50 Most Pointless Movie Deaths
9th Aug 2012 | 07:00
Layer Cake (2004)
The Movie Death: XXXX is taken out by the one loose end in his rise to power, the stuttering cuckold Sidney.
Why It's Pointless: Narratively it does make sense, as the film is making the point that nobody's slick enough to be untouchable, but to have Daniel Craig's hero undone by a romantic dalliance, completely unrelated to his criminal activity… well it kind of dilutes the message somewhat.
Terminator 2 (1991)
The Movie Death: Realising that to prevent Skynet from coming into being the Terminator must be destroyed, Sarah Connor lowers her faithful protector into a vat of molten metal, receiving a noble thumbs-up for her trouble.
Why It's Pointless: A third film was deemed necessary and Skynet came to exist anyway. Damn.
The Strangers (2008)
The Movie Death: Kristen and James spend the entire film battling the titular interlopers, only to eventually be murdered by them at the close. Well, Kristen survives, but her hubby doesn't!
Why It's Pointless: The whole thing is an exercise in the arbitrary. When Kristen asks her tormentors why they're doing this to them, the reply is a simple, "because you were home". It doesn't get much more pointless than that.
The Movie Death: Princess Elspeth wanders down the wrong hole, where she's eaten (off screen) by a brood of baby dragons. Whoops!
Why It's Pointless: You'd think the death of a princess might be deemed important enough to take place on screen, but Elspeth's demise is treated with something approaching insouciance! She doesn't even get offed by the main beastie, for heaven's sake.
LOTR The Return Of The King (2003)
The Movie Death: The terrifyingly powerful Witch King, laid low by a double team from Merry and Eowyn.
Why It's Pointless: Having been built up to be a truly terrifying antagonist, the Witch King is seemingly immobilised by a tiny blade in his leg. Why bother including him at all if you're going to give him such a shabby ending? And the less said about "I am no man" the better.
The Movie Death: Portly bully boy Moochie finds himself cornered by Christine, and meekly allows himself to be squished to a pulp.
Why It's Pointless: Moochie is seemingly such a secondary character that even he can't muster up the energy to hop up onto the hood and save himself. A ho-hum exit if ever there was one.
Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
The Movie Death: Chief Brody is revealed to have died of a heart attack off-screen, suggested to have been caused by his fear of sharks. Erm, okay…
Why It's Pointless: Killing off the primary hero of the first two films is beyond pointless. Why not just tell a different story with some different characters? How are these sharks so attuned to the Brodys whereabouts anyway?
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
The Movie Death: A US grunt takes a bullet in the head, but fortunately he's wearing a helmet. Inexplicably, he proceeds to remove said helmet, and promptly takes one in the skull. Idiot.
Why It's Pointless: Is this meant to demonstrate the horror of war, or simply the stupidity of your average soldier? Either way, it stretches credibility for little apparent purpose.
The Warriors (1979)
The Movie Death: Despite being presented as a total badass, gang leader Cleon is killed early doors by rival gang the Gramercy Riffs.
Why It's Pointless: Cleon's death clears the way for Swan to take the reins, but we could at least have seen him lead the Warriors into battle before having him knocked off. Dispensing with such a cool character without letting him kick even a little ass strikes us as an error.
The Crow: City Of Angels (1996)
The Movie Death: Sarah is absent-mindedly killed by Judah in the midst of the final battle, her sacrifice serving to slow him down at best.
Why It's Pointless: Sarah is dispatched so casually, you could be forgiven for forgetting she was a returning character from the first film! Sucks to be her.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)
The Movie Death: All-American hero Johnny Cage barely makes a dent in the second film in the franchise, as the evil Shao Kahn dispatches him in the opening reel.
Why It's Pointless: Killing off the hero of the first film in the opening exchanges of the sequel always seems like a kick in the face. Couldn't they just have him cameoing, rather than killing him off?
Saw 3 (2006)
The Movie Death: Poor old Lynn's bomb collar goes off when her useless husband can't control his rage at the film's big finale. Thanks, darling.
Why It's Pointless: Whereas most of Jigsaw's victims at least have the chance to save themselves, Lynn jumps through all of his hoops, only to get screwed over by her husband's stupidity. Thus the one likeable character in the entire film goes up in smoke.
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
The Movie Death: Data performs an outrageous space leap from the Enterprise to an enemy craft, where he blows himself up in order to destroy the doomsday weaponry threatening his crewmates. Yaaaaaay!
Why It's Pointless: All the emotional heft of this heroic death scene is diluted by the knowledge that Data's replacement, D2, is already raring to step into his shoes.
Pay It Forward (2000)
The Movie Death: Young Trevor McKinney attempts one good deed too many when he's stabbed by a group of bullies who are picking on his friend. It's an ending that drew a fair bit of criticism from stunned audiences…
Why It's Pointless: The film simply doesn't require such a brutal finale. Letting the little boy have his happy ending would have made much more sense.
The Movie Death: Doc and Thrush have managed to fight off hordes of genetically modified dinosaurs, only for the former to be shot by government soldiers and the latter to die from the dino virus.
Why It's Pointless: The twist ending doesn't only screw over our heroes, it goes as far as to render the entire film pointless. Nice one.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (2011)
The Movie Death: Poor Irene Adler, who finds herself poisoned by Moriarty in the film's opening reel.
Why It's Pointless: We know Moriarty is a wrong' un, so he doesn't need the help. Killing off Ms. Adler rather than having her disappear into the ether just seems a bit callous to us.
The Movie Death: Jack freezes to death in the icy depths of the ocean while his beloved makes herself comfortable on a slab of wooden debris.
Why It's Pointless: For the romance of the film it's essential, and yet we can't help thinking that if Rose had just shifted over a bit…
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
The Movie Death: Rockers Crash and the Boys are rather unceremoniously slaughtered by Matthew Pattel. Poor show!
Why It's Pointless: It's a strange one this, as the band play quite a big part in the comics, and their deaths here don't really add much to proceedings. Odd.
The Thing (1982)
The Movie Death: Nauls wanders down a hallway, never to be seen again. We can only assume that he winds up dead.
Why It's Pointless: You know a death doesn't really count for much when it isn't shown on screen or even alluded to by other characters! Apparently, Nauls' death scene was partially filmed, but couldn't be completed due to budgetary reasons. And so, he just disappears!
Return Of The Jedi (1983)
The Movie Death: Boba Fett, badass space assassin extraordinaire, who ends up careening into the Sarlacc pit in an inappropriately comedic fashion.
Why It's Pointless: George Lucas sending one of his coolest creations spiralling to a deliriously undignified end was a bit of a misstep in retrospect…
The Movie Death: Gordon Silberman meets a sticky end as he's crushed to death by a set of gears within the rescue ark. Splat!
Why It's Pointless: As John Cusack's love rival we weren't expecting him to come out on top, but he could at least get a heroic exit, particularly given the effort he's put into helping the others survive. When his death is eventually revealed, it's greeted with a kind of collective shrug!
The Movie Death: Jean Grey sacrifices herself in order to launch the X-Jet while holding back a massive wall of water with her telekinetic powers.
Why It's Pointless: Of course this is all leading into the Phoenix storyline, but practically speaking, why does Jean need to leave the jet at all? She's telekinetic!
Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
The Movie Death: The Kraken is ordered to beach itself on land by Davy Jones, thus bringing an end to its sea-bound reign of terror.
Why It's Pointless: In the second film the Kraken was presented as the terrifying king of all sea-monsters. It's eventual demise is a massive anticlimax, and seems more a case of tying up loose ends than anything else.
Star Wars: Episode Two - Attack Of The Clones (2002)
The Movie Death: Jango Fett's big scene sees him trampled by a Reek before having his head chopped off by Mace Windu. He barely even manages to get a shot off.
Why It's Pointless: If you're going to off him in such undistinguished fashion, why bother introducing the character at all? Two fingers from Lucas to those who criticised his handling of Boba…
Easy Rider (1969)
The Movie Death: Billy and Wyatt are shot dead by a truck full of rednecks, seemingly just for shits and giggles. Downer ending ahoy!
Why It's Pointless: It's just so horribly mundane. Although that said, the arbitrary nature of their death is actually making the point that neither the American Dream or the free-spirited '60s lived up to their billing.
Blade Trinity (2004)
The Movie Death: Whistler is swiftly dispatched in the third film's early stages, during a siege with the FBI. Low-key exit, anyone?
Why It's Pointless: He was killed with significant emotional impact at the end of the first film, only to be revived for round two. When he dies for a second time, it just doesn't pack as much of a punch.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
The Movie Death: Darwin attempts to stop Sebastian Shaw claiming Angel for his own, only to be reduced to a pile of smouldering ashes.
Why It's Pointless: Taking aside the hideous "black guy dies first" trope, and the fact that Darwin's power is the ability to adapt to any form in order to ensure his survival, the most pointless element of this is the fact that his death doesn't remotely impact upon the plot and he's mourned for about thirty seconds!
The Movie Death: Poor old contractor Paul Conroy was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, having been kidnapped and buried alive in Iraq. After ninety minutes of agonising phonecalls, he realises noone is coming to get him…
Why It's Pointless: Given that the whole film rests on whether Paul escapes or not, the ending is utterly draining. Not that we're suggesting the film is a pointless exercise, just that there's something horribly futile about Paul's unfortunate end.
The Movie Death: Poor old Jazz, a fan favourite in the comic-books, finds himself on the way to the scrap metal dealer after Megatron snaps him like a twig.
Why It's Pointless: Trust Michael Bay to crowbar "the black guy dies first" into a movie about robot cars. Jazz's death is over so quickly it's barely acknowledged!
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)
The Movie Death: Henry Jones Senior, spotted briefly in a black and white photo, before an offhand comment reveals that he died sometime after Last Crusade.
Why It's Pointless: If Connery could have been persuaded to return for round four, perhaps things might have been that little bit more tolerable. Instead… well, you know the rest.
The Movie Death: The Joker attempts a last gasp escape via helicopter, only for the Dark Knight to shackle his leg to a gargoyle. Gravity does the rest.
Why It's Pointless: The Joker could have been snared without actually dying. Batman doesn't kill people, and yet he effectively does for his rival here.
The Movie Death: Blain Cooper makes an early exit after the Predator sucker-punches him right through the chest. Kapow!
Why It's Pointless: You know the wisecracking comic foil has likely got his card marked, but doing away with Blain with so much of the movie left to run seems like a real waste. He's the most charismatic character, and yet he buys it in such throwaway fashion!
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Movie Death: Bane proves himself a ruthless taskmaster by airily disposing of one of his own henchmen in Gotham's sewer system. Could he not have just put him on gardening leave?
Why It's Pointless: The poor chump doesn't really deserve it for one, but taking even that aside, surely a plan of Bane's magnitude requires as much manpower as possible? Even lowly henchmen have their uses…
The Godfather Part 3 (1990)
The Movie Death: Michael Corleone grabs at his chest, before slumping dead to the floor in the grounds of Don Tommasino's Sicilian villa.
Why It's Pointless: Michael's story arc has already been completed with the death of his daughter. Seeing his own demise feels like an unnecessary afterthought.
Scream 2 (1997)
The Movie Death: Randy briefly forgets all his horror movie knowledge in round two of the Scream franchise, when the killer lures him into a van, and gets a little stab-happy.
Why It's Pointless: Having the most genre-savvy character in the series suddenly disregard all his own rules is bizarre, particularly since his death doesn't really serve the plot, save to bump up the body count.
The Movie Death: Having managed to survive a helicopter crash, friendly fire and an attack by the monster itself, Rob and Beth are finally done for when a bridge collapses on top of them.
Why It's Pointless: Having invested ninety minutes or so into watching our two heroes survive an assault by a terrifying monster, it feels a bit cheap to have them squelched by a few crumbling bricks!
LOTR The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)
The Movie Death: Okay, so we know he doesn't technically die here, but as far as the first film is concerned, Gandalf's "you shall not pass" routine is the end of the road for the venerable old wizard.
Why It's Pointless: Taking aside the fact that the rest of the Fellowship are halfway out the door anyway, Gandalf takes an inordinately long time to walk away from the broken bridge. If he'd pick his feet up a bit, that flailing whip would have missed for sure!
The Movie Death: Boltie accompanies The Crimson Bolt in his attempt to rescue his wife, only to receive a bullet in the head for her troubles. Oof!
Why It's Pointless: Poor old Boltie's death comes out of nowhere, and doesn't really serve to add anything to the film's grand finale. One for shock value only.
The Iron Giant (1999)
The Movie Death: The big, gentle tin man takes one for the team when a submarine missile threatens to blow up the town. Sniff.
Why It's Pointless: We already know that the IG has some heavy duty weaponry in his arsenal, so why didn't he just shoot that missile out of the sky? Hmmm? We know he reconstructs, but even so...
The Movie Death: Wash takes a harpoon through the chest, thus providing Serenity with its obligatory Joss Whedon "surprise".
Why It's Pointless: It comes from nowhere and brings the life of a well-loved character to a jarringly abrupt end. We know Whedon loves killing people off, but this one really does seem arbitrary.
The Movie Death: Poor old Harry has only just recovered from the gunshot wound absorbed at the beginning of the film when he finds himself blundering into the bomber's home. Needless to say, there's a surprise in store…
Why It's Pointless: Harry seems to only be in the film to soak up punishment. Not only is he blown up halfway through the film, but his death adds precisely nothing to the endeavour to thwart Dennis Hopper's unhinged bomber. Damn.
LOTR The Two Towers (2002)
The Movie Death: Haldir pitches up at Helm's Deep just in time to feel some Orcish steel between his shoulder blades. Should have stayed at home old boy.
Why It's Pointless: While Fellowship had Boromir's death as a bona fide tearjerker, Two Towers' attempt to recreate that surge of emotion falls distinctly flat, largely because the audience couldn't give two hoots whether Haldir makes it or not. Many will have been struggling to remember exactly who he was...
X-Men: The Last Stand #1 (2006)
The Movie Death: Cyclops discovers his mysteriously resurrected girlfriend Jean at Alkali Lake. Dumbfounded by his discovery, he goes in for an embrace… and then dies. Off-screen.
Why It's Pointless: Cyclops, one of the best-loved characters in the entire Marvel canon, is canned without a second thought in the film's opening reel. Off screen!
I Am Legend (2007)
The Movie Death: Will Smith gets his "aw hell nah" moment when Robert Neville pulls the pin on a grenade and blows himself up amid a swarm of angry nightcrawlers.
Why It's Pointless: He's just stowed two fellow survivors in a reinforced coal bunker we know can fit three people. Could he not have pulled the pin and dived in himself? Apparently not.
Alien 3 (1992)
The Movie Death: Hicks, Newt and Bishop all bite the dust in the opening minutes as a Facehugger runs wild and their escape pod suffers a catastrophic crash.
Why It's Pointless: It renders the entirety of the second film entirely pointless, while adding nothing to the plot of the third film, save clearing the decks. Boooo!
Enemy At The Gates (1998)
The Movie Death: Joseph Fiennes redeems his personal shittiness by sticking his head above the parapet to determine Ed Harris' position. Brave, but ultimately unnecessary…
Why It's Pointless: Narratively, it makes sense, as it brings Fiennes' character arc to a suitable denouement. However, we can't quite get over the fact that with corpses all around him, surely Fiennes could have saved his own head a bullet!
Star Trek: Generations (1994)
The Movie Death: Captain Kirk meets a thoroughly underwhelming end when a bridge collapses on top of him. That's how one of the greatest sci-fi heroes of all time bows out? Really?
Why It's Pointless: Kirk doesn't even die taking down the main villain - he merely exposes his concealed bank of weapons. At least give the guy a glorious exit!
X-Men: The Last Stand #2 (2006)
The Movie Death: Professor Xavier meets an ignominious end when the Phoenix-possessed Jean Grey reduces him to nothingness. Not even a pile of smoking ashes!
Why It's Pointless: Not only does Xavier's death fail to add anything to the plot in terms of narrative or character motivation, it's revealed at the last that he transferred his spirit into somebody else anyway.
Dante's Peak (1997)
The Movie Death: Granny Ruth meets a heroic end when she dives into an acidic lake in order to help pull her family to shore.
Why It's Pointless: The boat may have been corroding, but the family were about three feet from safety when Granny decides to turn martyr. Presumably she'd become a little bewildered…
Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace (1999)
The Movie Death: Darth Maul fails to make it through the first instalment of the new trilogy, defeated by the combined might of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan.
Why It's Pointless: Darth Maul was the one saving grace of the prequels, a proper villain worthy of the name. if Lucas had decided to maintain him throughout the three films, they might have resonated more with the fans. Instead, he's discarded at the first opportunity. Bah.