Best Film
Deaths Scenes

1967-1968


Greatest Movie Death Scenes
Film Title/Year and Description
Screenshots

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

# 5

In the film's climactic finale, the two doomed outlaws Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) gave each other a last knowing look before their deaths. In their final freeze-frame of life, with a silent glance, Bonnie and Clyde revealed both panic and love in their faces - knowing that something was ominously wrong and that they were facing their ultimate destruction, the natural result of the escalating violence. The ambush scene was marvelously choreographed and edited, with multiple cameras shooting at different speeds.

It was a revolutionary, graphic ambush-death scene with their bodies jerking and writhing rhythmically and orgasmically from the blizzard of bullets.

The Infamous Bonnie and Clyde Ambush-Death Scene

They died cinematically-beautiful, abstracted deaths to accentuate the romance of the myths and the larger-than-life legends that surrounded them. Their corpses twitched to life and were re-animated by gunfire - involuntary dances of death. Their last moment of 'life' occurred when Clyde rolled over gently in slow-motion and Bonnie's arm dangled unnaturally and then stopped moving. Bonnie's flowing blonde hair, streaked in sunlight and gently blowing in the breeze, cascaded down in many arcs as she hung out of the car.


Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Escaped chain-gang prisoner "Cool Hand" Luke (Paul Newman) had taken refuge in an abandoned country church. Sitting on one of the plain wooden pews, he had just delivered a rambling monologue in which he repeatedly talked to God and asked for guidance and an answer, occasionally looking up toward the empty rafters - but his entreaties were met with silence.

He realized he had been betrayed by fellow prisoner Dragline (George Kennedy) who had alerted authorities to where he was hiding out. As Luke looked out one of the church windows toward the Captain (Strother Martin) and other sheriffs in the eerie red light reflected from their cherry-tops, he still was ultimately unbroken.

With a cocky, assured but cool smile, he mocked the Captain with the famous film line:

What we've got here is a failure to communicate.

He was tragically shot in the throat and silenced forever by the crack-shooting Boss with no eyes. Dragline supported and carried his mortally-wounded friend to the vengeful bosses, and then hysterically charged toward the killer - he grabbed at the man's throat with an iron grip. The reflective glasses that had never left the boss's face toppled to the ground. Weakened and sliding in mud, the boss groped for his glasses.

As Luke was put in a vehicle and taken to his sure death at the prison hispital, Dragline encouraged him: "You hang on in there, Luke. You hang on. There's gonna be some world-shakin' Luke. We gonna send you a postcard." Flooded by a reddish glow, Luke died in the back seat of the boss' car - his face wore the familiar grin - a sign of the victory of his spirit over death. The tires of the vehicle smashed and ground the sunglasses into the mud. In the distance as the car drove away, a stoplight turned from green to red - his spirit left his body.


You Only Live Twice (1967)

007 British agent James Bond (Sean Connery) fought to the death with brutish, tall, muscular, blonde SPECTRE bodyguard Hans (Ronald Rich) over access to the control room's self-destruct "exploder button" key.

Bond needed to destroy the Bird One intruder spacecraft, launched by masterminding SPECTRE No. 1 villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld's (Donald Pleasence) that was just five seconds away from intercepting another American rocket in space. (US officials were poised to initiate a nuclear attack on the suspected Russians, Blofeld's ultimate plan to "inaugurate a little war.")

Bond flipped Hans over his shoulder (after a missed punch), sending him directly into Blofeld's piranha fish-pool tank within his secret hideout. It was filled with voracious piranha fish (with razor-sharp teeth). As Bond looked down at the feasting fish, he quipped: "Bon appetit."

[Note: The hungry fish were demonstrated earlier in the film, when redheaded SPECTRE agent Helga Brandt (Karin Dor) was punished for not killing Bond. Similarly, she was plunged into the piranha pool when Blofeld stepped on a foot pedal and she was dropped into the water.]



Hans

Helga Brandt

If... (1968, UK)

Director Lindsay Anderson's controversial coming-of-age drama about youth rebellion concluded with a violent, vengeful and bloody finale.

It was an armed shoot-out and revolt by rebellious students from the rooftop of an oppressive, conformist English boarding school (a symbolic microcosm of a repressive Establishment-oriented society) during a Founder's Day ceremony.

The attack was led by rebellious, anti-authoritarian anarchist Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell in his debut film role). He was joined by other boys and an unnamed coffee-house waitress/girlfriend (Christine Noonan), who coldly shot the Headmaster (Peter Jeffrey) between the eyes while he pleaded:

Boys, boys, I understand you. Listen to reason and trust me, trust me!


Night of the Living Dead (1968)

The film ended with a startling sequence, showing the senseless, grim death of sole-surviving black man Ben (Duane Jones) from a zombie attack.

He was shot in the head by a redneck in a lynch mob that was involved in 'search and rescue' missions. The group came upon the besieged farmhouse and noted the burned truck and its occupants - Sheriff McClelland (George Kosana) noted: "Somebody had a cook-out here."

One of the townsfolk in the posse mistakenly shot Ben in the forehead after his desperate fight for survival, believing him to be a zombie as he stood near a farmhouse window. Sheriff McClelland shouted out: "Hit him in the head, right between the eyes. Good shot. OK, he's dead. Let's go get him. That's another one for the fire." Under the credits, Ben's body was dragged from the house with a meat hook and burned in a pyre of other zombie bodies (in a series of still frame shots), as the downbeat film ended hopelessly.

[Note: Just before Ben's death, in a gory and startling scene in the basement of the house, another trapped victim named Helen Cooper (Marilyn Eastman) was viciously stabbed with a garden or cement trowel and then eaten by her zombified daughter Karen Cooper (Kyra Schon).]



Pretty Poison (1968)

There were two bewildering and disturbing murders committed by "pretty poison" high school senior - a perky amoral and corruptible blonde named Sue Ann Stepanek (Tuesday Weld):

  • Sue Ann sat on the body of wounded plant nightwatchman Sam (Parker Fennelly) and cold-bloodedly drowned him - with her dress hiked up as she pumped him up and down (almost orgasmically)
  • she also committed matricide when she shot her dissolute, critical and disapproving mother (Beverly Garland) at point-blank range as she ascended the stairs carrying a breakfast of pancakes for her daughter

Romeo and Juliet (1968)

The two young star-crossed lovers (Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey) - from different houses (Montague and Capulet) - died respectively, by poisoning and dagger stabbing.

Romeo's Death: Romeo sobbed, took one last look at his 'dead' Juliet, gave her one last embrace, and a final kiss to seal his "dateless bargain to engrossing death":

Eyes look your last. Arms, take your last embrace. And lips, o you the doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss a dateless bargain to engrossing death.

He removed poison that he had brought, toasted to his love, swallowed the kiss of poison, and kissed her hand before falling beside her: "Here's to my love! Thus with a kiss, I die."

Juliet's Death: Juliet stirred, her hand opened, and she slowly awakened from 'death' and asked the Friar Laurence (Milo O'Shea) about Romeo: "O comfortable friar, where is my lord? I do remember well where I should be, and there I am. Where is my Romeo?" After the Friar fled, she saw Romeo's body on the floor and the poison vial in his hand. She chided him for not leaving enough poison for her. When she kissed his lips to see if there was any remaining poison left on them, she found that his lips were "warm." Pathetically, she cried out: "Oh, no, no!" - due to ill-timing, she knew he died only a few moments earlier:

What's here? Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end. (She drinks from it) O churl! Drunk all, and left no friendly drop to help me after! I will kiss thy lips. Haply some poison yet doth hang on them to make me die with a restorative. Thy lips are warm. Oh, no, no!

Hearing more sounds of the watchmen, Juliet came to her own triumphant, tragic and fateful end. Faithful till death, she picked up Romeo's dagger, stabbed herself in the chest, and inevitably joined her love in marriage-death - she crumbled over his body:

Then I'll be brief. O happy dagger! This is thy sheath. There rust and let me die.

Juliet's Suicide by Dagger


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Astronaut Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) died when his oxygen supply lines were snapped by the HAL 9000 computer (voice of Douglas Rains). In the eerie silence of the blackness of outer space, a suffocating Frank struggled with flailing arms to reattach his severed air hose, and was left to die and helplessly float off into space.

In addition, HAL 9000 began to calculatedly deprive and cut off the life-support systems of three other "hybernating" crewmen on board, and commit cold-blooded murder. Their electronic charts started to flash red danger warnings regarding their cardiovascular and metabolic levels, their central nervous system, their pulminary function, systems integration and locomotor system. Beeping sirens sounded as the statistical jiggly lines became horizontal lines to efficiently record their deaths: COMPUTER MALFUNCTION, LIFE FUNCTIONS CRITICAL, and then LIFE FUNCTIONS TERMINATED. After the crewmen were murdered in their hibernation capsules, there was silence.

To retaliate, astronaut Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) floated through the computer's memory bank, de-braining, lobotomizing, dismantling and disconnecting HAL's higher-logic functions. He ejected components of HAL's auto-intellect panels (shaped like tiny white monoliths). Although the rectangular prisms slowly emerged from the bank of terminals, they remained connected to it. HAL pleaded and protested with Bowman - in a programmed voice - as his 'mind' gradually decayed and he became imbecilic and returned to infancy. HAL's poignant death was agonizingly slow and piteous, and although the computer maintained a calm tone - it still expressed a full range of genuine emotions while dying. His voice eventually slowed and sounded drugged.

At the end of its suffering lobotomizing death, HAL sang his swan song, one of the first songs he learned - Daisy, or A Bicycle Built For Two - until the words entirely degenerated with his voice rumbling lower and lower into distortion. He slid into his innate tabula rasa state - and then there was utter silence. (see further below)




2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Astronaut Bowman's (Keir Dullea) turn to die was next. He saw himself as a bald, dying man, lying on the bed, looking 100 years old and shrunken in size. The bed-ridden, invalid Bowman slowly and feebly reached his trembling hand out toward another glowing and mysterious object - the film's fourth black monolith that appeared at the foot of his bed. As he did so, his withered chrysalis-body presumably died, and he was enigmatically transformed (evolved and reborn).

He dissolved into a glowing, hazy, translucent fetus or embryo in utero that rested on the bed. A blast of the musical chords of Also Sprach Zarathustra - signaling a decisive transformation - was heard for the last time. Bowman distinctly re-emerged within the embryo, with his own serene and wise-eyed features.

He became reborn as a cosmic, innocent, orbiting "Star Child" that traveled through the universe without technological assistance. The last enigmatic, open-ended image of the film was of the large, bright-eyed (with pin-pointed, glowing stars for pupils), luminous embryo in a translucent uterine amnion or bluish globe - an enhanced, reborn superhuman floating through space.





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
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