7 Children's Movies That Make Adults Cry

7 Children's Movies that Make Adults Cry

These movies are deeper than you think!

Who remembers that feeling of being dehydrated from crying in the movie theater after watching an emotional film as a child? Do you miss it? Well, you should know that it's perfectly possible to have that experience again, even after you've become an adult full of bills to pay!

Even if an animation or live action movie is aimed at children in its technical file, it can still be loaded with symbolism and moral lessons capable of bringing tears to the eyes of many a grown-up. Do you doubt it? Then follow us because in this article we're going to show you 7 children's movies that make adults cry and even start to see the world differently.

There are children's movies that make adults cry!

Between lessons on overcoming the loss of close loved ones and acceptance when it comes to social diversity, children's films can kick the asses of many that consider themselves to be aimed at an adult audience. The titles chosen to make up this list were decided on the basis of their potential to touch the depths of diverse social groups, and not just because they feature tragedies whose sole purpose is "sad climaxes". Want to know if your favorite film is among them?

Operation Big Hero

At first glance it may not seem like it, since the movie is about a group of teenagers who come together to form a team of heroes, but Operation Big Hero is certainly one of those children's movies that make adults cry. The motivation behind the formation of the vigilantes and the protagonist's journey are the difference here.

The movie tells the story of Hiro Hamada, a young robotics genius who doesn't want to study, but just wants to fight robots. However, encouraged by his older brother Tadashi, he enrolls in college and tries to change his life. Then a fire takes his brother's life and Hiro discovers that the perpetrator was trying to steal his inventions.

So he teams up with Tadashi's friends and, using science to his advantage, creates a group of heroes whose aim is to unmask the person behind the fire and bring justice. The stages of grief are described very precisely in this movie and it's impossible not to be moved as we follow Hiro's development towards acceptance of his loss, making this plot unquestionably worthy of being on a list of children's movies that make adults cry.

The Lion King

This 90s classic has aged very well and continues to thrill young people, adults and children every time it is shown. In it, we follow the story of Simba, a young lion who is the successor to the throne occupied by his father, Mufasa.

However, his uncle Scar wants to steal the kingdom for himself, so he lures both Simba and Mufasa into an ambush that ends up with the death of his father and Simba's escape. Alone, the boy meets two new friends, Timon and Pumba, who raise him like a son on a journey full of adventure and overcoming.

Simba's relationship with Timon and Pumba helps the viewer to understand the different types of family that exist in the world so that they can begin to look with a little less prejudice at family groups that break away from society's standards. Not to mention that everything the little Lion goes through from his childhood to adulthood is so heavy that it makes his story one of the most beloved children's movies that make adults cry.

Up High Adventures

Hardly any living being on the face of the earth can watch this movie without feeling at least a lump in their throat, which makes it a must-see among children's movies that make adults cry. Up to High Adventures follows the life of a 78-year-old balloon salesman called Carl Fredericksen who is about to lose the house he has lived in all his life with his deceased wife Ellie.

After a certain incident, Carl is considered a public threat and is forced to be hospitalized, but in a last-ditch attempt, he ties balloons to his house so that it floats away and he escapes to a forest where he and Ellie have always wanted to go together. What he didn't expect, however, was that a surprise visitor would embark on this journey with him: little Russell.

This 2009 film brings the theme of mourning to the fore once again, but from a different perspective: that of a lonely old man who has just lost his wife. The way in which all this is exposed in its narrative makes this animation an authority among children's films that make adults cry.

Iron Giant

Although there are moments in the movie when it talks about loss and recovery, Iron Giant goes far beyond that. This classic animation deals with themes of family problems and building emotional bonds in an engaging and emotionally charged way that places the title high on the list of children's movies that make adults cry.

In this story we meet a friendly alien robot who lands in a town called Rockwell. He is found by a little boy called Hogarth who was playing in the area and ends up befriending him. The problem is that a government agent obsessed with destroying his new friend shows up and Hogarth finds himself having to protect him at all costs.

Red: Growing up is a beast

This isn't exactly a sad movie to cry at, but it does pick up on all the people who have gone through, or are still going through, problems of self-acceptance in their lives. Of course, the focus is kept on the main character, but the way we later discover the reasons why her mother acted the way she did puts this movie among the children's movies that make adults cry.

In the story we follow little Mei-Mei, a girl who is entering adolescence and suffers from the fact that her mother is overprotective of her. Everything gets worse when she starts turning into a giant red panda whenever her emotions get out of control. Her mother says it's a family thing and that she can help her get rid of this panda, but is Mei-Mei the one who really needs to be helped?


As well as being very funny and engaging, Amusingly also gives an incredible lesson in how the brain works. By transforming emotions into charismatic characters, we get a better understanding of how depression works through this movie that couldn't be left out of the list of children's movies that make adults cry.

Here we follow an eleven-year-old girl called Riley who has just moved to a new town and has her emotions all in a tizzy. However, a mix-up occurs in her brain's control room that leaves Joy and Sadness out and has an immediate impact on the way the girl is dealing with the world around her. It's up to the two main emotions to return to the room and try to put a stop to it before everything becomes irreversible.

Viva - Life is a party

Viva - Life is a party is one of the most moving animated films ever produced. It touches on a number of sensitive points, but the main lesson for the viewer is acceptance and respect for everyone's individuality and their choices, even if they don't make sense at first.

The story revolves around Miguel, a boy who dreams of being a successful musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz, but his family has forbidden him contact with music for many generations. Wanting to prove his talent at all costs, Miguel goes to the Land of the Dead and befriends a rascal called Hector. With him, the boy embarks on an adventure so deep to discover the truth behind his family's past that it has secured its place at the top of the list of children's movies that make adults cry.

We're sure that after watching the titles on this list you'll need several tissues to dry your tears! So how about calling up your relatives to give you a little emotional support and, what's more, get to know one of the nine movies to watch with the family? Let us know in the comments what they thought of the idea!

Nick Narukame
I have a degree in Literature from the Fluminense Federal University. Since 2011, I've been writing about anime for specialized websites and magazines. I'm also interested in manga, dramas, games, cosplay and chocolate. I currently write for Rede Ardente and other sites.

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