They Always Make You Cry

by Russell Fox

Via Lawyers, Guns and Money, who got it from Shakespeare’s Sister:

"What movie scenes always make you cry?"

Captain Kirk’s eulogy of Spock at the end of The Wrath of Khan, especially that moment at the end, when he says that of all the souls he has met in his travels, Spock’s was the most (and his voice catches ever so slightly, the finest bit of acting William Shatner has ever done)…"human." I get teary just thinking about it.

The climactic race in The Black Stallion. There’s a moment when the sound of the crowd fade away, and the music builds, and suddenly you’re inside the mind of the horse, and he’s remembering when he and the boy raced across the beach on the island. It’s just so glorious.

Harry Bailey’s concluding toast in It’s a Wonderful Life: "To my brother George–the richest man in town!" BAM, the tears start flowing. There is much which is shmaltzy and strained in that film, but that final note is pitch-perfect.

My wife’s contribution: She can’t make it through Beth’s death in Little Women without bawling. Actually, she starts bawling as soon as Jo comes home, but by the time they get to Beth’s final speech–"I’m not afraid to go on ahead; I can be brave too!"–she’s inconsolable. Also, she tears up at Captain Wentworth’s love letter, read as a voice-over, in Persuasion. "Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever." The most beautiful love letter in all fiction, she says.



20 thoughts on “They Always Make You Cry

  1. In A Walk to Remember, when (SPOILER ALERT) the girl is dying and they get married. Because my brother got married in the hospital when he was dying.

    That’s the movie I watch whenever I need a good cry. It’s horribly predictable but that scene just gets me.

  2. Sam Baldwin: Well I’m not looking for a mail-order bride! I just want somebody I can have a decent conversation with over dinner. Without it falling down into weepy tears over some movie!
    Greg: She’s, as you just saw, very emotional.
    Sam Baldwin: Although I cried at the end of “the Dirty Dozen.”
    Greg: Who didn’t?
    Sam Baldwin: Jim Brown was throwing these hand grenades down these airshafts. And Richard Jaeckel and Lee Marvin [Begins to cry]
    Sam Baldwin: were sitting on top of this armored personnel carrier, dressed up like Nazis…
    Greg: [Crying too] Stop, stop!
    Sam Baldwin: And Trini Lopez …
    Greg: Yes, Trini Lopez!
    Sam Baldwin: He busted his neck while they were parachuting down behind the Nazi lines…
    Greg: Stop.
    Sam Baldwin: And Richard Jaeckel – at the beginning he had on this shiny helmet…
    Greg: [Crying harder] Please no more. Oh God! I loved that movie.


  3. There is a scene in “Not One Less” that makes me cry tears every time. It’s the scene where the main character is having difficulty expressing her need to fine this little boy who is lost in a city. At first she can’t speak and then she makes a plaintive plea to him to come home.

    Yes, that scene turns me into a blubbing idiot. And I’m not much of a crier.

  4. I think the only movie to make my husband cry (or come close to it, anyway) was Creator. Anyone ever seen that movie? I haven’t seen it in years but I remember it being really good.

  5. Immortal Beloved – the very end. Also the scene when Beethoven is dying and he summons Johanna to see him. He writes “muss it sein – must it be?” and she answers “es muss sein – it must be”. So sad. Even if we really don’t know who “immortal beloved” is, I like to think it was really Johanna.

  6. Haven’t we done this before? In any case, and in order:

    1. The Mission
    2. Field of Dreams
    3. A River Runs Through It
    4. It’s a Wonderful Life
    5. (tie) Cipher in the Snow & The Mailbox

  7. I remember a similar thread, too.

    arJ– is “The Mailbox” that church movie about the old lady who is waiting for a letter from her son, but never gets one and dies before she gets a letter telling her about how he’s putting her in a nursing home?

    I think that’s one of the worst movies ever.

  8. -“Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins (with the little old beggar lady trying to survive by selling birdseed for tuppence, and the tight-fisted Edwardian Londoners stepping past her on their way to the bank without looking) gets me each and every time. I cry just thinking about it.

    -The end of Finding Neverland is pretty rough, too.

    -I agree about Dumbo — really a tear-jerker. So sad when Mrs. Jumbo is singing to little Dumbo from behind bars.

    -Monsoon Wedding, the scene where the parents look in on their grown daughter and her cousin and talk about how all they have wanted, all those years, is for their kids to be happy and safe.

  9. …and A River Runs Through It, the scene in which Norman figures out that no matter how much you love someone, it’s impossible to help people who don’t want to change.

  10. Ned,

    Yup, that’s the one! What could be sadder than a lonely lady that dies of a heart attack because she is so happy that she actually got a letter from her son? Well, at least she died happy, right?

    While I’m at it, I believe Cipher in the Snow is also known as What About Thad?

  11. I tend to cry in movies more in moments of supreme joy than sadness. That is, I rarely cry out of pity or fear, but more often at scenes/situations where sheer goodness or naked hope break out (like in “It’s a Wonderful Life”).

    To wit: there’s a part of the voice-over near the end of “The Thin Red Line” that always gets me. It’s the culmination of the relationship between Pvt. Witt (Caviezel) and Sgt. Walsh (Penn), and in its context is devastating:

    Penn says: “If I should never find you in this life, let me feel the lack. One glance from your eyes, and my life will be yours.”

    (I know I shouldn’t admit this, but in the same vein, I always cry at that scene in the Lamb of God short when the blind man looks up at the Christ who has just healed him.)

  12. I suppose this may not be quite in the same vein, but Hotel Rwanda, so many parts. I cried more in that movie than any other.
    Also, Wit, a movie that HBO produced (i think) with Emma Thompson. She plays a terminally ill English Professor. There’s a part where her mentor, an older professor, comes to visit her in the hospital, and instead of reading to her from John Donne or the other metaphysical poets (her pride and area of expertise) she reads to her from a children’s book, and let’s Emma Thompson finally cry about her fears of dying.
    I think I will always cry for that.

  13. What — no one has mentioned “by Grabthar’s hammer, you will be avenged”? What a bunch of unfeeling louts.

  14. Oh yeah. Grabthar always moves me to tears…

    The first movie I remember tearing up over was the ending of Terminator 2.

  15. This’ll be as weird as any entry here:

    The final scene in John Hughes’s “Sixteen Candles”, with Molly Ringwald and her dream guy whatshisface celebrating her birthday with a cake. I always get choked up and misty-eyed at that. And I’m a 41yo guy. WTF?!

Comments are closed.