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Top 10 Epic Death Scenes by British Actors

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Paul Grover
Often times upsetting, other times graphic, but sometimes, just plain epic! Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Epic Death Scenes by British Actors. It’s a perhaps surprising skill amongst British acting circles, but we’re really pretty good at brutal, unexpected, emotional and unforgettable deaths. For this list, we’re counting down the best of the best, but be warned, there are spoilers and mature content aplenty! Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Epic Death Scenes by British Actors


Often times upsetting, other times graphic, but sometimes, just plain epic! Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Epic Death Scenes by British Actors.

It’s a perhaps surprising skill amongst British acting circles, but we’re really pretty good at brutal, unexpected, emotional and unforgettable deaths. For this list, we’re counting down the best of the best, but be warned, there are spoilers and mature content aplenty!

#10: Alec Guinness
“Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope” (1977)


After a rewatch (or several) of “A New Hope,” it becomes clear that Luke Skywalker never actually knew Ben Kenobi for all that long. But that didn’t make his death any less traumatic for the space farmboy, or the audience for that matter. The ordeal becomes even more tragic in hindsight, once you realise it was Luke’s own father who struck the death blow to his mentor. But, in retrospect, it also becomes clear that this was a strategic sacrifice made on Obi-Wan’s part, with the Jedi becoming even more powerful once he’s struck down. So, it’s not all bad.

#9: Michael Gambon
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (2009)


From one wise, white bearded, wizard-like figure making an unselfish sacrifice for the young hero of the story… To another wise, white bearded, actual wizard’s unselfish sacrifice for the young hero of the story. Hindsight’s again a kicker here, as we later learn that Snape only delivered the spell that killed Dumbledore because the Hogwarts headmaster had instructed him to do so. Still, these slow-mo scenes are just as devastating in live-action as they were on the page. We’re not crying, you’re crying!

#8: Gary Oldman
“Léon: The Professional” (1994)


Gary Oldman has suffered so many on screen deaths over the years, you could probably fill a list consisting of only his performances. But of all Oldman’s unfortunate, incredible or unenviable ends, we’ve singled out the scene where he truly goes out with a bang. Playing the corrupt cop Norman Stansfield, here he is getting blown to bits by the eponymous assassin Léon. It’s another tear-jerker of an entry though, as Léon bows out in the blast as well, giving everything to avenge the murders of his young apprentice’s family.

#7: Gerard Butler
“300” (2006)


It’s yet another heroic sacrifice, as after dining in Hell, we can only assume Gerard Butler’s Leonidas made it to heaven. He and his two hundred and ninety-nine fellow warriors give a quite literal bloody good go at overcoming an army that greatly outnumbers their own. Eventually, it takes possibly an even higher number of arrows to keep the mighty king of Sparta down for good. And all after he comes oh so close to taking the Persian God-King Xerxes with him!

#6: Sean Connery
“The Untouchables” (1987)


Sean Connery dodged a lot of bullets in his James Bond days, but he’s not so lucky here, as he portrays Jimmy Malone - one of the only honest cops during Al Capone’s infamous era of organized crime. Toward the end of “The Untouchables”, it looks like the veteran officer might just make it out alive, after he taunts a would-be assassin - who’s crept into his apartment - for bringing a knife to a gunfight. Little does Malone know, however, that the hit-man has back up in the form of a Tommy Gun wielding ally.

#5: Christopher Lee
“Dracula” (1958)


A vampire dying by sunlight may not seem like an entirely original concept nowadays (what with Vamps having taken over all corners of pop culture), but this was 1958, and Dracula's slow, gruesome death was decidedly graphic for its time. The scene is helped by the fact that its arguably one of the greatest Dracula, and all-round villain, actors playing the role - Christopher Lee. And contemporary viewers will detect a “Star Wars” theme here, as it’s fellow “Wars” villain Peter Cushing who deals Lee his most iconic end!

#4: Sean Bean
“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)


If there’s one actor who can rival the death tolls of even the likes of Christopher Lee and Gary Oldman, it’s Sean Bean! Though in this scene he’s not on the receiving end of quite as many arrows as Gerard Butler in “300”, Bean’s Boromir still takes a shed full – for one of the most memorable moments in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. In death, Boromir achieves the redemption he had sought, after previously being seduced by the lure of the one ring. Facing up to the Uruk-hai in a sensational show of defiance, forgiveness is the least this hero deserves!

#3: David Warner
“The Omen” (1976)


It doesn’t get much more brutal than a good old-fashioned decapitation. Although, this isn’t exactly a beheading of the traditional variety. Satanic forces are clearly at work, as a pane of glass is sent flying from a runaway truck, taking the head of David Warner’s unfortunate character, Keith Jennings, clean off! Unexpected and absolutely shocking on a first watch, the multiple angles ensure that even those who shield their eyes will most likely still end up getting a view of the demise. It’s that good, it deserves a few replays after all!

#2: John Hurt
“Alien” (1979)


Put yourself in Kane’s shoes. You’ve had a facehugging alien creature latch itself onto you, immobilising you entirely at first… But now it’s released its grip, coiled up and died, leaving you seemingly free to laugh about it with your colleagues over tea. But no. Because another extraterrestrial monster is planted in your insides, and it wants to join the party – so it bursts out of your chest just when you’re least expecting it. Indigestion, this definitely isn’t. John Hurt’s horrific fate in “Alien” has been mimicked multiple times since, but never topped.

#1: Alan Rickman
“Die Hard” (1988)


An Alan Rickman character caused an epic death scene from earlier in this list, but here he’s on the receiving end – for a pinnacle moment in the action movie genre. Face-to-face with Bruce Willis’ legendary John McClane, but also clinging for his life, hanging from a tower block he’s spent the whole film terrorizing, here we see Hans Gruber breathe his last. Gruber sets an unbeatable benchmark as an all action villain, so it’s only fitting he should suffer a sensational sendoff. It doesn’t get more dramatic than this slow motion, silent plunge from a skyscraper. “Yippee ki-yay”... you now the rest!
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