3. Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now (1979)
Assassinated By: Captain Benjamin Willard
Cause of Death: Sliced and stabbed with a machete
We don't know who to feel worse for in Apocalypse Now's phenomenal climax: Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) or the poor water buffalo?
Francis Ford Coppola's staggering adaptation of the classic Joseph Conrad novella Heart Of Darkness is an altogether unforgettable experience, pummeling senses with horrific imagery, emotional wallops, and Dennis Hopper at his most drug-induced level of hippie awesomeness.
The entire movie centers on Captain Willard's (Martin Sheen) voyage to find rogue military asset Kurtz and assassinate him. Having lost his mind, Kurtz has taken over a hidden Cambodian village and established himself as a false God of sorts.
Willard finally gets his man, a brutal moment that Coppola amplifies with The Doors' haunting song "The End", shadowy images, and the authentic slaughter of a water buffalo. That's a real buffalo, folksâ€”feel free to throw up your lunch. We won't judge.