15 Surprising Character Deaths That Take You Out of the Movie

1
Ryan Gosling as Luke in 'The Place Beyond the Pines'
Ryan Gosling as Luke in 'The Place Beyond the Pines'
Focus Features
The captivating first third of 'The Place Beyond the Pines' follows Luke (Gosling), a motorcycle stunt driver who tries to provide for his family by robbing banks. After a thrilling chase scene, Luke is shot and killed by a police officer (played by Bradley Cooper). And just like that, the biggest draw of the film is gone and none of the other characters can hold the screen quite like Gosling's Luke can for the rest of the film's long running time.
2
Josh Brolin as Llewelyn in 'No Country for Old Men'
Josh Brolin as Llewelyn in 'No Country for Old Men'
Miramax Films
It wasn't so much that the death of Llewelyn Moss (Brolin) was a shocking one in 'No Country for Old Men'. After all, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) was a ruthless, effective killer. It's that it happened so abruptly, and off-screen for that matter, that it takes a moment to process that he's gone. In fact, the rest of the film feels like one giant "Wait... what just happened?"
3
Mélanie Laurent as Shoshanna in 'Inglourious Basterds'
Mélanie Laurent as Shoshanna in 'Inglourious Basterds'
Universal Studios
Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds' is chock full of stunning shoot-outs, but none leave a bigger impression than the terrible moment when Fredrick (Daniel Brühl) gets in one last fatal shot at Shoshanna (Laurent) before he dies. All together now: "Nooooooo!" Even worse than losing our heroine is knowing she'd never get to see her masterpiece of chaos play out in the movie theater before her. Of course, she still gets the last laugh.
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4
Leonardo DiCaprio as Billy in 'The Departed'
Leonardo DiCaprio as Billy in 'The Departed'
Warner Bros.
Remembuh when Leo got his head blown off in the elevatuh towards the end of 'The Dah-pahted'? That was wicked crazy. Just when it seemed like Billy caught his bad guy Colin (Matt Damon) at long last, one of his cronies fatally shoots him in the head the second the elevator doors open. Just in case you didn't have enough time absorb that, his buddy Trooper (Anthony Anderson) gets it, too. Plus, we wanted to see Billy kill Colin, not Dignam (Mark Wahlberg).
5
Brad Pitt as Chad in 'Burn After Reading'
Brad Pitt as Chad in 'Burn After Reading'
Focus Features
Not-so-super spy/personal trainer Chad (Pitt) certainly wasn't expecting to have his head blown off by Harry (George Clooney) while hiding in a closet, and neither were audiences who saw 'Burn After Reading'. The moment, in which Chad greets Harry with a doofy grin and Harry greets him with a bullet to the head happens so lightning-fast you get your own goofy whiplash from it. Chad was the best character in the whole crazy flick, so his presence was quickly missed.
6
Brad Pitt as Joe in 'Meet Joe Black'
Brad Pitt as Joe in 'Meet Joe Black'
Universal Pictures
Brad Pitt sure knows how to make an abrupt exit, doesn't he? Granted, you knew going into this that he was going to die, but so violently and suddenly by a cab? Not a chance in hell. (Or heaven.) The scene happens about 25 minutes in and is the only thrill in the very slow-burn of a drama. By the end of it, you start praying for more taxis to appear out of nowhere, just to make it as interesting as that shocking scene.
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7
Owen Wilson as Ned in 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou'
Owen Wilson as Ned in 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou'
Touchstone Pictures
Was Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) chasing the shark that killed his best friend worth it only to have the hunt kill Ned (Wilson) thanks to a helicopter crash? Nope! Especially when Steve winds up not killing the shark in the end, making Ned's already big bummer of a death all for nothing.
8
Alan Arkin as Grandpa in 'Little Miss Sunshine'
Alan Arkin as Grandpa in 'Little Miss Sunshine'
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Yes, the scene in which his family has to transport his dead body out of a hospital is hilarious, but Grandpa Edwin's (Arkin, who won an Oscar for his supporting turn) sudden death in the middle of 'Little Miss Sunshine' shifts the tone of the whole movie. We could have used more of his foul-mouthed coaching when the whole gang finally arrived at the pageant.
9
Bill Murray as Bill Murray in 'Zombieland'
Bill Murray as Bill Murray in 'Zombieland'
Columbia Pictures
Bill Murray's inspired cameo in the comedy 'Zombieland' was such a hit among moviegoers that test audiences reportedly were sad when he accidentally got shot and killed by Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg). Still, his death was not in vain: The cameo remains one of the best of all-time.
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10
Kevin Spacey as Jack in 'L.A. Confidential'
Kevin Spacey as Jack in 'L.A. Confidential'
Warner Bros.
Kevin Spacey was damn good at creating 'Whoa, what the hell just happened' movie moments in the '90s. See: 'The Usual Suspects,' of course, and 'L.A. Confidential,' when his character Det. Sgt. Jack Vincennes' is suddenly blown away by Capt. Dudley Smith (James Cromwell).
11
Phil LaMarr as Marvin in 'Pulp Fiction'
Phil LaMarr as Marvin in 'Pulp Fiction'
Miramax Films
Don't get us wrong — this is one of the best scenes in 'Pulp Fiction.' But we don't know who was more surprised by Marvin's bursting brains: Marvin, Jules, Vincent, or stunned moviegoers who needed a few minutes to recover from the darkly funny shooting. Probably Marvin.
12
Jamie Kennedy as Randy in 'Scream 2'
Jamie Kennedy as Randy in 'Scream 2'
Dimension Films
Randy was not only everyone's favorite character in the 'Scream' movies, but he was the one guy in all this mess who should have seen it coming. Not only was his death a gruesome one (stabbed in the back of a van, where he screams went unheard by a group of jags listening to the Kottonmouth Kings), but his demise made the movie and the franchise itself that much less fun. RIP Randy.
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13
Faye Dunaway as Evelyn in 'Chinatown'
Faye Dunaway as Evelyn in 'Chinatown'
Paramount Pictures
Evelyn (Dunaway) getting killed by a spray of police bullets towards the end of Roman Polanski's classic 'Chinatown' remains the one image that's burned into our brains after all these years. Forget it, Jake? How could we?
14
Alan Tudyk as Wash in 'Serenity'
Alan Tudyk as Wash in 'Serenity'
Universal Pictures
No matter how many times you watch that moment in which the beloved Wash (Tudyk) is suddenly killed by a harpoon in 'Serenity,' it still stings.
15
Bambi's Mom in 'Bambi'
Bambi's Mom in 'Bambi'
Disney
The moment from which all childhood trauma can be traced: Watching Bambi's mother get shot and killed by a hunter is downright heartbreaking and horrible. Were we supposed to go on watching a cartoon like that hadn't just happened? Additionally, are we supposed to have recovered from this by now? Because we haven't.

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