Characters get killed in movies all the time. The reasons for doing this are plentiful. Sometimes it’s to drive home the drama. Other times (and often in the case of George Lucas) a filmmaker doesn’t realize how popular a character will become until it’s too late. It may even happen because a screenwriter gets a note from a studio executive requesting a character be killed off. Regardless of the reasons why, it happens so often in film these days that we either come to expect it or have just grown immune to caring. Though, every now and then a character we come to love gets offed and we like them so much that it’s just, for lack of a better phrase, a major bummer. Here’s 10 that fall into that category for me:
10. JACK (TITANIC).
I am not a Titanic hater. When it came out, I thought it was amazing. So much so that I saw it three times in the theater. Once, the theater was so full that I actually stood through an entire screening. Now, that’s dedication. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LONG THAT MOVIE IS? I came to love Jack and Rose when I first saw the film and it bummed me out when Jack died. Mainly because JACK DIDN’T HAVE TO DIE!!! See diagram.
9. NEIL McCAULEY (HEAT).
This one sucked because I REALLY wanted the bad guy to win here. Sure, DeNiro’s character is the bad guy but you can’t help but root for him in the film. He’s clearly the protagonist of the story. Al Pacino’s character may have been doing his job but did anybody really care about him? He was kind of an asshole. DeNiro’s McCauley was a man with a plan. Unfortunately, he had to do that one last heist.
8. JENNY (FORREST GUMP).
It was a bummer when Sally Field’s Mama Gump passed away too but Jenny takes the cake for me. Not because I care that Jenny died. Let’s be honest, she was kind of a bitch. No, it’s more for the toll it takes on Forrest. A dimwitted character that you can’t help but love. He finally get the one thing in his life he truly ever wanted and then loses it almost instantly.
7. JOHNNY CADE (THE OUTSIDERS).
Not only is he one of the younger members of the much-looked-down-upon-Outsiders but he also dies saving kids from a burning orphanage. It’s hard not to feel bad for this kid!
6. WASH (SERENITY).
This death drives me crazy because it’s just unnecessary. You’ve just escaped the grasps of the Reavers, navigated through the Alliance’s warship armada, and managed to safely crash land the Serenity after taking on an EMP blast. Three seconds later a random GIANT spike flies through the window of the ship and impales the most likable character in the crew. Made only worse by the fact that the necessary death of a major character quota was met when Preacher bit the dust. Say what? Say WTF??? R.I.P. Wash. You truly were a leaf on the wind!
5. BISHOP (ALIENS).
Anyone who has navigated the stars in the Aliens universe has had issues with synthetic android life forms. Bishop, however, is the programming that got it right. He ends up saving in the day in Cameron’s take on the franchise. Unfortunately, he also meets a very gooey demise. Unfortunate because he’s a character I would have liked to seen revisited.
4. BOBA FETT (STAR WARS: EPISODE 6 – RETURN OF THE JEDI).
The Star Wars galaxy is loaded with characters but very few people will deny that Boba Fett is, by far, the coolest. If Star Wars characters put on a community theater staging of Happy Days, Fett would be the Fonze. Which is why it’s so depressing to watch him die such a wussy death that ends with him being digested by what can only be described as a sand vagina with teeth. Well, technically, you could also call it a Sarlacc Pit.
3. GOOSE (TOP GUN).
I feel like Goose’s (or is it Geese?) death is necessary in the course of this film. It has to happen to reign in Maverick from his wily ways. That doesn’t make it any less depressing. Goose is the definition of the wing-man in more ways than one. Not only is he will he put up with your loose cannon aerial assaults but he’ll also sing unrequested karaoke in the middle of a bar, full of his peers, to get you laid. Dude also has a happy marriage and kids. Major frowny face.
2. ELLIE FREDRICKSEN (UP).
The first ten minutes of Up is a rough watch. It starts off with a sweet look into a lifelong love but continues to barrel on straight into old age and death. One minute, two kids are becoming friends and falling in love, the next minute, one of them is very dead. Did I mention she died just before they could enjoy their lifelong dream? It’s heavy stuff for a kid’s film. While we don’t get enough time to get too invested in Ellie, the tone for the film has been set and we see the repercussions it has on Carl. He basically goes nuts and tries to fly away in his house using balloons.
1. CHARLOTTE (CHARLOTTE’S WEB 1973).
Screw the 2006 Dakota Fanning version of this classic kid’s book. The 1973 animated version is where it’s at. It’s a beautiful story that teaches us so many morals and lessons but it also teaches about the circle of life. When Charlotte has to go, we know she must but, it’s hard every single time. She’s like Aunt May or Mama Gump or Oprah… someone I wish could be my Mom.
Remember, we here at Man, I Love Films don’t do definitive lists. We do our favorites and we want to hear yours. So, make sure and tell us about them in the comments section below.