10 Movie Moments That Still Make ’90s Kids Cry Hysterically

Cue the heartbreak.

Kids that grew up in the ‘90s were a different kind of breed. We’re the last generation to not have 24/7 access to the Internet and there definitely wasn’t a way to stream movies instantly. We watched movie previews in between our Saturday morning cartoons and made a mental note of releases date so we could look forward to watching them at the movie theater. We went on field trips or friend dates to the movies fairly often. Otherwise, we’d wait months until a movie left the theaters and came out on videotape so we could rent it at Blockbuster or beg our parents to add it to our growing movie collection that was not-so-slowing taking over the living room.

Our generation grew up with a lot of heartbreak when it comes to movies. Whether it was a Disney tale that started with the death of a parent or an epic love story that ends tragically, the list of tear-jerkers from the ’90s is long. There are enough of them that when you need a good cry, you know where to get the waterworks going. 

Gen Z, beware — there are major spoilers ahead. Here are 10 movie moments that still have the power to make ‘90s kids cry hysterically.

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Land Before Time (1988)

Land Before Time
Universal Pictures

The tears happen right at the jump in this animated film about dinosaurs and their adventure to find the Great Valley. Curious Littlefoot watches his mom get wounded while trying to save him and his friends from a “Sharptooth” attack. Then comes an earthquake that separates them. She shares one last piece of advice before she dies: “Littlefoot, let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen closely.”

My Girl (1991)

My Girl
Paramount Pictures

Oh Macaulay Culkin, easily one of the most legendary actors in the eyes of ‘90s kids. From Home Alone to Richie Rich, Culkin was a huge part of our childhood. There’s no doubting the power of his role as Thomas J. Sennett in My Girl. Total scaredy cat and best friend to Vada Sultenfuss, the moment he loses his glasses and those bees start swarming, we all get chills. Watching Vada attend Thomas’ funeral while screaming, “he can’t see without his glasses” was one of the most heartbreaking moments of the ‘90s. It still hits just as hard today.

FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

FernGully The Last Rainforest
20th Century Fox

Part mythical, and part so freaking true, FernGully is about a rainforest that’s protected by fairies but demolished by humans. Nothing is more terrifying or upsetting than the moment Hexxus, the dark spirit, is released from the tree. He then takes over the tree cutter and begins to destroy the forest. 

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

Homeward Bound
Walt Disney Pictures

Any movie that involves pets is bound to have a teary moment or two. This one is filled with them. Chance, Sassy and Shadow believe they’ve been abandoned and make the harrowing journey home. Chance and Sassy come running back to their owners and then the camera pans over to Shadow limping and slowly making his way over the hill. Seriously, we may start to cry right now.

The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King
Walt Disney Pictures

We get that this Disney movie was a lesson about the circle of life. But it never gets any easier to watch Simba’s father, Mufasa, the King of the Pride Lands, as he’s ruthlessly murdered by his own brother, Scarface.

Casper (1995)

Universal Pictures

Casper the friendly ghost stole our hearts as he showed Kat (Christina Ricci) around the attic at Whipstaff Manor, revealing all the memories from his childhood. But it’s the moment he appears in human form and whispers, “Can I keep you?” that breaks our hearts every time. Like Cinderella, Casper has a ticking clock on his fairy tale and will turn back into a ghost at 10pm sharp.

Titanic (1997)

Paramount Pictures

“You jump, I jump, Jack,” is one of those movie lines that’s seared into our heads forever. Much like the Titanic, our hearts sank and a flood of tears were nonstop. But really, can we all just agree that there was plenty of room on the door for Jack?

Air Bud (1997)

Air Bud
Buena Vista Pictures

When the pets are main characters in a movie, there’s always a sad scene. In Air Bud, it’s the moment when Josh realizes he has to let Buddy go. As he yells, “Go! Get! I don’t want you anymore!” we can hear and feel the pain he’s going through and we’re right there with him.

Stepmom (1998)

Columbia Pictures

We were definitely way too young to understand every emotion of this movie’s characters. Still, kids of the ‘90s can certainly agree that following along as a mom with terminal cancer navigates her health as she watches her kids grow close to their new stepmom is a tough one to handle without a box of tissues. 

The Notebook (2004)

The Notebook
New Line Cinema

Okay okay, so this movie didn’t come out in the ‘90s. But millennials can’t deny that it’s one of the greatest love stories of our generation. There are several scenes in The Notebook that can tug at your heartstrings — it just depends on how much of a crybaby sentiment you are. Some of us (I’m absolutely referring to myself here) start crying the moment Noah lets one hand drop from the ferris wheel as he tries to get Allie to agree to a date. Others get the urge when Allie’s family makes her end the summer romance early. Some shed happy tears during the epic kiss on the dock after Noah exclaims, “it still isn’t over.” But the most tear jerking scene of them all is when Noah and Allie curl up in bed holding hands and pass away together, because “their love has the power to do anything.”

Amber Love Bond
Amber Love Bond is a Miami-based freelance hospitality and lifestyle writer. Read more