Best Film
Deaths Scenes


Greatest Movie Death Scenes
Film Title/Year and Description

Cape Fear (1962)

In the original version of this film, later remade by Martin Scorsese in 1991, Max Cady (Robert Mitchum) was wounded by gunshot from protective lawyer-husband Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck) after a fight to the death (and Sam's near-drowning) in Cape Fear River.

After being overpowered and held at gunpoint, Cady taunted Sam to shoot him: "Go ahead. I just don't give a damn." But Sam decided not to kill him, in the last lines of the film:

No. No! That would be letting you off too easy, too fast. Your words, do you remember? Well, I do! No. We're gonna take good care of you. We're gonna nurse you back to health. And you're strong, Cady. You're gonna live a long life - in a cage! That's where you belong. And that's where you're going. And this time, for life! Bang your head against the walls. Count the years, the months, the hours, until the day you rot!

Carnival of Souls (1962)

In the revelatory final scene of this low-budget horror film, talented young organist Mary Henry's (Candace Hilligoss) car (with her corpse inside) was dredged out of the river.

The car had plunged off a bridge in the film's opening, and Mary appeared to be the sole survivor of the accident, but it was shown to be otherwise.

Dr. No (1962)

There was an exciting fight to the finish in mortal hand-to-hand combat over a reactor pool in the film's conclusion.

007 James Bond (Sean Connery) managed to climb up to safety, but as head SPECTRE agent Dr. Julius No (Joseph Wiseman) desperately clutched at the steel supports of the descending platform, his metallic, artificial hands could not get a grip on the steel legs of the sinking gantry.

He was submerged into the bubbling, scalding-hot radioactive water of the reactor, sinking into the steaming, boiling mixture where he met his death.

Lolita (1962)

In the film's opening prologue, multiple gunshots delivered by vengeful middle-aged literature professor Humbert Humbert (James Mason) wounded and killed Claire Quilty (Peter Sellers). He was blamed for his part in seducing, running off and abandoning nymphet teenager Dolores 'Lolita' Haze (Sue Lyon).

Lolita's mother Charlotte Haze (Shelley Winters) also met a timely death (off-screen) when hit by a car outside of her home, allowing widower Humbert to become Lolita's legal guardian and stepfather.

In the final epilogue scene (a continuation of the prologue) in which Humbert was insanely motivated to commit murder for Quilty's duplicity, the ending shot was another view of a Victorian, Gainsborough-type watercolor painting.

It depicted an 18th century genteel young woman - with a bullet hole torn through the face of the young girl - symbolic of the irrecoverably-marked life of Lolita. Humbert had emptied all six rounds of his gun into the portrait, killing Quilty through the painting.

Lonely Are the Brave (1962)

In this modern western film, itinerant free-spirited cowboy "Jack" Burns (Kirk Douglas) died during his flight for freedom when pursued by lawmen led by Sheriff Morey Johnson (Walter Matthau).

In the end, he was run over by truck driver Hinton's (Carroll O'Connor) 18-wheeler whose vision was impaired by a torrential rainstorm. The truck plowed into Burns on his beloved horse Whiskey as they crossed the busy highway and the animal balked. When the Sheriff arrived, he shot the injured Whiskey - this symbolized the death of Burns as well.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

In the famous brainwashing/dream sequence, Captain Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) and his platoon were present and onstage at a ladies' auxiliary meeting. The images switched between the imagined, delusionary, conditioned point of view within the brainwashed soldiers' heads and actual reality. They had been conditioned, programmed, and manipulated by a Pavlovian Chinese brainwasher to imagine attendance at a ladies' auxiliary meeting/tea party.

Calmly, puppet-master Yen Lo (Khigh Dhiegh) demonstrated Sergeant Raymond Shaw's (Laurence Harvey) emotionless killing capacity through the technique of programming. Shaw was asked to select a candidate, Ed Mavole (Richard La Pore), and then was instructed to kill him (" death") with a white scarf. As Captain Marco yawned and the rest of the men sat placidly and bored with no emotion, Mavole was dutifully killed.

The demonstration proceeded (with a second nightmarish scene) after Mavole's death when Raymond was calmly directed to shoot - "through the forehead" - the platoon's favorite, youngest member and "mascot" Bobby Lembeck (Tom Lowell). Without hesitation or even a second thought, Raymond pointed the gun at the camera - the smiling, trusting face of the young soldier - and blew his brains out. Blood splattered on the huge portrait of Stalin behind him.

Later during a political convention, Raymond also assassinated both his step-father Senator John Iselin (James Gregory) and his mother Mrs. Iselin (Angela Lansbury) on-stage. Then he paused to don his own Congressional Medal of Honor around his neck - a true hero who had finally lived up to his award.

In the climactic finale. the crazed Sergeant Shaw turned the rifle on himself and suicidally blew his brains out (off-camera). The echo of the gunshot blast dissolved into crackling lightning/thunder claps during a rainstorm.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

A deadly western shootout occurred in the conclusion of John Ford's classic between two mismatched opponents:

  • novice, timid, wounded attorney at law Ransom "Ranse" Stoddard (James Stewart) - using his left hand
  • violent outlaw/gunfighter Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin)

Rancher/gunslinger Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) later revealed in a 'flashback within a flashback' ("You didn't kill Liberty Valance...Think back, Pilgrim") that he had actually killed the evil Valance. However, Stoddard had received all the credit and notoriety for miraculously being "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."

Doniphon had hidden on a side street and shot Liberty without anyone knowing at the moment of gunfire. He was intending to sacrificially protect the love of his life Hallie (Vera Miles) from heartbreak, knowing that Stoddard would certainly die in a face-off.

The Birds (1963)

In Hitchcock's horror film about unexplained lethal attacks from birds, Mitch's (Rod Taylor) mother Lydia Brenner (Jessica Tandy) drove off in a Ford pickup truck toward neighbor Dan Fawcett's farm, to discuss their problems with chickens. She drove up to the farm where hired farm hand George (Bill Quinn) welcomed her in the yard and encouraged her to find Dan Fawcett inside. After Lydia entered alone into the unlocked kitchen door where there was no answer, she called out: "Dan, are you home?" Again, a row of neatly-broken teacups dangling from hooks under the kitchen cabinet caught her shocked attention.

As she walked down the empty, deathly silent, narrow and tunneling corridor to a bedroom, she discovered a dead seagull impaled in a broken window and an upturned, bric-a-brac plastic bird sculpture. From another angle, there were more signs of chaotic damage in the room - bird feathers, two more dead birds, and a disordered bed. On the floor were two bloodied, bare feet sticking out from a pair of shredded pajama pants. In three jump shots that zoomed forward to his face, Lydia witnessed Dan Fawcett's lifeless body propped in the corner of the room. Both of his bloody, darkened eye sockets were empty - plucked out during the bird attack.

Her reaction to the mutilation of his eyes - coupled with the film's theme of seeing - was beautifully realized. She turned and fled down the hallway with her hands in the air and her mouth gaping open. Wide-eyed and gasping for air, she was unable to verbalize the unspeakable horror to the bewildered farm hand. Her truck backfired - 'screaming' in its own way - and its path churned up dust as she roared back at top speed to the Brenner home.

Greatest Movie Death Scenes
(chronological by film title)
Intro | 1915-1929 | 1930-1933 | 1934-1938 | 1939 | 1940-1942 | 1943-1945 | 1946-1947 | 1948-1949
1950-1952 | 1953-1955 | 1956-1957 | 1958-1959
1960-1961 | 1962-1963 | 1964-1966 | 1967-1968 | 1969-1970
1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977-1978 | 1979
1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989
1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1994 | 1995 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1998 | 1999
2000-2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011

Previous Page Next Page