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Top Ten Saddest Moments in Disney Animation

A couple years ago Fanpop decided to list the 10 saddest moments in Disney animation. I’m not sure they got it exactly right, but the list does have its share of massive tear jerkers:

10. Megara dies to save Hercules
9. Bambi’s mother dies
8. Eric leaves Ariel
7. Fox and the Hound (many moments)
6. Shang’s death in Mulan 2
5. Kerchak dies in Tarzan
4. The Beast dies in Beauty and the Beast
3. John Smith leaves Pocahontas
2. Quasimodo is tortured in Festival of Fools The Hunchback of Notre Dame
1. Mufasa dies in The Lion King

And, so you don’t have to imagine them in your head a youtuber has put them all to music. If you don’t recognize it, it’s the song ‘Time’ from Hans Zimmer’s Inception soundtrack.

How would you have ranked these movies?

18 thoughts on “Top Ten Saddest Moments in Disney Animation”

  1. This list may have pre-dated it, but I think I’d also have to include Ray’s death in Princess and the Frog. Of course I feel like none of these scenes make me blubber quite as bad as the Carl and Ellie montage in Up and the end of Toy Story 3. Pixar sure can tell a story.

  2. If I were doing the list, I’d take out “John Smith leaves Pocahontas”, therefore moving “Quasimodo is tortured in Festival of Fools” and “Mufasa dies” to numbers 3 and 2, and add in “Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo are separated”, making that the number 1 spot. That always breaks my heart when I watch the movie.

  3. Im guessing Pixar didn’t count – because the most upsetting one EVER is Up! In SOOOO many spots! And what about the last Toy Story!!! Andy going off to college )I’m a mom so that gets me all by itself), when he is leaving the toys.

    And a classic left off, for me, is Dumbo. when they take Dumbo’s mom away AND when she is rocking him from her jail.

  4. Abandonment is a big tear-jerker. May I submit two scenes:

    Toy Story 2 (Jessie being abandoned on the roadside)


    …this one just rips my heart out — Oliver and Company (the kittens in the cardboard box abandoned on the sidewalk in the rain, just left to die).

  5. Dumbo for sure! How could that not have even been on the list??? Just hearing the song “Baby Mine” makes me tear up.

    I’m also assuming that they meant Disney animation and not Pixar or else there would be quite a few scenes missing :)

  6. Woody “waving” goodbye to Andy at the end of Toy Story 3 was pretty sad. But the saddest moment was when Carl looked through Ellie’s book near the end of UP. The moment he read those words, everybody in the theater that day was in tears.

    Can’t believe neither of those moments were on that list.

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  8. John, I’d really like to know what your own list would look like. Just be sure to include Dumbo and Toy Story’s 2 and 3 or I’ll never forgive you.

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  10. Got to add Snow White a real tear jerker when she falls into her sleep, oh my gosh the Dwarfs are so sad. By far for me the saddest is “Baby Mine” from Dumbo. I haven’t watched it for years because of that, and I’m no kid. NOBODY can make you cry like Disney Animators. It takes a certain type of person to give “life” and/or “death” to an animated featured. There are others out there, but only Disney does it with heart. I can’t draw a straight line so I am very envious of those who give “life” to the animated. I thank you all.

  11. Dumbo definitely has to be on the top 10!!! I agree with Mufasa dying being #1 though- breaks my heart every time. I would leave out Pocahontas (because I just plain detested that movie and its historical inaccuracy). And if we were counting Pixar, “Up” made me cry like a baby, and I was on the verge of tears in the incineration scene of Toy Story 3.

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  13. I agree with everyone on this list that Dumbo is one of the saddest moments in Disney history. It is only number two after Bambi’s mom dying. Millions of children have been scarred by Bambi’s mom getting killed…I can’t believe that’s only #9 on this list! All in all, this list is a bit too modern-Disney heavy. What about Baloo almost dying in The Jungle Book? What about Trusty almost dying in Lady and the Tramp?? Leaving out Pixar, I would say:

    1. Bambi’s Mom
    2. Dumbo’s mom
    3. Mufasa
    4. Fox and the Hound
    5. Trusty almost dying
    6. Beast dying
    7. Baloo almost dying
    8. Step-sisters tearing apart Cinderella’s dress
    9. Rescuers (poor little girl!)
    10. Oliver and Co. beginning

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