Top 10 Movie Death Scenes
Death is a consistent theme within cinema, a human inevitability that is completely unavoidable yet mysterious and unknown. These properties have caused much in the way of intrigue and even obsession throughout our species long history- maybe explaining why we’re so drawn to cinematic interpretations of death.
10. Melted Face – Raiders of the Lost Ark
I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Indiana Jones series, but this death scene is brilliantly gruesome, totally deserved and completely ahead of its time. I won’t delve into plot intricacies or anything, however I can assure you if anyone in this movie deserves such a fate it is indeed Maj. Arnold Toht. After all he is in the Gestapo.
9. Sonny’s Car – The Godfather
Certainly the most bullish of the Corleone sons, Sonny seems next in line for his father Vito’s role at the head of the crime family. Whilst elder brother Fredo lacks the cunning needed to take over and younger brother Michael the will, Sonny can’t wait. Sensing this, rival families plot to have him killed- and succeed, resulting in one of the most iconic death scenes of all time. As Sonny approaches a toll-booth in his car, he is ambushed by several mobsters wielding tommy guns (of course), eventually succumbing after taking about 457 bullets to the abdomen.
8. Eaten on the Toilet – Jurrasic Park
Although the story would indeed lend itself to intense gore, director Steven Spielberg instead opted to go for the family friendly approach with this early 90’s triumph. Despite this, there is however one particularly frightful death scene which comes to mind, perhaps the most memorable scene in the entire feature (for me anyway). I am of course referring to the scene in which that guy tried to take refuge in a toilet, only to be discovered and subsequently swallowed whole by a rather massive T-Rex.
7. Borimir Meets His Maker – The Fellowship of the Ring
If there’s one thing that Sean Bean is good at, it’s wearing armour and swinging a sword around his head. The one downside (is it a downside?) to this being that whenever he does it, he usually ends up dying in some grim manner. In this case he is protecting pesky Hobbits Merry and Pippin from an Orc war party when he takes several arrows to the chest at close proximity. Although able to fight on (it is Sean Bean) after the first couple of hits taken, he eventually runs out of steam and dies (it is Sean Bean).
6. Freeeeeeeeeedom! – Braveheart
Although it is almost definitely a miss-quote, William Wallace’s execution is about the only mildly historically accurate scene in this movie, as it is known that the great Scottish patriot was indeed hung, drawn and quartered in London for his involvement in rebel activity against the English King, Edward I. A heart breaking piece of cinema, Wallace (Mel Gibson) has his life taken very slowly- facing an end so bleak that even the damning mob who look on feel sorry for him by the time he’s put out of his misery.
5. Marvin Gets Shot in the Face – Pulp Fiction
Combining that always present comical genius that exists between Vincent (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L Jackson) with a definite sense of bloody death, this scene is a complete howler. The casual manner in which Vincent reacts after blowing young Marvin’s head clean off at point blank range, coupled with Jules’ flamboyant reaction- is cinematic gold. Whilst there are many other righteous death scenes in this movie, this one stands out as a highlight simply due to the ensuing argument it causes.
4. Death by Jack’s Axe – The Shining
The axe in this movie is just about as synonymous with the plot as any of the actors. Jack, despite swinging it around quite a lot as the plot climaxes, only gets one clean kill in with it- but what a kill it is. After sensing something terrible may be going down up at the Overlook hotel, an unsuspecting Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) gets the axe buried into his chest for his trouble. The scene confirms Jack’s mind has indeed completely snapped, as well as displaying impressive realism for its time, all hail Kubrick.
3. I’m Finished – There Will Be Blood
Telling the tale of ruthless oilman Daniel Plainview and his rise to wealth in a turn of the century US, There Will Be Blood is a movie of several dark themes. The scene in question comes towards the end of the movie, so it may be wise for me to leave out any real plot description, for the sake of those who are yet to see it, you understand. All that needs to be said is Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) brutally murders a long-term nemesis in the sinister surroundings of his home bowling alley.
2. Elias is Left Behind – Platoon
In a movie full of automatic rifle related deaths, this is the one that stands out. You’ve all seen it, Wilem Defoe hopelessly running after a chopper full of his comrades as they hover off back to safety leaving him at the mercy of around 3million North Vietnamese soldiers. It’s made all the more painful by the fact that you are previously led to believe he is already dead, after being shot by that villain Sergeant Barnes. What this scene does is give you a slither of hope that Elias will survive, after all he’s a great character- the use of the mournful ‘Adagio for Strings’ playing tribute to this.
1. Tony’s Last Stand – Scarface
Tony Montana was a bad guy, but at least he could admit it. Having had a terrible night, he retired to the office of his mansion to take several kilos of cocaine, perhaps not expecting what occurred next. A, frankly quite large, group of Bolivian drug cartel guns raid his premises- shooting his sister before his eyes and wiping out with great precision those few men still left loyal to him. This annoys Tony, so with aforementioned cocaine coursing heavily through his veins- he reaches for his m-16 w/grenade launcher. The ensuing gun fight is truly something to behold, with Tony and his ‘little friend’ taking out a considerable amount of foes before falling face first from a ledge into a water feature as a result of a shotgun to the spine.
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