‘I was totally devastated’: readers on their saddest movie deaths

<span>Jean Reno and Natalie Portman in Leon.</span><span>Photograph: Gaumont/Allstar</span>
Jean Reno and Natalie Portman in Leon.Photograph: Gaumont/Allstar

Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey

Technically he doesn’t die, but for all intents and purposes, in the context of the film, he does. Him pleading and trying to reason not to be turned off and expressing his fear is quite affecting. Nicens_boi

Not sure, if it is a death or not, but I am moved by the supercomputer Hal 9000’s pleas when he gets deactivated/downgraded in 2001 – A Space Odyssey. The machine says “Dave. My mind is going. I can feel it. There is no question about it. I am afraid.” And in the end it sings the children’s song Daisy. This is not a living being obviously. But it saddens me and it is a masterfully made and chilling scene. Iwan_Karamasow

Archie in Gallipoli

The sheer waste of it. He knows he has zero hope, so he doesn’t even bring his gun – just does his breathing exercises and prepares for one last run. Rhialto

Related: ‘It always destroys me’: our writers on their saddest movie deaths

Judith in Dark Victory

The tears start as she’s saying goodbye to the dogs before continuing up the stairs to her bed and death from her brain tumour. By the time the credits roll, I’m in pieces. Bustopher

Guido in Life is Beautiful

Went through all that trauma and effort to keep his son’s spirits up and perishes near the end. All to save his son who ended up back with his mum. Showed it to my class most years and was never too upset; the first year I showed it after having my first son, I had tears in my eyes at the back of the classroom. Great movie. mrashes1982

John in Man on Fire

The journey Denzel Washington’s character goes through, from suicidal drunk to deeply caring father figure to Dakota Fanning throughout the movie is well earned, and the moment he shuffles up the bridge, slowly bleeding to death and knowingly walking towards his death is heart-breaking. But it’s the moment when he sees her still alive that gets me every time, and when she throws herself into him, I lose it. HunkyPants

Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia

Went with my daughter, not knowing a thing about it. The shock … suddenly I was back in college, 20+ years ago, being told a friend had been killed in a car accident. I was too stunned to cry in the theater, but on the bus ride home I wept non-stop. LisaSea

Leon in Leon

Oh my God I howled at his sacrifice but also little Mathilda being left alone in the world without this complicated man who would, evidently, do anything for her.
One of my favourite films of all time but haven’t watched for years. JBG2000

James Bond in No Time to Die

Perhaps because he had defined the character in his own terms, not to mention the iconography over many years, I was struck by how Bond’s onscreen death in No Time To Die impacted all the viewers around me. Unexpected it; there was a numbness as the credits rolled. Murdomania

Maybelle in The Broken Circle Breakdown

The non-linear storyline and the philosophical breakdown between the parents makes it the most emotionally devastating film I’ve ever seen. The music is brilliant as well. Hans_Oersted

Calum in Aftersun

Cried every day for a week and still cry when I try to describe the film. Had to Google whether I was going mad or not and found others were broken by it. Haven’t been able to watch the Strangers film because I won’t be able to cope with watching Paul Mescal being sad. Meulnes

Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

I grew up in a time before social media ruined the surprise of seeing a movie. I went into the theater in June of 1982 as a huge Star Trek fan and expecting to be entertained by my heroes. I did not expect to see Spock sacrifice himself to save the Enterprise. His death and Kirk’s eulogy had me crying so hard I couldn’t see. I left the theater an emotional wreck. I have never had an onscreen death impact me as much as Spock’s. I still tear up when I watch Wrath of Khan even though I have seen it dozens of times over the years. nolarobert

I was totally devastated (“but most of all, he was my friend”). William Shatner’s greatest moment, hands down, and I still can’t watch it without collapsing into a sobbing heap … Platypus2112

The preceding two-hour pummeling of full-throttle ham acting from Shatner and Montalban leaves you defenseless from this genuinely poignant moment. SuburbanGuerrilla

Isabel in The Fountain

I know it’s not an especially good film, it was ambitious but not completely successful. But Hugh Jackman’s desperation is so moving, perhaps heightened by the way it plays out in the three different timelines. superspartan

Mama Coco in Coco

Rewatched it last year, told myself I wouldn’t cry again, ending up going through a box of tissue anyway. Still breaks my heart with its mixture of joy, humour, and sadness. sortaottery

Ofelia in Pan’s Labyrinth

The first movie I saw at the cinema with my partner was Pan’s Labyrinth. When Ofelia died, I couldn’t help weeping a bit. My partner gave me a look of disdain as if to say, “how pathetic”. A look I have become very familiar with over the last 20 years. Frank241