You can be tough, nigh untouchable but there will always be moments in film that make you cry. It might be the Girl In Red in Schindler’s List or Bruce Willis in Armageddon but there will definitely be something out there to make you cry. With that in mind, here are some of the most affecting movie moments.
Forrest Gump – “Is he smart or is he…”
Some people might choose Jenny’s death or life choices but this is the most defining moment of the film. Forrest was unaware that he had a son for his son’s entire life. The first thing that he asks if his own intellect was passed along. Despite being honest and hardworking his entire life, these few seconds reveal the Forrest knows that he is not quite like other people and he was genuinely worried his son might be treated like he was.
The Lion King – “You gotta get up”
Through the villainous manipulations of his uncle Scar, Simba was caught in a wildebeest stampede. Mufasa rushes in to save him and dies after being thrown back in by Scar. Watching Simba try and understand that his father isn’t going to wake up is enough to send you bawling.
Gladiator – “There was a dream that was Rome”
Considering how dark his background is, Maximus gets his hero’s reward right at the end. Following his final battle, Maximus is slowly dying and his mind begins wandering into the afterlife. He has just enough time left to set Rome back onto the correct course before succumbing to his wounds and finally being reunited with his family in the next life.
The Shawshank Redemption – Brooks Was Here
The Shawshank Redemption is one of those films that you have to see. It’s a masterpiece of cinema. But it also has one of the saddest deaths around. Brooks Hatlen was a gentle old man who was willing to see out the rest of his days behind bars with his bird. But when he is granted parole and thrust into a world fifty years ahead of the one he left, Brooks cannot cope. An attempt to send himself back to jail fails and everything gets too much for him. Brooks takes the last route out by hanging himself in his apartment after carving ‘Brooks was here’ into a beam.
Make Way for Tomorrow – Separating
One of the universal truths is that we all age and tire. But what happens when we can no longer take care of ourselves? Barkley and Lucy Cooper are one such old couple who can no longer afford their house. Barkley is unable to find work due to his advanced age and none of their children can house them. The two are forced to separate with Lucy will go to a nursing home while Barkley will continue onwards to find a job. Their last scene together shows their best efforts to pretend they will see each other again. Barkley pretends he will find work soon and Lucy pretends to believe him but the looks in their eyes speak of goodbyes as the train slowly pulls away.
Titanic – The Passengers
Ignoring Jack and Rose for a minute – they could both have fit and who throws away a priceless diamond? – the real tragedy here are the passengers. When it truly sank in that the ship was going down, the ‘less important’ passengers were simply locked in and left behind. Watching them prepare as best they could for the inevitable drowning captures the true horror of the Titanic better than some piece of driftwood.
Up – Opening Montage
There is probably more sadness in the first five minutes of Up than anywhere else around. In no short order you see:
- young love,
- the disapproving family of the groom,
- their attempts at the perfect vacation get shunted aside by real life,
- their attempts to start a family fall apart,
- Ellie dying just before Carl can whisk her away on holiday,
- Carl trying to adjust to life without her,
- the once beautiful neighbourhood replaced by large buildings and
- an advertisement for care homes reminds Carl he is old and alone.
It almost seems like that everything that could go wrong did go wrong for this loveable couple.
The Basketball Diaries – “I’ll be a good boy”
The Basketball Diaries centers around a group of Boston youths growing up in the wrong neighbourhood. They take a shine to the wrong ideas and start using hard drugs. DiCaprio comes home one night – high on heroin – to find his mother has locked him out. She is trying to show him tough love and he ends up screaming and crying to be let in. If his screams of “I’ll be a good boy” do nothing for you, you’re the Grinch.
Serenity – Wash
Cancelling Firefly was a big mistake. It left behind thousands of angry fans who clubbed together and got enough attention that the film Serenity was made. And Serenity is where Wash dies. After obtaining information that would cripple the corrupt Alliance, the Serenity crew have to deliver it to a pirate broadcaster.
Two problems: the entire Alliance fleet is in front of them and the entire Reaver – cannibalistic space pirate – fleet is behind them. Wash pilots them through the ensuing conflict, touches down on the planet and immediately gets speared through the chest. He dies so quickly that he cannot say farewells and the crew are forced to abandon him to continue the mission.
The Iron Giant – Superman
To understand the idea here, this film is set in the Cold War era. A nuclear attack was possible at any moment and the USA was on high alert. So when an alien killing machine with amnesia rolls into town and befriends a young boy, things are going to go bad fast. After learning the importance of decisions, the Iron Giant is then attacked with a nuclear missile that will destroy the nearby town. Our friendly kill-bot sacrifices himself to save the town, thinking of himself as Superman in the last few moments before dying.
I admit, the film cops out and he somehow survives but this film has the ability to make a thirty year-old man cry. Trust me on that.