10 Heart Wrenching and Heroic On Screen Sacrificial Deaths

10 Heart Wrenching and Heroic On Screen Sacrificial Deaths

Contrary to what a lot of people might tell
you, it’s okay to shed a tear or two over TV and movie characters. No, you’re not watching real people struggle
through life and death. But that doesn’t change the fact that fiction
can pack one heck of an emotional wallop. And nothing hits you harder in the feels than
when one character heroically sacrifices his or her life to save others. These are 10 of the most tear-jerking and
heroic sacrificial deaths in movie and television history. By the way, this goes without saying given
the content here, but just in case you’ve never seen any of these movies or shows before:
we’re going to be spoiling the crap out of them. You’ve been warned. 10. Terminator 2 – The T-800 There are a couple reasons this scene isn’t
a little higher up on the list. The first is that, obviously, the T-800 is
really just an extremely advanced computer. It doesn’t have real emotions, it doesn’t
feel pain, and so forth. It’d be like watching someone take a hammer
to your laptop. Yeah, it sucks, but it’s not like you can’t
just replace it with an upgraded model. And that brings us to our second point: the
T-800 was simply replaced by another version of that particular model in later movies,
giving this version’s sacrifice far less permanence. That said, this was always such a tough scene
for any kid who identified with Edward Furlong’s John Connor. And while the T-800 wasn’t a “real”
person, he certainly had enough self awareness to understand that the greater good depended
on his being destroyed. The world had no future as long as he existed. And say what you will about the thumbs up
maybe being a little emotionally manipulative but, let’s be honest: it worked. 9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part
2 – Snape Now, here’s a scene that’s a little different
from the others on the list. Severus Snape, the conflicted occasional antagonist
and secret protector of Harry Potter, isn’t necessarily sacrificing himself here. Instead, his sacrifice goes a lot deeper,
and lasts a lot longer than anyone else’s on this list. As pretty much anyone reading this already
knows, Snape’s heroism isn’t encapsulated in this one scene simply because the sacrifice
he was making lasted nearly two decades. As Harry discovers, Snape was consistently
putting himself in harm’s way in order to both keep the son of his romantic rival safe
and to keep the most evil wizard the world has ever known from rising up and seizing
power. In a very real (well, real in terms of within
the story) way, Snape’s sacrifice didn’t just help to save the wizarding world, but
the world as a whole. Every Muggle owes his life to Snape, because
once he was finished with Harry Potter, the very next target on Voldemort’s hit list
was us non-magic folk. 8. The Flash – Eddie Thawne For some of you, there’s probably a little
confusion because you’re not overly familiar with any shows on the CW, let alone The Flash. But stick with us here, because it absolutely
belongs. Throughout the first season of The Flash,
it’s slowly revealed that the Reverse Flash (Barry Allen’s nemesis. Duh.) is from the future. He traveled back in time with the explicit
purpose of killing Barry Allen as a child, but failed. We won’t get into that, because Doc Brown
isn’t around to explain all of the time paradoxes that get created. Meanwhile, the woman Barry loves is dating
a detective named Eddie Thawne. It turns out, the Reverse Flash is a descendent
of Eddie, though he takes tremendous pleasure in letting Eddie know that he’s perhaps
the most inconsequential Thawne in the family’s history. Fast forward to the end of the season, when
it appears that the Reverse Flash is about to murder Barry Allen and everyone he loves. Eddie Thawne, the seemingly insignificant
guy everyone kind of writes off, shoots himself – thereby erasing any descendants from the
timeline, including the Reverse Flash. He sacrifices his own life for the good of
humanity but, more importantly, to save Barry and the woman they both love. 7. Independence Day – Russell Casse Yeah, we know. Independence Day is cheesy and schlocky and
maybe a little overly patriotic. Come on, the movie is named after the Fourth
of July. What else would you expect than the movie
equivalent of the pledge of allegiance? Anyway, while it’s fun to knock Independence
Day in retrospect, that doesn’t change the fact that it was ridiculously fun. And it sure as hell doesn’t change the fact
that perhaps the dopiest character in any disaster movie, ever, gets an extremely emotional
sendoff. Russell Casse is really a pretty tragic character,
and not just because he’s played by Randy Quaid. He’s a drunk, he’s a laughingstock, his
children only barely tolerate him, and he screws up with startling regularity. But as is revealed during the climax of the
film, he’s also astoundingly courageous and will do absolutely anything to keep his
children safe. So when all hope is lost, he singlehandedly
turns the tide by flying his jet into the alien ship, destroying it and not just saving
his children but also showing the US military how to defeat the aliens once and for all. It’s okay to admit that you get a little
teary eyed when he looks at the photo of his kids and finds the resolve to do what needs
to be done, by the way. We sure as hell do. 6. Armageddon – Harry Stamper Staying with the “corny ’90s disaster
flick” genre, we come to Armageddon. Not to be confused with Deep Impact, which
told basically the same story but with far less Aerosmith involved. Yes, the premise is pretty absurd, to the
point where even Ben Affleck points out how dumb it is to train drillers to become astronauts
rather than the other way around on the commentary track. And don’t even get us started on Steve Buscemi’s
“space dementia.” That said, you can’t argue that the end
of the film isn’t an emotional gut punch. Much like in Independence Day, all hope seems
to be lost. The fate of thew world is sealed. But then Bruce Willis does Bruce Willis things,
which during this stretch of his career meant saving the day. The more emotional scene is probably his last
conversation with his daughter, as he says goodbye just before sacrificing his life to
get the job done and keep her safe. But it’s still stirring as hell to watch
that final sequence as he detonates the nuke and sees images of his daughter flash through
his mind just before the moment of his death. 5. The Fellowship of the Ring – Boromir Sometimes, it’s better to watch the extended
“director’s cut” of a movie. Despite the versions being released to theaters
already clocking in at around three hours, there’s just so much that needed to be cut
from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Perhaps no characters suffered more than Boromir
and his brother Faramir from these editing decisions. Boromir becomes a much more fleshed out character
in the extended editions. His motivations become clearer with regard
for his actions through the first movie. But that doesn’t make his death any less
heroic. Tempted by the One Ring – as nearly all
men are – the generally heroic Boromir is nearly turned into a villain in its presence. Once he’s clear of its power, however, he
realizes his mistakes and immediately begins to atone for them. As an army of orcs swarm Merry and Pippin,
Boromir enters the fray and singlehandedly fights off dozens in an attempt to save their
lives. Ultimately, his efforts fail and the two hobbits
are taken by the orcs. Not all heroic acts are successful. But in a scene like this one, it’s still
plenty devastating to see his courage in the face of overwhelming odds. 4. Lost – Charlie Speaking of enormous kicks to the feelings,
we come to Charlie Pace. The misfit, drug-addled, former rock star
on the series Lost got what turned out to be the most heroic death in the entire run
of that show. If you never watched Lost, it’s going to
be difficult to explain exactly how we arrive at this point in the show. Let’s be honest, the whole thing got way
too convoluted for its own good. But the quick version: in season three, a
boat arrives at the island. The people on board claim to have been sent
by Penny, the wife of another castaway on the island, Desmond. Desmond and Charlie find themselves in an
underwater communications station. Charlie makes contact with Penny, who informs
him she doesn’t know the new arrivals. However, just as this happens, an explosion
floods the communications room. Charlie is trapped inside, his death imminent. But the formerly selfish, spoiled drug addict
makes his final moments count. Rather than simply accepting his fate, he
uses those final moments to write “NOT PENNY’S BOAT” on his hand, holding it up to the
door for Desmond to see. In doing so, he’s able to warn Desmond and,
by extension, the other castaways. In his final moments, he makes his life – and
sacrifice – matter. 3. The Iron Giant – Iron Giant It’s kind of amazing how frequently cartoons
make us cry. We’re not just talking about bawling when
Bambi’s mom got shot, either. But let’s be honest: nothing can touch the
Giant’s sacrifice at the end of The Iron Giant. Arguably, this could well be the most often
overlooked classic animated film of all-time. Yes, it’s enjoyed a bit of a resurgence
over the last few years. But it’s pretty amazing how quickly it came
and went upon being released in 1999. The anti-war, anti-paranoia story centers
on the friendship between a young social outcast and, well, an Iron Giant. The US government becomes convinced the robot
must be a Cold War weapon and should therefore be destroyed. A panicked government agent, even after witnessing
the Giant save the lives of children, launches a nuclear missile – failing to realize until
it’s too late he’s just ordered a small Maine town to be nuked to oblivion. The Giant, understanding what’s about to
happen, intercepts the nuke and flies it into space – where it detonates, destroying him
instantly. Fortunately, those sad tears are quickly replaced
by happy ones. The film ends on a hopeful, uplifting note. Scattered remnants of the Giant are seen inching
their way toward each other. Clearly, much like the Giant’s idol, Superman,
the fallen hero will rise again. 2. Game of Thrones – Hodor “Hold the door.” Man, who could have guessed that those three
words could have such emotional resonance? Game of Thrones has been filled with blood
and death. It’s the kind of show where, if you’re
an actor, as soon as you get cast you start looking for your death in the script. So it’s not a shock anymore when a beloved
character dies. But that doesn’t make Hodor’s fate any
easier to stomach. Over the first five and a half seasons, Hodor
was simply the gentle giant. He was simple, only able to say his own name. And as we learned in season six, it wasn’t
even his real name. No one could have expected the origin of the
name “Hodor” to be such a game-changer on the show. It turns out, the normal stable boy’s mind
was forever altered by Bran Stark – the same boy he grew up destined to protect. The reveal that his entire destiny was to
die in order to save Bran was monumental. Somehow, with all of the deaths the show has
filmed, Hodor’s sacrifice is by far the most heroic. And considering his fate was never really
his own, it was also the most tragic. 1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Spock Of course this was going to be in the top
spot. Would you expect any different? After all, this is a scene whose message is
so powerful (“The needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few, or the one”) that
it’s become part of our lexicon. It’s been co-opted by philosophy professors
and politicians alike. It’s the most iconic scene in any Star Trek
movie, and solidified the Kirk/Spock relationship as one of the strongest in science fiction
history. At the end of Wrath of Khan, the titular villain
is on the verge of completing his, well, wrath. As is the trend on this list, all hope seems
lost. But that’s when Spock locks himself in the
engine room, cutting off the radiation emanating from inside. He’s able to restore power to the Enterprise‘s
warp drive and save everyone…except for himself. It’s a moment so moving and so powerful
that it actually achieved the rarest feat of all: actual good acting from William Shatner.

100 thoughts on “10 Heart Wrenching and Heroic On Screen Sacrificial Deaths

  1. Hey brother, weirdly enough “Casse” is pronounced the same way as “case”. Just helping out.

  2. I bailed the other “Top” channels. Figured out after a month or so that more than one is too many and if I’m choosing one, it’s yours. It’s like my “Woobie”. The other ones have creepy AI voices like Siri and the girl that does the other really popular one talks REALLY LOUD

  3. You know what phrase has more emotional resonance than “hold the door”? “Hold my beer”. Quite often something awful tends to happen just after those 3 words are spoken

  4. Star Trek 2 is the best Sci Fi film of all time. Great video. I haven't seen several of these and now plan to watch The Iron Giant.

  5. Simon: “terminator is not high on this list because he’s a machine”
    Also Simon: “the iron giant……”

  6. Not a sacrificial death but one that always brings a tear to my eye is Radar's report of the death of Col. Blake on M*A*S*H*

  7. Not only does Spock’s death scene get to me, but also the outstanding way JJ Abrahm’s remake with Star Treck Into Darkness also gets me. If not WORSE because Spock, who doesn’t show emotions, is crying. Makes me pout like a little girl every damn time.

  8. Thumbsdown, the T-800 scene is hands down top 3… "oh it's a machine" blah blah blah… it may not have been able to express the feelings in a human way, but the AI learned and understood those feelings.

  9. Hodor is my pick for #1, unlike Spock, he didn't have the choice of what action to take, nor does he have any alternate time lines to resurrect from.

  10. Animation does make people cry. I remember when I first heard Rick Sanchez say: Wubba lubba dub dub, bitches. I cried like a baby.

  11. I have read every one but the last Harry Potter book twice and watched every movie at least once and I have watch probably days worth of Harry Potter youtube videos. But it took this video to make me realise that Snape does save the muggle world as well in the story. Huh.

  12. odd that i‘m missing ripley in the directors cut of alien 3. but the movie seems generally to be considered the weakest of the first 3, so probably thats why

  13. No Yondu from 'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2'? Really? When I saw it at the cinema, there were a hell of a lot of people as well as me, who 'got something in their eye' at exactly the same time. Dusty places, cinemas…

  14. Another thing about Russell Casse is he was as messed up as he was because he was both a Vietnam veteran and the aliens had experimented on him a decade prior, and no one believed him or cared about it. Like it usually happens to veterans.

    So he was living his life while suffering from PTSD and having no support at all from anyone around him. And then his kids also blamed him for his wife dying because apparently he also had super healing powers he failed to use on her or something.

  15. Dinobot from Beast Wars Transformers. He sacrificed himself to save the entire human race. Unlike Optimus Prime, he was not brought back to life.

  16. Why is it that my son who's birthday is the 4th of July and everyone replies on knowing says o, Independence day! We are not Americans, we are kiwis hahaha

  17. My own list I admit would have been Spock, Borimer and The Iron Giant as the top three. I sometimes wonder at the power of the Fellowship of the Rings as a film on the big screen, that I would willingly see it 9 times total knowing after the first that scene would come.

  18. I was way more upset when Summer died than when Hodor did if only because my dog is named Summer, because of the direwolf.

  19. How could you not include THE GUARDIAN? Real life coast guard rescue swimmer story with an unimaginable emotional final scene. Real CG heros know they have to go out but they don't have to come back.

  20. I wept openly in the theater when Spock died in The Wrath of Khan. I simply couldn't help it. He'd been my green-blooded hero since TOS was broadcast I was five! So intelligent, logical and perfectly in control at all times. I wanted to marry him when I was little. I always hated conflict, even as a small child.

  21. You missed the scene at the end of the film, "Train to Busan," also known as "Busan Station." The father sacrifices everything to make sure him and his daughter make it to the safe zone. But there was one last hurdle before they could be safe. He gets infected and he sees the day his little girl was born. And then throws himself off the train so that he won't attack his daughter. That was the best heroic onscreen death in recent years in my opinion.

  22. First of all I LOVE your videos. And second, it might be a little on the darker side but Opie from Sons of Anarchy definitely deserves to be here.

  23. #7 was a show in how much we all love our families and will do whatever we have to to protect them.
    #6 still makes me cry and I'm not a crier.
    #4 was sad. He was a cool character.
    #1 was so heartbreaking. At the time, it was one of the saddest movie moments I'd ever seen to that point.

  24. Dude, looper should have been on this list, major fail guys & an oft overlooked film of I think great cinematic & narrative quality, worthy of a spot between 5 & 10 on this list no doubt.

  25. In Harry Potter, I was more upset when I found out that one of the twins was killed, not when Snape died. Being a twin myself, I kinda put myself in the shoes of the one twin that survived, it tore me up a bit.

  26. Snape isn't a hero. He only did what he did because of a creepy obsession with Harry's mom. He didn't fight against Voldemort because he was evil but because he killed some girl he was perving on.

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