If there is one attribute that defines the top rated films on the IMDb Top 250, it’s violence. The vast majority of the films involve someone getting hurt, assaulted, murdered, mutilated, or tortured, of which people can’t seem to get enough. In fact, all of the top 25 films on the list, with the exception of 12 Angry Men, ironically based on a murder trial, feature at least one violent death — most of them have several. As you might imagine, picking only ten films turned out to be sort of a logjam for me.
Of course, there are certainly more violent or gorier films in history, but of “the best”, these are the ones that have the most challenging or graphic violent content on the IMDb Top 250.
While Gone Girl is not remotely a dog in this race, the film features quite possibly the most disturbing violent murder in all of the films on the list. The context and ugliness of the situation is so unsettling that I now have trouble watching Rosamund Pike in Pride and Prejudice in the same way.
Conversely, it’s difficult to recall any one particular violent scene in this Mad Max reboot of sorts, but the overall theme of this film is desperate and indiscriminate death. It’s possible that hundreds of folks die in this one, but strangely we care nothing for the vast majority of them due to its presentation.
Al Pacino in his definitive role, a coked-up drug kingpin with lots of guns, betrayal everywhere, and plenty of dudes to mow down, and the film still moves surprisingly slow. Nonetheless, we have another high bodycount with more ammo dumped off than all of Platoon. The final ten minutes are intensely bloody, rife with unbridled death and destruction.
Russell Crowe plays a war general turned slave turned killing machine, and that’s kind of how this movie plays out. The most violent sequence is in the dead center of the film; blood is literally flying everywhere as folks are getting impaled, run over, and literally sliced in half. There are at least six similar scenes throughout, none of which shy away from stylized violence.
What do you expect with a title like this? We never see Bill killed, but just about everyone else is, at the hand of a wildly merciless blade-wielding Uma Thurman. The quirky violence is so pervasive that it removes any real narrative that exists in the film. But I guess people love blond babes with swords, and she certainly knows how to use it.
There’s about 15 minutes, after the tense and bloody opener, where a few guys have a conversation. For the remainder of the film, someone in just about every shot has blood on themselves somewhere. It also features one of the most difficult torture scenes on the whole list of movies.
Tarantino really likes blood, even anatomically excessively so. One shootout in this film, whereas Django manages to escape miraculously (because no one runs out of bullets in the movies, obviously), features the obligatory blowout deaths, but an obese corpse in the way of the gunfire provides a sickening extra dose of gore that graduates the film from ridiculous to absurd.
This World War II-based film never sees a true battlefront or concentration camp, yet it manages to provide some highly disturbing violent sequences. Obviously we’re talking about the horrible mistreatment of the Jews during quite possibly the most terrible time in our world’s history, but despite the high rate of death, each violent scene, moment, and glimpse is done with tremendous realism that breaks your heart every time.
Few films measure up to the level of mastery that Schindler’s List achieves. A lot of this can be attributed to the absolutely brutal mass murder catalogued in the Nazi concentration camp setting Spielberg chooses to highlight. The amount of torture and madness all around drives the film into a territory that cannot be erased in your mind. A literal mountain of burning corpses — a stomach turning historical reality — encapsulates the horror of the era.
Kubrick’s controversial work by no means features the highest quantity of violence, but the style and brutality factored into it make for one of the more disturbing films on the IMDb Top 250. Alex DeLarge is a terrifying figure for a good portion of the film, and his lackeys are no better, killing and torturing people with no restraint or favoritism.
Never before has a movie aspired to portray the violence of World War II in such tremendous and disturbing fashion as Saving Private Ryan manages to do. The opening sequence is more than enough to top this list, but Spielberg also chooses to feature three dramatic deaths that will never escape your memory due to the extremely personal angles on the characters. I can’t imagine a fate worse than that of Private Mellish. As you might have gathered, the body count is massive in the film, dispatched in a variety of ways unique to hellish warfare.