The Most Brutal Death Scenes To Ever Come Out Of Gangster Movies

List Rules
Vote up the characters who got whacked in the worst ways.

If there's one thing we've learned from gangster movies, Robert De Niro, and Martin Scorsese after all these years, it's don't mess with the mob. With these syndicates and families, snitches and other enemies of the group don't just get stitches, they get whacked in the worst ways enforcers can imagine. But who's gotten it the worst in all of Hollywood when it comes to the gangster genre? Vote below to find out.

For more gangster movie content, be sure to also check out the terrifying ways Casino was true to life, as well as the best new gangster movies of the past few years.

  • Nicky Santoro of director Martin Scorsese's Casino was apparently based on real-life gangster Anthony Spilotro, whose body (along with his brother's) was found covered up in a shallow grave in an Indiana cornfield in 1986. According to investigators, he died after suffering multiple blunt-force blows to the head and neck and was hidden in the field shortly after. The film presents its own fictional version of how this might have happened. 

    When Nicky causes one too many problems for the bosses to clean up, they whack him in the worst way imaginable. He and his brother head out to a remote cornfield under the pretense of a routine meeting, only for Nicky to take a metal bat to the spine and knee when he's looking the other way. Then the bosses force him to watch as they take the same bat to his brother, Dominick, over and over. Once both brothers are beaten halfway to heaven, they get buried alive so the dirt in their lungs can finish the job. Nicky seems to stay conscious the longest.

    What's most shocking about this gruesome end isn't just Nicky being made to watch someone he loves suffer while knowing he's next, but that, until this moment, he had been narrating the film. Audiences unfamiliar with the real-life story may have expected him to make it out alive because of this until that narration cuts off in the middle of this scene with a scream. Chilling.

  • 2
    949 VOTES

    Frankie Carbone - 'Goodfellas'

    After Robert De Niro's character, Jimmy, stages the raid of the Lufthansa vault in Goodfellas, the titular fellas are rolling in the dough, and it seems like good times lie ahead. That is until some of the crew start getting too bold with their purchases against Jimmy's orders, and the cops find the getaway car thanks to one member's careless mistake. Then Jimmy decides to clean house. As the movie states, they found cadavers for months afterward, but here we're highlighting the particularly gruesome fate of poor Frankie Carbone. 

    See, unlike other targets found sitting in their cars or hidden in the garbage with single bullet holes in their heads (suggesting a quick and painless end), Carbone is found with no blood to be seen at all. His hands are, however, tightly bound together, and he's dangling on a meat hook in the cooler of a shipping truck. With these context clues, we can gather that Frankie Carbone was tied up so he couldn't escape, put up on the meat hook while still fully conscious, and left in the cooler to freeze to death with that hook digging into his flesh, slowly and painfully.

    He sleeps with the piggies now.

  • 3
    770 VOTES

    Angel - 'Scarface'

    One of Scarface's many casualties is Tony Montana's friend Angel. When their boss's right-hand man, Omar Suarez, sends them to a coke deal, it goes terribly wrong and results in Tony and Angel's capture. As if that weren't bad enough, Angel proceeds to get slaughtered like a farm animal while Tony's head is held in place to force him to watch. 

    Angel is strung up, his is mouth duct-taped shut, and one of the Columbian dealers revs a chainsaw closer and closer to his limbs. It's like something out of a horror movie. A brief closeup of Angel's wildly fearful eyes is the last we see of him before blood splatter covers the saw, the wall, Tony's face, and everywhere else.

    Tony suspects the whole thing was a setup by Suarez, making it even more tragic that Angel went so freely to his own dismemberment, trusting his contact all along the way.

  • 4
    641 VOTES

    Tony Dogs - 'Casino'

    Is there anything more chilling than the torment inflicted on Tony Dogs in Casino? Nicky and his associates have this man in captivity for two days and try to beat information about a rival out of him before they put his head in a vise. After a few cranks, he's cracked in more ways than one. He starts begging for the end, and Nicky allows him to be put out of his misery via a knife to the throat.

    It's hard to think about and harder to watch, and that's even after filmmakers toned the scene down by removing a few frames of Dogs's eye popping fully out of its socket, which would have gotten the film an NC-17 rating. 

    But if there's anything redeeming about it, the special effects are pretty impressive. It took Carl Ciarfalio, who played Dogs, three hours in makeup and around eight hours tied to a table to film the scene. The left side of his face was covered in a bursting prosthetic hooked up with hoses for air and fake blood, and the result is gruesomely convincing.

  • 5
    429 VOTES

    Johnny Sirocco - 'Gangs of New York'

    Gangs of New York is a sort of bespoke take on the gangster movie, fitting just as neatly into the epic historical drama genre. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less harsh than the other films on this list, and no one knows that better than Johnny Sirocco. 

    When Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Amsterdam returns to the Manhattan slums to exact revenge on Bill the Butcher for killing his father years earlier, friend Sirocco helps him go undercover with Bill’s crew. Unfortunately, he also betrays Amsterdam in jealousy, blowing his cover when the two pine over the same woman.

    In the fallout, Amsterdam has to go into hiding, and Sirocco, guilty about the mess he caused, decides to help him escape. For all his fence-sitting, Bill then impales him on one. As he’s pinned there, suffering immense pain, all he can do is wait for Amsterdam to find him, then beg for his old friend to put him out of his misery. Amsterdam regretfully draws his gun, and it’s curtains for Sirocco.

  • 6
    413 VOTES

    Calogero’s Friends - 'A Bronx Tale'

    A Bronx Tale has it all: a coming-of-age story, family drama, romance... and racial tension. That last one is hard to avoid when the story is set in 1960s New York City, and the romance takes place between members of clashing Italian-American and Black communities. When protagonist Calogero's Italian gang beats up a group of Black bicyclists, and those cyclists egg them in retaliation, Calogero's crew turns the dial up to 11 by showing up in a Black neighborhood loaded with Molotov cocktails.

    But it's their own fire that causes their downfall: An unexploded Molotov gets thrown right back at them during their bombardment. It bursts inside their car, and they careen out of control before coming to an incendiary stop. The vehicle is engulfed in flames, and they're charred. 

    What could be worse than getting the life burned out of you while trapped inside a steel prison? Having it be your own fault.