[ZOOMER TIMES] The 20 Saddest Movie Moments Within the Last 20 Years

Lily Eberly, AME Editor

Imagine you’re at a movie theatre. The movie is great; there’s a lot of action and funny jokes cracked by each character. Then suddenly, tragedy hits. Things seemed to be going so well, but now you’re hugging your popcorn bag, — whilst simultaneously stuffing your mouth with the popcorn — your knees are to your chest, and you’re sobbing into the popcorn bag.

Throughout these past 20 years, there have been extremely and not so extremely sad scenes in movies that deserve to be recognized. These scenes could be spread across the movie or within one section of it.

These movies range from Disney to chick flicks since sad scenes can come from any type of movie out there.

Here are the 20 saddest moments from different movies within the last 20 years:


Heath Ledger and Julia Styles pose for a photo while on the set of 10 Things I Hate About You. (Touchstone Pictures)

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

The ending monologue in this movie is one that everyone and their dog knows. Julia Stiles, who plays Kat Stratford, gives a heartbreaking performance as she reads a poem for her English class. Though the rest of the class does not know it, the poem is dedicated to Patrick Verona, played by the late Heath Ledger.

She expresses how deeply she hates everything that Patrick does, but in the end, she disregards all her previous statements and concludes that she doesn’t hate him at all.

As they had gone through the whole movie trying to get on each other’s good and bad sides, the ending wraps everything up into how Kat truly feels.

The audience experiences the pain and love shared between both characters; the monologue only strengthens these existing emotions and spreads them across the floor.

Never Been Kissed (1999)

Drew Barrymore plays Josie Gellar, a journalist who goes undercover to write a story on high school students. It seems that she has most of her life together, but because of this article, she relives her actual high school days.

It’s shown that Josie wasn’t the popular girl, and rather the nerd that everyone made fun of. Throughout the movie, flashbacks are included to show how Josie was back then.

In one of her flashbacks, Josie remembers when the high-school-heartthrob Billy asked her to Prom. That night when he goes to pick her up, Josie stands outside excitedly and waves to Billy, who is riding in a limo.

This is when a girl pops up from the roof of the limo with Billy and they begin throwing eggs at Josie, much like a hit and run.

Left alone and having her prom ruined, Josie cries on the steps until she hears her mother calling her name; she runs and hides.

This scene is sad due to the fact that Josie is portrayed as a very lovable and shy character who just wants to fit in. Many could find this scene funny, but for those that can relate to Josie — or just love her character that much — may find this scene to be one of the saddest, and it’s so quick too.

The Sixth Sense (1999) 

  • Cole’s heart-to-heart

The Sixth Sense was all around an emotional movie, but no part was as tear-jerking as the last two scenes.

Towards the end of the movie, Cole and his mother Lynn are sitting in the car waiting for traffic to move since there had been an accident up ahead. Cole tells his mother that he is ready to open up to her.

He goes onto say that he can see the person who died in the wreck up the street and that he has seen his dead grandmother that comes to visit sometimes.

Lynn defends that what he was telling her was morally wrong, but he states that he knows that she went to see Lynn dance in a recital when she was little, which is something Cole would not have known the details about.

Lynn becomes visibly upset, making the audience feel for her. Anyone who has lost someone — or can understand the innocence of a little boy telling his mother that he sees dead people — can feel very sympathetic and somber.

  • Malcolm’s realization

In the very end, the main character comes home to see his wife lying on the couch, talking to herself, with the tape of their wedding playing on the TV. Throughout the movie, Malcolm believes that his wife is annoyed with him and she doesn’t love him anymore.

It is until she drops his wedding ring, and he looks at his ring finger, that he realizes he has been dead the whole time.

The foreshadowing scenes replay as if he is thinking about everything that had happened; he only sees what he wants, the temperature of a room gets cold when he is near, Cole is the only one that can see him, and so on.

For those of us who did not piece together all of the evidence before this final scene, it is assumed that many of us were saddened by this climax. Some of us probably sobbed our hearts out while the rest of us may have felt very dumb for not realizing this the moment Cole said, “I see dead people.”

Sulley finds out that Boo had escaped from her bedroom door. This is the start of a new experience for both Sulley and Mike. (Disney)

Monsters, Inc (2001)

This scene is so ingrained into our generation’s memories that it had the possibility of creeping up into someone’s thoughts at any random moment.

At the rise of the movie, the monsters are giving a demonstration on how to scare a child. While trying to hide Boo, she and Sulley end up in the same room. The monsters encourage Sulley to give the robot child a good scare. With this, he roars scarily and makes Boo cry.

As kids, it can be inferred that we saw Sulley as a big teddy bear who was trying to keep Boo safe. When he shows his scarer side, our little minds were subjected to feel afraid and feel the same as Boo.

Children in movies and in the media gain a lot of attention; they are cute and funny. When we see a child crying, we feel sadness wave over us as we feel bad and want to make them feel safe.

At the time, we were those children who were scared of Sulley, and now the roles have flipped.

Spider-Man (2002)

Though this movie was incredibly cheesy, it still shaped us; and Uncle Ben’s death will forever be remembered.

Before his death, Uncle Ben had talked to Peter in the car. He said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Peter blows him off, feeling annoyed by his uncle’s discussion. Later that night, Peter finds a crowd surrounding someone. He digs through the crowd and finds his uncle lying on the ground. They speak to one another, and Peter begins to cry as Uncle Ben finally dies.

This scene evaluates the regret that people have. Peter had dissed his uncle and later he was dead. Life is essentially too short to start a fight with someone and have a terrible tragedy happen. We don’t want the last thing we say to someone we love to be negative.

Up (2009)

We can all agree that Up was one of the saddest movies in history, almost seeming to be sad throughout the whole movie. However, since there are some not so sad parts, this movie is being counted; here are just a few of the saddest parts:

  • Ellie’s miscarriage

For many younger kids who first saw this movie, it may not have been clearly evident that Carl’s wife Ellie had a miscarriage. This scene was very somber and it was very noble of Disney to include a scene as such.

  • Ellie’s passing

Carl lost the love of his life! They did everything together and he cared about her so much. For seven minutes, the audience goes through their love story and faces their ups and downs. She passes away to further conclude that this movie is going to be really sad.

  • The mailbox

A young construction worker backs his truck into Carl’s mailbox, which causes Carl to get upset. The worker insists he will fix it, but Carl tries to pull it away and ends up shoving it, by accident, at the worker’s face. As viewers, we can feel the embarrassment and horror from Carl looking very disgraced that he had caused someone harm.

  • Kevin is captured

Carl, Russel, and Dug get Kevin to her babies, but before she can get to them, Muntz captures Kevin then sets Carl’s house on fire. Carl chooses to save his house — we can’t blame him — but Russel is upset with him for letting Kevin go. This scene puts both sides into perspective; Carl could lose the house he had made with Ellie, but Russel could lose his new friend. Being brought to this hard of a choice is difficult and in some way can upset everyone else.

  • “Stuff I’m Going to Do”

Once Carl and Russel get to Paradise Falls, Carl looks in the photo album once again, only to find that Ellie had included pictures of their marriage in it. It’s one of those scenes where it is really cute but also sad because Carl had never known she put those photos there. We know that he misses her in this moment.

  • The house flies away

Towards the end, Carl saves Kevin, Russel, and Dug from Muntz and his dogs. Muntz tries to win, of course, but as he tries to disable Carl’s house from the airship he ends up falling to his death. Carl looks up to see his house floating down through the clouds, never to see it again. Though he emptied the house of its belongings, seeing the house he lived in float away was like letting go of a toy that we loved as children; it’s for the best to move on, but it’s still hard.

Ray the Firefly lights up before he, along with the other fireflies, leads the crew to Mama Odie’s. The tune he sings is very catchy. (Disney)

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

The firefly, Ray, was one of the funniest characters in this decade-old movie. He sang while helping Naveen, Tiana, and Louis find Mama Odie; he believed in love; he did everything a good friend would do.

That’s why when he hit a brick wall and the Shadow Man stepped on him, we faced a soul-crushing reality that the most loved characters always die.

Ray’s final monologue was bittersweet when he gazed up to Evangeline’s star and slowly passed away, with his friends mourning beside him. This little bug brought so much joy to our little kid minds, and maybe it has made us rethink killing bugs. Yet, spiders are still terrifying.

Toy Story 3 (2010)

As much as the incineration scene was very heartbreaking amongst viewers, there is another scene that not many think about.

Andy’s toys are confronting Lots-o’ and his gang about keeping them in a “prison” and that they were never unwanted toys. Lots-o’ tries to persuade Woody that he is plastic, that he is meant to be thrown out eventually.

After trial and error, Woody talks about Lots-o’s former owner Daisy. He tells the bear that Daisy only replaced him and not the other toys, like Big Baby. Woody throws a heart name tag with Daisy’s name on it to Big Baby and Lots-o’. Big Baby picks it up and sadly says, “Mama.” Lots-o’ yells that Daisy had never loved the Baby, and crushes the name tag with his cane.

Thankfully, Big Baby gets fed up with the bear, picks him up, and throws him into the trash. The scene, however, is still so sad. Big Baby was adorable and deserved more than having Lots-o’ as a friend. Seeing the Baby upset was gut-wrenching and made some of us want to hold him, give him a hug, and care for him…even if he wasn’t real.

Tangled (2010)

Eugene Fitzherbert, or as we first knew him: Flynn Rider, is the flirt and outcast of the movie. He may have been a criminal for stealing Rapunzel’s crown, but his development as a character showed how amazing he actually was. He opened up to Rapunzel, fell in love with her, took her to the village to see the floating light whilst pushing aside the crown, and — the sad part — went to rescue her, paying the ultimate price.

Mother Gothel ends up stabbing Flynn, leaving him almost helpless to save Rapunzel. When all hope seems lost, Flynn cuts Rapunzel’s hair which destroys Gothel’s entire life; she hides herself with her cloak and falls out of the window.

Flynn and Rapunzel are left in the tower; Flynn starts to fade off and ends up saying, “You were my new dream” to Rapunzel. He dies, and she holds him heartbrokenly. For those of us who loved Flynn hate to see him die, as he really did care for Rapunzel, unlike Gothel. Thankfully, he comes back to life when one of Rapunzel’s tears landed on his skin.

Even so, the scene is still beautifully sad that it sparks viewers’ emotions every time.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012)

Though the Saga gets a lot of hate, Carlisle’s death was truly a tragedy that needs to be recognized.

In the final movie, vampires and werewolves team up against the Volturi to protect Bella’s family. Edward’s sister Alice goes to the head of the Volturi, Aro, to show him the future of his actions if his clan attacks the other side.

In disbelief, Alice removes her hand from Aro and claims that he will only want to kill the family none-the-less. She kicks Aro into the air and some vampires from his side hold her from running away. Aro asks them to take her away; Carlisle becomes angry and charges after Aro. Springing into the air, Aro rips off Carlisle’s head thus starting the war.

As Twilight fans would know, Carlisle was a very kind man who only wanted to help people. He was a good father, husband, and doctor. For many, seeing a loved character getting their head ripped off of their body is pretty horrifying. Even the characters are upset enough to start their battle.

Lenny Kravitz poses for a photo as Cinna. This type of photo was taken for every main cast member of the movie. (Lionsgate Films)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Like myself, many people loved The Hunger Games franchise along with one amazing character: Cinna.

Before the 75th Annual Hunger Games begins, Cinna and Katniss are in an underground chamber saying their goodbyes. He clips Katniss’ pin to her attire and hugs her. It’s a bittersweet moment as it is unclear if Katniss will survive another game. 

Katniss steps into a platform surrounded by glass before a door closes, making it official that she will soon start the Game. From the chamber doors, guards walk in and begin beating Cinna onto the glass for Katniss to witness. She screams for him, banging on the glass for the guards to stop. They drag Cinna away, leaving Katniss devastated — as well as the audience — while entering the Game.

Watching Lenny Kravitz’s character get beaten to a pulp was truly soul-crushing; he was like a father figure to Katniss, he made beautiful dresses for Katniss, and everyone knew President Snow had a say on Cinna’s fate.

Into the Woods (2014)

This is one of those movies where some people may have cried more than they really should have, but this death scene was uncalled for.

The Baker and his wife, played by James Corden and Emily Blunt, had only hoped to conceive a child but they were unsuccessful due to a curse set upon them by the Baker’s father. 

Time passes and the Baker and his wife have their baby after lifting the curse. However, havoc rises in the woods involving Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk. The other fairytale characters of the movie end up splitting up in the woods.

The Baker is left with the baby and worries that he will be too poor to care for the child, while his wife goes another direction. She ends up meeting Prince Charming and becomes infatuated with him. She goes back and forth with leaving her husband to be with the Prince.

As she sings her musical number on the issue, the giant walks by, causing the ground to shake. The wife tries to hold onto a tree branch as the earth crumbles beneath her; she fatally lets go of the branch and dies.

Later on, the Baker sings to his baby while his wife’s ghost seems to sing with him.

Blunt’s character feels like she was real. Many women can relate to her situation — besides having a curse. When she dies, it’s hard knowing that she got what she had always hoped for and dies not long after. For many musical fans, this death was one of the worst to witness.

A Quiet Place (2018)

This movie set high expectations among viewers, and it did not disappoint. Not only was it scary and heart-racing, but the ending was one of the saddest moments of horror movie history.

Lee Abbot, portrayed by John Krasinski, and his family survived through several years of almost complete silence in order for the alien-like creatures to not kill them. They talk through sign language.

In the beginning, the daughter Regan gave a toy to her youngest brother Beau that happened to make noise; he is soon killed by a creature. This incident leaves Regan to believe that her father hates her for what she did.

However, she finds this to be false when Lee sacrifices himself to save Regan and her other brother Marcus while they are trapped in a truck with creatures surrounding them. From outside, Lee signs “I have always loved you” and screams.

Lee had done everything he could to keep his family safe, from building an underground shelter to placing sand for every walkway; he didn’t have to think twice about saving his children for the final time. His kindness and experiences radiated to the viewers and it is safe to say that some people felt bad for him and ended up loving him — they didn’t want him to die.

Kevin looks over to David as they all sit in a room together for the first time. Elijah sits there as well. (Universal Pictures)

Glass (2019)

The ending of this movie — this entire franchise — was possibly one of the worst endings in movie history; and of course, the ending was very sad.

The movie itself was not bad and genuinely, it felt like David, Elijah, and Kevin were going to somehow show the world that they could be good people. This idea was shattered — quite literally — into a million pieces when Elijah was pushed by the Beast causing his bones to break and have internal bleeding. His mother watches him.

Moments later, an FBI agent drags David and starts dunking his head in a pothole, drowning him; he fatally dies in front of his son Joseph.

Kevin ends up getting shot as David is dragged, and he dies in the arms of Casey — the girl he had kidnapped in the first movie.

It is seen that Elijah dies soon after Kevin.

There are many points as to why this scene was both irritating and sad. All three of these men died in front of people that cared about them and the audience had to watch them all suffer. 

After David dies, another FBI agent tries to revive him, as Joseph screams at the agent. This part is so dumb; they kill him, leaving us sobbing, yet they try to save him for no reason besides Joseph screaming at them.

This scene not only sucked but it was excruciatingly painful to watch these beloved characters die.


Every movie ventures off to include some new emotions. Whether a movie is serious or funny, they will always have something that catches the audience off guard. These movies, and so many others, have sad scenes that have impacted us throughout these last 20 years. People of all ages can relate or talk about these exact scenes, knowing that at least one person had felt the same way they did.

Here’s to another decade and another 20 years.