What’s the Best Movie Death Scene?

When you think of the great movie death scenes, what comes to mind? The most heartbreaking? The funniest? The most surprising? The strangest? Movie Irv chimes in on the cinematic demise that left the biggest impression on him:

Hard to top that one. Unless of course you have a better pick?

  • Wayne P.

    Nice Pick, Irv and my all time fave movie! its a tough choice but will have to go with my fave actor of all time Lon Chaney Sr. in his most memorable film role as Erik in Phantom of the Opera. As the mob is about to rush him and maul him he holds up his bony hand as a closed fist and points to what might be inside it as if it might be a bomb or some other deadly peril hes gonna soon fling on them flashing his famous devilish yet smirky grin…but, alas…when they still keep closing in for the kill from both sides, he opens the hand and lo there was nothing in there at all! Great finale and, of course, then they pick him up and chuck him in the Paris river Seine (if memory serves) for the exclamation and anti-climatic point after death (touche’down in french;).

  • OZ ROB

    ” He was some kind of a man ” Quinlan`s ( Welles ) death scene , Touch of Evil , 1958
    * Tolly Devlin dying among the trash cans in the back alley with zoom to clenched fist, Underworld USA, 1960..
    * Maciek staggering across wasteland with chilling laughter and curling up dying in foetal position, Ashes And Diamonds, 1958

  • frillbot

    The scene between Paul Newman & Richard Jaekel in ‘Sometimes A Great Notion’ ( Jaekel trapped beneath a huge log in a river….& Newman trying to free him ) It’s on YouTube as ‘Amazing Scene’

    • http://www.facebook.com/grome.bepps Grome Bepps

      I still cannot figure out how the hell they filmed that without drowning poor Richard J.!?! I remember and interview with Paul Newman on the tonight show years ago, when that movie was coming out,and they showed that scene. Newman said everyone in the theater was sliding back in their chairs, going under water along with Richard Jaeckel.

      • frillbot

        It was a year or two ago that I remember reading in the ‘comments’ below that YouTube clip….( or it could’ve been on ‘Wikipedia’? ) something about Richard Jaeckel had some sort of ‘talent’ ( going back to his college days…)…or ability for holding his breath underwater for long periods of time. Unique enough, that it may have aided him in landing this part. I’d love to see some behind-the-scenes footage though.

    • mike

      Yep. That’s the best.

    • Ladybug

      Yes, totally…. I’d love to see this one again. It’s never on TV. I’ll check youtube.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bruce.walsh.9 Bruce Walsh


  • Richard

    King of the world, Ma, King of the world!

    • Gary B

      Actually it’s “Top of the world, Ma.” King of the world was from Titanic

  • bonaparte3

    The final showdown in THE WILD BUNCH.

  • http://twitter.com/LarryCox6 Larry J. Cox

    Blanche dying out on the beach, in …Baby Jane, as the crowd gathers around Jane and she goes into her written a letter to daddy act, thinking she is a star again.

  • Nat Tunes

    How about Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke ?

    • http://twitter.com/Bryankr Bryan Ruffin

      I especially liked the idea of him repeating the line”What we got here, is a failure….to communicate!”

  • terry

    Walter Houston as George M. Cohan’s father in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” I cry every time I watch that death scene with Cagney breaking down and sobbing.

  • supernursealana

    Mine is when Mesala dies after the big race in the Circus of Rome in BEN HUR. Very haunting…

  • James

    Two choices:

    The entire world, “On the Beach” Eerie and moving

    Lt D’Arcy, “So Proudly We Hail” — an American woman — suicide bomb

    • moviebuffo

      As the original post suggests, the choice depends on your criteria.

      1. “Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Goodbye.” The whole movie prepares you to weep at that moment.

      2. Agreeing with Dick above, Edward G. Robinson from Soylent Green — a bad movie redeemed by a single scene.

      3. And thanks to James for reminding us of the last scene in On the Beach. Lordy, the sight of the traffic lights still working haunts me still.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Murray/100001637744843 John Murray

    I love that scene where Brian is slowly passing away

  • Henry Jones

    El Cid, when Heston rides out on his horse !!

  • FalmouthBill

    Smiler Grogan [ Jimmy Durante ] in It;s a Mad, Mad. Mad World, when I “kick the bucket” that’s the way to go making someone smile !

  • Richard

    Charles Bronson, James Coburn. Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter in “The Magnificent Seven”

    Not to mention Eli Wallach. Each one of these guys goes down with class.

  • fbusch

    The wild bunch finale, same for mag. seven, runnerup, the lawyer on toilet in Jurrasic park

  • Whiskey

    Kirk Douglas as an old-time cowboy, on his way to Mexico and freedom, dying on a modern asphalt highway, with his horse, in LONELY ARE THE BRAVE. I saw it on my eighth birthday, and it changed my life forever.

  • Remo

    Faye Dunaway in Chinatown — very disturbing and a very unhappy ending as evil wins out once again

    • nicolas

      True it did, but then Jack decided to put a happier spin on it in his sequel of many years later, The Two Jakes.

  • Julie

    My favorite death scene, only because it is so emotional for me and every time I see it I cry with tears and all is “Marley”. The scene in the vet’s office with Marley and his owner was so real and heart wrenching. I have to stop talking about it, or I will start crying again!

  • Dick Felov

    The scene with Edward G. Robinson from SOYLENT GREEN.

    • Bruce Reber

      The “going home” attendant asks Sol Roth: “Favorite color? – Orange, I guess”. “Favorite kind of music? – Classical (light classical).” EGR’s death scene was particularly poignant because in real life he had terminal cancer and knew he had only a short time to live. He died shortly after “Soylent Green” was completed.

  • C.J. Gelfand

    The end of Million Dollar Baby. I can’t stop crying every time I see it.

  • Sarah

    Double Indemnity, “Sorry baby, I’m not buying”.

  • mperry

    Bette Davis in Dark Victory – knowing it’s coming but sending everyone away so her husband will know she was strong enough to deal with it by herself. Going up the stairs, blind, laying down to “take a nap” knowing she would never wake up – as a child I alway cryed and still tears well up in my eyes. Classic and classy.

  • bojanelb

    Mr Chips. The first one 1939, Robert Donat. Just a gentle passing, the way we all might want to do it

  • Harold Herman

    “Is this the end of Rico?” – Robinson in Little Caesar

  • Moviepete

    John Hurt in Elephant Man wanting to sleep like normal people can. Classic movie with a very sad/sweet ending.

  • Leo

    A tie between the death of KING KONG (1933) and the death of Roy Batty in BLADERUNNER (1982).

  • tony vega

    Best death scenes: Greta Garbo in CAMILLE
    Anna Magnani in ROME, OPEN CITY Giovanni Ribisi in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.gaudio.1 Gary Gaudio

    James Cagney in white heat ” made it may top of the world,” Faye runaway and warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde. Sam Jaffe in Ganga Din.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tjfdelaney Tim Delaney

      Pretty sure that Mad Magazine called her “Faye Runaway”. Although I admit the joke may have been intentional.

      • Bruce Reber

        Yes, Faye Runaway and Warren Booty in the hilarious satire “Balmy and Clod”!

  • John M

    Daughter-in-law (Theresa Wright) dies near end of movie “Mrs. Miniver” (Greer Garson)…..very emotional World War II death scene.


    THERE ARE several,,,,,,,Jennifer Jones-falling out of the elevator in THE TOWERING INFERNO,,,,Robert Shaw,attacked and eaten–JAWS,,Paul Newman-Robert Redford in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID,,Shelly Winters–heart attack,,THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE,,,Randy Quaid,saying tell my kids I love them as he goes into the spaceship ray and blows it and saves the world,,INDEPENDENCE DAY,,,Samuel L Jackson,getting grabbed and eatn by the shark in DEEP BLUE SEA….Jon Voight get thrown up by the ginat anaconda the winks at jennifer Lopez then dies,,,ANACONDA,,,,Barbara Stanwyck,talking on the phone as she sees the killer coming up the stairs to murder her,,,,SORRY WRONG NUMBER,,,,,Debra Winger saying goodbye to her sons,in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT,,,several more just my favorites

  • nicolas

    The two in Westerns that I can think of are the last death in Ride The High Country (I’m not religious but that aspect always touches me) and the last death in Once Upon A Time In The West. I also can’t forget the last lines of a man who might be dead not to long after the ending of the film in The Year Of Living Dangerously’ with Mel GIbson. Also the last death scene in Seven Men From Now. But perhaps the greatest death scene which I think many relish, is the one in the Charles Bronson film The Mechanic. “Bang, your dead”.

  • Tracy

    In “Imitation of Life” when Juanita Moore dies to be with the lambs and not the goats on Judgement Day. What a tearjerker of a Movie!!!

  • pat

    liz taylor in the last time i saw paris

  • Jim324

    Janet Leigh in the shower in the movie Psycho

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512485767 Gary Clure

    Sonny gets shot at the tollbooth, “The Godfather”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/raunya Ronnie Ammons

    the wagon driver in ‘Dances With Wolves’ ..

    • Cara

      The wolf and the horse in Dances with Wolves.

  • Maggie

    the death scene in LOVE STORY

  • loneranger

    Hands down, without a shadow of doubt, the Best Movie Death Scene Of All Time Is : The Ending of ” Bonnie & Clyde “.

    • Bruce Reber

      I totally agree. That along with Sonny Corleone’s death in “The Godfather” are the two best car amubush scenes in movie history.

  • jeanpierre150

    Ronald Colman at the end of ‘A Double Life’ – the whole of his past life seems to be in his eyes. A sublime screen actor.

  • Knight of Essohen

    Don’t forget Man of LaMancha with Peter OToole – going out singing his theme song…or Butch and Sundance charging into the rain of bullets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/todd.fennell.56 Todd Fennell

    Henry Fonda after being shot by Charles Bronson in a classic Gun fight in the Movie” Once upon a time in the west” also the best western draw/ duel scene,

  • http://www.facebook.com/grome.bepps Grome Bepps

    I totally agree with “supernursealana” – – I got the email about favorite death scenes, and went on the site ’cause I figured NO one would pick that one – and there it was, at the top! Stephen Boyd should have gotten an Oscar just for that scene! “It goes on, Judah, the race.” Best one ever!

    • Mike

      yes! haunting for sure

    • http://www.facebook.com/tjfdelaney Tim Delaney

      Especially since he lost the Oscar to a white guy playing an Arab in the same movie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grome.bepps Grome Bepps

    One more, I forgot about… Dustin Hoffman, on the bus, in MIDNIGHT COWBOY.

  • AlvaroPelayo

    By far, to me the best are: FRANK SINATRA in From Here To Eternity; JAMES CAGNEY in White Heat; JOHN WAYNE in The Alamo.

  • Lisanne

    Lillian Gish in “Broken Blossoms”, pushing her lips into a smile with her fingers.

  • dardavis01

    Garbo in Camille.

  • Neal

    James Cagney At The End In Angles With Dirty Faces

  • Caroline Jason

    Greta Garbo in Camille and when Melanie dies in Gone with the Wind! Both were very touching.

  • Cinemaniac

    A guilty pleasure: Gene Simmons getting injected with acid from his own mechanical spiders in the finale of “Runaway”. This guy didn’t make too many movies but he knew how to die in a spectacular way. Check out “Never Too Young to Die” and “Wanted: Dead or Alive” as other examples.

  • Doug

    Let us not forget Charlton Heston at the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes. and The Omega Man.

  • Doug

    Let us not forget Charleton Heston in Beneath the Planet of the Apes and The Omega Man.

  • Rose

    Probably Melanie in GWTW followed by the horrible, schmaltzy death of Jennifer in LOVE STORY (it is so overdone, but it still makes me cry – a lot) The death scene I can NOT stand is Jack in TITANIC — he was such a wimpy guy I did not shed even a little tear. Bette Davis in Dark Victory is also a good choice.

  • mike

    John Wayne in “The Cowboys”.

  • Detroit Phoenix

    Edward G. Robinson in “Soylent Green”…it’s beautiful. Worst death scene that I refuse to even watch? Mel Gibson in Braveheart. I hate it. Disgusting.

  • clearlynow.

    Sean Connery in the Untouchables. “What are you prepared to do now”. I think it clinched the academy award for him.

  • Twistie

    Any time Basil Rathbone dies on screen, it’s a great scene. Nobody could look as dead as Basil Rathbone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tjfdelaney Tim Delaney

      Good choice.

    • GeorgeDAllen

      “Nobody could look as dead as Basil Rathbone” has to be one of the great career appraisals. Kudos, and agreed. The cut to the expired Sir Guy’s vacant stare in “Adventures of Robin Hood” is top notch.

  • Tony

    So many good choices! But I’ll go with Bette Davis in DARK VICTORY – I cry every time. Stupidest death scene – Mel Gibson in BRAVEHEART.

  • Mjkody

    Between Brian’s Song and Love Story….

  • EPHG

    Could this be the end of Ricco?

  • http://timmcmullenmissivesandtomes.blogspot.com Tim McMullen

    Newman and Redford as “Butch and Sundance,” of course, and Terence Stamp in “Billy Budd.”

  • Scott M.

    Slim Pickens as Major T.J. “King” Kong in “Dr. Strangelove”; ridin’ that noo-ku-lar bomb like a bronco!

  • Virginia

    Bette Davis was good in Dark Victory, but I also liked the way she came out of that door shooting in The Letter, she was cool as a cucumber when she emptied that gun into her lover. I also liked the way Gene Tierney died in the Ghost and Mrs. Muir and even more in Leave Her to Heaven. And what about the way Randolph Scott keeled over in Mildred Pierce. Oh, and Charles Boyer in All this and Heaven Too. There are so many…………Never forget Richard Widmark’s maniacal laughter as he pushed that old lady down the steps in Kiss of Death……..

    • Cara

      Zachary Scott not Randolph Scott.

  • whatelks67

    the best death scene is heartbreaking, and it is in the movie, “China Beach” when they are underfire and the girl from the USO is put at the “check out counter” and she’s talking to this soldier as he’s dying, he’s telling her about the most beautiful girl he’s seen, and tells her theres a photo of the girl in his pocket, and the USO girl pulls it out, and it’s a photo of herself.

  • Jeffrey

    slim pickens & katy jurado after the shoot-out in the movie (pat garrett & billy the kid)

  • http://www.facebook.com/phyllis.thompson.581 Phyllis Thompson

    the shower scene in Pycho.

  • Bighoss

    Sonny Corleone getting gunned down at the toll booth–in The Godfather! Hurray for the Tataglias!
    Second favorite–Slim Pickens riding the nuke to glory in Dr. Strangelove.

    • Bighoss

      I don’t know who the other “Bighoss” is, but this is the only entry from THIS Bighoss.

  • Deb

    Laurence Olivier’s Heathcliff to Merle Oberon’s Catherine as she is dying and he is so lost…and says how will I live without my heart? How will I die without my soul? Heart-wrenching and beautiful.

  • Bill

    The shower scene in Psycho is by far the scariest death scene in movie history!

  • Chuck

    Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones in Duel in the Sun- also the Mexican Bandita in The Professionals- lucky her pistol is empty.

  • Sally

    Sometimes a Great Notion with Richard Jaekel under the log and Paul Newman helpless to save him. Never forgot that in 40 years.

  • hardbark

    Mel Brooks in Space Balls “Votta Voild!”

  • Bob

    Jennifer Jones and Gregory Peck in “Duel in Sun”!!!

  • Otis

    Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry, running from the law and the Dodge Charger is hit by a train and burst into flames.

  • http://www.facebook.com/O.K.Bacongrease Bob Van Voorhis

    Peter Sellers at the beginning of “The Party”. Certainly the funniest.

  • Gwen

    Jimmy Duante in “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World as Smiler Grogan! Just the best!

  • MovieLovingBookworm

    I’d have to say it’s between Wallace Beery in “The Champ” or Ali McGraw in “Love Story.” If anybody has to ask why. . . .

  • Patrick

    The Champ with John Voight.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tjfdelaney Tim Delaney

      I’d go with the Wallace Beery version if only to justify the horrible treatment of Jackie Cooper.

  • Ladybug

    I loved Sid Caesar dying in Vegas Vacation…. classic…

    • http://www.facebook.com/tjfdelaney Tim Delaney

      Didn’t know that happened. Well, appropriate in light of Imogene Coca in the first one.

  • Ladybug

    One that makes me cry is when the Father dies in the mine after his son (young Roddy McDowall)

    finds him in “How Green Was My Valley”.

  • Bill

    The death scene of Edward G. Robinson in “Soilent Green”. What a way to go.

  • Ladybug

    Another good one is the indian putting Jack Nicholson out of his misery in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

  • Ladybug

    The Star Trek movie that Spock dies was a big one…very touching…

  • Ladybug

    Ok, this might be my all time favorite When Tony dies in “West Side Story”……

  • Ladybug

    Do you remember this one? Sean Connery in “Robin and Marion” when they both take poison and die together. He shoots one last arrow out the window for where they’re bury them together. How romantic….

  • Ladybug

    Did anyone cry when Jack died in “Titanic” and she had to pry his frozen hand out of hers to let him go? Jack…….Jack?……..Jack…….Jack…………….Jack…………sniff………

  • Phil

    Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico? Edward G. Robinson in “Little Caesar.’

  • Rich

    Burgess Meredith as “Mickey” in Rocky III

  • Bob

    In the movie BEN HUR when mesala died .

  • Thom Thomas

    Stephen Boyd’s death scene in BEN HUR. Nothing can match it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shannon.bloom.75 Shannon Bloom

    Terms of Endearment. Debra Winger saying goodbye to her boys, and then Shirley McLain (playing her mother) sitting in a chair , waiting with her and watching, nodding off, and Debra winger’s character reaches for her with her eyes and dies. I cry every time.

  • Gary B

    Hey…What about Old Yeller; The Yearling and Bambi’s Mother??

  • Gary B

    The final scene in “Seeking a Friend For The End Of The World”

    • http://www.facebook.com/tjfdelaney Tim Delaney

      I’m glad someone else likes this. That may have been my favorite movie from 2012.

      • Gary B

        I really liked the use of The Walker Bros. “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” just prior to the power going out…One of the best and emotional film endings I’ve seen in some time

  • Gary B

    Sam Jaffe as Gunga Din….”You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din

  • Gary B

    Jar Jar Binks death scene in “Star Wars XIII: The DEATH OF BINKS

  • Gary B


  • Gary B

    Orson Welles “ROSEBUD” death scene in the opening of “Citizen Kane”

  • sandy clarke

    imitation of life with suzane komer and lana turner/new movie love story with ryan o’neal

  • Gary B

    Most Welcome Death Scene: ANYONE dying in ANY “FINAL DESTINATION” film

  • Gary B

    The Scene in “Charley and the Chocolate Factory when Veruca Salt is accidently decapitated by Mike Teavee!

  • Gary B

    Hands Down favorite death scene….when extra #237 drowns as The Red Sea closes in DeMille’s remake of “The Ten Comandments

    • Dana Thompson

      Ooh yeah, great one,

  • Gary B

    When the munchkin hangs himself from a tree in The Wizard of Oz

  • Gary B

    The scene when Mr. Creasote explodes after finishing a “waffer thin” dinner mint in “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life”

  • Gary B

    Strawberry Field’s (Sandy Farina) untimely death in the immortal BeeGee’s film “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”…Those Aussie Lad’s wrote some of the greastest Beatle Songs EVER. And Peter Frampton just “screamed” Sgt. Pepper…..I remember him when he was just a lowly private in his “Humble Pie” days.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tjfdelaney Tim Delaney

      I hate to admit this, but I saw that when it came out, and the whole “Golden Slumbers” sequence really got to me. To be fair, though, I was like 11 at the time.

  • Gary B

    OH….How bout Spaulding Gray’s death scene in “Big Fish” …wait ..that wasn’t in the movie..sorry

  • Gary B

    How about when Frodo Baggins is eaten by orcs in “The Night Of The Return of The Lord of the Rings: Smeagol Armaddeon (aka..Lord of the Rings 5)

  • Gary B

    the death of the spoken word in “I, Texter”

  • Gary B

    When Wallace Shawn gets fatal food poisoning in “My Dinner With Andre”

  • Gary B

    oh…one moment.. in regards to my earlier post about Veruca Salt’s decapitation by Mike Teavee in “Charley and the Cocoa Factory…I was confusssed…my wife reminded me that she was accidently SHOT by Mike Teavee…NOT decapitated…sorry for any false memories this might have provoked

  • Gary B

    “She” being VERUCA….Not my Wife…I appologize once again

  • Donald Ives

    Bela Lugosi in ‘Dracula’ As he dies, he rapidly decomposes until he is dust, which is then scattered over the desert. Wonderful black-and-white scene Don Tasmania

    • Sally Stark

      Actually, that’s BORIS KARLOFF, in THE MUMMY…

  • Mcnivdawg

    Hands down Terms of Endearment , gets me every time

  • Randy W

    Peter Fonda & Dennis Hopper in “Easy Rider”.

  • brian

    in the movie “Atrtack!”, Jack Palance’s death scene will never be beaten.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tjfdelaney Tim Delaney

      That’s a pretty good one, admittedly.

  • buzz daly

    another vote for either walter neff’s dying in double indemnity, or sonny, in the godfather….both are achingly poignant

    • Dana Thompson

      Must agree with both of these great scenes

  • http://www.facebook.com/tjfdelaney Tim Delaney

    I love me some death scenes. “Top of the World;” “Mellie! Mellie;” Boromir; Jesus in “Godspell” (for all you “Argo” fans out there) , , , Even William Wallace in Braveheart (yeah, I know, but that’s a great scene). But one that’s been undervalued is Sgt. Keck in “The Thin Red Line.” I never bought Woody Harrelson as a legitimate actor until that moment, and he’s only one part of why that scene works so well.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tjfdelaney Tim Delaney

      Although I will recognize two movies from 2012 that hit me hard: Rue in “The Hunger Games” and at least three separate deaths in “Les Miserables.”

  • William Hernandez

    Burt Lancaster when he is shot by Gary Cooper in
    Vera cruz he even new how to DIE COOL!!!

  • Alekhine

    “What have I done?” Alec Guinness as Colonel Nicholson in “Bridge on the River Kwai”.

    Marlon Brando at the end of “The Young Lions”.

    Gene Hackman in “The Poseidon Adventure”.

    Martin Balsam falling backwards down the stairs as Arbogast in “Psycho”.

  • Suz

    Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous. I sob whenever I see it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.nicastro.71 Don Nicastro

    Yul Brynner in THE KING AND I. An extremely moving scene to a great film musical.

  • victor0630

    Old Yeller.

  • rufnek

    Cagney going to the chair in Angels With Dirty Faces

  • filmnoir

    What the hell happened! McQueen: The Sand Pebbles

  • Romantickitty

    Spencer Tracy as Manuel in “Captains Courageous”. Freddie Bartholomew broke my heart when he was crying over losing Manuel.

    • Dana Thompson

      Absolutely, what a tear jerker

  • Eugene

    Jack (werewolf) at the end of “An American Werewolf in London.”

  • Stargazer

    The most realistic, and the most gut wrenching death scene in a movie happened when I was a kid in a cinema watching William Wyler’s masterpiece Ben Hur. Stephen Boyd, as Ben Hur’s sworn enemy comes to grief during the 20 minute plus chariot race, and dies later in agony from his injuries, his hatred for Ben Hur keeping him alive long enough to see his foe again for the last time.

  • Antone

    The Shootist. The whole movie is a death scene. Dying gunslinger actor John Wayne plays the dying gunslinger John Books. His best performance aside from The Searchers.

    • Antone

      Memo to self: You did a lousy job of describing why you chose The Shootist. The Duke was my childhood idol. This ending was especially poignant to me because I realized that the real Duke had a lot more suffering and deterioration ahead of him. His was not going to be the quick, glorious death of John Books.

  • Judy_J

    Ali McGraw’s death scene in “Love Story”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.e.dubois John E. DuBois

    Roy Batty’s death scene in ‘Blade Runner’ is the best of all time. Period.

  • Tom

    Reading all of these favorite death scenes makes me realize just how many great ones there are, some touching and sentimental, some explosive and gut-wrenching. I can’t add “the greatest of them all,” but I can say that one of the most captivating is in SHANE as he exits, wounded and slumped in his saddle, through the cemetery. The reason for my choice is that the image is filled with symbolism and ambiguities that keep us thinking about it and interpreting it on several different levels. It’s not just the death of a man but the death of a way of life.

  • Amy

    James Cagney in “Public Enemy” and James Cagney again in “White Heat” the Top of the World.

  • Lynne

    Love Story when Oliver visits Jenny’s death bed

  • Lisanne

    Has anyone mentioned Michael Jeter’s execution in “The Green Mile” yet? Certainly the most disturbing death.

  • Bob Riley

    Maybe not the best ones, but Robert Duvall after getting shot by John Wayne in “True Grit” or the final shoot-out in “Shane” where Alan Ladd kills Jack Palance. I do agree re Mesala in “Ben Hur”. Could add several more, too.

  • Eddie Quillen

    In the early ’50s, Kirk Douglas had some great death scenes. The ones in “Champion” and “Detective Story” come to mind. But my favorite, and perhaps his best of that era is the one in Billy Wilder’s “Ace In the Hole.”

  • debra

    The best death scene, in my opinion, was Paul Reubens from the movie version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. That scene still makes me laugh!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/henry.briceno.33 Henry Briceno

    James Cagney in Angels With Dirty Faces , a bad man dies nobley

  • L

    One of my favorites is Dirk Bogarde in Death in Venice, its so-o-o sad. Also i agree about Roy Batty’s death scene in ‘Blade Runner’.

  • Cara

    I have seen several versions of Hamlet, including Laurence Olivier’s film version. Although pruned Shakespeare always makes me wince, his death scene at the last is the best death of Hamlet I ever saw. I can’t really describe it, but if you see it, you marvel once again at how Olivier could bring fresh takes on familiar material.

    It’s a great if expurgated Hamlet and deserved its four Oscars, including best picture and best actor. The set design was terrific (and won another Oscar), and Olivier with blonde hair was mouthwatering handsome. A very young Jean Simmons as Ophelia was very good as well.

  • Dana Thompson

    HOw About Jimmy Cagney in “The Roaring Twenties” that little dance up and down the church steps and Phyllis George saying “He used to be a big-shot”
    and of course Dallas Winston in the Outsiders played by Matt Dillon

  • Bruce Reber

    Ratso Rizzo dying from TB on the bus at the end of “Midnight Cowboy”, Bubber Reeves getting shot on the steps of the Sheriff’s Office in “The Chase”, Plato getting shot at the planetarium in “Rebel Without A Cause” and Cotton lying dead in the truck after getting shot by the buffalo hunters in “Bless The Beasts And Children”.

    • Carolyn Ferrante

      “I have the bullets!” screamed Jimmy, after the tragedy took place. This is a movie that has to be seen over and over again, by following generations.

  • Mindy Newell

    Debra Winger’s death in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT is the most heartbreaking.

  • Huge movie fan

    I have a theory, and that is that there only three irrefutable thruths in cinema:(spoiler alert) nobody mourns like Mel Gibson, nobody swears like Bruce Willis, and nobody, NOBODY, dies like Brian Denehy. I know that today’s mainstream movie fans don’t like westerns, but please watch Silverado. It is not the best of the post John Wayne/ Clint Eastwood westerns, but it has the best death scene. Its simplicity borders on cold and while your glad the bad guy is dead, it captures the rawness of the western genre in that it’s just another dead guy in the street. This was one of Denehy’s best performance. He captures the coldness and believability of the character perfectly.

  • Frank DeCavalcante

    Bette Davis was great in all her death scenes. Dark Victory is probably the best as she recognizes that the light in her world is going out and she faces death alone, sending away her husband, her best friend and her housekeeper. the total antithesis is her death scene in “In This Our Life” when she is escaping the police, and drives furiously until she crashes her car and deservedly dies. In “Dead Ringer” one Bette kills her twin sister in order to take her place in high society. Bette’s friend and frequent co-star, Olivia de Havilland has a powerhouse death scene in “Gone with the Wind” when her Melanie, worn out from excessive generosity, has a moving conclusion in which she graciously passes on her family to the scheming Scarlet.

    Both American Titanic movies contain memorable death scenes. In the first the foppish Clifton Webb reunites with his son as they both go down with the ship. In the more recent version, Leonardo deCaprio sacrifices his life to save his lover. Plus the movie has many poignant scenes of various passengers dying as the ship sinks.

  • Carolyn Ferrante


  • http://www.arealnurse.net Jessie Dodson

    So many choices, so little space. Yes, James Cagney in “Angels With Dirty Faces” & what makes it great? Was he really performing as O’Brien asked or was he really terrified? You tell me. Orson Welles in Citizen Kane left the survivors wondering. Sorry, folks, all great classics aside, & there are great ones, Mr. Spock in “The Wrath Of Khan” for valor & sacrifice. But, ther is Khan who gave his last effort & breath for revenge.

  • Vann Morrison

    My favorite movie death scene would have to be Bill Murray in Zombieland.

  • johnfburton

    When you speak of movie death scenes, it’s hard to narrow it down to one film. Instead I’d like to name an actor with the best death scenes in a variety of movies. Jimmy Cagney had the best. Just think of “White Heat,” with his “Top of the world, Ma,” final flip out. How about “Angels with Dirty Faces,” where Cagney as “Rocky” goes “yella” on his way to the chair, at the behest of pal Priest Pat O’Brien, hoping to save the Dead End Kids from hero worshipping their way to a destructive life; Remember “The Roaring Twenties”? where Cagney ends up taking that final curtain call on the steps of a church, acknowledging “I ain’t so tough…” And then there is Cagney giving the Nazis the comeuppance, while facing his own certain demise. Just think of that laugh while the Nazi officer realizes how he was duped and what’s going to happen. Priceless. And while it’s not really a death scene, the ending of Bill Wellman’s “The Public Enemy” at the mother’s door, when the family realize what happened to Cagney’s Tom Powers still packs quite a wallop, 83 years later. Great Stuff.

  • Laura D Young

    I am going to say Susan Hayward in “I Want to Live.” Chilling in its reality, gripping in its final moments. Hayward nailed it and all the moments leading up to it. She certainly deserved that Oscar!

    • Mindy Newell

      TOTALLY forgot about that one, Laura. Excellent choice, scared me to death. But I still gotta go with TERMS OF ENDEARMENT.

  • Mindy Newell