Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time

X - Y - Z

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

The Yearling (1946)


  • director Clarence Brown's family drama and sensitive coming-of-age tale
  • the scene, set in the late 1800s, in which 11 year-old Florida farm boy Jody (Claude Jarman, Jr.) realized that he must shoot his beloved, but crop-devouring orphaned pet fawn, named Flag, that he had earlier rescued - to put it out of its misery after being mortally wounded by his mother (Jane Wyman)
  • the scene of Pa Baxter's (Gregory Peck) opinion of his boy's growing up after he had run off and returned home, and his description of Jody's coming-of-age: ("He ain't a yearling no longer"), followed by his mother going to Jody's bedside to gratefully hug him and comfort him
  • the film's final fantasy scene in which Jody dreamed that he cavorted off with the deer as the music swelled

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

  • the stirringly-patriotic finale when stove-pipe hatted young lawyer Abraham Lincoln (Henry Fonda), having just won a case to save two homesteader boys from the gallows, walked off toward a hill in a gathering rainstorm after saying: ("No, I think I might go on a piece. Maybe to the top of that hill")
  • the film's conclusion with a dissolve into a shot of the statue in the Lincoln Memorial with a chorus singing "Battle Hymn of the Republic"

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

  • the poignant scene in which teenaged Sherlock Holmes' (Nicholas Rowe) love interest Elizabeth Hardy (Sophie Ward) blocked a bullet intended for him, followed by her dying exchange with him: (Elizabeth: "Don't be sad." Sherlock: "Someday, we'll be reunited, another world, much better world." Elizabeth: "I'll be waiting. And you'll be late, as always.")
  • after she passed away, Sherlock nuzzled her close to him as a teardrop ran down the bridge of his nose and he cried out: ("Elizabeth, no... No!") -- marking, according to young John Watson (Alan Cox), the last time Holmes ever shed a tear
  • later, Holmes would declare he was transferring from the Academy: ("There are too many memories here"). When Watson protested: ("Holmes, you have your entire life ahead of you!"), he calmly replied: ("Then I'll spend it alone")

Z (1969, Fr./Algeria)

  • director Costa-Gavras' historical-thriller masterpiece
  • the poignant final scene in which widowed wife Helene (Irene Papas) - after the assassination of her pacifistic husband - the Deputy (Yves Montand) of the opposition party in Greece, learned from one of her husband's followers that the right-wing assassins (military men including the general and the police chief who sanctioned the murder) had been exposed and arrested: ("It's a real revolution, the government'll fall and extremists'll be wiped out")
  • Helene's response and reaction - she turned and looked out to sea, without triumph, but only with sadness and despondency

Greatest Film Tearjerkers, Moments and Scenes
(alphabetical by film title)
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