Top 11 Saddest Moments
September 9th, 2008
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. People, there's nothing wrong with getting in touch with your feminine side. Unless you're a guy, in which case, that makes you a pussy. But everybody has at least one movie that they've cried at. And for the most part, they were shown to us when we were little kids, for crying out loud! There's no doubt about it: kids' films have some of the saddest and most depressing scenes in cinema history.
(Clips from the Animaniacs "Slappy the Squirrel" segment "Bumbie's Mom" Plays, with her nephew crying at a movie.)
NC (voiceover): For films that were supposed to be family friendly, there's a lot of emotionally tormenting stuff that we were shown in our childhoods.
NC: Which is why today, I am bringing you the Top 11 Saddest Movie Moments from our childhoods. Why Top 11? Because I like to go one step beyond. So, women get out your tissues, men prepare your sleeves, this is the Top 11 Saddest Nostalgic Moments.
NC (voiceover): Number 11--Saying Goodbye, from Muppets Take Manhattan.
The words "11. 'Saying Goodbye Song'" over footage of the scene
NC (voiceover): You wouldn't think the Muppets would ever be able to get you teary eyed, but at the scene where they all have to go their separate ways, it's pretty damn depressing.
Scooter: (singing) Saying goodbye, why is it sad? Makes us remember the good times we've had.
NC (voiceover): Out of all the Muppet songs that were sung, this is by far the saddest, making us feel bad for a bunch of talking socks, for crying out loud! That's the sign of good storytellers when the movie had you feeling emotionally attached to an amphibian and a hog.
Fozzie: (singing) Wanna cry, saying goodbye.
Other Muppets: (singing together) Saying goodbye....
NC (voiceover): Get ready for lip to quiver in...
(The countdown is displayed over the scene.)
NC (voiceover): 3, 2, 1!
(Cut briefly to NC, lip all a-quiver as a "wobbling" sound effect plays.)
Muppets: It's time to say goodbye...
(NC starts crying.)
NC (voiceover): Number 10--The Blue Bird Song from Follow That Bird.
(Again, footage of the scene labeled with the list item.)
NC (voiceover): This takes place after Big Bird is captured by two carnie folk who want to parade him around as a circus attraction. The guys masquerade him off as the Bluebird of Happiness.
NC: Oh, boy, Bluebird of Happiness? That sounds uplifting!
Big Bird: (singing) I'm a bluebird that's been dreaming of a rainbow I can follow, to that old familiar place, to be back home again....
NC: (trying to sound cheery) Sunny days...
NC (voiceover): I mean, jeesh, this is pretty damn depressing for a Sesame Street movie. All that's missing is for a single tear to fall down Big Bird's eye-
(Just as he says this, Big Bird sheds a single tear.)
NC (voiceover): OH, THAT'S JUST TOO MUCH! If you're not crying by the end of this blue bird song, get your eyes checked.
(NC breaks down crying.)
NC (voiceover): Number 9--Death of Littlefoot's mother from The Land Before Time.
NC (voiceover): Let's face it, dinosaurs are always gonna be cool, but who would've thought you could actually feel sorry for them? The Land Before Time had a lot of depressing moments, but the saddest one of all is when Littlefoot's mother fights off the evil Tyrannosaurus Rex (Sharptooth) and sacrifices her life in the process.
Mother: Dear, sweet Littlefoot...do you remember... the way to the Great Valley?
Littlefoot: I guess so...
(NC again looks as if he's about to break into tears.)
Littlefoot: But why do I have to know? You're gonna be with me!
Mother: I'll be with you...even if you can't see me.
NC: Oh, for crying out loud, how can a movie make me feel bad for something that died eons ago? ...(he starts wailing again) Like this!
Littlefoot: It's not fair!
NC (voiceover): Number 8--An American Tail.
Footage of the movie
NC (voiceover): Just...just An American Tail. Everything about this movie is depressing. I'm surprised everybody didn't get depression just from watching it. The story is about a little mouse who gets separated from his family while moving to America.
(Fievel is swept away by the waves.)
NC (voiceover): The family thinks he's dead, but the mouse continues to look for them anyway. And the rest of the movie is a fucking tease! He thinks he hears his father's violin, but it's a record player. He thinks some other mice can help him out, but they don't help him out at all. He thinks he's found his family's house...
(It turns out to be a house of gangster rats, as Fievel is grabbed by a big, burly rat with a cigar who laughs menacingly at him.)
NC (voiceover): JESUS! And on top of that, every other second, he walks right past his family as they just barely miss each other.
NC: Just turn your head to the left, dammit!
NC (waving his arms): No, no, no, go back, go back, go back!
(The mice run toward each other.)
Fievel: I'm coming, Papa!
NC (gesticulating frantically): No, no, the other way, the other way, the other way!
NC: God damn it, Just get together!
(They finally do.)
NC: Oh, thank God!
NC (voiceover): This movie was directed by Don Bluth, the same guy who directed The Land Before Time. His philosophy was that children can handle just about anything as long as you attach a happy ending.
NC: Fuck you, Mr. Bluth! I may be able to take it, but my therapy bills won't!
(Fievel sniffles while sobbing, and NC breaks down again and wheezing sad.)
NC (voiceover): Number 7--The ending of "What's Opera, Doc?"
Footage from that famous Bugs Bunny cartoon
NC (voiceover): This is considered one of the best cartoon shorts of all time. It was epic, beautiful and, of course, funny as hell. It was satirizing all the Wagner operas in both music and scope, but it takes a real surprising turn near the end when Elmer Fudd, the god of lightning here, tries to strike down Bugs Bunny with all his lightning bolts.
Elmer: Strike lightning! Strike the wabbit!
(Crumble at the touch of his power.)
NC: Ooh, what, is he gonna be all crispy and black or something?
(The scene shows Bugs, draped limply over a rock, motionless.)
NC: That's not funny.
Elmer: What have I done?
NC: That's not funny at all.
Elmer: I've killed the wabbit!
NC: Actually, that's quite depressing.
Elmer (singing): Poor wittew bunny...poor wittew wabbit...
(He lifts up Bugs' body and begins to sob; NC does too.)
NC: Oh, what the hell, this is Looney Tunes! They're supposed to make me laugh, not sob my eyes out! Bugs Bunny made me cry-y-y-y!
(Bugs Bunny lifts his head up.)
Bugs: Well, what did ya expect in an opera, a happy ending?
NC (angrily): NO! But I expect it from a fucking Bugs Bunny cartoon!
NC (voiceover): Number 6--The "Going Away" party from Snoopy, Come Home.
Scenes of the party
NC (voiceover): It's not like Charlie Brown was a very upbeat cartoon to begin with, so the idea of doing a whole section of the movie that was MEANT to make you feel sad is just downright cruel. The scene involves Snoopy, as he decides to leave home and go live with his original owner. So the kids decide to throw him a going away party. A joyful, charming, heartwarming going away part-
(Snoopy and all the Peanuts are crying as Schroeder plays a song; the word "Jesus!" plays over the scene at one point.)
NC (voiceover): As if that's not bad enough, Charlie Brown sings about what it's like to say goodbye right after this scene.
Charlie Brown: (sung) Just when you think that you know where you stand, that's when the scenery changes... (spoken) You know what I need? I need more hellos.
NC: What is up with these people? They're supposed to entertain our kids, not depress the fuck out of them!
(Snoopy begins to howl tearfully, and Charlie Brown starts to wail as well. NC sobs along with them.)
NC (voiceover): Number 5--The Drowning of Artax, from The NeverEnding Story.
Scenes of The Neverending Story
NC (voiceover): This is one of the cleverest fantasy movies that ever came out of the 80s. But with all its imagination and creative characters, it's the death of a fucking horse that we all remember. Apparently, they're going through the Swamp of Sadness, where only those who let the sadness and depression get the best of them sink into the swamp. Thank God Steven Wright doesn't go there. But wait a minute, the horse Artax starts sinking. Well, what the hell does that mean?
NC: The horse has depression? What the hell do you have to be depressed about?
Atreyu: Artax! You're sinking!
Artax: (dubbed by NC, sounding like Mr. Ed) Sorry, Wilbur, I just don't think my mother ever loved me.
Atreyu: Come on!
Artax: Just found out my business went bankrupt.
Artax: My girlfriend just left me...
Atreyu: You're letting the sadness of the swamps get to you.
Artax: Took all the oats...
Atreyu: You have to try, [you have to care.]
Artax: And I lost my sister to the glue factory.
Atreyu: Move, please!
Artax: Eh, life's a bitch and then you sink.
Atreyu: ARTAX!! (cries out): PLEEEEEEAAAAAASE.....!!!!!!!
(The screen blacks out, and comes back to Atreyu, alone in the swamp.)
Artax: (gurgling) Sorry, Wilbur.
NC: Yeah, like I said, makes no fucking sense. ...(sobbing, whiny voice): BUT IT'S SO SAD!
NC (voiceover): Number 4--The death of Charlotte, from Charlotte's Web.
Scenes from the 1973 animated version of Charlotte's Web (not the 2006 live-action version)
NC (voiceover): Okay, so maybe all spiders don't look quite as cute and lovable as Charlotte did.
(Picture of a real Jumping Spider for comparison purposes.)
NC (voiceover): But that doesn't mean we weren't all affected when she spent the last few days of her life helping out a damn pig. It wouldn't be so bad, except she talks about her death like she's going out to the store.
Charlotte: I'm done for, Wilbur. In a while, I'll be dead.
NC: Oh, well, I guess that's cool and-WHA?!
NC (voiceover): As if that isn't bad enough, she actually sings a song before she dies.
Charlotte: (sung) The Autumn days grow short and cold....
NC (voiceover): Now that's the sign of a true, hardworking entertainer: Working behind the scenes, never taking any credit and leaving on a song, what a showman. Er, show...spider.
Wilbur: Charlotte? CHARLOTTE!!!
(Wilbur sobs quietly.)
NC: I'll never use a can of RAID again... (he cries too)
NC (voiceover): Number 3--The funeral scene, from My Girl.
Footage from My Girl
NC (voiceover): After the success of Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin (Thomas J.) was America's 'hottest' child actor. Which is why it's so shocking any film, let alone a kid's film, had the balls to actually kill him off! This girl (Vada) has a lot of grief to live with. Not only is her only friend in the entire world dead, but she's the one that knocked down the beehive that caused him to get stung to death, it's because of her mood ring that Culkin went back, her dad is the undertaker of Culkin's body, the funeral is held at HER house, and she finds out the teacher she had a crush on is getting married on the exact same day.
Vada: Who's that?
Teacher: She and I are gonna be married this fall.
(A nuke going off is superimposed over the scene as Vada takes the time to process this.)
NC: I don't know what medicine they gave her to stop her from turning into a psychopath...but I need some!
Vada (sobbing hysterically): Where's his glasses? He can't see without his glasses! Put his glasses on! Put on his glasses!
NC: I need some! (bawling)
Vada: He was gonna be an acrobat!
(NC bites his knuckles and grunts to stop himself crying more.)
NC (voiceover): Number 2--The Death of Spock from Star Trek 2.
Footage of the movie
NC (voiceover): Okay, I know this is a bit of a stretch, but a lot of kids DID watch Star Trek back then. And even if we didn't, we all knew who Mr. Spock was--the pointy-eared guy. So when we saw him sacrifice his life for the team, you can rest assured every Vulcan was crying green tears that day.
Spock: (giving Vulcan salute) Live long...and prosper.
NC: (giving Vulcan salute) Rock on, man.
NC (voiceover): The idea of killing off a main character in a Star Trek movie was unpredictable, but the idea of killing off Mr. Spock, the most popular character on the show? That was just fucking insane. I mean, NOBODY saw that coming. Now, granted, a lot of us know he comes back in the following sequels, but we didn't know that at the time. We thought he was really dead, especially when Kirk makes his big hammy speech at the end.
Kirk: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most...
(Both Kirk and NC's lips quiver.)
NC: Oh, that, too.
NC (voiceover): And to top it all off, Scotty plays Amazing Grace on the bagpipes no less. This is so corny, and yet somehow so friggin' sad.
NC (singing to tune of Amazing Grace): Oh, God, Spock is dead, goodbye, dead head, come back in Star Trek 3 and see meeeeeee! (starts crying)
NC (voiceover): And the Number 1 Saddest Nostalgic Moment is--Every single goddamn Disney movie ever made.
Various scenes from various Disney movies
NC (voiceover): I mean, what the hell is wrong with this company? In every other film, someone dies, someone leaves, someone is in a deep depression...
NC: I thought this was supposed to be Disney! The happiest place on Earth! Happy like a bullet to the head!
(Scene of Old Yeller being euthanized by a gun.)
NC (voiceover): Like, remember this happy moment?
Simba: ...Help. (weeps)
NC (voiceover): How about this picker-upper?
Alice: But I very seldom follow it! (sobs)
NC (voiceover): And let's not forget this cheerful memory.
NC (voiceover): Disney is always associated with family entertainment, child-friendly fun. But I think they hold the record for most number of crying scenes than any other studio.
(Dogs howling in despair in Lady and the Tramp.)
NC (voiceover): I think the saddest moments are probably the death of Simba's father...
NC (voiceover): The killing of Old Yeller....
(Old Yeller gets shot.)
NC (voiceover): ...and, of course...
NC: BAMBI'S MOM! (sobs)
NC (voiceover): This scene is so famous that people still talk about it, even to this day. In fact, there's a famous Animaniacs episode that satirizes this emotionally crippling scene.*
- Brief Clips of the Slappy the Squirrel segment, "Bumbie's Mom".
Skippy: Bumbie's mom, she's... (he blubbers)
NC (voiceover): Actually, the funny thing is, have you watched this scene recently? I mean, okay, you got the mother shot, the kid looking for her and the father saying--
Bambi's father: Your mother can't be with you anymore.
NC (voiceover): But watch what comes immediately after.
(A scene of bright colors, singing "Let's Sing a Gay Little Spring Song", birds chirping, etc.)
NC: What the hell? It's like we can't let reality set in TOO deep, so here's some pretty birdies!
NC (voiceover): Ooh, look at the birdies, look at the birdies, nobody's dead, nobody's dead, it's just birdies, birdies...
NC: You still sad? You still sad? Oh, look at the keys!
(He pulls out a set of keys and starts to wave them around.)
NC: Look at the keys, the pretty little keys!
(More of the bird scene, with the green words "Death isn't a big deal" over it.)
NC: Can you imagine if they did that with OTHER Disney films?
(Cut to Simba's dad falling to his death, cut to the bird scene; cut to Old Yeller being shot, cut to the bird scene.)
NC: Sorry, guys, it isn't that simple. When somebody dies, birds and flowers don't always pop up to make everything better! You have to deal with it like everyone else in this cruel, depressing, kid-friendly world! I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't-
(He is shot through the head, then cut to the bird scene.)