Did you know that it was Steven Spielberg who originally created the PG-13 rating after his Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was determined to not quite fit within either the PG or R parameters?
What was once an identifier to distinguish film contents that might be deemed inappropriate for viewers under the age of 13 has now been shrugged off as "ratings creep" has allowed films to push the envelope on what is considered 'mature' content. Violence, sexual innuendo and strong language can now be found in films of just about any rating, as audiences become increasingly desensitized.
Of course, that doesn't mean that movies can't still find ways to shock, particularly when it comes to younger audiences. Even as the language they hear gets a little stronger and the scenes they see grow a little more violent, young film-goers still develop emotional attachments to characters and become connected to the story unfolding on the screen. It stands to reason, then, that losing a beloved character would still be pretty jarring.
As movies become more risqué, the fate of characters becomes less secure. Boundary-pushing filmmakers are given the green light to introduce viewers to edgier themes, including death. The result has been a series of films that serve up shocking gut punches by offing some of their most beloved characters. It goes without saying that this list will serve up plenty of spoilers, so be warned!
12 Ellie, Up
11 Red Shoe, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
10 Leslie, Bridge to Terabithia
9 Marley, Marley and Me
8 Rue, The Hunger Games
7 Carin Fisher, Patch Adams
6 Mufasa, Lion King
5 Thomas, My Girl
4 G-Baby, Hardball
3 Bambi's Mom, Bambi
2 Bruno and Shmuel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
1 Trevor McKinney, Pay It Forward
Hayley Joel Osment's Trevor McKinney isn't just the main character of Pay It Forward, but the heart and emotional driving force behind a movie about kindness and doing good deeds for others. Trevor takes to a class project from teacher Eugene Simonet (Kevin Spacey) that asks students to 'pay it forward' by doing good things for three random people to set off a goodwill movement. As the movement takes off, however, Trevor is fatally stabbed while coming to the defense of a friend from bullies. While the movie tries to wrap up happily by showing an endless sea of mourners that represents the people Trevor touched, it's still hard to reconcile all of his generous acts with his ultimate fate.
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