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Top 10 Heroic Sacrifices in Disney Movies

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada
These characters taught us the meaning of the word “selfless”. For this list, we're looking at the times where Disney characters put their lives on the line to save those close to them. Some died, some survived, but all were ready to lose it all. Since these brave sacrifices result in death or major plot developments, a spoiler warning is in effect. Our list includes Belle Gives Up Her Freedom, Meg Pushes Hercules, WALL-E Holds the Door, Coral Defends Her Children, Anna Protects Her Sister and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Heroic Sacrifices in Disney Movies.
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Top 10 Heroic Sacrifices in Disney Movies


These characters taught us the meaning of the word “selfless”. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 heroic sacrifices in Disney Movies.

For this list, we're looking at the times where Disney characters put their lives on the line to save those close to them. Some died, some survived, but all were ready to lose it all. Since these brave sacrifices result in death or major plot developments, a spoiler warning is in effect.

#10: Belle Gives Up Her Freedom
“Beauty and the Beast” (1991)


When Belle’s father Maurice goes missing, she journeys into the woods to find him. She soon discovers that he’s been imprisoned in a castle by a seemingly vicious beast. Upon seeing that Maurice is sick, Belle quickly volunteers to take her father’s place in prison. Despite her father’s protests, she doesn’t hesitate to give up her freedom for his. Belle’s selfless actions not only save her father’s life but pave the way for the curse inflicted on the Beast and his servants to be broken. By the end of the film, she’s more than earned the right to become a princess.

#9: Meg Pushes Hercules
“Hercules” (1997)


Deep in debt to Hades, Megara is forced to help him kill the powerful Hercules. Hades’ scheme pays off when the demigod gives up his strength to save her soul. After the newly mortal Hercules manages to defeat a Cyclops nonetheless, a toppling column threatens to crush him. Meg rushes to push him out of harm’s way, but is herself caught underneath the pillar. She uses her last words to confess her love for the handsome hero. Of course, Meg’s sacrifice is later repaid when Hercules nearly dies in the Underworld to bring her back to life - a two-way sacrifice that makes their romance one for the ages.

#8: Sitka Saves His Brothers
“Brother Bear” (2003)


One small mistake can change many lives. In “Brother Bear” Kenai fails to properly secure a basket of fish. After a bear steals the food, Kenai insists on retrieving the basket. But his task turns into a desperate struggle for survival after he angers the bear. When Kenai’s brothers show up to help, their combined efforts aren’t enough. Just before the bear can strike a fatal blow, Kenai’s eldest brother Sitka shatters the ice that he and the bear are standing on. It’s a brave move that costs him his life but saves those of his brothers. Dramatic and heart-wrenching, this sacrifice perfectly set the tone for the emotional story to follow.

#7: Ralph Sets Off a Volcano
“Wreck-It Ralph” (2012)


Ralph was programmed to be a villain, but he longs for acceptance. Though he tries to attain it by winning a medal, an unlikely friendship with the glitchy Vanellope teaches him the real value of heroism. Vanellope’s world is being overrun by Cy-Bugs, but her programming prevents her from leaving. Ralph decides to trigger an explosion to destroy all the bugs and save his friend, knowing full well that this could result in his permanent deletion. Fortunately, Vanellope is able to save Ralph at the last second. Ralph may be a villain by design, but this act proves that he’s a hero in a way that a medal never could.

#6: WALL-E Holds the Door
“WALL-E” (2008)


After centuries of drifting in space, humanity gets a chance to return to Earth. If WALL-E and EVE can bring a plant to the proper receptacle, the spaceship will bring them back to Earth immediately. However, the ship’s corrupt artificial intelligence attacks the robots and tries to close the container door. Despite being severely damaged, WALL-E lets his body be crushed to hold the door open for EVE and the plant. His actions allow the human race to return home again. Luckily for WALL-E, EVE is able to repair him with new parts and a lot of love. As they say, actions speak louder than words.

#5: Baymax Sends Hiro Home
“Big Hero 6” (2014)


At the climax of “Big Hero 6”, Hiro and his robot partner Baymax rescue the villain’s daughter Abigail from a collapsing portal. After flying in to get her, they’re hit with debris that damages their flight capabilities. Baymax soon reveals that he can use his rocket arm to get the humans to safety if he remains behind. What makes this moment SO heartbreaking is that Hiro has to give his robotic friend permission to enact the selfless plan. Fortunately, although Baymax’s original body is lost, he’s rebuilt from a piece of himself saved during his final act.

#4: Coral Defends Her Children
“Finding Nemo” (2003)


The ocean can be a dangerous place. No one knows that better than Marlin. While he and his mate Coral are brainstorming names for their children, they’re approached by a vicious barracuda. Despite Marlin’s insistence that they hide, Coral immediately swims towards her eggs. In a harrowing scene, Marlin is knocked unconscious as the barracuda goes after his mate. When he awakes, Coral and all but one of his children are gone. Marlin names the surviving child Nemo because it’s a name that Coral would’ve wanted. If she could see how brave, kind and determined Nemo became, we’re sure she’d be proud of both him and Marlin.

#3: Anna Protects Her Sister
“Frozen” (2013)


When Princess Elsa’s icy magic causes an endless winter, her sister Anna tries to convince her to stop the storm. Unfortunately, Elsa loses control and accidentally causes her sister’s heart to slowly freeze. Knowing that only true love can save Anna, Kristoff races her to fiancée Hans for a kiss, but Hans has other plans - namely, killing Elsa to obtain the throne. Although weak, Anna leaps in front of Hans’ sword to save her sister. Anna’s sacrifice is a powerful act of love that thaws her heart and reaffirms the unbreakable bond she shares with Elsa. Sibling love can be strained, but as this sacrifice proves, never broken.

#2: Eugene Makes a Fatal Cut
“Tangled” (2010)


In “Tangled”, Princess Rapunzel’s long hair can heal wounds and restore youth. Mother Gothel becomes so obsessed with it that she kidnaps the princess and locks her away. After thief Flynn Ryder - a.k.a. Eugene - gives Rapunzel a taste of freedom however, she decides to strike out on her own. Mother Gothel’s response? Recapturing Rapunzel, and fatally wounding Eugene. Although Rapunzel is his last hope, he uses his last strength to cut off her magical locks - destroying Gothel and giving Rapunzel her freedom. Fortunately, the princess’ tears had enough healing magic to give them both the happy ending they deserved.

Before we honor our top pick, here are some honorable mentions.

Tinker Bell Flies a Bomb Away
“Peter Pan” (1953)

Pocahontas Shields John Smith
“Pocahontas” (1995)

Kerchak Charges Clayton to Protect Tarzan
“Tarzan” (1999)

#1: Bing Bong Fades Away for Joy
“Inside Out” (2015)


We all had a Bing Bong at some point. Riley’s imaginary friend continues to live on inside her long-term memories, slowly fading away. When Joy and Sadness, embodiments of Riley’s emotions, promise to help him, he finds new hope, only to fall with Joy into the memory dump where things are permanently forgotten. As they attempt to escape on a rocket sled, Bing Bong realizes it’s too heavy to carry them both and throws himself off to get Joy home. What happens next is devastating. Bing Bong’s sacrifice means that Riley can be happy again, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch.
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