With infamous deer murder snuff film Bambi turning 75 this week, we've compiled 24 of the saddest moments in cinematic history.

Whether it's abandoned toys, adrift volleyballs or a terminally ill Debra Winger, you're guaranteed to have shed a tear to at least a couple of these.

Be warned, however, there will be spoilers.

"Mother!?" - Bambi (1942)

The ultimate in devastating children's classics, and seemingly the precursor for every animated film to feature a moment of sheer, often parental, tragedy.


The shooting of Bambi's mother is horrible in itself, but it's made significantly worse by the fact that the immediate aftermath just goes on and on and on, Bambi crying out for his mother and the truth slowly dawning on him.

"Baby mine, don't you cry" - Dumbo (1941)

It's been suggested that Walt Disney was particularly affected by his mother's death in real life, and therefore made maternal tragedy something of a recurring theme in his studio's early films. Whether it's true or not, it does make a certain kind of sense.

In Dumbo, the titular elephant's mother is locked in solitary confinement by circus leaders, leading to this wonderfully tender sequence in which she stretches her trunk through the bars of her cell to comfort her son and sing him a lullaby. Prepare to break out the tissues...

"He can't see without his glasses" - My Girl (1991)

Because the scene prior, with Macauley Culkin's bespectacled allergy magnet getting stung to death by bees, has been so widely mocked, it feels more appropriate to herald his eventual funeral.

With Anna Chlumsky's Vada bursting into the ceremony and climbing onto Culkin's open casket, insisting he wear his trademark glasses, it's aggressively treacly but undeniably heartbreaking.

"O Captain, My Captain!" - Dead Poets Society (1989)

It might be that score, it might be that Robin Williams isn't with us anymore, but the closing scene to Dead Poets Society is difficult to watch without bursting into tears.

As Williams's inspirational teacher is sent packing from the stuffy Walton Academy, his students make one last stand of solidarity, the music swelling as several of them rise to their desks and salute their departing teacher.

"I miss you Jenny" - Forrest Gump (1994)

An unusually recurring presence in this list, Tom Hanksdelivers a monologue for the ages at the very end of Forrest Gump, delivered at the grave site of his deceased wife Jenny, who he had loved since childhood.


There are numerous moments here that are particularly gut-wrenching, but Hanks's reading of "He's so smart, Jenny", referencing their young son, takes the cake -- particularly when paralleled with an earlier tearjerker where he first meets him.

"WILSON!!" - Cast Away (2000)

Because Tom Hanks is so capable of inciting tears in audiences that he can make the demise of a volleyball one of cinema's greatest tragedies.

In Cast Away, Hanks's stranded FedEx employee bonds with a volleyball named Wilson, as a means of staving off madness while languishing on a deserted island. Then, during an attempt to sail to safety, Wilson floats away. Poor Wilson.

"When she loved me" - Toy Story 2 (1999)

The life of a toy in microcosm, Toy Story 2's standout moment is the backstory for Jessie the Cowgirl, whose blissful relationship with her owner was slowly eroded by the girl's burgeoning adolescence.

As Jessie is swapped out for real friends, make-up and parties, she mourns the years she didn't realise would be relatively short-lived, all while notorious feelings-puncher Sarah MacLachlan wails on the soundtrack. Oof, who is cutting onions in here?

"Do you think you can take care of him for me?" - Toy Story 3 (2010)

On a related note, the final scene in Toy Story 3 plays off similar feelings of growing up and losing your sense of identification with the toys you once so loved.

With Andy passing on Woody, Buzz and co. to a little girl, he decides to play with them one last time before driving off to college.

For anyone who remembers loving certain dolls or action figures in their childhoods, and especially those of us who grew up in sync with the Toy Story movies, this is heartbreaking, animated bliss.

"Take her to the moon for me" - Inside Out (2015)

While Inside Out's Bing Bong is Pixar once again trafficking in themes of the friends left behind once maturity sets in, his heroic demise is one of the most powerful gut-punches in the studio's history.

Set inside the body of 11-year-old Riley, Bing Bong is the girl's former imaginary friend, who assists the emotion of Joy to rescue Riley's increasingly mixed-up inner feelings, even if it means Bing Bong himself getting tragically lost in the process.

"I could have got one more person" - Schindler's List (1993)

How Liam Neeson didn't win an Oscar for this scene alone is a question for the ages.

A moment of unrelenting devastation, Neeson's businessman insists he could have saved more Jewish lives in the Holocaust, regardless of the hundreds of rescued Jews surrounding him, or Ben Kingsley's reassurance that generations of Jewish families will now exist because of his work.

"I'll be right here" - E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Proving he is the master of cinematic tearjerkers, the finale to Steven Spielberg's E.T., despite endless spoofs, remains unbearably moving.

"Jack, I swear..." - Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Little conjures images of secret, tragic love more than this. In private mourning over the loss of Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack and now living in a trailer, Ennis (Heath Ledger) returns to his bedroom, where he opens up his wardrobe -- revealing both men's shirts hanging on the same hook, and a postcard depicting Brokeback Mountain pinned above it.

Seeing Ledger at the very end of his greatest performance, in a cruelly brief career, only punctuates the sadness.

"Daddy..." - Deep Impact (1998)

Where to begin with Deep Impact? Often mocked for being the asteroid movie from 1998 that wasn't Armageddon, Deep Impact is ultimately a far more human, tender and unrelentingly emotional epic than the flop blockbuster it's been labeled as for nearly 20 years.

In its concluding moments, there are several key scenes of tearjerking devastation, from an astronaut saying goodbye to his baby son before his ship incinerates, to parents hurriedly insisting their teenage daughter flee the asteroid's path with her baby brother.

But it's Téa Leoni clutching her estranged father in an embrace, waiting for the ocean to consume them both, that is the film's peak of sadness. This is a strangely unheralded masterpiece.

"I like thinking about the red dress" - Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Little tugs at the heartstrings like a teary monologue from a particularly damaged, fragile movie character. Buried in the middle of Darren Aronofsky's unbearably bleak Requiem for a Dream is Ellen Burstyn tearfully explaining just why she's become so obsessed with losing weight for an appearance on a TV game show.

Burstyn's performance here is masterful, capturing a broken woman pivoting repeatedly between inner turmoil and hysterical denial. It's very hard to watch.

"Every night I cut out my heart" - The English Patient (1996)

Like much of The English Patient, this tearful moment between Ralph Fiennes's romantic cartographer and his gravely injured lover (Kristin Scott Thomas) is nicely underplayed, both actors avoiding the histrionics that so often clog up these Oscar weepies.

But as Thomas sheds a single tear as she clutches her partner for what could be the very last time, it packs just as much of a punch.

"Thought you could leave without saying goodbye?" - Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

Like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, this packs more of a punch than expected purely because of Paul Walker's real-life death.

Whether you're a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise or not, it's hard to deny the power of the seventh film's final celebratory road race, which climaxes with Walker's character speeding away from his costar Vin Diesel and off into the unknown...

"Goose! Eject!" - Top Gun (1986)

Who knew Top Gun was more than homoerotic outdoor sports? In the film's tragic peak, Anthony Edwards's Goose is killed when an emergency ejection from his aircraft goes unexpectedly awry.

It's total Don Simpson cheese, as is every inch of this 1980s curio, but that emotive Harold Faltermeyer score properly drives home the sadness.