For generations, Disney films have been known for feel-good endings that might make you shed a tear along the way. Many classics and new releases from this studio leave us on a hopeful note for the characters we've come to love. But several of their movies wrap up the story in a way that's bittersweet, sad in retrospect, or even outright tragic.

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Explore the sorrowful side of Disney with these movies that break your heart with moving narratives. From their early to recent films, there are a variety of sombre endings that have that unmistakable Disney style.

There are spoilers ahead for the ending of each movie.

8 101 Dalmatians

101 Dalmatians Screenshot Of Cruella

Dalmatian parents Pongo and Perdita go from saving their 15 puppies to adopting another 84 that had been captured by Cruella and her lackeys, confident that Roger and Anita would never turn away little dogs in need.

The trouble with this ending is that no couple could properly take care of that many puppies at once. One day soon, the 101 dalmatians will have to be sent to different homes. The alternative is the Radcliffes spending a fortune on a giant home with a massive yard and enough dog-sitters to look after that many pets. Even their newfound riches from the smash hit of Roger's song about Cruella probably wouldn't be enough to pull that off.

7 The Great Mouse Detective

The Great Mouse Detective formulates a plan

A villain meeting their timely demise usually leaves you feeling satisfied that the world is safe now. Ratigan certainly gave you a lot of reasons to be relieved he was gone, from kidnapping a single father to feeding mice to his pet cat Felicia. But when you realize how mouse society treats rats as inherently bad, you can't help noticing that he wasn't given much of a choice.

Even the main character, Basil, describes him as "a genius twisted for evil", implying that he could have been law-abiding and moral if he wasn't facing down racial prejudice. Ratigan's death strikes a tragic note because you have to wonder what he might have achieved in a more accepting world. It's a great kid-friendly movie that gets you thinking about what various minorities contend with in our real-life societies.

6 Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins Holding Bird, Spoonful of Sugar, yellow curtains

This classic film became famous for the nanny that's as magical as she is pragmatic. She has a carpet bag that defies physics and can transport the Banks family kids into a chalk world for a playful musical number (you know the one). The children also get life lessons about dealing with unpleasant tasks and enjoy rooftop antics with chimney sweeps.

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But once the Banks family has mended their issues, it's time for Mary Poppins to float away with her umbrella. It likely means she'll never see Jane and Michael again, and they didn't even say their goodbyes. The talking bird on her umbrella handle is ready to call out how hurtful that is—and how much Mary Poppins is saddened by it. She knew it was a thankless job all along, though, and she goes off to do it again for another troubled family.

5 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame with a bird in hand

Life hasn't been kind to Quasimodo, who lost his mother as a baby and was held in captivity for free labor by the man who made him an orphan in the first place. It's probably not a surprise that this story got onto a list of Disney films with sad endings.

It's true that the people of Paris have accepted him after Esmeralda brings Quasimodo out of the cathedral to meet the crowd outside of Notre Dame, all with a beautiful reprise from one of the most stunning Disney soundtracks. He's made his peace with the fact she loves Phoebus and even shows the new couple that he's happy for them. But Quasimodo only has the two of them for human friends—no offence to his gargoyle companions—so he's going to have to work through his first heartbreak with no one to have ice cream with as he cries it out.

4 Peter Pan

The Lost Boys saluting Peter Pan (off screen)

While this film didn't age well, particularly in its treatment of the tribal people in Neverland, the ending has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment that has doleful implications. The Lost Boys had considered coming back to London with the Darling children to be adopted by Mary and George. Once she's home safely, Wendy eagerly shares the highlights of her adventure with her parents and briefly mentions the boys' final decision to stay with Peter in Neverland.

This choice is good for Peter, who needs the company from Earth. But it does mean The Lost Boys will have to wait for another chance to be adopted by a decent family if they change their minds. If anyone is waiting for these little boys to come home, they've also lost that opportunity without even knowing it.

3 Frozen 2

Olaf and Anna having a picknick in a meadow on a blanket while looking worried at a pumpkinhead straw scarecrow on the ground.

Everything is tied up at the end of this sequel, with Anna as the new Queen of Arendelle in one of the best Disney castles and Elsa as the fifth spirit that connects the Enchanted Forest and her home kingdom. These responsibilities do mean that the two sisters have to live apart relatively soon after they had been able to make amends in the first film. So much time was lost while Elsa felt she had to be distant from Anna, and now she lives in the forest of Northuldra.

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They still make plans to meet up with messages delivered with help from the wind spirit, Gale, but it's a far cry from sharing a castle and seeing each other in person every day. Both kingdoms are better off this way, just at the cost of these devoted sisters having to live in different nations.

2 The Fox and The Hound

The Fox And The Hound Shot Of Todd and Copper looking at each other

For the generations that grew up crying over Todd the fox and Copper the hound dog, this film is legendary for the poignant ending. This unlikely duo met when they were too young to realize that their top-notch Disney friendship could never last. Todd had been taken in as a pet by a gentle old lady, and Copper was going through training to help his owner hunt down foxes one day.

Even worse, because you know this conflict is brewing the whole time, their childhood promise to be best friends forever is heart-wrenching. The movie ends with Todd in the forest looking on as the sun sets over the cottage where Copper lives with his owner and another hound dog. If the two childhood friends do ever see each other again, it'll be a fight for survival.

1 Bambi

Bambi in the forest walking

This adorable deer spent most of his childhood with his mother, unaware that he would take over as Great Prince of the Forest for his father when the time came. Losing her to hunters early in the film set the tone for what would happen when the hunter came back with more people later.

To save his childhood sweetheart, Faline, Bambi is shot and fends off hunting dogs that were attacking her. A forest fire also spreads from the human camp, scattering his newly inherited kingdom and putting his partner in further danger. His family and friends reach safety near a river, and by the following spring, Bambi has officially become the Great Prince of the Forest as it recovers from the damage. He can only watch from afar as Faline looks after their newborn twins. This role will also give Bambi a longer lifespan than most deer, just like his father, so he will outlive Faline and possibly his children too.

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