10 Animated Movies So Heart-Wrenching They Gave Us Childhood Trauma

10 Animated Movies So Heart-Wrenching They Gave Us Childhood Trauma
Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney+

Prepare your paper towels.

Animated works, whether anime or Pixar, have long since transcended the category of children's or teenage content. It has been noted more than once that Hayao Miyazaki treats children as adults and adults as children in his works, and modern Disney projects touch on many "adult" topics.

Here are 10 animated movies that will make your inner child sob.

1. All Dogs Go to Heaven

The plot of one of the cult works of the legendary animator Don Bluth revolves around dogs and their death. On the one hand, the scenes with paradise correct the overall creepy impression a bit (it's still nice to know that the dogs are happy in the afterlife), but the subject of animal death itself makes one doubt the G rating assigned to the movie.

However, many adults today remember this animation with nostalgia, as well as the sequel and three seasons of the animated series based on it. It seems that the creators were never tired of killing and resurrecting dogs.

2. The Lion King

The story of the cute lion cub Simba, who lost his kind and fair father as a child and had to grow up alone in a cruel world, was not a sure hit for Disney – until the world burst into tears in 1994.

And even if the most hardcore viewers were able to hold back their tears during the scenes of Mufasa's murder, the final scene set to the Elton John song Circle of Life left no chance not to cry.

3. The Little Matchgirl

The Disney short was another adaptation of the piercingly sad fairy tale of the same name, written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1845.

On New Year's Eve, a poor girl tries to sell small boxes of matches to indifferent passers-by. She freezes and begins to burn the matches, and with each flash, visions of a prosperous and happy life appear before her. The project, which had an unexpectedly sad ending, was nominated for an Oscar.

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4. Up

The movie tells a touching love story and persuades us that life goes on even when your loved one is no longer with you. And that it's never too late to make a dream come true.

Old Carl is the most unfriendly person in the whole area – he became like this after his beloved wife died. One day he receives the news that his house is to be demolished and that he himself will be moved to a nursing home. He decides it's time to make his dream come true – Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies to South America.

5. Dumbo

The fourth feature-length animated film from the Disney studio was based on a children's book by Helen Aberson-Mayer and Harold Pearl.

Fated to end up in the circus, the clumsy elephant calf endures bullying from those around him because of his oversized ears, earning him the insulting nickname Dumbo. In one of the saddest scenes of the whole animation industry, a baby elephant meets his mother.

6. Monsters, Inc.

A Disney and Pixar cartoon about how to face your fears. According to the authors' original idea, at the center of the story was a sad middle-aged man, but he was soon replaced by the rosy-cheeked girl Boo.

After visiting the world of furry monsters, which turned out not to be scary at all, she returns home. The farewell scene between hereditary scarecrow Sulley and little Boo is one of the saddest in the history of modern animation.

7. Grave of the Fireflies

This is a Studio Ghibli project, rated PG, but rightly considered one of the saddest animated films in history.

We strongly advise you not to show this to anyone who is not prepared. It is about war with all its horrors shown through the eyes of small children. And the end of the animation is terribly heartbreaking.

8. The Secret of NIMH

A mouse named Mrs. Brisby's son Timothy falls ill. To make matters worse, the mouse and all her neighbors have to move out of the field because of plowing. Great Owl advises Brisby to seek help from the rats at the NIMH – National Institute of Mental Health.

The movie turned out to be darker and harsher than other children's movies of the time. The main character suffers from grief for her long-dead husband and goes on an adventure because of her child's dangerous illness, and the rats of NIMH die in battles with enemies.

9. Bambi

With the help of his wise mother, the young deer Bambi learns about the world, discovers the laws of nature and makes friends. But the appearance of a hunter with a gun in the forest threatens to turn into a big disaster.

Bambi could be called completely innocent if it were not for the dramatic turn of events that left its mark on the souls of many young viewers. The calm existence of the characters is abruptly interrupted by the appearance of a Man who was even recognized as one of the greatest villains of cinema.

10. Balto

A selfless dog named Balto is on a quest to find a lost crew that was on their way to deliver an important medicine. Along the way, the hero gets help from his friends – Boris the goose, Jenna the husky and the friendly, but cowardly, polar bears.

The most heartbreaking episode of the animation was the final one, filmed with real actors, which only added to the drama. We see a grandmother with a little girl – the grandmother turns out to be the same Rosy that Balto once saved. She approaches the statue dedicated to the heroic dog, and we understand that although the dog died (most likely of natural causes), his memory lives on and will for decades to come.