Considering the fact that Disney movies are generally made for the amusement of ‘children’, I have to say they contain some of the saddest scenes I have ever seen. Disney have an uncanny ability to make my throat close up and my eyes turn misty while I’m watching animated characters prance around on screen. For some reason, Disney seems to have some sort of deep-seated hatred for parents, and animals that leave us all blinking really fast in an attempt to prevent our friends and families from thinking that we’re too soft.
Below are my selection of the top ten saddest Disney movie moments of all time, feel free to re-arrange their order according to which you think are worst. Obviously, spoilers ahead, as well as some particularly upsetting pictures!
10. Trusty gets hit by a cart in Lady and the Tram
Everyone loves dogs, right? So aside from 101 Dalmatians, Lady and the Tramp may be the number one movie for dog-lovers. Until the moment when Trusty, the wonderful and caring pooch who claims to have the best sense of smell in the business, is horrifically hit by a cart. The scene, full of rain and dark street corners, is enough to get your heart-beating faster, and the tormented howl of Jock as he nudges his motionless friend in the street will go ahead and break it for you.
9. The ‘When she loved me’ montage from Toy Story 2
The haunting song that follows Jesse’s tale of woe, abandonment and rejection would be enough to play on viewer’s heart-strings even without the depressing scene of seeing the doll give up hope and simply lie down on the floor (essentially quitting life). Without love, Jesse feels worthless, and we as an audience get to see that first hand.
8. The Barracuda attack from Finding Nemo
As if loving his beloved partner wasn’t enough, Marlin also loses the majority of his children in one fell swoop with the barracuda attack in Finding Nemo. He’s left clutching to one child out of dozens, the only fragment of his beloved, and his happy life before, that he has left.
7. The ‘Baby Mine’ scene from Dumbo
I genuinely don’t think it’s possible for anyone to get over that moment when Dumbo’s mum reaches through the bars to cradle her son for possibly the last time. Unable to connect properly, since she’s still in a case, she reaches out with her trunk, and we see Dumbo sobbing as he snuggles in to his mother, still a baby himself – left without a parent.
6. Bambi’s mother is shot
Bambi is on everyone’s list of the top saddest Disney movies of all time. After introducing us to an adorable baby dear, Disney started their career in traumatic parent deaths early by having a hunter shoot his mother. We have to watch this poor little dear who could barely stand on his own, face the worst tragedy ever, while he’s still a baby.
5. Gurgi sacrifices himself in The Black Cauldron
I feel as though The Black Cauldron doesn’t get enough credit where Disney’s involved. Although Gurgi is a little bit of a pain when we’re first introduced to him, viewers can’t help but fall in love with the little furry creature throughout the course of the movie. When he plunges to his apparent death, sacrificing himself for his friends, you can’t help but get choked up.
4. Widow Tweed Abandons Tod
Perhaps the worst part about this scene is the fact that Tod has no idea what’s going on when his mother figure takes him off to the woods. But we, the audience, know. We can hear that sad goodbye song playing, and we can see the misery in her eyes. That sad little head cock at the end when he can’t come back with her is enough to make me sob, just thinking about it. Why did you leave him? Why?!
3. Maleficent gets her wings torn off by the guy she loves
After we spend the beginning of the movie being introduced to just how much of a good person Maleficent can really be, and learning that she possibly loves her wings, and her ability to fly more than anything else in the world, we can physically feel her pain emanating from the screen when she wakes to find that the man she loves has chopped them off, leaving her permanently grounded.
2. The Entire Ellie and Carl Intro from Up
Within ten minutes, Up potentially tells the best love story I have ever seen in my entire life – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t tragic. After trying to have children, and build a life together, we see Ellie discover that she’s infertile, before Carl has to watch her die later on in life. God damn it, Disney – Why?
1. Mufasa’s Death in the Lion King
Okay, so this scene was so bad that in my childhood I literally had to fast-forward through it otherwise I could literally cry for hours on end. Although the death in itself is sad, a father sacrificing himself to save his son, it’s seeing Simba beg his father to get back up that really just shoves the knife deeper into your heart. Then Simba curls up under the lifeless paw of his beloved dad, and you can’t keep watching the movie anymore, since you’re blinded by tears.