The Most Heartbreaking Death Scenes, Ranked  

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185 votes 31 voters 27 items

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert often said that movies are a machine that generates empathy. The best sad death scenes in movies prove him correct. When a film is really working and the audience is engaged with the characters, tragic movie deaths can pack a real wallop. Anyone who claims they haven't cried at the passing of someone onscreen is either lying or has no emotions. 

When you look closely at some of the great sad movie death scenes, you notice that they aren't all the same. While the vast majority of famous death scenes involve human beings -- like Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack in Titanic -- there are plenty of cases where an animal's demise has left audiences in tears. In fact, some viewers are more sensitive to those deaths than anything. If you've ever seen the elderly pooch expiring at the end of My Dog Skip, you know exactly what we mean. Even when the characters are animated, a passing can yank the tears from your eyes. Look no further than Ellie's death in Pixar's Up if you doubt that claim.

Grab your tissues, watch the videos below, and vote up the sad death scenes that most leave you an emotional wreck. And if you're in the mood to weep, check out these other emotional movies that'll make you cry.

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Video: YouTube

The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film is told in a flashback format and stars Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb and Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey with supporting roles by David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, and James Cromwell. The film also features Dabbs Greer, in his final film, as the old Paul Edgecomb. The film tells the story of Paul's life as a death row corrections officer during the Great Depression in the United States, and the supernatural events he witnessed. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for Michael Clarke Duncan, Best Picture, Best ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell, James Cromwell, Michael Clarke Duncan, + more

Released: 1999

Directed by: Frank Darabont

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Video: YouTube

Up is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy-drama film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Pete Docter, the film centers on an elderly widower named Carl Fredricksen and an earnest young Wilderness Explorer named Russell. By tying thousands of balloons to his home, 78-year-old Carl sets out to fulfill his dream to see the wilds of South America and to complete a promise made to his late wife. The film was co-directed by Bob Peterson, with music composed by Michael Giacchino. Docter began working on the story in 2004, which was based on fantasies of escaping from life when it becomes too irritating. He and eleven other Pixar ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Laraine Newman, John Ratzenberger, Delroy Lindo, + more

Released: 2009

Directed by: Pete Docter

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Video: YouTube

Bambi is a 1942 American animated drama film directed by David Hand, produced by Walt Disney and based on the book Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Austrian author Felix Salten. The film was released by RKO Radio Pictures on August 13, 1942, and is the fifth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. The main characters are Bambi, a white-tailed deer, his parents, his friends Thumper, and Flower, and his childhood friend and future mate, Faline. For the movie, Disney took the liberty of changing Bambi's species into a white-tailed deer from his original species of roe deer, since roe deer do not inhabit the United States, and the white-tailed deer is more familiar to Americans. The film ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Sterling Holloway, Sam Edwards, Cammie King, Ann Gillis, Will Wright, + more

Released: 1942

Directed by: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Paul Satterfield, Bill Roberts, Norman Wright, + more

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The Untouchables is a 1987 American drama film directed by Brian De Palma and written by David Mamet. Based on the book The Untouchables, the film stars Kevin Costner as government agent Eliot Ness. It also stars Robert De Niro as gang leader Al Capone and Sean Connery as Irish-American officer Jimmy Malone. The film follows Ness' autobiographical account of the efforts of him and his Untouchables to bring Capone to justice during Prohibition. The Grammy Award-winning score was composed by Ennio Morricone and features some period-correct music by Duke Ellington. The Untouchables was released on June 3, 1987, and received positive reviews. Observers praised the film for its approach, as ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia, John Barrowman, + more

Released: 1987

Directed by: Brian De Palma

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