Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

Part 8

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

E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)


The most tearjerking sequence of the film was the overwrought death scene of the stranded, odd-looking alien E.T. (voice of Pat Welsh), witnessed by a heart-broken 10-year old Elliott (Henry Thomas) next to him - Elliott's house had been quarantined and scientists had enveloped or enclosed it in an air-tight, cocoon-like plastic tent to either protect or decontaminate it. Both Elliott and E.T. were stretched out on long tables alongside each other within another quarantined and plastic-enclosed room. The two were connected to life-support equipment that registered similar graphing results. Elliott protested: "You have no right to do this. You're scaring him. You're scaring him! Leave him alone. Leave him alone, I can take care of him." As E.T. began to approach death, his blood pressure sank, while Elliott's condition stabilized. Elliott held out his hand to E.T., tearfully asking him to stay connected: "E.T. Stay with me. Please...Together. I'll be right here. I'll be right here." E.T.'s life faded away. Elliott lost his telepathic connection to E.T. as he miraculously came back to full life: "The boy's coming back. We're losing E.T." The boy stretched his arms out to his dead friend, pleading for him to answer. A distraught Elliott screamed to E.T. as doctors and scientists rushed en masse to E.T.'s bedside and tore open the plastic coverings around him. Realizing that E.T. had no blood pressure, pulse or respiration, they made frantic efforts to revive the alien, administer CPR and other life supports - as Elliott reached out: " E.T. Don't go!...Leave him alone. You're killing him. Leave him alone." Tearful and sorrowful, Elliott kept a vigil next to E.T. and spoke lovingly to his dead, extra-terrestrial friend: "Look at what they've done to you. I'm so sorry. You must be dead, 'cause I don't know how to feel. I can't feel anything anymore. You've gone someplace else now. I'll believe in you all my life, every day. E.T. I love you." While viewing his friend for the last time, Elliott's heart-felt love revived his friend, and E.T. was brought back to life. The film's second most-moving scene was the farewell scene of E.T. finally returning home in his spaceship - and his goodbyes with young Gertie (Drew Barrymore) and his advice to her: "Be Good", followed by her good-bye kiss on E.T.'s nose; and E.T.'s reassurance to Elliott before leaving: "I'll be right here" as he touched Elliott's forehead with his glowing finger.

East of Eden (1955)

Abra's (Julie Harris) "It's awful not to be loved" speech to bedridden Mr. Adam Trask (Raymond Massey) regarding his relationship with his son Cal (James Dean): ("Mr. Trask, it's awful not to be loved. It's the worst thing in the world. Don't ask me -- even if you could -- how I know that. I just know it").

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

The doomed romance between Frankenstein-like, unfinished Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) with unique scissor-hands and suburban teen Kim Boggs (Winona Ryder), told in flashback; the heart-breaking scene in which reclusive Inventor (Vincent Price in his last film role) died before he could install real hands on Edward; also the tearjerking farewell scene between Edward and Kim after the stabbing and fall to his death of her scheming, jealous and insensitive boyfriend Jim (Anthony Michael Hall); and the concluding scene of an older Kim explaining - at the bedside of her grand-daughter (Gina Gallagher) - where snow comes from and how she knew that Edward was still alive creating ice sculptures and causing snow showers: ("I don't know. Not for sure. But I believe he is. You see, before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. If he weren't up there now, I don't think it would be snowing. Sometimes... you can still catch me dancing in it."), with the film's final flashback of a younger Kim dancing in the snowflakes

84 Charing Cross Road (1987)

The heart-breaking scene in which script-reader/writer Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft) received an impersonal letter in early 1969 informing her that her pen pal Frank P. Doel (Anthony Hopkins) of the rare and used book store Marks & Co. (at 84 Charing Cross Road in London) - from which she ordered rare editions and carried on correspondence with Frank over a 20 year period - had died from complications during surgery for appendicitis: ("It is with great regret that I have to tell you that he passed away on Sunday, 22nd December. The funeral took place last week on Wednesday, the 1st January...Do you still wish us to try to obtain the books you asked for in your last letter?") -- with her realization that as long-distance soulmates, they would never meet in person (although an earlier scheduled trip might have made their meeting possible, but was cancelled due to her emergency dental work); and the subsequent letter from Frank's Irish wife Nora (Judi Dench): ("I miss him so. Life was so interesting"), and the closing scene in which Helene finally traveled across the Atlantic to England to the book store, which was being closed for good -- she walked into Frank's empty office cubicle in the back of the store, and said directly into the camera: "Here I am, Frankie. I finally made it", with a regretful but proud smile on her face.

Electric Dreams (1984)

Sentient computer Edgar's (voice of Bud Cort) simple attempt to win the heart of the beautiful Madeline Robistat (Virginia Madsen), by playing Bach's Suite from Anna Magdalena with an electronic cello, and writing to her with a child's scrawl on the screen" "I LOVE YOU". Madeline was so moved that a single tear flowed down her cheek and chin and dropped onto Edgar's exposed circuitry, causing a burst of color, and left Edgar to ponder his future with her and rival suitor Miles Harding (Lenny von Dohlen) (whom Edgar called "Moles" due to a typo during initial setup) after she fled in this unusual love triangle; and Edgar's poignant suicide speech to Miles: ("Hello... goodbye...I'm leaving...because I finally found out what love is...It's give, and not take. So, I give her to you, and I take myself away...because that's what love is. Besides, it's a game for just two people only") and the touching moment when Edgar begged Miles: "Will you hold me....hold me", and then asked for his name just before dying, so that he could properly bid him farewell: "You never asked me my name."

The Elephant Man (1980)


The scene in which grossly-disfigured Von Recklinghausen's disease sufferer John Merrick (John Hurt) piteously cried out to a mob: "I am not an animal! I am a human being!!" - referring to the many indignities he suffered from his owner and society at large; and the scene in which he sobbed when meeting Anne Treves (Hannah Gordon), the wife of Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins): ("I'm not used to such kindness from a beautiful woman"); also the moment of the standing ovation that Merrick received at the Christmas pantomime show "Puss in Boots" at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane; and the scene of Merrick's demise on a bed - stretching out for peaceful, suicidal death in sleep (his normal position for sleeping was sitting up - lying down would suffocate him and prove fatal), followed by a montage of his spirit passing into eternity and being consoled by his mother's words (voice-over), accompanied by Samuel Barber's haunting Adagio for Strings.

The English Patient (1996)

The caring ministrations of nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche) for the disfigured 'English patient' - cartographer Count Laszlo Almasy (Ralph Fiennes) - after a plane crash - and her learning of his tragic romance with adulterous married lover Katharine Clifton (Kristin Scott Thomas) - including his caring for his severely-wounded love in a cave/shelter after a plane crash and his promise to her: (Katherine: "Promise me you'll come back for me" Almasy: "I promise - I'll come back for you. I promise - I'll never leave you") - and later his return to the cave after she has tragically died - when he sobs as he carries her body out of the cave to an awaiting plane (while Hana reads Katharine's last words in her diary).

Ętre et Avoir/To Be and To Have (2002, Fr.)


The tearjerking scene in this documentary in which wise, heroic veteran teacher (Georges Lopez as Himself) in a one-room village school for about a dozen students in France's Auvergne region counseled empathically with one tearful boy whose father was being treated for cancer; and the lingering scene at the conclusion when all the children left the classroom at the end of the term after he wished them good luck and said goodbye (with multiple kisses on both cheeks) - with the image of him standing in the doorway and watching them leave - overcome and subtly feeling a sense of loss (and also knowing that he was nearing retirement).

Fantasia (1940)

The segment of Schubert's poignant and "sacred" Ave Maria sequence following after Moussorgsky's "profane" Night on Bald Mountain, featuring a sedate line of candle-bearing, white-hooded worshippers/pilgrims strolling along a pastoral setting on a foggy, dew-tinged morning at dawn -- the powers of light ultimately became triumphant over darkness -- a moving, stark contrast to the disturbing Chernobog's evil.

Far From Heaven (2002)

The very poignant scene of late 50s 'perfect world' Connecticut suburban housewife Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore) delivering an inevitable goodbye to her handsome, well-educated black gardener Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert) with whom she had experienced a clandestine love affair, with her last touching words: "You're so beautiful."

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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