(WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the movies mentioned. You've been warned)
If you're a casting director in need of a weasely and killable character actor, you need not look any further than #SteveBuscemi. The early part of his career was spent playing weirdos and creeps who often met grisly ends, but as his career went on Buscemi developed into a fan favorite. Om December 13th, we celebrate one of the most beloved actors working today. In honor of his 59th birthday, we look back on the career of Steve Buscemi and admire his work through an examination of his greatest deaths.
5. 'The Last Outlaw'
Buscemi's role as Philo in The Last Outlaw certainly isn't one of his better roles, but it's his most gruesome on-screen death. In The Last Outlaw, Buscemi is shot in the face (by fellow expert death portrayer) Mickey Rourke. The blast to the face is graphic and comes abruptly, making for one of Buscemi's more memorable deaths, even in a film that's far from memorable.
4. 'The Big Lebowski'
Buscemi had already died twice for the Coen Brothers before The Big Lebowski hit theaters, and this one is likely the funniest death scene of Buscemi's career. When The Dude and friends get into a fight outside a bowling alley the fight comes up seemingly one-sided, with all of the attackers laying on the floor in pain, but the only actual casualty of the fight is when Buscemi's Donny has a heart attack. Buscemi has called this death the one that "amused him the most," given how Donny was just a nice guy living his life. His death is a perfect fit for the insanity of The Big Lebowski, and even in death Donny continued to have a comedic impact on the movie:
3. 'The Island'
The first time Buscemi teamed up with Michael Bay, Buscemi caught space dementia. The second time, they teamed up for the action flick The Island, where Bay gave Buscemi the flashiest death scene of his career. After taking a bullet to the chest, Buscemi flies over a railing in slow motion and crashes onto a liquor-laden glass shelf, which gloriously explodes into a pile of debris. In a career of depressing deaths that mostly involved getting shot and stabbed in dark spaces, it was nice to see Buscemi finally get an exhilarating death.
2. 'Boardwalk Empire'
Buscemi has done an excellent job staying alive over the last decade or so, but he returned to his old ways and received a big death scene at the conclusion of his HBO show, Boardwalk Empire. After watching Buscemi's Nucky Thompson get away with countless horrific deeds over the course of six seasons, his actions finally caught up to him when the son of the protégé he murdered came back to murder him. The moment was long overdue, and this final scene was a brilliant way to conclude a fantastic series about awful people.
"Oh man, have you ever seen that wood chipper movie?"
That line (or some iteration of it) has been uttered thousands of times before, as friends introduced each other to one of the Coen Brother's finest films. Buscemi doesn't actually die in the wood chipper scene, having already gotten an ax to the face in an earlier sequence, but cinema has never had a more memorable body-disposal scene. Seeing Buscemi's foot stuffed into the wood chipper is simultaneously hilarious and terrifying, and completely unforgettable. I don't think there's any argument to be made that Buscemi has a better death than the one given to Carl Showalter in Fargo.
Buscemi has had fewer death scenes in the later stages of his career, instead turning to comedic roles on television or with his old friend Adam Sandler, but it's going to take some time before any new actors can manage the prolific death reel that Buscemi has created throughout his career. If you want to see all of his deaths collected in one place (at least as of 2011) here's a compilation below:
Buscemi can next be seen giving his voice to 2017's The Boss Baby, before taking on the role of Nikita Khrushchev in Armando Iannucci's Death of Stalin later in the year.
Happy Birthday, Steve Buscemi! You still look just like a kid. Here's to many more years of life, and hopefully a return to a couple more of the deaths that helped make you so famous.
What do you think of this ranking? Did we miss any of Buscemi's best demises? Let us know what you think about Buscemi and his career down in the comments.