Top 10 Saddest Animal Deaths in Movies

Script written by Niki Neptune. Get those tissues ready, folks. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 saddest animal deaths in movies. For this list, we’re taking a look at the movie deaths of some of our favorite animal friends. These deaths are particularly traumatizing since we’d grown attached to some of these guys, and it’s kinda hard to mask a full-on hyperventilating sob session in a crowded theater. But, monsters and aliens need not apply. And it may be obvious but, SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users Willem Garnier, k_flip, Nicole Calleja, Kevin Rasmussen, JMash97, tsubute, Yoni Krotenberg, Sjdillon10, Philip Folta, Dylan DeWitt, Sjdillon10, joei1977, Andrew A. Dennison, Josh3000, Emma Martin, Alysia Victoria Parker, Mattwoott, aldqbigsquare and Alex Williams for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Niki Neptune.

Top 10 Saddest Animal Deaths in Movies


Get those tissues ready, folks. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 saddest animal deaths in movies.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the movie deaths of some of our favorite animal friends. These deaths are particularly traumatizing since we’d grown attached to some of these guys, and it’s kinda hard to mask a full-on hyperventilating sob session in a crowded theater. But, monsters and aliens need not apply. And it may be obvious but, SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Hedwig
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” (2010)

Lovely Snowy Owl Hedwig was Harry’s tried and true companion. Sure, she handled his mail, but she also was one of his closest friends, at least when it came to animals. And considering Harry was constantly under the threat of danger, we’re honestly kinda surprised she made it as far as she did. Still, being unceremoniously struck down by a Death Eater while trying to save her master is no way for an owl to go out – heroic as it may be.

#9: Two Socks
“Dances with Wolves” (1990)

If it weren’t for this awesome wolf buddy, Kevin Costner’s character would never have earned his nickname from the Sioux. Socks was just a cool wolf dude who liked to have a good time. So, after he sets out to follow his buddy Dunbar, we’re heartbroken when he’s mercilessly gunned down by U.S. Soldiers. And it’s not like they had to; they just wanted to kill Socks. Who would want to kill Socks?

#8: Hooch
“Turner & Hooch” (1989)

He’s sloppy and a little unkempt, but as far as dog buddies go, this slobbering canine is the best pal you could ask for. Even with his innocently destructive ways, this pooch endears himself to his neat freak partner-in-crime fighting and helps him with the ladies. But most important of all, Hooch is the witness to a crime, and for all his efforts he takes a bullet in the chest to save his pal. It’s just so unnecessarily sad.

#7: Littlefoot’s Mother
“The Land Before Time” (1988)

What better way to start a children’s film than with the death of the main character’s mother? It’s obviously worked to great dramatic effect in previous feature cartoons, but that doesn’t take the sting away. Maybe it’s because we visualize our own mothers, or maybe it’s because we’re capable of empathy. Whatever the case, the extinction of the dinosaurs doesn’t dampen the pain of Littlefoot’s mom being killed by a T-Rex. And her final words of motherly advice are the icing on the cake.

#6: Marley
“Marley & Me” (2008)

We know that dogs eventually reach that age when their bodies aren’t working the same and sometimes they have to be euthanized. We know that. But in no way did that prepare us for this loveable cur’s slow fade into expiration. It’s even harder to deal with given the fact that we spent the better part of the movie rooting for the energetic dog. Just when you think you have a grip on your emotions, we must say goodbye to Marley.

#5: Sam
“I Am Legend” (2007)

Being the probable last dog on Earth is about as bad as being the last human, but this loyal pooch took it all in stride. Dogs have a way of making everything seem like a good time, even post-apocalyptic desolation. That’s why when Sam gets bitten by one of the zombie dogs, it’s gut-wrenching in the worst way. She’d survived for so long with her human friend only to have to be put down, leaving him all alone.

#4: Artax
“The NeverEnding Story” (1984)

This trusty steed did the one thing he wasn’t supposed to: he gave into sadness. Artax joins his beloved master on a quest through a magical literary fantasyland; but while Atreyu is sheltered from the effects of the Swamp of Sadness, Artax is not. We didn’t even know horses were emotive enough to drown in a pit of despair, but we’ve been wrong before. It’s actually devastatingly sad, particularly with Atreyu attempting to save him from the swamp’s murky depths. It’s an image we’d rather forget.

#3: Bambi’s Mom
“Bambi” (1942)

It was easy to love Bambi’s mom: she was one of her son’s best friends, guiding him and teaching him how to one day be the Great Prince of the Forest. She was nurturing, and caring, and sweet. And then she was dead. A hunter took her out with a bullet, and nothing was ever the same. Sure, the hunter could’ve been trying to feed his family and the circle of life and whatnot. But that and the fact that this death occurs off-screen makes it no less heartbreaking.

#2: Old Yeller
“Old Yeller” (1957)

He was just an old hound that liked snatching meat and helping with chores. And he managed to ingratiate his way into the hearts of a simple country family. He even makes a remarkable bond with the family’s oldest son, Travis, becoming his constant companion. It’s not until Yeller gets bitten by a rabid wolf while protecting his owners that things take a turn for the worse. When Travis decides to shoot Yeller himself, it actually gets pretty dark and emotionally scarring.

Before we honor our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Hachi “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” (2009)
- Charlotte A. Cavatica “Charlotte’s Web” (2006)
- Skip “My Dog Skip” (2000)
- Old Dan & Little Ann “Where the Red Fern Grows” (1974)

#1: Mufasa
“The Lion King” (1994)

It’s not even reasonable how sad this character’s death was. After being set up by his jealous and villainous brother Scar, the reigning Lion King is trampled to death by a herd of stampeding wildebeest. His young son, Simba, finds his lifeless body in one of the most gut-wrenching scenes from our childhoods. It’s a one-two punch of distress that seems pretty cruel for a family film, especially after Uncle Scar blames the whole thing on the young cub. Just try to remember: Hakuna Matata.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think was the saddest animal death on film? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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