List compiled by Eddie on 16/04/2018
The movie death.
A thing of poetic beauty, poetic justice or a scary unforgettable demise that haunts your childhood dreams.
When talking about classic movie deaths one could create a list of countless horror deaths but for the sake of spanning genres and covering a broader range this list includes deaths that impacted us emotionally, deaths that shocked us or deaths that played key parts in rounding off or kicking off a certain story.
When done well a movie death can remain with us for months or even years to come and become key reasons why certain movies we love maintain such a high place in our collective memories.
As is to be expected with such a list, if you continue to read there will be ample spoilers so please consider yourself warned.
Happy reading and happy watching.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
10. The Godfather (1972)
Sonny’s Bullet Filled Demise
An undoubtedly over the top scene but a hugely important one to the overall Godfather saga, the extended tommy gunning that James Caan’s Sonny receives when his car is converged upon is one of many memorable moments in Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece.
9. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
The Terminator Gives the Thumbs Up
Turning from a villain in the first film to a hero in James Cameron’s much beloved sequel, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s robot with a heart of gold Terminator raises his thumbs in the air as he enters into the molten fire and gives us an extremely emotional and perfect send-off to a beloved creation.
8. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Gandalf vs Balrog
Sacrificing himself (yes I know he returned in a different incarnation) so the fellowship can escort Frodo out of the perilous caves they have become entrapped in, Gandalf’s blood curdling cry of “thou shalt not pass” remains one of the key moments of Peter Jackson’s saga and the image of the kindly wizard falling to his demise is a haunting piece of cinema.
7. Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi (1983)
Darth Vader’s Final Moments
After much lead up in the previous saga and after a fight between himself, his son Luke and the nefarious Emperor, Darth Vader (one of cinema’s greatest ever villains) begins to fade away but not before exchanging a few words with his estranged son and offering us all a moment of reflection that this seemingly irredeemable creature was in fact still harbouring good within.
6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
An image that likely haunted many a child’s dreams in the 80’s and 90’s, evil Nazi Belloq meets his not untimely demise at the powers of the ark of the covenant and in the process we have one of the iconic deaths in cinema as Belloq finds himself melted away to skeleton form.
5. Psycho (1960)
A scene that speaks for itself, a boundary pushing death scene in its day and a masterful edited and scored final demise, Janet Leigh’s Marion Crane finds her relaxing shower time rudely and abruptly interrupted as she meets a grisly end at the hand of Norman Bates.
4. Jaws (1975)
Chrissie’s Late Night Swim
Setting the film up perfectly, Steven Spielberg brings the fear and tension that would remain for much of his thrillers runtime as Chrissie goes for an unfortunately shark infested late night skinny dip only to find herself a victim of Bruce the shark.
3. Alien (1979)
Chestbursting at the Dinner Table
An oft-talked about and never bettered shock death, John Hurt’s Kane starts to feel some particular upsetting stomach movements only to find himself torn from the inside out as a nasty alien critter makes his way out of his stomach at the communal dinner table. A blood infested and scream inducing scene, made all the better by many of the cast not knowing what was coming.
2. The Lion King (1994)
I’m sure I’m not the only child that was shocked by Mufasa’s fall into an oncoming stampede; this was Disney at its most heartbreaking and brave as we are introduced then taken away from the king of the pride at the hands of the nefarious Scar.
1. Scarface (1983)
Tony Montana Goes out With a Bang
After 3 hours with the money hungry and drug addled immigrant turned mob kingpin Tony Montana we are treated to the arrogant creation going out in a blaze of glory as he takes on the swarm of enemies sent to end his reign of terror and bloodshed. Al Pacino’s committed turn and the infamous yelling of “Say hello to my little friend” all combine to a create a classic scene of cinema history and a memorable screen death as the lifeless Montana lay floating in his pool as the World is Yours globe spins on behind him.
The Best of the Rest
- Titanic – Jack’s Sinking
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Han’s Murder
- There Will Be Blood – Eli Sunday Meets a Bowling Pin
- The Shining – Scatman Crothers Briefly Comes to the Rescue
- Willy Wonka – Augustus Gloop, Death by Chocolate
- Die Hard – Hans Gruber Falls to his Death
- Gladiator – Maximus Farewells the Arena
- Braveheart – William Wallace’s Execution
- The Shawshank Redemption – Brooks Sad Demise
- Platoon – Sgt. Elias Gets Gunned Down
Honourable mention –
Deep Blue Sea (1999) – Samuel L Jackson’s pep-talk