Sadness is a very subjective thing and there’s no way that everyone is going to agree with my list, especially as I don’t tend to much much drama and rom-com etc which seem to have most of the sad movie moments as they just don’t interest me at all. But here is my personal saddest movie moments of all time list.
Be warned that it contains video clips and descriptions of the events, so there are definite spoilers for; Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Toy Story 3, the Lion King, War for the Planet of the Apes, the Green Mile, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Marley & Me and Star Trek: Into Darkness.
1 – Anakin Kills Younglings
Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
The fact that Anakin, on his way to becoming the most evil ass hole to grace our screens, kills all of the young Jedi being trained is sad enough as it is, but then they go and punctuate that point by taking the cutest jedi they could find to walk up to Anakin, and then the poor guy jumps a little when he fires up his light saber. COME ON…. NOT COOL!
2 – Toys in the Incinerator
Toy Story 3
Lotso could have saved them all right from the start but no… It turns out the big pink teddy bear who smells like strawberry is in fact a giant ass hat! He lets them go along the conveyor belt and in to the incinerator… As they move closer and closer to the burning middle, they tip us over the edge by all holding hands. But don’t worry the claw aliens save the day!
3 – Caesar Finds out his Family has been Killed
War for the Planet of the Apes
It’s not a scene with loads of action and gore – in fact Caesar doesn’t witness the actual death, it’s only when he is alerted to their bodies with a subtle nod of the head, that you see such a huge range of emotions on his face – a true testament to the cgi artists for this movie… You really feel for him and for the rest of the film you want him to get his revenge.
4 – Mufasa Dies in Front of Simba
The Lion King
I’ve seen a clip of this scene in the new version of the Lion King and it looks just as traumatic in principle, but then I think that the fact that he is so cartoony in the first one, that it makes Simba appear even sadder than when he looks like a real lion. Maybe because you think there is even more innocence with the cartoon, which is then betrayed even more by Scar, who in cartoon form looks so much more evil than in cgi. The death isn’t too graphic, as you’d expect from Disney, although for kids it’s still pretty traumatising, and it’s the reaction of Simba, along with how he is absolutely betrayed by Scar which makes this scene so gut wrenching. I can honestly say that as a kid, the first movie to make me cry, and to this point still the only one!
5 – John Coffey’s Execution
The Green Mile
John is accused of raping and killing 2 white girls, even though it later transpires that he was actually trying to revive them and that one of the other inmates in prison was the true perpetrator. It was said that he lured the girls away and intricately planned the crime, even though this huge, 6 foot 8 inches black man was also described as being able to remember his own name, and not much else. He is a simple man who takes all that life throws at him with dignity – right up to his execution. The prison guards all know by the end that he is innocent, and it is this along with John’s gentle character which rip your heart out as he dies, because you wonder how often this actually happened in or still happens in real life.
6 – Marley gets put to Sleep
Marley and Me
Marley is a pretty naughty dog but just like every family dog, he’s special to the characters and eventually also the viewers. You do become attached to them, especially if (as so many of us do) you have your own dog. At the end Marley needs to be put to sleep due to age related issues, and it’s a really emotional and heartfelt scene between Marley and his owner John. What makes it so emotional for many of us is that a lot of us know that there is a good chance that one day we will have to do the same with out own beloved family dogs.
7 – The Death of Mr Spock
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
Mr Spock is half human so there must have been some level of fear of the situation and death, however he spent most of his life trying to suppress this and was mostly a being of logic. The actions he performs in this scene which spread across rendering his friend, Dr McCoy unconscious through to sacrificing his life are explained by the now famous line, “the needs of the main out weigh the needs of the few or the one.” But it is not Spock who elicits these emotions, but it is the reaction of his long time companion, Captain Kirk, who is angry, sad, confused and eventually accepting of the situation, all in one scene. One of the most powerful scenes in Sci-Fi cinema history.
8 – The Death of Captain Kirk
Star Trek: Into Darkness
I put the Mr Spock death scene first because I wanted to show that the sadness really did come from the reaction of the surviving half of the lead duo, and not the death itself. I can show this with the death scene of Captain Kirk in the much later movie in which it is Kirk who dies from almost an identical scene being played out, and it is Spock on the other side. Yes he goes off the rails in an attempt to save Kirk, but his initial reactions are no where near as powerful as in the earlier movie. It’s still a powerful scene, but seeing the emotion which people face in times of loss, certainly adds a lot to a sad scene.