13 Awesome Movie Funerals

Putting the 'fun' in...well, y'know...

Death At A Funeral

The Funeral: Pure chaos, from start to finish. We don't want to spoil it for y'all, but let's just say it's supposed to involve the utterly routine (if slightly awkward-to-arrange) send-off of an apparently normal family man by his grown-up sons...

The Awesomeness: ...but that it in fact makes any fratboy road trip film end up looking pretty vanilla by comparison. Accidental consumption of class A contraband, possible manslaughter, blackmail - it's all going down.

Hell, forget funerals - we want to hire Chris Rock and pals as our stag do posse.

My Own Private Idaho

The Funeral: Bob Pigeon, Fagin character to a ragtag gang of addled street kids, is sent off in the same graveyard at the same time as the father of wealthy, reformed ex-gang member Scott (Keanu Reeves).

The Awesomeness: All about juxtaposition; one of the funerals is rather more 'official' - and far less fun by the looks of it.

Scott sits stiffly in black as a preacher reels off Bible verse in a numbing monotone, while revellers at Bob's makeshift ceremony (led by River Phoenix) whoop, scream and pile on to the rough casket.

Well, which way would you rather go out?

Watchmen

The Funeral: A wake for Blake - aka The Comedian - a costumed vigilante on the government payroll, whose murder under highly iffy circumstances sets the wheels of the film in motion. Mostly by royally pissing off the admirably demented Rorschach.

The Awesomeness: Superheroes obviously only ever get buried in heavy rain to a kick-ass soundtrack. This time, it's not slushy emo-pop, but the plaintive, bookish wails of Simon And Garfunkel. Which works just as well, we think.

Also, talk about your graveside tension - this is where the characters really twig that something's deeply amiss, and clearly decide there and then to take serious ass-kicking action.

Gandhi

The Funeral: Big. Like, 400,000 people big. Well, if you're going to have a party, you might as well do it properly...

The Awesomeness: The sheer logistics, really. Today, a crowd of this magnitude would be a CGI fiddle as a matter of course - but director Richard Attenborough pulled in an insane number of extras to do the thing properly. Filmed 33 years to the day after Gandhi's actual funeral, it wouldn't have done to skimp.

Surely the last colossal onscreen gathering shot wholly in live action? (Um, unless any of the Avatar sequels go surprisingly lo-fi...)

The Fellowship Of The Ring

The Funeral: Boromir (Sean Bean) is cut down in mid-battle with a well-aimed orc arrow to something squishy and vital. Amon Hen not being full of reputable undertakers, the crumbling Fellowship decide to do the next best thing...

The Awesomeness: ...and send him plummeting off the edge of a massive, crashing waterfall in a balsa wood canoe.

Look, it might not exactly be flowers, piped organ music and a sobbing flock of former lovers, but hey - it's pretty damn stirring, and you're not going to have to worry about anyone making your hair look stupid for an open casket gathering.

Four Weddings And A Funeral

The Funeral: Gareth (Simon Callow) dies of a heart attack at the Scottish castle wedding of Carrie (Andie MacDowell) to Sir Hamish Banks (Corin Redgrave), leaving lover Matthew (John Hannah) heartbroken. Cue that titular single funeral.

The Awesomeness: The funeral is more memorable than the weddings - it's here that the film suddenly grows up, via a (relatively) deep conversation between Charles (Hugh Grant) and Tom (James Fleet) about life, love and the true value of real companionship over mere frenzied rutting.

Then they probably start yelling "fuck" again. Hmm.

Daredevil

The Funeral: Elektra (Jennifer Gerner) mourns her murdered father, leaving the rainy service convinced that revenge on ex-lover Daredevil (Ben Affleck) - who was implicated in the death by the real assassin, Bullseye (Colin Farrell) - is her only option.

The Awesomeness: The sky-splitting storm is what makes it; we won't be happy on the day of our crossing over now unless it's pissing it down good and proper, and everyone's hair goes rubbish.

A good bit of slushy emo-pop never goes amiss, either - as demonstrated here over poignant images of rain-soaked roses and a slick, glistening limo fleet. Well clarssy, innit!

The Big Lebowski

The Funeral: The Dude and Walter scatter Donny's ashes - well, some of them - into the ocean after his heart attack. (We're detecting a cardiac theme to this list...all doing your regular physical jerks, we hope?)

The Awesomeness: Bathos, bathos and more bathos . The two remaining friends royally screw up the supposedly poignant moment, obviously - but somehow this just makes it all the more touching.

We insist friends end up leaving our wake with a gobful of charred torso and a suggestion as immortally inappropriate as "Fuck it Dude, let's go bowling."

And yes, we're aware that our list of funeral demands is now getting quite complex. Sue us! Oh wait, you can't. We're dead.

Diamonds Are Forever

The Funeral: The body of diamond smuggler Peter Franks, having been offed by Bond, is flown to Slumber Inc funeral home for cremation. By stuffing Franks' cadaver with the stolen 'ice', Bond dodges that pesky customs declaration...

The Awesomeness: Well, if there's got to be a shady double-cross at a funeral - and odds against it happening at ours probably aren't that long - we'd like it to be one involving multi-millions hidden up our arses as we go up in smoke.

Oh alright then, we'll just settle for smuggling our top three DVDs to the other side. Although no box sets, obviously. Ouch.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan

The Funeral: Spock dies after fleeing the (relative) safety of the Enterprise bridge to fix the warp speed thingies, and getting a massive dose of radiation. The surviving crew do the decent thing and blast him a bajillion fathoms into space, where he can't stink up the gaff with his gamma-lurgi. Or something.

The Awesomeness: It's a SPACE BURIAL, people! Cancel all the other intricate and tedious demands we've made for our own wakes over the course of this list, and just make sure we can be sling-shot into the nearest available gas giant. See, we're easy to please really...

MASH

The Funeral: Well, it's not actually - although the star of the show believes it to be. In fact, 'Painless Pole' Waldowski (John Schuck) isn't really climbing into his coffin to kill himself at all, because the poison he's about to neck is secretly just a sleeping tablet...

The Awesomeness: The surrounding imagery is pretty rad, cribbed wholesale from that famous Da Vinci painting of The Last Supper, but it's the accompanying rendition of theme song Suicide Is Painless that lingers long after the scene has played out.

It's also a deeply moving, warmly reflective scene in what is for the most part a pretty cutting and hard-nosed satire. A classic five minutes, and no mistake.

The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada

The Funeral: Well, more a rather basic interment ceremony than a funeral, as such. Just as well really, since the hapless remains are dug up and moved twice before our titular slaughtered peasant is allowed to rot quietly. 'Rest in peace' never sounded so flimsy an epitaph.

The Awesomeness: As a setup for a grizzled epic Western, it's pure genius - as is the way we're really made to empathise with Tommy Lee Jones' insanely protective attitude towards the sack of skin and bones he hauls around with him, looking tirelessly for that fabled resting place it (presumably) deserves.

Fight Club

The Funeral: Again, not a real funeral as such, but it deserves a mention as a subtly pivotal moment in pretty unsubtle film. When 'bitch tits' (Meatloaf) gets shot during Project Mayhem...

The Awesomeness: ...we find that "in death, he has a name - his name is Robert Paulson. His name is Robert Paulson! HIS NAME IS ROBERT..." etc.

As the chanting around the cadaver rises to fever pitch, The Narrator envisions for the first time the uncontrollable nation-wide rage his creation has tapped into. And rightly freaks the fuck out.