Top 10 Movies Starring Death16.08.11 # Top Ten # 19 Comments
5. Meet Joe Black (1998)
A big-budget remake of ‘30s romance, Death Takes a Holiday, which starred Fredric March as the title figure, Brad Pitt’s surge towards the triple-AAA-list temporarily stumbled with this ponderous plodder. Pitt is the Reaper, the cunningly aliased Joe Black, who takes up with Anthony Hopkins’ tycoon (uh, just platonically) in a bid to learn something about mortal existence.
Directed by Martin Brest, the man who gave us two quintessential ‘80s action-comedies, Beverly Hills Cop and Midnight Run, the failure of this and his subsequent Gigli meant that it was soon enough his own directorial career feeling the icy touch of the Grim Reaper.
4. Final Destination (2000)
For all the possible quibbles about the Final Destination franchise, hard not to argue that the timing of this first helping was spot-on, as it capitalised on the revival of the teen movie (American Pie, Scream, The Faculty), where the basic concept was king, as opposed to expensive, older stars like Schwarzenegger. And the box office appeal has proved enduring, as audiences seemingly can’t get enough of dumb teens meeting their maker via increasingly and improbable accidents. Here he is at work (but not safe for your work).
3. The Meaning of Life (1983)
In an otherwise patchy film, comedic perfection comes courtesy of an appearance by Death at a nauseatingly smug dinner party, he having dropped in to collect a batch of particularly irritating souls. “Who is it, darling? “It’s a Mr. Death. He’s come about the reaping.” Watch out for Palin as the brassy American wife.
2. Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Having been tossed into a nether-world, the eponymous San Dimas dudes meet up with a rather hapless Death (William Sadler), a Reaper very obviously inspired by another screen incarnation that is coming up in just a second. And though he turns out to be seriously rubbish at a wide variety of board games, he still goes on to prove his musical worth and all-round good egg status by the time of the movie’s KISS-powered denouement.
1. The Seventh Seal (1957)
Hea-vy! The patron saint of movie gloom, Ingmar Bergman, wrestles with the kind of deep theological issues that captivated his generation but which now seem almost as quaint as Hollow Earth theory to the modern majority. A knight, played by von Sydow, bloodied and wearied after the Crusades, is stalked by an iconic Death (Bengt Ekerot), the pair engaging in a game of chess as time runs out for the former. These days it’d be online FIFA.
Who’s your favourite Death? Anybody missing? Let me know in the comments.
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