21 Devastating Moments in Kids' Movies That We're Still Traumatized Over

No matter how many children's movies made us giggle or screech with joy, it's the sad and scary moments that have stuck with us through adulthood. Squints tricking Wendy into a poolside smooch was hilarious, but Charlotte dying peacefully while Wilbur is left to care for her babies fills me with a deep sense of despair to this very day. Kids just feel emotions so intensely, and watching those scenes brings us back to the first moment we experienced them: dry-heaving on our parents' living room carpets with no tears left to sob.

Ahead, I've compiled some of the scenes that left indelible marks on the souls of POPSUGAR editors. This is by no means an exhaustive list (so no shade to Bambi's mom), just the moments that we hold dear to our hearts. Be warned that this article may make you cry uncontrollably.

01
Baby-Sitter's Club: Kristy at the Carnival
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Baby-Sitter's Club: Kristy at the Carnival

"Literally the only scene I remember from Baby-Sitters Club is when Kristy's dad stands her up at the carnival and she's trapped inside the fairgrounds. Everything is suddenly really scary, it's pouring rain, and her little heart is completely broken. Kristy's dad is a MONSTER."

— Maggie Panos, voices senior editor

02
The Fox and The Hound: Not Friends Anymore
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The Fox and The Hound: Not Friends Anymore

"Without fail, The Fox and the Hound always made me cry as a kid . . . but I kept watching it anyway because they were just SUCH cute friends (and the movie secretly made me want a pet fox). I think the two scenes that made me the most emotional were when Todd and Copper first met after they'd grown up, because I realized they weren't friends anymore, and when Widow Tweed returned Todd to the forest and said goodbye. HEART. BREAKING."

— Chanel Vargas, editorial assistant, Trending and Viral Features

03
Frosty the Snowman: RIP Frosty
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Frosty the Snowman: RIP Frosty

"I've written about this traumatizing scene before because I'm very passionate about spreading awareness of climate change and its devastating effects. Frosty's vicious murder may have been the first time I ever cried at a cartoon — I think it upset me so much because he died while trying to help someone, which is an odd life lesson to learn from an animated holiday film. Needless to say, I haven't walked into a greenhouse since."

— Britt Stephens, content director, Celebrity and Entertainment

04
Free Willy: The Goodbye
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Free Willy: The Goodbye

"I used to make my grandfather watch Free Willy with me most afternoons after school and I'd make sure he sat through Jesse's goodbye and subsequent pep talk as I silently weeped on the couch next to him (I was the worst). Willy's jump is so emotional! Jesse's happy jumps are so emotional! The theme music in the background is so emotional! Jesse's face when he realizes his Orca friend is gone and never coming back IS. SO. EMOTIONAL."

— Alessia Santoro, editor, Family

05
Charlotte's Web
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Charlotte's Web

"Charlotte was like the spider equivalent of The Giving Tree. She gave so much joy to the animals, and one day, her time was up. She embraced death with such grace, but having to watch Wilbur say goodbye to his best friend and mother figure was gut-wrenching . . . even if Templeton provided some comedic relief."

— MP

06
Now and Then: The Storm Drain
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Now and Then: The Storm Drain

"Looking back, it's hilarious to me how tormented I was by the storm drain scene as a kid (It's so dark! It's raining so hard! And there are rats down there!). But watching Now & Then as a jaded adult showed me the reality of the situation: in the middle of the night, my good sis Samantha jumped into a f*cking storm drain to save a broken bracelet that she received about 10 minutes prior. She was insistent about going down there, even when my other good sis Teeny said they should forget the bracelet and head home. This lack of judgment on Sam's part is concerning, yes, but I've always connected to her as a character — which is why I'm just going to blame her dad for leaving, and her mom for walking around town like Nancy Sinatra."

— BS

07
The Iron Giant: The Ultimate Sacrifice
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The Iron Giant: The Ultimate Sacrifice

"I rewatched this one a couple of months ago and definitely still cried, but The Iron Giant is such an underrated film. Directed by Brad Bird, the genius behind The Incredibles, the film tells the story of an alien that resembles a giant robot and makes friends with a 9-year-old boy on earth. When the government finds out about the Iron Giant, they threaten the lives of thousands just to get rid of him by launching a nuclear missile. In the end, the giant sacrifices himself to protect everyone on Earth who hated him, just like his idol Superman would do. If you've never seen this, or haven't seen it in a few years, it's absolutely a must-watch. You WILL cry."

— CV

08
Air Bud: Josh Sends Bud Away
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Air Bud: Josh Sends Bud Away

"The scene where Josh sends Air Bud away yelling at him and throws him a basketball so he stops trying to come home with him ruined me."

— Amanda McKelvey, Social Media Strategist

09
All Dogs Go to Heaven: Charlie's Death
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All Dogs Go to Heaven: Charlie's Death

"All Dogs Go to Heaven was made to make kids cry, right? I'm convinced it had to be. What else is the point of making a children's movie about dogs in Heaven? Apart from the scene where Charlie, the main dog, is killed by a drunk driver, the scene that made me the most emotional was when Charlie sacrificed his life — after cheating death with a golden pocket watch — to save poor little Anne-Marie from drowning. I'm crying a little now just thinking about it."

— CV

10
An American Tail: "Somewhere Out There"
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An American Tail: "Somewhere Out There"

"To this day I cannot even THINK about the song "Somewhere Out There" from An American Tail without getting upset. Fievel Mousekowitz is a Russian immigrant heading to America on a ship when he's separated from his family. He sings while staring up at the moon, missing them and wondering if they, too, are staring up at the moon and thinking of him . . . and now I'm crying! The story is more relevant than ever, and if you're up for some tears, it's full of important lessons."

— Joanna Douglas, head of Native Content

11
Dumbo: Dumbo's Reunion
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Dumbo: Dumbo's Reunion

"When Dumbo saw his mom for the first time since they got separated and she rocked him to sleep with her trunk."

— Seoul Jeong, producer, Beauty

12
Homeward Bound: Shadow's Ditch
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Homeward Bound: Shadow's Ditch

"Shadow falling into the ditch in Homeward Bound will haunt me forever. As will the last scene when he comes limping back to the family. Tearing up just thinking about it."

— Aviel Kanter, senior Native Living editor and content strategist

13
The Land Before Time: Littlefoot's Mom Dies
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The Land Before Time: Littlefoot's Mom Dies

"There this scene where Littlefoot's mom dies and, it's so heartbreaking. Basically she dies protecting him from a "sharp tooth" (T Rex? I don't know what it actually was just what they called it in the movie). Littlefoot finds her in her last moments and after begging her to stay alive, she finally dies and tells him to go on without her and finish the journey. Real heartbreaking stuff!"

— Slade Warnken, editorial intern

15
My Dog Skip: Skip's Final Resting Place
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My Dog Skip: Skip's Final Resting Place

"I'll NEVER get over the end of My Dog Skip. Skip watching Willie's bus drive away, him not being able to get himself up onto Willie's bed because of his arthritis, and Diane Lane's face as she watches him slowly breathing while he lays there, tired. And this line: 'I received a transatlantic call one day. "Skip died," Daddy said. He and my mama wrapped him my baseball jacket. They buried him out under the elm tree, they said. That wasn't totally true. For he really lay buried in my heart.' Then they flash back to him as a puppy! I just — I can't."

— AS

16
My Girl: The Death of Thomas J
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My Girl: The Death of Thomas J

"My Girl is the first movie that ever made me cry. The death of Thomas J was far too much for my 11-year-old self! This was not your basic 'tearing up' situation either. I'm talking full-on ugly crying with shoulder shakes. To this day, I still cry rivers when I watch that movie. No movie has ever struck more of a chord for me. "

— Kathleen Harper, associate Native Fashion editor

"Macaulay Culkin is one of the best actors to ever act dead, and that's not up for debate. I still get chills thinking about Veda Sultenfuss running up to that coffin (watching Anna Chlumsky on Veep is quite hard for me). He can't see without his glasses!"

— BS

17
Jack: Jack Graduates
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Jack: Jack Graduates

"Jack was one of the movies I'd watch over and over as a kid, and even in elementary school when I couldn't fully grasp the gravity of the film's entire concept, I'd bawl my eyes out over Jack's graduation speech every single time. As if his speech isn't emotional enough, he blows that little kiss at the end, which crushes me, and rides off with his friends to 'Star' by Bryan Adams, a song that still gives me goosebumps."

— AS

18
Hook: Rufiooo!
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Hook: Rufiooo!

"You think a movie about the adventures of Peter Pan would be fun and exciting, but it's actually filled with some pretty heartbreaking moments. Of course, nothing tops Rufio's death during the Lost Boys' big battle with Captain Hook. Not only does he die in Peter Pan's arms, but his very last words are how he wishes he had a dad like Peter. Even as an adult, I can't help but let out a tear or two during the scene. Justice for Rufiooo!"

— Kelsie Gibson, associate editor, Celebrity and Entertainment

19
The Neverending Story
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The Neverending Story

"Ah, The NeverEnding Story, a fantastical tale full of dragons, magic, and TOTAL AND UTTER DESPAIR. I honestly can still barely think about the scene of Artax tragically dying in the Swamp of Sadness without getting choked up. Seeing animals die on screen is never easy (see also: John Wick), but the moment when Atreyu realizes that his Auryn protection doesn't extend to his beloved horse in the swamp — and that Artax is slowly getting swallowed up by his own sadness and despair — is nothing short of gut-wrenching. Like, remember when Atreyu just screams out 'ARTAAAAAAX'?!? That is me now as I'm typing this. Instant depression!"

— Quinn Keaney, editor, Entertainment

20
The Lion King
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The Lion King

"I remember being utterly destroyed by Mufasa's death in The Lion King as a kid, and after seeing the live-action remake, I can confirm it's just as heartbreaking in my 30s. The way Simba tugs on his dad's ear, then gently nuzzles his arm so he can lay down beside him one last time — it's so beautifully done."

— Karen Snyder Duke, Voices editor

21
The Secret Garden
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The Secret Garden

"The Secret Garden has been adapted for the big and small screen several times, but no matter what version I watch, I'm eternally haunted by the opening scene. Mary is a young girl living in 1911 India when her parents and their company drop dead during a dinner party due to cholera in the water. She wakes up in the morning and they're literally ALL DEAD. It's horrific, and the idea of my parents suddenly dying during a merry dinner party has never left me. I will not be watching the 2020 version starring Colin Firth."

— MP