Sean Bean, apart from his most edifying name, is probably the one modern actor who dies at the end of a great many films he has appeared in, whether as a protagonist, antagonist, tragic hero, megalomaniac or just a regular man. His only notable competition is John Hurt, whose on-screen characters also die with alarming frequency.

The frequency with which he has been killed onscreen has not been lost on the internet meme scene; for example, when actor James Purefoy was doing a Reddit AMA a year or so ago, he was promoting a new film he was appearing in called Wicked Blood (which, unfortunately, ended up being released straight-to-video). One of the first questions from the Reddit peanut gallery was "So, I see that Sean Bean is in your new movie. How does he die?" Purefoy declined to answer (as the the film was yet to be released at the time), and as it turned out, Bean's character lived through to the end credits. But this is an aberration, you see.

The following is a list of Sean Bean's on-screen deaths, listed chronologically along with the cause of his character's demise. I should probably mention that reading the list below may spoil some of his movies for you, but then, it's Sean Bean. How else do you expect his films to end?

The Many Deaths of Sean Bean

YearFilm/TV titleCause of death
1986CaravaggioThroat cut
1989War RequiemShot and bayonetted
1990Lorna DooneDrowned
1990The FieldChased off a high cliff by stampeding cattle (!)
1991Tell Me That You Love MeStabbed
1992Patriot GamesImpaled on an anchor then exploded
1997Anna KareninaWar casualty (implied)
1995GoldenEyeCrushed by a falling aerial
2000Essex BoysShot
2001The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingShot with arrows
2001Don't Say A WordBuried alive
2003Henry VIIIHanged
2005The IslandShot and hanged by a grappling hook (!)
2007The HitcherShot
2007Far NorthHypothermia
2008Red Riding: The Year of Our Lord, 1974Shot
2010Black DeathDrawn and quartered while suffering from bubonic plague
2010Death Race 2Shot
2011Game of ThronesBeheaded on false pretenses
2011Age of HeroesShot

I've a strong feeling that we haven't seen the last of Sean Bean dying on-screen. Watch this space as I catalogue his various deaths. Note that about in about a third of the films listed above, his characters die by being shot. I'll go ahead and chalk this up to uncreative screenwriters.

Don't get me wrong. Sean Bean is a fine actor. He just seems to be cast in a whole lot of roles where he's playing a doomed character, possibly approaching the death numbers that career stunt performers have achieved on-screen, which is no mean feat for an actor who by and large doesn't do his own stunts. But that's Hollywood!... or Pinewood Studios.

IMDB and my own memory helped out with this. There are quite a few other websites out there with articles listing what I have listed here. But I figured the E2 database could use this bit of gallows humour, if you will. Enjoy...