The opening sequence of UP, with a few more spots here and there through the film.
The final minute of so of Monsters Inc., beginning at the point where the light on Boo’s door comes back on. That sequence — and especially that very last shot — is probably the single most perfect ending to a film I have ever seen. Gives you everything you need to see, and not a bit more.
The climactic scene of Toy Story 3, continuing into the last scene when Andy gives his toys to Bonnie, and the two of them spend time playing together in her yard. The toys all have their normal, unchanging expressions as the camera focuses on them having one last play session with Andy and their first with Bonnie, but I swear I can see all kinds of complex emotions on their faces, nonetheless.
The scene in Inside Out where Bing Bong sacrifices himself so that Joy can escape the Memory Dump and try to (essentially) save Riley. Riley is more important than anything else to Bing Bong, even though his remaining in the Memory Dump means that not only can Riley never appreciate his sacrifice (not really possible under any circumstances), it means that she will never again remember him at all. Self-sacrificial love is a powerful thing.
Lilo & Stitch — I love, love LOVE this film! I’ve seen it at least two dozen times, and it never fails to get to me. The first point comes early in the film, where Lilo is hurt because her “friends” leave while she is talking about her homemade doll, and she throws it down in disgust and walks away, then comes running back moments later to retrieve the doll and hugs it tightly because, at that point, she feels that it is the only friend she has. Other moments that get me later include the aftermath of Lilo’s fight with her sister Nani, when Lilo tearfully asks if Nani likes her more than she would a pet rabbit, and when Stitch leaves Lilo for her own safety. He ventures out into the forest with her copy of The Ugly Duckling, where he emulates the duckling in the story, crying out “I’m lost!” in hope of finding a family of his own as well.
Mary Poppins, which I am not ashamed to admit is my favorite movie of all time, period. The scene where Mr. Banks finally articulates to Bert how Mary Poppins’ presence in his and his family’s lives has so shaken up his view of the world, and then Bert finally, gently, makes him open his eyes to what is really important. When Bert sings about Mr. Banks and his children, with lyrics that illustrate that Mr. Banks gives them little attention because he is too focused on his work responsibilities, and that “he hasn’t time to dry their tears” — then warns that while he is concentrating on work, “childhood slips, like sand through a sieve” and “pretty soon they’re up and grown, and then they’ve flown*, and it’s too late for you to give.” I have loved this film since I first saw it on network TV when I was 15 (not exactly the typical target for a 1960s movie musical fantasy), but this scene takes on so much added resonance now that I have two boys of my own, who are growing up at warp speed. There are other parts of this movie that make me feel so deeply that I cannot keep tears at bay — some for joy and some for sorrow — but this is the core of the story for me. Incidentally, I enjoyed the Disney film about the making of the movie (Saving Mr. Banks), but despite how it has been characterized as a somewhat sanitized view of the conflict between author P.L. Travers and Walt Disney, in my opinion that movie makes Travers come off looking better than reality does. The movie depicts Travers having to educate Disney on the idea that the story is really about Mr. Banks, but that’s hogwash. Anyone who has read the original Mary Poppins stories knows that the parents are barely mentioned therein at all, and IIRC, there is no mention whatsoever of Mr. Banks working — or even doing anything at all. As best I can recall, he only has a line or two of dialogue in them. What little we do see of the parents in the stories seems to suggest they might be as quirky as all the other characters are, with Mr. Banks certainly not the stuffy, straitlaced banker seen in the film.
*A line I only recently realized ties back perfectly to Mary Poppins’ own song “Feed the Birds,” from earlier in the film.
The ending of Revenge of the Sith, beginning at the point where Anakin reports to Mace Windu that Palpatine may be the Sith Lord they’ve been seeking. Knowing beforehand where the story had to go didn’t stop me from irrationally wishing that Anakin might somehow find another path.
The final scene from The Shawshank Redemption, with Morgan Freeman’s voiceover dialogue lifted almost verbatim from Stephen King’s short novel, and that very last line summing up perfectly the point of the whole film/book — “I hope.”
The end of Fringe, when Peter Bishop (silently) tells his father Walter that he loves him, knowing that the latter is effectively sacrificing himself because they will never be able to see one another again (although the final shot of the series calls that into question).
Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “The Offspring,” for this exchange at the end:
LAL: “I love you, Father."
DATA: ”I wish I could feel it with you."
LAL: ”I will feel it for both of us. Thank you for my life.”
The series finale of M*A*S*H, especially for the scene where Winchester realizes the North Korean military musicians he had essentially tutored earlier in the episode had all subsequently been killed, ending his own ability to find solace in music, and then especially for the moment where Hawkeye and B.J. give Colonel Potter a genuine, heartfelt, proper salute.
The finale of Lost, a series I loved deeply from the very beginning to the very end.
I’m sure I will remember more later.
I’m a sap. I’ve known that for a long time. I also decided almost as long ago that not only am I okay with that, it is one of the things about myself I like most.