When a character dies in a movie it can be heart breaking. Some movies will kill off a character and it brings the audience joy, especially when the villain deserves it. Other times the creators will use a death to motivate another character or to simply move along the plot. But when the people behind the camera really nail down a tragic death, it’s truly meaningful. A lot of us experienced the sadness of death in a movie long before we had to deal with it in real life, and in a way it helped us process those emotions. But it doesn’t make it any easier to fight back the tears still in these scenes. Here are the Top 5 saddest deaths in a movie.
Warning– Seriously I was almost crying just writing this, be careful.
5: Peter Parker (Avengers: Infinity War)
Release Date: 2018
Infinity War was a movie full of death (except as a character). I think a lot of us had a feeling that would happen, shit some of us were probably hoping for it. And when The Snappening finally happened, we immediately took it back. There were a lot of deaths in the movie but none of them hit you as hard as Peter Parker apologizing to Tony Stark as he feels himself slipping into non-existence. Tony watching and having nothing to say as a boy at the beginning of his life dies on an alien planet.
4: Ellie Fredrickson (UP)
Release Date: 2009
I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened in the Pixar movie UP. I think a boy brings an old man to an island of dogs or something. I checked out after the first 10 minutes because they decided to shatter my heart before the title card. We are greeted to an exceptionally cute love story about an adventurous girl and a wimp boy. We witness their entire life together. They move in, they discover they cannot have a child, they start a savings to go on an adventure… Then she gets sick. The final moments are shown in a way to make you feel what the main character went through, and how alone he is.
3: Sam (I am Legend)
Release Date: 2007
I know a death of a dog is low hanging fruit. I mean I could have just put Marley and Me on here and called it a day. But this scene in I am Legend is too much. Robert has to kill his dog, his only friend, the last living creature in this world that has kept his sanity together. I am not a huge Will Smith fan, but the tears in his eyes makes you feel what the character is going through. Not only is he losing his friend, but he has to be the one to do it. We all lose dogs and it remains some of the worse memories in our heads, and this movie is as close to that real feeling as a movie can get.
2: Artax (Never Ending Story)
Release Date: 1984
Look, I’m gonna be honest with you. I did not want to really put this on the list. It’s terrifying. Firstly, the scene itself is hard to watch. We see Arteyu deal with the fact his best friend and companion is going to die. He doesn’t understand what is going on, then tries to bargain with the horse, gets mad at the horse for not trying to get out, and screams in sadness when it’s too late. What makes this scene even worse is the fact that while filming the movie, the horse actually did drown. There was a malfunction on set and they killed that horse. Knowing that makes the movie unwatchable.
1: Mufasa (The Lion King)
Release Date: 1994
This is the one. The death that hit everyone I knew when we were kids. Honestly this is the moment most of us discovered what death was. Simba watches as his uncle kills his father and there is nothing that he can do to stop it. Just as there was nothing we could do while watching a boy realize his father is dead and is never coming back. The Lion King is a great movie but nothing will ever have a bigger emotional scar than watching Simba press on Mufasa’s lifeless body and realize there is evil and horror in this world, and none of us can do a damn thing to stop it.
Movies watched and tears wiped away by: Troy Smith
Bonus: Steve Rodgers (Captain America- The First Avenger)
Release Date: 2011
This moment technically shouldn’t count because we all know Steve Rogers didn’t die when he brought down the plane in the arctic. The thing is, Peggy Carter didn’t. When we watch super hero movies, we tend to slip into this feeling of (well we all know they aren’t really dead) and forget to watch the story being told to us. Peggy and Steve are having a conversation that they both know will be their last. It gets me teary-eyed every time. Just because Steve lives doesn’t mean no one died. The life that the two of them would have had dies the moment the plane hits the ice. And sometimes lost love is just as hurtful as a lost life.