Yes, I have considered how weird it is to rank death scenes. But we’ve all seen them, and some stay with you. Not because they’re particularly sad or even gruesome, but because they are shocking, memorable, and iconic. Often times these death scenes overshadow their movies. This happens with even the best films. Some are satisfying villain deaths, others are heroic protagonist deaths, but all are amazing in their own right.
Now I wanted to separate the deaths on this list from the overly emotional deaths. Sure, some on here are tear-jerkers, but there’s something more to them than that. It might be the humor, the special effects or the style that makes them great. Some have a quality that you can’t quite identify, what the French might call je ne sais quoi, but, for whatever reason, they work and they last.
I have intentionally kept off what I consider to be sad deaths, the Disney deaths and others. Without further ado then, here are the 14 Most Iconic Movie Deaths.
14 Vizzini the Sicilian - The Princess Bride
13 Kurtz and the Horror - Apocalypse Now
12 Human Missile - True Lies
11 Kane’s Chestburster - Alien
10 William Wallace - Braveheart
9 Eaten by a Shark - Deep Blue Sea
8 Balloon Heads - Total Recall
7 Hans Free… Falling – Die Hard
6 Tony Montana - Scarface
5 Quint – Jaws
4 Major Kong Rides the Bomb – Dr. Strangelove
3 Leonidas - 300
2 Nasty Nazis - Raiders of the Lost Ark
1 Shower Scene - Psycho
The shower scene in Psycho might be in the Top 3 most iconic scenes in all of film. The film itself has had an immeasurable impact on film as a whole, especially the horror and slasher genres, but everyone has seen this scene, even if they can’t name the film. It’s been said that many people were afraid to shower after seeing it. Oddly enough, Larry the Cable Guy still uses that as an excuse to avoid soap and water. It should also be noted that, at this time in the film, Marion Crane is the protagonist, which makes it completely unexpected. Everything from the camera cuts and angles, the lighting, the “ree-ree-ree” sound effects is iconic. No shower will ever be looked at the same once you have seen this scene.
Sources: Wikipedia; Rotten Tomatoes
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