The Best Movies Where The Hero Dies In A Hail Of Bullets

By Sean Thiessen | Published

al pacino

Most movies have happy endings, but some of the greatest movies conclude with tragedy. Whether justice is served or a heroic sacrifice is made, heroes falling during an epic shootout is often the only way a story can truly end. This is our list of the best movies where the hero dies in a hail of bullets.

The Untouchables (1987)

kevin costner

Loosely based on true events, The Untouchables tells the story of American law enforcers in the 1930s working to take down the notorious crime lord Al Capone. Kevin Costner and Sean Connery play Eliot Ness and Jim Malone, a Bureau of Prohibition agent and a veteran cop.

As the men close in on Al Capone, Malone is ambushed at his home. A criminal with a knife draws a gun-wielding Malone out of his apartment. Believing he has the upper hand on the crook, Malone is ambushed by machine gun fire that blows him away.

He crawls back inside where he is found by Ness and offers a final piece of vital information that helps Ness take down the gangsters. It is a violent, tragic, and ultimately heroic death portrayed by one of the cinema’s most enduring legends.

The Departed (2006)

the departed

This hail of bullets is a little outside of the box because these bullets do not all come at the same time. They do, however, kill all of the film’s main characters in unexpected ways.

The Departed follows Leonardo DiCaprio as an undercover cop infiltrating an Irish street gang, and a mole embedded in the police force, played by Matt Damon. They attempt to track each other down in tangled web of loyalty that is thick with danger against the backdrop of Boston organized crime orchestrated by Jack Nicholson.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, The Departed features legendary actors in powerhouse roles that all die in a gripping succession of hailing bullets.

The Wild Bunch (1969)

The Western classic The Wild Bunch tells the story of a gang of aging outlaws in search of a last hoorah. As the wild west is tamed, this dying breed fights not only for a payload but for survival in a shifting culture.

The gang is led by Pike, played by William Holden. They all meet their bloody demise during the Battle of Bloody Porch, a long and grueling shootout that leaves countless dead. Directed by Sam Peckinpah, the gunfight is regarded as one of the best ever put to film.

Guns blaze in every direction to make the death of Pike in a hail of bullets a truly memorable one.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

robert redford paul newman

It is hard to find two actors more iconic than Robert Redford and Paul Newman. When you put them together, they become unstoppable.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid follows its eponymous heroes as they flee a group of bounty hunters. The pair are an old west train robbing duo of massive infamy, and an escape to Bolivia becomes their only option.

They make their escape, only to be cornered by the Bolivian army. Butch and Sundance storm out to die in a blaze of glory, the sound of gunfire ringing out over a freeze frame of the men in their final moment of life.

Directed by George Roy Hill, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid remains one of the most culturally significant pieces of American cinema, and contains the most handsomeness ever captured in a single film.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Few have died in a hail of bullets more famously than Bonnie and Clyde. This pair of criminals were real people who robbed banks, funeral homes, and stores across the United States during the early 1930s.

Their story has long been romanticized, in large part because of the 1967 film by director Arthur Penn. The movie chronicles the relationship of Bonnie and Clyde, a waitress looking to add some excitement to her life, and a charming con man ready to give it.

Bonnie and Clyde are shot to death in the film by ambushing police officers, bringing their crime spree and love story to a violent end.

Scarface (1983)

After two hours and 50 minutes of cocaine, guns, and the f-word, Scarface concludes with its hero, Tony Montana, dying in perhaps the most iconic hail of bullets ever captured.

Al Pacino stars as a Cuban immigrant who rises to power in Miami’s drug world in the early 1980s. Fueled by drugs, sex, and greed, he makes a lot of enemies in the process.

In the film’s climactic gunfight, those enemies show up in force to kill Montana. He fends them off with his “little friend” for quite some time, killing several and taking as many bullets along the way. Tony Montana’s god complex only gets him so far, and a killing blow finally sends him flying off his mansion balcony into his indoor swimming pool.

The death of Tony Montana is one of the most epic demises for a movie hero, and it is our pick for the very best movie where the hero dies in a hail of bullets.