Everybody loves a great death scene in a film. Whether it's a hero who dies tragically at the end of the story, or a villain who had it coming, death scenes are memorable. (Just think about all those countless teenagers who died in horror films.)
There are obviously so many memorable deaths, it's hard to pick but we've managed to come up with what we believe are the top 5 death scenes of all time. These are scenes that have become a part of our group lexicon.
The infamous Psycho shower scene single-handedly gave Alfred Hitchcock the highest-grossing film of his career and created a precedent that Game of Thrones would use time and time again by killing off main characters.
In hindsight , it's easy to forget how much of a risk Hitchcock took in creating the scene in the first place. Janet Leigh was an American icon who at that time had already worked with a number of greats including Orson Welles, Errol Flynn and Gary Cooper. Killing her off in such a shocking and brutal way might not have gone well with a lot of audiences at the time.
For years, the scene has been one of the finest examples of what's possible in cinema when editing, shot selection, and a healthy dose of suspense all coalesce together in perfect unity to best serve the story being told.
Bonnie & Clyde
Happily hiding out at the home of an accomplice, the most famous lovers-turned-criminal duo played by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway don't know that they would be killed when the authorities laid a trap for them. They stop to help a man switch a spare tire and were ambushed by unseen cops. The pair share one last look of love before they're positively riddled with machine-gun fire.
It's grisly unsentimental, and a fitting conclusion to the picture that reinvented the crime film and one of the greatest love stories of all time.
Few movie deaths have become as ingrained in the popular culture quite like the off-screen murder of Bambi's mother in Disney's 1942 film. It's become a rite of passage for small children everywhere to gather around a television and watch Bambi run through the forest before a crackling shotgun blast kills his mom. As little Bambi shouts, "Mother! Mother!" with snow swirling around him. It’s a scene that has stayed will the viewers for well into adulthood.
The Wicked Witch
In the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West is a green-skinned witch dressed in a long black dress with a black pointed hat. This representation of the Wicked Witch has become a standard for what witches resemble and an archetype of what we think of as witches today.
The Wicked Witch is killed when Dorothy throws a bucket of water on her, in an attempt to put out a fire the Witch bestowed on the Scarecrow. The Witch cries “You cursed brat! Look what you’ve done! I’m melting” in the iconic scene that would be remembered for generations.
After the Wicked Witch of the West is dead, her soldiers are glad to be free of her power, and quote "Hail to Dorothy! The Wicked Witch is dead!" The Wicked Witch ranks number 4 in the American Film Institute's list of the 50 Best Movie Villains of All Time, making her the highest ranking female villain.
In Return of the Jedi, Vader and the Emperor supervise the final stages of the second Death Star's construction. Thinking that there is still good in his father, Darth Vader, Luke surrenders to him and tries to convince him to turn from the dark side.
Vader takes Luke to the Death Star to meet the Emperor. While there, Emperor Palpatine tempts Luke to give in to his anger, which leads to Vader dueling with Luke once again.
The Emperor entreats Luke to kill Vader and take his place. Luke refuses and the Emperor tortures him with his Force lightning. Unwilling to let his son die, Vader throws the Emperor down a reactor chute to his death, but is mortally wounded by his master's lightning in the process.
The redeemed Anakin Skywalker asks Luke to remove his mask, and admits that there was still good in him after all as he dies peacefully in his son's arms.
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