I've been crying a lot lately. Frozen, The Lego Movie — even the Mr. Peabody & Sherman screening had weeping into my hat. And then it became clear: all of these animated movies for kids contain at least one hard-hitting "cry scene." Because it's a cartoon, and they can kill all the animated animals they want, without getting in (too) much trouble. Here's our roundup of the obligatory "cry scenes" from your favorite animated movies movies — rated according to just how much they made us bawl.
The Land Before Time - Little Foot's Mom Dies
Dinosaurs are awesome! But you know what's not awesome? Killing a dinosaur in front of its dinosaur child. This scene is like giving a child an awesome dinosaur toy, letting them play with it, make volcanoes with it, have bath time with the toy, sleep with the toy and then yank it from their arms, light it on fire while forcibly pointing the kid's face at the burning toy and screaming "SEE! SEEEEE! GOD IS DEAD, LITTLE ONE. GOD. IS. DEAD."
Rating: 10 Bambi's Moms. To give a child a dinosaur, and then take it away with murder, is cruel.
Charlotte's Web - Charlotte Dies
After spending all of her existence saving the lives of others, Charlotte dies. No one saves her. Charlotte explains that by helping others she lifts up her own life, but she doesn't because she is a spider. And no one mourns for a dead spider. Extra points for Charlotte literally saying "in a little while I'll be dead." Also horribly sad, when Charlotte's babies abandon Wilbur because LIFE IS PAIN KIDDOS.
Rating: 2 Bambi's Moms. It's a spider, get over it.
Iron Giant - World's Cutest Robot Kills Himself For Ungrateful Humans
The Iron Giant suicides himself because he, being a giant metal beast, understands humanity more than most humans.
Rating: 10 Bambi's Moms. This scene can make a grown man cry.
Toy Story 3 - "We've Had A Good Run, Let's Welcome Death"
Speaking of willfully giving up your life — Pixar raised the stakes to ENTIRE CAST JOINT SUICIDE. Nothing says "fun kids movie" like a pack of toys embracing their own demise by incinerator. WOOF.
Rating: 15 Bambi's Moms.
Wall-E - Wall-E's Soul Dies
How do you top a group death scene like the one from Toy Story 3? Simple, just kill the main character's soul.
Rating: 5 Bambi's Moms — he comes back pretty quickly.
Monsters Inc. - "KITTY HAS TO GO NOW"
True not all Pixar movies go for the proverbial cry scene dick punch. Some just want to remind you that your children are young and precious, but one day you will abandon them. Because inside, we are all rotten.
Rating: 5 Bambi's Moms — she comes back.
Finding Nemo - You're Forgotten, Dory
The least painful of all the Pixar "cry scenes." When Dory tells Marlin she remembers things better when he's around, and he abandons her. Perhaps this is because Marlin only knows death and sadness and fear, due to the previous terror scene when his wife and all of his children (but one) are slaughtered.
Rating: 2 Bambi's Moms, it works out OK.
Frozen - Sister Love
Anna gives up her life for her sister. Giving up not only life, but the love of a hot Norwegian blond. This scene really kicks you hard when her "last breath" of life leaves her icy body.
Rating: 3 Bambi's Moms, probably because this was the one I've seen most recently.
Wreck-It-Ralph - "You really are a bad guy"
A new kind of cry scene. A betrayal! Which makes this horror twice as sharp is the fact that it isn't just waving around the carcass of a giant dead cat. Ralph smashes up Vanellope's dreams, and her reaction is heartbreaking. Great voice acting, great animation, and most importantly great writing.
Rating: 15 Bambi's Moms. Great Storytelling.
Tangled - More Death
A handsome rogue falls for a secret princess, and gives his life to save her. And because this is the most tropiest of classic fairy telling, he is revived by her tears. It doesn't matter, I cried sappy final words "you were my new dream" and all.
Rating: 2 Bambi's Moms, no way was he staying dead.
The Princess and the Frog - A Bug's Funeral
Not only do you get to hear the exoskeleton of this character shatter when Ray the firefly bug was stomped out by the villain — but then the audience is forced to participate in a 3 MINUTE long funeral scene. For a bug. A bug.
Rating: 1 Bambi's Mom.
Up - "I hid under the porch because I love you"
Most people would cite the opening montage of Up as the "cry scene" from Up. They would be wrong. While it is very nice and sad what with the balloon at the funeral and all, the actual best cry scene in this movie is when Doug the Dog comes out of hiding. In fairness this is more of a happy cry. So Up still gets to be on the list for Anguish Porn but at least there was sweet, sweet tear-filled relief.
Rating: 14 Bambi's Moms.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Daddy Issues
Flint's father, who isn't very good at telling people how he feels, speaks straight from his brain. And basically says everything anyone has ever wanted their parent to say to them. It cuts, it cuts so deep.
Rating: 7 Bambi's Moms
Lion King - Simba Watches His Dad Die
Another dead parent. You know the drill.
Rating: 7 Bambi's Moms
All Dogs Go To Heaven - Sometimes Right In Front Of Your Kids
The main character, a cartoon dog, dies. Not just once, but twice. The second time he dies and leaves a little girl that he was responsible for and basically raised for most of this movie. Not saying dogs should be raising children, but this was sad. Taking a beloved pet/parent away from a girl this sweet? Mean. And look at her angelic eye reflection thingy, SOB.
Rating: 6 Bambi's Moms
An American Tale - "Somewhere Out There"
Any movie about an impoverished immigrant family, separated from their child (because they assume he is dead) would be a sad, sad movie. Now make all those people cartoon mice. That's a bingo.
Rating: 10 Bambi's Moms, the singing is atrocious but it works. It works so hard.
Fox and the Hound - The Goodbye Song
This cry scene swings for the fences. Not only does The Fox and the Hound trot out old-time pictures of Todd with a birthday cake, they then pipe in the most pathetic tune ever, that literally sings the emotions the owner is feeling. The icing on the cake? When Todd sees that his master is upset and places his fox paw on her arm. Monstrous.
Rating: 15 Bambi's Mom. So many tears.
Lilo and Stitch - Broken Family
With the "our family is small and broken" speech
Rating: 2 Bambi's Moms. The sadness was out-played by the wacky aliens. Also I would have been fine if Stitch was never granted the gift of speech.
Sword in the Stone - Sad Squirrel
It's but a brief moment, but very touching. And a good reminder to never fall in love with anyone, ever. Especially if you're a squirrel.
Rating: 2 Bambi's Moms. *Ooooooh chik chik oooooooh*
Toy Story 2 - No one loves you now, so you are worthless
A song titled "When She Loved Me" about the life of a toy when being played with and the eventual, slow march towards ambivalence from their owners. You are worthless if you're not being loved. And you can take that straight to the back children.
Rating: 15 Bambi's Mom. Sarah McLachlan, you are NOT helping.
Bambi - Dead Mother
The first in a long lesson of Disney lessons that "one day your parents will die and leave you all alone. So best make peace with that now."
Rating: It is the basis of which we rated all our other cry scenes. And therefore wins all the dead Bambi's Moms.