20 Surprisingly Violent Movies

Star Wars (1977)

The Movie: George Lucas eventually toned down the violence in the Star Wars saga to arrive at the kiddie friendly prequels we know and er, well, yes. However, it wasn’t always like that, particularly when Obi-Wan Kenobi starts chucking his lightsaber about…

Hide Your Eyes When: The bar fight scene shows that lightsabers really leave a mark, as Obi-Wan uses his to hack off one of Ponda Boba’s arms. The following shot of the severed limb (complete with oozing blood) is probably the most shocking of the entire franchise!

Kick-Ass (2010)

The Movie: Granted, this wouldn’t have come as a surprise if you were familiar with Mark Millar’s source material, but anyone expecting a traditional superhero romp would have been left open-mouthed by the ultra-violence on display in Matthew Vaughn’s explosive action flick. And then there’s the swearing…

Hide Your Eyes When: The televised torture scene begins, with Frank D’Amico’s goons taking a baseball bat and some lighter fluid to Kick-Ass and Big Daddy.

A Far Off Place (1993)

The Movie: Disney heads to Africa for this tale of a trio of teenagers (one of whom is played by a young Reese Witherspoon) on the run from a gang of bloodthirsty poachers. Bland, teatime fare for the most-part, except for whenever the poachers are on screen…

Hide Your Eyes When:
The AK-47 toting poachers lay waste to a heard of elephants, before doing the same to a family of humans. It’s unusual to see quite so many assault rifles on display in a Disney adventure.

Mission: Impossible (1996)

The Movie: A PG-rated spy romp starring Tom Cruise is not the place you expect to find a scene of stomach-turning violence. And yet Brian De Palma still manages to sneak one in right under the studio’s nose…

Hide Your Eyes When:
Emilio Estevez’s IMF agent is trapped atop an ascending elevator and squished by the metal spikes at the top of the shaft. One of them goes right into his face, for heaven’s sake!

Jaws (1975)

The Movie: Spielberg’s beach-bothering suspense thriller somehow managed to blag itself a PG certificate, despite the proliferation of severed limbs and heads on display. If a masked man were responsible, this would have been an 18, but as it’s a giant shark, all bets are apparently off!

Hide Your Eyes When: The severed bonce floats into shot. It makes us jump every single time…

A Trip To The Moon (1902)

The Movie: Georges Méliès' lunar odyssey is oft referred to as the first science fiction movie, and charts the exploration of the moon by a team of intrepid astronauts, who set about attacking every extra-terrestrial native who comes their way. Oh, and they get there via giant cannon, just in case you were wondering…

Hide Your Eyes When:
The team impale the Man in the Moon through his eye upon landing. Ouch.

Watership Down (1978)

The Movie: A cartoon about lovely, fluffy bunnies. There won’t be any scenes of harrowing violence in a cartoon about lovely, fluffy bunnies, will there? Oh… right.

Hide Your Eyes When: The opening credits roll. Seriously, it’s one long orgy of bunny-mauling mayhem from start to finish. Although the bit when one of the rabbits is gutted by a slavering dog is particularly bad…

Tarzan (1999)

The Movie: Disney have come up with some fairly disturbing death scenes over the years: Mufasa’s trampling, Scar being torn to pieces by hyenas, Ursula being impaled by a ship’s prow... However, none of these come close to the surprisingly brutal punishment dished out to Tarzan ’s villain, Clayton. It’s a genuinely disturbing end!

Hide Your Eyes When: Clayton manages to disentangle him from the vines that were halting his fall, except for the one that’s tied around his neck. Cue an audience of traumatised children when the vine pulls taut…

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

The Movie: A time-travel movie starring MTV prankster Ashton Kutcher might not sound like a recipe for a jarringly violent experience, and yet The Butterfly Effect contains some pretty full-on material.

Hide Your Eyes When: The scene in which one kid batters another around the head with a metal pole is pretty sickening, but the one in which Kutcher’s young stand-in plunges pencils through his hands is the undisputed champ. Grisly.

Goon (2012)

The Movie: Seann William Scott, best known for portraying serial shaggers, turns his hand to gratuitous violence, by punching, kicking and headbutting practically everyone he comes across in this new comedy. About as violent a sports movie as you could ever hope to see.

Hide Your Eyes When:
Scott takes on Liev Schreiber in a bare-knuckle, blood-spattered brawl. One to avoid if you’re not a fan of ruptured eye-sockets…

George Wales

George was once GamesRadar's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it. But now he's working at Stylist Magazine.