Staff Top 10
Top Ten Unexpected Movie Deaths

the movie business has portrayed death in all sorts of manners, but most of the time it happens for a reason: justified killing of an evil character, a plot point to help move the story of other major character’s along, or as the tidy conclusion. One of the ways that film directors and writers, then, can truly surprise audiences is to kill off our favourite, least favourite, or least deserving characters. In the first in a two-part top 10, Stylus looks at some of the most unexpected movie deaths of all time.

10. Michael Caine, Get Carter.
Takes a shot to the head immediately after enacting a bloody revenge on his brother’s killers. Unfortunately Stallone is not killed at the end of the remake, instead driving away, clean shaven, to the happy sounds of Groove Armada. Bonkers.

09. Viggo Mortensen, Daylight.
Dies hard, pausing only to spit out his gum as the shaft he is attempting to climb out of collapses on him. Stallone tragically survives again, although the dog does drown so that’s a bonus.

08. Jack Nicholson, Easy Rider.
More shocking than his suffocation in Cuckoo’s Nest, his small town drunken lawyer brightens up this influential dawdle until his demise at the hands of bastard rednecks.

07. John Wayne, The Cowboys.
In a turning point for westerns, The Duke gets shot in the back by hippy longhair Bruce Dern (whose career stuttered afterwards). Ron Howard then gets brutal, if you can imagine that.

06. Samuel Jackson, Deep Blue Sea.
Bitten in half by a mischievous shark midway through his scenery-chewing motivational speech. Hilarious on every viewing.

05. John Travolta, Pulp Fiction.
Dies on the toilet reading Modesty Blaise at the hands of evil mollusc Bruce Willis, then appears in the rest of the movie just to rub in how cool he was.

04. Jeff Bridges, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot.
Passes away quietly in the car next to a tearful Eastwood after a bad beating by serial wanker George Kennedy. Makes Hoffman’s death in Midnight Cowboy look tame.

03. Steven Seagal, Executive Decision.
A defining movie moment. Seagal gets sucked out of a plane and the whole time we’re thinking, ‘yeah, yeah, he’s got a parachute obviously’. He doesn’t. Bad movie becomes classic.

02. Kevin Spacey, LA Confidential.
In a year of good checkouts by Spacey, he is unbelievably shot mid-sentence by Saruman-like police chief James Cromwell, who was so nice in Babe. Mad bugger ruined a lovely suit too.

01. Frank Sinatra, Von Ryan’s Express.
Boy’s own wartime adventure stuns kids everywhere with its final reel, wherein heroic stalwart Old Blue Eyes is shot in the back by a Nazi literally as his train is crossing the border to Switzerland and freedom. He dies without a word. Beautiful.

By: Chris Flynn
Published on: 2006-01-20
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