Some movies just know how to tug at our heartstrings. We fall in love with a character, only for their tragic death to leave us emotionally wrecked for years. These are the movies that pulled that dirty trick better than any others.
The Hunter Shoots Bambi's Mother in 'Bambi' (1942)
They don't make Disney animated movies like they used to, and in this case that's a good thing. Multiple generations of children have been forever traumatized at the sight of seeing poor, innocent Bambi rendered an orphan by a ruthless hunter.
HAL 9000 Gets Deactivated in '2001: A Space Odyssey' (1968)
It's pretty amazing how much "2001" has us caring about the sad fate of HAL 9000 considering it's just a faceless robot who spends most of the movie trying to kill its crew. But by the time poor HAL is reduced to singing "Daisy" as its brain is literally ripped to pieces, we can't help but mourn this homicidal supercomputer.
Roy Batty Waxes Poetic in 'Blade Runner' (1982)
While ostensibly the main villain in "Blade Runner," in the end Roy Batty is revealed for what he truly is -- a man just desperate to buy himself a little more time before his inevitable end. Us flesh and blood humans can only dream of going out on such a profoundly poetic note. Like tears in the rain.
Littlefoot's Mother Dies in 'The Land Before Time' (1988)
"The Land Before Time" kept that grand old tradition of animated movies traumatizing young viewers by making them watch the main character's parent get killed. But really, is there any way to put young viewers in the shoes of dinosaurs facing extinction without crafting a dark, depressing prehistoric adventure?
The T-800's Sacrifice in 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' (1991)
What a 180 this character managed over the course of two movies. While Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 was a remorseless killer in "The Terminator," the sequel cast him as a lovable, wise-cracking hero who turned out to be the only father young John Conner would ever have. We still can't hold it together when the T-800 sacrifices himself in order to ensure the world will remain Skynet-free forevermore. Or until the next sequel.
The Death of Jenny in 'Forrest Gump' (1994)
Tom Hanks' Forrest Gump is the sort of simple, wholesome hero you can't help but love. Unfortunately, fate is rarely kind to poor Forrest over the course of this movie, culminating in the untimely death of the only woman he ever loved. And that's all we've got to say about that.
Mufasa's Death in 'The Lion King' (1994)
What's worse than a Disney death scene where a young hero has to watch their parent die a brutal death? How about one where said hero is manipulated into believing that death is their fault? It's a good thing Pumbaa and Timon show up to lighten the mood shortly after.
Jack Drowns in 'Titanic' (1997)
We all went into "Titanic" having a pretty good idea of how it was all going to end. But no matter how many times we watched and rewatched this epic historical romance, Jack never survived his final night with Rose. It's a pain that just never quite goes away.
John Coffey's Execution in 'The Green Mile' (1999)
Why couldn't this movie have had a happier ending, kind of like that *other* historical prison drama based on a Stephen King story? Instead, sweet, noble John Coffey is condemned to death, creating a psychological burden that Tom Hanks' prison warden is forced to carry the rest of his unnaturally long life. It's just not fair.
Mourning Jack Twist in 'Brokeback Mountain' (2005)
"Brokeback Mountain" does a fantastic job of making you invested in the romance between two stoic, rugged cowboys. Sadly, that pays off at the end when Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack Twist dies an untimely death and Heath Ledger's Ennis Del Mar is left totally, profoundly alone. That shot of Ennis hugging his friend's old jacket will haunt us forever.
Wash Gets a Hero's Death in 'Serenity' (2005)
"Firefly" fans were ecstatic when this short-lived TV series got a big-budget film sequel in 2005. Though we suspect more than a few of them regretted buying a ticket after seeing how it ended. How could they kill of poor Wash and end one of the greatest romances in the whole galaxy?
Marley's Death in 'Marley & Me' (2008)
This may well be the most calculated and manipulative death scene in Hollywood history, but darned if it isn't effective. After spending two hours getting viewers invested in the story of Marley and his loving family, this movie predictably ends with that family paying their last respects to a faithful friend. Why did the dog have to die? We don't care if it's based on a true story!
Ellie's Death in 'Up' (2009)
Even ten years later, the opening sequence in "Up" remains the most emotionally devastating thing Pixar has ever animated. Seeing Carl and Ellie become happily married, only for Ellie to pass away before realizing her dream, is a soul-crushing ordeal each and every time. But it's a real testament to Pixar's ability to make you care intensely for characters you've just met.
Snape's Final Message in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2' (2011)
Despite being a sneering, headmaster-killing jerk for seven of the eight "Harry Potter" movies, Professor Snape really redeemed himself in the final film. Fans finally got the full story on Snape's past and connection to Harry. Rarely has a one-word line like "Always" carried such emotional weight.
Wolverine Laid to Rest in 'Logan' (2017)
It's tough to imagine a more fitting sendoff to an iconic movie superhero. After Hugh Jackman's Wolverine makes the ultimate sacrifice to defend a new generation of mutants, his daughter pays him a moving tribute. Even more tear-inducing that Laura's recitation of the monologue from "Shane," is her decision to rotate the cross at Logan's grave so it becomes an "X."