The Top 10 Cinematic Ways to Die

by mhofstatter   September 14, 2010 at 3:00PM  |  Views: 25,225

Let's be honest, when we go to the movies, we don't mind seeing people get blown up, decapitated, or thrown off a ledge.  It's these uniquely cool death scenes that made going to the movies during the era of bad '80s action movies worthwhile.  Well, that along with memorable one-liners and exploitative nude scenes.  In honor of the season premiere of 1000 Ways to Die, on Tuesday, September 14 at 10PM/9c, we're saluting some of these great moments.  Let the bedlam begin!

Source: Gramercy Pictures

 

10. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda (Easy Rider)

Source: Columbia Pictures

It's a stoned groove, man.  Follow the adventures of Billy and Captain America as they smuggle cocaine from Mexico to Los Angeles and discover America in the process.  Directed by Dennis Hopper, Easy Rider became the voice of a generation and all but invented the independent film movement, but that's not what we're here to talk about.  As they make their way across the country Billy and the Captain smoke "grass," make love with beautiful women on communes, and introduce a young Jack Nicholson to the ways of the wacky tobacky.  But it's the film's final moments that resonate all these years later.  Following the untimely baseball bat death of Nicholson's character, Captain and Billy return to the glory of the highway only to be accosted by a bunch of hillbillies in a pickup truck carrying a loaded shotgun.  Idle threats quickly turn to mayhem as Billy is blasted off his motorcycle and left with a gaping wound in his gut.  When the Captain attends to his dying friend, the hillbillies return and blast him as well, thus ending their journey in an abrupt and cold manner.  Ride on, Easy Riders.

 

9. James Caan (The Godfather)

Source: Paramount Pictures

Shhh, don't tell anyone that the Jewish guy from the Bronx is playing the eldest son to cinema's preeminent Italian family.  By the time James Caan (a.k.a. "Sonny Corleone") bit the big one in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather he had been beaten around like a rag doll with a volley of "machine gun" fire, employing the largest number of "squibs" used in a scene since Bonnie & Clyde.  The Godfather's epic tale of you-came-at me-so-now-I'm-going-to-come-at-you backfires for the Corleone family when Don Barzini orders a hit on the dynamic and hotheaded Sonny Corleone.  As he heads to a meeting at New York's Jones Beach he is stopped at a toll booth and unloaded upon by a countless number of Tommy guns.  Shortly after Sonny Corleone was seen doing TV spots for the Swiss cheese people.

 

8. Mel Gibson (Braveheart)

Source: Paramount Pictures

They may take our lives, but they'll never take our FREEEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOOOM! or so bellowed Mel Gibson during a climactic battle in the Oscar-winning Braveheart.   Yes, that's right.  Before he was getting arrested in Malibu and having his conversations recorded, Mel Gibson was a decorated actor and filmmaker.  Taking on the lead role of "William Wallace," the legendary Scottish hero, Gibson's character butted up against the English left and right all in the hopes of gaining a little peace for the Scots.  Unwilling to compromise he takes on King Edward's Longshanks army head on, only to be set up by his friend Robert the Bruce.  Captured and tried for high treason, Wallace is executed . . . but only if it were that easy.  Wallace (and most of this is witnessed off-camera) was hung, eviscerated with his bowels burned before him, and then beheaded before being cut into four parts.  The real Wallace also had his head preserved in tar before being placed upon a spike on London Bridge.  Gibson's portrayal of the torture sequence left us in tears, but have no fear, we still get to see most of the good stuff.

 

7. John Hurt (Alien)

Source: 20th Century Fox

Some people prefer Ridley Scott's Alien, while others prefer James Cameron's Aliens, but only one has a chestburster and the iconic John Hurt.  As a crew member of the spaceship Nostromo, a commercial towing ship, Hurt is the first one of the crew to go down on what becomes something reminiscent of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians. During a crew meal, Hurt's character "Kane" falls violently ill, only to have an alien creature leap out of his chest cavity.  How's that for high drama?  Needless to say, Kane does not survive the gaping wound in his chest left by the deadly alien creature.  The scene was later spoofed in Mel Brooks' Spaceballs, in which Hurt states in his best British accent, "Oh, no. Not again," right before this chestburster runs off and sings "Hello, Ma Baby" à la Michigan J. Frog.

 

6. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway (Bonnie and Clyde)

Source: Warner Bros.

This movie broke all the rules.  Sex, violence, um . . . violence.  Not to mention the fact that it has the once-ravishing beauty Faye Dunaway in it.  This is pre-Mommy Dearest, mind you.  When two of the original gangsters, Bonnie and Clyde, take to the road there is no one that can stand in their way.  That is unless you're a hail of gunfire.  Set up by their good buddy, C.W.'s father, whose house they were staying at, they are left on the side of the road during a tire change, only to be unloaded upon by the police, defining the use of the term "excessive force." True to life, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, played here by Dunaway and Warren Beatty set the bar high for cinematic gangsters, but ultimately they still taught us a valuable lesson: crime doesn't pay, but it sure looks like fun!

 

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