Movies where the hero dies in the end make us sad
Picturehouse When it comes to the films we love, we always want a happy ending for our heroes. You want them to vanquish their foes, win the heart of the one they love, and ride off in to the sunset. Except, it doesn’t always go that way.
In fact, in some of the best films out there, the hero has to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save the ones they love and make things right.
Grab your tissues. Also:
Miramax Reservoir Dogs
There’s a lot of bloodshed and violence in this film, leading to the inevitable ending where the undercover cop gets killed. At least he got the other guys captured/killed too, so there’s that.
Goodbye Mr. Orange.
You could argue that Marion isn’t a hero here, but while she does embezzle money from her boss and hits the road, she also feels guilty about it. No one expects her to get taken out so soon.
Maximus Decimus Meridius
I can’t say enough positive things about this film – it’s epic, the fights are amazing and is gorgeously shot. After losing his freedom and his family, we get to see Maximus fight his way to the top of the Gladiator pool and not only earn his freedom, but get his revenge.
It’s only fitting that he succumbs to his wounds and meets his family in Elysium.
Warner Bros. The Departed
This is a fantastic gangster film, with a lot of twists and turns and some double-crosses. It’s only fitting that it ends up in a violent shoot-out that takes out the main players. It’s pretty shocking to see Leo DiCaprio take one in the noggin after watching him barely get caught throughout the entire film.
At least Marky Mark had his back in the end.
20th Century Fox Alien 3
While not as good as the previous two, this instalment in the Alien franchise is still pretty scary. After dodging the Aliens on the prison planet, and realizing that she’s got a Queen embryo in her body, Ripley does the right thing and throws herself into a furnace, just as the alien is bursting out of her.
Warner Bros. Pay It Forward
I’ll admit, the ending of this movie sucks. After spending the entire film trying to make a difference and do nice things, our hero, Trevor, gets stabbed by bullies and left to die. His death, however, makes the “Pay it Forward” movement global.
Warner Bros. Cool Hand Luke
The epitome of cool, Luke is a source of inspiration and wisdom for the prisoners of his chain-gang, and the audience. The establishment, however, wants to keep him down and after numerous attempts to escape and have his spirit broken, he’s unceremoniously shot and left to die.
Newmarket Films Donnie Darko
It takes numerous watches to make sense of this mind-bender of a film. After numerous hallucinations and warnings, Donnie determines that he has to sacrifice himself to stop the impending apocalypse. So makes sure that he does.
Picture house Pan’s Labyrinth
Hands down, this is a beautiful film, worth of watching over and over again. It’s a dark fairy tale, one in which the villain Captain Vidal murders Ofelia, but in the end, she finds a way to journey back to her true fantasy kingdom as the Lost Queen.
The Weinstein Company The Hateful Eight
Major Marquis Warren
After being trapped in a cabin during a blizzard, things get really tense in this film. Of course, it’s a Tarantino movie, so you know no one’s really gonna make it out alive, and Samuel L. Jackson’s character ends up with mortal wounds, but still gets his revenge.
Warner Bros. V For Vendetta
The entire motivation behind V is to inspire and uprising against the brutal and totalitarian regime that’s in power. Once he establishes himself as a symbol of rebellion and resistance, he ends up dying in the arms of Evey.
Warner Bros. Insomnia
One of the first Christopher Nolan films that I saw, the atmosphere in this movie still gets me. Our complicated hero Will Dormer, dies in the arms of local cop Ellie Burr, and tells her not to lose her way as he did.
It’s a powerful ending.
TriStar Pictures Terminator 2: Judgement Day
James Cameron has a knack for making sequels even better than the first. In this one, after fighting off the devastating T-1000 and saving the future, the Terminator asks for Sarah and John to lower him into a vat of molten steel, so he can’t be reverse engineered.
That thumbs up still gets me.
TriStar Pictures Philadelphia
This 1993 film was the first to show the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS and tells the story of a lawyer who’s wrongfully fired for being sick. After winning his case for discrimination, he succumbs to his illness and dies.
Buena Vista Pictures The Prestige
This beautiful and complex film ends with Angier being caught by Borden, shot and left for dead among tanks of his drowned clones. It’s a sad, yet fitting end, to the two men’s battle for magical supremacy.
Paramount Vintage Into The Wild
Based on a true story, this movie’s about Chris’ journey of giving away his savings and hitchhiking to the Alaskan wilderness. He discovers a lot about himself, and also learns that he needs people. But on his journey home, he finds he won’t make it and dies alone in an abandoned bus.
20th Century Fox Titanic
What else can I say? He falls in love with Rose and it looks like it could be a happy ending, if it wasn’t for the iceberg. Whether or not they could both fit on the door, he sacrifices his life so she can survive.
Paramount Pictures Braveheart
Much like with Gladiator, a guy loses his family to the ruler in power and goes on a quest for vengeance. Sadly, Wallace’s revolt against King Edward fails and we see him tortured to death, while screaming “Freedom!”
DreamWorks Saving Private Ryan
After surviving D-Day and an expedition into enemy territory to rescue Private Ryan, Captain Millar ends up dying in the last battle, but ensures Ryan’s safety.
Columbia Pictures Seven Pounds
After causing the death of 7 people, Tim meticulously investigates 7 people in need of organs he can donate. Then he carefully commits suicide, leaving directions on who gets what organ.
This one left me shook.
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