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10 Saddest Pixar Movie Scenes of All Time. Do You Agree?

Soul (2020)
Image Credit: Disney+

Pixar challenges our emotional well-being with stellar animation and heart-wrenching storylines. The internet banded together to speak about the saddest scenes from the studio known for its jumping light intros. Do any of these make your chest tighten and your eyes swell?

1. Finding Nemo (2003) – Opening Scene

Finding Nemo (2003) - Opening Scene
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Before we dive into Nemo’s storyline, we see a Clownfish couple, Coral and Marlin, ready to start a large family. Soon, a barracuda spots them, causing the mother, Coral, to swim over to her babies and protect them. Sadly, this maternal instinct leads to a snack for the big fish. When Marlin wakes up, he can’t find Coral or any of his soon-to-be children. Upon realization, he hugs his remaining child, Nemo, close. 

2. Coco (2017)- Remember Me?

Coco (2017)
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Coco meditates on the meaning of life after death and the importance of memory. Who will remember you when you’re gone? Miguel, the film’s protagonist, contemplates that question through a forbidden art form, music. Miguel accidentally travels to the land of the dead, where he uncovers the root of his family’s hatred of music. When he returns to his life, he realizes his grandmother is approaching her final breaths, so he plays “Remember Me” on his guitar to rekindle the familial adoration of the art form.  

3. Toy Story 3 (2010) – Bye Woody and Buzz

Toy Story 3 (2010)
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios

The day a kid says goodbye to their toys and moves to college is bittersweet for any parent.  

“Andy is a happy kid who plays with his toys; in the second, he goes maybe for the first time on a trip without his toys, and in the third one, he becomes an adult, leaves his toys behind, and gives them to the new kid, Bonnie equals next generation. That’s a beautiful story that everyone can relate to, and Pixar told it with such care and integrity,” someone writes. 

4. Finding Dory (2016) – Shell Trail

Finding Dory (2016)
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The iconic blue and yellow striped fish from Finding Nemo returned thirteen years later for a fin-tastic sequel. During Dory’s childhood, she got separated from his parents. That thought she recalls. On a relentless quest to direct Dory back home, her parents set up a pattern of shells they knew she would recognize. 

5. WALL-E (2008) – Forgetting Eve

WALL-E (2008) - Forgetting Eve
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

WALL-E is the animated version of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, sort of. The robot love story focuses on the final robot on Earth who befriends a probe sent from a spaceship. Near the end of the film, an AI robot crushes Wall-E. Eve rushes to gather him and reassemble his body on Earth. However, he remains without his memories of her. 

“The way she desperately tries to get him to remember as he mindlessly condenses his most prized possessions into cubes gets to me more than it should,” a WALL-E enthusiast reports. 

6. Inside Out (2015) – Bing Bong

Inside Out (2015) - Bing Bong
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Have you ever had an imaginary friend? In the 2015 Pixar film Inside Out, eleven-year-old Riley experiences growing pains and many emotions after her family uprooted from Minnesota and headed to San Francisco. The audience meets each of Riley’s, anthropomorphized emotions and her imaginary friend, Bing Bong. In a rather unfortunate circumstance, Bing Bong sacrifices himself and fades into oblivion, as Riley forgets his existence. 

7. Soul (2020) – Epiphany Scene

Soul (2020)
Image Credit: Disney+

“For me, at least, it was the epiphany scene in Soul where Joe lays out the items from his pocket and reminisces while playing piano. I won’t get into it, but I was absolutely blindsided by that scene and couldn’t stop crying. I’d felt the exact same way for a while but was never quite able to verbalize it, and here Pixar was, laying it out before me perfectly. Pure emotional release, connection, understanding, etc. Every time I watch it, I can usually hold it together at first but never make it far without tears,” a Pixar fan says. 

8. Monsters Inc. (2001) – Sully Scares Boo

Monsters Inc. (2001) - Sully Scares Boo
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

You know the shock you feel when you realize your parents are human and capable of mistakes. Boo experiences a similar shock when a cuddly creature turns into a horrifying monster. Sully and Boo became fast friends, and the child trusted her until he listened to his boss’s orders and scared the children in the room, including Boo. 

9. Monsters University (2013) – Mike Isn’t Scary

Monsters University (2013)
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

“The third act of Monsters University, where Mike is confronted with the reality he isn’t scary. I love how the message of the film is that not everything is possible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be a successful person (or monster),” a movie reviewer claims. 

10. Up (2009) – Carl and Ellie

Up (2009) - Carl and Ellie
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Up introduces one of Pixar’s greatest musical numbers in the beginning of the film. The establishing shots showcase a young couple, Carl and Ellie, trailing through life, ecstatic to spend it with each other. The duo even invests in an adventure book they wish to fill together. Tragically, we witness Ellie’s passing and how depressed Carl becomes. That’s in the first few moments of the film; make sure you have your tissues. 


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Written by Gabrielle Reeder

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