If there’s anything Hollywood seems to do well, it’s funeral scenes. To shine a light on the art direction behind funerals, we’ve compiled a list of the top six most famous funeral movie scenes. So, whether it’s the setting, a thoughtful eulogy or the sorrow, these scenes of losing a loved one are nothing short of relatable.
Top 6 famous funeral movie scenes
In the movie "Up", the funeral scene was woven into a montage about Carl and his late wife, Ellie. The scene shows how they meet, fall in love, get married, build their home, suffer a miscarriage and happily grow old together before Ellie gets sick and passes away.
Carl is then shown at her funeral looking lost and sad while holding the single blue balloon that he surprised her with at the hospital. Even though the movie is animated, the scene depicts emotions similar to those one might experience when losing a partner or spouse.
2. Steel Magnolias
One of the most iconic funeral movie scenes is from ‘Steel Magnolias’. In the movie, Sally Field plays grief-stricken mother M'Lynn Eatenton, who has to bury her daughter, Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie, after dying during the birth of her son.
In the scene, M'Lynne is overcome with anger, confusion and sadness. She wants to understand her grief and tries to explain that she was supposed to go first. With the help of her friends, M'Lynne goes from crying to laughing within seconds.
More often than not, people don’t accept that their loved one is truly gone until they’re at the funeral. Then, they can become overwhelmed with grief, anger and sadness. It’s best to offer your support in any way you can while the person experiences these stages of grief.
3. Four Weddings and a Funeral
What is a picture-perfect rom-com is also home to a beautiful funeral scene. In the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, Matthew reads a poem by W.H. Auden called Funeral Blues at his boyfriend's funeral, Gareth.
While they carry the coffin to the hearse, Matthew reads, "He was my North, my South, my East and West. My working week and my Sunday rest. My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song. I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong."
Writing a eulogy that describes their love for the deceased can be extremely challenging for some people. Poems are a great alternative if you don’t enjoy public speaking, can’t find the right words to say and know that emotion will overcome you once you’re in front of the guests.
4. The Big Lebowski
Unlike the other funeral scenes included in this list, the Big Lebowski depicts the scattering of ashes after a cremation. In the scene, Walter Sobchak and The Dude spread the ashes of Theodore Donald ‘Donny’ Kerabatsos. Earlier in the movie, Walter and The Dude realise how much Donny’s Urn would cost and decide to put Donny’s ashes inside a Folger’s coffee can.
Walter starts the eulogy by ranting about the Vietnam War, even through Donny wasn't involved in it. Eventually he brings it back around when he says, “And so, Theodore Donald Karabotsos, in accordance with what we think your dying wishes might well have been, we commit your final mortal remains to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well. Good night, sweet prince.”
There are a few important lessons about cremations in this scene: a Folger's coffee can might do when an Urn is too expensive (although we don't recommend it!), it's best not to stand downwind when scattering ashes and finally, the person delivering the eulogy should make sure it’s about the deceased and not themselves.
5. Love Actually
Notably one of the most iconic Christmas films ever, Love Actually starts off on a bit of a melancholy note when Liam Neeson's character, Daniel, attends his late wife’s funeral. Daniel gives a heartfelt eulogy while his son sits in the front pews before playing a sweet slideshow of pictures with "Bye Bye Baby" playing in the background.
Daniel says, "So, she's going to say her final farewell to you, not through me, but inevitably, ever so cooly, through the immortal genius of the Bay City Rollers.”
Playing music at funerals creates a common connection between the deceased and everyone in the room. It helps to envision the deceased enjoying the song or the good memories guests may have shared with them.
6. The Royal Tenenbaums
The funeral scene from The Royal Tenenbaums by Director Wes Anderson is the perfect balance of sentimental and comical. When the Tenenbaum family gathers to bury their family patriarch, nobody wears black except Ben Stiller's character and his lookalike sons...who rock black tracksuits.
To add to the quirkiness of the scene, the gravestone says, "Royal O'Reilly Tenenbaum. 1932-2001. Died tragically rescuing his family from the wreckage of a destroyed sinking battleship."
The gravestone in this scene makes us think about the epitaph we would choose for our loved ones or even ourselves. Unfortunately, without any understanding of your final wishes outlined in your Will, your family might choose something that doesn’t align with your values.
After watching the six most iconic funeral movie scenes, you’ve maybe started to think about what you would want at your funeral. Prepaid funerals are now more modern and accessible than ever, so you can help list your final wishes and ease the financial burden on your loved ones.