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Top 10 Best Goodbye Scenes in Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Sean Newman It's always sad to say goodbye, and these movies had scenes that got us right in the feels as these characters had to part ways! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Most Heartfelt Goodbye Scenes From Movies, but what will take the top spot on our list? Will it be Gone with the Wind, Casablanca or E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to ras1971 for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Movies+with+Famous/Great+Goodbye+Scenes

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Don’t cry because it’s over… smile because it happened. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Greatest Goodbye Scenes in Movies.

For this, we’ll be looking at legendary sendoffs that made us cry, smile, and perhaps hug our loved ones just a little bit tighter after the end credits. Oh, and since goodbyes oftentimes take place at the finale of a film, a big SPOILER ALERT is in order.

#10: “Dead Poets Society” (1989)

“Dead Poets Society” tells the story of a group of boys attending a prestigious all-male prep academy in Vermont. With a strict focus on callous, conventional learning methods, these gifted boys are only given the opportunity to truly spread their wings when English teacher John Keating introduces them to the idea of making one’s life extraordinary. Unfortunately, he’s eventually terminated. While making one last stop to pick up some belongings, Keating learns his effort truly did impact his students’ lives in a remarkable way. Each character’s respective level of growth is embodied in this powerful scene, making it truly memorable, and unequivocally relatable.

#9: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” (1975)

In the same spirit as our last entry, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” tells the tale of a motley crew whose lust for life has been beaten out of them by a cold and calculated system, led by the ruthless Nurse Ratched. Randle McMurphy comes to the rescue—breathing life into the mental institution patients that Nurse Ratched is hell-bent on subduing. McMurphy’s goodbye is less bittersweet, and more gut-wrenching, as he’s lobotomized for his so-called rabble-rousing. Fellow patient, Chief Bromden, mercifully ends his friend’s life upon realizing he would never want to live in such a way. It’s agonizing to watch, but knowing Randle inspired Bromden’s eventual escape serves as a worthy consolation for the audience.

#8: “Lost in Translation” (2003)

Funny-man Bill Murray’s change of pace shocked moviegoers upon starring in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation.” Bob and Charlotte are experiencing very different times in their life, but both feel lost, uncertain, and aimless. Upon meeting at a hotel bar in Tokyo, they develop a deep relationship that helps both of them work out their inner demons. Just like the many phases of life, their hotel is only a temporary spot, and they’re soon forced to part ways. Bob and Charlotte’s final embrace is devoid of rom-com clichés, leaving the audience feeling a sense of emptiness and wholeness simultaneously. The brevity of their encounter didn’t make goodbye any easier, and left us heartbroken.

#7: “Forrest Gump” (1994)

Forrest never lets the tragedies of life hold him back, and even in the face of danger and torment, is seldom tempted to feel anger towards others. Throughout his life, he significantly impacts historical U.S. events of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but his love for Jenny is always at the forefront of his mind. She finally reciprocates his feelings, and the star-crossed lovers move back home to Greenbow, Alabama with their son, Forrest Jr. It’s not long before Jenny succumbs to her disease, and Forrest is left standing alone by her grave. His vulnerability, good nature, and epiphany about life reach an apex at this moment. Despite everything Forrest has done for Jenny, it’s clear that she taught him a lesson more valuable than gold.

#6: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)

“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is known for being quite the tearjerker, but this moment made us ugly-cry. The Fellowship has quite literally gone through hell with each other, after spending three epic movies working to destroy The One Ring to Rule Them All. At their journey’s end, every man must go their own way, and each goodbye is more heartfelt than the last, starting with Gandalf’s epic sendoff. Finally, as Frodo’s ship for the Grey Havens awaits him, he says goodbye to his fellow Hobbits. Howard Shore’s legendary score swells as Frollo parts with Sam, highlighting their intense brotherly love, but Frodo’s departure is inevitable. This farewell understands bittersweet like few other movies, providing a satisfying end to an incredible franchise.

#5: “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

“Terminator 2” elevated the franchise in two ways; providing impressive, large-scale action sequences, and introducing an unexpected, yet welcomed relationship between Schwarzenegger’s T-800 and young John Connor. As the T-1000 relentlessly purses Sarah and John, the T-800’s protective instinct helps create a powerful bond that unfortunately must come to an end in order to prevent future robot takeovers. He may be a robot, but the scene’s humanity is profound, ending with a thumbs-up that subtly nods to a playful interaction between John and The Terminator earlier in the film. A high point of the franchise, it’s emotionally driven, and a challenging, yet satisfying ending.

#4: “Toy Story 3” (2010)
Pixar knows how to hit us right in the feels. The “Toy Story” franchise showed a poignant understanding of childhood innocence, and the inevitability of leaving it behind to enter into adulthood. While Boo saying goodbye to her friend “Kitty” is gut wrenching, Andy’s last play with his toys before he passes them on never gets easier to watch. Viewers who grew up with the franchise particularly experience the weight of this sendoff, as it felt all too similar to their own lives fifteen years after the original “Toy Story.” Powerfully hitting home in a way that is remarkably beautiful for an animated feature, “Toy Story’s” stellar legacy is in large part due to this spectacular “so long.”

#3: “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)
Many great goodbyes on our list say so much, with so few words. “E.T.” is another iconic example of childlike wonder, and makes us say “ouch.” When Elliott discovers an extra-terrestrial that has been left behind by its people, a strong bond develops between the two, as they race against time and government authorities to get the alien hero home. Few words are exchanged between the two as the inevitable departure of E.T. takes place, but it’s made clear that an unforgettable bond has been forged between the two. As John Williams’ iconic score intensifies, those four classic words are uttered.

#2: “Casablanca” (1942)

We’ll always have this agonizing scene. In “Casablanca,” American club owner Rick Blaine becomes involved in matters of war in and around Casablanca. Everything changes when former love Ilsa walks in to his bar, accompanied by her new husband, who also happens to be a head of the Czech Resistance. Both are in dire need to travel to America, and Rick finally makes the selfless decision to send them off. Remembering their old love in Paris, Rick shows just how noble he can be. This scene between legends Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman remains one of the most memorable and iconic goodbyes in cinema.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
· “The Truman Show” (1998)

· “Interstellar” (2014)

· “The Iron Giant” (1999)

#1: “Gone with the Wind” (1939)

“Gone with the Wind” is a sweeping epic that takes place back home in the American South during the U.S. Civil War. Scarlett O’Hara spends much of the film unsuccessfully pursuing love interest Ashley Wilkes, all while rejecting her perpetual suitor, Rhett Butler. He eventually wins her hand in marriage and she gives birth to a beautiful daughter. The two face misfortune, Tragedy soon strikes, leading Rhett to realize he will never truly win Scarlett’s love. As he departs forever, he utters what may be the most well known line in all of movie history. Released during the peak of Cinema’s Golden Age, this sendoff perfectly embodies the greatness of this historic era.

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