No matter what someone else tells you, grieving fictional characters is OK. If the movie you’re watching has done its job, then it’s almost difficult to watch impassively as an individual or people or animal or animated friend you’ve spent quality time with is killed off. The saddest movie deaths that follow are painful to sit through and much harder to forget. They will pull on your heartstrings and have you scrambling for your tissues, whether they take place in a classic children’s film, a big-budget superhero flick, or a doomed romance. Keep reading to relive the feelings, but there are a few extreme spoilers ahead, so be careful.
Saddest movie death scenes
- Tony Stark, Avengers: Endgame
It was Tony Stark portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. who introduced the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it’s fitting that his story’s ending was epic.
Tony is hesitant to attempt and change the past in Endgame, fearing that he will lose his daughter, Morgan (Lexi Rabe), but he finally relents and helps the team in their quest to go back in time and reverse the “snap” that wiped out half the people of the planet.
The gauntlet containing the requisite Infinity Stones is too volatile to be wielded by a regular human, so Tony does so recognizing that, in addition to restoring his universe, it would mean his death. But he doesn’t go until he gets told by his favorite Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) that he should rest.
The film concludes with a touching holographic message from the godfather of the MCU himself, with all the people he touched grieving. Love you 3000, too favorite!
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- Jack Dawson, Titanic
You’ve shed a tear at the death of Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), the boy who encouraged Kate Winslet’s Rose to abandon the stuffy world of privilege she was born into and start living her life. Jack does this by taking life as it comes and welcoming adventure, which is why seeing his frozen body fall into the water, the wonderful adventure all too quickly, is so heartbreaking.
- Logan, Logan
Logan is different from any other X-Men movie. Hugh Jackman appears in the franchise as Wolverine for the last time, and this brutal, grim farewell to the character doesn’t pull any punches. In this alternate timeline film, fans also lose Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier, but most of the crying is allocated for Logan, whose superhuman healing powers slowed down. He died in defense of Laura (Dafne Keen), a young mutant created by his DNA, whom he came to see as a daughter. The ultimate scene of the movie shows Laura rotating a cross on her makeshift grave to make an “X.”
- Beth March, Little Women
This imaginary tragedy is such a universal rite of passage. The most devastating part of Louisa May Alcott’s novel is also the saddest part of every single transformation of the tale, including Greta Gerwig’s 2019 film. Beth (Eliza Scanlen), the nicest and most content March Sister, is too pure for this world, and never bounces back from childhood scarlet fever.
- Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton, The Notebook
The romance of a working-class boy (Ryan Gosling) and a wealthy girl (Rachel McAdams) that unravels in The Notebook belongs to the two senior citizens in the opening film scene. Elder Noah (James Garner) is telling his wife, Allie (Genna Rowlands), about their past, as dementia has taken her memories from her. There’s a colorful period when she remembers what they’re all about each other, but it’s over swiftly. At the end of the film, it was discovered that the couple had died in their sleep, still holding their hands.
- Bubba, Forrest Gump
Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue’s (Mykelti Williamson) is not the only death our iconic figure Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) has witnessed in the course of his extraordinary life—but it’s the most violent.
After persuading Forrest to get into the shrimp business, Bubba ended up fighting next to him in Vietnam, where he was killed in the war. Forrest can take Bubba out around relative safety for a final farewell, and “I want to go home” is Bubba’s last word for his “best good friend.”
Forrest pays tribute to him by becoming a shrimp boat captain and providing his business with a name that would later be given to the midrange novelty family restaurant chain.
- Marley, Marley and Me
If you watch a dog movie, you can generally assume that it will cease in the dog’s death. (But even if it might not, it’s essential to plan for the worst!) This wasn’t a shock to the readers of the hit memoir that this particular film is based on, but it’s even worse to witness it all serve on screen. At least the misbehaving yellow lab lives a long, full life and is loved by his family group.
- Mufasa, Lion King
Yes, the Lion King is practically Hamlet. However, in Hamlet, spectators don’t have to see King trampled to death in a stampede. It’s the workings of his villain brother, Scar (Jeremy Irons), that led to the abrupt demise of Mufasa (James Earl Jones), but it’s Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick) who bears the guilt—until he comes back to Pride Rock to destroy Scar’s bleak kingdom. The stampede alone is enough to panic young viewers, but it’s hard for us to ignore the sight of Simba struggling to rouse his father’s lifeless body.
9. Ellie, UP
The first 10 minutes of Pixar’s Up will measure the tear ducts of everyone. It’s a montage of the long and mostly happy life of Carl (Ed Asner) and his wife, Ellie (Elizabeth Doctrine), from the moment of their first bond as children. They share a deep passion and a love of discovery, but they keep putting off their dream vacation to the Falls of Paradise. In their older age, Carl is preparing to take her, but Ellie gets ill and passes away before she can leave. It’s her nostalgia that inspires Carl to rig their old house with balloons and fly it there, never mind his Wilderness Explorer stowaway.
These were 9 of the saddest movie death scenes according to us. Which one did you find the saddest?