Movies That Taught Us About Death…As Children (Spoiler Alerts)

Mister D: If you have trouble with depression like I do then stay away from this article. I cried just reading it without looking at the videos. Those early Disney movies, Bambi and Dumbo were traumatic enough the first time around…but nothing matched the gut-wrenching ending of “Old Yeller” I never watched any of the 3 I mentioned ever again….

The Atlantic Wire
The ‘Bambi’s Mom’ Moment: When Pop Culture Taught Us About Death
Alexander Abad-Santos 5:11 PM ET

There’s a funny and sad–mostly funny, well, mostly sad–video going around the Web Monday of kids reacting to the ending of Disney’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green that reminded us of our own “Bambi’s Mom” moments–the time pop culture taught us some hard lessons.

Yes, there comes a point in our lives when we’re all faced with these moments, when we realize that even though we’re watching a movie made for kids, there’s a harsh reality that something we’ve grown to love–our pets, our parents, our Macaulay Culkin–can, and will, be taken away in a heartbeat. After that, nothing can ever be the same.

Here’s the video of The Odd Life of Timothy Green kids (Spoiler Alert):

So that display is actually a bit alarming (memo to parents: try reading some reviews before taking kids to movies), and there’s something to be said about the type of parents thinking this would be funny to post on the Internet.

However, we’d argue, that what those boys are feeling isn’t any different than how we felt watching some movies from our own youth. The unfairness of mortality, the hugeness of love, the fact that parents will often die for you, that friends and siblings can die: Children’s movies have been teaching these lessons for as long as we can remember. And before you start making fun of those boys, just try and make it through these movie scenes without blubbering. (Judging their parents for posting the now very-viral video 40,000 hits and-counting is a different story.) Not every one of these movies was aimed at kids, but an informal survey of our peers–and our hearts–found these “Bambi’s Mom” moments in pop culture.

Warning: Major spoilers (and heartbreak) ahead:

Dumbo: “Baby Mine.”

The Scene: Ugh, the shackles. Mrs. Jumbo attacks some kids who were tormenting her son, leading her to be punished, shackled, deemed mad and taken away. The tear-jerker though is that when they’re reunited for a bit, Mrs. Jumbo caresses/comforts/rocks Dumbo to sleep through the bars of her trailer (prison?) with her trunk while “Baby Mine” plays in the background.

Lesson Learned: Your parents will sacrifice anything for you–even go to jail.

The Land Before Time: “Please Get Up … Yes you can. Get up.”

The Scene: This might be the ‘Bambi’s Mom” moment for anyone born in the 1980s. (Full disclosure: I can’t even watch this next scene, and had someone else check to make sure it’s the right one.) Basically, Littlefoot (a baby Brontosaurus) was goofing off, playing around, and doing everything but paying attention and eventually caught the eye of a Sharptooth (a T-Rex). His mom stepped in, sacrificed herself to protect him and then this happened:

Lesson Learned: Your parents will die for you. Also, pay attention or you might cause your parents’ death. Oh, and they’ll forgive you before they die, which will make you feel that much worse.

See Also: Mufasa, The Lion King; March of the Penguins (the whole movie); Harry Stamper‘s (Bruce Willis) death, Armageddon (“Well I know it’s ridiculous, but when Bruce Willis says goodbye to Liv Tyler in Armageddon and then Ben Affleck saves the world…it got me at 16, and I still sob,” one friend told The Atlantic Wire).

My Girl: “He can’t see without his glasses!”

The Scene: Damn you, Howard Zieff and Laurice Elehwany. Damn you for taking Thomas J. a.k.a. Macauley Culkin away from us and ending his friendship with Vada a.k.a. Anna Chlumsky. Sigh.

Lesson Learned: Your friends will die and you will have to live with grief.

The Transformers: The Movie: “One day an Autobot shall rise from our ranks…”

The Scene: Sometimes, by being a boy you get a pass and bypass the sadness that is My Girl because hey, it wasn’t marketed at you. That isn’t the case with the Transformers movie in 1986, which proved that boys (and girls) who loved Autobots were also not immune from the pain of death:

Lessons Learned: People you look up to die. People you hate will live. Death cannot be explained. And when you fight a Decepticon, shoot to kill.

Also see: Toaster, Brave Little Toaster

Beaches: “I don’t want Victoria to see me here.”

The Scene: “When Barbara Hershey is hooked up to all those machines in Beaches and says to Bette Midler: ‘Don’t let her see me like this.’–That was when I first understood the concept of death (not kidding).” a friend told The Atlantic Wire.

Lessons Learned: That people know they’re going to die and that is very sad. That the life support keeping you live is actually pretty awful. That Beaches is probably not child-appropriate.

See: Shelby, Steel Magnolias.

Old Yeller: “I know mama. He was my dog …”

The Scene: Oh gosh. This:

Lessons Learned: You never want your dog to get rabies. Friends don’t stay the same. Euthanasia is awful.

Up: “Thanks for the adventure–now go have a new one!”

The Scene: There are movies that exist that don’t even begin to scrape the surface of what Pixar did in ten minutes in telling the love story of between Carl and Ellie (most of which occurs without dialogue).

Lessons Learned: That love isn’t going to solve everything. That some love stories have an end. That you might eventually have to bury the love of your life. That your best friend will eventually leave you. That scrapbooks … oh God, Pixar!

See Also: Dory, Finding Nemo (No. No, you can’t… STOP. Please don’t go away. Please? No one’s ever stuck with me for so long before…); Wall-E and EVE, Wall-E; That scene, Toy Story 3; Boo, Monsters, Inc.

Pretty tough, right? Feel free to include any scenes we missed. (Honorable mentions include E.T., Charlotte’s Web, and The Neverending Story.) Now, go on and hug your mom, your best friend, wife, horse or whatever you love most. Don’t worry, we won’t put it on YouTube.

Share A little Divinity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Verified by MonsterInsights