Top 10 films featuring Death – Spoiler Alert
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There’s nothing like death to put a damper on a movie. It always ends in tears (unless it’s funny – I’m talking black comedy here of course). Death can be an Oscar maker. If you can nail a death scene, you may be well on your way to the front row of the Kodak Theatre with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt just a spit and a whistle away.
For the rest of us schmucks, we get to sit back and absorb such morbid ideas. It often means facing our own morbidity and no one wants to do that on a Saturday night at the flicks. Unless, of course, it is a film that rocks, one that you simply cannot miss. Here’s my top 10 films featuring death (as the title suggests).
- Life is Beautiful (1997) The shock of it all. The first ‘act’ is incredibly funny (go animal slapstick) and the second is simply devastating. What a talent Roberto Benigni is. He wrote, starred and directed this little Italian film that truly defined beauty. The final death scene was so deeply shocking and moving that I had to just sit in the cinema for a few minutes after, digesting what had just happened. Incredible.
- Schindler’s List (1993) – This film is in the same vein as Life is Beautiful except without all the dogs on trays and horses at wedding scenes. This is an intense story about a German man who saved over a thousand Polish-Jewish people in WWII. Filmed in a bleak looking black and white, it is a film where death smacks you in the face, simply because it is a true story.
- Stranger Than Fiction (2006) – Hello fairly serious Wil Ferrell. Hello quirky movie signalling the death of the main character in the very first scene. This is a clever film. Loved it to death. Ha ha. Ferrell’s character starts to hear the narrator of his own story who has plotted his death. He is not happy! Death and quirk go hand in hand, this film proves it!
- Seven Pounds (2008) Such a small mistake with deadly consequences. Will Smith stars in this poignant film about a man trying to redeem himself after causing the death of 7 people in an accident. For two years he tracks down 7 people to help, finally paying the ultimate price. Awww.
- Meet Joe Black (1998) – Ah yes, I am a sucker for a romantic comedy featuring Brad Pitt as Death. This is a dark little number. Quite confronting for the other poor characters, especially the girl who falls for the blonde bombshell lad! There’s a great, eerie atmosphere in this romantic drama. Hmmmm. But, I admit, it’s not for everyone.
- Dying Young (1991) – This is a nostalgic choice. I used to watch this at sleepovers when I was in my teens. You can’t beat Julia Roberts trying to make a young man’s last days pleasant. It has gorgeous scenery with a beautiful coastal house looking out to sea. Inevitably love comes knocking, along with its dear friend hope. Love it all!
- Beaches (1988) – Another sleepover fav. Teenage girls must like a good cry because this one never fails. It’s all about friendship, the ups and downs, the beginning and the end. Death rears its ugly head in the form of Cardiomyopathy. There’s tears, memories, digging for photographs of the mother’s hands and a beach.
- Hitchcock films – No I can’t narrow it down and I won’t. This man nailed the thriller genre and this was always filled with death. Whether it be from birds, psychos, fires, heights, ropes or guns, death was a friend to Alfred Hitchcock. These films no doubt induced heart attacks with their ground breaking, tension building effects. Shadows, lighting, storytelling, casting was done with such perfection and vision.
- The Meaning of Life (1983) – Monty Python were freaky enough without adding death into the mix. Argggh. I’m sure I had ridiculous nightmares after watching this. But they were able to make death incredibly confronting and funny at the same time. I love their ‘Christmas in Heaven’ tune at the end. No holding back fellas. Love it.
- Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991) – Death is hilarious in this film. Love the boardgame scene. But the hell scene freaked me out. You have to be in a particular mood to handle this film. Well I do, anyway. It’s very quirky and aimed at the teen set so don’t get too freaked out by it, especially if you’re closer to death than a teen!
Top 10 death films, who would have thought it? What are yours? What did I ignorantly leave out?