While there is undoubtedly some kind of primal thrill about watching a detestable villain get their comeuppance at the end of a movie, cinema's greatest deaths are by no means reserved strictly for the bad guys. Heroes, supporting characters and even nameless extras are more than capable of providing a memorable exit. In fact, unless a character is a comic book superhero or one of the mainstays in a long-running franchise then pretty much everyone in cinema is expendable.
Except maybe The Expendables...
Looking back as far as the 1930's and as recently as the 21st Century, this article brings you the most epic character deaths in movie history. A number of these dispatches are regarded as some of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history that provide fitting sendoffs for legendary big-screen characters, while others have become unforgettable in their own right and are now more well-remembered than the movies in which they appeared. Oh, and three of them feature sharks in some shape or form.
Bullet-riddled bodies, tear-inducing monologues, massive explosions, dramatic plunges and various exploding body parts all feature in a list that covers almost every genre from black-and-white classics to blockbuster action movies via Academy Award-winning dramas and glorified B-movies, providing a countdown of the most spectacular demises ever put to film.
20. ConSec Executive - Scanners (1981)
Despite the fact that the character doesn't even get a name in the movie, the fate of the ConSec executive in David Cronenberg's classic horror has remained one of the most iconic death scenes in movie history thanks to two simple words; exploding head.
One of the most memorable practical effects shots ever, devising the method was actually incredibly straightforward; when the production team discovered that pyrotechnics and pneumatics wouldn't give them the desired results, they just blasted the cast of actor Louis Del Grande's head with a shotgun instead in a burst of both inspiration and viscera.
Very simple, hugely effective and instantly iconic, the exploding head remains one of the most memorable moments of Cronenberg's filmography nearly 35 years later.