Top 25 deadliest films of all time by on-screen death counts

Over the weekend, I discovered a web site where a group of dedicated film fanatics have been systematically counting on-screen deaths in various films for several years. I immediately set out to scrape all of the data from their web site and forums so I could visualize it and see what we could learn. I posted the data online to save everyone else the chore of repeating the scrape.

Below is the first in a series of visualizations I created, showing the top 25 deadliest films by on-screen death counts. If you would like to feature any of these visualizations on your own web site, please contact me first.

25 deadliest films by on-screen death counts

25 deadliest films by on-screen death counts

I also created a Top 100 list if 25 just isn’t enough.

Some interesting facts


Despite being rated PG-13, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King has the most on-camera deaths in a movie in all time.


Across all of the Lord of the Rings movies, Legolas in fact won the on-screen kill count contest with Gimli, with 57 on-screen kills vs. 25 on-screen kills for Gimli.


Despite its claim to fame as being the bloodiest film of all time, Hot Shots Part Deux ranked in with only 114 on-screen kills.


Orlando Bloom is in 4 of the top 8 deadliest films of all time.


Have you found another fun fact that you’d like to share? Post it here in the comments.

FAQ

This visualization has made its way around the internet. Here’s some common questions I heard asked about it.

What about movies where a building/airplane/planet/death star exploded? That counts for hundreds/thousands/millions of on-screen deaths.

The web site I took the data from only counts visible, on-screen deaths. Implied deaths, such as an entire planet exploding, are not counted.

A movie I know of is missing that definitely has at least (large number) of deaths in it.

The folks gathering the data have counted most of the movies with high kill counts. Although they have been at it for several years, this is by no means a comprehensive list. If you’re willing to do a body count for the movie, awesome! Check their kill counting guidelines and post a report on their forums.

I don’t believe the body count for one of the movies.

You can go to the data source’s Movie Index and double-check the counts for yourself. They provide a scene-by-scene breakdown.

If 600 people died in the movie 300, does that mean the Spartans had a 1:1 killing ratio?

No. The movie did not show all 300 Spartans dying, and there were several implied deaths on the Persian’s side.

Dr. Randy Olson is a Senior Data Scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, where he develops state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms with a focus on biomedical applications.

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  • Christopher Anadale

    Let 1 Rambo = 67 on-screen deaths/dead bodies (body count of the 1985 movie)
    Thus:
    Raiders of the Lost Ark: 1.25 Rambos
    Kill Bill, Vol. 1: 1.42 Rambos (really?!)
    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: 1.88 Rambos
    Braveheart: 2.75 Rambos
    Return of the King: 12.48 Rambos (wow!)

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  • Of the films in your top 100 list, I have seen 41. I summed the kill counts for the ones I’ve seen: 8836.

    Cripes.

  • Ranjoesta

    Fat Man and Little Boy tops them all. Combined. Times ten.

  • Jen M

    Violence is a part of life. Regrettable and unfortunate but sometimes, an honest part of the experience. I’m surprised by some on this list, but not surprised by the numbers. Showing these numbers proves how the arts are elevating “their game”, becoming more connected with reality. I’ve got significant violence in my blog (CLOVERAmerica(dot)net) not because of glorification but because I’m painting a gruesome, horrifying world. Violence exists in the dark places and all arts, including movies, are shining their light on it.

  • Atticus Crane

    How about Star Wars didn’t a whole planet get blown up? With millions of people on?

  • Saro

    Inglorious Basterds:396

    • nam

      which, guess what? the majority of those “FIRE” deaths were NOT on-screen

      • Saro Lucero

        You forgot to say basterds was misspelled, troll. 256 cp fine for you!

  • Aristite Torkia

    In the counts you have also considered the victims of the zombies scored by Milla Jovovich ( ResidentEvil ) ? It is incorrect to say ” because the zombies are already dead … ” in terms of lethality or dangerousness she is still in the race . 🙂

  • Kenny Ray Oxenrider

    This really is amiss for not differentiating between real history and ‘Gratuitous Violence’ which is the actual problem facing us.

  • Gregg Teslovich

    What movies have the highest death counts by a single individual performing the deed, e.g. John Wick 2 count was around 121? No explosives, or mass deaths.
    Also, what film around a half dozen years back, was it of someone cleaning up a semi-abandoned “Projects” of drug baddies; going through the floors/apartments of this inner city tenement complex. The center column was empty space with no structure so you looked across & down to other walkways.

  • kemal gozen

    planet of the apes, charlton heston destroyed entire earth. death star also destroyed entire planets. implied or not, you gotta count all deaths