Get Paid To Promote, Get Paid To Popup, Get Paid Display Banner

Movie Deaths

The idea to do this website first began with this List. I saw my dad watching TOP GUN, and wondered where Goose’s demise would rank all-time. Movie deaths are tricky things. Not everyone responds the same way. A woman might cry herself hoarse at BEACHES, whereas a man might hang himself from having to watch it. Other times we react with humor to death in movies, perhaps to escape the tension, or for other reasons. (Think the lawyer getting chomped by the T-Rex in JURASSIC PARK).

I’ve tried to make a fair list, not just with that I would choose, but representative of the Readers. For example, I might include the death of Optimus Prime in THE TRANSFORMERS MOVIE, but I doubt very many of you have seen that. Other omissions are deaths like Mufasa in THE LION KING, which got to me, but for many it was too early in the film to have completely bonded with him. Then there is Satine in MOULIN ROUGE. This is emotional for me, but since Satine dies in the first ten seconds, and then we go in reverse and come back to that point, by the time she dies again I think the sadness is over the situation, the ‘What ifs?’ and ‘Why cant’s?’ than her death. After a lot of soul searching, I decided the same criteria applied to ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST. So I want you to know I tried, and even then I couldn’t quite do it. But feel free to disagree.


#10 Spock (STAR TREK II) – One of only two movies I’m including that I haven’t seen, because I have it on overwhelming authority that this is very emotional.

#9 Darth Vader (RETURN OF THE JEDI) – If this were solely a personal list I would put this much higher. In the greater scheme of things Darth’s death (or Anakin, as by then he is once again) is inevitable, to pay for his sins, and to make his sacrifice for his son meaningful, but I remember watching it, and feeling so upset that just when he comes to Luke’s side of the Force, and they can be a family, it’s over.

#8 Goose (TOP GUN) TBS has played this movie so much now that we forget how emotional Goose’s death was. Maverick is devastated, and almost quits being a pilot, until thankfully the script sends Commies to threaten us, and only he can save the day.

#7 Jenny (LOVE STORY) – I’m sure most women would have this a little bit higher, but the inevitability of the whole thing dulls the edges a bit. Still, I’m right there with you. Jenny and Oliver deserve to be happy, and when Oliver swallows his pride to go to his dad for money and his dad say, “What did you do: get a girl in trouble?” and Oliver STILL won’t tell his dad what’s going on? Heartbreak city. (By the Way: for those of you who haven’t seen the film, I didn’t give much away, and for guys: even though this was 1970, it’s still surprisingly fresh. Rent this to watch with your girl and you will reap the benefits, if you know what I mean.)

#6 Bambi’s Mother (BAMBI) – I’m guessing most of you would have this right near the top but I can’t in good conscious do that because—and I know I’m going to get hate mail for this—I have never seen BAMBI. Still any movie that inspires a Far Side cartoon (all the animals talking about where they were when they found out Bambi’s mom died) has to be a cultural touchstone.

#5 Mickey (ROCKY III) – I was a huge A-Team fan, but when Clubber Lang takes Mickey out, I have never wanted to kill a guy more. Rocky was simply lost without Mickey!

#4 Boromir (FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING) – There are so many moments you can pick from here, but at the end of KING I think we’re just emotional anyway, and with Gandalf there is so much action going on we don’t have time to process it. But with Boromir, death is tragic and ironic and horrible. A good man who has succumbed to the lies of the Ring, Boromir makes his play, only to realize his folly. He then rights himself, and heroically sacrifices himself to give the Hobbits time. Peter Jackson wisely slows things up and lets us experience the full brunt of emotion. Simply brutal.

#3 William Wallace (BRAVEHEART) – Yes this death is inevitable, and there are others we could pick (his wife, Hamish’s dad) which are emotional, but earlier in the film. Even though you know it’s coming, you’re so hoping Wallace can unite the clans successfully and make it work, and when Mel Gibson is betrayed by the Earl of Bruce…the look on his face is the best acting moment of his career.

#2 Jack (TITANIC) – Before it became in fashion to hate on the film to show how cool you were, the entire world was mesmerized by this movie, and the sadness at the end. James Cameron had a difficult task: show us 1500 people dying—quite awfully in this historic event—but get us to care about two people. It is a credit to how well both leads do that by the time we’re over we do care about them and want them to make it. One small quibble, though: that thing she was floating on, couldn’t she have scooted over just a little?

#1 E.T. (E.T.) – Yes, I realize that E.T. comes back to life, but then again, I’m guessing so did Spock. I remember sitting in the theater simply devastated when ET went down (not knowing it was a metaphor for Christ, I didn’t know he was coming back.) This is another movie that you almost had to see in its time, as I don’t know if it would affect kids the same way today. But it did me.

And the most emotional movie death ever (so traumatic it doesn’t even get a number)….

#0 Old Yeller (OLD YELLER) – What can I say? There ain’t the words. The end of this movie epitomizes the sadness, stupidness, and helplessness of death. If ever anyone deserved to live—after all he did for the family—it was Old Yeller.

Sniff Sniff

Up next: Disney Songs