20 Science Fiction Moments That Will Make Absolutely Anyone Cry

Illustration for article titled 20 Science Fiction Moments That Will Make Absolutely Anyone Cry

Yes, we don't care who you are. If you're not completely dead inside, like some freeze-dried husk, then there are certain moments from science fiction and fantasy that will make you break down. Here are 20 of the most tear-jerking moments from science fiction and fantasy stories. (Update: Added 5 more!)


This list could have been 100 items long — especially after I asked some of my Twitter and Facebook peeps for suggestions and everybody had a particular favorite. It was really hard to whittle this down to just a short list, so please pipe up with all the stuff I unforgivably left out.

Update: People brought up some pretty glaring omissions, so I decided to add five of them to the actual list, since I was embarrassed to have left them out!

Oh, and there are spoilers for old stories ahead...

1) Supernatural, "Pac-Man Fever"

Charlie (Felicia Day) goes to visit her dying mom one last time and reads The Hobbit to her, and if you can get through that scene without losing your shit, then there might be something wrong with you.

2) Excalibur

First Arthur and Guinevere are reunited all too briefly, then Merlin vanishes. And then... the fall of Camelot. The death of all the people. The passing of a legend. The whole last act is incredibly sad.

3) The Neverending Story

Atreyu's horse Artax gets swallowed up by the swamps of sadness, and so do we. Though really, this whole movie is a non-stop tearjerker.

Illustration for article titled 20 Science Fiction Moments That Will Make Absolutely Anyone Cry

4) The Last Unicorn

Prince Lir's speech is incredibly moving, but so is a ton of other stuff in Peter S. Beagle's book. Beagle is a master of characterization and storytelling, and he creates a beautiful fable that sticks with you.

Illustration for article titled 20 Science Fiction Moments That Will Make Absolutely Anyone Cry

5) Fullmetal Alchemist

Towards the end of the manga, Alphonse sacrifices his life to get his brother Edward's original arm back for the final battle, and Faith Erin Hicks says this is a major weepy moment.

Illustration for article titled 20 Science Fiction Moments That Will Make Absolutely Anyone Cry

6) We3

Grant Morrison's graphic novel about cyborg animals on the run will wreck pretty much anyone who reads it. Without giving too much away, it doesn't turn out that well for all three of the creatures, and their weird broken English just makes the whole thing that much more affecting. So. Sad.

Illustration for article titled 20 Science Fiction Moments That Will Make Absolutely Anyone Cry

7) Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

This book is full of super-sad moments, but especially some of the ending. Says Christopher Cevasco, "near the end, the scene in which Rosemund finally succumbs. When that apple rolled across the floor, I utterly lost it. Devastating."

8) E.T.: The Extraterrestrial

When E.T. and Elliott say goodbye for the final time, because E.T. is finally going home, we defy you not to get all misty.

9) Star Trek: The Next Generation, "The Inner Light"

This could have been just another adventure for Captain Picard, where he experiences another culture and is moved as a result — but instead, the device where Picard lives a whole life on another planet makes this incredibly powerful. Especially when Picard sees "his" wife die. All the tears. Also worth mentioning: the Deep Space Nine episode "The Visitor."

10) The Iron Giant

Brad Bird's movie version of Ted Hughes' classic children's book is just incredibly powerful stuff. Especially the giant robot's final sacrifice. Including the giant's lines: "I am not a gun." And "Superman."

11) Galaxy Quest

I just rewatched Galaxy Quest the other day, because it was on TV, and this movie is so good it makes me mad at all other movies for not being it. Anyway, the bit where Alexander finally says "By Grabthar's Hammer, you will be... avenged," except that it's no longer the dumb catchphrase he hates but a heartfelt cry of grief and respect.

12) Angel, "Not Fade Away"

When Wesley dies in Illyria's arms, and she asks if he wants her to lie to him now. And she does, and it's incredibly sweet and sad. Runner up: When Fred is lost forever, in "Hole in the World," and her last words are asking Wesley to tell her parents she wasn't afraid. And then, "Why can't I stay?" Oof.

Illustration for article titled 20 Science Fiction Moments That Will Make Absolutely Anyone Cry

13) Wall-E

The bit where Wall-E has "died" and Eve is trying to revive him is... there are pretty much no words. Because you don't need any. It's just perfect and

14) Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Pretty much all the Sam/Frodo stuff towards the end, especially in the movie with Sean Astin bringing his full acting power. "I made a promise, Mr Frodo. A promise. 'Don't you leave him Samwise Gamgee.' And I don't mean to." And Sam carrying Frodo. And then at the end, "You bow to no-one."

15) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Spock's death scene, where he sacrifices himself to save the Enterprise and then pledges eternal friendship to Kirk, is incredibly affecting. But if that doesn't get you, the funeral scene totally will. Scotty plays the bagpipes and Kirk speaks the eulogy, stumbling over the word "human." Instant meltdown.

16) Futurama, "Jurassic Bark"

Fry thinks his dog just forgot about him, but then we find out the truth. This sequence always kills me. Thanks to KillerBee for mentioning it!

17) Blade Runner

The "Tears in Rain" speech is one of the most badass moments in cinema, but it's also incredibly sad, because of Roy Batty's noble resignation after watching all his friends die. Thanks to RonQuixote and everyone else who brought this one up.

18) Doctor Who, "Vincent and the Doctor"

People brought up David Tennant's swansong, which is also incredibly tear-jerking as well. But for my money, the end of "Vincent and the Doctor," where he takes Van Gough to the Louvre, is just... heart-rending.

19) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "The Body"

Particularly the bits where Anya comes to grips with the concept of mortality for the first time. Thanks to Brand Eks and everyone else who brought this one up!

20) Terminator 2: Judgment Day

The T-800 sacrifices his life with a final "thumbs up" salute as he dissolves in the molten steel. It's amazing how much you care about the death of the character who was the villain in the first movie, thanks to the bond between John Connor and the Terminator this time around. Thanks to Nerdburger358 and everyone else who mentioned this one!


Thanks to Adam Rogers, Marc Bernardin, Emma C. Moore, Jeffery X. Martin, Tom Phillips, DL Thurston, John Warrender, Megan Lynch, Joseph Hughes, Anthony Ha, Jordan Ellenburg, Ben Acker, David J. Loehr, L. Laiken, Regina Small, Tara D. Bennett, Kristen McHugh, D.L. Thurston, David Calkins, Adam Barken, Ryaaan Saaands, Seamus Bellamy, Ron Hogan, Dr. Rubidium, Chris Dahlen, Graeme McMillan, Laurie Abkemeier, Parker Mason, Devindra Hardawar, Mike Avila, Jason Bergman, Cecil Castellucci, Faith Erin Hicks, Tom Cheredar, Warren Frey, Tim Pratt, Sizemore, Gus Andrews, Jennifer Kretchmer, Kevin Schmidt, David Voderberg, Ian Spiegelman, Michael Goldfarb, Zack Stentz, Sheerly Avni, Jenny Davidson, Christopher M. Cevasco, Jessy Randall, Chris Hsiang, John St. Lawrence, Dharma Kelleher, Juba Kalamka, Charles Q. Choi and everybody else who suggested stuff!

Further reading:



I''ll just leave this here. You can "thank" me after you're done cleaning up your face.