50 Movies Where The Main Character Dies

The Matrix (1999)

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.