What was the saddest fatal defeat of a villain?

The 15 saddest movie deaths of all time

The title of this list should obviate the need to mention it, but it is better to be safe than sorry: if a spoiler warning is in place anywhere, it is here! We dedicate ourselves to 15 film deaths, which, due to their haunting effect on viewers, have been firmly anchored in popular culture. Often, it's not just about the mere scene of death; after all, filmmakers have to earn a poignant death, so to speak - if we can't develop a feeling for the characters affected or their influence on other characters in the course of the plot, then, in case of doubt, that too leaves us Saying goodbye to them coldly. How to do it right is shown by our candidates gathered here who belong to the saddest deaths in film history!

15. Bambi's mother (Paula Winslowe in "Bambi", 1942)


Everything could have been much worse: During the production of the fifth animated film by Walt Disney, active work was carried out on a scene in which the fatal shot at Bambi's mother can be seen. It has been proven that her death left a lasting impression even without such an explicit depiction - after all, the scene in which Bambi strolls helplessly through the snow, for many young viewers, may have been one of the first points of contact with the finitude of life. Beatles legend Paul McCartney was also deeply moved as a child and stated “Bambi” in an interview as an important step on his way to becoming an animal rights activist and opponent of the hunt!

14. Thomas J. Sennett (Macaulay Culkin in "My Girl", 1991)


What the notorious Red Wedding in "Game of Thrones" is for today's TV audience may have been the unexpected death of Thomas J., the best friend of the already long-suffering Vada (Anna Chlumsky), for many children of the nineties : When he went in search of her lost ring on his own, he was stung by bees and died a short time later of an allergic reaction. The brutal stroke of fate puts an abrupt end to a blossoming relationship between two children on the verge of growing up - apart from the fact that it inspires enormous respect for bee nests, especially in the young target group of the film!

13. Kong (Andy Serkis in "King Kong", 2005)


Even before “Bambi”, “King Kong and the White Woman” from 1933 pointed out on film that all too often humans can be animals' greatest enemies. Peter Jackson's reinterpretation sticks very closely to the classic in terms of content, so that the iconic showdown on the Empire State Building does not have to be dispensed with: the giant ape, kidnapped from his home, exploited as an attraction and rushed through half of New York, has become a hopeless one Fled a situation in which he cannot permanently defend himself against attacking double-deckers. Badly hit, Ann Darrow - the only person ever genuinely sympathetic to Kong - bids a tearful goodbye before the majestic primate falls to its death.

12. Maggie Fitzgerald (Hillary Swank in "Million Dollar Baby," 2004)


For a long time, this late work by director and supporting actor Clint Eastwood is a professionally staged, albeit comparatively conventional, athlete story: The boxing trainer Frankie and Maggie, who comes from a poor background, get together against all odds and celebrate triumphs ... until Maggie after a malicious attack in the Ring is paralyzed from the neck down. She breaks bedside with her greedy family, loses a leg and makes an unsuccessful suicide attempt before Frankie complies with her last wish and, contrary to his personal convictions, euthanizes Maggie. The oppressive twist makes it abundantly clear how shockingly fast an ascent can be slowed down and turned into the opposite, while Eastwood once again proves himself to be the old master of facial expressions!

11. Severus Snape (Alan Rickman in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2", 2011)


For fans of the bespectacled wizard, the death of Albus Dumbledore should easily qualify for this list - but the death of his supposedly cold-blooded murderer is inherent in a special tragedy. Because Severus Snape is the rightful owner of the Elder Wand after his deed, Lord Voldemort sets his serpent Nagini on him. Harry finds Snape fatally injured and shows true greatness by helping his dying intimate enemy in his dying moments. In addition, Harry, Ron and Hermione preserve his memories in the form of tears, which a little later reveal the exonerating truth to them: The already doomed Dumbledore voluntarily allowed himself to be killed by Snape in order to camouflage the ex- Slytherin Head of House.

10. Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio in "Titanic", 1997)


Would there have been room for both? Nowadays the load-bearing capacity of wreckage is particularly debated when it comes to the tragic finale of James Cameron's disaster epic. However, it should not be forgotten that "Titanic" was the most successful film of all for many years and caused intense sobs in cinemas around the world for months after it was released! After Jack and Rose (Kate Winslet) were unable to save their forbidden love from the sinking luxury liner in time, they find themselves shipwrecked in the ice-cold sea water. Jack gives Rose a piece of wood and makes her promise to only die in old age before he goes under exhausted - like the "heart of the ocean" many years later.

09. Ben Parker (Cliff Robertson in "Spider-Man", 2002)


The “Great Strength Follows Great Responsibility” mantra defines the genesis of numerous superheroes, but nothing beats the original: In Sam Raimi's comic adaptation, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), a teenager, is initially not very receptive to the wisdom of his legal guardian . However, they burn themselves even more after Uncle Ben is the accidental victim of a violent car thief and dies on the street. To make matters worse, after a successful chase, Peter realizes that he could have stopped the perpetrator shortly beforehand, but for a selfish thirst for revenge he decided against a fraudulent organizer. Pubertal know-it-alls have definitely thought twice since Uncle Ben's death about giving benevolent family members the cold shoulder in annoyance!

08. Artax (in "The Neverending Story", 1984)


Michael Ende's intense aversion to the adaptation of his novel of the same name has been extensively documented. However, this does not detract from their effect, especially on young viewers, which is mainly due to the fateful path through the marshes of sadness: While Atréju can resist them with the help of his amulet Aurýn, his horse Artax surrenders to the sad pull of the moor and sinks bit by bit Piece. Even Atréju's increasingly desperate pulling and pleading are completely in vain - before the screen is completely filled with black, he only has a few moments to part with his loyal companion. The oppressive stage design and Klaus Doldinger's poignant soundtrack contribute significantly to the endless drama of this farewell!

07. John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan in "The Green Mile", 1999)


Actually, Mister Jingles would have deserved a place too, but fortunately the death of the trusting mouse was not permanent! The giant John Coffey, imprisoned on death row, makes his guards doubt his guilt, not least because of his supernatural abilities. Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) in particular builds a close bond with "one of God's true miracles", which makes it all the more disturbing as he still has to do his duty: After a touching film screening, the guards lead John Coffey for a crime , which he did not commit, for execution on the electric chair. In addition to this frustrating injustice, it is the meekness of Coffey, which has been maintained to the last, and the guilt that weighs tons on Edgecomb and his colleagues, which give this scene its emotional weight.

06. Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue (Mykelti Williamson in "Forrest Gump", 1994)


Forrest Gump, Oscar-winning portrayed by Tom Hanks, takes viewers in the film of the same name on a crazy rollercoaster ride through several decades. A sad climax is his war mission in Vietnam, which he fights alongside his "best good friend" Bubba: When he is badly wounded, Forrest can save him to the comparatively safe river bank - but there he succumbs to his serious injuries in Forrests Poor, instead of being able to live his dream of having his own shrimp cutter. Back home, Forrest honors the fallen together with the war-disabled Lt. Dan Taylor, by founding the (now actually existing) Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and financially supporting Benjamin Buford Blues' survivors.

05. Han Solo (Harrison Ford in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", 2015)


The trailer for the seventh episode of the cult saga already caused wet eyes in many places, which was due in particular to the reunion with Han Solo and his loyal co-pilot Chewbacca. After the theatrical release, however, it seemed "as if millions screamed in panic and suddenly fell silent": Solo's attempt to convert his estranged son Ben - now feared as the impulsive Kylo Ren - for good ends with parricide. As a result of an attack with the lightsaber, the rascal smuggler falls into the seemingly bottomless depths of the Starkiller base in front of his companions. Chewie's sad roar, the farewell to a cherished childhood hero and the realization that there would never be a reunion between Han Solo and Luke Skywalker left fans in a state of shock!

04. Mufasa (James Earl Jones in "The Lion King", 1994)


Disney again! And once again we have to mourn the death of an animal parent. Unlike in the case of Bambi's mother, however, viewers were hardly spared a single detail six decades later. Just like Simba himself: When he and his father are lured into the middle of a gnu stampede by the devious Scar under a pretext, Mufasa can only defuse the situation with great difficulty - but then his wicked brother prevents him from climbing the saving ledge. When the tumult has subsided and Simba rushes to the aid of the motionless Mufasa, he cannot wake him up again. A heartbreaking betrayal that, thanks to the remake of 2019, should also shock future generations!

03. Tony Stark / Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr. in "Avengers: Endgame", 2019)


The highlight to date in a series of more than 20 films offers fan service and emotional payoffs in a dizzying sequence. In keeping with his class, Tony Stark is the focus of attention several times; be it in the affectionate dealings with his daughter, in the touching reunion with his actually long deceased father or in the epic final battle against Thanos and his followers. There Tony succeeds in outwitting his archenemy and sealing his defeat with a single snap of his fingers. At the same time, he suffers severe injuries from the power of the united infinity stones and dies a short time later in the middle of his wife, best friend and foster son. After eleven years and a change from profit-oriented egomaniac to self-sacrificing hero, this farewell is definitely one of the hardest!

02. Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore in "The Condemned", 1994)


The friendship between Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman) may be the focus of this Stephen King adaptation, but the most poignant scene in the prison film, loved by critics and fans alike, belongs to Brooks Hatlen. After half a century behind bars, his release in the mid-1950s turned out to be a culture shock that the senior could not cope with. Cars line the street, while the hustle and bustle and a thankless job in the Brooks supermarket solidify the bitter realization: He is completely lonely and cannot find his way around modern freedom after a life behind bars. On the beam of his modest abode, he kills himself with a chair and rope, after he lets posterity take notice of him with a "Brooks was here" carved into the wood.

01. T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Terminator 2 - Day of Reckoning", 1991)


Anyone who calls "Terminator 2" the best action film ever does not lean far out of the window: An exciting story, breathtaking set pieces, revolutionary special effects and a legendary performance by Arnold Schwarzenegger contribute to the outstanding quality of James Cameron's sequel. Above all, however, is the relationship between the Terminator and a young John Connor (Edward Furlong), to whom the cyborg of all things offers a much-needed father figure. John is accordingly heartbroken when he and his mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton) have to lower their protector into a basin made of molten steel at his behest in order to prevent the reconstruction of his chip. Like Atreyu, John ultimately pleads in vain and is said goodbye with a thumbs-up gesture that reliably moves even the most adored images of men to tears!

Final thoughts:

Death has many faces, especially on the big screen, as our list shows. While some characters are torn from life completely unexpectedly, others resign voluntarily: Sometimes out of an oppressive lack of perspective, but sometimes also in a heroic final act of sacrifice. As film fans, we experience betrayal, injustice, the horrors of the battlefield or merciless strokes of fate from the comfort of the cinema seat - not least because of the connection with our personal experiences, well-staged and structured farewells often develop the desired effect there too!