My Top Tear-Jerking Moments In Entertainment

Picture the scene:

You’re engrossed in something of high creative quality. The writers/director/actors/composer (or a combination of all) are ruthlessly tugging on your heart strings, manipulating you into feeling whatever it is they need you to feel. The lump forms in your throat, your eyes prickle with unshed tears. You blink rapidly, hoping fervently that none of your companions notice. Unless, of course, you’re alone. In that case you can feel free to dissolve into ugly sobs. Whatever the circumstances are, we’ve all been there.

Personally, I’m more likely to have a cry at these times than I am when real life throws me curve-balls. I’m not entirely sure why this is; perhaps I’m more susceptible to pre-programmed and contrived emotional scenarios. Whatever the reason, I have decided to compile a shortlist of all the moments when my Ice Queen facade melted, and my stone heart shattered temporarily into a squillion pieces. /melodramatic

CAUTION: Spoilers ahead.

The Independence Day Speech

Today we celebrate our... INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Today we celebrate our… INDEPENDENCE DAY!

The blockbuster hit Independence Day gave us many things. Evil tentacly aliens, Will Smith pew pewing and smoking cigars, Jewish tropes, crazy-eyed scientist Data and Jeff Goldblum’s reinvention of the common cold. For me though, I will remember it for President Awesome’s rousing speech to the rag-tag troops. Before sending them on a probable suicide mission he rallies, telling them that they will not go quietly into the night, they will not vanish without a fight. There the little twelve year old me sat in the cinema, tears streaming down my face, fighting the urge to stand up and yell “GOD BLESS AMERICA!” And I’m not even American.

X-Men: Professor X’s Last Stand

Professor X

Don’t let it control you.

Professor X’s death scene in X-Men: The Last Stand had a very physical as well as emotional effect on me. I remember sitting forward in my seat, my fists clenched, heart beating rapidly with shock and adrenaline. I knew that his death in this way wasn’t strictly canon, but I just could not fathom the end of one of my favourite characters. Not only was he a fav of mine, but I absolutely adore Patrick Stewart too and I believe that was why it had the power to illicit such a reaction from me. His last line, and his look to Logan, rendered me completely unable to concentrate on the rest of the movie, and distracted me for days. I wanted Jean Grey to die. Slowly and painfully. I always hated Phoenix.

Battlestar Galactica – Daybreak with Adama & Roslin

Final moments.

Final moments.

The ending of BSG was always going to be an emotional one for me. The series holds a special place in my heart, and more than once throughout I fell victim to lump-in-throat syndrome, helped along of course by the well-chosen compositions from Bear McCreary. Despite this, I cried only once during Daybreak Part 2. The death of legendary Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) and the reminder of the subtle, yet oh so poignant relationship she had shared with Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos), proved to be way too many feels for me to handle.

The Lion King – MUFASA!



No Top Tear-Jerking Moments list is complete without The Lion King. I’m pretty sure Mufasa’s death heralded my very first cinematic-induced ugly blubbering session. It was just awful. Mufasa leaps in to save Simba from death by stampede and is then betrayed by his brother, Scar. Not only does the treacherous lion murderise his bro, but he tells Simba that it was all his fault too and this propels the young cub into exile.



I Am Legend – Play It Again, Sam

"Don't worry, about a thing..."

“Don’t worry, about a thing…”

I really enjoyed I Am Legend. I think it must have been very difficult to be the only human male on-screen for 90% of the movie, with nobody but a dog, and I believe Will Smith pulled it off well. But who are we kidding, dog lovers everywhere know that it was the German Shepherd, Samantha, who was the star of this flick. What is it about a dog’s touching and poignant death that feels so much like an arrow to the heart ? In this case, Sam was her master’s only constant companion throughout. She was noble, fearless and the kind of best friend we’d all want in such a situation. Sam saved her master, and in the end, she had to die by his hand, bringing on the realisation that he was now completely, and totally, alone. T’would bring a tear to a glass eye, so it would.

Mass Effect 3 – It Could Only Be Mordin

"I am the very model of a scientist Salarian..."  :*(

“I am the very model of a scientist Salarian…” :*(

As I’ve said before, I’m a big fan of Mass Effect. Not so much ME3 but for all of its negatives, it surely did have some tear-jerking moments of epic proportions. And if you’ve played the game and made certain choices you know exactly what moment I’m referring to; Mordin’s sacrifice. I watched with a sense of inevitable horror as Mordin ran to save the future of the Krogan race, to undo what he had done in his past. Because someone else might have gotten it wrong…

Honourable mention to Grunt’s battle scene after the mission to save the Rachni queen. I was crying with dismay before he took the fall off that ledge, and crying with relief when he emerged from the cavern, all beaten-up and nonchalant, Grunt-style. Damn you, Mass Effect, why must you toy with my emotions so? *shakes fist*

Futurama – I Will Wait For You



In probably the saddest moment in cartoon memory for me, Futurama tells us the story of Seymour, a little dog that Fry had befriended. They were the bestest of buds before Fry was accidentally frozen. Believing that Fry would be back, Seymour waited outside Panucci’s until the day he died, loyal to the end, always hoping that his master would return. Possibly the most needlessly cruel bit of animation I have ever seen, and I’ll never forgive Futurama for it.

Million Dollar Baby – A chuisle mo chroí



In Maggie’s last scene with Frankie she is told the meaning behind “Mo Chuisle” and that she’s going to go to sleep, and stay asleep. It is essentially a goodbye scene as Frankie reconciles himself to giving his protégé peace. I cried the first time I saw this scene, and the second time, almost two years later. It was unfortunate that the second time I was watching it with three blokes, who teased me mercilessly over my tears, but I didn’t care. It is a marvelous scene, a marvelous story, truly an Oscar-winning performance from Swank, and the film that confirmed for millions that Mr. Eastwood was a formidable force behind the camera as well as in front of it.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS

In “Chain of Command”, a season six episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard is captured by the Cardassians. He is tortured in an attempt to mentally break him. One method of torture applied is to show Picard four lights. He is asked how many lights there are. When he answers honestly that there are four, he is electrocuted and told there are five. Picard refuses to concede and the torture continues.

This episode had a very profound effect on me, and so began my love affair with Patrick Stewart. He was amazing in it, and every step of the way I could feel his resistance to being broken. There was a particularly poignant moment at the end when he confides in the counselor that he had actually begun to see five lights. I learned about the fragility of the human mind, about the strength of Picard’s, and just how distressing it was for me to see the Captain in such a diminished state.

What an awesome episode that was.


Honourable and sad mentions go to Forrest Gump (blubbed a couple of times during that), the Armageddon Speech (who didn’t? Though the initial effect wore off pretty quickly), Wash’s death in Serenity (one of the quickest and most shocking – “I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I…” *dies*), Joyce Summer’s death in Buffy (and Anya’s heart-breaking confusion) and Eddard “Ned” Stark’s death in Game of Thrones (from both the TV program and the book, but to be fair if I were to list all of the many times I’ve cried while reading a book, we’d be here all night).

In a weird way I enjoyed compiling this list, and I have decided a re-watch of some of the entries is definitely in order. That’s my entertainment sorted for the next few days! What do you think? What was your top Tear-Jerking Moment?

Categories: Film, Gaming, Humour, List ALL The Things!, Review, TV

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44 replies

  1. Came here to see if you mentioned that exact scene on BSG in Daybreak Part 2. I cry every time. I whimper in the earlier episode (I forget which one) where they choose sides across the line in the hangar and Roslin crosses, shaking… Aaaah, I love that damn show.


  2. Lovely stuff V! I’ve been told that that Futurama episode was based on a true story about a dog named Hachi, they made a movie about it!


  3. That moment on Futurama…I was like “WTF THIS IS MY FUNNY SHOW!”…just broke my heart.

    And I second the BSG moment, though I cried before that when they totally faked me out over Helo…he is the Wesley (Buffy/Angel) of BSG for me, my favorite character, so I kinda freaked out at the moment we thought he was gone.

    Despite it being a video game about shooting up aliens, Mass Effect really brings on the feels.


  4. Yeah, that BSG scene always, always gets to me. So does the Mordin moment, although it’s so much worse when you sabotage the genophage cure and shoot him in the back. I just kinda sat there for a while and thought about what I did.

    And for Disney, nothing tops the end of Toy Story 3. I had to stop myself from sobbing in the theater. Sobbing. It was bad.


    • You know for my second play-through of ME I’m planning to go totally Renegade, just to get a full feeling for the whole experience. It’ll be interesting to see if I can bring myself to sabotage the genophage! I’ve watched the alternative Mordin scenes on Youtube and holy feck, HARSH. Is no wonder you were thrown for a loop.

      Think I had a tear for the ending of Toy Story 3 too, and once or twice during Up now that I think about it. We’re all softies really. :D


  5. You have to like a girl who can get weepy watching science fiction!

    Go ahead, watch Hachi. I dare you!


  6. I didn’t get weepy watching Independence Day, unless you count the tears of joy I shed when the White House exploded. You have a nice blog, keep up the good work.


  7. Million Dollar Baby was lip a-quivering, but I Am Sam got me shedding manly tears. Not when he actually had to kill Sam, but the moment after when he’s begging the mannequin to speak to him. (Included it in my own list back in the day

    The one from Futurama sounds heartbreaking though :(


  8. Can’t believe I’ve only just come across this, another top post! That TNG two-parter was awesome wasn’t it? But the moment that gets me all lumpy in the larynx is in Star Trek Nemesis when Data beams aboard the Scimitar to rescue Picard, hands him the portable transporter gizmo and Picard hands it back saying “we’ll find a way off together”!

    Good choice with BSG, my ‘Independence Day’ moment for that is in season 3 (I forget the ep as it’s been a while) when Galactica is being pounded by Cylon ships…then the Pegasus comes to the rescue – BOOM! I nearly strained myself from all the celebratory air fists!

    Sad, I know haha!!!


    • That was a great moment in Nemesis! There have been quite a few episodes that I can think of throughout the series (and movies) that illicit a very emotional response from serious Trek fans. Another for me was the end of DS9.

      And I know exactly what you mean about the fist pump strain! LOL! That moment when the Pegasus appeared saw me exclaim YEAH! YEAH! HELL YEAH! It was brilliant. I should do a Top Fist Pumping Moments list now I think!


      • Definitely, that’d make a great Verbal Spew post! I remember myself and a mate getting nerd-giddy over a pint after the BSG ep aired.

        The DS9 finale is a top tear-jerker as well, full of many a tear-y moment – Sisko’s toast to the “finest crew” at Vic Fontaine’s, Sisko leaving to be with the Prophets and those closing montages as the crew all go their separate ways!


        • Yes… :( Sisko’s last scenes got to me more than I believed they would. Despite DS9 being a different sort of experience to Voyager and TNG, the cast and characters really did seem to have developed real, tangible relationships that touched me. It’s been a while actually, maybe DS9 is due a re-watch!


  9. Like the idea and the list itself. Neat of you to include Futurama too. I think there may have been some follow up episode to it at some point, but i’d long stopped watching. Lion King would be top of my list from childhood and Pan’s Labarynth as an adult.


    • Pan’s Labyrinth is another great one! I’ve been told that they did some damage control with Seymour the dog in Futurama alright, they changed his story completely. Haven’t seen it myself, not sure if I want to either!


      • Tear jerking or not was there a moment in The Simpsons you found incredible moving?


        • I don’t think I’ve ever shed a tear while watching The Simpsons, but thinking back I definitely got misty once or twice. The episode with the crayon stuck up Homer’s nose really struck a chord with me. And the episode where he ate the puffer fish and thought he was going to die. That was a great one. How about you?


          • Well I think when Homer loses his hair, when Homer’s mother has to leave, when Bart looks like he will fail his class and when Homer has no money to buy any good presents are all up there. The second episode you have, has one of my all time favourite lines:

            Dr Hibbert: I’m afraid you only have 24 hours to live. Well 22, sorry I kept you waiting.


  10. Great call on Battlestar Galactica. Honestly one of the best science fiction shows of all time, and it’s all available on Netflix Instant (as is Caprica, and the two original BSG series).

    One of top tear-jerking moments in entertainment is the episode “Abyssinia, Henry” from MASH. I still get choked up every time.


    • In total agreement about BSG. Even halfway through a third watch this time I’m still amazed by how much it can surprise me and by how much I enjoy it. Must do a second watch of Caprica too sometime since it’s on Netflix now.

      Interesting moment from MASH there. I loved that show as a kid.


  11. Although Futurama is a funny show it certainly knows how to be touching from time to time. The Seymour episode really tugs at the heart strings as does the one about Fry’s brother.


  12. Mordin! I was totally choked up at that point! I was so happy when I played the Citadel DLC, that there was a data pad with recorded messages on it from Mordin, then I got all choked up again!!
    Also, I had a similar thing with Tali on my first playthrough, I had lost my Mass Effect 1 and 2 game save to a red ring of death xbox, so I was playing without any loyalty. I chose to side with the Geth, and that causes Tali to kill herself. My goodness, the feels from that made me replay Mass Effect 1 and 2 before I went any further with 3.
    I also LOVE I am Legend and the relationship Will Smith has with his dog.

    The Lion King, hah- I was so upset when I watched this, that I was very nervous watching it with my Little one for the first time. Didnt want her to get upset!

    Brilliant post.


    • Oh those data pads… I listened to them with a teary smile. They were brilliant, very nicely done and a wonderful touch. My connections with the characters in ME are truly what brought the gaming experience to life for me. Because it wasn’t just a game, it really was a total experience.

      I can imagine the challenges and the differences playing the game with no loyalty. Actually, sounds very interesting. Although Tali killing herself… I think I would have done the exact same thing as you. I saw a video of that scene after my first play through, and holy hell, it was tough to watch.

      How did your daughter’s first watch of The Lion King go? I remember watching it with my little cousin years ago, she was about eight or nine at the time I think, her first watch of it. Of course I started getting a bit misty and her reaction was to give me a funny look and then a hug. She took it better than I had anyway!


  13. I was a mess in parts of Red Dog but I can’t say much without spoiling anything! Mufasa’s death though, yeah, that one made me cry too.



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