Top 10 Dramatic Movie Deaths

Script written by Richard Bush. Whoever said there’s no glory in death? In this video, WatchMojo.com counts our picks for the top 10 dramatic movie deaths. These are the cinema deaths that offered up heavy doses of anguish and theatrics rolled into one, whether through brilliant dialogue or terrific visuals. Just to be clear, we’re considering both good and bad characters; however, we’re excluding children’s demises and the deaths of stop-motion animated characters. Oh yeah, and you probably guessed it, but SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users Daniel John, Sam Ricketts, simon, Cal Smith, kishimotofelids, Mattyhull1, AvrilLavigneandAFI, Tong Wei Lun Jerald, Josh3000, JHGuitar2000, Andrew A. Dennison, Matt Foster, WolfC7, Benet Gladwin, veniethegreek and LordJeffries for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Richard Bush.

Top 10 Dramatic Movie Deaths


Whoever said there’s no glory in death? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting our picks for the top 10 dramatic movie deaths.

These are the cinema deaths that offered up heavy doses of anguish and theatrics rolled into one, whether through brilliant dialogue or terrific visuals. Just to be clear, we’re considering both good and bad characters; however, we’re excluding children’s demises and the deaths of stop-motion animated characters. Oh yeah, and you probably guessed it, but SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Roy Batty
“Blade Runner” (1982)

Although we get a series of sci-fi-packed action sequences leading up to this movie’s climax, it’s the mesmerizing monologue that captivates us most. Though he’s the cold and calculating Replicant baddie for the entirety of the film, Roy saves Deckard’s life – and then expresses to his enemy his sadness about the fact that all the memories he’s acquired will be lost. Roy Batty then bows his head and passes on, right after dramatically letting a dove fly free.

#9: Walt Kowalski
“Gran Torino” (2008)

Walt’s a resentful widower who’s angry his community is being overrun by Asian immigrants. However, he eventually comes to care for his neighbors, learning the value of friendship. With a gang of thugs terrorizing his district, Walt steps up to confront them. Due to his reputation as an angry, gun-wielding crank, we expect him to pull a piece on the bad guys, but no; he gives us some classic Eastwood grilling before sacrificing himself for the good of his friends by letting himself be shot in cold blood.

#8: Randle McMurphy
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” (1975)

Mac is a criminal who’s accepted a stint in a mental institution to avoid real jail time, but he ultimately pumps new energy into the lives of his glum fellow patients. However, with the oppressive Nurse Ratched around, his tomfoolery is soon halted by way of a lobotomy. The patient known as “The Chief” can’t bear to see the empty shell of his friend silenced and broken, so he decides to do him a kindness and puts Mac out of his misery.

#7: The Wicked Witch of the West
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939)

Witches are a bitch to kill. After terrorizing them through Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West comes face-to-face with Dorothy and friends in a climactic final showdown. Dorothy works on pure instinct when the Witch sets her companion the Scarecrow on fire, tossing a nearby bucket of water over him. In her haste, Dorothy accidentally soaks the Witch – which is ironically the easiest way to end her rule of terror. The slow melting and agonized screams make this death extra-dramatic – what a world, indeed.

#6: Tony Montana
“Scarface” (1983)

When his home and ultimately the drug empire he has created are breached, Tony Montana – aka Scarface – is cornered in his office. Scrambling to protect himself the only way he knows how, Tony blasts his way out of captivity with some cinematic charm. But this can only end one way for Scarface: although he’s hit by hails of gunfire and stays standing, Tony is ultimately finished off by a shotgun blast to the back.

#5: Darth Vader
“Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” (1983)

Throughout the majority of the “Star Wars” saga, Darth Vader is without a doubt the evil one. However, when his son Luke Skywalker ends up locked in battle against him and the equally villainous Emperor Palpatine, Vader’s paternal instinct finally kicks in. While getting his hands dirty by defeating the Emperor himself, Vader incurs fatal wounds. But before he succumbs, the man once known as Anakin is able to have a final father-son chat with Luke.

#4: Marion Crane
“Psycho” (1960)

Fugitive office worker Marion Crane decides to stopover for a night in the Bates Motel, and to cleanse herself of her crime, she hops in the shower. However, when the jealous persona of Norman Bates’ mother gets a hold of her, things go a little crazy. Aside from being violent and visually stunning, this dramatic movie death is accompanied by one of the most spine-chilling soundtracks ever, with each slice of the blade punctuated by ear-piercing violin.

#3: William Wallace
“Braveheart” (1995)

After fighting for the liberation of the Scots – and making many enemies in the process – William Wallace is finally captured and put on display. With Braveheart laid out crucifix-style for the whole town to see, crowds gather to watch as he tortured into begging for mercy. However, with his last ounce of determination and passion, he chooses not to give in and instead proclaims loudly and proudly what he believes in. But his dramatic final declaration does not save him from the executioner’s blade.

#2: Boromir
“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)

This Fellowship member allowed the One Ring’s dark power to consume him, almost leading him to snatch it from the hobbit Frodo. To restore himself in the eyes of his friends, Boromir attempts to save the Fellowship from the deadly and grueling battle with the Uruk-Hai; and that’s when an arrow finds his chest. With the sound fading and the action slowing, we feel as Boromir begins to slip away. Breathing his last breaths, the hero has a heart-to-heart with Aragorn, before being given an appropriate sendoff.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Quint “Jaws” (1975)
- Bonnie and Clyde “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967)
- Eli Sunday “There Will Be Blood” (2007)
- Thelma & Louise “Thelma & Louise” (1991)
- Multiple “Reservoir Dogs” (1992)

#1: Sgt. Elias
“Platoon” (1986)

Elias is the soldier most likely to do the right thing. But his reputation for moral strength ultimately leads to his demise. Nervous that Elias’ testimony will see him court-martialed for an illegal murder, Sergeant Barnes ruthlessly guns him down to cover his tracks. Making his downfall even more dramatic is Elias’ last-ditch attempt at survival – with his platoon fleeing, Elias runs towards them, stumbling as he’s sprayed with bullets from pursuing soldiers. Punctuated by slow motion and dramatic music, Elias finally throws his hands up and succumbs.

Do you agree with our list? Which movie death did you think was the most dramatic? For more spectacular top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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