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23 Death Scenes That Will Live On In Film History

Updated September 26, 2019 182 votes 21 voters23 items

Cinema is all about creativity, and the most famous death scenes in movies certainly come up with creative ways for characters to expire. We're not just talking about dying of illness here, or a bad guy getting shot by the hero. In Alien, a man dies when a creature bursts through his chest. Thelma & Louise finds its two leads driving their car off the side of the Grand Canyon. Those are just two of the wild and crazy manners in which people bought the proverbial farm onscreen.

Often times, these famous death scenes are designed to be upsetting. After all, the act of passing away is inherently sad. Once in a while, though, the death is played for laughs, albeit of the dark variety. ED-209 malfunctioning and pumping a seemingly endless amount of bullets into a corporate stooge in RoboCop is one example. Major "King" Kong riding an H-bomb to the ground in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove is another. Sometimes you're meant to cheer because a bad guy bites the dust, while other times you're meant to start the tears flowing because it's tragic. Regardless of motivation, cinema has given us some unforgettable expirations.

Vote up your favorite famous death scenes in movies from the list below, regardless of genre. 

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  • 'Psycho' - Marion Is Attacked In The Shower
    Video: YouTube
    Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane, who ends up at a secluded motel after taking money from her employer, and the motel's owner-manager, Norman Bates, and its aftermath.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam
    • Released: 1960
    • Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
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  • 'The Godfather' - Sonny Gets Caught At The Tollbooth
    Video: YouTube
    The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel by Mario Puzo. The aging patriarch (Marlon Brando) of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son (Al Pacino).... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, James Caan
    • Released: 1972
    • Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
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  • 'Bonnie and Clyde' - Going Down In A Hail Of Bullets
    Video: YouTube
    Bonnie and Clyde is a 1967 American biographical film directed by Arthur Penn and starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the title characters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The film features Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, and Estelle Parsons, with Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor, Gene Wilder, Evans Evans, and Mabel Cavitt in supporting roles. The screenplay was written by David Newman and Robert Benton. Robert Towne and Beatty provided uncredited contributions to the script; Beatty also produced the film. ... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Gene Wilder, Warren Beatty, Estelle Parsons
    • Released: 1967
    • Directed by: Arthur Penn
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  • 'Citizen Kane' - Kane's Last Word
    Video: YouTube
    Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film produced by, co-written by, directed by and starring Orson Welles. The picture was Welles's first feature film. The film was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories; it won an Academy Award for Best Writing by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Welles. Considered by many critics, filmmakers, and fans to be the greatest film ever made, Citizen Kane was voted the greatest film of all time in five consecutive Sight & Sound '​s polls of critics, until it was displaced by Vertigo in the 2012 poll. It topped the American Film Institute's 100 Years ... 100 Movies list in 1998, as well as AFI's 2007 update. Citizen Kane is particularly praised for its... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Orson Welles, Alan Ladd, Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotten, Arthur O'Connell
    • Released: 1941
    • Directed by: Orson Welles
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