Oh, the '90s — the decade that gets me every time. As if nostalgia of unmatched morning cartoons and Disney's peak original movies wasn't enough to get me, the era's tearjerkers tore my 8-year-old self apart. Seriously, the cry-worthy movies of the '90s just knew how to hit kids where it hurts. A handful of classic TV shows really left a mark with their touching and devastating moments. Like when Shawn's dad died on Boy Meets World, and when Mr. Feeny addressed an empty classroom for the last time. Or on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Buffy was forced to kill her love Angel to save the world. It was some heavy stuff. But without Netflix or streaming, there was no way to relive the trauma (except in my mind). So instead, it was movies that fans would turn to whenever they needed to let out a good cry.
Of course, there are iconic films birthed in the '90s that will make fans cry until the end of time: Good Will Hunting (1997), Forrest Gump (1994), and Armageddon (1998), to name a few. But I couldn't really understand, enjoy, and therefore thoroughly cry, when watching them as a kid. Plenty of other '90s films got the tears rolling, though, and I was able to pop in the ol' VHS at any given moment. These selections made me cry then, and they still could now. Leave it to the '90s, I suppose.
1. Homeward Bound (1993)
My heart was crushed watching these three pets venture to make it home to their owners, under the misconception that they were abandoned. Their trials, tribulations, and epic reunion scene make for an emotional rollercoaster like no other.
2. My Girl (1991)
The beautiful journey of Thomas (Macaulay Culkin) and Vada (Anna Chlumsky) has a tragic ending, one I'm pretty sure made me instantly age 10 years. Vada's devastating goodbye to Thomas at his funeral in the scene above still makes me cry every time.
3. The Parent Trap (1998)
Once Hallie and Annie (Lindsay Lohan) finally reunite their family, they're forced to return back to their old lives, torn apart from one another. Thankfully it isn't for long, but that didn't make it any easier back then.
4. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Daniel (Robin Williams) is left completely crushed when his kids get taken away from him in court. It was heartbreaking to watch, and although the film was a comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire had its seriously dark moments.
5. A Little Princess (1995)
The majority of Sara's (Liesel Matthews) journey as a foster child was a tough one, as she stays at a boarding school after learning her father died in the war. When she finally reunites with her father, who's still alive, it made my heart flat-out explode.
6. Stepmom (1998)
Regardless of age, almost anyone could be moved by this gut-wrenching drama starring Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts. The film follows a family whose dynamic massively shifts as the terminally ill mother (Sarandon) comes to terms with new stepmom (Roberts) caring for her children.
7. The Lion King (1994)
Mufasa tragically died and kids were never quite the same. At an early age, I was taught lessons of death and the circle of life, and I wouldn't have had it any other way than the Disney way.
8. Beauty And The Beast (1991)
When Belle realizes she's in the love with the Beast, he nearly perishes from the evil men trying to heartlessly kill him. Audiences know how the story ends, but that doesn't mean the film won't still bring out a tear or two.
9. The Baby-Sitters Club (1995)
When the besties of the club gang up on Kristy (Schuyler Fisk) after she secretly skips out on them to spend time with her dad, my pubescent self was not OK, especially because her friends meant everything to her.
10. Matilda (1996)
OK, now I'm talking happy tears. After Matilda (Mara Wilson) goes through hell with her family, she gets her happy ending with Miss Honey (Embeth Davidtz) in a movie montage of uplifting bliss.
11. Toy Story (1995)
Before the ultimately devastating Toy Story 3, fans were prepped back in the '90s when Buzz (Tim Allen) learns about his true identity and gives up all hope.
12. Casper (1995)
Casper (Devon Sawa), a young and tortured soul, finally dances with Kat (Christina Ricci) — the girl of his dreams. But knowing his human body is only temporary makes the moment beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.
13. Titanic (1997)
Do this need an explanation? Even at age 7, this iconic ending would kill me, and the many times I'd sneakily watch the VHS (even though I wasn't allowed) proved it. This crushing ending transcends age and time.
Wow, I feel like a cried-out kid all over again.