Top 10 Saddest Disney Moments
Georgina Atherton/Tha-One Feature Writer Walt Disney has provided children and adults alike with entertainment for decades and with irreplaceable films that will never be forgotten or replicated. Why is it, then, that when I think of the saddest movie moments in history, Disney films feature so frequently in the list? I can never remember sobbing […]
Georgina Atherton/Tha-One Feature Writer
Walt Disney has provided children and adults alike with entertainment for decades and with irreplaceable films that will never be forgotten or replicated. Why is it, then, that when I think of the saddest movie moments in history, Disney films feature so frequently in the list? I can never remember sobbing so feverishly to any ‘sad’ film as I have to a number of these animated movies, aimed at a child audience. Why was Walt trying to scar children for life with the majority of the protagonists starting as, or becoming, orphans?
Don’t get me wrong; I am the biggest lover of Disney movies I can think of. Films that have the ability to move and appeal to people of such a vast age range are clearly astounding – Disney being the prime example.
Therefore, I thought that I would compile a list of my choices for the top ten moments from Disney films, old and new. If nothing else, this article can provide a little food for thought for anyone who wishes to spend the rest of their summer in a state of mild depression.
10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Quasimodo at the festival of fools
The first on my list is the heartbreaking moment when Quasimodo sneaks into the festival of fools for the first time and ends up being pummeled by the crowd for being a ‘monster’. He is strapped onto a spinning platform where he cries out for Frollo to help him, but he doesn’t. The speech by Esmerelda is moving as well, but not quite so traumatic as when Quasimodo is set free and cries the whole way back to the cathedral, as people back away from him. A good one to start with if you want a good cry.
9. Fox and the Hound – Tod left in the woods
Fox and the Hound was a relatively new Disney film for my generation, but still a classic. A film with a lot of sad moments: when Tod is found; when Copper tells him they cannot be friends any more and when Tod is returned back to the woods and left alone, just to name a few. This is a fantastic animated film based on the strength of friendships. It makes you want to ring every friend you know and tell them you love them as soon as the end credits begin. It’s a good weepy, but the mood is lightened by the appearance of the comedy caterpillar – possibly my favourite Disney character to date.
8. Jungle Book – Death of Baloo
This is an old Disney film from 1967 and one that will have even the hardest hearted of us in floods. When Baloo is ‘dead’ near the end, after the battle with Sheer Khan, the lump in everyone’s throat starts to form. Here is the only Disney film that manages to reduce my 80-year-old grandmother to tears every single time – nice one, Walt!
7. Pocahontas – John Smith leaves
The first romantic moment in the top ten is awarded to Pocahontas, and her emotional goodbye to her extremely-handsome-for-a-cartoon beau, John Smith. Potentially a weird choice, but a moment my sister rates as the saddest in film history, not just Disney. My mother has entered the living room on countless occasions to the sight of my sister and me clinging to each other in tears. This needs to make an appearance.
6. Bambi – Death of Bambi’s mother
Many may be surprised that the pin-up sad film only makes the cut at number 6 and although it brings a tear to my eye every time, the sheer number of times I have seen it may have hardened me a little. The moment when Bambi’s mother is shot is made more distressing since you don’t actually see it happen. There is no surprise that this was deemed the moment that turned Paul McCartney and Heather Mills vegetarian.
5. Toy Story 3 – Andy leaves for college
Pixar animated Disney films have made the cut! The ending of Toy Story 3 had me blubbering in the cinema, when Andy leaves his adored toys with a new owner. As I am a university student, the realization that I, like Andy, chose to take just one of my collection of toys with me made me feel desperately guilty. Probably half the reason why I now have a troop of cuddly toys lined up in my room, as I cannot bring myself to part with them. This is a hard-hitting, moving moment that most people can relate to. Commence the waterworks!
4. Dumbo – Dumbo and his caged mother
This is a film that had the ability to turn me against circuses for life. When Dumbo is being rocked on his mother’s trunk while she is caged in the circus, I turn into a quivering wreck. This moment is not helped by the heart wrenchingly sad music that accompanies it. I defy anyone not to well up.
3. Homeward Bound – Return of Chase, Sassy and Shadow
This unusual choice may have people wondering why it made the cut at number 3. Here’s why: Whilst researching the moments on YouTube, I cried at the 4-minute clip when the pets return to their owners, and Shadow, the trusty retriever, hobbles back over the hill. I am 21 years old. No 4-minute clip of a Disney film should have that result on anyone, let alone a fully-fledged adult. This is definitely the saddest and most underrated non-animated Disney film. Have a watch but don’t forget your tissues.
2. Lion King – Death of Mufasa
I know that I have highlighted that the death of Mufasa is the sad ‘moment’ in The Lion King but I need to clarify that, to this day, I cry AT LEAST 3 times during the length of this film. Mufasa’s death is marked as the saddest simply because it is the moment where my sobs become most vocal. Other moments are when Nala finds Simba, Simba sees Mufasa in the clouds and is told to ‘remember who you are’, then, finally, when Simba claims his place as King and walks back onto Pride Rock. It gets me every time.
1. Up! – Ellie and Carl
Never in my life have I been reduced to tears within the first ten minutes of a film. Never. Up! commences with the story of Ellie and Carl; a couple who met when they were children and continued to remain together until the end. Their whole story is told in the space of around 3 minutes and makes me sob every single time. This is undoubtedly the saddest Disney film and also arguably the best. With such an array of emotions, it can appeal to any audience. If you have not seen it, make an effort to do so!