What Are Some Good Movies Where The GOOD GUY Fails?*

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"When the Wind Blows" (1986)
A tragic, animated tale of a little old married couple naively preparing for a nuclear emergency; and after the bombs drop, slowly succumbing to radiation poisoning.

Alien. Poor thing just wants to eat Sigourney Weaver, gets blown out the airlock.

Considering the fact that they made so many more after each movie; the old Universal and Hammer Dracula, Frankenstein, and Wolfman series' always technically had the good guys fail. That's the problem with the dead; they have trouble stayin' that way.

But for real, I submit Oldboy for your consideration.

Cloud Atlas is A) one of the absolute best movies I've seen in recent years and B) divided into around 6 different stories and one of them ends with the destruction of the good guys and the public execution of their leader.

hermes200:

Johnny Novgorod:


...has a pretty famous downer ending.

Funny choice, considering they are the bad guys.

- The Usual Suspects
- Hannibal
- Seven
- Wild Things
- Ton of slashers

I think you're confusing "criminals" with "bad guys".

It's not really an action film, at all. But I just saw Nick Cage in The Weather Man and the ending is kind of a downer.

Arlington Road is an interesting psychological thriller where the protagonist is either nuts, or his neighbors are terrorists.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0137363/

How about Reservoir Dogs


I think you could make a case for The Dark Knight as well.
310 to Yuma

Johnny Novgorod:

hermes200:

Johnny Novgorod:


...has a pretty famous downer ending.

Funny choice, considering they are the bad guys.

- The Usual Suspects
- Hannibal
- Seven
- Wild Things
- Ton of slashers

I think you're confusing "criminals" with "bad guys".

No, but you might be confusing "protagonist" with "good guy".

Bonnie and Clyde did a lot of effort to depict them as the nice (if rebellious) type, but it doesn't change the fact they were ruthless criminals.

No mention of Grave of the fireflies yet? I haven't even seen it, but I know what happens, and it's constantly cited as one of the most heartbreaking movies ever made. So definitely a downer.

A lot of people would disagree with me, but I actually like Revenge of the Sith, and since that movie is basically nothing but the good guys failing, IMO it counts.

Watchmen counts from a certain point of view. The "villain" succeeds, and the good guys fail to stop it, though it does basically have a happy ending.

And finally, Pan's Labyrinth. There the main character fails at what she is trying to achieve for the entire movie, though it's left somewhat ambiguous whether or not it actually happened.

Not sure if horror films count but; Funny Games.

All others I can think of I have been ninja'd.

No mention of the original Night of the Living Dead yet? Quite good one.

Though if you can stomach it, An American Crime. That along with the book "Let's Go Play at the Adams" began the process that turned me into the bitter, paranoid creature I am now.

BeeGeenie:
"When the Wind Blows" (1986)
A tragic, animated tale of a little old married couple naively preparing for a nuclear emergency; and after the bombs drop, slowly succumbing to radiation poisoning.

Almost forgot that one, thank you; the film that was animated on cels made from crystalized orphan tears and filmed by cameras powered by the souls of widows.

hermes200:

Johnny Novgorod:

hermes200:
Funny choice, considering they are the bad guys.

- The Usual Suspects
- Hannibal
- Seven
- Wild Things
- Ton of slashers

I think you're confusing "criminals" with "bad guys".

No, but you might be confusing "protagonist" with "good guy".

Bonnie and Clyde did a lot of effort to depict them as the nice (if rebellious) type, but it doesn't change the fact they were ruthless criminals.

Fact? What fact? You mean the real life Bonnie and Clyde? We're talking movies. The law and its sides don't make good or bad in the movies. When you say ruthless criminals you obviously mean in real life, and that's beside the point, cause they're not particularly ruthless in the movie. The scene with Hamer? They're pretty goofy and naiv. They're both the protagonists AND the good guys. And they fail, and that's a downer.

How about Apocalypse Now? Sure, Willard kills Kurtz, but he's left a broken and shattered man afterwards. He's doomed to live a life of regret depression. That's not much of a victory in my eyes.

There's this live-action Japanese film called "Death Trance". I think the DVD comes with both dub and the subtitles if I remember right, and I think Johnny Young Bosch does the dub. I'm not actually sure if it's good but I remember enjoying it on my first watch.

Tanis:
I can't think of a lot of 'downer movies' where, in the end, the good guy dies/fails to stop the nuke/whatever.

I was just wondering if ya'll knew any...

*Movies that end in a cliffhanger don't count.
:P

Some spoilers below (though I am mostly avoiding them)

Well, I'm not a big fan of most "downer" movies, but I will mention that there are plenty of horror movies that end this way, especially when the writers are trying to establish a franchise. In some of the "Nightmare On Elm Street" movies for example the good guys THINK they stopped Freddy, only to have him take out the survivors. Similar things happen in movies like "Drag Me To Hell", and well... lots of them. The kind of ending your taking about kind of fits with the idea of Horror, though even then I tend to prefer things ending on a high note.

From fairly recent movies I'm surprised nobody mentioned "Watchmen" or "Cabin In The Woods".

The ending of the comedy TV series "Sledge Hammer" has our "hero" trying to disarm a nuclear bomb, giving his classic "Trust me, I know what I'm doing..." before blowing it up and taking out the city.

The ending of the TV series "Lexx" amounts to an epic fail, in a series that is ultimatly about epic fails. :)

There are also numerous movies where the bad guy is actually the good guy (Watchmen is debatably this, as is Doctor Horrible's Sing Along Blog), or where the good guys fail but something happens to end things on a high note anyway.

The Anime series "Speed Grapher" ends on a note where the good guy fails to defeat the bad guy, who for all of his evil has a somewhat noble motive despite the collateral damage and twisted stuff he does. The hero lives on having lost the one thing he cherished, his eye-sight, no longer being able to take the pictures he loved, and the bad guy's plan ultimatly fails leaving nothing but ruin in it's wake as the greedtastic corrupt elite he set out to bring down just gets replaced by a similar group, including his own surviving minions.

While not as dramatic as your example, since nobody dies, the movie "Rocky" arguably fits the definition as well. Our hero ultimatly fails, the story being mostly about how incredible it was he went up against the champ and survived as long as he did when nobody else could. The later movies in the series (2 through 4) were more typically upbeat, but it's important to note that in the original story, which was meant to stand alone (and was based very loosely on a stumblebum who fought Ali and survived many rounds) Rocky does not win.

Id go for "All quiet on the Western Front", very strong anti-war movie.
I would recommend the 1930s version though ;)

soren7550:
The first one that comes to mind is Black Hawk Down, but I'm not so sure if it counts for you.

The reason I'm not sure if it really counts because the movie dose say that they got their pilot back, and that a few years later the warlord did die, but still.[/spoiler]

Either way, go see Black Hawk Down. It's a very excellent movie.

The other day I was in line at the grocery store, and a couple "bros" were in line ahead of me. One of them said "Blackhawk Down is like, the best movie ever made." If he'd looked behind him, he'd have seen my eyebrows go so high they popped off my forehead. I mean don't get me wrong, it was a decent movie, and some of the military action was "realistic", but it's mostly hollywood-ized military action. The story... well there really isn't much of one. I'm not saying you can't like the movie, but I can think of a dozen military-themed movies off the top of my head that are better films than Blackhawk down... I wanted to yell at this frat guy HAVE YOU NOT SEEN APOCALYPSE NOW, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, or PLATOON???

Anyways, yes go see Blackhawk Down, it's good. Thanks to the stupid leg-surgery scene though it falls into the category of military films I don't really like watching a second time though. I get really squeamish about that stuff. Saving Private Ryan has a few scenes like that for me as well... I usually change the channel when they're coming up.

ON TOPIC I'll nominate "The Road" movie as a film where the good guy (Viggo Mortensen) fails pretty horribly. Also a great post-apocalyptic film.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

I guess it's KIND of a cliffhanger ending ... but not so much when you think about it.

Spoiler-thread is spoilerish.

To avoid low-content bans, I'll mention one film. But now you shouldn't watch it, because spoilers: Buried

Hmm... How about "Johnny Got His Gun?"
The "Good Guy" fails... to convince his doctors to give him the sweet release of death.

Therumancer:

While not as dramatic as your example, since nobody dies, the movie "Rocky" arguably fits the definition as well. Our hero ultimatly fails, the story being mostly about how incredible it was he went up against the champ and survived as long as he did when nobody else could. The later movies in the series (2 through 4) were more typically upbeat, but it's important to note that in the original story, which was meant to stand alone (and was based very loosely on a stumblebum who fought Ali and survived many rounds) Rocky does not win.

Actually, not sure that counts, as Rocky never did really harbor any illusions to win. "If I can just go the distance with him....", remember? He did accomplish what he set out to do, which I think qualifies as a success. Besides, the whole plot arc of the beginning of Rocky 2 was that "Rocky had 'em! If he only had a few rounds, he coulda taken the title! That bum had Creed's number!"

Doogan:
I am shocked to see that no one has mentioned the Denzel Washington film "Fallen"

If you have not seen it then shame on you!

Talking about Denzel
"Man on Fire" can be considered to fit in this category

Does "Gattaca" count? I certainly felt the ending was a downer.

Also, "Memories of Murder" and "Chaser" are a couple of Korean films which had pretty dark endings. To be honest, I think all Korean films I have seen have had quite horrible endings.

I know this one has already been said, but "Grave of the Fireflies" is probably the only one I will never watch again, because of that ending. It was really good, though.

Murrdox:

Actually, a great deal of the events in the movie were mentioned in the book. I think even the 'Grimes' character did get shot at three times with RPGs and lived to tell the tale. No mention of coffee-making expertise though.

Obviously a great deal had to be cut from the novel to make the film, but the set piece battles, kinda straight out of the book. The one stupid mistake that comes to mind is Eversmann having to mark the building with a strobe. Didn't happen that way from what I recall. SEALs were also there, as well as Air Force PJs, but they were never shown in the movie. And Marines were there initially. And what the hell was the deal with Tom Sizemore's character strolling through gunfire? That was stupid.

Repeating the 1984, Memento, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, and Cabin in the Woods already mentioned, and adding.

Dr. Strangelove

Idiocracy

The Road

Frankenstein

Van Ryan's Express, almost all of them got out but some where shot while escaping (and the Germans shot the wounded when they where caught again), and Van Ryan died in the final scene, just when he was about to escape over the border. sad, so sad.

Is it fair to mention "Grave of the Fireflies"? Probably the most horrible, sad movie of all time, in spite of the fact that it's animated?

I Think it's called "Grave of the fireflies" Wow, that movie ending is just brutal. It's an animation aswell.

You do realize that "good guy" is not synonymous with "protagonist," right?

Cabin in the Woods counts, right...?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0424205/

The protagonists are the low officers and soldiers who hate the war and it ends with the germans being shipped off to the Russian front with the general saying "maybe even you will find it difficult to humanise them" or something to that effect.

*****OBVIOUSLY SPOILERS AHEAD*****

Episode 5. Bad guys win at every turn there, pretty much.

They Live. Kinda iffy here, because though the good guy dies, but he wins in the process.

The Manchurian Candidate. Another iffy one. Denzel can't completely overcome his conditioning, but he's able to add Meryl Streep to the body count.

Braveheart. Ouch :)

Hero(Jet Li). Iffy, he fails to kill the emperor and dies, but he kinda chooses that route himself.

Mystic River. They end up killing an innocent man. (At least innocent of the crime THEY think he committed)

Bubba Hotep. Both Elvis and JFK die, but the mummy is stopped, so kinda iffy.

Sin City. Lots of "good guys" die here, and none of the stories end "happily".

The Ring. Can't stop the girl in the well.

Night of the Living Dead. Boom, headshot :(

Basic Instinct. The "good guy" doesn't get the killer, instead he bangs her :).

Things to do in Denver When You're Dead. Buck-fucking-wheats!

All's Quiet on the Western Front. Oldie but a goodie.

Resevoire Dogs. Pretty much everyone bites the dust in this one.

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