ByAllanah Faherty, writer at
Senior staff writer | Twitter: @allanahfaherty | Email: [email protected]
Allanah Faherty

Children's movies are often thought of as being colorful, cheerful, happy pieces of cinema, the type of stuff that anyone can watch, no matter how young. However there are some movies that skew so far from this belief that it's hard to believe that they're still marketed as children's films.

Take a look at these nine kid's films that feature some of the most heartbreaking death scenes ever seen on screen:

1. Ariel's mom in The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning

We never saw Ariel's mom in the original The Little Mermaid but we found out her tragic fate in The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning.

Sadly, Queen Athena met her end trying to help her children escape from pirates in their ship as they crashed into the cove the family was relaxing in. Seeing how much Ariel resembled her mother makes the events of the original film, where her father tries to keep her away from humans at all costs, all the more significant.

2. Artax in The Neverending Story

One of the saddest deaths in a children's movie was when Artax, the beautiful white horse ridden by the brave warrior Atreyu, succumbed to the Swamp of Sadness. Despite Atreyu's pleas, Artax had simply become too sad and gave himself up to the swamp.

While this might have made you sad as a kid, watching it as an adult you realize just how long and soul destroying this scene really is. Damn it, Artax why couldn't you fight against the sadness?!

3. Mufasa in The Lion King

This is truly a moment that '90s kids are unlikely to forget any time soon. The heartbreaking moment when you realized Scar's evil plan was probably about the same time when you wised up to the harsh realities of this cruel world. Long live the King.

4. Leslie in The Bridge to Terabithia

The Bridge to Terabithia was a film about the power of imagination, however, sadly there was one situation that Jesse couldn't imagine himself out of - Leslie's death. While we never actually see Leslie die, her death is made sadder by the fact that Jesse had the chance to invite her on a trip to the art museum, but didn't. While Jesse was on his trip, Leslie tried to go to their special meeting place but drowned in the swollen creek on the way. Jesse's guilt over her death is overwhelming, though he is finally able to move passed it and honor Leslie with a brand new bridge over the creek that claimed her life.

5. Maa the sheep in Babe

Babe markets itself as a cute movie of a species-confused pig who becomes one heck of a sheepdog, however the real truth is that this film is a death-fest.

First of all, poor Babe loses him mom to the slaughterhouse, then he finds a new family with puppies, but all his puppy brothers and sisters are given away, and finally his one sheep friend, Maa is brutally mauled to death by three wild dogs. Eventually Babe does get his happy ending by becoming the winner at the sheep-herding competition, but poor old Maa never lived long enough to see it.

That'll do, pig. That'll do.

6. Ellie in Up

If there was an award for 'film to make you cry the fastest' then Up would win it, hands down. The movie opens with the happy montage of a young boy and girl (Carl and Ellie) first becoming friends and later falling in love. By the time the film shows Carl and Ellie are unable to have children you already feel the first stirrings of emotion, but it's not until Ellie falls on her way to their special picnic spot that you realize Pixar is about to completely destroy you with scenes all the way until Carl returns to his house, alone.

7. Thomas J. in My Girl

I have a feeling that after Thomas J.'s death in My Girl there was wide spread and unnecessary panic over the dangers over bee stings.

Thomas J. tragically died while he was out searching for Vada's mood ring and he mistakenly thought the beehive was abandoned. In the panic of the bee attack, Thomas's glasses were knocked to the ground and not found before his funeral, prompting the heartbreaking outburst from Vada, "Where's his glasses? He can't see without his glasses!"

8. Hazel in Watership Down

It's hard to pin down just one tragic death in Watership Down because - quite frankly - this was probably the saddest and most traumatizing kids movie ever created. The leader from Efrafa is torn apart by a dog, his body never found, and other rabbits endure injury and near death experiences. However, the death of poor Hazel might be the one the caps off the sadness factor. After the events of the film are over and the rabbits are finally safe at Watership Down, Hazel is visited by El-ahrairah and invited to leave his body behind and join his own Owsla.

9. Littlefoot's mom in The Land Before Time

Don Bluth has a way of making his children's films very, very dark. Frequently, the main character has no mother, or as in the case of poor Littlefoot, their mother dies early in the film.

After sneaking out to follow a 'hopper' and play with Cera, a scary 'Sharptooth' arrives and attacks the young dinos, thankfully Littlefoot's mother arrives and saves the young pair. Despite Cera and Littlefoot making it out unscathed, Littlefoot's mother was not so lucky and soon succumbed to her extensive back and neck injuries. The last scene between mother and son is so sad, as he tries to encourage his mother to rise, and finding herself unable she imparts her last piece of motherly advice on her young son: "Let your heart guide you, it whispers, so listen closely."


Which death hit you the hardest?

Source: What Culture


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