Okay, there is something that is kind of bothering me about this. I was first given this concept in another video that I watched on That Guy With The Glasses. It is a website that I recommend you check out, if you are a film buff like me, or just like watching people talk about movies in often very funny ways. Anyway, this concept that kind of weirds me out is how so much of the most tragic stuff in films comes from children’s movies! For real, if you watch any child’s movie, you will often find some horribly depressing stuff. Well, I decided to make myself cry a little in my efforts to bring you a list of the top 10 saddest moments in cinema.
10. The scene where Coral is killed
Finding Nemo (2003)
This was an amazing film. In this scene, Marlin, the main character, and his wife, Coral, have moved into a new anemone in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. They have laid a multitude of eggs, and are looking forward to being parents. Everything is going wonderfully, until a barracuda shows up. Without a moment’s hesitation, Coral swims down to protect her young, even after Marlin is almost begging her to go back into the anemone and be safe. Marlin tries to fight the barracuda, only to be quickly beaten and get stung in the anemone. He wakes up to not only find that Coral is dead, but also that his entire spawn of eggs have been killed as well. This scene begins what was a very good movie. It tells the tale of a character who is forced to overcome all of his fears to rescue his son.
9. When the brick house sinks into the mud
The Secret of NIMH (1982)
This was one of those underrated films that was made. It was an animated film that told the story of a young female mouse whose husband had passed away. Her child is horribly sick, and she is looking to help him. But there is a problem – the frost has come early that year, and the field that they live in is about to be torn up by a giant piece of farm equipment. It will essentially destroy their home, and kill her kid. She is on a mission to find a way to save them. She finds the Rats of NIMH, and gets their help. Everything is looking to be going well, when treachery within the Rats causes the house, which is a brick, to fall into the mud below. With the entire rigging destroyed, there is no way that they can move it. The mother, Mrs. Brisby, is heartbroken, when things only get worse. The entire house starts to sink, and with no way to bring it up, Brisby can only watch in horror as her home and her entire family sink into the mud, sure to die.
8. When Willy finally escapes
Free Willy (1993)
Now, I know that this doesn’t sound all that sad, but hear me out. The main character, Jesse, had only really had one friend. Willy was the thing that gave his life meaning. He got everything because of this whale. He nearly had to watch him die when the truck got stuck, and now he is setting him free to the wild, where he will not be in danger anymore. But to do this, he loses his best friend. It is tragic for anybody who has ever had to have a friend leave them, or had a friend die.
7. Simba’s dad dies
The Lion King (1994)
This was a scene that really was painful for a kid to watch. Really, it was tragic down to its very core. Not a single bit of goodness came from it. Unlike the scene of Bambi’s mom dying, where Bambi was able to find a way to make it less horrible, here, this couldn’t have possibly been worse. Mufasa is killed by his brother, who delighted in watching him die, and Simba blames himself, because he was in the gorge when it happened. Not to mention, Scar forces it into his head that this was his fault. The entire scene was tragic, from start to finish. Not to mention that when Simba runs away, he almost dies in the process.
6. When Leslie falls to her death
Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
What makes this scene especially tragic is that you never see it. Not once. You never see exactly how she died. You only find out about it afterwards. The main character, Jess, had shrugged off seeing her to go and see the teacher that he has a crush on. She went to Terabithia alone, but because the rope they were using to cross the river wasn’t the best, it broke off. Had he been there, he would have been able to help her, but she fell and drowned. This scene is horribly heartbreaking because of the knowledge that his best friend is dead, and he could have helped her, if he hadn’t of lied to everybody and skipped out on seeing her.
5. When Tod is forced to go back into the wild
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
This was an almost bittersweet film about how friendship, when it’s real, can never die. Tod is a fox. Like Bambi, his mother was killed. He ended up at the farm of a Widow Tweed. The two have several happy years together, and then the old man next door to her gets a puppy. Tod and the puppy, named Copper, quickly bond. However, due to the fact that Tod is a fox, and Copper is a hound dog, the two are destined to not be able to be friends. When something goes wrong with Tod and the old man, Widow Tweed is forced to relocate him to the forest, where she believes that he will be safe. If only it were so…
4. The ENTIRE opening!
Okay, this was the most tragic and bitter opening to any film that I have EVER seen. Seriously, Pixar, what the hell?! This couldn’t have possibly been sadder. The main character, Carl, met a girl named Ellie. The two quickly became friends, and later formed a relationship. They got married, and for a while, it looked like they would be happy. But then, bad thing after bad thing happens! First, Ellis has a problem with her pregnancy, which apparently leaves her unable to have more children. So instead, they choose to focus on their life-long goal of reaching Paradise Falls. but, life keeps forcing them to have to give up the money they save to get there. And when he is old, and Carl finally decides to carry out their dream, his wife dies. It is a horribly tragic film. What makes this worse is that Carl never realized, even through all of that, that the dream that Ellie had wasn’t to reach Paradise Falls, it was to be with him. This opening couldn’t have been sadder!
3. Diana’s Piano
Garfield: His 9 Lives (1989)
This entire bit, from start to finish, just made me feel very emotional. The colorful and child-like animation, drawn to be realistic, was just such a catharsis for me. You see, my grandmother, Mary, was probably the most important person in my life. I cared more about her than anybody else. She loved the piano. I have always been a Garfield lover, so that added to the catharsis. The subtle piano music, and the quiet sadness of certain parts just made me feel so much emotion! You couldn’t watch the scene where the narrator left for college, and the sad music that accompanied it, without feeling something. The piano just felt to be making the scene that much harder. It was a beautiful sequence of a cartoon special that was actually pretty good.
2. Littlefoot’s mother dying
The Land Before Time (1988)
I have always had a soft spot for dinosaurs. It comes from when I was a little kid. And no matter what, any film that is made about dinosaurs is going to be interesting. And who would have thought that you could actually feel sorry for them?! What makes this scene so much more tragic than a scene like when Bambi’s mom died is that Littlefoot’s mother came to his defense. Littlefoot was in mortal danger from a “Sharptooth” (their name for all predatory dinosaurs. This one was pretty much a T-Rex). His mother came immediately to his defense, unconcerned about her own fate. She fights off the beast, and sacrifices her life in the process. Then, while she is dying, she tells her son that he has to leave her and go on alone to find The Great Valley. He has no idea if its real, but he is taking it on faith that his mother wouldn’t lie to him. It is hearbreaking because he loses the person he cared about most, and he is told to leave her behind, never to see her again. This film had a lot of depressing scenes, but this one in-particular was heartbreaking.
1. Okay, let’s face it, ALL Disney Films!
Disney, (1940- )
Let’s be honest, Disney has a reputation for making some of the most hardcore emotional moments in film. From the scene of Snow White’s death, to when Simba faces his own destiny and hears his father telling him to keep moving, Disney has a really bad habit of making some REALLY depressing stuff! What the hell, Disney?! You aren’t supposed to make kids want to die! Ugh! But all kidding aside, Disney has a reputation for making some really powerful films that give really great messages. I hope this is a routine that they continue.
It is alright to cry. Films that make you have such an emotional reaction are guaranteed to do this. It is part of what makes a film good. If it doesn’t tap into your emotional centers, it cannot be good, at all! You have to feel it. It has to resonate with you. Sorry, kiddos, but that is how it works.
Until next time, a quote,
“In every other film, someone dies, someone leaves, somebody is in a deep depression. I thought this was supposed to be Disney, the happiest place on Earth. Happy like a bullet in the head!” -The Nostalgia Critic, Top 11 Saddest Moments