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

Shane (1953)


  • the poignant final goodbye scene when badly (and possibly lethally wounded) gunfighter Shane (Alan Ladd) rode off - one of filmdom's most famous and haunting endings
  • Shane admitted his failure in trying to be something other than what he was - a gunslinger: "A man has to be what he is, Joey. You can't break the mold. I tried it and it didn't work for me. Joey, there's no living with, with a killing. There's no going back from one. Right or wrong, it's a brand, a brand sticks. There's no going back. Now you run on home to your mother and tell her, tell her everything's alright, and there aren't any more guns in the valley"
  • a young, anguished, and heartbroken Joey Starrett (Brandon De Wilde), with tears streaking down his face, was left abandoned and stranded; he sadly cried out after his hero/idol Shane: ("Pa's got things for you to do, and Mother wants you. (the words "wants you" echo) I know she does. Shane. Shane! Come back! 'Bye, Shane")
  • the wounded gunfighter was atop his horse (slumped in the saddle) as he rode through the tombstones; he disappeared into the twilight meadow toward the distant hills framed against the sky and mountains, growing smaller and smaller in the distance as he ascended toward the snow-capped Tetons (metaphorically ascending into heaven?)

Shane Heading Toward the Distant Hills Across a Meadow

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)


  • the liberating, uplifting scene of the Shawshank State Prison inmates drinking cold beers on the sunny rooftop and feeling like 'free men' while the heroic innocent convict Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) smiled off to the side in the shade; his convict friend Red (Morgan Freeman) commented, in voice-over: ("And that's how it came to pass, that on the second-to-last day of the job, the convict crew that tarred the plate factory roof in the spring of '49 wound up sitting in a row at ten o'clock in the morning, drinking icy cold Bohemia-style beer, courtesy of the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Shawshank State Prison...The colossal prick even managed to sound magnanimous. We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the Lords of all Creation. As for Andy, he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his face, watching us drink his beer...You could argue he'd done it to curry favor with the guards, or maybe make a few friends among us cons. Me? I think he did it just to feel normal again, if only for a short while")
  • the tragic scene of released aging prisoner Brooks Hatlen's (James Whitmore) suicide by hanging after carving "BROOKS WAS HERE" on the wooden arch above him
  • the similarly transcendental scene in which Andy placed the LP record album Duettino: Sull'Aria on a phonograph player in the office, locked the doors and then broadcast part of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro opera on the loudspeaker P.A. system throughout the entire prison to share a moment of freedom and make the prison walls dissolve
  • the image of Andy's "rebirth" after he escaped from prison - the famous overhead shot of him standing in the cleansing "baptismal" rain with his arms raised to the heavens
  • and the optimistic conclusion in which an escaped Andy and paroled Red re-united on a remote Mexican beach at Zihuatanejo; Red walked bare-footed on the sand toward an old wreck of a boat, where he found Andy patiently and meticulously sanding the old paint from the boat's ancient surface; Red's hopeful voice-over narration accompanied his attainment of freedom: ("I find I'm so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope")

"A Strange Little Smile on His Face"

Brooks' Suicidal Hanging

Broadcast of Opera to Prisoners

Andy's "Rebirth" to Freedom

Red and Andy Reunited on a Remote Mexican Beach

Sideways (2004)

  • the sensual conversation between 'loser', hang-dog San Diego-based English teacher and aspiring writer Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) who listened to love interest Maya (Virginia Madsen), a Santa Ynez Valley wine country resident, as she described the sensual qualities of wine: ("I like to think about the life of wine. Yeah. How it's a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing, how the sun was shining, if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes, and if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve. Like, if I opened a bottle of wine today, it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day. Because a bottle of wine is actually alive and it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks like your '61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline. Hmm. And it tastes so f--king good")
  • however, Miles ruined the mood and moment, and after excusing him to go to the restroom, he berated himself in front of a mirror: ("God, you are such a f--kin' loser. You make me so f--kin' sick. Oh, God. Ah, come on")
  • the ending in which Miles listened to a reconciliatory lengthy phone call on his answering machine from estranged love interest Maya, telling him that she really enjoyed his book - the film's final dialogue: ("Hello, Miles. It's Maya. Thanks for your letter. I-I would have called sooner but I think I needed some time to think about everything that happened and, what you wrote to me. Another reason, uhm, I didn't call you sooner is because I wanted to finish your book, which I finally did last night. And I think it's really lovely, Miles. You're so good with words. Who cares if it's not getting published? There are so many beautiful and painful things about it. Did you really go through all that? Must have been awful. And the sister character -- geez, what a wreck! But I have to say that, well, I was really confused by the ending. I mean, did the father finally commit suicide, or what? It's driving me crazy. Anyway, it's turned cold and rainy here lately, but I like winter. So, listen, if you ever do decide to come up here again, you should let me know. I would say stop by the restaurant, but to tell you the truth, I'm not sure how much longer I'm gonna be working there, because I'm gonna graduate soon. So I'll probably want to relocate. I mean, we'll see. Anyway, like I said, I really loved your novel. Don't give up, Miles. Keep writing. I hope you're well. Bye")
  • the hopeful final image of Miles knocking on Maya's door - having traveled all the way back to the Valley to see her again

Wine Country Resident Maya (Virginia Madsen)

Miles Berating Himself In Front of Mirror

Miles Listing to Phone Message From Maya

Miles Knocking on Maya's Door

Since You Went Away (1944)

  • the stunning, beautifully-filmed, heart-rending parting scene at the train station, filmed from the point of view of the departing serviceman William Smollett (Robert Walker) leaving on the moving train as he watched his girlfriend Jane Hilton (Jennifer Jones) run alongside the train and dodge large structural supports, as she cried out to him: ("I love you darling!")

Train Station Parting Scene

The Sixth Sense (1999)


  • the anniversary date dinner scene of psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) arriving late at the table with his troubled and depressed wife Anna (Olivia Williams) in a fancy restaurant - although
  • the disturbing, heart-breaking scene in which clairvoyant Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) brought deceased daughter Kyra's (Mischa Barton) videotape to her father Mr. Collins (Greg Wood) to be played at the funeral reception - followed by the father's confrontation with the mother (Angelica Torn) who was accused of deliberately keeping her ill: ("You were keeping her sick")
  • the mournful scene of Anna watching her wedding video tape on TV. With her eyes closed, she was asking questions, such as: "Why, Malcolm?...Why did you leave me?" She was clutching the wedding ring that used to be on his hand before falling asleep
  • after the ring rolled noisily in a circle across the parquet-wood floor, Malcolm held his own left hand up, realizing that he was not wearing his wedding ring. He heard patient Cole speaking to him about seeing 'dead people' all the time: ("I see people. They don't know they're dead...They're everywhere. They only see what they want to see."). He staggered from the room, suddenly discovering that he was dead, and that the wound from the gunshot was lethal (the prologue was replayed, with additional footage).
  • realizing that he must let go, Malcolm told sleeping Anna on the couch: ("I think I can go now. I just needed to do a couple things. I needed to help someone. I think I did. And I needed to tell you something. You were never second. Ever. I love you. You sleep now. Everything will be different in the morning").
  • in her sleep, she answered and smiled: ("Good night, Malcolm") and he replied: ("Good night, sweetheart")
Plot Twist Revelation that Malcolm Was Dead

The Wedding Ring

No Wedding Ring

Sudden Revelation

Cole: "I see people. They don't know they're dead"

Disgruntled Patient

Malcolm Lethally Shot
  • the film's ending with a brief image from their wedding tape

Anniversary Dinner Scene

Mr. Collins to His Wife: "You were keeping her sick"

Anna Watching Videotaped Wedding With Malcolm Present

"Good night, Malcolm"

Snoopy Come Home (1972)

  • the character of Snoopy's first (or original) dog owner: hospital-ridden Lila (voice of Johanna Baer) - lonely for company in her hospital room, and writing a letter asking for Snoopy to come back to her, as Shelby Flint sang mournfully: "Do You Remember Me?" (Lila's Theme) on the soundtrack: ("I still remember a summer gone by. Why was it over so fast? I still remember when we said good-bye. Why can’t our summer-times last? Do you remember me? Once I called you my own. I’m sad as I can be. It’s no fun all alone. Why can’t a memory roll away like a tear? Why do I go to my window hoping you will appear? 'Cause I need you, 'cause I miss you, 'cause I wish you were here")
  • the good-bye or farewell party for Snoopy (voice of Bill Melendez) who had decided to go back and live with Lila - in which each of the members of the Peanuts gang gave Snoopy a parting gift. Snoopy's devoted second owner Charlie Brown (voice of Chad Webber) was so overwhelmed that he was unable to say a single word out of grief as he simply held out his gift, head bowed -- both he and Snoopy burst into tears; the party ended with everyone sobbing as Linus played "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" on the piano
  • also, the even sadder scene after Snoopy left, of a depressed Charlie Brown, now unable to sleep or eat, delivering an aching, melancholy internal monologue/ballad about losing friends as he stared at Snoopy's abandoned doghouse and laid in bed, to the tune of the song: "It Changes": ("...Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like, and then just stay together forever. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves, and then we have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes....You know what I need? I need more 'hellos'")

Charlie's Sad Monologue About Losing Snoopy ("It Changes")

Snoopy's Triumphant Return to His Friends
  • the ending in which Snoopy found a way to joyfully return to his friends (he pointed out the "NO DOGS ALLOWED IN BUILDING" outside Lina's apartment building residence), who carried him in the air triumphantly back to his doghouse

"Do You Remember Me"

Charlie's Parting Gift For Snoopy

"It's a Long Way to Tipperary"

The Snowman (1982)


  • the enchanting, dreamlike, pencil-animated 26-minute Christmas-themed, Oscar-nominated short about an unnamed red-haired English boy and his snowman friend from his front yard (created on Christmas Eve) that magically came to life and joined him to fly all around, as choirboy Peter Auty sang the ethereal, emotional "Walking In the Air"
  • during their soaring journey, the boy visited with St. Nick at the North Pole, who presided over a celebratory party with many dancing snow-people guests
  • the short ended abruptly with a Christmas morning scene in which the boy rushed outside to play with his snowy friend again, but discovered that the snowman had melted and disintegrated into a small pile of snow - leaving him with only the blue snowman scarf Santa Claus had given him as a memento

English Boy Flying with Snowman

St. Nick at North Pole

The Boy Finding His Snowy Friend Melted

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

  • the scene in which the seven heartbroken, sobbing and sorrowful dwarfs held a bedside vigil (accompanied by organ music) next to their Snow White, and then placed her lifeless body in a crystal coffin or casket, where she remained through a full year - a cycle of seasons, as they stood around grieving
  • the scene of the Prince's arrival, who was relieved to find the ragged maiden that he had fancied at the castle. He gently kissed her cold red lips for farewell, not knowing that his Love's First Kiss would awaken her from her deathlike slumber
  • with great joy and cheering in the forest, the scene of Snow White venturing off with the Prince on his horse - "and they lived happily ever after," but not before she kissed each of the dwarfs goodbye. Her Prince had indeed come, and the song "Some Day My Prince Will Come" was heard celebrating his arrival
"Some Day My Prince Will Come"

Lifeless Snow White

Prince's 'Love's First Kiss'

Somewhere in Time (1980)

  • the romantic, tearjerking plot about an aspiring college playwright Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve), after meeting an elderly woman who offered him a gift of a watch and made a request: "Come back to me", willing himself (through time-travel and self-hypnosis) eight years later to meet her as early 20th century actress Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour)
  • the couple's first meeting by the lake and her question: "Is"
  • his jolting return 'to the future' (after a night of love-making) by finding a modern-era penny dated 1979 in his pocket
  • the final scene in which morbidly depressed Richard had an out-of-body experience toward a bright light where his long-lost love Elise, awaited him with outstretched arms

Young Actress Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour)

Jolting Return to the Present After Finding a Penny

Meeting Elise in Bright Light

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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