Greatest Tearjerkers
Scenes and Movie Moments
of All-Time


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

The Fly (1986)

  • the scene in which girlfriend/lover Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) felt hairs growing on the back of a slowly-degenerating Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) after he had teleported himself
  • a degenerating Seth's ear fell off in front of Veronica, and he clutched her in fear and whispered: "I'm scared. Help me. Please"
  • Seth's "insect politics" speech in which he begged Veronica to leave and never return for her own safety: "You have to leave now, and never come back here. Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects don't have politics. They're very brutal. No compassion, no compromise. We can't trust the insect. I'd like to become the first insect politician. You see, I'd like to, but, oh, I'm afraid, uh... I'm saying, I'm saying, I-I'm an insect who dreamt he was a man but he loved it. But now the dream is over and the insect is awake....I'm saying: 'I'll hurt you if you stay.'"
  • the poignant, tearjerking concluding scene in which an anguished Brundlefly, having turned into a piteously deformed creature during a failed experiment to fuse with Veronica and their unborn child, wordlessly begged her to end his monstrous life with a shotgun, and Veronica's act of compliance - tearfully collapsing to her knees on the floor after the merciful deed was accomplished
Veronica's Mercy-Killing of Brundlefly

"I'm scared. Help me. Please"

"Insect Politics"

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

  • the conclusion in which ill-fated hero American mercenary Robert Jordan (Gary Cooper) delivered his final soliloquy to blue-eyed, short-haired, blonde Maria (Ingrid Bergman) when he chose to be left behind to meet his certain death after he blew up a bridge and suffered a broken leg: ("You go now, Maria...what I do now I do alone. I couldn't do it if you were here...There's no good-bye, Maria, because we're not apart")
  • in the dissolve ending, smoky machine-gun fire and a bell tolled his fate

Robert to Maria: "You go now, Maria"

Robert's Death

Forever Young (1992)

  • the contrived yet bittersweet reunion scene ending in this romantic sci-fi tale in which test pilot Capt. Daniel McCormick (Mel Gibson), having been cryogenically frozen for over 50 years in a military warehouse, rapidly aged to his chronological age, woke up in the present when freed from his cyrogenic chamber by two mischievous kids, and rejoined his now-elderly childhood sweetheart Helen (Isabel Glasser) - and they hugged, kissed, and walked off as an elderly couple together after he asked her to marry him - their love conquered all

Reunion Scene Between Elderly Capt. McCormick and Helen

Forrest Gump (1994)


  • the scene in which true love Jenny (Robin Wright) rejected idiot savant Forrest Gump's (Tom Hanks) proposal for marriage - and his reply in the hallway: "I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is"
  • and then Jenny entered into his bed to spend the night with him and make love to him ("Forrest, I do love you") and his quiet sadness when she left him again the next morning
  • and years later, the scene in which they met up again and she showed him her scrapbook of his running exploits and he met young Forrest, Jr. (Haley Joel Osment) for the first time and was told that he was the father of Jenny's very normal child: ("You're his daddy, Forrest") and her reassurance: ("There's nothing you need to do, ok? You didn't do anything wrong, ok?") and his reply: ("He's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen"); Jenny assured Forrest: ("He's very smart. He's one of the smartest in his class")
  • and the scene of Forrest and his young boy happily watching Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie on TV together
  • Forrest's moving eulogy-meditation (partly in voice-over) for his newly-wed bride Jenny at her gravesite under a tree after she died of the AIDS virus: ("You died on a Saturday morning. And I had you placed here under our tree. And I had that house of your father's bulldozed to the ground. Mama always said that dyin' was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn't. Little Forrest is doin' just fine. About to start school again soon, and I make his breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. I make sure he combs his hair and brushes his teeth every day. Teach him how to play ping-pong. He's really good...We fish a lot. And every night, we read a book. He's so smart, Jenny. You'd be so proud of him. I am. He wrote you a letter. And he says I can't read it. I'm not supposed to, so I'll just leave it here for you. I don't know if Mama was right or if it's Lieutenant Dan. I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floatin' around accidental-like on a breeze. But I-I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time. But I miss you, Jenny. If there's anything you need, I won't be far away")

At Jenny's Gravesite

Floating Feather
  • the final image of a feather floating up into the sky at the school-bus stop

"I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is"

Love-Making Scene

Meeting Young Forrest, Jr.

42 Up (1998, UK) (TV)


  • the moving, troubling saga of Neil Hughes (Himself) throughout Michael Apted's series of documentaries following his life every seven years, from a charismatic 7 year-old boy from a wealthy family to his nervous breakdown at age 28 to homelessness at 35 - and his poignant recovery with a new close friend at 42. (Note: He would end up as a successful politician at age 49 in 49 Up! (2005).)

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994, UK)


  • at a moving funeral ceremony - the film's acting highlight was Matthew's (John Hannah) words of remembrance for "jolly" and "splendid bugger" Gareth (Simon Callow), Matthew's gay partner: ("I hope joyful is how you will remember him. Not stuck in a box in a church"), followed by his poignant reading of W. H. Auden's Funeral Blues at the memorial service for: ("Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum, Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let the aeroplanes circle, moaning overhead, Scribbling on the sky the message: He is Dead. Put crepe bows 'round the white necks of the public doves, Let traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West. My working week and my Sunday rest. My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song. I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now, put out every one. Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun. Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood, For nothing now can ever come to any good.")
  • in the final scene outside Charles' home, after an aborted 'fourth' wedding ceremony, American journalist Caroline "Carrie" (Andie MacDowell) arrived in the rain to apologize for causing a disruption in Charles' marriage; he was finally able to declare his utter and true love for Carrie in the rain: (Charles: "There I was, standing there in the church, and for the first time in my whole life, I realized I totally and utterly loved one person. And it wasn't the person standing next to me in the veil. It's the person standing opposite me now - in the rain"; Carrie: "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed"); and then awkwardly, he did not ask for her hand in marriage: ("But first, let me ask you one thing. Do you think, after we've dried off, after we've spent lots more time together, you might agree not to marry me? And do you think not being married to me might maybe be something you could consider doing for the rest of your life? Do you?") - Carrie's response: "I do," was accompanied by a kiss, and the camera rose into the air to capture a lightning bolt in the sky

Matthew's Tribute to Gareth

Charles and Carrie in the Rain

Frankenstein (1931)

  • the heart-breaking, initially-censored scene in which the Monster (Boris Karloff) played with a little girl named Maria (Marilyn Harris) at lakeside - she was not repelled by his hideous appearance or fearful of him and invited him to play and be her friend. They joined in a game of flinging flower-petals into the lake, one-by-one, to watch them float. When the Monster's few flower blossoms were gone, he puzzled for a moment at his empty hands, and then innocently and ignorantly picked up Maria and tossed her into the water - where she quickly sank and drowned
  • he staggered away from the lake - expressing some confusion, despair and remorse - shaking and wringing his hands and possibly perceiving the horrible thing he had just done

Death of Maria at Hands of Monster

Fright Night (1985)

  • the drawn-out, excruciating yet poignant death of freshly-sired teenaged vampire "Evil" Ed Thompson (Stephen Geoffreys) after being stabbed in the chest with a wooden stake while in wolf-form, and attempting to remove the stake from his body, all witnessed in pity and horror by washed-up B-movie horror/vampire actor Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) as Ed transformed back into his human form
Death and Transformation of Vampire "Evil" Ed Thompson

Ed's Wolf Form

The Front (1976)

  • the mentally-deteriorating, despairing and troubled character of TV comedy actor and Grand Central host Hecky Brown (Zero Mostel) - including the scene in which he was fired for being a suspected Communist and then committed suicide in his hotel room by jumping from the window
  • the bittersweet finale when cashier/bookie and 'front'-man Howard Price (Woody Allen) was testifying before the HUAC and told the committee that he refused to give his testimony and then left with the film's final line of dialogue: ("I don't recognize the right of this committee to ask me these kind of questions. And furthermore, you can all go f--k yourselves")
  • the final sequence set at the train station, accompanied by Frank Sinatra's rendition of Young at Heart playing on the soundtrack, when Howard kissed girlfriend Florence Barrett (Andrea Marcovicci) - revealing he was handcuffed to an officer and surrounded by crowds waving signs of support ("We Won't Forget," "Free Howard Prince!" and "Howard Prince, The Real American"), as he boarded a train bound for federal prison - as the real-life dates of blacklisting were posted after the director's, cast's and crew's names
Final Sequence at Train Station

Hecky's Suicide

"You can all go f--k yourselves"

Greatest Film Tearjerkers, Moments and Scenes
(alphabetical by film title)
Intro | A | B | B | C | C | D | D | E | F | F | G | G
H-I | J-K | L | L | M | M | N | O | P | P
Q-R | S | S | S | S | T | T | U-V-W | X-Z

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