I've decided that people aren't nearly sad enough, so I created this list! Hooray! Selections from this list are from varying animation companies, though mostly from Disney. Disney apparently knows how to pull on people's heartstrings. The only rule I made for this list was that there could only be one selection from one franchise. I have a ton of honorable mentions, but this list has all the scenes that have always affected me. If you haven't seen any of these movies, then you may not want to read the entry. Also, make sure you click the links in each of the titles!
10. "Mother Earth and Father Time" (Charlotte's Web)
This movie was a mainstay of my childhood, but I haven't had the pleasure of watching it since. That being said, it doesn't mean that I have forgotten about Charlotte's death at the end of Charlotte's Web. Charlotte has saved Wilbur from certain destruction by spinning messages of Wilbur's worth into her web for the world to see. He pays her back by protecting her egg sac which contains her unborn children. She tells a crestfallen Wilbur that she will pass away soon, and indeed she does, leaving behind her eggs. Adding insult to injury, after all the spiders hatch, they all fly away in the wind, much to Wilbur's dismay. Luckily for him, three stay behind to keep him company. The whole scene is sad of course, but it's Wilbur's reaction at the end that always gets me.
9. "Baby Mine" (Dumbo)
This movie moment is notorious in my house because my wife is literally unable to watch it. She has a good point, as this is a terribly sad moment. It's not higher on the list because everything get's better. Mrs. Jumbo has been locked up because she is believed to be a "mad elephant." Dumbo comes to see his mother and she rocks him back and forth with her trunk while the song "Baby Mine" plays. The song makes the whole scene worse. It was bad enough seeing the two elephants hesitant to leave each other, but the song just hits you. Like I said though, everything turns out alright in the end with the two being reunited.
8. "Kitty!" (Monster's, Inc.)
This scene takes place at the end of the movie when Sulley and Mike finally take Boo back to her room. There is a true friendship between Boo and Sulley, so the goodbye between them is a hard one to bear. The worst part is after Sulley leaves, Boo attempts to see him again by opening up her closet, only to find clothes and toys. Boo's door is destroyed and it's assured that Sulley will never see Boo again. Luckily, Mike gets all the pieces of the door back and put them together for Sulley. The closing moment of the movie is Sulley stepping back into Boo's bedroom and hearing a familiar name. Happy tears.
7. "An Empty Chair" (Mickey's Christmas Carol)
This is another favorite animated feature from my childhood, and it has one of the rare moments that made me sad a child. For whatever reason, I didn't get sad during traumatic scenes when I was a child. Now that I'm older, these moments hit me harder than I could ever imagine. This scene has always made me sad. Scrooge meets the third spirit and learns that Tiny Tim has in fact passed away. You see Bob Cratchit walking up to Tim's grave with a crutch, tears flowing and everything. He sets the crutch onto the grave and slowly walks away with his family. Seeing Mickey Mouse cry is not cool. It's not something that I had ever experienced as a child so it was a complete shock. This scene still gets me today. I could only find this video on dailymotion so you will have to skip to the twenty minute mark to see the scene in question.
6. "Goodbye May Seem Like Forever" (The Fox and the Hound)
The Fox and the Hound is not a bright and happy story. In fact, it's pretty depressing. There's one moment in particular that breaks your heart, though. Widow Tweed adopts the orphaned fox, Tod, and cares for it until he reaches adulthood. Tensions mount between Tweed and her hunter neighbor, so she sees no other recourse than to take Tod to a game preserve, where she feels Tod with be safe. The movie may be about Tod and Copper's friendship, but the relationship between Tweed and Tod is a strong one, so it hurts to see her leave Tod behind. She loves Tod more than anything, and tries to put him out of harm's way, even if it means that she doesn't have his company anymore. People saying goodbye to pets in movies is hard as it is, but seeing an old woman force an animal that loves her from following her back home is heartbreaking.
5. "When She Loved Me" (Toy Story 2)
Seeing that I can't put moments from the same group of movies, I chose this one over any other Toy Story moment. A close second was Andy giving his toys away at the end of Toy Story 3. That moment stung (I felt like I got punched in the gut when Andy pulled Woody back toward him), but Jessie's song about her owner that eventually left her gets me every time. The whole thing is sad enough, but the beautiful song just makes it a million times harder. It's a song that speaks to anyone who has felt abandoned in life or in love. It's tragic and by far the saddest moment in the Toy Story trilogy. A fan theory that is making the rounds believes that Jessie's owner, Emily, is in fact Andy's mom. The evidence is the hat Emily wears is the same as Andy's. I don't know about you, but that just makes this whole thing far more tragic.
4. "The Hunter" (Bambi)
It's a given that this infamous death makes people's saddest moments list. It truly deserves to be there, though. This moment has made anti-hunting advocates and even vegetarians because it's so startling. What's so powerful about the whole scene is that you neither see the hunter, nor Bambi's mother getting shot. In fact, you never see the Hunter throughout the whole film, yet he completely drives the plot. He shoots Bambi's mother, so Bambi is instead raised by his father. The Hunter leaves his fire unattended and basically burns the whole forest down, leading to a climactic battle and the rescue of Faline. Anyway, the death of Bambi's mother isn't the really sad part about the whole scene, but what happens afterward. Bambi steps out of their home, calling for his mother. While Bambi blindly searches the forest, it begins to snow. The whole scene makes you believe that Bambi is now completely on his own, but then out of nowhere the Great Prince appears and coldly tells Bambi that his mother can't be with him anymore. Bambi slowly follows the Great Prince into the cold winter. It's a masterful scene and one that has resonated in people's minds for generations.
3. "A Mother's Sacrifice" (The Land Before Time)
Littlefoot and Cera are playing together when out of nowhere, Sharptooth (or as I called him as a child, Sharktooth) attacks. Luckily for them, Littlefoot's mother protects them. An earthquake causes Sharptooth to fall into a ravine, but not before he mortally wounds Littlefoot's mother. Littlefoot and Cera are now seperated from their herds and much journey to the "Great Valley" by themselves. Littlefoot's mother tells him that she will always be with him, and that she knows that he'll find a way to the "Great Valley" if he follows his heart. It's sad enough watching this and knowing that she's dying, but the fact that Littlefoot is completely oblivious to this fact is heart-wrenching. It's basically the same reaction that any child would have if their parent were dying. That is what makes this scene so hard to watch. Also the end with her cloud showing the way the "Great Valley."
2. "Carl and Ellie" (Up)
This is by far the saddest opening to any movie that has ever been made. Pixar movies can be pretty sad at times, but Up takes the cake and throws it out the window on your birthday. Carl and Ellie meet as children and both have an affinity for adventure. They vow that they will someday travel to Paradise Falls in Venezuela, but life keeps getting in the way. We watch as the couple gets married, prepares for children, and then finds out that they are unable to. That scene is sad enough, but it keeps going. Years pass and they are now old, and Carl decides it is finally time to go to Paradise Falls. Before he can surprise her with the airline tickets, Ellie gets sick and soon passes away. The scene of Carl sitting by himself after the funeral is by far the worst part. The whole scene is beautiful, extremely sad, and unforgettable. I don't think anyone expected this when going to see a Pixar movie about an old man. Oh, and being married has made this whole scene way harder to watch.
1. "Long Live the King" (The Lion King)