So today I thought I would look at moments in action movies which are quite moving or even sad.
There are literally hundreds more scenes but these are some of my personal favourite moments that temporarily melt my stone cold heart.
The Death of Two Socks
from Dances with Wolves
Anything which involves animals being hurt is a big no no for me and this scene always bothered me; we get to spend a few hours with John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) in the Western Dances with Wolves. He befriends a wolf and names him Two Socks but then some heartless bastards come along and shoot him towards the end of the movie. This also applies to the death of John Wick’s puppy in John Wick. Unacceptable and swift but violent retribution is required.
“I Miss them Alfred. I Miss Them So Much”
from Batman Begins
Batman Begins is my favourite live action Batman movie as it is all about the journey of Bruce Wayne becoming The Dark Knight. This was the first time a movie really explored his origin and we actually get to care about him. After his parents are murdered in an alleyway, Bruce is comforted by his butler Alfred. The way Bruce says “I miss them Alfred. I miss them so much” is heartbreaking and Alfred’s “So do I Master Bruce” brings a lump to the throat.
Harry Stamper Stays Behind
The movie may have more cheese than a … cheese… factory but dammit all we all wipe away a tear during Harry Stamper’s (Bruce Willis) goodbye to his daughter Grace (Liv Tyler). Someone’s gotta stay behind and make sure the sumbitch of a meteor is blowed up good and Harry is the man for the job. He’s a true blue hero but this movie is also arguably important because it also symbolized the death of Bruce Willis’ personality which has never been seen since.
The Son Kills the Father
from The Force Awakens
If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet this a major spoiler so go away. Right, are they gone? OK, I pretty much knew going in that Han Solo was a goner in this movie. Harrison Ford wanted to kill him off in Jedi so I figured the only way they would get him back was to kill off the greatest smuggler of them all. I wasn’t expecting him to be killed by his own son though which was pretty messed up and the most devastating moment of the saga so far.
A mention but also be made for Yoda in Return of the Jedi. He’s one of the greatest movie mentors of all-time and when age finally catches up with him Yoda lies in his death bed and tries to explain to Luke Skywalker that there… is… another… Sky…Walk…errrr. It’s the first time a puppet actually made me feel emotion.
“It’s Never Goodbye”
From Furious 7
We were all shocked when Paul Walker’s life was cut short in a tragic car accident a few years ago; he died while filming Furious 7 so they had to use CG and Walker’s own family to finish his scenes. This final montage from Furious 7 is a moving tribute to Walker and even the toughest badass will struggle to not have a quivering lip by the end. It should have been a finale for the series but there’s money to be made so Furious 8 will hit theatres next April.
“I’d Like to Buy One More Day With My Wife”
It’s hard to pick just one emotional moment from the Rocky saga but the scene in Creed just after Balboa has been diagnosed with cancer is way up there and I remember being a bit of a mess in the theatre. The two men have bonded and Rocky has become the father figure that Adonis Creed has been needing. Rocky then tries to turn his back on Adonis and the two have a verbal confrontation in a locker room which will have pretty much everyone wailing like a banshee.
“Nothing is Over!”
from First Blood
Although some say they can’t understand what John Rambo is actually saying in this scene I’ve always understood it just fine and it makes me well up every time. I think Sly is fantastic as he talks about how his friend is blown up and it haunts him every day. He came back from Vietnam and was spat on by Americans and couldn’t even hold down a job. It’s a movie and scene which will always be relevant.
“I Know Now Why You Cry”
from Terminator 2: Judgment Day
It was the last great Terminator movie and should have been the end of the series but the franchise continued on. For me the Terminator ended with the final scene Of T2; the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) being lowered into the vat of molten liquid metal which brings surprising emotion to the finale. Despite having “detailed files” on human anatomy, he doesn’t understand why people cry until the end of the movie when he has to sacrifice himself for the greater good. John gets emotional and the T-800 says “I know now why you cry, but it is something I can never do”. As Sarah Connor says, “If a machine can learn the value of human life, why can’t we?” Cameron hasn’t written anything that good since.
This is Ridley’ Scott’s masterpiece in my opinion; he got the visuals spot on, awesome action scenes and most importantly character and heart. Maximus (Russell Crowe) has lost everything courtesy of crazed Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) and when the two finally get to have their climactic fight the cheating little bastard Commodus stabs Maximus before their fight to give him the upper hand. It doesn’t work and Maximus finally has his vengeance in this life but he’s now on his way towards the next. He kills Commodus only to collapse; he sees a vision of his late wife and child and goes with them to Elysium. Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) stands over him and states “He was a soldier of Rome. Honour him” which Hans Zimmer does by giving us his best music score of all time.
Eric is Reunited With Shelly
from The Crow
It never fails to make me emotional watching Brandon Lee’s final film and this end scene gets me every time as Eric is finally reunited with his lost love. The music score by Graeme Revell is genuinely haunting and Lee gave the best performance of his all too short career.
Look How They Massacred My Boy”
from the Godfather
You may think this a strange scene to have on this list but I always found it quite moving; after Sonny Corleone has been brutally murdered, his father Vito (Marlon Brando) stands over his body utterly devastated. Brando gives a stellar performance and this scene proves that even a powerful crime boss still loves his children.
“No Parent Should Have to Bury Their Child”
from LOTR: The Two Towers
This is arguably my favourite movie from the Lord of the Rings saga and this scene always gets my family emotional; a quiet moment between Gandalf and Theoden (Bernard Hill) has the King standing over his son’s grave and when he says this line it’s apparently inspired by the troubles in Northern Ireland. When Hill was in Glasgow doing a play about Northern Ireland years ago an audience member came up to him afterwards to thank him for the play and said “no parent should have to bury their child”. I think of that every time I watch the movie as it gives it more gravitas which is something you rarely see in fantasy movies.