Top 25 most violence packed films of all time

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 third in a series of visualizations I created, showing the top 25 most violence packed films ordered by on-screen deaths per minute. If you would like to feature any of these visualizations on your own web site, please contact me first.

25 most violence packed films

25 most violence packed films

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

Some interesting facts

Only 39 Spartans were shown dead or dying in the movie “300.” That means “300” shows 4.79 dead or dying Persians per minute. Even if the Spartans kept up the killing at that rate 24/7, they would’ve taken at least 2 weeks to wipe out the entire Persian army.

Most of the on-screen deaths in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King happen in the relatively short Battle of the Pelennor Fields:

Rohirim killed – 123
Haradrim killed – 32
Denethor – 1
Nazgul killed – 1
Orcs killed – 239
Orcs ridden down by Rohirim – 83

Rambo (2008) started the carnage as early as possible with several villagers being gunned down only 3 minutes into the movie.

TMNT (2007) is the only PG-rated movie that ranks in this top 25 list.

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

Dr. Randy Olson is an AI Scientist at Absci using data science and deep learning to make medicines better and make better medicines.

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9 comments on “Top 25 most violence packed films of all time
  1. Christopher Anadale says:

    Let 1 Patton = 1.16 on-screen deaths per minute of run time (rate of the 1970 George C. Scott movie). Thus:
    The Wild Bunch: 0.86 Patton (surprising, but it is a long movie)
    Invasion USA: 1.17 Pattons
    Starship Troopers: 1.71 Pattons
    The Two Towers: 2.25 Pattons
    300: 5.13 Pattons

  2. beau says:

    what about ‘saving private ryan’?

  3. Question of Semantics says:

    What about a film like 2012, where in a 15 minute scene we see thousands of cars get swallowed up by the Earth? Or Noah, where thousands (we have that number in the dialogue, where Tuval Caine claims an army of thousands) are killed in a flood onscreen? Both of those films would have much higher “onscreen death per minute” counts than any of these films (even with only a few scenes of massive, world ending chaos).

    • Randy Olson says:

      The counts for this list only go up to early 2012 or so. Definitely need more eyes to do counts for the newer movies since then.

      Even then, these counts only take explicit on-screen deaths into account. So if you can see (and count) thousands of those people getting swallowed up by the Earth, then it would be factored into the tally.

    • Stephen Fraser says:

      10 months late, but its counting on screen deaths. You see person alive, then you see them dead.

  4. JB says:

    There’s also The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where Earth is destroyed. Easily 6 billions deaths right there in a 109 minute movie.

  5. Ben says:

    I think you’re leaving out a level of visualization. Perhaps color intensity should be done with length of film. For example, Blood and Chocolate and LotR:Two Towers have the same average DpM… however, Blood & Chocolate is just slightly more than 1/2 the length of LotR. I would argue that makes Blood & Choc a much more violent movie. Making length of film a 2ndary data point of visualization adds that dimension in.
    Or perhaps, if the data is available, mean period between deaths. If a bunch of people get blown up in the first 3 minutes, and then there are no more deaths… as opposed to one person getting shot every 30 seconds for the entire movie.
    Great viz, just suggesting an improvement.

  6. balazor says:

    Land of the dead, really? You can’t kill that which is not alive.

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