18 Moments From Disney and Pixar Movies That Will Make You Cry Every Time
By John Boone
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Inside Out hits theaters this weekend, and we already know it's going to make us feel all the feels. (Translation: We will cry.) Because the trailer is full of adorable hijinx that are sure to lead to touching family moments. But mostly, because Disney and Pixar movies always make us cry.
(Note: Inside Out is a Disney-Pixar joint production, but for this listicle we have included some solo Disney films. No spoilers for Inside Out, but there are some for the other movies.)
1. The Opening Montage of Up
The opening montage of Up is single-handedly both the most heartwarming and depressing scene in any movie, ever. We get to see Carl and Ellie's beautiful love story unfold, but there’s also the part where she finds out she can’t have babies then later dies.
2. When Nemo’s Mom Dies in Finding Nemo
Pixar’s depressing intros continue with Marlin and his wife Coral admiring their new home and abundance of eggs. Then a barracuda attacks, kills Coral, and destroys all of their eggs. Marlin finding the one egg left behind gets us every time.
3. Dory’s Pleas in Finding Nemo
Dory (as voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is a beacon of optimism and comic relief throughout the movie. So it absolutely crushes us when Marlin is bailing on her and she says, “Please don't go away. Please? No one's ever stuck with me for so long before. And if you leave... I just, I remember things better with you. [...] P. Sherman, forty-two...forty-two...I remember it, I do. It's there, I know it is, because when I look at you, I can feel it. And-and I look at you, and I and I'm home."
4. “When She Loved Me” in Toy Story 2
Cowgirl Jessie is new to the gang in the Toy Story sequel, and eventually we learn where her deep abandonment issues come from: Her best friend Emily outgrew her and left her on the side of the road in a donation box. Set to the tune of a tearjerker Sarah McLachlan song. (Between this and those adoption commercials, WHAT is your problem, Sarah McLachlan?! Do you WANT us to cry?!)
5. The End of Monster’s Inc
Sully (John Goodman) saying goodbye to Boo gets us misty, but when Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) reassembles her door and Sully steps back into her room at the end is full-on waterworks. “Boo?” “Kitty!” Happy tears, but tears nonetheless.
Everything in Dumbo is depressing AF, but when Dumbo’s mom, chained up, cradles him in her trunk as he cries and sings, “Baby mine, don't you cry / Baby mine, dry your eyes / Rest your head close to my heart / Never to part, baby of mine.” It’s too much.
7. The Incinerator Scene in Toy Story 3
The beginning of this scene is just terrifying -- the toys heading towards certain death in the furnace -- but when Jessie asks Buzz, “What do we do?!” and he just takes her hand, then she calms Bullseye the horse by taking his hoof, and so on with all the toys, holding each other in their final moments... How is this a kids’ movie again?
8. When Andy Gives Bonnie His Toys in Toy Story 3
We grew up on Toy Story, so we were heading off to college and our grown up lives at the same time as Andy. Which made the scene where Andy gives his toys to a little girl named Bonnie, only after telling her how special they all are, all the more poignant.
9. The Death of Bambi’s Mother in Bambi
During Bambi’s first winter, his mother is shot and killed by a hunter, leaving him all alone. The saddest part is when Bambi hasn’t yet realized it and cries, “We made it, mother!” only to wander sadly into the snow, calling after her, “Mother?!”
10. When Widow Tweet Leaves Todd in The Fox and The Hound
When she takes him back to the woods and he’s cuddled in her arms and confused, but she tells him to stay and drives away, tears in her eyes as he watches her leave. THEN THERE’S A STORM. “Goodbye may seem forever, farewell is like the end,” a lone, female voice sings. “But in my hearts the memory, and there you’ll always be.”
11. Every Time We See Rapunzel’s Parents in Tangled
This is a two-parter: They set it up at the beginning with the King and Queen reacting to the loss of their daughter and Rapunzel’s mom wiping away her husband’s tears. Then, when they get word that she’s returned to the kingdom at the end and the King cries again, well, nothing could stop our tears either.
12. When Ralph Wrecks Vanellope’s Kart in Wreck-It Ralph
Ralph spends the whole movie trying to convince others that he’s not a bad guy, then he’s forced to act like the exact bad guy people think he is in order to protect the only girl who saw good in him, Vanellope. Maybe this one just made us cry, but Vanellope giving Ralph a hero medal, only to end up sobbing, “You really are a bad guy,” got us. He’s not!
13. When Mulan Reunites With Her Father in Mulan
Mulan returns home with the sword of Shan Yu to win favor with her father, Fa Zhou. But when she presents it, telling him it will bring honor to the family, he responds, “The greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter.”
14. Ray’s Funeral in The Princess and the Frog
Ray gets “done laid low,” which is sad enough, given he’s the unexpected hero of this fairy tale. But his funeral, which sees him finally united with the love of his life, Evangeline, as a star, is surprisingly touching. Not enough people give Princess and the Frog the credit it’s due.
15. When Cinderella’s Dress Is Destroyed in Cinderella
Poor Cinderella. She’s been done wrong so many times, but when she hits rock bottom -- after toiling over a dress to wear to the ball, her stepsisters rip it apart while her evil stepmother watches on -- it’s more than anyone could take. And more than we can watch.
16. When the Second Sun Rises and the Spell Is Set in Brave
Brave isn’t exactly anyone’s favorite Disney movie...BUT as the sun rises on the second day and Merida believes her mom will stay a bear forever and admits how much she loves her and appreciates her -- “I just want you back.” -- that’s some sad stuff. We just really love our moms.
17. When Baymax Deactivates in Big Hero 6
This one hasn’t stood the test of time in terms of cry-worthy Disney moments yet, but having to watch Hiro tell Baymax that he’s satisfied with his care, thus losing Baymax forever in the portal (after already losing his big brother earlier in the film), was like sitting in a theater full of onions.
18. “Dad, Come On. You Gotta Get Up!” in The Lion King
You know the scene. Don’t make us talk about it. We can’t.
Want to be even more depressed? Here’s the real reason Disney characters usually don’t have parents: