There comes that inevitable moment when it’s time to say goodbye. It happens all the time in life, and because movies are reflections of life, it happens all the time in movies. Whether a character is dying, going somewhere else, or breaking up with someone, saying farewell is really, really difficult. Here are the 19 saddest movie goodbyes.
There’s nothing wrong if a movie makes you cry. In fact, there’s nothing wrong if a movie makes you sob so uncontrollably you choke on your tears. It means the filmmakers are doing something right, because great art is supposed to make you feel all the feels. And these sad movie goodbyes have been known to do exactly that. You know that ugly cry you get from sad goodbye scenes. You can’t hide it when Hubbell and Katie say farewell for good at the end of The Way We Were, or when ET is finally able to go home in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial.
So grab a box of tissues and get ready to bawl your eyes out. And after you wipe the tears away, be sure to vote on your favorite sad goodbye scenes from movies.
Needless to say, SPOILERS ahead.
Is it okay for an adult to cry at a kid's movie? Yes, when it's Toy Story 3, and Andy is all grown up and going off to college. Andy says a teary "thanks" to his old toy pals and drives away. Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the gang are left on the porch. Sure, Bonnie will get to play with the toys now, but it's not the same. In fact, nothing will ever be the same again.
#32 on The Best Animated Films Ever
#45 on The Best Fantasy Movies
#49 on The Best Movies for Kidssee more on Toy Story 3
Yes, Wilson is a only volleyball. But when he falls off Chuck's raft and floats away, it's like Chuck just lost his best friend. That's exactly what that volleyball represented to Chuck, a companion for the years he spent all alone shipwrecked on an island.
#16 on The Best Adventure Movies
#36 on The Best Epic Moviessee more on Cast Away
Just because ET had to go home doesn't make his parting any less sad. Elliot found a true friend in the alien. It's heartbreaking to watch them bid farewell; a kid losing his best friend, what could be more bittersweet?. This separation is forever; ET won't be returning to Earth on summer vacation. Thankfully, ET knew exactly what to say to Elliot: "I'll be right here."
#25 on The Most Rewatchable Moviessee more on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Spock sacrifices himself to fix the engines on the Enterprise in 1983's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Kirk races to find Spock, who is standing behind the radiation shield, dying. Spock tells Kirk, "I have been, and always shall be, your friend." Star Trek was never filled with emotion, but this scene of old friends parting in the face of certain death brings out the tears.
#46 on The Best '80s Action Movies
#44 on The Greatest Movie Themessee more on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Sophie is faced with the hardest decision imaginable at the end of Sophie's Choice: she must decide which one of her two children to hand over to a Nazi soldier, and which one gets to live. If she doesn't choose, both children will die. Watching the young daughter part from her mother is painful in every conceivable way.
#81 on The Best Movies for Women
#20 on The Best Movies of 1982see more on Sophie's Choice
The last hour or so of the final installment of the LOTR trilogy is filled with goodbyes. The saddest is when Frodo bids adieu to Sam. They'd been through so much, but it's time for Frodo to move on, away from the Shire, even if it means saying goodbye to all his friends.
#65 on The Best War Movies Eversee more on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
As Jack and Rose bob in the frozen waters of the north Atlantic at the end of Titanic, he makes her promise she'll survive. They both know he's gonna freeze to death (maybe unnecessarily), and has valiantly saved her from the same fate. It's a movie deaths we see coming, yet is heartbreaking all the same, because it seemed Jack and Rose's young love was built to last.
#67 on The Most Rewatchable Moviessee more on Titanic
Terms of Endearment (1983) is a classic weepy that has every audience member with a heart reaching for the Kleenex. Perhaps the most tear-filled scene comes in the hospital, when Emma, a mother in her 30s, is dying from cancer and explains to her two young sons she's not going to be around in the future. She's had a troubled relationship with one of them, Tommy, and lets him know that she knows how much he loves her, even if he can't bring himself to say it.
"And you're gonna realize that you love me. And maybe you're gonna feel badly, because you never told me. But don't - I know that you love me. So don't ever do that to yourself, all right?"
#70 on The Best Movies for Womensee more on Terms of Endearment