Best Film
Deaths Scenes


Greatest Movie Death Scenes
Film Title/Year and Description

Charlotte's Web (1973)

Spider Charlotte (voice of Debbie Reynolds) sadly died on a wooden beam while singing the last lines of "Mother Earth and Father Time."

She had sacrificed herself for ill-fated friend Wilbur the pig (voice of Henry Gibson) and produced her magnum opus (an egg sac).

Wilbur gave a despairing cry of "CHARLOTTE!" when he realized she was gone.

Don't Look Now (1973)

Director Nicolas Roeg's supernatural thriller opened with the scary drowning death of red-raincoated, young blonde daughter Christine (Sharon Williams) in a fishpond in England. Her red/white beach ball had fallen in the water and she tried to retrieve it. Her father John Baxter (Donald Sutherland), an architectural restoration expert, sensed her impending death and raced out of the country estate to the pond. The anguished, grief-stricken father dragged her lifeless body to the muddy bank and delivered CPR, but he was too late and couldn't save her. He spent most of the rest of the film haunted by her death.

There were many visual foreshadowing clues given in the opening scene that were later elliptically inter-woven into the film, ominously portending further death:

  • Psychically connected, John felt the moment his young son Johnny's (Nicholas Salter) bicycle ran over a piece of glass and punctured the tire, near the pond
  • The art slide John was viewing of a cathedral's stained-glass window (which he would later visit for restoration) included a red-figured dwarf sitting in a pew
  • John noted meaningfully: "Nothing is what it seems"
  • When he spilled a glass of water in his study, Christine's red/white ball splashed into the pond
  • A drop of liquid from the glass hit the slide (directly onto the dwarf figure), causing a swirling globule of film acetate to slowly 'bleed' red across the entire picture (ruining it)
  • His red-raincoated daughter drowned
  • His wife Laura (Julie Christie) was reading the book: "Beyond the Fragile Geometry of Space" - the 'fragile geometry' of the family was forever changed

When the grieving couple traveled to Italy shortly later, they befriended two elderly sisters, blind psychic Heather (Hilary Mason) and Wendy (Clelia Matania). It was stated by Heather that Christine could be seen among them, and John was warned that he was in grave danger. He conducted a long search for her in the city of Venice, where he faced his final moment of life after a number of false leads.

He sighted an elusive small figure in a bright red hooded coat in a dark Venice alleyway - thinking it was his daughter being pursued by a serial killer, he pursued what turned out to be his nemesis. He ascended a swirling staircase, assuredly telling the figure with its back to him: "I'm coming. It's okay. It's okay. I'm a friend. I won't hurt you. Come on." It wasn't his daughter - but a murderous dwarf (Adelina Poerio) - the one pictured sitting in the pew in the slide - who turned around, withdrew a long sharp knife from her right coat pocket, and deftly sliced his throat with one quick swing. He fell onto the stone floor and bled to death - punctuated by the peals of bells, swirling camera angles and quick images from earlier in the film. [The slide was fully covered with a swirl of red and destroyed.] John's funeral at a Venetian canal-side church ended the film.

The Murderous, Red-Coated Dwarf in Venice

The Exorcist (1973)

# 41

In a supremely self-sacrificial act during the cathartic finale of the horror film, the formerly-rebellious priest Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) taunted the demon inside the possessed devil-girl Regan (Linda Blair) as he wrestled against her. He provoked and welcomed the demon to leave her body and come into his own so that he could destroy the Evil:

Take me. Come into me. God-damn you. Take me. Take me.

She grabbed and ripped the amulet medal from his neck - symbolically removing his protection from evil (foreshadowed previously in Damien's surreal dream). At the moment of his own demonic possession, he suddenly pulled back, his body trembled and his eyes rolled up (and turned green), and his face momentarily took on the appearance of Regan's demon.

He growled and tumbled backwards. On the floor, Regan had regained her former self, and her stifled cries were made in her own voice, but she was terrorized by the demon within Karras. Now that he was filled with the beast-monster, he stood and staggered toward her with his arms outstretched to strangle her - but with all his own fortitude and strength, he screamed: "No!" as he battled the demon's attempt to kill her.

He hurled himself toward the bedroom window - his body was thrown through the glass and he fell to his death on the steep concrete steps below. Karras [with a symbolic first name - Damien/Demon] gave his own life to save Regan's spirit and life, with the promise of being reborn.

From the bedroom window, Lt. Kinderman (Lee J. Cobb) viewed Karras' bloodied body ["FIGHT PIGS," a slogan typical of early 70's rebellion, appropriately adorned one of the adjoining walls of the steps, in red] at the foot of the Prospect Street steps. Regan cried hysterically, but she was cured. With police cars and bystanders crowding around, Father Dyer (William O'Malley) broke through and grabbed Karras' hand, beseeching him: "Do you want to make a confession? Are you sorry for having offended God and for all the sins of your past life?" Signaling his assent, Karras unclenched and gripped Dyer's hand. Dyer absolved him of his sins during the administration of last rites. The price or cost of Regan's recovery to sanity and wholeness was that both priests die during the exorcism.

Live and Let Die (1973)

# 15

In the climax of this eighth Bond film, 007 agent James Bond (Roger Moore) was in mortal combat against criminal heroin drug dealer and statesman Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto) within his subterranean lair on the Caribbean island of San Monique.

Bond and "lover" Solitaire (Jane Seymour) were tied together, and Bond's forearm was sliced to draw blood and lure "diners" (sharks). The two were to be lowered into Kananga's pool and served up as bait for his pet sharks.

007 employed the magnet gadget on his Rolex watch to snag a CO2 shark bullet (he hid it in his mouth), and then used the buzz-saw gadget to cut himself free.

In a final combative showdown, Bond and Kananga both fell into the shark pool, where Bond forced a large compressed-air shark bullet (or pellet) into Kananga's mouth and made him bite into it and swallow it. He pushed him below the water's surface, and then when the bullet discharged, his body began inflating, in a clearly-disgusting and gory death scene.

He was propelled out of the water into the air like a rising helium balloon. When his floating-upward, engorged body struck an upper structure, his elasticized, swelled-up body of skin popped or exploded. When Solitaire was released and asked: "Where's Kananga?", Bond quipped: "He always did have an inflated opinion of himself."

Sisters (1973)

"Colored" TV game-show player Philip Woode (Lisle Wilson) was brutally and viciously stabbed (with multiple stab wounds in the mouth, leg, and back by a huge carving knife) after he had had brought an inscribed birthday cake to aspiring French-Canadian model Danielle Breton (Margot Kidder) in her Staten Island apartment after a one-night stand.

He was murdered by her once-conjoined and insane Siamese twin sister Dominique Blanchion (also Margot Kidder in a dual role).

The bloody and gruesome slaying was witnessed, with director Brian De Palma's split-screen technique, from an apartment across the way by aspiring journalist Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt) as he scrawled with his blood to write the word HELP on a window.

Later in the film, Dominique also slashed her strange ex-husband/doctor Emil Breton (William Finley) with a scalpel across his groin and caused him to bleed to death on top of her.

Sleeper (1973)

As part of their rebellion against the totalitarian government in the year 2173 in Woody Allen's science-fiction comedy satire, futuristic rebels Miles Monroe (Woody Allen) and not-very-bright socialite Luna Schlosser (Diane Keaton) successfully kidnapped and killed the never-seen Leader.

The Leader (a wheel-chair bound dictator with a white dog) was ultimately reduced to a benign, disembodied nose after a bombing - and then 'killed' when they threw his nose under a steam-roller.

Soylent Green (1973)

In a moving death scene, Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson in his final film role) experienced a poignant, painless and suicidal death in a euthanasia clinic's bed. He was put to rest (to "go home") in the assisted-suicide facility (within Madison Square Garden) with orange-hued lighting, classical music playing (Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" Symphony No. 6, Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6, and segments of Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite") and projected video (of a peaceful and "beautiful" green Earth ages ago when animal and plant life thrived and there was no pollution).

He died amidst the musical and visual montages with his tearful friend Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) near him in a sealed control room. Before dying, Sol told Thorn: "I've lived too long." Thorn replied: "I love you, Sol." Thorn was astounded by the images: "How could I know? How could I, how could I ever imagine?" Then Sol revealed what he had learned about Soylent Green and its major secret, before dying:

Horrible. Simonson. Soylent. Listen to me, Thorn. Thorn, listen....You've got to prove it, Thorn. Go to the Exchange. Please, Thorn. You've got to prove it. Thorn. The Exchange.

Theatre of Blood (1973, UK)

Douglas Hickox's campy black comedy-horror film from American International Pictures was originally titled Much Ado About Murder, and was obviously inspired by the success of star Vincent Price's Dr. Phibes movies.

It reportedly required over six gallons of fake blood for the eight ghastly yet creative murders (see below), with a total body count of eleven. The demented, macabre film was mostly a series of elaborate and flamboyant Shakespearean death scenes.

The film's tagline warned: "It's curtains for his critics."

Egotistical and vain Shakespearean actor Edward Lionheart (Vincent Price in an over-the-top role) received poor reviews for his performances and stage adaptations from the theatrical Critics Circle. After he was passed over for the coveted Critic's Circle award for Best Actor, he apparently committed suicide - although his own death by drowning was faked (he was rescued from the Thames River).

Then, the deranged, humiliated and murderous mad-man exacted deadly revenge on his nasty, London theater critics who had snubbed him and ended his career, with parodies of deaths from the last season of his Shakespearean plays.

In many of the cases, Lionheart underwent numerous costume and hairstyle changes, while recreating the various roles for which he was criticized - as a doctor-surgeon, as a Scottish masseur, as a French chef, as a fencing instructor, as a camp hairdresser (with a huge afro wig), named "Butch," etc. Lionheart also gloriously gave a hammy recital of the words of Shakespeare as each of the critics met a dastardly demise.

As Lionheart perished in the flames of the burning theatre, he was given a eulogizing, wry and cynical send-off by critic Devlin:

"Yes, it was a fascinating performance, but of course, he was madly overacting as usual, but you must admit he did know how to make an exit."

Edward Lionheart
(Vincent Price)
Doomed Critic (or Individual)
Method of Death
Shakespearean Play
1. George William Maxwell (Michael Hordern)
Assaulted, Bloodied and Butchered, on the Ides of March by a bunch of tramps Reminiscent of Julius Caesar's death (in Julius Caesar)
2. Hector Snipe
(Dennis Price)
Speared or impaled in chest, and his corpse dragged behind a horse The fate of Hector at the hands of Achilles (in Troilus and Cressida)

3. Horace Sprout
(Arthur Lowe)
Critic's wife (Joan Hickson) awoke, after being drugged, to find her husband's beheaded body (after being sawed off) next to her The death of Cloten (from Cymbeline)
4. Trevor Dickman
(Harry Andrews)
Critic's still-beating, warm heart, weighing a pound, was cut out, and placed in a box Shylock received a "pound of flesh" (from The Merchant of Venice)

5. Oliver Larding
(Robert Coote)
Lush critic dunked head-first and drowned in a casket of Chambertin 1964 red wine at a wine-tasting The murder of Duke of Clarence (from Richard III)
Peregrine Devlin
(Ian Hendry)
Rapier-fencing duel (on trampolines) between Lionheart and young critic - wounded although spared The famous swordfight between Tybalt and Mercutio (from Romeo and Juliet)
6. Solomon Psaltery
(Jack Hawkins)
Tricked (by Lionheart playing the Iago character) into believing his wife Maisie (Diana Dors) was unfaithful, and smothering her in a fit of jealous rage, and afterwards sentenced to life in prison Iago murdering his wife (from Othello)
7. Miss Chloe Moon (Coral Browne) - the sole female critic
Electrocuted with hair curlers (Lionheart impersonated a hairdresser named Butch) Re-enactment of Joan of Arc burned at the stake - with quotes heard (from Henry VI, part 1)
8. Meredith Merridew (Robert Morley)
Fed his own "babies" - poodles baked in a pie Queen Tamora ate flesh of her two sons baked in a pie (from Titus Andronicus)
Peregrine Devlin
(Ian Hendry)
Two red-hot daggers on rails attached to a descending pulley (emptying bag of sand) - poised to blind the bound critic The blinding of the Earl of Gloucester (from King Lear)
Lionheart himself
Consumed in flames of burning theatre, jumped to his death from the top of the building (with his dead daughter Edwina (Diana Rigg) in his arms) Quotes from King Lear (from King Lear)

The Wicker Man (1973, UK)

In this suspenseful and erotic horror-occult film, sexually-repressed and devoutly religious Scottish policeman Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) searched for a missing young schoolgirl named Rowan Morrison (Geraldine Cowper) from an anonymous tip in a letter. He believed that she was to be a potential virgin sacrifice (the May Queen) on May Day by openly-sexual pagan worshippers and inhabitants of the remote Scottish island of Summerisle, who worshipped the pagan teachings of leader Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee).

In the chilling finale of the cult classic, Howie learned that he was the one to be sacrificed. He was lured there to the island to be their good Christian sacrifice, to appease the gods and to bring a plentiful harvest. The 'missing' girl was never really missing.

He was burned alive ("Oh, my God!") as the perfect virginal sacrifice inside the massive hollow 'wicker man' statue (created of wicker materials designed to be used for fire sacrifices) at sunset.

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

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