10 Most Heartbreaking Sci-Fi Movie Moments

In space, no one can hear you sob uncontrollably.

Han Solo Death

When we say sci-fi, it instinctively conjures up images of far-flung space battles, fantastical technology and sleek, futuristic visuals.

Something your brain probably doesn't immediately associate with the genre is watching through bleary eyes, a box of tissues to hand in anticipation of another bout of blubbering.

Okay, maybe that's ever so slightly hyperbolic, but the point remains: sci-fi often gets far too emotional.

Its stories might be outlandish and fantastical, but that doesn't rob it of its ability to make us feel - after all, at the heart of all good sci-fi is a relatable, human (or humanoid) story.

For every epic battle, there's a heartrending loss. For every new world explored, a love is left behind. Alongside every spaceship, there's a sacrifice. Need we go on?

Whatever it is you look for in a sci-fi flick - scientific accuracy, existential ponderings or simply huge action set-pieces - odds are you'll be familiar with at least one of these deeply upsetting movie moments.

With all that in mind, let's revisit ten sci-fi moments that hit us all square in the feels.

10. Thumbs Up – Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Han Solo Death
TriStar Pictures

James Cameron's 1984 brainchild The Terminator proved to be a massive success for the director, and he followed it up with an even more successful sequel, Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

The follow-up flipped the script, seeing the titular Terminator turn from a futuristic robot hitman to a near-invincible protector reprogrammed by the future of humanity to protect young John Connor. If you've not seen it, it makes sense. Honestly.

Having the former antagonist turn hero was hard to adjust to, but over the course of T2, John's mechanised guardian becomes a placeholder for his absent father, and the relationship between the boy and the (apparently) unfeeling machine is vital to the plot.

The T-800 actually begins to show a form of computerised affection for the boy, learning at his behest to use such endearing colloquialisms as "no problemo", "hasta la vista, baby", and "chill out, d*ckwad".

This makes it all the more heartbreaking when the Terminator ultimately sacrifices himself to protect mankind's future, leaving a heartbroken young John with a simple thumbs up as he dies.

It's simple, it's poignant, and it had us collectively crying like babies.


Antisocial nerd that spends a lot of time stringing words together. Once tried unsuccessfully to tame a crow.