10 Best Deaths In Western Movies

No one's safe in the wild, wild west.

Django Unchained I Couldn't Resist
Columbia Pictures

For several decades of cinema, the Western was the king of Hollywood. Ruler of the big and small screen alike, the genre's popularity stems all the way back to 1903 with the release of The Great Train Robbery. By 1959, there were 26 Old West-set primetime TV shows (eight of which were among the top ten most watched series that year).

While stars like John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Clint Eastwood were most synonymous with the genre, everyone from Marlon Brando to Elvis Presley took a crack at saddling up. Often brimming with adventure and hope, the genre enjoyed a dark revitalisation in the sixties with the debut of the spaghetti western. Falling out of favour as a mainstream Hollywood phenomenon, it limped on as an ultraviolet cult favourite before disappearing into more sporadic appearances ever since.

Much like the old frontier itself, the genre's got more death scenes than A Song of Ice and Fire. Shootouts, diseases, muggings, high stakes robberies - it was a cruel place where few found peace.

Of the thousands of fatalities depicted, some packed a grander punch, providing a dramatic impact that lasts with the viewer long past the end credits.

Warning: here be spoilers.

10. Brother Jonathan - Django

Django Unchained I Couldn't Resist
Euro International Film

Director Sergio Corbucci was both a friend and rival to Sergio Leone during the spaghetti western boom of the 1960s. His first truly remarkable entry to the genre was the imaginative, sadistic Django (a movie that inspired more sequels than Rocky).

Arriving in a ghost town torn apart by the rivalry between Mexican bandits and Confederates, Django meets a host of oddball characters.

One such character is Brother Jonathan, a dodgy protestant priest involved with the local brothel. In league with the Confederates, Jonathan is captured by the Mexicans who punish him for being a purported spy. In a bizarre, gross-out moment, the bandit chief cuts off Jonathan's ear and forces him to eat it (and you thought Reservoir Dogs was bad).

Adding some murder to the torture, they gun the priest down once he's done devouring his severed appendage. Corbucci had a penchant for killing priestly types in his films. For all the death scenes he depicted, none were as weird or as memorable as Brother Jonathan and his ear-related tragedy.


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