There are certain deaths from animated movies that can really wreck your childhood. You see a movie when you're nine years old and it's still making you cry decades later. That's some powerful cinema, don't you think? Some of the most depressing deaths from animated movies come at the hands of Disney, which knows how to break a heart, but not all of them. They don't all involve particularly beloved characters, either, they were just so nightmarish that they scarred you for life. Take a look at these tragic deaths and let me know if they just wrecked you too.
1 Bambi's Mom Bite's the Dust
How is this a movie for children? How can you open a children's movie this way? I still mourn the death of Bambi's mom, to the point that, as a child, whenever the men in my family went deer hunting, I begged them to go bowling instead. This is one of the most traumatic deaths from animated movies you'll ever see, and it never gets better.
2 The Iron Giant Sacrifices Himself
The Iron Giant doesn't get enough love. It's a fantastic movie, but it is heartbreaking. If you like your animated films with a heaping helping of trauma, watch this. It's actually a really compelling story with a surprising and wonderful voice cast, and that ending … I mean, he saves everyone! He saves the whole world!
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3 Scar Murders Mufasa
I don't know what was worse about this death: the betrayal involved in it, or Simba's ineffectual, scared attempts to get his father to respond. When he's rubbing against his dad's face, I die a little inside, and always want to go give my dad a hug. Scar is a bastard who deserved to die, and I'm not even including his demise on here because it did not wreck my childhood in the least. Mufasa is a wonderful representation of a great dad, though, and his final act is to save his son.
4 Nemo's Mom Gets Eaten
Given the way Finding Nemo begins, you can only ever hope it will go up from there. They didn't even have to make Coral's death graphic to kick you right in the feels. The very quickness is horrifying, and when Marlin finds her … do you think Dory's follow-up is going to be nearly as tragic?
5 Charlotte Passes on
I'm talking about the 1973 version of this film, although whether you read it or see it, Charlotte's Web is a beautiful story and the spider's death is always so sad. Charlotte used to be one of my heroes, and as a child I benefited from many of the little life lessons she taught Wilbur. Her speech at the end is particularly affecting – as in, I teared up just watching the clip.
6 Ray Stops Glowing
The Princess and the Frog was a great movie in many ways, not to mention groundbreaking. All the same, some people quite disliked Ray, but he really redeemed himself. It's so moving when a character sacrifices him or herself for someone else. It's one of the worthwhile lessons Disney still manages to slip into its films.
7 Ursula Gets Impaled
Nobody was really sad to see Ursula die in The Little Mermaid. The way she went got me, though. That was just horrifying – awesome, mind, and filled with poetic justice, but horrifying nonetheless. My friends and I always skipped this scene whenever we played The Little Mermaid in the pool.
8 Clayton Hangs Himself
This wasn't a sad death either, it was just creepy to watch. You know it's going to happen, just like you know Clayton's shotgun won't hold a candle to Tarzan's dexterity. You know he should be chopping the vines that are about to strangle him, too. You know all that, but the revelation that he actually hung himself is just … brrr!
9 Frollo Burns to Death
And score one more for traumatic! Granted, in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo deserves to have something bad happen to him as well. He's a creepy, heinous, lethal character who inspires no sympathy … but that doesn't necessarily mean you want to see him burn to death.
For me, the only thing that beats the death of Bambi's mom is the ending of The Fox and the Hound. Thank goodness neither of those two critters died, or I might not have made it through childhood. Let me know about you, though – what movie deaths, animated or live action, still stick with you?
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