The Dudeâ€™s High 5s: Top 5 Movie Characterâ€™s Death Scenes
Last week I took a pounding for hating on some classic movies. Except the Hangover … seems most of the super intelligent OL crowd didn’t fall for that movie. This week I want to move on to happier topics, like death. What makes a good death scene? Dying for ones beliefs and convictions? Sure, that’ll do. Giving some epic prose before sloughing off this mortal coil? Sure, that’s a good one too. I think that a great death scene has meaning. This means that we have to care about the characters, no easy feat. So here they are, my top 5 Death Scenes.
Just be warned, there are spoilers ahead for the following movies: Star Wars, LA Confidential, Saving Private Ryan, Blade Runner, and Highlander: End Game.
5. Connor MacCleod (Christopher Lambert – Highlander: End Game)
Hate on Highlander all you want, I can’t hear you. Ok, maybe I can a little bit. Highlander is the ultimate example of what you get when you attempt to milk a franchise for every last dollar. You get the good, the Highlander TV series (Which I have an encyclopedic knowledge of … go ahead, test me), the average, the original movie and Highlander 4, the bad, Highlander 2 and 3, and the “please god, make it stop, why, why, what have we done to deserve this, you can’t exist in a world that has horrors such as this” in Highlander: The Source. Sidestepping all the bullshit that surrounds the Highlander mythos (Not to be confused with Methos, played by Peter Wingfield) what we have are good characters. Like it or not, Highlander has imbedded itself in our culture. For Fans of Highlander there has been the eternal question, Duncan or Conner. This is our Kirk or Picard. For my part I’m a Duncan guy.
Highlander: End Game is the first time the two are on screen since the pilot of Highlander the series. What we are also treated to is the death scene of the immortal (literally) character Connor MacCleod. The thing that makes this scene great is the reaction of Duncan when he figures out what Conner is doing and realizes he has to go through with it. It’s a tough scene to pull off. Imagine finding out that your best friend of 400 years wants you to kill him. Yea, heavy shit.
4. Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey – LA Confidential)
If you’ve never seen LA Confidential then drop what you’re doing, clear the next 2 hours and 30 minutes from your schedule and watch it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Hmm, kinda foolish for me to wait when you can just stop reading.
The reason I love this death scene is because with his dying words, Jack sets up his murderer. With the life draining out of him Jack keeps his wits until the end. He knows that planting the seed of Rolo Tomasi in the head of Captain Smith will ultimately lead to his downfall.
3. Obi Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness – Star Wars: A New Hope)
If you have to watch the video because you don’t quite remember this part, you might be on the wrong web site. For the rest of us, we all know the line.
“You can’t win Darth, if you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”
Lucas has never been a master of dialogue. I think he just writes down what he thinks sounds epic. However in this scene those words have meaning beyond just sounding cool. In the literal sense, Obi Wan gains the ability to become one with the force thus letting him watch over and guide Luke more closely. In the abstract sense, Luke witnesses the death of his mentor, sparking the fire in Luke to confront Vader in the later movies. Its scenes like this that make the originals so great and the absence of substance that make the prequels so bad.
2. Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks – Saving Private Ryan)
Every time I think about not liking a Spielberg movie, or bashing him for whatever project he does, I remember that Saving Private Ryan earned him a lifetime pass from the Dude’s shit list. He could break down my door, shoot my dog, piss on my computer, light my Xbox on fire, and use my Dresden hard covers as toilet paper. The second I grab a bat to knock him around he could hold up a copy of this movie and get away unharmed.
Tom Hanks earned equal respect from me, although to be honest I’ve enjoyed almost everything he’s done (Fuck Mazes and Monsters though). His final words to Pvt. Ryan choke me up every time. This and only this has been hard evidence that I might have a soul.
1. Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer – Blade Runner)
I don’t have to write a word. This scene speaks for itself. However I will say that this scene did make me respect life just a little bit more than I though I could.
The other important lesson I took away from this scene is the aspect of living in fear. Fear can paralyze the best of us and turn us into, as Roy puts it, a slave. Fear can make us do things against our nature. Fear is without a doubt the most chaotic of emotions.
How about you out there is internet land? What character’s deaths meant the most to you?