted hero William Wallace's (Mel Gibson) rousing, emotional speeches to his loyal followers, such as: "I AM William Wallace! And I see a whole army of my country men, here, in defiance of tyranny. You've come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight?...Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you'll live - at least awhile. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take OUR FREEDOM!", and his heroic death scene as he is courageously tortured ("I'm not dead yet") and then brutally beheaded - when he sees the ghost of his dead wife Murron (Catherine McCormack) in the crowd.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)


The final scene in an alleyway during a downpour when NY socialite Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) found her abandoned nameless cat in an alley and kissed neighbor writer and 'kept' man Paul "Fred" Varjak (George Peppard) - with the cat squeezed in-between them and her last lines: "Cat! Cat! Oh, Cat... ohh..."

Breaking the Waves (1996)


The melodramatic plotline in which paralyzed oil-rig worker Jan Nyman (Stellan Skarsgård) insisted his new kind-hearted wife Bess (Emily Watson) sleep with other men as a way to establish spiritual contact with him: (Bess: "I don't make love with them. I make love with Jan. And I save him from dying"); and Bess' tragic rape/murder in a sacrificial martyr's death aboard a ship where even prostitutes wouldn't go; during her burial, it was discovered that there was only sand in the coffin - Bess was refused a proper burial as a transgressive cast-out from the community, so a miraculously-healed Jan stole her body in order to bury her at sea - as heavenly bells mercifully rang over the ocean and the oil rig in the film's cosmic ending.

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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