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50 Movies where the main character dies

The Wicker Man
(Image credit: British Lion Films)

Movies where the main character dies are rare. We're more used to seeing a hero save the day – and then, as has become the case with the majority of superhero movies, go on to have a sequel. Well, we're here to explore those movies where the protagonist perishes. That's right, we're looking at the deadlier side of the flicks.

The below therefore contains a whole lot of spoilers. Expect few survivors as we delve into 50 movies where the main character dies during the runtime. Blood, guts, fire, and turning to dust ahead!

The Matrix (1999)

"Guns. More Guns" - one of the best Matrix quotes

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Movie: Genre-redefining sci-fi from the Wachowskis. What is the Matrix? That's what Neo (Keanu Reeves) wants to know – and then he discovers that the world around us is all just a lie.

The Death: Neo finally goes toe-to-toe with the deadly (and monotone) Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), fighting his way through an apartment block - and ending up shot point blank range in the chest.

How Shocking Is It? It's definitely surprising. Of course, things turn out OK when Neo miraculously comes back to life because he's a new-age-y Jesus or something.

Braveheart (1995)

The Movie: Bloody and historically-dubious epic starring Mel Gibson as William Wallace, the 13th-century warrior who leads the Scots into a war against the King of England. Brave indeed.

The Death: Wallace comes to a sticky, grisly, gut-wrenching end as he's placed on the (cross-shaped) rack and hung, drawn and quartered in front of a braying audience - while he's still conscious.

How Shocking Is It? Everybody knows it's coming now, but Wallace's demise is just so grisly it can't help but turn the stomach. No dinner for us tonight.

Children Of Men (2006)

The Movie: Post-apocalyptic action thriller based on the book by PD James. Theo (Clive Owen) must protect the last pregnant woman on earth, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashity).

The Death: Theo reveals that he's been shot when he and Kee make it to the safety of a rowboat. He slowly passes away right before her eyes.

How Shocking Is It? We've already had Julianne Moore and Michael Caine shockingly bite it earlier in the film, so by this point we know anything goes.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The Movie: Steven Spielberg's epic war film in which a US squadron led by Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) attempt to rescue Private Ryan (Matt Damon) from the enemy's clutches.

The Death: Miller is shot and killed by a German infantry while he's out defending a bridge that's crucial to the rescue strategy.

How Shocking Is It? Extremely. Most films wouldn't have the guts to kill off Hanks when he's in the hero role, but Spielberg doesn't flinch away from it. Ah, the tragedy of war.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

The Movie: Former Elm Street kid Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) returns in this Wes Craven-scripted threequel. She attempts to help a new gang of youngsters (among them, Patricia Arquette) being tormented by Freddy (Robert Englund) in a psychiatric ward.

The Death:
At the film's dream-set climax, Nancy unexpectedly buys it when Freddy buries his finger-knives in her. She's still pivotal in stopping him, though, which counts for something.

How Shocking Is It?
Considering Nancy was the first film's Final Girl, it's a shock that she doesn't survive her second encounter with Freddy. At least she gets her final hurrah (ish) in Wes Craven's New Nightmare a decade later.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

The Movie: Hyperactive adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel following enigmatic rich boy Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his emotional affair with Daisy (Carey Mulligan) in the 1920s.

The Death: As his lies start crashing down around him, Gatsby is confronted by George (Jason Clarke) - whose wife Gatsby accidentally killed - and shot. His dead body drifts into his beautiful pool.

How Shocking Is It? Uh, this is a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, so you can pretty much count on something bad happening to his character by the time the credits roll…

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008)

The Movie: David Fincher's epic fantasy drama about a boy, Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt), who's born as an old man and, bizarrely, ages backwards until he ends up a little baby.

The Death: Aged 84, Benjamin resembles little more than a tiny baby as he passes away in the arms of Daisy (Cate Blanchett), the woman he loves.

How Shocking Is It?
The whole film's weird and conformity-dodging, but we sort of knew all along that it'd end with Benjamin dying as a baby, so it's not all that shocking.

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

The Movie: Kooky family drama from Wes Anderson. Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) returns to his family after years of neglect, announcing that he's dying of terminal cancer.

The Death: Despite the fact that he faked terminal cancer, Royal eventually (and somewhat unexpectedly) dies at the film's close of a heart attack.

His epitaph states that he "died tragically rescuing his family from the wreckage of a destroyed sinking battleship".

How Shocking Is It?
It's surprising and darkly humorous, but not necessarily shocking.

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

The Movie: Gun-toting Shakespeare adap from Baz Luhrmann following the titular star-crossed lovers in present day Verona Beach.

The Deaths: Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet's (Claire Danes) plot to escape together goes horribly wrong when they both drink poison - and die in each others' arms.

How Shocking Is It? If you didn't know anything about Shakespeare, this would have come as a shock.

The Devil's Rejects (2005)

The Movie: Gory horror from Rob Zombie. Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe) attempts to bring down the murderous Firefly family in revenge for the death of his brother.

The Death: Wydell is killed by Tiny (Matthew McGrory), despite the former landing a few good (bloody) blows to Tiny's family members.

How Shocking Is It?
Not particularly - it's clear that nobody's safe in Zombie's world. Basically, the gorier the betterer.

Turner & Hooch (1989)

The Movie: A pooch-y spin on the 'good cop, bad cop' set-up, in which police officer Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) is teamed up with drooling hound Hooch.

The Death: During their investigation, Hooch ends up shot and bleeds out while being cradled by a sobbing Turner.

How Shocking Is It? It was responsible for an entire generation of kids being emotionally scarred by 'that doggy movie where the doggy dies'. Talk about shocking.

Titanic (1998)

The Movie: Titanic in name, titanic in nature, James Cameron's historical disaster flick sees poor boy Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) falling for rich girl Rose (Kate Winslet) aboard the doomed vessel.

The Deaths: Both Jack and Rose end up dead by the close of Cameron's flick - Jack as a young man, doomed to a watery grave, and Rose as an old woman, dreaming of her love as she dies.

How Shocking Is It? So shocking that people were caught openly weeping as they left the cinema - then going back for more.

Into The Wild (2007)

The Movie: Based on the autobiographical book by Jon Krakauer. Spoilt rich kid Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) graduates uni, donates all his savings to charity and decides to live in the wilds of Alaska.

The Death: After four months of seclusion, Christopher decides to head home, but finds himself isolated with no hope of rejoining civilisation. He eventually dies from malnutrition in his sleeping bag.

How Shocking Is It? It's more desperately sad than all-out shocking - though Hirsch's transformation is enough to seriously concern.

Moulin Rouge! (2001)

The Movie: Musical extravaganza in which starry-eyed poet Christian (Ewan McGregor) falls madly in love with dancer Satine (Nicole Kidman), unaware that she's terminally ill with tuberculosis.

The Death: "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return." Satine sings Christian a love song. It's the last thing she does. When the curtains close, she dies.

How Shocking Is It? We're told at the beginning that Satine is going to die, so not particularly.

Seven Pounds (2008)

The Movie: An "extraordinary story" (according to the tagline) in which Tim Thomas (Will Smith) makes it his mission to change the lives of seven strangers for the better after killing seven people in a car crash.

The Death: Tim climbs into the bath with a deadly jellyfish, which kills him quickly - if not painfully.

How Shocking Is It? It's a weird way to go, to say the least - we definitely didn't see that coming.

The Prestige (2006)

The Movie: Warring stage magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) attempt to outshine each other with increasingly mind-boggling shows.

The Death: It all becomes clear as a mortally-wounded Angier discovers that Borden is actually a pair of twins. He dies with that knowledge, though, having been shot by one of the brothers. Meanwhile, his tanks full of clones all drown.

How Shocking Is It? The death itself is somewhat overshadowed by what is a great final twist.

V For Vendetta (2005)

The Movie: Wachowski-produced adaptation of Alan Moore's dystopian graphic novel. In the near-future, freedom fighter V (Hugo Weaving) plans to bring down the UK's fascist regime with acts of terrorism.

The Death: After a stand-off with police chief Creevey, V is shot and mortally wounded, staggering back to thank Evey (Natalie Portman) before he finally dies. His corpse is sent into the Houses of Parliament alongside the explosive devices that will destroy them.

How Shocking Is It? It's more poetic than shocking - even though he's died, V lives on in the people, who don his signature mask.

Burn After Reading (2008)

The Movie: Black comedy from the Coen brothers. Personal trainers Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt) and Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) discover governmental records and decide to bribe Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich).

The Death: While hiding in a closet, Chad is shot and killed by a surprised Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney). SPLAT. No more Chad.

How Shocking Is It? It's one of the most unexpected (and bloody) deaths ever. Not only is Brad Pitt killed, he's killed by buddy George Clooney!

Cloverfield (2008)

The Movie: A found-footage spin on Godzilla in which a group of New Yorkers attempt to escape the clutches of a giant monster that's tearing their city apart.

The Death: Well, we presume they're dead. Rob (Michael Stahl-David) and Beth (Odette Yustman) are caught in the path of another bomb as it detonates, and all we hear is screaming.

How Shocking Is It?
Matt Reeves expertly ups the stakes over the course of the film to such a degree that it becomes clear quite quickly that nobody's going to get out of this alive. In that sense, then, it's not hugely shocking.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

The Movie: Third film in the X-franchise. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) unexpectedly returns after supposedly dying in X2, but she's evolved into the Dark Phoenix, a formidable weapon that Magneto (Ian McKellen) hopes to exploit.

The Death: During the film's standout action sequence, Dark Phoenix is responsible for killing Professor X (Charles Xavier) by using her powers to levitate and then obliterate him. Yes, Professor X!

How Shocking Is It?
This couldn't be more shocking if Phoenix had dispatched with Wolverine himself.

Philadelphia (1993)

The Movie: Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) fights back against the corporate law form who are his former employees when he believes he's been fired for contracting AIDS.

The Death: After winning his case (and receiving damages of $5m), Andrew passes away quietly.

How Shocking Is It? Not as shocking as the way Andrew's treated throughout most of the film - there's more an inherent sadness to his passing than any real shock factor.

Pay It Forward (2000)

The Movie: Seventh grader Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) comes up with a ridiculously smart way to make the world a better place - one person does a favour for three people, who then do the same.

The Death: Trevor takes on a gang of bullies as part of his plan for change, but ends up inadvertently stabbed and dying in hospital.

How Shocking Is It? Shocking. Distressing. Unexpected. Upsetting. Yep, all of those.

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

The Movie: Alcoholic screenwriter Ben Sanderson (Nicolas Cage) heads to Las Vegas, where he's decided to drink himself to death. Could Sera (Elisabeth Shue) be his salvation?

The Death: "Wow." On the brink of death, Ben sleeps with Sera one last time and dies as he watches her sleep.

How Shocking Is It?
As much as you hoped Ben would find redemption, it becomes pretty clear he never will, so his death isn't as shocking as you'd expect.

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

The Movie: Set during the Spanish Civil War, Guillermo del Toro's beautifully dark fairytale follows our heroine Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), who escapes into a fantasy wonderland to get away from the horrors of war.

The Death: Ofelia is shot by evil Captain Vidal (Sergi López), who's easily one of the most terrifying (and bloodthirsty) movie villains ever.

How Shocking Is It? It's shocking but also weirdly beautiful as Ofelia's death transports her to her fantasy realm, where she's queen.

Boys Don't Cry (1999)

The Movie: Pre-op transgender man Brandon Teena (Hilary Swank) battles prejudice in Nebraska, where he finally meets somebody who accepts him for who he is in the form of Lana Tisdel (Chloe Sevigny)

The Death:
Ex-cons John (Peter Sarsgaard) and Tom (Brendan Sexton III) hatch a plan to kill Brandon, and succeed by shooting him in the neck right in front of Lana.

How Shocking Is It?
Shocking and violent at the same time. Brandon deserved better.

Cool Hand Luke (1967)

The Movie: Oscar-nabbing prison drama with Paul Newman playing the titular Luke, an inmate at a Florida chain gang prison who refuses to be cowed by evil warden 'The Captain' (Strother Martin).

The Death:
"What we've got here is a failure to communicate." Luke's final attempt to bust out of prison is foiled and he ends up shot in the neck by a police officer.

How Shocking Is It?
It's just unfair, is what it is. Still, at least he went out smiling.

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

The Movie: Screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) recounts how he met faded screen star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), whose dreams of making a big-screen comeback could be the end of him.

The Death: In something of a twist, Billy Wilder's film opens with Gillis floating dead in a pool. The circumstances of his death, however, remain a mystery until the film's close.

How Shocking Is It? It's definitely a fun approach, telling us straight up that Gillis is going to wind up dead. The even more fun part is finding out how.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Movie: Found footage horror in which three teenagers head to the Black Hills, which are said to be haunted by the Blair Witch.

The Deaths:
All three meet an uncertain demise in an abandoned house, where Heather discovers Mike standing in the corner, just like the victims of serial killer Rustin Parr. Then we hear Heather scream and the camera falls to the floor.

How Shocking Is It?
The final image of Mike standing in the corner is seared into our minds as one of the most chilling found footage shots ever.

Scarface (1983)

The Movie : Epic crime saga following Tony Montana (Al Pacino), a Cuban refugee who becomes a drug kingpin in eighties Miami.

The Death:
Cornered in his mansion by the hitmen of Alejandro Sosa (Paul Shenar), Montana snorts an Everest-sized mound of cocaine and comes out guns blazing, only to wind up face down in his indoor fountain. Mmm, blood cocktail.

How Shocking Is It?
The most shocking thing is that Montana didn't die earlier than this - he's been asking for trouble for over two hours by this point.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

The Movie: Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) set out on a road trip that turns into a nightmare when Louise shoots a man dead for attacking Thelma. On the run from the cops, their situation becomes direr with every mile they unravel.

The Deaths : With nowhere left to drive, Thelma and Louise decide to just keep driving - right into the cavernous waste of the Grand Canyon.

How Shocking Is It?
It would be more shocking if Ridley Scott had shown us the girls' car crashing and burning on the rocks below instead of freeze-framing that final shot.

The Shining (1980)

The Movie: Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's disturbing novel. Jack (Jack Nicholson) and his wife and son stay at the remote Overlook Hotel during the off season, where Jack slowly loses his mind.

The Death: After going on a murderous rampage, Jack ends up lost in the hotel's outdoor maze and frozen to death wearing a mask of horror.

How Shocking Is It? It's a pretty grim demise, to be sure, though we sort of knew Jack wouldn't come out good in the end.

American Beauty (1999)

The Movie: Oscar-winning drama written by Alan Ball. Lester (Kevin Spacey) is going through a mid-life crisis that's exacerbated by his crush on his daughter's friend Angela (Mena Suvari).

The Death: When Lester's neighbour Frank (Chris Cooper) mistakenly comes to the conclusion that Lester's having a relationship with his son (Wes Bentley), he shoots Lester dead.

How Shocking Is It? Lester's already hinted in his narration that he won't have a happy ending, but the nature of his death is definitely shocking.

Alien 3 (1992)

The Movie: Troubled threequel in which survivor Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) crash-lands on a prison planet populated with shaven-headed men - and she's brought an alien with her.

The Death: Having discovered that she's carrying the Alien Queen in her chest, Ripley hurls herself, Christ-like, into the massive furnace at the heart of the prison. Bye-bye, Ellen…

How Shocking Is It? As dark as Fincher's film is, we were still pretty shocked that it ended with Ripley sacrificing herself for the good of the universe.

At least until Alien: Resurrection found a way to bring her back…

The Departed (2006)

The Movie: Martin Scorsese's remake of Hong Kong flick Infernal Affairs.

Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) uses Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) to spy on the Massachusetts State Police, unaware that there's also a mole in his mob in the form of Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio).

The Death : Having apprehended Sullivan, Costigan escorts him from a building via a lift. When the lift doors open, though, Costigan is unexpectedly shot in the head by Tooper Brown (Anthony Anderson).

How Shocking Is It?
Hugely, if you haven't seen Infernal Affairs . It feels like the movie's wrapping things up, then BLAM, bye-bye Leo. Poor Leo just can't catch a break…

Gladiator (2000)

The Movie: Ridley Scott's sumptuous historical epic following Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe), who's betrayed and forced to become a gladiator.

The Death: Having defeated evil emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), Maximus succumbs to his wounds and dies in the gladiatorial arena, joining his family in the afterlife.

How Shocking Is It?
The shocking stuff comes just before, when Commodus stabs Maximus in the side so that he won't be able to fight him properly. Rotter.

Donnie Darko (2001)

The Movie: Jake Gyllenhaal is the titular Donnie, a moody teenager who has visions of the end of the world. Oh, and he also sees a guy in a scary bunny costume called Frank.

The Death: In a time-twisting, er, twist, Donnie is crushed by the very airplane engine that crashed into his empty bedroom 28 days ago, bringing the movie full circle.

How Shocking Is It? It's more head-scratchy than shocking. Richard Kelly's original edit doesn't exactly molly-coddle audiences, and the result is a nightmarish oddity with a tragic (if confuzzling) ending.

Atonement (2007)

The Movie: James McAvoy and Keira Knightley play star-crossed lovers whose lives are turned upside-down by the lie of a young girl (Soirse Ronan) during World War Two.

The Deaths: We discover that McAvoy and Knightley's characters never reunite - he dies from septicaemia at Dunkirk and she is drowned during the flood at Balham underground station.

How Shocking Is It?
Director Joe Wright cleverly wrong-foots us with this one as our narrator attempts to give the pair a happy ending before revealing the truth of their sad deaths - which only serves to increase the final revelation's shock factor. Get the hankies ready…

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Tony Stark

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The Movie: The culmination of dozens of Marvel movies, Avengers: Infinity War may have seen Thanos kill half the universe, but the follow-up brought the majority of them back. Everyone who died in Avengers: Endgame, though, was dead and gone forever...

The Deaths: Iron Man and Black Widow, two of the founding Avengers, both met their demise in Endgame, while Captain America also essentially left the mortal coil after going back in time and later becoming an old man. 

How Shocking Is It? We all knew Spider-Man, Black Panther, and the rest would be back – there were too many sequels at risk! But seeing Iron Man and Black Widow make the ultimate sacrifice... there wasn't a dry eye in the cinema.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The Movie: James Cameron's stellar sequel to The Terminator, in which a teenage John Connor (Edward Furlong) is targeted by the deadly future assassin T-1000 (Robert Patrick).

The Death: Though it depends on your definition of death, the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has become so human in our eyes by the end of T2 that it's really upsetting when he's reduced to a globby blob of liquid metal.

How Shocking Is It?
It's sort of clear this has to happen - the T-800 was never going to stick around as John's surrogate dad - but it still has serious emotional heft.

Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969)

The Movie: Classic, achingly cool Western following outlaw Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and his train-robbing Hole in the Wall Gang. Cassidy goes on the run with Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) after a botched raid.

The Deaths: Hiding out in Bolivia, Butch and Sundance are surrounded in a barn by Bolivian soldiers who aren't going to let them out alive. True to their character, the duo break out of their hiding place with guns blazing, fearlessly facing their demise.

How Shocking Is It?
We don't actually see the titular team die, which dampens the shock factor, but it's still pretty distressing that they don’t make it out alive.

Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

The Movie: Arthur Penn directs Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the titular crims, who embark on a bank-robbing spree during the Great Depression.

The Deaths: Finally cornered by the cops, Bonnie and Clyde are subjected to a firing squad-style death as they're pumped fill of led.

How Shocking Is It? If you know the story of Bonnie and Clyde at all, the ending won't shock you. What IS shocking is the explicit nature of their deaths - the hugely visual portrayal caused quite a scandal in the sixties and remains unsettling today.

Man On Fire (2004)

The Movie : Former CIA agent and functioning alcoholic John Creasy (Denzel Washington) is hired as the bodyguard of nine-year-old Pita Ramos (Dakota Fanning). When she's kidnapped, he'll stop at nothing to get her back.

The Death: In order to save Pita, Creasy surrenders himself, but not before he's been shot by Aurelio (Gero Camilo). He bleeds out in the company of the kidnappers…

How Shocking Is It? It's more tragic/moving than all-out shocking. Creasy redeems himself as a character and we leave the cinema knowing he was a good guy at heart.

Psycho (1960)

The Movie: Hitchcock's defining feature following the proprietor of the Bates Motel, who turns out to be a not very nice guy.

The Death : Only one of the most famous death scenes in cinema history, as Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is attacked in the shower by a 'woman' wielding a butcher's knife.

How Shocking Is It?
Even if you've never seen Psycho, you'll know all about this scene. That said, back in the sixties it was so shocking that people actually screamed and covered their faces in cinemas.

Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)

The Movie: David Lean's World War II flick, adapted from Pierre Boulle's same-named book. Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness) attempts to build a bridge as a symbol of British spirit.

The Death: Nicholson's comrades all end up variously beaten, bludgeoned and bullet-riddled, while Nicholson himself collapses onto the plunger that detonates the bridge, derailing a train in the process…

How Shocking Is It?
"Madness! Madness!" sums it up pretty well in what is a brilliantly shocking finale.

Get Carter (1971)

The Movie: Classic revenge flick in which gangster Jack Carter (Michael Caine) returns to his home turf of Newcastle to get revenge for his brother's death.

The Death: Having beaten Eric to death (in the same way that Eric killed his brother), Carter strolls off down a beach - and is shot in the head by a sniper with a rifle…

How Shocking Is It?
So shocking it had us lurching out of our seats in horror. Carter's fulfilled his vendetta and we think this is a happy ending - until that sniper shot.

Harold & Maude (1971)

The Movie: Pitch black comedy following Harold (Bud Cort), a death-obsessed teenager whose life is given fresh meaning when he befriends and falls in love with sweet-natured pensioner Maude (Ruth Gordon).

The Death: Believing that 80 is the proper age to die, Maude takes some sleeping pills at her birthday party and passes away in Harold's arms.

How Shocking Is It? It's more upsetting than shocking. We love Maude just as much as Harold, and though she's talked about ending things at 80, we can't help harbouring a secret hope that she won't go through with it.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

The Movie: Quentin Tarantino's bloody debut following a gang of suit-wearing thieves who diamond heist goes horribly wrong and causes an outbreak of paranoia amongst the ranks.

The Deaths: Um, who DOESN'T cark it at the end of Reservoir Dogs ? Even Mr White (Harvey Keitel) doesn't seem to survive, shot down amid the bullet-riddled bodies of his comrades.

How Shocking Is It? The film's bloodbath finale has gone down in history as one of the most outrageous, claret-soaked scenes in cinema history. So, yeah, pretty shocking.

Grave Of The Fireflies (1988)

The Movie: Heart-rending adaptation of Akiyuki Nosaka's novel, set during the Second World War as siblings Seita and Setsuko attempt to find a way to survive despite overwhelmingly bad odds.

The Death
: Suffering from malnutrition, Setsuko begins hallucinating and shortly after dies. Just a few weeks later, Seita's own ravaged body fails and he, too, passes away.

How Shocking Is It?
Massively. For anybody who dismisses animated movies as 'for kids', just watch this and tell us they're not capable of addressing hugely disturbing issues.

Dancer In The Dark (2000)

The Movie: Lars Von Trier's musical drama starring Björk as Selma Jeková, an Eastern European immigrant living in America. When her landlord steals her savings, she attempts to get them back - and ends up killing him.

The Death: Put on trial for murder, Selma is sentenced to death and hanged as she sings the film's final, accompaniment-free song.

How Shocking Is It?
So shocking that just thinking about it is making our eyes water. This is surely one of the most upsetting things ever put on film.

The Wicker Man (1973)

The Movie: Creepy British horror. When Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) visits Summerisle to investigate the case of a missing girl, he discovers the island is home to a cult of pagans…

The Death: At the film's close, Howie discovers he's to be sacrificed to pagan gods by being burned alive in a giant wicker man. No screaming, now…

How Shocking Is It? Shocking AND iconic. And no, Nicolas Cage's remake couldn't come close.


For more, check out the best Netflix movies and best movies on Disney Plus available to stream right now.

Joshua Winning

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.  

With contributions from