Best Film
Deaths Scenes


Greatest Movie Death Scenes
Film Title/Year and Description

Carrie (1976)

Telekinetic Carrie White's (Sissy Spacek) raging, vengeful murder of high school prom-goers (shown in split-screen) after being cruelly doused with a bucket of pig's blood from above. In her mind, she heard tauntings: "They're gonna laugh at you," and "Plug it up!", and in her view (spinning around), she imagined the prom-goers laughing and jeering at her.

Seeking retribution, she caused the prom's exit doors to slam shut, and the lights to pop. An emergency fire hose snaked into mid-air and doused the party-goers, causing chaos, confusion, and bodies careening around the dance floor. Some were electrocuted (Mr. Fromm (Sydney Lassick)), crushed by falling rafters (Miss Collins (Betty Buckley)), trampled, or burned to death in the resulting fire.

Outside as Carrie walked home, she overturned a car attempting to hit her, driven by Billy Nolan (John Travolta) and Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen), and she caused the flipped, rolled-over car to burst into flames.

Carrie's Lethal Psychokinetic Powers

Carrie (1976)

# 45

Psychokinetic Carrie's (Sissy Spacek) ultra-religious psychotic mother Margaret White (Piper Laurie) was attempting to kill her daughter, after the ruinous prom experience. Carrie had removed her blood-stained clothes and bathed in a tub. Then, she wished for comfort from her mother (who appeared from behind the bathroom door). She asked to be hugged:

It was bad, Momma. They laughed at me...Hold me, Momma. Please hold me.

Instead, as they knelt together, Mrs. White was self-critical about when she had conceived Carrie in a moment of sinful weakness and mistakenly carried her to term:

I should have killed myself when he put it in me. After the first time before we were married, Ralph promised never again. He promised and I believed him. The sin never dies. Sin never dies. At first it was alright. We lived sinlessly. We slept in the same bed but we never did it. And then, that night, I saw him lookin' down at me that way. We got down on our knees to pray for strength. I smelled the whiskey on his breath, and he took me. He took me! With the stink of roadhouse whiskey on his breath. And I liked it. I liked it! With all that dirty touchin' of his hands upon me, all over me. I should have given you to God when you were born, but I was weak and backsliding. And now, the devil has come home. Oh. We'll pray....We'll pray. We'll pray. We'll pray, for the last time, we'll pray.

Suddenly, as she was reciting the Lord's Prayer, Mrs. White reached for a gleaming butcher knife and stabbed Carrie in the back as she was hugging her. The struggle traveled to the first floor, where Carrie had tumbled. Cornered in the locked kitchen, a fatal blow was about to be delivered by the raised knife. To stop the assault, Carrie used her telekinetic powers to send a projectile of another sharp knife to pin her mother's right hand against a wooden kitchen door pillar. Other kitchen objects (a peeler, another knife, and other cutlery and utensils) further pinned her mother's left hand (on the other side of the entryway) and also wounded her in the chest. One final knife spun into her mother's heart as the ultimate death blow.

The image was of her suffering mother literally being crucified with her hands pinned to the sides. She gasped in almost religious pain and ecstasy, and then her head flopped to the side, with a slight martyred smile (as the camera slowly pulled back).

The Death of Carrie's Mother - Mrs. White

Carrie pulled her mother off the kitchen door-frame, causing the house to creak and crumble, and the two were in the prayer closet as the house burned down around them. It literally sank and was swallowed into the ground. The Jesus effigy image in the closet had arrows in its chest, duplicating the position of the sharp objects embedded in Mrs. White body. Both perished in the blaze.

The Front (1976)

Troubled and despairing about his TV comedy job firing and his cut salary, blacklisted actor and weekly TV show host Hecky Brown (Zero Mostel) (née Herschel Brownstein) was faced with a terrible choice from the HUAC - either spy on and rat out his left-leaning TV producer - new friend Howard Prince (Woody Allen), or never act again.

He chose to commit a heartbreaking, planned suicide in a hotel room by jumping from the window.

[Note: Actor Phillip Loeb, was blacklisted in the early 1950s and committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills in a hotel room.]

Logan's Run (1976)

Michael Anderson's sci-fi action-adventure presented a dystopic view of society in the year 2274, in which inhabitants lived a life of hedonism and pleasure in a domed city (run by a female-voiced super computer). At the age of 30, citizens had to submit to either "renewal" (a peaceful death) or "Carousel" (a gladiatorial battle) - otherwise, they faced having to become a "Runner" to escape.

Each inhabitant received a signal to attend a renewal Carousel ceremony, when reaching the age of 30. A "life-clock" crystal embedded at birth in the left hand's palm, would change color and blink red - to signal the "Last Day."

Everyone was told that they would be renewed and reborn at the "Carousel" ceremony (attended by an audience cheering "Renewal" in a round amphitheatre), where the white robed participants floated up into the air toward a huge suspended gem - and exploded in a shower of sparks.

The film's twist was that the quasi-religious ritual was actually a death ceremony (the participants were zapped like bugs).

Network (1976)

In the final shocking scene, after The Howard Beale Show segment was introduced, the news anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) was gunned down by two revolutionary radicals (one was an uncredited Tim Robbins in his film debut) in the audience. The assassins had been hired by the network to do away with him.

Beale pitched backwards from the impact of multiple bullet wounds (in the forehead and chest) - bloodied. The cameraman would only cover the shot for television and not assist.

Jack Snowden, a newsman substituting for Howard Beale, was displayed on one of four monitors on a bank of TV screens as he delivered the breaking news story. Snowden's words were dwarfed by simultaneously running commercials (including Canada Dry's Bitter Lemon drink ("We never compromise, so why should you? Canada Dry Mixers. Why compromise?"), and the famous Life cereal commercial ("Let's get Mikey to try it. He won't eat it. He hates everything...He likes it! He likes it!")):

...the network news anchorman on the UBS Network News Show, known to millions as 'the Mad Prophet of the Airwaves,' was shot to death tonight in a fusillade of automatic rifle fire just as he began this evening's broadcast....The extraordinary incident occurred in full view of his millions of viewers. The assassins were members of a terrorist group called the Ecumenical Liberation Army, two of whom were apprehended. The leader of the group, known as the Great Ahmed Khan, escaped.

The narrator added a final epitaph:

This was the story of Howard Beale, the first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings.

The Omen (1976)

# 20

During Damien's (Harvey Stephens) outdoor birthday party, the 5 year-old boy's nanny (Holly Palance) stared at a black dog. A few moments later, she had entered into the English mansion's attic, tied a noose around her neck, stood out on the ledge of the window, and then jumped and suicidally hanged herself after calling out her final words to Damien and the party guests:

Damien, look at me. I'm over here. Damien, I love you. Look at me, Damien. It's all for you.

The Suicidal Death of Damien's Nanny

Her swinging body crashed into the second floor window behind her. Terrified mother Katherine Thorn (Lee Remick) held Damien in her arms and shielded him from the horror.

During a freak storm outside a church, Father Brennan (Patrick G. Troughton) was impaled by a heavy steel rod that was struck by lightning, broke off, sailed through the air (like a javelin throw) and skewered him into the ground.

Much later in the film, hapless photographer David Warner (Keith Jennings) had just vowed to father Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck ) that he was going to stab his evil son Damien with seven daggers ("If you don't do it, I will"). But then he was decapitated during a freakish accident, when a truck lost its brakes. Parked on a slight incline, it gathered speed as it went out of control. A sheet of plate glass flew off the open flat-bed of the truck and sliced cleanly through his neck. It sent his spinning body-less head flying through the air. It ended up resting on the ground where it could view itself in reflected glass.

Snuff (1976, Arg./US)

At the end of this exploitation film (marketed as a snuff film although it wasn't) was a brief, tacked-on 5 minute coda or epilogue (a film within a film). It was the film's most outrageous footage of all - an added "snuff murder" that involved the disembowelment of a female cast or crew member by another cast member (or the director?) after major filming ended.

In the film's cinema verite coda or epilogue (a film within a film), the camera pulled back to reveal the set of the film during its making - the bedroom where the murders (for the major portion of the film) had just been shot.

Following filming, one of the cast members (or the 'director'), who was wearing a blue T-shirt proclaiming: "Vida Es Muerte," began making out with a blonde female (another cast or crew member?). Then, he suddenly and surprisingly straddled her, held her down (with help from another smiling female named June), and cut into her left shoulder with a large-bladed knife. When she squirmed and screamed loudly, he cut off a few of her left hand's fingers (including her ring finger) with scissors. Another male helped him to cut off her entire right hand with a jigsaw.

As the crew kept filming, he used the knife to disembowel her (he reached inside the opening), after which he held up her bloody intestinal entrails or viscera, and screamed triumphantly.

Then, the camera appeared to run out of film as the screen turned white (and then black), and two male crew members were heard speaking to each other:

"S--t, we've run out of film! S--t!"
"Did you get it? Did you get it all?"
"Mmm, yeah, we got it all. Now let's get out of here."

The film ended abruptly.

Taxi Driver (1976)

The bloody shootout at the film's conclusion involved many grisly murders, mostly committed by one-man vigilante taxi driver Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro):

  • in a shocking, cold-blooded act, Travis wreaked vengeance on young Iris' (Jody Foster) abductor - he stuck a gun point-blank into pimp Sport's (Harvey Keitel) gut and pulled the trigger, seriously wounding him in the stomach after threatening: "Suck on this." Shortly later, Travis was shot from behind by Sport, and wounded on the left side of his neck. He began to bleed profusely. Travis turned to look behind him where he saw Sport, and gunned him down at the end of the corridor.
  • a few moments after shooting Sport in the gut, Travis entered the darkened stairway leading to Iris' apartment where he approached the manager of the hotel rooms. In another gory scene of incredible orgiastic violence and cold-blooded slaughter, partially filmed in slow-motion, he shot and blew off part of the manager's right hand. The blast splattered blood and caused echoes throughout the corridors. Still alive, the wounded manager crashed atop Travis and wrestled him to the ground - they thrashed around into Iris' apartment where Iris was shrieking and frozen in fear. Travis pulled his combat knife from his boot and impaled the manager's left hand. He reached over and picked up the revolver from the now-dead Mafioso (see next) and shot him point-blank in the cheek - the manager's brains were splattered onto the wall.
  • wounded and staggering from Sport shooting him, Travis killed a private cop (one of Sport's Mafioso gangster associates and Iris' customer) by filling his face and body full of bullets, causing him to fall backwards into Iris' room.

With two different guns, Travis attempted to shoot himself in the neck, but the guns clicked empty. Exhausted and struggling, he simply collapsed onto the red velvet sofa next to a fear-stricken Iris. His head slowly dropped back amidst the bloodbath. When the police arrived with guns drawn, Travis was unable to speak. In a gruesome closeup, he helplessly raised a blood-soaked, dripping finger to his head and made explosive sounds with his mouth as he mimicked pulling the trigger three times in a mock-suicide: "Pgghew! Pgghew! Pgghew!"

At the end, Travis wished to sacrifice himself as the ultimate act of fulfillment, cleansing, and purification, but his suicide attempt failed. He slowly lost consciousness from massive blood loss, and his head fell backward. The scene ended with an overhead tracking shot in which the camera slowly panned over the bloody trail of carnage in the room and down the stairs to the outer door.

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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