Best Film
Deaths Scenes

1971


Greatest Movie Death Scenes
Film Title/Year and Description
Screenshots

Bay of Blood (1971, It.) (aka Twinge of the Death Nerve)

Mario Bava's influential and controversial, bloody Italian horror-thriller was the grandfather of all slasher films, for its deadly characters (five murderers) and thirteen gruesome murders.

The most memorable murders/deaths in the film were a machete to the face, and a spear impalement of two lovers during love-making (and of course, its surprise-ending deaths).

[Note: Friday the 13th, Part 2 (1981) reportedly copied some of its death scenes verbatim from this film.]


A Clockwork Orange (1971, UK)

One of young punk droog Alex's (Malcolm McDowell) early assault and robbery victims was located at an almost-deserted, isolated Woodmere Health Farm outside of town "owned by this like very rich ptitsa who lives there with her cats." It was a carpeted facility, wall-papered with gigantic, modern pornographic art (lewd scenes of sexual intensity and bondage), and decorated with garish, decadent art objects. The facility's manager was wiry, introverted red-haired Englishwoman Miss Weathers, known as the 'Catlady' (Miriam Karlin), who wore an emerald-colored leotard.

She was exercising on the floor surrounded by dozens of cats when she heard knocking, but refused to answer. Alex sneakily entered through a window on the second floor, and confronted her while grinning: "Hi-hi-hi-hi there!" He called her giant phallus artifact "naughty, naughty, naughty. You filthy old soomka." When he rocked her giant, obscene phallus sculpture on its testicles, she screamed: "Leave that alone! Don't touch it! It's a very important work of art."

The Catlady retaliated by picking up a bust of his beloved Beethoven and rushed at him - they dueled each other with antagonistic weapons. He held her off with the oversized phallus, while she thrust the small bust of Beethoven at him. When she went down on the floor, Alex raised the Beethoven sculpture above her and plunged it down into her - filmed from a low angle.

As she screamed, a close-up of a mouth within another open mouth (from one of the pop paintings in the rooms) flashed on-screen with other dismembered body parts in an orgy of modern art. Alex left her senseless and beaten on the floor, mortally wounded by her own sculpture-turned-weapon, when he heard sounds of distant police sirens.




Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Two of SPECTRE villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld's (Charles Gray) cold-blooded henchmen were continually doing Blofeld's dirty work:

  • aftershave-wearing Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith)
  • balding Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover)

They murdered anyone who came into contact with smuggled diamonds from South Africa on their way through Europe to LA and Las Vegas. They followed each killing with a witticism.

In the film's climactic conclusion, after Blofeld had been defeated, they were disguised as waiters on the Canberra cruise ship carrying Bond (Sean Connery) and diamond smuggler Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) back to England. They brought in a gourmet meal of food and drink (to be topped off with dessert cake, La Bombe Surprise!) reportedly compliments of billionaire entrepreneur Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean).

Bond was tipped off to the pretension ("smelled a rat") by Wint's familiar aftershave smell and his own clever knowledge of wines. As Bond was being choked and held from behind by Wint, Kidd lunged menacingly at him with two flaming shish kabobs.

Bond turned him into a human fireball by dousing him with the contents of a broken bottle of brandy. Kidd was forced to race to the yacht's railing and jump overboard (and presumably drown) to extinguish the flames.

Wint's demise came next. Bond tightly pulled Wint's tuxedo jacket up between his legs, attached the ticking time bomb surprise (hidden in the cake) to the tails of it, and somersault-flipped him off the deck where the bomb exploded in mid-air. Bond joked: "Well, he certainly left with his tail between his legs."





Daughters of Darkness (1971, Belg.) (aka La Rouge Aux Levres, or Blood on the Lips)

This highly-stylized, erotic, art-house vampire film was based upon Sheridan Le Fanu's lesbian vampire tale Camilla.

It told about a newlywed, honeymooning 1970s couple who were staying at a deserted seaside hotel in Belgium during the off-season:

  • upper-class Englishman Stefan (John Karlen)
  • silky Swedish blonde Valerie (former Miss Canada Danielle Oiumet)

Newly-arrived guests included mysterious and beautiful, sultry and elegant Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Delphine Seyrig) and her sensual, lesbian Dutch-bob-haired 'secretary' Ilona Harczy (Andrea Rau). The voluptuous assistant had distinctively red pouty lips. The Countess described the wedded couple as: "so perfect, so good-looking, so sweet." Ultimately, the predatory Countess had her sights on replacing Stefan's wife with herself, and she set about to seduce Valerie.

To accomplish her objective, she also ordered Ilona to seduce Stefan, as a distraction. As he took a shower, she peeped on him. When he saw her, he playfully pulled her naked into the water, but as a vampire and knowing what water would do to her, she struggled.

During the scuffle, she screamed and grabbed his sharp razor-blade in her hand, bloodied herself, and then fell on the sharp instrument - killing herself, to make it appear that she was humanly mortal.





Dirty Harry (1971)

A very satisfying and justified execution sequence occurred at the conclusion of this popular "Dirty Harry" film.

In a rock quarry, vengeful vigilante lawman "Dirty Harry" Callahan (Clint Eastwood) finally killed psycho-sadist Scorpio (Andy Robinson) with his .44 Magnum after repeating his earlier litany (to the bank robber) as he stood above him during their final showdown. Gritting both his teeth and jaw, Callahan gave him a grim choice - surrender, or gamble ("feel lucky") by reaching for a gun, hoping that Harry was out of ammunition:

I know what you're thinkin', punk. You're thinkin', did he fire six shots or only five? And to tell you the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement. But bein' this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and it'll blow your head clean off, you could ask yourself a question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

The hippie psycho-sadist made his choice and reached for the gun - but there was one more bullet in Harry's gun, and Scorpio was executed and shot dead - in cold blood. His body was propelled backward into the small lake. Callahan walked to the edge of the wooden platform above the water to gaze down at the murderer's bloodied corpse floating and slowly sinking below him.

After having found retribution his own extra-legal way by exterminating the heartless and sick terrorist, without following bureaucratic police procedures, he thoughtfully hurled his police badge (Inspector 2211, SF Police) into the stagnant pond with the body and then walked away. Knowing that he would ultimately be reprimanded and fired for his action, the unrepentant Harry 'threw away' the symbol of his future police career in disgust. [This scene paid homage to the final scene of High Noon (1952) when the lone Marshal contemptuously discarded his badge in the dust after being betrayed by the entire Western community.]


The French Connection (1971)

At the end of the film's famous car chase after the NYC subway train crashed [photographed with the train moving away from the camera - and then reversed], murderous drug-ring sniper Pierre Nicoli (Marcel Bozzuffi) escaped from the wreckage, believing that he was free of Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman).

But Doyle gunned him down at the top of the elevated train depot stairs - the iconic image became the famous promotional still used to advertise the film on posters.

The Cat O'Nine Tails (1971, It.) (aka Il Gatto a Nove Code)

In the finale of this Italian horror thriller from Dario Argento, there was a spectacular death scene.

The film's murderer Dr. Casoni (Aldo Reggiani) fell down a deep elevator shaft on the rooftop of the Terzi Genetic Research Institute - with the cables sliding through his bloody, smoldering, and shredding hands.

Also, there was the 'accidental' death of lab geneticist Dr. Calabresi (Carlo Alighiero) who was pushed in front of an oncoming train.


Get Carter (1971, UK)

# 42

London gangster Jack Carter (Michael Caine) had just finished avenging his brother's murder and executing the last of the perpetrators, Eric Paice (Ian Hendry), after forcing him to drink a bottle of alcohol, butting his skull with a shotgun, and dumping his body in the sea.

As he was walking along the deserted, blackened beach, he was whistling and relieved that his killing days appeared over. Carter was contemplating ending a life of brutality and violence (by throwing his shotgun into the water and moving abroad), when he was shockingly and depressingly murdered by a single shot in the forehead from sniper fire - from a man named "J" (identified from his signet ring near the trigger, in close-up).

The waves lapped around his corpse near the surf line, as the sniper packed up his killing gear and walked off.

Jack Carter's Death


Harold and Maude (1971)

There were many faked suicides (such as hanging, cut wrists and throat, immolation, shooting, stabbing, drowning, etc.) of 20 year-old troubled, death-obsessed, rich kid Harold (Bud Cort). He was attempting to scare his desperate, widowed, socialite, domineering mother Mrs. Chasen (Vivian Pickles) in this cult black comedy. Her typical reaction was: "I suppose you think that's very funny."

In the film's most incredible and shocking scene, Harold performed harakiri in front of his drama student date Sunshine Doré (Ellen Geer) who also unwittingly acted out the tragic scene from Romeo and Juliet - and stabbed herself to death!



The Last Picture Show (1971)

Near the end of the film, Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) entered the town's poolhall to light a fire, but then heard a horn and the screeching noise of the brakes and tires of a truck out on the main road. As he walked toward the square, he saw people standing by the side of a big cattle truck - and dim-witted Billy's (Samuel Bottoms) broom lying on the pavement.

The camera assumed his point-of-view as he ran toward the scene of the accident, where he heard hereford yearlings bellowing in the filled-to-capacity truck. Cowboys, the trucker, and other townsfolk were gathered around Billy's body after he had been struck dead. Although Sonny reacted with numb horror to his friend's senseless and tragic death, the men were indifferent and callous:

Trucker: What was he doin' out there anyway, carryin' that broom?
Sheriff: Aw, he weren't doin' nothin'. He was just an ol' simple-minded kid - never had any sense.
Cowboy: Sorta retarded, you know. It wasn't your fault...
Another man: He was just a dumb ol' kid, never was good for much.
Cowboy: Didn't even know enough to keep his ass out of the cold, morning like this...
Trucker: I'd still like to know what he was doin' luggin' that broom around this time of day.

Devastated by the tragedy, an anguished Sonny screamed and yelled at the apathetic onlookers, with the moving line: "He was sweepin', ya sons of bitches. He was sweepin'." He scooped up Billy's limp body, now silenced forever, and dragged it over to the sidewalk in front of the picture show. He removed his letter jacket and lovingly covered Billy with it, and then picked up Billy's cap and placed it next to him. He was numbed by the shock of grief. [This scene paid homage to the final one in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause (1955).]

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

In director Robert Altman's revisionist western set in the harsh wintry Pacific Northwest at the turn of the century, heavy-drinking, two-bit gambler and 'bordello'-house proprietor/businessman John Q. McCabe (Warren Beatty) (with a mysterious past) met his eventual demise.

When de-romanticized, bearded, bowler-hatted, suited McCabe unwisely turned down a corporate offer to buy the fledgling, muddy frontier town of Presbyterian Church and its financially-successful saloon (House of Fortune) and whorehouse (with classy prostitutes brought in from Seattle), the Harrison Shaughnessy mining company (from nearby Bearpaw) hired three sinister murderous bounty hunters to assassinate him. [The final scene was a reworking of the conclusion of High Noon (1952).]

At dawn, there was a long and tense cat-and-mouse stalking sequence from one end of the town to another. McCabe sought refuge in the church, but was ordered out by the minister, Mr. Elliott (Corey Fischer). From his hiding places, McCabe was able to outsmart the first gunfighter named the Kid (Manfred Schulz), a young blonde Dutch immigrant punk, by shooting him in the back (he died in a barrel of water), but McCabe was shot in the leg and abdomen. He shot the next bounty hunter, a half breed (Jace Van Der Veen), through a store window, and the seriously wounded man crawled a few steps before dying in the snow.

When McCabe was shot in the back by the third arch-villain bounty hunter Dog Butler (Hugh Millais) who was carrying a single-shot elephant gun, McCabe played dead and lay on his back in the snow. He then killed the giant, mustached Butler at point-blank range (with his hidden derringer, the one he claimed shot Bill Roundtree) by a shot to the forehead when he approached.

But the outnumbered, outmatched, and weakened McCabe found that he had been mortally-wounded during the climactic standoff and showdown in the bitter cold. He bled to death unnoticed, forgotten and alone in deep falling and blowing snow as he staggered to get indoors. His face and eyes were covered with snow and ice crystals.

Jubilant cheers were heard from the townsfolk (prospectors, whores, etc.) who had been preoccupied with putting out a church fire accidentally started by one of the killers. [When he was seeking McCabe, Butler blasted the minister with his elephant-gun, and his dropped oil lantern started the fire.] At the same time, McCabe's jaded, mercenary, opium-addicted Cockney madam and business partner Constance Miller (Julie Christie) was withdrawn and oblivious as she drifted off in a drug deluded state in the Chinese section of town, while fondling a marble egg in her hand.






Sometimes a Great Notion (1971)

Joe "Joey" Ben Stamper (Richard Jaeckel) died by slow and inevitable drowning while trapped under a huge log.

There were frantic efforts to save him by his brother Hank (Paul Newman), using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (under the water) during the gripping death scene.





Greatest Movie Death Scenes
(chronological by film title)
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