10. Ashitaka stops the fight (Princess Mononoke)
It’s not a scene that dazzles you with visuals or one that really stands on its own, but just as most Studio Ghibli films do, this one moment encapsulates a message that the likes of Miyazaki always made sure ran true in his animation. Despite being struck down by a curse that will eventually take his life, Ashitaka has the resolve to continue down the right path, even if that means putting his own life on the line in order to avoid conflict with those around him. Surrounded by anger, rage and stuck between two opposing factions, it takes an impressive figure to push for peace.
9. Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Fantasia)
Of the beautiful set pieces that fill Disney’s Fantasia, Mickey in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice will always be the stand out. Once Paul Dukas’ famous score begins to trickle out you fall into the rhythm of the piece so effortlessly allowing you to basque in how it perfectly balances the two mediums of music and animation.
8. Setsuko’s death (Grave of the Fireflies)
As harrowing as any movie scene there has even been, animation or not. You already know at the start of the film Setsuko and her brother have died during the aftermath of WWII, but that does nothing to detract from the emotional knockout that happens when it finally comes at the end of the film. Such is the power of impressive storytelling, that they can make you hope for those already past, and at this point in which they finally meet death, you are no more ready to accept their fate.
7. Baby Mine (Dumbo)
An instant tearjerker for many. The contrast between the beauty and warmth that comes from the parent child bond, matched equally by the harrowing separation between Dumbo and her mother. Frank Churchill’s song Baby Mine works as a perfect substitute to any dialogue, forcing you to sit with your emotions and through that become completely invested in this Disney classic.
6. Define Dancing (WALL-E)
Despite my love for WALL-E I do believe the film works better on the whole rather than the sum of its parts. However, the moment in which WALL-E dances through space with his compatriot Eva is sincerely beautiful both visually and emotionally. Throughout the film you’re rooting for WALL-E to bag his sweetheart despite her so overt obliviousness to his affection, but at this one point you can see the realisation that both of them have found something special.
5. Eating Ratatouille (Ratatouille)
The moment in which food critic Ego places his first bite of ratatouille is fantastic on many levels. His gustatory epiphany takes him back to his early years and reminds him why he fell in love with food in the first place. Many of us hold down jobs we have lost our love with and we all need that reminder once in a while why we do what we do, and it’s great to see that such a realisation can melt even the iciest of hearts.
4. Goodbye Woody (Toy Story 3)
I know for many the moment in which the toys come together in solidarity as they approach their fiery doom is the stand out memory of the film, but for me the greatness of the series is encapsulated when Andy gives away his toys to Bonnie. As a kid who has mirrored Andy’s age throughout the Toy Story films I was awash with emotion and nostalgia that I never expected. It begs us to ask do we need to add another?
3. Falling with Style (Toy Story)
When you have a film as integral and iconic to animation as Toy Story then you could easily choose several memorable scenes for this list. However, for me the climactic chase scene of sorts that brings the film towards its penultimate conclusion makes way for some fast paced fun. Not only is the excitement flowing at such an intense pace but we are gifted one of the most famous movie lines of all time that kicks off one of cinema’s greatest bromances.
2. Ellie and Carl (Up)
Who knew you could go on such a roller coaster of emotions without a single word spoken. Much of what is touched upon in the montage may go over the head of some of Disney’s younger viewers, but for many adults those highs and lows are all too evident. Watching the zest in Carl’s life grow and be drained all in the space of two minutes is amazing storytelling and leads the way for Up to be a Disney classic.
1. Mufasa’s Death (The Lion King)
I, like the majority of Planet Earth, love watching The Lion King. However, there is always a strong sense of foreboding when you come towards the end of Act 2. Whether you start to feel that apphrension as the hyeenas sit atop the gorge, or whether it comes when Simba discovers his almighty roar, it doesn’t matter. You know you are about to rediscover heartbreak. A fantastic yet tearjerking scene that is deserving of its place in memory even if it’s one so harrowing. Long live the King!