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The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves

Updated October 14, 2019 3.4k votes 772 voters 18.0k views27 items

List RulesCharacters from film, television, and literature who sacrificed themselves. Vote up the best characters whose sacrifice meant the most.

They all paid the ultimate price. In that defining moment, each of these characters who sacrificed their lives and died for the benefit of others. Some came from the world film, others from television, and a few came from literature. These are the best fictional characters who sacrificed themselves.

Heroic sacrifice in fiction has been around for a long time. The bible tells the story of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross so that his people’s sins could be forgiven. That same narrative is still used today in multi-million-dollar blockbuster movies.

Many of the characters on this list were severely flawed. But when the time came to give up everything, they saw the light and met their redemptive deaths. Others on this list were always heroes, set out to make their world a better place, and always knew that their end would come for a greater purpose. Good or bad, protagonist or villain, they all died a hero's death. (Of course, not every protagonist's demise is heroic. Cinema has given us a handful of dumb heroic sacrifices, as well.)

Make your voice heard. Vote up for your favorite fictional characters who sacrifice themselves.

  • 1
    Obi-Wan Kenobi is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
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    100

    Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
    Obi-Wan let Darth Vader kill him in order to drive the Rebel forces to defeat the Dark Side.
  • 2
    Jesus Christ is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
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    145

    Jesus Christ

    The Bible
    According to the Bible, Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried for the sins of his people.
  • 3
    Gandalf is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    148
    64

    Gandalf

    The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Lord of the Rings
    Fell with the Balrog in order to pass the moral test and help his friends.
  • 4
    Darth Vader is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    122
    52

    Darth Vader

    Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

    Darth Vader saved his son Luke from the Emperor and got blasted by lightening.


  • 5
    Hodor is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    169
    91

    Hodor

    Game of Thrones
    Holds the door against the White Walkers, sacrificing himself to save Bran.
  • 6
    The Iron Giant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    98
    39

    The Iron Giant

    The Iron Giant
    In order to save the town of Rockwell, he took the explosives and flew them into the stratosphere.
  • 7
    Mags is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    93
    41

    Mags

    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
    Ran into the poisonous fog so Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick could live.
  • 8
    Spock is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    106
    56

    Spock

    Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series

    Spock fixed the Enterprise to allow it to escape but was killed from radiation poisoning.


     
  • 9
    Terminator is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
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    41

    Terminator

    Terminator
    The Terminator destroyed himself in order to prevent Judgment Day.
  • 10
    Harry S. Stamper is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    73
    44
    Harry manually triggered the bomb to save the world even though A.J. drew the short straw.
  • 11
    Walt Kowalski is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    70
    42

    Walt Kowalski

    Gran Torino
    Walt got the gangsters to shoot him in front of several witnesses so they would go to jail.
  • 12
    Jack Dawson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    88
    63

    Jack gave his love Rose the entire door to float on so only he would perish in the freezing water.

  • 13
    King Leonidas is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    71
    48

    King Leonidas

    Meet the Spartans, 300
    Leonidas, with his army of 300 Spartans, fought a battle that they knew they would lose.
  • 14
    Léon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    60
    38

    Léon

    Léon: The Professional
    Léon created an escape path for Mathilda and blew up Stansfield and himself with a grenade.
  • 15
    Chuck is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    58
    42

    Chuck

    The Maze Runner
    Chuck from The Maze Runner took a bullet for Thomas.
  • 16
    Dr. Robert Neville is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    43
    31

    Dr. Robert Neville

    The Omega Man, I Am Legend
    Blew himself up with the zombies to protect the vaccine.
  • 17
    Charlie Pace is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
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    35
    Deactivated the jamming signal so his friends could get rescued and drowned in the process.
  • 18
    Pvt. Witt is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    26
    21

    Pvt. Witt

    The Thin Red Line
    Drew gunfire so the rest of his unit had time to escape the Japanese invasion.
  • 19
    Cinder is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    32
    28

    Cinder

    Engines of War
    In Engines of War, Cinder was shot saving Doctor Who.
  • 20
    Ellen Ripley is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    43
    47

    Ellen Ripley

    Alien, Alien 3
    Ripley threw herself into a fire so the Weyland-Yutani Corporation couldn't use her alien embryo.
  • 21
    Pvt. Vasquez is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    34
    37
    Took her own life rather than get captured and impregnated by Xenomorphs.
  • 22
    Miles Bennett Dyson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    26
    29

    Miles Bennett Dyson

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day
    Blew up Skynet Headquarters and himself in order to destroy the deadly research.
  • 23
    Damien Karras is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    26
    29

    Damien Karras

    The Exorcist
    The priest exorcised the demon but afterwards jumped to his death to save the world.
  • 24
    Sydney Carton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    32
    39

    Sydney Carton

    A Tale of Two Cities, A Tale of Two Cities
    Saves the man that Lucie loves from execution by replacing him in his prison cell.
  • 25
    Jack Shephard is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Sacrificed Themselves
    31
    38

    Jack Shephard

    Lost: Missing Pieces, Lost
    Restored the golden light and saved the island knowing he would die from electromagnetism.
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