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Want to Know How Many Characters Died in Your Favorite Films? This Website Has the Answer (CLIPS)

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! April 21, 2014 at 1:38PM

These days, deaths in Hollywood movies are, quite literally, dime-a-dozen, and we're left with a feeling once articulated, unfortunately, by Stalin: "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic." Well, website Movie Body Counts has evinced this feeling to a T. The folks behind the site have dedicated an inordinate amount of time to tallying the exact number of deaths in some of Hollywood's biggest movies.
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The infamous death scene in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'
The infamous death scene in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'

In a recent New York Times Magazine piece, Riff writer Alexander Huls yearns for the time when death in a Hollywood movie actually meant something:

The problem is that death at the movies has died. The movie industry has corrupted one of cinema's -- if not all of fiction's -- most emotionally taxing moments into hollow formula, the kind of thing that passes in the blink of a plot point leading to a literal, if not figurative, explosive finale that takes up half the budget.

Of course action films have saccharine subplots that exist only to lend meaning to their staggering body counts. But in recent years, killing a major character in your average blockbuster has become inert thanks to the increasing use of formulas to create stakes.

These days, deaths in Hollywood movies are, quite literally, dime-a-dozen, and we're left with a feeling once articulated, unfortunately, by Stalin: "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic." Well, website Movie Body Counts has evinced this feeling to a T. The folks behind the site have dedicated an inordinate amount of time to tallying the exact number of deaths in some of Hollywood's biggest movies. 


The data is note-perfectly precise. Per the site's FAQ, "We count only physically visible, 'on screen' kills/bodies in a film.  Nothing that is hypothetical or off-screen is counted in the final tallies.  A body/kill MUST be shown on screen in some form to be included as a 'body count' on this site." The site's comprehensive A-Z database breaks down deaths by character name, method of execution and number of kills at the hands of a specific character.

Thanks to NY Times' The 6th Floor, take a look at this infographic sample below. The many epic death scenes in "The Lord of the Rings" were the first of their kind, done digitally and on a huge scale with individuated soldiers rather than thousands of extras. In "300," it's all about the abs and the blood-spurting.

Watch clips of our favorite movie death scenes after the jump. What are your favorites?

Movie Body Counts


This article is related to: News, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, Video, Video


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.