Monday, December 8, 2008

Best Movie Deaths

Time for another Tony Brown Movie list. This time we are going for best movie deaths. Death is one of the most used devices in movies and literature. It is often times very moving whether it is inevitable or a surprise.
For my list, we are not looking for the saddest deaths, the most gory, or the most impactful. Here I am looking for the best and for me the best is a combination of those but more so surprise, emotion, and effect. Think of it like a punch in the stomach. You get that feeling during the movie death.

A little different this time too, I'm not going to go 10-1 or have a countdown. That would be too hard. Instead, I will be using a tiered system. Some deaths don't really compare, but are equally good, and some are just too hard to differentiate the strength of the punch in the stomach. This system works well in fantasy sports as well.

Tier 5 or honorable mention:
The Guardian - very honorable and a surprisingly good movie
A Walk to Remember - poor Jamie, poor Landon
Star Wars - I think Ben's death was a bit over-rated, Darth Vader's was ok, and I have to admit, I really liked Qui-Gon Jinn, his death was a great scene and it was sad.
Remember the Titans - great movie, and remember, it started at a funeral
The Shining - Jack's death was cool, as was his axing of Scatman Crothers.
The Patriot- Man, the dandy Brit killed two of Mel Gibson's sons. Both were pretty hardcore.
Top Gun - Goose, aka Dr. Greene

Tier 4 - These are all very cool, but not necessary sad.

Priest Vallon - Awesome scene! Totally got me addicted to the movie. Liam Neeson, Daniel Day Lewis, John C. Reilly, Mad-Eye Moody. Wow. His death was pretty fierce. Plus his little son was there. Sad (2nd Liam Neeson Death already. A third movie of his makes the list, can you guess what it is?)

Carrie - Wow. She killed the entire prom and was covered in blood. That is great.
Taxi Driver - He went pretty f-ing wild. I just remember the old fat guy, who I think had his fingers shot off with a Magnum, yelling "I'm gonna kill ya!" over and over again.

Full Metal Jacket - Damn. Did you see that coming?

Scarface- That was pretty badass. I was rooting for him. He took out A LOT of people and I don't even need to quote the line, it is that famous.

Jaws - OK 3 great ones to choose from, the shark, the swimming girl (great movie poster), but Quint is by far the coolest, maybe the coolest on the list. Eaten by a shark, oh, and after the USS Indianapolis story too. Ouch.

Raiders of the Lost Ark - Another very visually awesome one. What does it do - melt, fry, suck their soul - whatever it is, man. Keep your eyes closed! Oh and the death ("He chose poorly") from Last Crusade haunted me as as child. Still remember it vividly.

Last in Tier 4 and very close to tier three - Boromir in Lord of the Rings the Fellowship of the Ring. It is redemption and honor. It is sad and also pretty cool. He takes a lot of arrows, and can die with his head held high.
"I would have would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king."

Tier 3 - These are all very big deaths, high on emotion and impact.

Cedric Diggory - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Ok, so you may not all be Harry Potter Fans, but it is pretty great stuff. Who saw this coming? I like Cedric, maybe even a little man crush, but this is the defining moment for Harry Potter. There is no turning back after this.
"Cedric Diggory was, as you all know, exceptionally hard working, infinitely fair -minded, and most importantly, a fierce, fierce friend."

Roberto - Life is Beautiful
Great movie. Here it is not the death, but the sacrifice. He did so much so his son could live, and in the end, it cost him his life.

Andrew Beckett - Philadelphia
Again, this one isn't so much the death itself, but the build-up, the fall, the disease. There is the combination of triumph and sadness, but what does winning the case mean when he is dead?

Last of the Mohicans-

this is one of my favorite movie scenes. Great music, lots of running. We have TRIPLE death here. Pretty epic. First Magua kills Uncas. Then his girlfriend jumps off the amazingly huge cliff. The Uncas's father Chingachgook kicks the shit out of Magua, who was as huge d-bag. Magua got served! It was all very epic, and the music definitely helped. Here is the final scene
(sorry the video is too long, it would slow down this page too much. And I forgot about the death of the British soldier, burn at the stake then shot)

Million Dollar Baby -
Wow, this has made the Best Sports Movies List, the Biggest Movie D-Bags list, and now the Best Movie Deaths list. WOW. But assisted suicide is bad. Still very dramatic. She tried to repeatedly bite her tongue off. Damn.

Tier Two - Almost the best, Just on the fringe.
The Deer Hunter -
Russian Roulette. Need I say more?

Edward Scissorhands- Actually surprised this one did not make the top tier. Very sad. The creator dies, and Edward loses the chance to get hands. Damn, that blows.

Awesome final scene. One of the best. They have to march down a beach and lead the assault on this fort and lots die right there. The final assent up to the fort is pretty much suicide. Matthew Broderick dies. Denzel Washington Epically picks up the flag and dies too, they keep going, they get to the fort in looks like they are gonna do it, then the turn the corner and there are just more soldiers and this time they have cannons. The look on Cary Elwes's face says it all. Definite punch in the stomach.

Apollo Creed - Rocky IV -
Dang. Dude got punched to death by a large Russian. Man. Step up Rocky. Train in the cold. Lift logs. Run in the snow. Punch meat. Pay back this large blond Russian. Seriously, though, it was sad.

Tom Robinson - To Kill a Mockingbird
I remember this one from Junior High. You obviously get to see the movie version of the book you just read for class. It is a great reading day. Saw the play as well. But yes, I was angry and still am that he was convicted and then to top it off, he tries to "escape" before the appeal and is killed. Sad. Another punch in the stomach.

The Shawshank Redemption - The punches just keep on coming. Brooks hangs himself then the warden shoots the kid that can get Andy off. Man, this is NOT Fair. Sad for Brooks. Angry for Tommy.

The Mission -
This one starts with a bang! You see some Amazon Indians strapping a priest to a cross, and sending it down a river. You don't really know what is going on, but then there is a giant waterfall and the priest goes down. Damn. Way to start a movie. Amazing visual. Then at the end you have the contrast in how Diego and Gabriel die. Really, check it out if you have already not.
"So, your Holiness, now your priests are dead, and I am left alive. But in truth it is I who am dead, and they who live. For as always, your Holiness, the spirit of the dead will survive in the memory of the living. "

Maximus - Gladiator
This one was epic, but did not tear my apart like most of the other ones. I was surprised he died, but he got to go see his family in the afterlife.

Tier One - We have made it to the top. These are the most gut-hurting movie deaths of all.

Leon - Leon (The Professional)
Yes. This is a great movie. Pretty awesome. Great death scene - cool, sacrifice, and sad, has it all.

Braveheart - I actually am not going with the death of William Wallace here. I'm going with the death of his wife. Of course it set everything in motion, but to me, it was so unexpected. It's like "Holy S---! He just slit her throat. It was very vivid and realistic and after that, it's like "Damn, we're on. Ain't no playin' in this movie."
(Historical note: In the moive, the homosexual lover of the Son of the King (Edward II) was killed by being thrown out a castle window. Kind of cool. But the real-life mode of death of even cooler, or to a normal person, more horrible. Edward I had him killed by shoving a red-hot steel fire rod in his anus, burning his intestines. Ouch.)

Thomas - My Girl
This one was a hard punch to the gut. Was this a kids movie? Dang. So sad and unexpected. The toughest part is not the death itself, but the funeral. Seriously, I am getting sad.

The Brother - American History X
Punch in the Stomach wise, this is the biggest blow. What a great movie!! It was very harsh, then lessons were learned by the older brother and younger brother. We wrote this great report, things were looking up, then he gets brutally gunned down in the high school bathroom. Damn. WOW. Ouch. And when Edward Norton finds him, wow. Man. And then you think and look back, due to the way the story was told, and see that it was all inevitable from long before. That's all I have to say about that.

Mufasa- The Lion King
I did not know I could get so sad over a cartoon lion. Man. But watch the video and tell me you do not want to tear up. The part at the end where Simba goes under Musafa's paw to cuddle after he realizes he's dead- SO sad. And, to top it off, scar blames it on him and send him away.

So there you go kids, the best movie deaths. Great list!!! As always, comments are appreciated and let me know what I left off.


steve said...

I think the Jewish guy in "Saving Private Ryan" would make my list

Thorzul said...

How about this from "Commando"?

Matrix: Let off some steam, Bennett.

Not a punch to the stomach by any means, but very visceral with the steam pipe, the exhaust, and the punchline.

Tony Brown said...

Hmm, I feel the slow knife to the gut definitely should've been in tier 4, but you can't fit 'em all in there.

Daniel said...

Just finished watching Gran Torino. While you could kind of see the death coming it was still a definite gut punch. Especially after the old racist starts to do some good.