Which Movie Character That Died Should Have Lived?

Did you feel cheated when Jack slid beneath the icy waters of the North Atlantic after rescuing Rose? Did Marion Crane deserve better? Was the ultimate fate of General Zod totally, completely, utterly, desirably avoidable and absolutely unnecessary, despite what Man of Steel screenwriter David Goyer might say? (I say: Not an impossible situation. Not an impossible choice.)

What about King Kong? Dino said, “When the monkey die, people gonna cry”—would you have wanted a different ending? Which movie character truly deserved a different outcome?

Here’s Movie Irv with his answer:

Towards the end of Clint Eastwood’s brilliant Unforgiven, there’s a great line: We’ve all got it comin’, kid. But maybe, in at least one film, you felt like the death of a film character was the wrong choice to make, and the character’s death was undeserved, even within the framework of the story; maybe you just hated to see the actor or actress playing that character “die” before your eyes.

Let’s also look to the Eastwood classic White Hunter, Black Heart, where Jeff Fahey, playing the screenwriter of The African Queen, tells John Huston (played by Clint) that the Bogart and Hepburn characters deserve to live at the end of their story, and that insisting upon that makes him a “swell God” who controls the lives of his characters from on high.

Here’s your chance to be a swell God: What dearly departed silver screen character do you “save”?

  • Gord Jackson

    From 1954 I save Gibson’s (Richrad Todd’s) screen dog in THE DAM BUSTERS.

    • mike j

      john wayne —the cowboys, paul newman—hombre

  • ganderson

    I’ve got to turn the question around – which movie character lived who should have died? ‘West Side Story’ is of course based on ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ wherein both leads, R and J, end up dead. I’ve never understood the producers’ decision to not have Maria kill herself at the end of the drama. It certainly would have cemented the pathos and stupid, needless tragedy of the feud between the Montagues/Jets and the Capulets/Sharks. Has anyone ever heard an explanation? If it’s good enough for the Bard, why not good enough for Broadway?

  • Wayne P.

    Two picks: John Wayne in 1976′s “The Shootist” because it was not only his last film, but he was going to both die in the film (and, sadly, in real life 3 years later) of cancer had he lived to the end anyway. But, my all-time most perplexing choice for a final fatality has to be 1968′s cult-classic “Night of the Living Dead”. How can you take out, by means of a case of mistaken identity no less, the films sole surving good guy/non-zombie character after all he went through to outlast the baddies to that point?

    • GeorgeDAllen

      Wayne P, your second pick is such a great one, because it is one of the most memorable and unexpected demises in horror movie history. It seems so unfair, but Duane Jones’ cruelly buying the farm is definitely key to making NOTLD the masterpiece it is.

  • Wayne P.

    One more among many: “On Borrowed Time” 1939, starring Lionel Barrymore. I know Mr. Brink took out the rest of his family but why does ‘Death’ have to claim little Pud (Bobs Watson) at the end as well? Way too cruel and just so everybody else could go on dying in a fantasy movie, even if it is a classic!

  • Frank DeCavalcante

    In Stephen King’s “The Mist” a New England grocery store is beset by monstrous creatures which savagely murder the citizenry. The main character, Thomas Jane, tries to save his young son, his girlfriend and an elderly couple. He thinks they are all doomed to be tortured to death, so he shoots them with the four bullets he has left in his gun. About five minutes later, the mist lifts and the other grocery store occupants are brought to safety. Jane is devastated by what he has done, killed four innocent people to protect them from the danger that no longer existed.

    On a more serious note, Roberto Begnini’s “Live Is Beautiful” follows the fate of a number of Italian Jews who are sent to a concentration camp towards the end of World War II. As annoying as Begnini can be, he is the goofy hero of the movie, trying to bring succor to his fellow inmates. The film maintains a sort of light quality and the viewer is lulled into a false sense of security. Then, suddenly, while the guards are patrolling the camp, they discover our hero and kill him. The feel good attitude of the movie comes to an abrupt ending, for which most viewers were not prepared. I had liked the movie up to this point but then felt betrayed and angry at this event. Fortunately, the other major characters do survive, but the film had built up the Begnini character so that he is seen growing from a clown to a hero, and then….he is murdered in cold blood.

  • jbourne5181

    von ryan’s express with sinatra is a good example but I was upset when michael beihn was killed at the end of the first terminator movie

  • gliznorph

    I would nominate William Shatner’s Captain Kirk in “Star Trek Generations”. It isn’t that I objected to them killing off the character, it was the kind of petty and meaningless way that they did it that bothered me. As big and heroic as that character was I think thet he deserved a bigger and more heroic death than he got. I’m thinking of something more like the way that Data died at the end of “Star Trek Nemesis”, going out with a bang (literally) saving the ship and the Earth.

  • Cara

    Okay, don’t laugh, but why did they have to kill Hooch in Turner and Hooch? Hooch had shown his devotion and bravery. (Spoiler alert) Couldn’t they have just wounded him. I hate it when I see a dog being killed. I also think this is one of Hanks’ most underrated movies. I heavily invested in both lead characters, and I wanted them both to live.

    • Kate

      Yeah it ruined the movie

  • Alfie

    A few are Debra Winger in “Terms of Endearment,” Val Kilmer in “Tombstone,” Olivia de Haviland in GWTW (she and Ashley, the gentle couple, could have made a spinoff sequel), Sissy Spacek in “Carrie” (again, a sequel), and Omar Sharif in “Dr. Zhivago,” Such great characters could have continued on in additional films …. provided, of course, the Hollywood mentality existed and the appropriate screenwriters could have been put to work.