Top 10 Saddest Pixar Moments of All Time

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Top 10 Saddest Pixar Moments of All Time

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Adriana Travisano
The saddest Pixar moments always get to us. For this list, we'll be looking at the most heartbreaking scenes found in Pixar movies. Our countdown includes "Coco," "Toy Story 3," "Finding Nemo," and more!
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Top 10 Saddest Pixar Moments


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Saddest Pixar Moments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most heartbreaking scenes found in Pixar movies.

What Pixar moment set off your waterworks? Let us know in the comments!

#10: The Death of Coral & Her Eggs
“Finding Nemo” (2003)


If you’re a Pixar fan, then you know that, sometimes, the beginning can be the saddest part of the whole movie. This is certainly the case for “Finding Nemo”. We’re presented with a sweet scene between a couple of clownfish, Marlin and Coral. About to be new parents, the couple have moved into the most perfect underwater neighborhood. Their happiness is short-lived, however, as a vicious barracuda attacks their reef, killing Coral and all of their eggs. All, except for one, which Marlin finds with a small crack in its shell. Holding him close, Marlin promises never to let anything bad happen to him. Not even five minutes into the movie and we’re already in tears!

#9: Jessie’s Past
“Toy Story 2” (1999)


Jessie has had to experience every toy’s worst nightmare not once, but twice. After years of playtime, her former owner, Emily, inevitably grew up. When she rediscovered her forgotten toy years later, Jessie’s hopes were high… but Emily put her in a box and dropped her off at a donation center. There’s literally nothing Jessie could have done. This moment is already devastating enough, but add in the touching song, “When She Loved Me,” over the scene, and you’re guaranteed a good cry. Luckily, when this happens a second time with Andy, she has friends who are right there with her.

#8: Sulley Says Goodbye to Boo
“Monsters, Inc.” (2001)


Although Sulley and Boo get off on the wrong foot, the two eventually form a pretty special bond, making their goodbye extra painful. It begins when Sulley finds out her door is getting “shredded” just as he’s dropping her off. The pain he feels is so clear that even the audience feels it. As Boo tugs him into her room, Sulley tucks her in one last time, bidding her a tearful farewell with one last monster hug. He closes the door and, right after he does, Boo climbs out of her bed, opens the door, and tries “scaring” her monster friend. Unfortunately, there’s no Sulley in her closet anymore, and there won’t be for a long while. Cue the waterworks!

#7: Woody & His Friends Almost Get Incinerated
“Toy Story 3” (2010)


Count this moment as one of the most terrifying things you watched as a kid. We get it, they’re toys. But, in this world, they are alive and about to burn to death. You know, just some light fun for the children. We were just recovering from the shredder scene when things went from bad to worse for Woody and the gang. The toys find out that the conveyor belt they’re trapped on leads to a hot, fiery end. They come up with a plan to escape but, of course, it hinges on Lotso - who betrays them. The toys end up in the incinerator and, with seemingly no rescue in sight, they have no choice but to accept their fate. They’re going out, but at least they’re going out together.

#6: Wall-E Loses His Memory
“WALL-E” (2008)


Only Pixar could make us cry at the prospect of a robotic trash compactor losing its memory. After an entire movie’s worth of buildup around WALL-E and Eve’s mechanical love story, tragedy strikes. After WALL-E is crushed into whatever constitutes a death for robots, Eve works diligently to repair his broken parts. It works, except… he doesn’t remember her or anything about himself. It appears he’s been reset to his default system. There’s a long moment where we believe his memory might truly be gone, but when Eve hums his favorite song, he remembers. Thank the Pixar gods! For that little while when WALL-E wasn’t himself, though, you can bet audiences were sniffling up a storm.

#5: Dory’s Journey
“Finding Dory” (2016)


Baby Dory’s adorableness- or should we say a-Dory-bleness? -is enough to make us cry on its own. Seriously, look at those big eyes! But, her past is fairly tragic. This regal blue tang fish has been suffering from short-term memory loss her entire life, which inevitably leads her to get separated from her parents. We follow Dory as she becomes older, continuing the search, but always forgetting any progress she might have made. Eventually, Dory finds a trail of shells that lead her home to her parents. Turns out, they’ve never stopped searching for her, either!

#4: Bing Bong's Sacrifice
“Inside Out” (2015)


“Inside Out” turned out to be a lot more emotional than many expected. It deals with mental health, growing up, and all the convoluted ways we handle our emotions. When Joy and Sadness get sucked into Riley’s long term memory, they meet Bing Bong, Riley’s forgotten imaginary friend. Joy, after leaving Sadness behind, gets stuck with him in the Memory Dump. In order to get Joy back to headquarters, Bing Bong sacrifices himself in an extremely moving, not to mention selfless, act. By the end of the movie, Riley finally breaks down with Sadness at the forefront, and is able to open up to her parents about her true feelings (Xref). Whether you watch this movie as a child or an adult, bring tissues!

#3: Andy Gives Away His Toys
“Toy Story 3” (2010)


This movie had the toys’ worst nightmare come true: Andy getting too old for them. Although he intends to take Woody to college and store the rest of them in the attic, a mistake sees the toys donated to Sunnyside Daycare. And while they eventually make it back to Andy, Woody is left with a difficult decision. When Andy drops off his toys at Bonnie’s, the little girl from Sunnyside who actually took Woody home during the mixup, an incredibly touching moment occurs. Andy finds Woody at the bottom of the box and is clearly not ready to give him up. Letting go is never easy, and we know, because after fifteen years and three movies, we also had to say goodbye to our favorite gang of toys… until “Toy Story 4” that is!

#2: Mamá Coco Remembers Her Father's Song
“Coco” (2017)


After it’s revealed that Héctor is Miguel’s great-great-grandfather and Mamá Coco’s father, Miguel does everything he can to bring Héctor’s memory back to the Land of the Living (Xref). Just as Mamá Coco is beginning to fully forget however, Miguel returns to the living world and rushes off to play her the song her father used to sing to her. Things get emotional as Mamá Coco slowly remembers him. It turns out, she still has his photo, which is the missing piece they need to put up on the ofrenda. Héctor is saved, his name is cleared, and he finally reunites with his daughter in the Land of the Dead. This movie tugged at just as many guitar strings as it did our heartstrings!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Merida Apologizes to Her Mother, “Brave” (2012)
This scene is Un-bear-able to Watch! Too Soon?

Lightning McQueen's Crash, “Cars 3” (2017)
The Filmography of This Scene, Man oh Man!

Dory Begs Marlin to Stay, “Finding Nemo” (2003)
When the Optimistic Character Breaks, We Break

Barley Gets to See His Dad Again, “Onward” (2020)
Ian Returns the Favor of Being a Good Brother

Woody and Buzz’s Goodbye, “Toy Story 4” (2019)
So Long, Partner

#1: Opening Sequence
“Up” (2009)


The movie begins with Carl and Ellie meeting as starry-eyed children. The two of them grow up together and, somewhere along the way, fall in love and get married. And even though there’s barely any dialogue, we already care so deeply for these two characters. But then, the first tragedy befalls them: they can’t have children. Still, they pick themselves up and continue chasing the dream of moving to Paradise Falls. Life gets in the way, and it’s only by the time they’ve gone grey that they can afford tickets. Carl intends to surprise Ellie with them, but she unfortunately falls ill before he can give them to her. Ellie passes away, leaving Carl alone with their unrealized adventure. Yep, the movie barely starts by the time we're already in full sobs!
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