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The 10 Best Animal Movies With Sad Endings

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Animal movies know exactly how to pull the audience in and take them for an emotional roller coaster ride. As sad as it is, animals don’t live forever, and movies do a great job of reminding viewers how difficult it can be to watch their pets go. But it is not always the passing of a pet that creates a sad ending.


Related: 10 Dog Movies For Non-Dog People

Sometimes it is the emotions the viewers feel through the movie that leads up to an ending that gets the tears flowing. A sad ending can often be bittersweet as the characters of the movies decide to move forth on their own path. Whatever the case, Hollywood seems to love making very sad movies about very adorable animals.

10/10 A Feel-Good Movie With A Heartbreaking Ending

Marley & Me

Marley resting her head in Marley & Me

Marley & Me is a rather happy movie with some sad parts. The ending, however, will leave the audience in tears. Pet owners can’t help but relate to the family in the film. It is tough when a pet once so full of life grows old. Things are no longer the same as they once were.

Marley & Me does a great job at showing this and has the audience caring deeply for Marley and his family. While the movie is mostly filled with happy moments and was sold to audiences as a feel-good film, viewers will need a tissue box by the end of this film.

9/10 Even A Happy Ending Can Be Sad

All Dogs Go To Heaven

All Dogs Go To heaven with Charlie and Ann Marie

All Dogs Go To Heaven has its ups and downs. Charlie gets a second chance at life, but it’s not all that it seems to be. Charlie and his best pal Itchy try to make the most of Charlie’s second chance on Earth when they meet Ann-Marie and persuade her to join in on their adventures.

Along their endeavors, Charlie learns that he is being haunted by hellhounds. All Dogs Go To Heaven ends on a sad yet positive note. Charlie is allowed to say his goodbyes to his friends. His last request is that Ann-Marie looks after Itchy. The movie closes as Charlie is welcomed back into Heaven, giving the story a happy ending with a note of sadness.

8/10 Saying Goodbye To A Friend Is The Hardest Thing To Do

The Fox And The Hound

The Fox and the Hound playing in The Fox and the Hound Cropped

The Fox And The Hound is a film with a classic sad ending. Viewers follow the story of Tod and Copper and watch the best friends grow up. After four decades, the ending of The Fox And The Hound is one that viewers still can’t get over. The audience is rooting for Tod and Copper to remain best friends throughout the whole movie, but it isn’t meant to be.

Related: 10 Best Dog Movies

The Fox And The Hound closes with Copper standing between Tod and Amos, who is pointing a gun at the fox. Copper refused to move and thus Amos lowers his rifle. The audience’s eyes fill with tears as Copper smiles back at Tod then proceeds to walk away with his owner.

7/10 There Can Be Sadness In Reuniting As Well

A Dog’s Journey

Bailey reuniting with Ethan

The audience should be prepared for A Dog’s Journey, as the movie has one of the saddest endings of all time. Saying goodbye is never easy, but A Dog’s Journey makes this task a beautiful one. The movie follows Bailey, a dog who is reincarnated into other dogs in the hopes of one day being reunited with their former owner.

A Dog’s Journey ends with Max (aka Bailey) crossing over the rainbow bridge shortly after Ethan, Bailey’s former owner, passes. The movie closes with Bailey running through a field and being reunited with Ethan. The ending is sure to have the audience in tears.

6/10 Sometimes A Loss Makes The Reunion Bittersweet

War Horse

Albert taking Joey for a ride through the fields of England.

Steven Spielberg’s War Horse is an intense movie. Viewers can expect a sad yet sentimental ending to the intense film. War Horse is an emotional roller coaster ride for viewers. The film follows the story of Albert and his horse Joey, who are separated at the start of World War I. Joey ends up being cared for by Emilie, a young girl who loves horses.

In time, the Germans come across Emilie and Joey, taking the horse from her. The movie ends with Joey being auctioned off once more. He is won by an old man, Emilie’s grandfather, who implies that Emilie has died. The old man gives Joey back to Albert, but the death of a young child looms over the reunion, creating a sense of melancholy over the ending.

5/10 Sometimes Healing Includes Saying Goodbye

The Horse Whisperer

Grace and Tom taking their horses on a nice ride through the valley.

The Horse Whisperer takes the audience for a ride that does not disappoint. In the film, Pilgrim, Annie and Grace’s horse, is injured, and so Annie sets out in hopes to heal Pilgrim. She meets Tom, the titular Horse Whisperer, who works his magic and is able to heal Pilgrim.

The Horse Whisperer ends with Annie and Tom going their separate ways. They had established a bond with one another, making the goodbye a rather emotional one. The actors do a great job of showing their characters’ emotions in this scene, and the viewers can feel how difficult Annie and Tom’s goodbye was.

4/10 You Can Never Go Home Again

Fluke

The poster for the movie Fluke

Fluke is a film about a dog that was once a human named Tom. Tom had a loving family, and as Fluke, he sets out to find them again. On his journey, Fluke goes through a lot and comes to some realizations about his past life.

During a snowstorm, Fluke rescues his son, who was sitting by his father’s tombstone covered in snow. Tom’s wife comes to rescue their son and soon realizes who Fluke actually is. Fluke is invited back into their home, but instead, he sets off on his own, knowing that he can never truly return to his past life.

3/10 Being Left Behind Is Never Easy

Eight Below

Eight Below Huskies

Eight Below follows the story of Jerry Shepard and his dog sled team at an Antarctica research base. When an approaching storm threatens everyone, Jerry is forced to evacuate base camp and leave his dogs behind. When Jerry is finally able to return to the research station, he finds the body of Old Jack, one of his lead dogs.

Related: 10 Movies Where The Dog Steals The Show

Jerry is able to rescue the remainder of his dogs, and Eight Below ends with the group returning to civilization. The closing scene of Eight Below shows the two graves made for Dewey and Old Jack, the two dogs that were unable to make it, leaving audiences crying their eyes out for the heroic canines.

2/10 Being Free Is Not The Same As Being Happy

The Call Of The Wild

Thornton and Buck sitting by a lake

Based on Jack London’s classic novel, The Call Of The Wild ends in a way that makes it different from similar movies. The film follows Thornton and Buck, a man and a dog who have each suffered great losses but find comfort in one another. The Call Of The Wild ends in a way that is a sad yet satisfying scene as Buck the dog cares for Thornton in his final moments.

After Thornton passes, Buck decides to live with his adopted wolf family. Instead of finding a new owner and living a more sheltered life, Buck chooses to listen to the call of the wild and remain with his newfound family. There is joy in seeing Buck be freed from human constraints, but sadness in the dog having lost his best friend.

1/10 A Twist On The Usual Sad Pet Movie

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale

Hachi waiting on a brick ledge for his owner

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is loosely based on the life of a Japanese dog named, Hachiko, a dog who waited at the Shibuya Station every day for nine years hoping his dead owner would return. Hachi moves the story to Rhode Island, but keeps the same heartbreaking take, and viewers can expect to have tears streaming down their faces by the end of the movie.

As in the true story, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale shows the loyalty a pet has for its owner, and the sadness that comes from the animal not being able to understand the human world around them. While most movies about animals focus on the sadness of the animal itself dying, this one shows how heartbreaking a human’s death can be for the pet.

Next: 10 Best Animal Movies With Happy Endings

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