Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time


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

Nashville (1975)

  • the concluding tragic and shocking sequence at a country music festival/political rally at Nashville's Parthenon in which popular country singer Barbara Jean (Ronee Blakley) had just finished performing "My Idaho Home" and then was assassinated - and quickly replaced with unknown performer Albuquerque (Barbara Harris) who calmed the crowd with "It Don't Worry Me"

The Natural (1984)

  • the final (tacked-on) concluding scene of a redeemed ballplayer Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) finally reconciled and together on his ex-girlfriend Iris Gaines' (Glenn Close) farm, and playing catch with their 16 year old son in the golden warmth of the sun

The New World (2005)

  • the late scene of Native American ("natural") Princess Pocahontas/Rebecca (Q'orianka Kilcher), now married to loyal farmer-husband John Rolfe (Christian Bale), who was summoned to England to meet King James, when she experienced an uncomfortable reunion scene in the garden with her first love: regretful Jamestown explorer Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell), as they remembered their past: Smith: "Did I make a mistake in coming here?...Perhaps I'm out of order speaking with you this way, but I've thought of you often....You knew I had promise, didn't you?" Pocahontas answered: "Yes. Did you find your Indies, John? (pause) You shall" - he replied: "I may have sailed past them" - Smith responded that what they had in Virginia (the New World) in their past was not a dream but the real 'truth': "I thought it was a dream - what we knew in the forest. It's the only truth. It seems as if I was speaking to you for the first time"; she slightly bowed to him, turned, and sadly walked away
  • their reunion was followed by her expression of fully devoted love (and kiss) to her husband John Rolfe at the estate; she walked up to him and gave him an arm embrace; and then she asked: "Could we not go home?" and he responded: "As soon as possible"; she devotedly called him: "My husband" as she gave him a kiss, with a score enhanced by Mozart's concerto and a recurring prelude from Wagner's Das Rheingold
  • in the film's conclusion, she was running and playing hide-and-seek with her only child Thomas in a manicured English garden of the estate; but before returning to the New World with Rolfe, Pocahontas acquired pneumonia and died in bed (with her weeping husband next to her), on the 13th of April, 1616; in voice-over, and in death, Pocahontas closed her eyes and spoke to her mother: "Mother, now I know where you live"
  • Rolfe's words (in voice-over) described her death, as he read his letter addressed to their son Thomas about his deceased Native-American mother (aka Rebecca): "Dear Son, I write this so that someday in the future you might understand a circumstance which shall be but a far memory to you. Your dear mother, Rebecca, fell ill in our outward passage at Gravesend. She gently reminded me that all must die. 'Tis enough,' she said, that you, our child, should live"
Running and Playing in English Gardens with Son Thomas
(voice-over) "Mother, now I know where you live"
Rolfe Grieving at Pocahontas' (Rebecca's) Deathbed

Nixon (1995)

  • the scene of Nixon noisily playing "Happy Days Are Here Again" on the piano and calling his wife Pat (Oscar-nominated Joan Allen) a "cocksucker" when she complained about political life (and then suggested a divorce) after he lost to incumbent Pat Brown in California during the gubernatorial race in 1962: ("It's over, Dick....I have always stood by you. I campaigned for you when I was pregnant. During Checkers, when Ike wanted you out, I told you to fight. This is different, Dick. You've changed. Life is tough and it is unfair and sometimes you forget that in your self-pity. You forget sometimes, Dick that I had a life before you - before California...You've changed. You've grown more bitter, like you're at war with the world. You weren't that way before. I'm 50 years old now, Dick. How many millions of miles have I traveled? How many millions of peoples' hands have I shaked that I just don't like? How many thank-you notes have I written? It's as if I, I don't know, just went to sleep a long time ago and missed the years between. I've had enough...I want a divorce...This isn't political, Dick. This is our life")
  • Nixon's press conference, when he promised to never run again after his defeat in 1962 - to prevent a divorce from Pat: ("But as I leave you, I-I want you to know. Just think what you're gonna be missing. You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore")
  • Nixon's pitiful speech to the nation, inter-cut with comments from Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig (Powers Boothe) watching on TV, in which Nixon vowed that he was not a crook: ("Good evening, my fellow Americans. Tonight I'm taking an action unprecedented in the history of this office. I had no knowledge of the cover-up till John Dean told me about it on March 21st, a year ago. (I think I'm going to throw up) payment to Hunt or anyone else be made. (He's completely lost touch with reality) I've made my mistakes but in all my years of public life, I have never profited (Can you imagine what this man would have been had he ever been loved?) I've earned every penny. In all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice. (It's a tragedy because he had greatness in his grasp) I welcome this examination. (But he had the defects of his qualities). Now I made $250,000 from a book (They'll crucify him. Does anybody really care anymore?) which many of you were good enough to purchase (And what happens after?) ...every year. When I, in 1968, decided to become a candidate for the President, I decided to clean the decks and to put everything in real estate. So, that's where the money came from. That's all I own. That's what we have, and that's what we owe. Because people have gotta know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I am not a crook. I've earned everything I have....She doesn't have a mink coat, but she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat. And I always tell her, uh, she'd look good in anything... There has never been any feathering of nests. Not in this administration. Now, let me just say this... And I want to say this to the television audience...")
  • the scene in which about-to-resign, sobbing President Nixon (Anthony Hopkins) kneeled and prayed with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (Paul Sorvino): ("The world needs you, Henry. You always saw the big picture. You were my equal in many ways. You're the only friend I got, Henry. Do you ever pray? You know, believe in a supreme being?...My mother used to pray a lot. It's been a long time since I really prayed. Let's pray, Henry. Let's pray a little. Just you and me. I hope this doesn't embarrass you, Henry....Don't be too proud, Henry. Never be too proud to go on your knees before God. God. How can a... How can a country come apart like this? What have I done wrong? I opened China. I made peace with Russia. I ended the war. I did what I thought was right. Ah... God, why do they hate me so? Is unbelievable. It is insane. Oh, M-Mom, I'm sorry. God, please forgive me, God. I really didn't mean it. I didn't know what to do. I don't know why this is happening to me. I can't believe...")
  • the scene of Nixon's poignant late-night conversation to a portrait of Kennedy in the hallway, with only his wife Pat: ("When they look at you, they see what they want to be. When they look at me, they see what they ARE..."); then he confided in Pat: ("I'm so afraid. There's darkness out there. I could always see where I was going. But it's dark out there. God, I've always been afraid of the dark")
  • Nixon's goodbye-farewell and impromptu speech to his White House staff, including his tribute to his mother: ("Nobody will ever write a book, probably, about my mother. Well, I guess all of you would say this about your mother. My mother was a saint....Yes, she will have no books written about her. But she was a saint"); he then went on to say: ("...the greatness comes, not when things go always good for you but the greatness comes when you're really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes. Because only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain...Remember, always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember, others may hate you. But those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then, you destroy yourself. And so we leave with high hopes and good spirits and with deep humility. And I say to each and every one of you, not only will we always remember you but always you will be in our hearts. And you'll be in our prayers")

The Notebook (2004)

  • a romantic love story viewed over many years was the subject of this intense tearjerker
  • young, privileged and pretty Southern debutante Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) shared a passionate rain-soaked kiss after an idyllic afternoon rowboating through a spectacular duck-filled setting with earthy mill worker Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling), as she learned for the first time that he had written her 365 love letters (one each day for a year) - although her domineering mother had intercepted them and disapproved of his 'low-class' status. Noah professed his love on the dock: "It wasn't over. It still isn't over!"
  • later, another emotional scene was the moment that Allie finally made a choice between Noah and her parent-approved fiancee Lon Hammond, Jr. (James Marsden) - and drove to Noah's fixed-up mansion to move in and be with him
  • in the final scenes, the revelation that nursing home patient Allie Hamilton/Calhoun (Gena Rowlands) had severe Alzheimer's Disease and could only remember the story of their love for a few minutes. She and frail heart patient Noah or "Duke" Calhoun (James Garner) had met and fallen in love when in their teens - in old age, Noah repeatedly rekindled their love by re-reading from her old faded notebook diary (written by Allie as a present to Noah years earlier, with the handwritten dedication in its front: "Read this to me, and I'll come back to you"). After one of the readings telling of their love for each other, Allie briefly remembered their love during a special candlelight dinner in the nursing home when they shared a dance together - Allie requested: "Do you think I can be her tonight?" - but then she rapidly 'forgot' and panicked.
  • in the final scene in the rest home, she remembered him as they held hands in her bedroom, where he promised he would always be there and never leave her. She asked him: "Do you think that our love can create miracles?" He replied: "Yes, I do. That's what brings you back to me each time." She asked a second question. "Do you think our love can take us away together?" He responded: "I think our love can do anything we want it to." They fell asleep in the same bed, and passed away together.

Now, Voyager (1942)


  • the final famous tearjerking scene between married single father Jerry Durrance (Paul Heinreid) and love interest Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) when she proposed that they would test out Charlotte's care for Jerry's 12 year-old daughter Christine "Tina" (arranged by her psychiatrist Dr. Jaquith (Claude Rains)): ("Jerry, Dr. Jaquith knows about us. When he said I could take Tina, he said, 'You're on probation.' Do you know what that means? It means that I'm on probation because of you and me. He allowed this visit as a test, and if I can't stand such tests, I'll lose Tina, and we'll lose each other. Jerry, please help me"); Jerry responded by asking once more: ("Shall we just have a cigarette on it?") to which she responded breathlessly: "Yes, sir," holding out an opened cigarette box. He took two cigarettes and put them in his mouth, lit them both, and then handed one over to Charlotte
  • the film ended with Charlotte's most memorable line on the balcony - although she knew Jerry would never leave his wife, they had found something far more enduring and happy. Tina would remain with Charlotte to be cared for as their "child," and he could regularly come and visit: ("Of course, and just think, it won't be for this time only. That is, if you'll help keep what we have. If we both try hard to, to protect that little strip of territory that's ours. We can talk about your child" - "our child" "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars"). As the music swelled, the camera moved between them and ascended above the trees to a starry night sky

Greatest Film Tearjerkers, Moments and Scenes
(alphabetical by film title)
Intro | A | B | B | C | C | D | D | E | F | F | G | G
H-I | J-K | L | L | M | M | N | O | P | P
Q-R | S | S | S | S | T | T | U-V-W | X-Z

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