Ranking Pixar Shorts, From Which Will Make You Cry The Least To Which Will Drown You In Your Own Tears

Almost every time before watching a Pixar movie, I forget about the shorts that preface them, and I'm always pleasantly (if tearfully) surprised. The Pixar animated shorts are as much a tradition of the company as, well, making you bawl your eyes out every darn time. Often, the shorts themselves are tear-inducing. There's something about the short film format that can make brevity poignant; Pixar's lovely animation paired with its emphasis on human emotion is just as effective in short form.

Often, Pixar shorts are able to imbue everyday objects, such as bobbleheads or umbrellas, with emotions, allowing us to see an element of an object that we would not have seen before. Birds on a wire often kick each other off, but we didn't imagine until "For the Birds" how any of them felt about that. More recently, "Lava," the short that provided the intro to "Inside Out," pointed out how inherently solitary volcanoes are. Most of the shorts don't include speech, making it a more impressive feet that they can create such distinctive personalities and still move us to tears.

Here are all 13 shorts that have shown before Pixar movies, ranked from least to most likely to make us cry.

13. "Geri's Game" (1997, prequel to Bug's Life)


One of the most memorable Pixar shorts, this one pitted one old man against himself in a game of chess, a pretty heartbreaking solution to loneliness. However, I always found both Geris a little creepy, especially their laughs.

12. "Presto" (2008, released with WALL-E)

This one was a little Bugs Bunny-esque. More vindictive than sweet, but it redeemed itself at the end.

11. "Knick Knack" (1989, prequel to Finding Nemo)

There's something very sweet about all the knickknacks bobbing along to Bobby McFerrin's vocals, but the desire to escape to a bikini-clad woman's arms is less endearing.

10. "One Man Band" (2005, released with Cars)

This beautifully animated film featured two musicians being thwarted by a prodigious child. One of my favorite shorts, but definitely not tear-inducing.

9. "For the Birds" (1997, released with Monster's Inc.)

The big bird just wants to fit in! And the little ones are so mean. Points off for the creepy laugh at the end, though.

8. "Boundin'" (2003, prequel to The Incredibles)

This tale of a sheep losing its coat was so sad, and then its resolution was so sweet, made sweeter by that old western feel.

7. "Day & Night" (2010, released with Toy Story 3)

So imaginative. The little day and night creatures were adorable (in a slightly creepy way). And they love each other!

6. "Luxo Jr." (1986, prequel to Toy Story 2)


This was the first Pixar short ever made, and the source of their logo. The human-like movement of the desk lamps is so endearing, and the moment the little one crushes its ball is so sad.

5. "Lifted" (2006, released with Ratatouille)


This one started silly, but ended really sweet. I can imagine a theater of kids getting a kick out of it.

4. "La Luna" (2011, released with Brave)

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This one just makes you cry at how beautiful it is.

3. "Lava" (2015, released with Inside Out)

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A star-crossed love story for the millennia.

2. "Partly Cloudy" (2009, released with Up)

The cloud was so sweet, the stork so long-suffering. Ugly creatures need homes too. A+.

1. "The Blue Umbrella" (2013, released with Monster's University)

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Such a sweet love story between inherently sad items, and beautifully animated. Anyone who can get through this one without tearing up at least once is a stronger person than I am.

Image: Pixar (13)