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Films where the lead dies at the start?

Discussion in 'TV Show Forum' started by Stuart Wright, May 18, 2003.

  1. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    Just watched Lawrence of Arabia for the first time. What an awesome film.
    It got me thinking about films where the lead character dies at the start and the film is a flashback of their lives and often what led up to their death.
    Carlito's Way - one of my favourite films came immediately to mind.
    The girlfriend then impressed me totally with Twelve Monkeys.
    Can you think of any others?
    Spoiler : The Sixth Sense doesn't count
     
  2. TheBigApple

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    American Beauty, Although you don't see it you know he's going to die.
     
  3. captaineyecatch

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    Jacobs Ladder - superb movie
    Or Hellraiser 5+6 cheap but fun Rip offs of the above.
     
  4. Garrett

    Garrett
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    There are a number of films that start this way which I really hate which is like giving you a spoiler. I would rather it come as a shock than a work up to it. There was one film where it does give the impression the main character is killed at the beginning of the film but they survive Spoiler [COLOR=f4f4FF]Casino in which he gets blown up, but lives[/COLOR] ;)

    Add to that list A Perfect World
     
  5. Gambit

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    (almost) Fight Club.
     
  6. njiri

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    Ghost?
     
  7. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    Naaa Fight Club and Ghost don't count.
    Ghost he dies but the rest of the film isn't a flash-back.
    And Fight Club he shoots himself - but only at the end - not the beginning. And he doesn't die. Remarkably.
     
  8. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    What? No one mentioned Sunset Boulevard or Moulin Rouge yet?

    Several of the examples mentioned here aren't really valid, in that it's only with the benefit of hindsight that you realise what the beginning of the film actually portrayed. I think Twelve Monkeys comes under this heading (not sure, it's been a while since I saw it) and it's not entirely clear what's happening in A Perfect World either.

    I have to say that as a rule I don't like it when films do this. It can work: it did in Moulin Rouge, and I guess also in American Beauty. But I thought Carlito's Way, for example, would have been a greatly superior piece if you hadn't known what the ending was going to be. There's a big chase scene through the station which would have been tremendously exciting if you hadn't known that Carlito was doomed. Given that you did, there was absolutely no suspense at all. He's effectively already dead, so it's completely unimportant whether he's caught or not.
     
  9. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    NicolasB I disagree. The reason Carlito's way works is because of the audience's ability to root for the hero even though they know in the very far back of their minds what is going to happen at the end.
    I remember first seeing the nightclub escape and station shootout and it was still rivetting. Benny Blanco shooting him at the end was still a surprise.
     
  10. Garrett

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    I agree with Nicholas giving the end away ruins the suspense, even though in most cases I hope there is going to be a twist. I mean would it have been as good a film if they said X,Yand Z are the only ones to survive to the end of Alien?:D
     
  11. General Skanky

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    I agree with Spectre on Carlito's Way. Benny Blanco was definately a shock.

    Don't agree with the self shoot at the end of Fight Club, as it was a mostly psychological thing. He was always going to survive it, just had to get Pitt out of his head.

    Still thinking hard about this little riddle. Almost said Memento, but he lives.
     
  12. docsmith2k1

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    What about movies like Titanic, and Apollo 13 when you know the outcome of the movie. Isn't half the pleasure in the journey, and not always in the destination ?
     
  13. Spunky

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    Fallen??
    Watched it again last night, excellent film. Can't get that bloody song out of my head now, time is on my side........

    Spunky
     
  14. Squirrel God

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    I'll add "Casino" - death at start and film tells story of events leading up to it. It works brilliantly for many reasons that are different to "Carlito's Way", but I won't say anymore for spoiler reasons. Awesome movie.

    In "Reservoir Dogs", he's dying... just not quite dead :D

    Death at start of "Meet Joe Black", but no flashbacks.

    "Pulp Fiction" would work but it's not a lead character that carks it...
     
  15. Shoka

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    Soul survivours
    does Road to perdition count? hes dead already, but it its not the leads flashback its his sons.
    the hole - the lead doesnt die but everyone else does.
     
  16. captaineyecatch

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    Heres a some more..
    Vidocq
    The Crow 1-3 (pt 4 on the way)
    Return of the Living dead 1-3 (pt 4+5 on the way)
     
  17. chard

    chard
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    William Holdens character dies at the start of Sunset Boulevard - great version out now on DVD.
     
  18. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    Heaven Can Wait - twice.

    1st time with Warren Beatty and 2nd time with Chris Rock.
     
  19. wilber

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    D.O.A?

    Heaven can wait - 1940s version with Don Ameche more true to the criteria
     
  20. ferris57

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    How about Psycho??

    Spoilerwhen the film starts, you think its going to be about the chick and then bang within 5 mins she's the first one killed.
     
  21. Garrett

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    I wouldn’t say that as it happens a good way into the film and also as far as I can see most of the others are told in flashback apart from D.O.A.
    SPOILIER for an other film like this is:[COLOR=f4f4FF]Inferno[/COLOR]:(
     
  22. pointon

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    'The Usual Suspects'... kinda.
     
  23. Rambo John J

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    universal soldier
     
  24. rhoamish

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    Errrrr, Donnie Darko?

    Or did I get that completely wrong?
     
  25. Garrett

    Garrett
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    CAN WE HAVE A BIT OF ORDER. I’M SURE SOME OF THE ABOVE HAVE GIVEN THE END OF FILMS AWAY WHICH WHERE NOT OBVIOUS IN THE BEGINNING.
     
  26. Squirrel God

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    Not enough space after your Spoiler warning Rambo. I caught some of that about Vidocq :(

    rhoamish - Got it wrong mate ;)
     
  27. kilvil

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    dr zhivago may count
    kilvil
     
  28. rhoamish

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    Well Mr Squirrel, I believe Donnie Darko does count, for the following reason:


    Spoiler:

    The aircraft engine couldn't have fallen off twice. Therefore, it must have fallen on him for him to be killed. So in essence, the entire film is about his decision as to whether to stay in bed or not. The engine fell on the house at the beginning of the film, so therefore, he's dead!

    I think...
     
  29. Kevo

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    ****SPOILER****

    What death? He survives the car bomb attack.
     
  30. Squirrel God

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    Kevo,

    *** CASINO SPOILER ***



    You don't know he survives the car bomb until the end, so it counts!



    Rhoamish,

    *** DONNIE DARKO SPOILER ***



    He doesn't die at the start and the film is not about the events leading up to the aircraft engine falling from the sky, it's about the events AFTER the aircraft engine has fallen from the sky. What happens at the end when he dies is a result of the parallel universes being restored.
     

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