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The Most Shocking Movie Deaths Of All Time

Death is a part of life, so naturally, death is a part of cinema. No matter what genre of film you're watching — action, drama, horror, comedy — there's a good chance you're going to see somebody die onscreen. Of course, not all movie deaths have the same impact. Some make you cry, others make you laugh, and some make you cringe in pain. And sometimes, you're just so busy enjoying the spectacle that you don't even notice the heroes are murdering bad guys left and right.

But then, there are some deaths that leave you absolutely stunned. Maybe it was so messed-up that it left you reeling, or perhaps it was so unexpected that you had to pick your jaw up off the floor. Maybe a beloved character bit the dust or an A-list star who never dies finally shuffled off this cinematic coil. From deranged bad guys to defenseless little kids, these are the most shocking movie deaths of all-time.

Bats gets skewered in Baby Driver

Directed by Edgar Wright, Baby Driver is a fun crime thriller with heist scenes choreographed to an eclectic soundtrack, but beyond the gunfights and pop songs, this 2017 flick also pulls a nice bait-and-switch on its audience. For a good chunk of the film, it seems like the main bad guy is going to be Bats (Jamie Foxx), a psychopathic triggerman who rocks a red jacket. This dude is completely unhinged and isn't the biggest fan of our music-loving hero, Baby (Ansel Elgort). But about two-thirds of the way into the film, the bad guy mantle passes from Bats to the vengeful Buddy (Jon Hamm). So how did Don Draper suddenly become the main villain?

Well, it's because Bats gets a really bad case of "rebar through the chest," a disease that's almost always fatal. During an ill-fated post office heist, the tension between Bats and Baby boils over. Baby has had enough of his murderous ways, and after the gunman puts a load of buckshot in a hapless security guard, our hero takes the psycho down. Sure, Baby doesn't have a gun, but being the world's best getaway driver, he does have the next best thing: a car. Baby steps on the gas, aims at a work truck, and plows right into a load of rebar, pinning Bats to his seat. And just like that, the "main antagonist" is gone, leaving Baby with a brand new bad guy to worry about.

The gal who got rattled in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is an ode to death, with almost every chapter of the anthology ending badly for the lead character. But none of these endings are quite so upsetting as when Alice Longbaugh meets her fate in "The Gal Who Got Rattled." In this segment, Alice (Zoe Kazan) is reluctantly heading out west in a wagon train, and along the way, she makes a love connection with one of the traveling party's leaders. It seems like the two might even get hitched when they arrive in Oregon, but things take a sad turn when Alice rides off into the prairie, looking for her lost dog.

Sure, she finds the wayward pooch, but she also discovers a Native American war party with murder on their minds. Fortunately, she's not alone out there in the middle of nowhere. A grizzled trailsman named Mr. Arthur (Grainger Hines) shows up in the knick of time, rifle in hand. But before he goes off to face the Indian threat, he gives Alice a pistol, warning her that if he dies in battle, she better blow her brains out. After a couple of close calls, Mr. Arthur fights off the war party... but when he heads back to check on Alice, he finds her corpse sprawled out in the prairie, revolver in hand, a bullet hole in her head. It's a devastating moment in a tragic tale, and we all agree with Mr. Arthur that poor Alice hadn't ought to have did it.

Brad Pitt's bloody death in Burn After Reading

Brad Pitt dies a whole lot in his movies, but for the most part, his deaths aren't all that shocking. He often gets killed off-screen, has his assassination spoiled by the title, or he's just a figment of somebody's imagination so it doesn't really matter anyway. But Pitt is straight-up murdered with a giant burst of blood in Burn After Reading, a dark comedy from the Coen Brothers.

This film finds Pitt playing a not-so-bright personal trailer named Chad Feldheimer who discovers a CD containing some sensitive-looking documents. Really, it's just the worthless personal memoirs of an alcoholic CIA agent (John Malkovich), but Chad thinks this is top level government stuff and that the agent will pay a bundle to get it back. Through a series of very bad decisions, Chad winds up hiding in the wrong closet at the wrong time and comes face to face with the most paranocid lawman on the planet, U.S. Marshal Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney).

Exactly how Chad and Harry cross paths is a bit difficult to explain, but Harry never actually finds out what Chad is doing hiding in a closet. Instead of asking what's up, Harry pulls a pistol and decorates the walls with Chad's brains. It's one of those scenes that leaves you laughing shock, thanks both to all that blood and that big, goofy grin on Pitt's face that's obliterated just seconds later.

A rat saves a rat in The Departed

Martin Scorsese is no stranger to shocking deaths. His films are filled with gruesome kills and unexpected fatalities, but the most surprising moment in Scorsese history has got to be the elevator scene from The Departed. After the world's most nerve-wracking game of cat and mouse, undercover cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) discovers that high-ranking police officer Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) is actually an undercover mole for the mob. Wanting to bring the snitch down, Costigan lures him to the top of an abandoned building and slaps the cuffs on Sullivan.

Of course, no plans ever runs smoothly in a Scorsese film. The two step into an elevator, but as soon as the doors open up, Costigan's head snaps back, and blood sprays everywhere. As it turns out, Sullivan wasn't the only mole working for the mob, and a second rat (James Badge Dale) has just put a bullet through poor Billy's head. And honestly, this is a death that really hurts. Costigan has gone through hell to bring down this bad guy, and now that he's moments away from becoming a hero, it all ends when a rat shows up to save a fellow rat. Fortunately, Marky Mark is still out there, ready for revenge.

A dentist kills Candie in Django Unchained

The least shocking type of death is when the main villain bites the bullet. If you're watching an action flick, you know the villain is going to die. However, in most films, the antagonist is picked off by the main hero in the last act of the film. But Django Unchained turns that cinematic trope on it shead when Calvin Candie gets his just desserts.

Directed by Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained follows the titular gunfighting slave (Jamie Foxx) who's on a quest to free his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), from Candie, a sadistic Francophile played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Django allies with a bounty hunting dentist named King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) to outsmart Candie and buy back Broomhilda for practically nothing. But when Candie learns he's being played and that Django and Broomhilda are married, he forces the duo to fork over a huge chunk of change.

This is particularly galling for Schultz, who's still haunted by all the horror he's seen at Candie's plantation. Django is used to the nightmare of slavery, but seeing a man ripped apart by dogs is new for the German dentist. So when Candie insists that Schultz shake his hand to seal the deal (in an attempt to humiliate Schultz), the dentist responds by whipping out a pistol and shooting the slaver in the chest. Up until this point, we were positive that Django was going to blow this guy away, but Schultz had to go and subvert expectations. The man even apologizes to Django and the audience alike, saying that he just couldn't help himself.

A true crime tragedy in Foxcatcher

If you know the true story behind Foxcatcher, then it probably won't be a surprise when Mark Ruffalo takes a bullet to the belly. But if you walk into the film blind, then Dave Schultz's untimely death will come as a complete surprise.

Foxcatcher tells the story of a troubling three-way relationship between Olympic wrestlers Mark and Dave Schultz (Channing Tatum and Ruffalo, respectively) and eccentric millionaire John E. du Pont (Steve Carell). A man teetering on the edge of madness, du Pont runs Team Foxcatcher — a squad of wrestlers who live on his sprawling estate — and his star athletes are the Schultz brothers.

Needless to say, with all this ego and testosterone (not to mention cocaine) going around, there's a whole lot friction between the trio. It's especially rough between du Pont and Mark, as the millionaire constantly manipulates and abuses the insecure wrestler. Naturally, Dave sides with his brother, and after a frustrated Mark flees the estate to get away from du Pont, the boss focuses all his rage on the older Schultz.

It all culminates with on a snowy day when, almost out of nowhere, the crazed millionaire pulls up to Dave's house and fills him full of lead. A movie that started off a drama has slowly become a crime thriller. Making the scene even more shocking is that we're seeing Michael from The Office shoot down Bruce Banner in cold blood. These aren't actors we're used to seeing kill or be killed, and the scene suplexed audiences and left them stunned.

A Texas Ranger bites the dust in Hell or High Water

A modern-day Western, Hell or High Water plays an interesting trick on its audience: it gets you to root for both the bank robbers and the lawmen. On one side, you've got Chris Pine and Ben Foster as Toby and Tanner Howard, working-class criminals who've been screwed by the system. On the other side, there's Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham as two Texas Rangers, Marcus Hamilton and Alberto Parker. These guys have been catching criminals together for over a decade, and despite all the abuse that Hamilton hurls Parker's way, the two are incredibly tight.

Throughout the film, the Rangers are in dogged pursuit of the Howard brothers, and in the climactic scene, they manage to corner Tanner — the crazier of the two — on a mountain ridge. Our loyalties are divided as the groups fire at one another, but things go from tense to tragic in a heartbeat. One moment, Hamilton and Parker are taking cover behind a car, plotting a strategy as Hamilton good-naturedly bullies Parker with good old boy humor. And then, just like that, Tanner puts a bullet through Parker's head, leaving the lawman in a pool of blood. It's a harsh death in a harsh landscape, one that leaves us feeling conflicted. Part of us still wants Tanner to get away, but then we're also kind of hoping that Hamilton will get some revenge for his fallen friend.  

Paimon gets ahead in Hereditary

Written and directed by Ari Aster, Hereditary is a seriously messed-up horror flick that follows the unfortunate Graham family, a clan haunted by mental illness and a crazy cult. The story starts after the death of the family matriarch, with the family spiraling into anger and depression. And it doesn't help that there's an evil spirit out and about. Unbeknownst to the rest of the family, 13-year-old Charlie (Milly Shapiro) is possessed by an ancient demon named Paimon, and that aforementioned cult has cooked up an elaborate plan to transfer the spirit from Charlie to her older brother, Peter (Alex Wolff).

Unfortunately, part of the plan involves murdering poor Charlie. The scheme starts at a high school party, when Charlie goes into anaphylactic shock after eating some nuts. As she struggles to breathe, Peter races her to the hospital, tearing down the road at an insane speed. Choking, Charlie rolls down the window and stick her head out, right as Peter swerves to avoid a dead animal. It's a fatal move as he nearly swings into a telephone pole...which knocks Charlie's head off.

The moment Peter hears that sickening thud, he slams on the breaks and goes into shock, which is pretty much the same reaction of anyone watching the film. It's incredibly rare to see a child die in such a gruesome way. Plus, Charlie featured pretty heavily in the promotional material for the film, and everyone just assumed she'd be around for the whole story. But the movie pulls a Psycho and poor Charlie loses her head. Of course, that's just the first of many horrors that Hereditary has to offer.

Shosanna says au revoir in Inglourious Basterds

From Pulp Fiction to The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino movies are full of shocking deaths, but none are quite as disturbing as Shosanna's in Inglourious Basterds. Played by Melanie Laurent, Shosanna Dreyfus is the sole member of her family to escape the murderous clutches of Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). She eventually winds up in Paris, opens a theater, and devises a plot to kill some top-ranking Nazi officials, including old Adolf himself. Her scheme involves waiting for the premiere of a propaganda film and then setting her theater on fire. Unfortunately, the star and subject of the aforementioned film — war hero Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Brühl) — is absolutely smitten with Shosanna and won't leave her alone.

Zoller really starts complicating things when he barges into the projection booth, demanding Shosanna's affection. She responds by putting a couple of bullets into his back. But as he lies dying on the floor, she starts to feel sympathy for the guy — after all, he's just a soldier caught up in a crazy war. But when she goes to check on him, Fredrick pulls a gun and kills Shosanna while a mournful Ennio Morricone tune swells. We've been waiting so long for Shosanna to get her revenge on the Nazis, and now she's bleeding to death in a depressing turn of events. Fortunately, her plans are well underway, and even though she won't get to see the Nazis burn, they'll certainly get to see her as they go up in flames.

Baby food in mother!

Darren Aronofsky knows how to shock and disturb, and for proof of his horrific abilities, look no further than mother! This bizarre fever dream of a movie is an upsetting religious allegory, where Jennifer Lawrence's titular character is "Mother Earth," Javier Bardem's poet is God, and their newborn baby is Jesus. If you can figure out the religious parallels early on, then you might be able to guess what's going to happen to Mother's newborn. But if you're just overwhelmed by the weirdness of it all, then you might be caught off guard — and absolutely disgusted — when the baby meets its grisly end.

Enamored by the fans who've invaded his home, Javier Bardem's Him decides to show off his child against Mother's wishes. As she screams in protest, Him hands his child to the mob, who then pass the baby along in adoration, praising the infant as the kid essentially crowd surfs through the house. The child is wailing in pain, and Mother is screaming for her child. And then, suddenly, the baby's head goes back too far and his neck snaps in half, killing him instantly. But the horror isn't done yet. In the world's most macabre communion, the crowd decides to snack on the baby's body, prompting more than a few cases of nausea.

Josh Brolin runs out of luck in No Country for Old Men

Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men isn't your typical thriller. In your run-of-the-mill suspense flick, the good guy and the bad guy would eventually face off, with the hero walking away victorious. But in this Coen Brothers film, not only do Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) and Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) never even get a good look at each other, but Moss is killed off-screen, by random characters who come out of nowhere, with plenty of time left in the film.

One moment, Llewelyn is minding his business at a hotel, flirting with a woman at a swimming pool. The next, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell witnesses a car full of Mexican gangsters screaming out of the parking lot, and when he goes to investigate, there's the bloody body of Josh Brolin, sprawled out in a hotel room. As audiences, we're trained to expect the hero to at least go out in a blaze of glory against the main villain, but just like in real life, death comes for Llewelyn when we least expect it. It's a death as random as a coin toss.

A superhero's gory death in Super

Before toning things down for Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn enjoyed shocking audiences with disturbing films like Tromeo and Juliet and Slither. And when it came time to make his first superhero film, Super, Gunn didn't pull any punches. This underrated action flick follows short-order cook Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson), who morphs into an ultra-violent vigilante known as the Crimson Bolt after his wife runs off with a sleazy drug dealer. The Crimson Bolt has no patience for anyone who breaks the rules, and whether you're molesting kids or cutting in line at the movie theater, he'll cave your skull in with his pipe wrench.

Along the way, Frank picks up a sidekick, a gleefully sadistic comic book nerd named Libby (Elliot Page). She adopts her own persona, Boltie, and together, the two wreak havoc on local criminals, with Boltie enjoying the violence a little too much. But heroes who live by the sword eventually die by the sword. In the film's over-the-top climax, Frank and Libby assault the villainous drug dealer's mansion, and just a few seconds into the attack, Libby takes a bullet to the brain. It's a truly disturbing moment, seeing Juno lying on the ground with half of her face missing. And even though it inspires Frank to murder a whole bunch of bad guys, it's hard to watch the carnage as we're still reeling from Elliot Page's gruesome fate.