10 Greatest Movies About Death

The most essential, heartbreaking, and insightful films about death.

A Ghost Story Casey Affleck

Death and taxes are among the few certainties in life, that one way or another we all end up shuffling off the mortal coil eventually, which has inevitably made it an incredibly fertile subject for filmmakers.

The universality of death has allowed cinema to serve as a mediator of-sorts, to examine how we deal with our limited lifespans, make the most of what time we have, and ponder the possibility of what may or may not lie beyond.

There are many great movies about death from myriad different genres, though these 10 are the most singular, affecting, and honest about humanity's so-called Great Equaliser.

From micro-budget indies that pack an unexpectedly potent emotional punch to stunningly visceral horror films, incredible crime dramas from auteur filmmakers, animated classics, and everything in-between, these films are just 10 of the most essential movies about death you absolutely need to see.

You won't always be in the mood to watch a film about the inevitability of death, but if you're in an existential funk and seeking some comfort, these films do nevertheless offer up meaningful meditations on not only dying but also living...

10. A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story Casey Affleck

Produced for just $100,000, David Lowery's A Ghost Story is a hauntingly beautiful meditation on both mortality and the passage of time.

Casey Affleck stars as a man who dies in a car accident and awakens as a ghost, spending the remainder of the film wearing a white sheet over his body as he observes his wife (Rooney Mara) grieving over his death and eventually moving on.

It's easy to see how such an artsy concept could come off silly in lesser hands - especially given that it features a near-five-minute unbroken take where Mara's character eats a pie - but Lowery's restrained, observational filmmaking packs a deceptively powerful punch.

Seeing life go on around the ghost, confined to observe it all within the boundaries of the home he and his wife used to share, is quietly heartbreaking.

Depicting the unstoppable march of time in such upfront fashion confirms the film's universality, and despite its seemingly supernatural consideration of death, you needn't be spiritually inclined to be left thoroughly moved.

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Ghost Story
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