Best Film
Deaths Scenes


Greatest Movie Death Scenes
Title Screen
Film Title/Year and Description

Burn After Reading (2008)

In this dark comedic Coen Brothers' spy-thriller (with the tagline: "Intelligence is Relative"), preening, narcissistic Hardbodies gym personal trainer Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt in an against-type role) died unnecessarily.

He was attempting, foolishly, with fellow gym employee Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand), to blackmail (for $50,000) an ex-CIA analyst named Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) for the return of a CD disk.

While searching through Cox's house, Chad hid in a closet when Treasury agent Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney) unexpectedly returned to the house after jogging.

Startled to find him there, Pfarrer shot Chad in the forehead, killing him instantly, and then dumped his unidentified body in Chesapeake Bay (later it was recovered and burned by the CIA).

Chad Shot in Closet

The Dark Knight (2008)

Christopher Nolan's sequel to his own Batman Begins (2005), pitted the caped crime-fighter of Gotham City against one of his most treacherous opponents, the Joker (previously portrayed on film by Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero).

One of the film's most startling murders occurred during a meeting of underworld crime bosses:

  • Salvatore Maroni (Eric Roberts)
  • The Chechan (Ritchie Coster)
  • Gambol (Michael Jai White), an African-American gang leader

They were discussing where to protectively hide mobster money, now that US banks were targeted.

The meeting was interrupted by laughter from the freakish, maniacal and ghoulish-looking Joker (Heath Ledger), who entered the kitchen and quipped: "I thought my jokes were bad." He first demonstrated a 'magic trick' on a table-top to intimidate them - he struck the table surface with a leaded pencil that stood upright:

"How about a magic trick? I'm gonna make this pencil disappear."

When one of Gambol's henchman approached, he smashed the guy's head face-first into the pencil - and it did disappear as he had predicted. He declared:

"Ta-daaaa! It's gone!"

Pencil Magic Trick

The Joker:
"Ta-daaaa! It's gone!"

The Happening (2008)

In writer/director M. Night Shyamalan's apocalyptic horror-thriller film, a wave of unexplained mass suicides swept across the populated northeastern part of the United States (and then into rural areas) for a period of approximately one day.

The deaths of infected individuals were many and varied:

  • impaling one's own jugular vein with a hair-bun needle
  • shooting oneself with a gun
  • jumping off a roof or building
  • a zookeeper offering his arms to a lion
  • slitting one's wrist with glass shards
  • hanging oneself from a tree
  • crashing one's vehicle into a tree
  • lying down in front of a giant lawnmower
  • smashing one's head through a window

Self-Impalement of Jugular Vein

Zookeeper Mutilation

Lawnmower Suicide

Window Head-Smashing

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Two of the Russian villains in the exciting conclusion of this 4th film in the Indiana Jones series franchise died in creative ways.

An army of giant swarming, man-eating siafu ants covered the body of Soviet Colonel Antonin Dovchenko (Igor Jijikine), then dragged his body toward their massive anthill and stuffed him into the hole head-first to be further devoured.

The Russian KGB leading psychic operative Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) was incinerated to death by one of the 'alien' beings (with a crystal skeleton), when she kept demanding: "I want to know!"

[Note: The treasure of the Mayans in the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was revealed to be knowledge.]

After she replaced the retrieved crystal skull onto the spinal cord of one of 13 aliens (arranged in a circle) and stepped forward for the reward, the supernatural being (the collective of all 13 aliens) - with overwhelming power - overloaded her skull with knowledge.

Her brain (and eye sockets) burned and disintegrated in flames, and took her within a vortex up into a giant spaceship above (into another dimension?).

Covered With Ants and Dragged Head First into AntHill

Irina's Disintegrated Brain

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

This animated martial-arts comedy-adventure film from DreamWorks was set in ancient China. There, a wizened, elderly philosophizing Galapagos turtle, a Grand Kung Fu Master named Oogway (voice of Randall Duk Kim) experienced a beautiful and artistic death in a scene under the peach blossoms of a peach tree. He was the only character in the film who died.

Before he passed on, the mentoring Oogway spoke to doubtful yet wise, red-colored Kung Fu Master Shifu (voice of Dustin Hoffman) about how he was confident that overweight, slovenly, Kung Fu-obsessed panda Po (voice of Jack Black), appointed as the Dragon Warrior, could defeat the villainous and malevolent snow leopard Tai Lung (voice of Ian McShane).

The evil Kung Fu Master Tai Lung had recently broken out of prison and was returning. It was not very likely that Kung Fu Panda Po was really the 'chosen one' ("Dragon Warrior") who could defeat Tai Lung and save everyone in the Valley of Peace.

Oogway gave a life lesson to Shifu about the illusion of control, by illustrating his story with a nearby peach tree:

Look at this tree, Shifu. I cannot make it blossom when it suits me, nor make it bear fruit before its time....Ah yes, but no matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach.

Shifu was fearful: "But a peach cannot defeat Tai Lung!" Oogway tried to encourage Shifu to nurture the seed/plant ("Maybe it can if you are willing to guide it, to nurture it, to believe in it") of young Po. He made him promise to believe in the young Kung Fu panda and train him:

"You just need to believe. Promise me Shifu, promise me you will believe."

Oogway realized that he was about to die: "My time has come, you must continue your journey without me...You must believe." He was enveloped or dissolved into a swirling and encircling cloud of peach tree blossom petals that floated or ascended into the sky and vanished into the stars (or afterlife).

Swirling Peach Tree Blossoms

Milk (2008)

Although filmed in a dreamy, silent, overly-aestheticized way, this Gus Van Sant-directed biopic shockingly dramatized an ill-fated, double assassination scene that historically occurred in San Francisco, California in late 1978.

Troubled, internally-damaged and tormented fellow politician Dan White (Josh Brolin), in City Hall offices, first shot progressive Mayor George Moscone (Victor Garber) dead.

Dan White then proceeded down the hallway to gun down 48 year-old San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk (Best Actor-winning Sean Penn), the first openly gay man to be voted into public office in America.

Milk Assassinated

Quantum of Solace (2008, UK)

Tall, red-haired M16 agent Miss (Strawberry) Fields (Gemma Arterton), an employee of the British consulate in La Paz, Bolivia, met British secret agent 007 James Bond (Daniel Craig) at the airport.

Sharing his fancy Grand Hotel room for a seduction, the Bond girl soon met a grisly fate at the hands of the film's charismatic yet ruthless villain Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric).

The Bond villain murdered Miss Fields by drowning her in crude oil - and her blackened body was stretched out on their hotel bed. M (Judi Dench) told a shocked Bond:

"You might like to tell her your theory about there being no oil. Her lungs are full of it."

Bond knew it was Greene's attempt at "misdirection" - the villain's main objective in the film was water, not oil.

[Note: This film's death scene paid homage to the iconic death scene in the earlier Bond film Goldfinger (1964) of villain Goldfinger's escort Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) who was painted entirely with gold paint and lying on a bed - dead due to skin suffocation.]

Black Oil Death - Homage to Goldfinger

Greatest Movie Death Scenes
(chronological by film title)
Intro | 1915-1929 | 1930-1933 | 1934-1938 | 1939 | 1940-1942 | 1943-1945 | 1946-1947 | 1948-1949
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