16 Gut-Punch Death Scenes That Happen Right In The Middle Of The Movie
Vote up the deaths that deliver a gut punch right in the middle of the movie.
Audiences often anticipate death scenes that occur in the final scenes of a film and are rarely attached enough to be affected by a character’s demise early in the story. However, when a character dies right in the middle of the movie, it can have a greater impact because the audience is unprepared. A death occurring at the end of the film often provides resolution, while mid-movie deaths typically serve a different purpose. Not only are these mid-film death scenes effectively an emotional gut punch, but they are also often a driving force to move the narrative forward.
Death scenes in the middle of the movie often serve as a turning point in the story, impacting the direction of the remainder of the movie. Sometimes the protagonist perishes, and the narrative must shift focus to others following their passing. Other times it is merely a supporting character who dies, but the event inspires or motivates actions significant to the second half of the story. Either way, the death of these characters leaves a lasting impression.
- Photo: The Weinstein Company
As bounty hunter John "The Hangman" Ruth (Kurt Russell) is among the first characters introduced in The Hateful Eight, it would be easy to assume he is one of the film’s main protagonists. While transporting the fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to be hanged, Ruth and his prisoner are forced to seek refuge from a blizzard at a lodge outpost on the way, along with a group of strangers.
Someone poisons the coffee and Ruth begins coughing blood after drinking it. Believing Domergue is responsible, Ruth attacks her, only to have her shoot him with his own gun. The remainder of the film is centered on the mystery of who poisoned the coffee, as well as their motivations for the attacks.
- Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Following the assault and death of her daughter, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) rents three billboard signs on the outskirts of town to place blame on Chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) for the lack of arrests. Although upset that he has been unjustly held responsible, Willoughby understands the reasons for Hayes’s actions.
Suffering from terminal pancreatic cancer, Willoughby makes the decision to take his own life rather than have his family watch him perish slowly from the disease. Willoughby shows Hayes support in his suicide note along with paying to keep the signs up, creating further confrontations between locals and the grieving mother.
- 342 VOTESPhoto: Warner Bros.
During basic training for Marine recruits during the Vietnam War, Private Leonard "Gomer Pyle" Lawrence (Vincent D'Onofrio) is a constant disappointment to the drill instructors, resulting in the rest of the platoon being punished. In retaliation, the other recruits beat Private Pyle with socks filled with soap bars.
Although this causes him to improve enough to make it through training, following graduation, Pyle kills senior drill instructor Sergeant Hartman (Lee Ermey) before taking his own life. The film goes on to follow the other Marines into battle, with violence first foreshadowed by the passing of Private Pyle.
- Photo: Focus Features
The first half of The Place Beyond the Pines follows Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling), a motorcycle stunt driver who moonlights as a bank robber. When one of his robberies goes wrong, Glanton is pursued and shot by rookie police officer Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper).
After Glanton’s demise, the film jumps forward 15 years, and the second half switches to the perspective of his son, Jason (Dane DeHaan). Glanton’s passing also has an impact on the life of Cross, which is complicated further when he discovers his rebellious son has befriended Jason.
- 527 VOTESPhoto: Paramount Pictures
Psycho begins with the theft of $40,000 by real estate secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who immediately flees town with plans to meet up with her boyfriend. While at a roadside motel, Crane begins to have doubts about her actions and considers returning the money.
Unfortunately, before she can do this, Crane is murdered in her motel shower by the motel owner, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). Crane’s passing brings investigators and Crane’s sister, Lila (Vera Miles), who are determined to find out the truth about her disappearance.
- Photo: Columbia Pictures
After Tommy Williams (Gil Bellows) is incarcerated for burglary, he befriends Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker serving life for the murder of his wife and her lover. Despite Dufresne adamantly denying his guilt, nobody seems to believe him until Williams shares a story told to him by a cellmate at another prison, clearing the banker’s name.
Williams approaches the warden with this information, but the corrupt official has him killed so he can keep Dufresne under his control in the prison, specifically to help fix the books to hide illicit operations. Although Dufresne willingly went along with the scheme, he makes plans to take down the warden after the demise of Williams.