Bambi’s mother tops poll of famous movie deaths, survey finds April 21, 2023

A survey has revealed that the most memorable cinema death in the minds of over 50s is that of Bambi’s mother in the 1942 animated feature film.

The research, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Ecclesiastical Planning Services, a national funeral plan provider, asked 1,000 people aged 50 and above, which film character’s death was the most memorable. 24 of the 187 people who offered a specific answer (13%) cited Bambi’s mother.

The character is shot by a hunter, off screen, midway through the film, leaving the young deer alone in the forest. The blast of the shotgun leaves the audience in no doubt about what just happened. ‘I do remember walking home from school in floods of tears. I was five at the time’ one respondent said in relation to the scene. Another commented that ‘it was the first time I had experienced the pain of what it would be like emotionally to lose a precious loved one’.

Other memorable cinematic deaths include Patrick Swayze’s character, Sam Wheat in 1990’s Ghost (4%). In the film, Wheat is murdered and becomes a ghost that visits his fiancée. ‘It’s so sad but then he is still around’, one respondent noted.

Jenny’s death in Love Story, played by Ali McGraw in the 1970 tearjerker also proved to be memorable (also 4%). Oliver and Jenny marry, but Jenny suffers from leukaemia and dies in the hospital bed with Oliver by her side ‘I haven’t seen the film since I was a child but still remember it. So sad and beautifully done’ said one respondent.

Craig Jackson, our Funeral Operations Manager, said: “A trip to the cinema is usually fun, but can sometimes also be sad. Films can leave memories that can stay with a viewer for years, and a cinematic death, when it’s well done, can show just how powerful films can be in generating emotion”.