Special Report

Movies With the Highest Body Count

Many of cinema’s most memorable scenes involve the death of an important character. It’s hard to think of some of Hollywood’s greatest films without the passing of someone of consequence: The Wicked Witch in “The Wizard of Oz,” Charles Foster Kane in “Citizen Kane,” Quint in “Jaws,” the titular characters in “Thelma & Louise,” or Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather.”

But many other people die on screen, too, most of them anonymous, and though they may not have the star power of the important characters meeting their maker, they are accounted for, if not by name, by number. 

To determine the movies in which the most people died in, 24/7 Tempo referred to data compiled by IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon, and by Movie Body Counts and The Cinemaholic. Scores and ratings come from IMDb and from Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, and information on cast and directors comes from IMDb. 

The body count for a given motion picture is only for on-screen deaths. For example, 307 people perished on-screen in the blockbuster film “Titanic,” although more than 1,500 passengers and crew died in the actual disaster.

As you might expect, the body counts are high in war movies such as “When We Were Soldiers,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “The Last Samurai.” Films that take place in a dystopian future also have many on-screen deaths, such as “Starship Troopers” and “Equilibrium.” (These are the 50 best action movies of all time.)

Click here to see the movies with the highest body count

Hong Kong movie maker John Woo, whose films are known for their frenetic action sequences and stylized use of slow motion, has four motion pictures on the list, including “The Killer” and “Bullet in the Head.” Zombie movies are represented by such titles as “Dawn of the Dead” and “House of the Dead.” (These are the best zombie movies of all time, according to data.)

Some of the films on our list with the most on-screen deaths also are among the most honored by the motion-picture industry. “Titanic” won 11 Academy Awards, and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” triumphed in all 11 Oscar categories for which it was nominated – and takes the prize for the film with the highest on-screen body count of any movie on the list.

Source: Courtesy of Screen Gems

40. Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
> Body count: 124
> Directed by: Russell Mulcahy

Milla Jovovich plays a woman who is genetically altered and possesses superhuman abilities in this action horror film. She joins forces with others against the evil Umbrella Corp. to eliminate a virus that turns humans into zombies.

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Source: Courtesy of United Artists

39. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
> Body count: 126
> Directed by: Sergio Leone

Perhaps the most famous of Sergio Leone’s “spaghetti westerns,” “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is known for Clint Eastwood’s laconic character, the breathtaking landscapes, and a haunting, iconic score from Ennio Morricone.

Source: Courtesy of 30 Holding

38. Versus (2000)
> Body count: 127
> Directed by: Ryûhei Kitamura

In this action-horror film from Ryûhei Kitamura, an escaped prisoner (Tak Sakaguchi) and a young woman (Chieko Misaka) take on undead fighters in Japan’s Forest of Resurrection.

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

37. Rambo III (1988)
> Body count: 127
> Directed by: Peter MacDonald

Sylvester Stallone returns as John Rambo in “Rambo III.” In this film, Rambo is recruited for a mission in Afghanistan to help the mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet Union.

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Studios

36. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
> Body count: 131
> Directed by: Zack Snyder

Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, and Mekhi Phifer star in this faithful remake of George A. Romero’s classic zombie-fest of the same name. Romero co-wrote the reboot.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

35. Kelly’s Heroes (1970)
> Body count: 139
> Directed by: Brian G. Hutton

An all-star cast including Clint Eastwood, Don Rickles, Carroll O’Connor, and Telly Savalas appear in this subversive war/heist caper about U.S. soldiers who cross over German lines to steal Nazi gold.

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Source: Courtesy of Embassy Pictures

34. Zulu (1964)
> Body count: 140
> Directed by: Cy Endfield

Buoyed by British acting heavyweights Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, and Michael Caine, “Zulu” is a dramatic account of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift in South Africa between soldiers of the British Empire and the Zulu nation.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

33. Blade: Trinity (2004)
> Body count: 140
> Directed by: David S. Goyer

Wesley Snipes plays the human-vampire hybrid Blade, who joins with the Nightstalkers to face Dracula. Kris Kristofferson and Parker Posey also appear.

Source: Courtesy of Artisan Entertainment

32. House of the Dead (2003)
> Body count: 141
> Directed by: Uwe Boll

German director Uwe Boll has made some of the goriest zombie-themed films, and “House of the Dead” is among them. The plot, such as it is, involves young people planning to attend a rave on an island that they discover is overrun by zombies.

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros./Seven Arts

31. The Wild Bunch (1969)
> Body count: 145
> Directed by: Sam Peckinpah

Director Sam Peckinpah became famous for his violent cinematic storytelling, and “The Wild Bunch” was one of his signature films. In this one, an aging outlaw, played by Willliam Holden, gets his gang together for one last heist that turns out to be a trap. The film also features Ernest Borgnine and Robert Ryan.

Source: Courtesy of Cannon Film Distributors

30. Invasion U.S.A. (1985)
> Body count: 146
> Directed by: Joseph Zito

Chuck Norris is a virtual one-army in “Invasion U.S.A.” Produced by the noted team of Yoram Globus and Menachem Golan, the film is about a Soviet agent out to get revenge on Norris while causing carnage and destruction in South Florida.

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Source: Courtesy of Circle Films

29. The Killer (1989)
> Body count: 149
> Directed by: John Woo

This John Woo actioner is about an assassin who accepts one last assignment so he can use his earnings to restore the vision of a singer he accidentally blinded. The film features Chow Yun-Fat, Danny Lee, and Sally Yeh.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

28. Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)
> Body count: 151
> Directed by: Michael Davis

One of the few comedy/action films on this list is about a man who delivers a baby during a shootout, and then must protect the newborn from gunmen. The cast includes Clive Owen, Monica Bellucci, and Paul Giamatti.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

27. Hero (2002)
> Body count: 152
> Directed by: Yimou Zhang

Yimou Zhang directed, co-wrote, co-produced this martial-arts spectacular. The film is about an unnamed fighter (Jet Li) being honored for defeating three of the king’s most dangerous enemies. However, as the fighter explains his encounters, the king has his doubts about his version of events.

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Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

26. Pearl Harbor (2001)
> Body count: 153
> Directed by: Michael Bay

“Pearl Harbor” mixes romance and history as two pilots romance a nurse in Hawaii in the days leading up to the fateful attack. The film stars Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, and Josh Hartnett.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

25. The Mummy (1999)
> Body count: 155
> Directed by: Stephen Sommer

Brendan Fraser portrays an American serving in the French Foreign Legion who accidentally awakens a mummy who wreaks havoc.

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Source: Courtesy of The Criterion Collection

24. Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (1974)
> Body count: 169
> Directed by: Yoshiyuki Kuroda

A samurai battles his archenemy in a final confrontation. This was the sixth and final film of the series. It starred Tomisaburô Wakayama and Akihiro Tomikawa.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

23. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
> Body count: 172
> Directed by: Michael Mann

Michael Mann’s sprawling adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s classic stars Daniel Day-Lewis as one of the last of the Mohican nation trying to spare his people and others from the coming French and Indian War.

Source: Courtesy of United Film Distribution Company (UFDC)

22. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
> Body count: 175
> Directed by: George A. Romero

From director George A. Romero, the original “Dawn of the Dead” is one of the most gripping zombie movies ever made. In the film, a radio-station employee (David Emge), his girlfriend (Gaylen Ross), and two SWAT team members escape to a shopping center to make humankind’s last stand.

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Source: Courtesy of Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment

21. McBain (1991)
> Body count: 181
> Directed by: James Glickenhaus

Christopher Walken is McBain, a former Vietnam War lieutenant who gets his buddies together to help a revolutionary’s sister topple a drug-cartel-backed regime in Colombia. The movie also stars Maria Conchita Alonso..

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

20. Braveheart (1995)
> Body count: 184
> Directed by: Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson directed and stars in this epic based on the exploits of Scottish hero William Wallace who fought to free his homeland from the tyrannical King Edward I of England in the 13th century. Patrick McGoohan and Sophie Marceau also appear, and the movie won five Oscars.

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

19. Dune (1984)
> Body count: 186
> Directed by: David Lynch

This movie about the struggle for control of a planet that possessed an invaluable spice is based on Frank Herbert’s epic novel and stars Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen, and rock star Sting.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

18. The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
> Body count: 187
> Directed by: David Twohy

In this futuristic film, Vin Diesel plays a criminal who arrives on a planet and has to confront an empire that either converts or kills humans. The movie also stars Judi Dench and Thandiwe Newton.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

17. Blood Diamond (2006)
> Body count: 187
> Directed by: Edward Zwick

Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou are featured as a South African mercenary and a fisherman on a quest to find a precious gem in war-ravaged Sierra Leone.

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Source: Courtesy of STAR TV Filmed Entertainment

16. A Better Tomorrow II (1987)
> Body count: 199
> Directed by: John Woo

This John Woo shoot-em-up is about a restaurateur who teams up with a police officer and his ex-con brother to seek revenge for the death of a friend’s daughter. Leslie Cheung and Chow Yun-Fat star.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Home Video

15. Bullet in the Head (1990)
> Body count: 214
> Directed by: John Woo

John Woo’s action film is about three friends from Hong Kong who go to Saigon during the Vietnam War and start a criminal venture, and how it changes their lives. The movie stars Tony Chiu-Wai Leung and Jacky Cheung.

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Source: Courtesy of Miramax

14. Equilibrium (2002)
> Body count: 236
> Directed by: Kurt Wimmer

Christian Bales is the star of this science fiction drama about a future in which feelings are illegal, and the man in charge of enforcing the law, who attempts to overthrow the regime.

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

13. Rambo (2008)
> Body count: 247
> Directed by: Sylvester Stallone

This Rambo film finds Vietnam War veteran John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) joining mercenaries who go to war-torn Burma to save kidnapped Christian aid workers.

Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Distribution

12. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
> Body count: 255
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg’s salute to the Greatest Generation follows a platoon of U.S. soldiers tasked with finding a paratrooper in northern France whose brothers have been killed in action. The five-time Oscar-winning movie stars Tom Cruise and Matt Damon.

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Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

11. Starship Troopers (1997)
> Body count: 256
> Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

Paul Verhoeven’s futuristic film is about humans in a fascist future who battle giant alien bugs. Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards are the stars.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

10. We Were Soldiers (2002)
> Body count: 305
> Directed by: Randall Wallace

Randall Wallace directed this story of the first major battle between U.S. and communist forces in South Vietnam in 1965, as witnessed by the American battalion’s commander, Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson).

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Source: Courtesy of Rim

9. Hard Boiled (1992)
> Body count: 307
> Directed by: John Woo

Action director John Woo’s “Hard Boiled” is about a tough police officer who teams up with an undercover agent to combat a powerful mobster.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

8. Titanic (1997)
> Body count: 307
> Directed by: James Cameron

James Cameron’s blockbuster rom-com focuses on the tragic story of a wealthy young woman who loses the love of her life in one of maritime world’s worst tragedies. The film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, won 11 Academy Awards.

Source: Courtesy of Dimension Films

7. Grindhouse (2007)
> Body count: 310
> Directed by: Robert Rodriguez, Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino

Robert Rodriguez, Eli Roth, and Quentin Tarantino co-directed this tribute to exploitation films of the 1960s and 70s. It starsKurt Russell, Rose McGowan, Danny Trejo, Zoë Bell.

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Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

6. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
> Body count: 486
> Directed by: Peter Jackson

The second of three Lord of the Rings movies, directed by Peter Jackson, won two Academy Awards. Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, and Ian McKellen star.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

5. The Last Samurai (2003)
> Body count: 558
> Directed by: Edward Zwick

Tom Cruise plays an American military adviser in 19th-century Japan who comes to appreciate the Samurai culture after he is captured by the Japanese in battle. The film also stars Ken Watanabe and Billy Connolly.

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

4. Troy (2004)
> Body count: 572
> Directed by: Wolfgang Peterson

Homer’s epic is reimagined by director Wolfgang Peterson, with a big cast that includes Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, and Sean Bean.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

3. 300 (2006)
> Body count: 600
> Directed by: Zack Snyder

This is Zack Snyder’s retelling of the saga of the 300 Spartans who held off the mighty Persian army in the fifth century B.C. Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, and Dominic West star.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

2. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
> Body count: 610
> Directed by: Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott’s historic action-drama with a cast including Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, and Liam Neeson takes place in Jerusalem during the Crusades in the 12th century.

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Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

1. The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The Kings (Extended Edition) (2003)
> Body count: 836
> Directed by: Peter Jackson

“The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The Kings,” winner of 11 Oscars, enjoys the highest IMDb score of any film on this list – and has the highest body count of any movie. In this iteration, Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron’s army to draw his attention away from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

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