Mine is a very tender hearted family. Seriously, we get emotional at the littlest things: firework shows, parades… it’s embarrassing. We were all laughing about it amongst ourselves one evening and the subject turned to movies that make us cry. Obviously, it was a long list. However, as we went through them I realized, unsurprisingly, that most of them are animated.
Today I ask the question: What are the saddest animated movies? What movies make you cry like a baby, every time?
It’s almost cliché to say this one. But, at the same time, it’s traumatized children since 1942. If you ask anyone over the age of 40, they will be able to tell you the emotional scars that came after the moment when Bambi called out for his mother and there was no reply.
Somehow, we have all felt like Dumbo when we were made fun of or left out. As bad as this feels, I think it’s actually worse to see someone we love go through this and not be able to help them. When little sweet Dumbo is made into a joke, all ‘Mama Jumbo’ wants to do is comfort him. She is tied up and separated from her child, but she does everything in her power to make it better. It’s not much, but it’s the little things that get us through in our own lives. That is why this part of Dumbo always makes me cry.
8. Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte the spider take a liking to the little pig, Wilber, who shares a pen with her on the Zukerman farm, and wants to save him from the inevitable fate of being the main course on the dinner table. (Facts of farm life.) She throws away her daily schedule and spins a web that entitles him “Terrific,” “Radiant,” “Humble,” or “Some Pig.” This changes the farmer’s mind and makes him think the pig is too special to eat.
Selflessness: That is what I take away from this movie. There are saint-like people in this world that will give and give. They will spend their time and energy to help and encourage you, without ever asking for anything in return. They find joy when they see you succeed. Most of the time we can never really repay them… even if we tried. But that’s not why they do the things they do, anyway. They help others to enjoy the journey. If you haven’t seen Charlotte’s Web in the last 5 years… add it to you list to watch again.
7. An American Tail
In An American Tail, the Mousekewitz family travels by boat to America to escape oppression in their homeland. On the way their son, Fievel, falls overboard and the Mousekewitz family thinks they will never see him again. Fievel survives and makes his way to land in a bottle, but he is very young and all alone. Your heart stings are pulled upon the realization that Fievel must make friends and search to find his family in this new world.
Don Bluth was the director of An American Tail and, after watching a few of his films, I have found that his main goal is to take the viewer to the place of vulnerability. He was traumatized by Bambi in his youth and wanted to make sure an entirely new generation felt that same sting (that’s my theory, at least).
6. The Land Before Time
The next film that never fails to get me is another one from Don Bluth’s library. Little Foot, the dinosaur, was born into world that changed around him, but at least he had the support and guidance from a loving family. Tragedy catches up with him, however, and in one night he is separated from his grandparents and his mother is killed. He is very young and now completely alone. (I’m seeing a trend. Thanks, Don.) In an already unstable world, he must trust his mother’s guiding words and search to find his family at the end of his travels to “The Great Valley.”
5. The Lion King
The future king of the lions, Simba, had the best father. He looked up to him and wanted to be just like him. However, when Simba gets stuck in the middle of a stampede of wildebeests, his father, Mufasa, is killed in his attempt to save him.
From the moment the rocks started to shake and I saw the stampede coming, to when it was all over and the dust cleared, I was sucked in. I have to give it up to Hans Zimmer here. The fact that Mufasa, the perfect dad, dies is heartbreaking enough. But the score adds so much depth to this moment that if you saw this film in the theaters, you will never forget it.
4. Toy Story 2
Jessie was the favorite toy of her owner, Emily. That is, until Emily grew up.
In 1999, this was the movie that every kid at the lunch table talked about. The guilt caused by this movie effected everyone. Today, I think I know why: The song–“When She Loved Me”–took the viewer to a time and place where life and relationships were simple. It made you realize that you changed. Even though it was a good change, it still makes you remember and appreciate (maybe for the first time) the things that don’t. Am I waxing too philosophic?
3. Toy Story 3
Most people will agree when I say that all the Toy Story movies are about friendship, but I believe they are a long form demonstration of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In the first movie, Woody was afraid Buzz would replace him as Andy’s best friend. Woody dealt with his fear by becoming protective (and maybe a little resentful). In the second movie, Woody knows that eventually Andy will grow up and kind of “sells out” as he contemplates running away in order to avoid the pain of eventually being left behind.
Toy Story 3 ended with the acceptance of life, of people’s choices as they come, and making the most of them both. This is hard to do. Mourning is natural when you loose something and everyone seemed to lose something in Toy Story 3. I cried for Woody as he watched his best friend take a new life path that didn’t align with his. I cried for Andy as he had to trust that he’d be able to succeed in his new life without the security of his friend by his side. I cried for myself and for all the times I’ve had to do both.
It was this moment that I loved the most. Both Andy and Woody look at each other and know that all those memories, all the “play times” were real. They were more than real and they wont be forgotten.
Normally, movies wait until the last 15 minuets to really wring the viewer out emotionally. Not so with Up. They (Pete Docter and Bob Peterson) decided to hit everyone in the FIRST 15 minutes with the emotional 2×4. It was definitely a way to leave a mark.
Carl and Ellie were perfect for each other. Not only did they balance each other out in personality and style, but in face shape too! I remember watching this film for the first time in theaters with my parents (Who I also believe balance each other out perfectly). I know I get my crying gene from them. I remember looking over at my parents after the married life sequence and, seeing the state we were all in, I started laughing and crying all in one gulp. At least I was in good company.
1. The Fox and the Hound
This is the movie that I will not watch with others. Actually, I refuse to watch it in general. The night my family and I all sat around and shard the movies that hit us the hardest, my mom asked why this one was so traumatizing. My brother and I started to tell the story together and I swear it turned into the scene from Sleepless in Seattle when the two “emotionals” retell the story of An Affair to Remember.
As far as the heartbreaking themes in this movie, there is obviously the simplicity of friendship that turns complicated when friendships break social norms. The main scene that gets me, though, is where the Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan) was forced to give up her pet and best friend, Todd the fox. I related so much to the Widow Tweed because I always had animals around. I will also say that there was just something with the sincere voice acting and the music in this scene that just tore me up. (Maybe it was also because Don Bluth animated on it. Yeah, I think I’m just going to blame Don.)
Let us know what movies make you cry and then vote on the next Top 10 video!
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes