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The Famous Movie Character Death That Hit 21% Of People The Hardest

Death sometimes seems so commonplace in movies that it's a wonder it still carries any kind of emotional impact. When you watch a war movie, you know everyone's got a target on their backs. Turn on a movie by Quentin Tarantino and you'll naturally expect the list of characters who survive the flick to be significantly shorter than that of those who are a bloody mess by the end. And then there are films — like those of the Deadpool franchise — in which death not only doesn't upset us, the execution thereof — pun intended — has us rolling with laughter.

But some movie deaths still carry tremendous emotional weight. Think of the ending of 2018's Avengers: Infinity War: in spite of most audiences probably at least suspecting the deaths caused by Thanos' snap would be undone in the sequel, it didn't make the visions of the heroes blowing away like dust any less of a gut-punch — particularly not when it comes to Peter Parker's "Mr. Stark, I don't feel so good."

We were curious to find out which famous movie death hit people the hardest, so Looper surveyed movie fans, giving them eight heartbreaking movie death options. The winner isn't surprising, though it's a little ironic: while the winner is from a film based on a novel by the famous horror writer Stephen King, it's one of King's least violent stories, while still arguably being about nothing but waiting for death.

21% chose the death of John Coffey in The Green Mile as the most heartbreaking

Out of the 650 people Looper surveyed, 20.9% chose the wrongful execution of John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) in 1999's The Green Mile as the movie death that hit them the hardest. Considering the prison guards led by Tom Hanks' Paul Edgecomb weep openly during his execution, we're betting they would've voted that way too. Not far behind at 19.7% is the death of Simba's father, Mufasa, at the hands of his treacherous brother, Scar, in the animated classic The Lion King. At a close third place is the death that broke our hearts "times 3000": Tony Stark's heroic sacrifice in 2019's Avengers: Endgame with 18.3%. 

From there, we go from the world of superheroes to the wizarding world. In fourth place is the fall of Hogwart's headmaster Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, chosen by 14.6% of those voting. Not far behind is a death many believe could've been avoided by Kate Winslet scooching over just a bit; 14% of those surveyed chose the drowning of Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack in Titanic. In sixth is the muddy death of the horse Artax in The NeverEnding Story at 3.5%. Seventh place goes to Leslie's tragic fall in the creek in The Bridge to Terabithia with 3.1% of the vote. Finally, with 2.5% of respondents, there's the Lost Boy Rufio's death at the hands of Hook's titular bad guy.

Of the respondents, 3.53% chose to write in answers that weren't offered in the survey. Of these the top choices were Spock's sacrifice in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Han Solo's murder in The Force Awakens, and the mama deer's death in the Disney classic Bambi