Top Ten Character Deaths in Movies and TV- A Mexican Standoff
Chekhov’s Gunman is a film and television blog moderated by Kevin Lanigan, a future writer of awesome movies and TV and moderately successful modern day adaptations of Huckleberry Finn. Coming 2015.
Before you read this list, know that I have not seen everything. I have watched a lot of things, probably too many things, at the expense of having hobbies and what may have been true happiness but we can’t be sure. But I am far from seeing everything. So if you have something you think is missing from this list, comment below and let me know (to borrow a phrase from Jeremy Jahns). In either case, here’s the list…
Also, you know, spoilers… Duh…
10) Pretty Much Everyone in Django Unchained
Boy howdy, does this one turn into a Tupac-soundtracked bloodbath. Towards the end there, the bodies start piling up like angry emails on Spike Lee’s Gmail account. And it all paid off. Christoph Waltz netted his second Oscar, which I’m sure will look great at his character’s funeral.
I SAID “SPOILERS,” PEOPLE!
9) Wild Bill Hickock on Deadwood
This one was so spectacular because of how unexpected it was. So, yeah, sorry about that, guys. Only a few episodes into the criminally cut-down western tale, the legendary Hickock (Keith Carradine) is gunned down in public, making hell for Timothy Olymphant, as life for Timothy Olymphant tends to be.
8) Damien Cockburn in Tropic Thunder
Again, this one was a surprise, so, again, sorry. Up to his ears in troublesome actors, Cockburn (Steve Coogan) steps on a landmine right as he sends his cast, including director Ben Stiller and an extraordinarily black-faced Robert Downey, Jr. The boys think it’s all part of the movie and it starts off a string of surprisingly panda death-filled adventures.
7) Mags Bennett on Justified
Justified is one of the most under-sung shows in television’s true golden age, and when it fits so well on one of these lists, there’s not a chance I’m going to leave it off. Margo Martindale’s Emmy-winning turn as the devious Mags Bennett ended with a sweet and unexpected scene where she was undone by “apple pie,” the most American of deaths.
6) Tim Messenger in Hot Fuzz
When I decided upon making this list, this was the first thing that came to mind. That must mean something. Undone for his inability to spell, Messenger is crushed by the spire of a church, memorably stumbling around a bit before falling, as if the spire has gained sentience. In a totally different film, that would be totally awesome.
5) Hans Gruber in Die Hard
Nothing at Chekhov’s Gunman is complete without a Die Hard shout-out, but this death was also seriously redonk (forgive my use of common smut phrasing). Common smut phrasing aside, Gruber (Alan Rickman) almost takes John McClane’s wife with him, but instead spends the last lonely minute of his life falling thirty some-odd floors with a beautiful look on his face.
4) Charlie Pace on Lost
Just thinking about this one brings on the tears. Besides the feels, Charlie’s (Dominic Monaghan) death injected a much-needed new vigor into Lost and sent it off into a new creative fervor that lasted pretty much until the church doors opened and the light flooded in. Predicted for an entire season, it lived up to every expectation. And included grenades, which is always a plus.
3) Bill Murray in Groundhog Day
Bill Murray’s Phil (they tried really hard on that one) ranks so high on this list because of just how many times he gets to die. Living the same day over and over again yields a man a great many ways to die. Jumping out of a bell tower, toaster in the bathtub, trainhicular manslaughter… When you choose how you die, there’s a good chance of you doing something creative with it. I pick going out via sexy skydive.
2) Gus Fring on Breaking Bad
“I won.” Those are the words of our man Walter White (Bryan Cranston) after his elaborate orchestrated plan to bring down dignified kingpin Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) is successful. Not only is the plan- involving explosive wheelchairs and poisoned children- cool in the most ridiculous of ways, but Gus’s last moment is straightening his tie. You only wish you were that classy.
1) Sonny Corleone in The Godfather
This is a big one. Sonny (James Caan) takes more shots than a duck at a carnival. Set up by his treacherous brother-in-law, the death of hot head Sonny is maybe the most important in a film simply littered with Italian burials.
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