Although regarded as a fantasy adventure, E.T. is really a brilliantly disguised family drama. “From the very beginning, E.T. was a movie about my childhood — about my parents’ divorce,” Steven Spielberg said in a 1997 interview. It’s also a film about friendship, the lengths people will go to protect their family and how hard it is to lose those we love. The waterworks usually start when Elliot has to bid farewell to his beloved alien friend. As happy as we are when E.T. is finally reunited with his family, there is a sadness in understanding the necessity of sometimes having to say goodbye forever.
Bambi Turns 70: And 9 Other Kids’ Movie Weepers
In honor of Disney's classic's anniversary, TIME takes a look back at the top 10 saddest kids' movies ever made.