Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 4

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

Brian's Song (1971)


Two scenes: Gale Sayer's (Billy Dee Williams) haltingly spoken locker-room address to his fellow players on Brian Piccolo's (James Caan) cancer, breaking down into uncontrollable sobs to prematurely end his speech: ("Uh, you uh, all know that we hand out a game ball to the outstanding player...Well, I'd like to change that. We just got word that Brian Piccolo is...that's he's sick, very sick...And, uh, it looks, he might never play football...again, or, uh, a long time...And, I think we should dedicate ourselves to give our maximum effort to win this game and give the game 'Pic'. We can all sign it. And take it up...Aw, sh....Oh, my God...").

And later, his tear-jerking acceptance of the George S. Halas Award for Courage: ("I love Brian Piccolo. And I'd like all of you to love him too. And tonight, (when) you hit your knees - please ask God to love him.")

The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

The film's flashbacks after the heroine's death, including the pivoital rainy afternoon scene of married Iowa farmwife Francesca Johnson's (Meryl Streep) fateful, cross-roads decision to remain with her husband (although she partially turned the doorknob) instead of jumping out of the truck at a stoplight and joining lover-National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) after their short four-day affair; and Francesca's later receipt of a package from Robert's lawyer on his death featuring mementos of their affair.

Brief Encounter (1946, UK)


The many emotionally potent scenes between middle-class housewife Laura (Celia Johnson) and doctor Alec (Trevor Howard) in their weekly clandestine meetings, including the famous scene of their final day together when they were interrupted by a friend during their last, painful, repressed goodbye (both at the start and end of the film) as Alec gently placed his hand on her shoulder and then disappeared forever (on a medical journey to Africa).

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

The scene in which bisexual cowboy Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and lover Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) painfully tried to deal with their mutual sexual and romantic attraction and Jack's painful admission: "The truth is... sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it..." as they dealt with the secretiveness of their affair, and the pained partings after each tryst; the tearful scenes in which their wives learned of their affair: ("You don't go up there to fish"); and the scene of the final break-up between the two when Jack delivered an ultimatum: ("Tell you what, we coulda had a good life together! F--kin' real good life! Had us a place of our own. But you didn't want it, Ennis! So what we got now is Brokeback Mountain!...I wish I knew how to quit you!") and Ennis' sobbed response: ("Well, why don't you? Why don't you just let me be? It's because of you that I'm like this! I ain't got nothing... I ain't nowhere... Get the f--k off me! I can't stand being like this no more, Jack"); the scene of Ennis' first discovery of the blood-stained shirts in Jack's childhood bedroom some time after his death. The shirts belonged to himself and ex-lover Jack (who had died while changing a tire that exploded, although Ennis imagined it as a gay-bashing incident) from when they fought together years earlier on Brokeback Mountain - he held the shirts to his face and breathed in their scent; and the melodramatic ending, in which Ennis once again saw their two old shirts (hanging in the back of a closet in the trailer of his father). The two shirts were both together on one hanger, intertwined - Jack's blood-stained shirt was tucked inside of Ennis's - he also saw a postcard of Brokeback Mountain tacked next to the shirts and straightened it - he tearfully and regretfully cried about their forbidden homosexual love affair: "Jack, I swear..."

Broken Blossoms (1919)

The tragic life of the sensitive and frail teenage Cockney waif Lucy Burrows (Lillian Gish), and the scenes of her forced smile by pushing up the ends of her mouth with her fingers, and the unforgettable death scene as her brutal and bigoted father Battling Burrows (Donald Crisp) savagely broke down the door as she cowered in a closet and twisted to avoid him but later received the fatal blows.

Camille (1936)

The doomed romance in 19th century Paris between French nobleman Armand Duval (Robert Taylor) and ill courtesan Marguerite Gautier (Greta Garbo), and his impassioned speech to her as she died in the inevitable death scene in this timeless classic: ("Think of how happy we were once, how happy we shall be again. Think of the day you found the four leaf clover, and all the good luck it's going to bring us"), and his reaction to her passing while lying in his arms: ("Marguerite. Marguerite! No, don't leave me. Marguerite, come back!").

Captains Courageous (1937)

In the climactic race back to Gloucester port against a rival schooner, the Jennie Cushman, Manuel Fidello (Spencer Tracy) volunteered to climb to the top of the mast to furl the sail, but was tragically and mortally injured when the mast cracked and he plunged into the water, caught in the tangled rope and the topsail canvas. Just before he was cut loose of the ropes to sink below the surface to his death, he delivered a memorable, sentimental, and tearful goodbye to Harvey: ("Now listen to me, leetle feesh. I go now...We had good times together, eh, leetle feesh? We laugh. We sing. So you smile...Manuel - he be watching you. You be best fisherman ever lived..."); the final segment was the poignant memorial service scene with Harvey's father (Melvyn Douglas) comforting his son in the final shot - silently, arm in arm, the two watched wreaths float away together in the outgoing tide.

Casablanca (1942)


Cafe proprietor Rick Blaine's (Humphrey Bogart) demand of Sam (Dooley Wilson) to play "As Time Goes By": ("You played it for her, you can play it for me...If she can stand it, I can. Play it!"), and the subsequent flashback to pre-occupation Paris and Rick's romance with former lover Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), and the ink of Ilsa's farewell note being washed away in the rain when she didn't show up at the train station; also the scene between the two past lovers in Rick's apartment when she held a gun on him to get the letters of transit - but then broke down: "If you knew how much I loved you, how much I still love you!" - with the two of them falling into each other's arms and kissing passionately; and the touching goodbye scene between trench-coated Rick and Ilsa on the rainy, foggy airstrip runway in Casablanca, with Rick's self-sacrifice in urging Ilsa to leave on the plane with Resistance leader-husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Heinreid): ("Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. Now, now. Here's lookin' at you, kid"); and Rick's famous last line to police chief Renault (Claude Rains): "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Cast Away (2000)

The scene in which globe-trotting but stranded castaway FedEx delivery man Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) lost his "best friend" Wilson (a deflated soccer ball with a painted face - his bloody hand-print) when it fell out of his raft and drifted away while he was escaping the deserted island - he sobbed at the loss; the subsequent scene of his discovery and Chuck's difficult reunion scene with his ex-fiancee Kelly Frears (Helen Hunt), who had been married and bore a child in his absence, and the final scene at a rural crossroads (literally and figuratively) in which he delivered the one FedEx package (with angel wings drawn on it) that he didn't open on the island to flirtatious red-headed artist Bettina Peterson (Lari White) (who specialized in giant sculptures of wings) at a back-country farm, and then wanly smiled.

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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