Best Film
Deaths Scenes


Greatest Movie Death Scenes
Film Title/Year and Description

Amadeus (1984)

Tortured genius and child prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) experienced a quiet death in bed in 1791 at the age of 35. He was stricken with liver disease (and probably acute rheumatic fever), while also suffering from exhaustion due to the demands of composing. Fellow composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) had disguised himself as a mysterious benefactor to commission Mozart to write his final piece - Requiem Mass in D Minor - it was an effort that eventually killed him.

When his wife Constanze (Elizabeth Berridge) came to visit Mozart, she found Salieri at Mozart's side. She ordered: "He's not to work on this anymore. It's making him ill," locked up the sheets of unfinished music manuscript, and then told Salieri to leave. But it was already too late. When she came to his bedside, Mozart had already expired. She cried out her pet name: "Wolfie" - as Salieri also stood stunned by the thought of a deceased Mozart.

After a sparse funeral-church service held on a very rainy day in Vienna, Mozart's corpse, placed into a plain wooden coffin, was unceremoniously and anonymously dumped into a mass pauper's grave. His canvas-wrapped body slid out of the coffin to fall into an open dirt pit with other bodies, and covered with a shovel-ful of white lye.

Mozart's Pauper Gravesite

In 1823, the jealous and aging royal composer Salieri, the champion and "patron saint" of mediocrities who had gone insane and had been placed in an asylum, looked back at Mozart's premature death. He was angered at God, expressing his incensed frustration at a young visibly-emotional priest. He explained how God had spitefully and deliberately killed Mozart, rather than giving Salieri even "the smallest part of his glory":

Your merciful God. He destroyed his own beloved rather than let a mediocrity share in the smallest part of his glory. He killed Mozart. And kept me alive to torture. 32 years of torture. 32 years of slowly watching myself become extinct! My music growing fainter. All the time fainter till no one plays it at all. And his...

Blood Simple (1984)

The Coen Brothers' complex neo-noir crime film featured an incredible set of death scenes.

Texas bar owner Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya) was buried alive by bartender Ray (John Getz) in a dirt field. Ray had wrongly assumed that his lover Abby (Frances McDormand) had killed her husband Marty. To protectively hide the corpse, he drove Marty's dead body to a remote rural field in the middle of the night, but realized that Marty was still alive, when he was found crawling away from the car! He resisted bashing him over the head with a shovel, but then buried the struggling-to-live Marty in a hole that he dug. He was slowly able to cover him up with dirt before sunrise.

Visser's Ironic Death

In the film's final stand-off between Abby and duplicitous private detective Loren Visser (M. Emmet Walsh), Abby shot Visser through a bathroom door as he was stalking her. She thought it was her husband Marty ("I'm not afraid of you, Marty," she said matter-of-factly). As Visser lay dying on the floor in the next room with a gunshot to the abdomen, he burst into laughter with the film's final line:

Well, ma'am, if I see him, I'll sure give him the message.

He died with a view of the sink's dripping plumbing above him.

Body Double (1984)

In this Brian DePalma thriller noted for lurid violence and sex, pretty exhibitionist neighbor Gloria Revelle (Deborah Shelton) suffered a grisly and brutal death. The killer was disguised wearing a mask of some sort, and appeared to be an Indian. The film's tagline gave a huge hint: "You can't believe everything you see."

In the scene subsequent to her death, struggling horror film actor Jake Scully (Craig Wasson), who suffered from claustrophobia, had followed Gloria to a beach area as she was being stalked by a mysterious, menacing Indian who had snatched her purse. Upon returning home to his bachelor pad that he was 'house-sitting' for an actor's workshop friend named Sam Bouchard (Gregg Henry), Jake watched in horror (through a high-powered telescope) as he voyeuristically viewed Gloria being assaulted by the Indian in her nearby apartment. Although it appeared to be a simple theft case (the purse-snatching Indian had taken her card key), the nature of the horrendous killing raised some doubts.

In the lengthy death scene, the helpless Gloria was first half-strangled with a phone cord, as she was lifted off the floor and held in a death grip. When they both fell backwards onto the bed, the Indian's head struck his power-drill and he was temporarily knocked out.

Prelude to Murder

Then, after he gained consciousness, he stalked and terrorized her with a huge erect, phallic-like power drill the size of a jackhammer. The giant whirring bit of the drill came down between the killer's legs in a symbolic pose. It penetrated through her supine body and into the floor. It emerged from a hole in the ceiling in the room a floor below. Blood tricked down through the opening. Scully arrived too late to save Gloria from being murdered, when he was delayed by an attack from a vicious dog (it was later revealed to be "Sam's" dog) in the apartment below.

[Note: As it turned out in the film's plot twist, Sam was actually Gloria's abusive, disgruntled (and separated) husband Alexander Revelle. "Sam" had hired porn actress Holly Body (Melanie Griffith) to dance provocatively topless each night in the adjacent apartment, posing as a "body double" for Gloria and wearing a dark wig. "Sam" had set up Jake to witness the murder committed by the "Indian" ("Sam" in latex face-makeup) to avoid suspicion on himself and to provide an alibi. Scully recognized the dance moves of Gloria mirrored in Holly's X-rated video and entered her porn-film-making world to find that there was a link between Holly and Gloria's murder.]

Crimes of Passion (1984)

The film's concluding death scene involved an assaultive face-off between the film's two main characters in her apartment:

  • deranged, perversely psychotic, amyl nitrate-sniffing, self-proclaimed preacher Reverend Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins) - he called himself a "messenger of God"
  • kinky LA street-walking, pill-popping prostitute China Blue (Kathleen Turner), with a platinum wig and light-blue silky dress

The Reverend carried a razor-tipped chrome-steel vibrating dildo (dubbed his "Superman") - one of his sex toys - in his doctor's bag. Early on, China Blue asked prophetically: "What are you gonna do? F--k someone to death? You'd like to, wouldn't you?"

Before his death, he told China Blue about his desire to save her once and for all:

With my ecclesiastic gift, plus the grace of God, and a little help from Superman here, I shall bestow upon you the supreme humanitarian blessing and give you your freedom. You, uh, you do want that, don't you? I knew you would...My issue has always been your salvation.

The violent altercation was predicated on the Reverend's desire to save her, as he played demented songs on a piano to her as she was tied down to her drafting table.

Although it appeared that China Blue would be the ultimate victim, the scene ended with the Reverend's death (his parting words were: "Goodbye, China Blue") after he was stabbed in the back by his own dildo/vibrator in a role-reversal twist. He wore China Blue's dress, while she was wearing his preacher's outfit.

Gremlins (1984)

# 11

In director Joe Dante's horror comedy, dog-hating, crabby cat-lady spinster Mrs. Ruby Deagle (Polly Holliday) died a spectacular death by jet propulsion.

The miserly realtor was startled when she found gremlin Christmas carolers outside her door. In the meantime, the gremlin creatures had tinkered with and modified her motorized stairlift. It sent her careening up her long circular staircase's bannister at high speed, launching her to crash out of the second story window like a cannonball, and landing headfirst into snow.

Vicious Mogwai leader Stripe (voice of Frank Welker) with a white quiff of hair (and sharp teeth and claws), experienced a gooey death after being exposed to sunlight by Gizmo (voice of Howie Mandel).

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

This death scene was so horrifying that it ultimately caused the creation of a new rating -- PG-13.

In a subterranean Temple of Doom, a Thuggee religious cult was conducting ritualistic ceremonies to appease the Hindu goddess Kali. A large statue of the bloodthirsty goddess Kali held three glowing sacred Sankara Hindu stones in its altar (within the eye sockets and nose of a giant skull).

The infamous, slightly-sexualized Thuggee sacrifice/torture scene ritual was led by demonic and crazed high priest Mola Ram (Amrish Puri), who ripped the still beating heart out of a human sacrifice victim (Nizwar Karanj) and held it up in his right hand.

The screaming victim remained alive and was lowered into a red-hot magma pit where he was incinerated, along with his flaming heart still in Mola Ram's hand.


A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

# 38

Heroine Nancy Thompson's (Heather Langenkamp) boyfriend Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp) suffered a liquified death in Wes Craven's original horror film of the long-running series.

He had drifted off to sleep while sprawled back fully-clothed on his bed with a blaring TV on his lap, and wearing headphones.

Demonic dream killer and child murderer Freddy Krueger's (Robert Englund) clawed hand burst through a hole in the center of the bed under him, sucked, swallowed and pulled him through the bed cover down into the hole (along with the TV, stereo, bed covers, pillow, sheet, and headphones, etc.).

He was reduced to a bloody geyser or torrential column of his shredded remains that exploded (or were vomited) out of the hole and gushed toward the ceiling, drenching and spraying the room with his blood and gore.

Red Dawn (1984)

This famous US homeland invasion war film was the first film to be released with the MPAA's PG-13 film rating, due to its extreme violence.

Robert Morris (C. Thomas Howell), one of the defending teenaged students in the small town of Calumet, Colorado, died in a hail of smoke and heavy gunfire from an approaching Soviet helicopter gunship and paratroopers, as he cried out: "Wolverines!"

He had joined other forces, calling themselves Wolverines, to resist occupation by invading Soviets (and their Latin American allies, including Cuba and Nicaragua).

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

USS Enterprise Captain Kirk (William Shatner) convinced menacing and treacherous Klingon Commander Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) - who had earlier killed his son Dr. David Marcus (Merritt Butrick) - to beam everyone else up to the Klingon Bird of Prey. They were allowed to escape the Genesis planet's self-destructing deterioration, as Kruge gleefully noted:

Yes, exhilarating, isn't it?

Kirk remained on Genesis for a climactic one-on-one, hand-combat fight to the death against Kruge. When tackled, the Klingon fell onto a ledge overlooking a sea of lava, gripping the edge. Kirk at first chivalrously offered to help ("Take my hand!"), but Kruge instead grabbed his ankle, and attempted to pull Kirk off the ledge with him.

Kirk then push-kicked (three times) the Klingon to his death off the cliff into a molten lava lake while punctuating his words with each kick:

I - have had - enough of you.

The Terminator (1984)

The cyborg Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) was first burned down to his exoskeletal frame when the oil company tanker-truck that he commandeered was blown up and consumed in a fiery inferno. The exterior synthetic skin of the T-800 Terminator was burned away, and only the unstoppable cyborg's metal exo-skeletal frame (with glowing red eyes) remained.

Surprisingly, the skeletal Terminator survived, rose out of the flames, and followed Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) and Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) on foot into an automated factory, filled with giant robotic, hydraulic-powered machines. As Reese commanded Sarah to flee, he valiantly and vainly struck the metallic cyborg with a round steel bar, but was back-handed with the robot's right hand and further hurt. He sacrificed himself when he placed another homemade bomb into the Terminator's open torso, successfully blowing away its lower half.

Sarah's left thigh was severely-injured by sharp flying debris from the blast, and the surviving upper-half of the relentless cyborg with a shiny chrome skeleton continued to crawl after her. She escaped death by strangulation, by luring the cyborg underneath a massive hydraulic press. The final crushing destruction of the shiny Terminator came with the factory's industrial hydraulic steel press machine.

As she pressed a red START button on the machine's control panel to initiate the process, she growled out:

You're terminated, f--ker!

Lightning bolts snapped out from the flattened cyborg. The cyborg's glowing red eyes finally dimmed, darkened, and extinguished.

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
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