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50 Movies Where The Main Character Dies

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.