Last words really say a lot about a person. In fact, if you can summon any words at all that fateful moment you’re already somewhat superhuman. Luckily, movie characters throughout history have mastered the fine art of dying and realize it’s a great chance to disclose crucial secrets, make a dramatic statement, bring your audience to tears, use a catchphrase one last time or even just utter hilarious nonsense! Here are ten characters who had something on their minds, ranked from the fantastic to the earth-shattering.
10. Fredo, The Godfather: Part II (1974)
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed art thou among woman.” When Fredo (John Cazale) utters his farewell, his words are appropriate on many levels. The weakest Corleone brother is praying to catch fish just moments before he gets a bullet in the back of his head. Maybe Fredo should have been praying for his life. But nope, he was praying for fish. Fredo Corleone: A winner until the end.
9. Gollum, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Occasionally we hear that someone “died as they lived.” Usually it’s meant as a compliment as in, “he died as he lived: Saving lives” or even “fishing.” In Gollum’s case, he certainly died as he lived: Fiending for the treasure that destroyed him and dancing around like a wild animal while shouting “Precious, precious, precious! My Precious! O, my Precious!” A fittingly wretched end to a perfectly wretched life.
8. Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
With his death, Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) manages to both set up the final film(s) in the Harry Potter
series and enhance what is bound to be the greatest point of debate: The ambiguity about Severus Snape’s allegiance.
Dumbledore does this in about the most dramatic fashion imaginable,
saying with his last breath merely “Severus …. Please.” What was he
asking Snape (Alan Rickman) to do? Spare his life? Something else? Enquiring muggles
want to know!
7. Azrael, Dogma (1999)
you’re an immortal demon like Azrael (Jason Lee), bent on ending
existence as an act of vengeance on God, and suddenly a fat mute (Kevin Smith) kills you with a golf club, you’d be pretty
shocked too. Hey, you might even use an expletive or three. Lee’s
Azrael opts for just one, telling nobody in particular “But … I’m a
f-ckin demon!” Lee delivers his final words, staring in disbelief at
the golf club lodged in his chest, with the perfect dose of comic
6. John Miller, Saving Private Ryan (1998)
(Tom Hanks) uses his final words to tell Private Ryan (Matt Damon) to
“Earn this, James… earn it.” Imploring Ryan to live his life in a way
that justifies the lives lost rescuing him (including Miller’s), is
the prefect example of the emotional sucker-punch last words. Private Ryan certainly didn’t forget either: The movie ends with Ryan,
now an old man, visiting Miller’s grave and asking if “I’ve earned what
all of you have done for me.”
5. Spock, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
He may not stay
dead, but Spock (Leonard Nimoy) does die for a little while, and he
managed to squeeze in one last bon mot before he goes. “Live long and
prosper,” is the last thing Spock tells Captain Kirk (William Shatner)
before succumbing to radiation poisoning. Look, if you’ve got one last
thing to say to your fearless leader on the occasion of your heroic
death, you could do a lot worse than to speak your most famous
4. Vizzini, The Princess Bride (1987)
you want to finish your life with a mix of arrogance,
humor and outright stupidity, then consider emulating Vizzini (Wallace
Shawn), who loses a battle of wits and drops dead while
gloating in his seeming victory. In the midst of his diatribe, Vizzini
tells Cary Elwes “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the
line. Hahaha!” — and then keels over. All of Vizzini’s flaws, so
obvious to everyone but him, come crashing down during his fit of
3. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars (1977)
(Alex Guiness) manages to pack more meaning into his final nineteen words
than most get into an entire movie, telling his one-time pupil turned nemesis Darth Vader “You cannot win, Darth. If you strike me
down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” This
distracts Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers long enough for Luke (Mark
Hammil) to escape. Moreover, Kenobi does indeed himself into a ghost, as promised. Good stuff.
2. William Wallace, Braveheart (1995)
the most famous last words in movie history, this battle cry packs a
hell of a punch. Wallace (Mel Gibson)’s final anguished shout of
“Freeeedom!” serves not only as a final rallying cry to his cause of
Scottish independence but also as a giant kiss-off to the King of
England, who lays dying within earshot. Unsurprisingly, after Wallace’s
execution, his fellow Scots respond to his final call and win their
independence from England on the battlefield.
1. Yoda, Return of the Jedi (1983)
is another…Sky…wal…ker…” Whaaa? Did anyone see Yoda’s final
revelation coming? Nobody knows why the tiny Jedi Master (voiced by Frank Oz) keeps this
crucial information to himself until the end, but it does enable him to
issue a dramatic game-changer at the last possible second. Not too
shabby for a guy who can’t keep his participles straight.