The 5 Most Heart-Breaking Moments in Pixar History

Pixar is one of the finest movie studios on the planet. It blends computer animation with original, expertly crafted stories that captivate both young and old. Its success has been met with a whole host of awards and commercial success. 

If this wasn’t all, Pixar has even developed a strong reputation for turning viewers into a blubbering mess – time and time again. It’s almost a mandatory requirement for a Pixar movie to pull at the heartstrings in some way. 

Some do it better than others, and here’s a countdown of the five most tear-jerking moments in Pixar history (so far). 

1. Bing Bong’s Goodbye (Inside Out)

Thanks to the mastery of Pixar, even the goofiest of characters can cause people to cry. When Bing Bong is first introduced in Inside Out, it’s easy to dismiss this imaginary creature as a disposable slice of comic relief. 

Yet when Bing Bong makes the ultimate sacrifice, allowing Joy and Sadness to escape the pit of forgotten memories, the realization soon kicks in: he was more than just a side character for humor, he was a true friend!

2. Sulley leaves Boo (Monsters Inc.)

In the beginning of Monsters Inc, James P. Sullivan – aka Sulley – is known as the best ‘Scarer’ in Monstropolis. By the end of the film, however, he’s the loveable softie that has become increasingly paternal to ‘Boo,’ the human child that accidentally entered into his world. 

When it’s time to return Boo back to her home, Sulley has to say a heartfelt goodbye. Yet unlike other picks on this list, there is a happy ending when Sulley takes the chance to see Boo again. 

3. Remember Me (Coco) 

In the final moments of Coco, Miguel manages to get Mama Coco, his great-grandmother, to remember her deceased father and save him from oblivion. This is done through an emotional and powerful performance of “Remember Me,” which causes every viewer to well up without fail. 

As a review by The Guardian states, the final five minutes of Coco compares to Up’s opening montage in terms of tear-jerking moments. 

Speaking of which… 

4. Life and heartbreak in a montage (Up) 

The opening montage in Up has reached legendary status at this point. In fact, it is often referenced as one of the most emotional moments in any movie – animated or otherwise. 

The montage, which is backed by a beautiful Michael Giacchino score, shows Carl and Ellie Fredricksen’s relationship. It starts with courtship, onto marriage, their life as they grow old, and finally Ellie’s departure following her death

As far as opening scenes go, few can match up with the quality – and sentiment – of this montage. 

5. Andy’s farewell to his toys (Toy Story 3)

According to research conducted by Cash Lady in their Disney vs. Pixar feature, the first two Toy Story films are the most critically acclaimed of the series. Nevertheless, Toy Story 3 features the most heart-breaking moment. 

This is when Woody and the gang say farewell to Andy. For those who grew up following the Toy Story series, this moment felt like viewers were also saying goodbye to the toys that entertained them over the years. 

Well, until Toy Story 4 came out, anyway.