It is amazing how animated characters can draw you in to a story when they are accompanied by the incredible storytelling talents of Disney writers, directors and animators. Some of these characters are not even humans but they draw us in and we feel their emotions—I guess that makes the “Inside Out” film very appropriate! When I watch a Disney film my emotions run the gamut from sadness to elation, but here are my top 10 most touching moments:
10. When Lewis is adopted in Meet the Robinsons
All Lewis wanted was to see his mother, and this desire guided him to use his intelligence going to extreme measures to find her. In the end, through a very strange sequence of events, Lewis is accepted for who he is and adopted into a loving family. We know that in the future this family’s unconditional love and acceptance continues. That adoption moment for Lewis—after many disappointing attempts that didn’t work out—is very moving. An added bonus is the apropos Walt Disney quote at the end, “Keep Moving Forward.”
9. When Lady & the Tramp meet on the spaghetti noodle
The love story between these two adorable dogs is so sweet—one is a rich, spoiled pup and the other is a mutt from the wrong side of the tracks. But they find something special in each other. The moment behind Tony’s with the music, and the table is very engaging—sharing the first kiss over a spaghetti noodle, and sharing the meatballs.
8. When Copper saves Tod in Fox & the Hound
Technically, Tod saves Copper first, but this last meeting between old friends is quite touching. Since they are born enemies, a fox and a hound naturally shouldn’t be friends, but as children Tod and Copper forged a very strong bond. Once they grew into adulthood and were “informed” of their roles in life and relationship to each other things changed. But in the life and death moment of desperation the two friends remembered what they had together when they were young and stepped up to defend each other. It just goes to show that no matter what we are “supposed” to be, there is always a connection that is greater.
7. When Olaf says “Some people are worth melting for”
You knew this one was coming! When Anna is freezing after Hans locks her up to die Olaf comes to the rescue. He builds a fire to warm Anna and the room even though he knows the warmth of the fire will mean his demise. Such a kind gesture from a self-sacrificing friend. And we all have those people who are worth melting for.
6. When Sully sees Boo again
We only catch a hint of it, but the reunion of Sully and Boo is a tender moment. When they are separated you feel their pain, then Mike presents Sully with that last shred of the door. When you hear the joy in their voices as they see each other again for the first time it touches your heart.
5. When Dory says “When I look at you I’m home”
Throughout Finding Nemo, Dory and Marilin experience an odyssey trying to get to 42 Wallaby Way Sydney. They create a relationship that is comical at times but deep. Despite her memory issues, Dory endears herself to Marlin and at the end she realizes that Marlin and Nemo are her family. It is the fish equivalent of “you complete me” for humans.
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4. When Bambi’s mother is killed
This one is moving in a sad way. That shot rings out and you immediately know that the Little Prince has lost his mother. The audience’s mind races probably like Bambi’s—what will he do, how will he survive, why did she leave? Just as our heart breaks at news stories of young children losing their mothers, they break for Bambi.
3. When the dwarfs mourn Snow White
After the Evil Queen is gone and the dwarfs discover Snow White “sleeping” they set up a vigil. They all stand weeping around her with tears streaming down their faces—even Grumpy is off to the side sobbing and Doc is comforting poor Dopey. The animals are outside in the pouring rain standing by to honor Snow White. Their raw emotions are so real and they remind us of our own grieving. And the respect and admiration they had for Snow White who was such a kind and caring soul really shows through in this scene.
2. When Andy leaves his toys with Bonnie
I can barely type it without breaking out the tissues. As a mom to 3 boys this one hits me particularly hard. Genius storytelling accompanied by endearing characters and wonderful animation and direction put this scene at the top of my list for moving moments. Andy takes his toys over to Bonnie’s house with the hope that another child can get as much joy out of them as he had growing up, and gets the surprise gift of enjoying them one more time himself before “moving forward” to college. The most touching parts—when Andy says “Now Woody, he’s been my pal for as long as I can remember. He’s brave, like a cowboy should be. And kind, and smart. But the thing that makes Woody special, is he’ll never give up on you… ever. He’ll be there for you, no matter what” then says “Thanks guys” as he leaves, and then Woody says “So long, Partner.” [yes, I am crying while I type this]
1. When Carl looks at Ellie’s photo album
Up is filled with emotional moments. The entire opening montage is one of the most moving movie montages . . . ever. But, the moment that seals it for me is when Carl sits down and looks at Ellie’s scrapbook. After feeling like he was never able to give her the adventure she desired, he finds out that her life was filled with adventures . . . their life together was her greatest adventure. So touching.
What do you think is the most moving Disney moment?