Thursday, October 26, 2006

Need More Dead Protagonists

My list is growing but I still need more names of films where the protagonist dies. I'm at about twenty films now and while I don't plan to dissect each of them, I do want to find the story purpose behind the primary (or an important secondary) protagonist's death. Is it about character? Plot? What's does the death accomplish? Obviously this takes time because I have to watch or re-watch several films. Already, I've seen great variety in purpose and can't wait to map these out on paper. I Netflixed Thema and Louise (is Netflixed a verb?) because although I've never been interested in seeing it before, now I must.

Suggestions?

24 comments:

Slain said...

what do u have so far?

-Hugo Weaving
V for Vendetta
**top of dead ppl list

-Keanu Reeves
Matrix Revolutions
*worst of trilogy, bottom of list

-Russell Crowe
Gladiator

-Mel Gibson
Hamlet
Braveheart

-Bruce Lee
Fist of Fury aka The Chinese Connection

-Brandon Lee
The Crow

-Jason Miller
The Exorcist

Rocky VI(!?)
neh...

Milehimama said...

Got some more -
Phenomena, with John Travolta
Simon Birch
Man on Fire (hated this one, but Denzel Washington does die.)
The Green Mile (protag doesn't die, but character does.)
The Notebook

In your research, note how many are based on books - I think protagonists are much more likely to die in books and that is carried over to the movie.

Most of these movies, the protag seems to die in order to complete their character arc. There also seems to be a strong redemption/destiny theme for a lot of them.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Already had Braveheart, Notebook and Gladiator, but haven't thought the others. And yes, MHM, I'm finding much of the same re: redemption.

Anonymous said...

dont tell me u havent watched Vendetta :]

MaryAn Batchellor said...

all right...

mernitman said...

wait a second.

YOU...
never...
saw THELMA & LOUISE?!?!?!

good freaking lord.

make sure you get the widescreen version.
and e-mail me after.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

No, I never saw Thelma and Louise! Did I not tell you that I AM NOT YOUR AVERAGE WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE GIRL POWER FEMINIST SISTERHOOD TYPE GAL???

You'd be even more horrified, shocked & dismayed by some of the other films I've never seen... don't make me hurt you, Billy.

Brett said...

Loads of suggestions pop into mind:

BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI
SPARTACUS
DR STRANGELOVE
THE GODFATHER
BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
THE PARALLAX VIEW
DEAD MAN
SUNSET BOULEVARD
CITIZEN KANE
GLORY
CHARIOTS OF FIRE
THE WILD BUNCH
EXCALIBUR
THE ELEPHANT MAN
BONNIE & CLYDE
THE COWBOYS

and of course...

KING KONG ;-)

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Good stuff. I had Sunset Blvd & Butch and Sundance, but none of the others, However, biographies are out because the reason the protagonist dies is self evident.

Unk said...

Some more for ya...

THE PROFESSIONAL
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
TROY
AMERICAN BEAUTY
D.O.A.
TWELVE MONKEYS
ALEXANDER
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
TERMINATOR 2
COOL HAND LUKE
TITANIC
GHOST
THE PERFECT STORM

Unk

Jesse said...

Stand by Me
- Could this be considered a death of a protagonist? It deals with the death of one of the leads, and since it's mostly an ensemble - with River Phoenixs' character being a distinct 'leader' character, I think it would qualify.

Alien3
- Classic protagonist death.

Moulin Rouge!/Romeo+Juliet
- Luhrmans tragedies, both unhappy endings.

28 Days Later
- Depending on which ending you saw. To my knowledge two where released, one included the death of the protagonist, the other didn't.

A.I
- Good for debating that wether or not the character actually dies, since he is infact an android.

American History X
- Ultimate tragedy, first repenting your past life, only to have it confront you head on with deadly results.

Big Fish
- the life, and death, of Edward Bloom.

1984
- I think the 50's version had the main characters die in a hail of gunfire at the end. Beats me why, the complete distruction of the will is a fate worse than death imo.

Carlitos Way
- From the opening frames on, we know what's in store for Pacinos Carlito.

The Devils Advocate
- Could be considered the death of a protagonist, even if the vicious circle starts all over again at the end of the flick.

Hope these help!

(oh, and you sound really young in those virtual you clips, or maybe it's just me.)

-J

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Unk, had five of those but completely forgot about Ghost. Grats!

J, Stand by Me is one of my sons' favorites -- all three sons. A.I. works because he is a character and a protag. Not all dead protags are human as MHM reminded me with Charlotte's Web! Thank you for saying I sound young. I am not. My oldest son is 22. However feel free to say I look young, too. I am not. Oh, and call me skinny.

Anonymous said...

Maryan, I've always been partial to happily-ever-after endings, but Gladiator and Moulin Rouge widened my horizons, although i dont suppose that Moulin Rouge, technically, fits into your query.

What else ... Matrix 3, if you can count that. I'm still trying to erase it from my memory.

Thelma and Louise--cop out ending. I hate those. Just kill off the main characters because the writer ran out of juice. It's like ending with a "it was all a dream"--same difference.

Syriana (havent seen it, but it must be good because GC's in it).

What else? Lemme think on it. I think that Marie Antoinette has a killer ending, pun intended.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I know, you're so right about the mass querying. It's not totally blind mass querying--it just sounds that way. I do read and research and actually up folks. So much fun. And we all thought that writing was the hard part. D'oh!

Anonymous said...

oops, i meant to say "call up folks" but you knew what i meant, right ;)

Spanish Prisoner said...

I don't really agree with Jesse Itkonen about Devil's Advocate. The protag doesn't really die in the end.

How can you guys for get this one?

- Donnie Darko

- Midnight Cowboy (partially)

- Oldboy

- Save the Green Planet

Milehimama said...

On Amazon.com you can search movies by plot keywords. If you don't have enough already, try "tragic hero" or "tragic ending".

Milehimama said...

Oh, and Quill Chick, you are so right about the cop out ending. The only time I've seen a dream sequence that didn't feel like writer's laziness was when Bob Newhart woke up with his old wife to end the second series. And tells her his new wife always wore sweaters - that still cracks me up a little bit!

The Moviequill said...

I like the fact that Callie's Thelma script was practically untouched from her submitted draft to production. One of the guru writer books uses her heavily as an example, btw, the script is readable off of Drew's Scipt site

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Quill chick, just watched Thelma and Louise and don't agree that it was a cop out ending. Will explain in my next post.

Spanish Prisoner said...

Did anyone mention "Silkwood"?

Anonymous said...

Yeah with T & L - they don't really die - its called 'transcendence' - ha!

Jesse said...

Spanish Prisoner, I was a bit uncertain wether or not it qualifies. Personally, I felt it was a cheat to have Keanu start the whole thing over again after the supposed death. It's one of the only things that I really didn't like in the movie.

Jesse said...

oh, and MaryAn, you do look young ;)

Anonymous said...

The Professional aka LEON is one butt-kickin' movie!!!!