Today I will bring a collection of my favorite top 10 sad kids’ films that will make you cry. Maybe you agree with me; perhaps you are not. But either way, let me know your opinion after reading this post. The films I listed here are notorious for triggering the waterworks, and they are so sad that watching them will guarantee you cry alone.
10 – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
The extra-terrestrial E.T. won over audiences everywhere, largely thanks to its lovable titular character. So you can imagine how traumatized we all were when a stream discovered the little alien’s motionless body. Their matters only become more emotionally draining as E.T. seemingly dies on the operating table. Nothing is more depressing than watching a pale E.T. fight for his life as Elliot is powerless to help.
While E.T. ultimately pulls through, that doesn’t make his farewell to Elliot any less bittersweet. As hard as we try not to cry, E.T.’s final words get us every time!
9 – Inside Out
Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems. When one of the main characters is a personification of sadness, a few tears will be inevitable. Given Pixar’s track record for making the audience cry, chances are you went into Inside Out armed with a pack of tissues you probably didn’t bring enough. However, because the final act of this film is an emotional roller coaster unlike any other, while bing-bong sacrifices sure to shatter anyone’s heart, the most sentimental payoff comes when Riley reunites with her parents, and sadness demonstrates her essential purpose wait. This scene is so effective that anyone can identify with Riley’s feelings, especially if they had to move across the country at a young age from home.
8 – My Dog Skip
I was an only child. There seems to be an unwritten rule that if a movie centers on a dog, the filmmakers will do everything they can to make you cry. My Dog Skip may tread on familiar territory, but the sincere relationship between Frankie Muniz Willie and his Jack Russell terrier still left a paw print on our hearts; even the most cynical audience member will have a hard time not getting choked up when Skip is severely beaten, and Willie breaks down in tears by his bedside. The excellent news is Skip survives this brush with death, but the film doesn’t deny that every beloved pet must eventually pass on.
7 – The Iron Giant
The Iron Giant is a film about a boy and his massive robot. The Iron Giant was overlooked during its theatrical release, but more audiences discovered how funny, exciting, and meaningful the film was in time. Perhaps the biggest surprise was just how empathetic the titular Iron Giant was. Vin Diesel may be the definition of an action star, but his gentle turn as the Giant and the bond he forms with young Hogarth couldn’t be more genuine. Our attachment to these characters makes the Giant’s third act sacrifice so devastating, much like Superman, though this hero, fortunately, lives on.
6 – My Girl
We’re here to honor Thomas James Senate, and My Girl starts as a quirky coming-of-age drama. With a dark edge, many were caught off guard by the final act, which spirals into sheer tragedy. Although Veda has been surrounded by death her entire life, she doesn’t experience grief until her best friend dies due to an allergic reaction from bee stings. At first, Vada is unable to accept the truth, hiding away in her room and even trying to get a response from Thomas Jay’s corpse, arguing that he can’t see without his glasses. It’s a brutally honest scene that will resonate with anybody who lost a loved one at a young age and anyone who grew up adoring Macaulay Culkin.
5 – The Land Before Time
Director Don Bluth is another animator with a reputation for flooding film theaters with tears. The Land Before Time is arguably his saddest work the film’s most gut-wrenching scene would have to be. The death of little foot’s mother, who leaves her orphaned son with some poignant final words, that’s where your heart guides you. Although nothing quite tops this wallop to the fields, the film is still full of deeply emotional moments. Such as Petrie’s near-death experience, even the more uplifting moments are so overwhelming you can’t resist happy crying. Especially when our young heroes finally make it to the Great Valley way to make us cry over creatures that went extinct millions of years ago.
4 – Toy Story 3
Now you got a promise to take good care of these guys; they meant a lot to so many kids by the time Toy Story 3 came out in 2010. 90s kids who grew up with the first two films were on the verge of adulthood. This added another level of emotional gravitas to the film, especially when a teenage Andi part with his old playthings before heading off to college. Since Woody and Buzz were childhood staples, many of us could put ourselves in Andy’s shoes as he bade the old gang adieu but not before one last playtime. This would be Jesse, the roughest, toughest cowgirl in the whole West, even if this were your introduction to the Toy Story franchise. The film’s themes of nostalgia change and letting can resonate with viewers of all ages.
3 – Coco
Family and death are common themes in Pixar films, but they provide the backbone of Coco. For anyone who’s had a loved one with a memory disorder, the early scenes between Miguel and his aging great-grandma will immediately have you invested. The film continues to emotionally affect its audience as Miguel interacts with his departed family members, learning valuable lessons about life and death. The scene that gets to everybody is the grand finale when Miguel connects with the practically catatonic Coco through the power of music as Miguel plucks his great-great-grandfather’s guitar strings, the film tugs at our heartstrings with an Oscar-winning song.
2 – Up
I liked when some films saved their big emotional highlight for the second half. Up went all out within its first several minutes, relying on the imagery and Michael Giacchino’s score rather than dialogue. We witness the marriage of Carl and Ellie Frederickson; their life together isn’t without misfortune, including a miscarriage and several setbacks that prevent them from traveling to Paradise Falls, even during their lowest points. Though they still have each other until Ellie passes away in just a few minutes, we’re told everything we need to know about this couple with heart-rending results, while there are undoubtedly other moments in the film that will tickle your tear ducts all along.
1 – Bambi
At one point, everybody has balled their eyes out while watching a Disney movie, whether it’s Simba curling up to his father’s body or Dumbo’s mother swinging her little one with her trunk. When it comes to cute animals being separated from their parents, though, nothing tops Bambi in the tear-jerking department! Although the entire film is an emotional experience, the death of Bambi’s mom made this our inevitable top pick. ”Your mother can’t be with you anymore”, between the single gunshot, Bambi calling out for his mother and confusion, and Bambi’s stern father confronting his son. This scene impacted generations of children and adults, including Walt Disney’s daughter Diane; afterward, she said to his father ”daddy, why did you have to kill baby’s mother?” Her father said, ”well, it was in the book” she said, ”there were plenty of things in the book that you changed; why couldn’t you have changed that???”
That’s it; these are my top 10 sad kids’ films. Do you think you’d cry watching these? If you agree to this list, please comment below, or suggest a movie of your choice.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you.