15 Times Cartoons Made You Cry Your Eyes Out

15. The Simpsons

Homer Simpson is a dumb character. That’s what makes him funny. But we like him because he has a big heart, despite his small brain. He loves his family. One member of the Simpson clan was always mysteriously absent though.
15. The Simpsons

14. Wall-E

Wall-E begins depressingly enough. The Earth has been ruined by over consumption and is nothing more than a garbage heap. Alone on the planet a small robot spends his time gathering this waste and crushing it into cubes. When he suffers an accident he has to cannibalize parts from his dead fellow robots.
14. Wall-E

13. Bambi

Bambi is the classic children’s film that introduces children to the brutal world of life in nature through the murder of a mother. Bambi is the cute little fawn who is inquisitive about everything in the forest. He clings to his mother as she shows him the ways of the world. When winter comes the forest freezes. Despite the hardship this causes Bambi finds ways to enjoy himself, skating on the ice.
13. Bambi

12. Watership Down

Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, has mused about his book “Maybe I made it too dark.” Anyone who has seen the 1978 cartoon made from the children’s book and left traumatised might agree.
12. Watership Down

11. When the Wind Blows

When the Wind Blows is a 1986 animated film about the Bloggs, a pair of average people living in the countryside. They know that war is coming, but they remember the Second World War and can’t see how the war they are told is coming can be much worse. They do start preparing but this only makes it clear how inadequate the government’s plans for civilian survival are. Their simple trust in their ability to muddle through is juxtaposed with the unimaginable powers of nuclear weapons.
11. When the Wind Blows

10. Up

Up is a Pixar film that starts in a way that seems to dare you to keep watching it begins so bleakly. A montage of the romance between Carl and Ellie seems the classic set up for a comedy. Their married life is colour and laughter and smiles. Together they dream of going to South America.
10. Up

9. The Fox and the Hound

An orphaned fox cub is taken in by an elderly widow called Tweed. If this film ended there then there would be fewer crying children in the world. After being taken in by Tweed the fox befriends a puppy dog belonging to the widow’s hunter neighbour. That puppy is destined to grow up to be hunting hound.
9. The Fox and the Hound

8. The Lion King

The problem with being a prince is that you are nothing until you are everything. You live in the shadow of your parent and can only take up your position as king by climbing over their dead body. In The Lion King Simba has a jaunty musical number in which he sings that he “Just can’t wait to be king.” He gets his wish much sooner than he hoped.
8. The Lion King

7. The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant is an animated film about the friendship between a small boy and a giant robot. Such friendships rarely last, and so it proves here. The boy teaches the robot about the world via comic books. He also teaches the robot “We can be who we choose to be.”
7. The Iron Giant

6. Rugrats

Missing parents are a staple of children’s stories. They absence usually goes unexplained, especially in cartoons. But Rugrats revealed the truth of Chuckie’s missing mother.
6. Rugrats

5. Toy Story 3

The Toy Story films were always emotional roller coasters. They featured the feelings of rejection and jealousy and longing that everyone goes through as they grow up and change. It’s just they gave them to toys. No one looked at their toy box the same way again.
5. Toy Story 3

4. Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies is a Studio Ghibli anime film that opens with a child dying of starvation and gets less cheerful from there. Set in Japan during the Second World War the film follows a young brother and sister trying to survive together.
4. Grave of the Fireflies

3. Dumbo

Disney films from back in the day were not afraid to get scary. No one who has watched the psychedelic Elephants on Parade sequence in Dumbo can doubt that. But they also were not afraid to get emotionally scarring.
3. Dumbo

2. The Land Before Time

The Land Before Time is a cartoon both tragic in itself and for the events surrounding it. The film tells the story of dinosaurs driven to search for a “Great Valley” where food is plentiful. It focuses on Littlefoot, a Longneck, and it is not long before the sadness kicks in.
2. The Land Before Time

1. Futurama

Futurama was the sci-fi comedy series from the creators of The Simpsons. Fry, a pizza delivery boy, is accidentally frozen and finds himself awoken in the year 3000. He soon makes new friends but his friends and family from his old life are all gone. Normally this is glossed over but the episode Jurassic Bark bucks that trend.
1. Futurama