Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

The Death List – Part 3


James Bond: “You expect me to talk?”

Auric Goldfinger: “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s likely the one tendency that makes all of us human. Some of these slip ups are more serious than others, too. And since this is another of my death lists, you can probably guess where I’m going with this. I’m sure some folk will point to those who chronicle the mistakes of some that result in their leaving this world, permanently. The Darwin Awards track what many deem as an enterprising demise:

“Honoring those who improve the species… by accidentally removing themselves from it!

There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of creative ways a portion of the mortal population can employ to “thin the herd”, as some say. And while some of these can be funny in a truly perverse way, I cannot say I’ve been a fan of these awards, like a certain friends of mine. This is probably due to my becoming older — hopefully a little wiser — and the knowledge that the stories are factual… therefore the consequences are genuine.

In real-life, I wouldn’t wish those mistakes on anyone. However, movies and their characters are fiction. So when they make a mistake, and it’s the malefactor, I do find a certain enjoyment for those twists in the film’s story-line. A sense of glee, as I believe the screenwriters do. D’oh! So, I will list My Favorite Villain “Oops” Moments That Bring About Their Demise, below. You’ll note, some duplication from previous lists here.

[Spoiler Alert: some plot points are revealed below]

  • archilbald cunninghamArchibald Cunningham – Rob Roy:  The duelist coming close enough to the downed and wounded highlander he’s fought so he can gloat of his seeming victory in their sword duel… and into killing range of the determined Rob Roy’s claymore.
  • James Cromwell L.A. ConfidentialCapt. Dudley Smith – L.A. Confidential – The LAPD captain vying to takeover the drug trade underestimating Lt. Exley’s cold-bloodedness at the end of the final shootout; turning his back on him (and his loaded shotgun) as the police are about to show up on scene.
  • auric-laserAuric Goldfinger – Goldfinger – Business man, gold smuggler, and criminal mastermind falling for James Bond’s bluff of knowing his diabolical plans, throwing doubt upon it, as he’s about to kill him. Thus, turning off the laser that’s about to make this a very short OO7 movie, and becoming the archetype villain of the entire series.
  • palpatineEmperor Palpatine – Star Wars: Episode VI, The Return of the Jedi: The emperor unwisely torturing the son of Skywalker as a prelude to actually killing him in front of his father, thus breaking his Sith apprentice’s bond and forcing Darth Vader to kill him to rescue Luke.
  • king-edward1King Edward I – Braveheart: The king unwisely executing William Wallace for treason in the most slow and gruesome manner of the time, and thus inspiring the Scots to later defeat England on the battlefield for their freedom.
  • gladiator-crowe-phoenixCommodus – Gladiator: The Roman Emperor only mortally wounding the Roman general-turned-gladiator prior his fight against him on the Colosseum floor, then having someone give Maximus a weapon… bet he realized his mistake when Maximus sinks the blade home (into his throat).
  • quigley_1Elliott Marston – Quigley Down Under: The Australian rancher  stupidly assumes the rifle sharp-shooter Quigley was not proficient with a six-shooter; and even after having him dragged and beaten, his terminal mistake will be to have his henchman hand the cowboy a pistol for their classic fast-draw showdown.
  • shawshank-redemptionWarden Norton – The Shawshank Redemption: The corrupt warden’s mistake was in believing he held dominion over the unassuming ex-banker prisoner Andy Dufresne, and that he lacked the force of will to do nothing more than bookkeeping his schemes. How wrong he was.
  • ordell_jackiebrownOrdell Robey – Jackie Brown: The gun smuggler thinking his cash mule Jackie has no other recourse than giving back his swindled money before killing her… duping the Feds into shooting him and getting away with it never entered into his shocked mind.
  • teddy-mementoTeddy – Memento: The mistake Teddy makes was revealing his abuse of Leonard, right to his face, and taking advantage of his inability to make new long-term memories; guess he didn’t realize the guy was smart enough to set up his demise later, even after he forgot what Teddy admitted to.
  • buffalo-billBuffalo Bill – The Silence of the Lambs – The serial killer, having trapped Clarice Starling in his darkened basement, inanely cocks a double-action revolver prior to shooting her… in total darkness; its sound gives away his position and night vision advantage, needless to say, and the FBI trainee doesn’t repeat his mistake!
  • hans-hollyHans Gruber – Die Hard: The mastermind of the Nakatomi heist taking his time to pause and gloat, and not shooting John McClane immediately in their last face-to-face confrontation; never suspecting the seemingly unarmed (but still quick-witted) McClane had a hidden 9mm taped to his back.
  • ramon-rojoRamon Rojo – A Fistful of Dollars –  The “rifle man” repeatedly trying to kill the Man With No Name by shooting him in the heart — never realizing that his opponent was wearing an iron plate under the poncho even after the first couple of shots; nor realizing that the head shot was always available.
  • Stanley_ninth-configurationStanley – The Ninth Configuration – The biker gang leader sadistically tormenting an ill and defenseless Capt. Cutshaw only to then pick on — unbeknownst to him and his soon-to-be-dead gang — the U.S. Marine Corps dark legend that is Colonel Vincent Kane.

    The entire series of posts can be found here.

19 Responses to “The Death List – Part 3”

  1. John DuMond

    Nice list, Michael. My favorite is Hans Gruber’s fall in Die Hard. The symbolism with Holly’s watch is probably what puts it above the rest for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • le0pard13

      We’re very much in sync, I see. Likely you see this scene again in a future post. 😉

      Thanks so much, Claire. 😀


  2. ruth

    Oooh, of the ones I’ve seen I agree w/ ALL of them. Commodus, Duddley Smith, Cunningham, Goldfinger and of course, my personal fave Hans Gruber. That death scene is so epic as apparently they counted to three but dropped Rickman on the count of 2 so his look of surprise was genuine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jackdeth72

    Great list, Michael!

    Can’t argue with ‘L.A. Confidential’, ‘Memento’ or ‘Gladiator’. I wanted Joacquin Phoenix’s slimy, repulsive Commodus to die at first glance.

    Would also add Stellan Skarsgard’s Captain Tupolov to the list. For his diligent at first, then ego driven pursuit of Ramius and the defecting “Red October”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • le0pard13

      Indeed! Oooh, good one with Captain Tupolov from The Hunt for Red October, Kevin. An ego-driven death, for sure! Thanks, my friend. 🙂


  4. The Death List – Part 4 | It Rains... You Get Wet

    […] As we’ve seen in this “fatal” film series of mine, no matter that we’re broaching an unsettling subject, cinematically few things ever register with audiences as much as dying onscreen. Perhaps, it’s because it is in all the futures of those sitting in the movie theater seats, or at home lounging on the sofa in front of some television set, watching. Most shrug it off, enjoying the comeuppance, or the mistake that kills the villain. […]



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