The Iron Giant is one of those movies that always leaves me in tears. D says if it doesn't leave one a bit wibbly at the end, they have no heart. He believes this is because it is about real heroism, not just action/adventure. A conscious act of bravery, with certain destruction, for the sake of another.
This is, of course, the difficulty, of heroes. In real life, they are often the folks who simply do what they do, unselfconscious generosity, with no regard for accolades. The don't want to be lauded, they want to get on after a cursory acknowledgement, maybe a quick 'thanks.' Or their families get to say "that's how he would've wanted to go."
In stories, they are destroyed. To the grateful, and grieved, relief of the rescued. A very uncomfortable place to live. A complicated relationship. Maybe this is why we tear down our cultural heroes. We want them a little selfish, tarnished, self-aggrandizing. We want to be the hero, not be saved by one.
It's all too big, too embarrassing, to need to be saved.
My brother Bill grabbed me when the car door popped open on the highway. No seatbelts, then. Just an older brother with great reflexes. I was perhaps three or four.
The kind of thing you remember.