The 15 Deadliest Films Ever Made by On-Screen Body Count
In the world of Hollywood, we know that two things sell, sex and violence. Now, we know that they can't do too much with the first of these without delving into an area that is considered too lewd and explicit but there is a heck load of super violent, gruesome and gory movies because we, the viewers, absolutely lap that up. However, have you ever wondered which are the deadliest by body count?
We had to give ourselves strict rules for this list as all the deaths have to be seen on-screen, otherwise, we'd be speculating on population sizes of whole planets from sci-fi films or battle participants in whole wars that are mentioned. Only the physically visible kills and dead bodies count, while hypothetical, implied, and off-screen deaths don’t. With that in mind, here are the deadliest films ever made.
15. Bullet In The Head - Kill Count: 214
As the title of this movie suggests, it was always going to get pretty violent and it being an action piece from lauded director John Woo, that also was going to bump up the numbers of bodies. The story of three Hong Kong gangsters who kill a rival, they then flee to Vietnam where there is a war going on.
Whilst there, they are attacked by militia, rival gangsters and soldiers. Needless to say, this all adds to the death count and so it comes in pretty darn high.
14. Equilibrium - Kill Count: 236
A sci-fi film set in a dystopian future where all manner of emotion and artistic expression are outlawed, Police figures hunt down those that refuse to take their government mandated drugs that suppress these emotions but when one of these authoritarians forgets to take their daily dose, they start to feel guilt and remorse.
A pretty cool concept that is ridiculous in parts, it sees a swathe of people cut down by this authoritarian police force and clocks up high numbers of bodies.
13. Rambo - Kill Count: 247
In the long-running series of films starring Sylvester Stallone, The character of John Rambo has an awful lot of blood on his hands and that is not surprising given that it is an action-adventure franchise based around the premise of revenge. Strangely enough, the first film only has one death in it but by the time the fourth film was released it had given up on any semblance of reserve.
Death comes from all angles as guerillas are bumped off by Sly left, right and center.
12. Saving Private Ryan- Kill Count: 255
An epic war movie that follows a squadron of soldiers from landing in Normandy to rolling through Europe on a mission to recover a soldier lost somewhere during his campaign. Depicting the devastating losses at Omaha beach, the opening sequence of the film sees 100 deaths alone as fighting continues throughout the film.
Of course, a war film is never going to be low on bodies but it seems this one really goes all in for showing the horrors of war, which also made it an Oscar winner in several categories.
11. Starship Troopers - Kill Count: 256
A satire on both fascistic ideals and the glorification of war all whilst parading out characters with fascistic ideals and glorifying war. It's a clever trick that divided critics in this sci-fi war movie that sees humanity pitted against an alien race of giant bugs. We're told 9m people die in an attack on Buenos Aries whilst countless others are maimed on screen.
However, the kill count for those we see comes in at 128 humans and 128 bugs.for equal losses all round.
10. We Were Soldiers - Kill Count: 300
Based on a book by a Colonel who fought in the Vietnam war, this film focuses on a specific battle that saw American troops woefully outnumbered in the first large land battle between US forces and North Vietnamese troops. A newly created air cavalry unit flies into the battle but only then realizes the scale of the task they are undertaking.
Focusing on many of the intricacies of this single battle, there is little wonder that we see many deaths on screen.
9. Titanic - Kill Count: 307
Based on the true story of the well-known tale of the Titanic ship sinking, the 1997 film doesnn;t show the reality of the 1500 plus crewmen and passengers that went down with the ship but it does still show a fair amount of death and destruction, mostly by drowning or freezing the icy waters of the North Atlantic ocean.
There is even a person who gets shot but when the central plot point is an epic disaster, that's where most of the death will usually come from.
8. Hard Boiled - Kill Count: 307
Another action film from John Woo, this would be his last movie made in Hong-Kong before he moved to Hollywood for 15 years (he would later return to Hong Kong cinema) and it follows two cops fighting a vicious gang who have taken over a hospitable and are using the patients as hostages. The police officers then have to fight their way in and defeat the gang members.
Lots of martial arts deaths as well as shootings, it has as high a death toll as Titanic.
7. Grindhouse - Kill Count: 310
A double feature from directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, it was a pastiche of B-Movie double features and saw Tarantino make Deathproof and Rodriguez make Planet Terror and then stitching them together as a single piece and throwing in some fake advertisements as well. A clever concept that didn't sell well to audiences.
Given his previous outings, you'd think Tarantino would rack up the kills in his half of the film but he only gets a paltry 8 compared to the 280 Rodriguez puts in his mutant-zombie part and then the ads rack up a few more.
6. The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Cut) - Kill Count: 468
The Second film in The Lord of The Rings trilogy mostly revolves around some pretty epic battles including the final one at Helms Deep and the recapturing of Isengard. These fantasy battles see all sorts of creatures from humans, elves, and orcs slaughtered in epic and bloody fight scenes that last a considerable amount of time and the extended cut only adds to this.
Although widely considered a family film, this has rather a large amount of death in it.
5. The Last Samurai - Kill Count: 558
When a group of samurai soldiers rebel against the modernization of Japan and the perceived loss of its culture, they capture an American soldier who is training the Imperial army but he soon learns the way of the samurai and switches sides. It is a strange film in that it has some amazing intricacy in its historical accuracy but it also centers around a fiction Caucasian American in a story supposed to be about Japanese culture.
Anyway, there are battles and death and the samurai eventually lose out to modernization when they are mow down by the very modern Gatling guns which all contribute to the eye-waveringly high death toll.
4. Troy (Director's Cut) - Kill Count: 572
An epic war movie based on Homer's epic poem The Illiad that was loosely based on the very real Trojan War. Given that it is based on a literary classic and has one of the greatest ensemble casts of all time that manages to rack up one of the highest body counts in cinema, it's a wonder how this film turned out to be so boring.
If you manage to get your hands on the marginally improved directors cut, you get more guts and gore for your money's worth.
3. 300 - Kill Count: 600
In a highly fictionalized version of the battle of Thermopylae that took place in 480 BC, this film takes from the comic book of the same name and has more of a sword and sorcery feel to it with much scenery chewing and hyper-masculinity. The battles are intense and bloody and involve mythological creatures as well as some real ones as well.
The death count ends up double the number that the film is titled and only adds to its status as a ridiculous, yet pretty fun, action romp.
2. Kingdom of Heaven (Directors Cut) - Kill Count: 610
A fictionalized account of the Holy crusades that took place during the medieval ages in the Middle East, this sees a war between Christian and Muslim settlers as the two religious factions battle it out for control of their perceived Holy lands. Covering several different battles throughout the film, the body count reaches very high numbers.
Considering most of this death comes from sword fighting and not automated weapons, it is impressive the numbers are so large, in a sort of grim manner.
1. The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King (Extended Cut) - Kill Count: 836
Way out ahead of every other film is the final one in The Lord of The Rings trilogy that had massive battle scenes between the forces of good and evil that were to determine the fate of Middle Earth. In the extended edition, these scenes are only made longer and more prominent and so the numbers skyrocket to absurd proportions.
Many y=would not expect this to be the film with the most on-screen carnage in it but its battles remain the biggest in movie making history and its size and scope are what made it Oscar fodder.