When you go to the movies, especially those based on true stories, you get a chance to see how something went down in history through the peoples' eyes who lived through it or died because of it. Through journals, first-hand accounts and final words, moviemakers have been able to recreate the attack on Pearl Harbor, 9/11, and pretty much every other major event of the last umpteenth years.
As sad as it seems, many times in the movies, you get to see what someone possibly saw, through their eyes, right before they died or as they witnessed a life-changing event.
Liam Neeson helped you feel how Oskar Schindler felt as was able to free so many jews from gas chambers, and how much it hurt that he couldn't save more.
Russell Crowe gave you an up close and personal look at how schizophrenia affects people when John Forbes Nash, Jr., a genius of a mathematician, struggles with not knowing what is real and what isn't; a brilliant mind, both beautiful and broken.
And you got up and cheered at the end of The Blind Side, when Michael was up on stage being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.
Had you been friends with Michael or John, or worked alongside Oskar, or had to run down all those flights of stairs to safety as the towers crumbled, you would have experienced the emotions of those times, but two things can take you there if you weren't so lucky (or unlucky). Movies and photographs.
Let's look at a few photographs throughout history that capture the last moment that a person, place or thing existed on this earth, only to be gone in the next.
Amelia Earhart's last haircut
We've all been there, the female population quite a bit more than the male. Sitting in a chair, getting your hair cut. But little did Amelia know, it would be her last.
Hilary Swank tells her story in Amelia:
Will Rogers & Wiley Post
Another famous pilot picture, this time the pilot was Wiley Post, the first pilot to fly solo around the world and happened to be good friends with Will Rogers. This photo was taken right before they took off from a lagoon near Point Barrow Alaska, and crashed during take off, killing both man.
On the bright side, that's a sure-fire way to get an airport named after you!
One last wave
In December of 2004, the tsunami that rocked Thailand killed many people, including John and Jackie Knill. A man doing relief work found the camera, and on it, found the Knill's pictures, including some of the wave as it got bigger and closer. The photo above was taken just after 8:30 am on December 26, and was most likely one of the last things the Knills got to see.
Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor starred in The Impossible, an account of one family that was part of the tragedy-
Bill was a photographer, and on September 11, 2001, he was able to snap some pictures of the towers. One fell, he survived. The other one fell, but he didn't make it through that. Here's a quote from his website about that day:
It was a beautiful day in New York. The morning calm was broken by a passing taxi driver who yelled out that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Bill ran home, grabbed three cameras (two film, one digital) and began heading toward the WTC. Walking and shooting as he went, he moved quickly downtown toward the smoke and flames.
As his pictures indicate, Bill was eventually shooting straight up at the burning buildings. He was not far from the first tower when it fell. After being overtaken by the dust cloud, he photographed the devastation all around him. Wendy, his wife, reached Bill on his cell phone shortly after the first tower fell. He told her not to worry, he would meet her in 20 minutes at his studio. “I’m safe,” he assured her, “I’m with the firemen.” It was the last time they ever spoke. About 20 minutes later, the second tower collapsed. Bill’s body was found in the rubble four days later.
Nicolas Cage starred in the movie World Trade Center in 2010.
This picture was taken by the very scum that helped cause Diana's fatal crash that night in 1997. Seconds after this picture was taken by a paparazzi, the Mercedes she was in, driven by Henri Paul, hit a column head on doing 65mph. Even after the crash, the paparazzi continued to take pictures of the critically injured Diana.
Another movie starring Naomi Watts, here is the trailer for Diana:
Another celebrity gone way too soon, The King's last known photo was taking in the wee hours of August 16, 1977. Later that afternoon, he was found laying on his bathroom floor , and was pronounced dead later at the hospital.
There are tons of Elvis movies out there, just take your pick!
Who wants to live forever?
This was the last picture taken of Freddie Mercury, in 1991, before he died of bronchial pneumonia, resulting from AIDS.
Watch Freddie watch Kanye try to sing his song:
And see Kanye see Freddie sing it right!
Amazing how much he changed between his heyday and his last day.
The Notorious B.I.G. is shown here with Sean Combs. Moments later, Biggie got into his car and was gunned down at a red light.
This was taken about 2 days before Hitler and his new bride, Eva Braun, committed suicide. He knew he was about to lose the war, but made sure he married Eva before they ended their lives. He deserved a gas chamber, but instead got a cyanide capsule and gunshot to the head.
Movies about Hitler abound, but why would I give you any link other than the trailer for Raiders of the Lost Ark? I mean really?
As usual with older photographs, there is some controversy as to which picture of Abraham Lincoln was his last, but all the recent evidence points to the above photo being the real deal. It was taken by Henry J. Warren, on March 6, 1865. On April 14, Lincoln was killed in Ford Theater by John Wilkes Booth.
I could throw up the vampire hunter movie, but Daniel Day Lewis wins the day-
Parkour no mour
Pavel Kashin was doing some parkour moves on the ledge of a 16 story building, when he lost his footing and fell to his death. No debating whether or not this the last picture taken of this guy.
This picture of most famous genius of our time was taken in March of 1955, a month before he died from an aortic aneurysm.
Who wouldn't like to lighten the mood with a movie about Einstein being a matchmaker?
This is one of the pictures that was taken just seconds before Kennedy was shot by Oswald. It's a little eerie, seeing how you can see Kennedy's limo and the window Oswald shot the president from. It was actually a still frame from a movie taken by Robert Hughes.
11.22.63 is now playing on Hulu, and I hear it's a pretty damn good show. How can you go wrong with a guy going back in time to try and stop JFK's assassination?
This is for JFK
How can we have JFK's assassination, and not have his assassin's assassination?
This was taken a week before her death, as she was walking near her home in North London. She died on July 23, 2011 of alcohol intoxication, according to the coroner.
Her final public performance was 3 days before her death, when she danced alongside her goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield, in London:
This picture was taken on Saturday, January 19, 2008. Heath was on the set of his movie, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.” He died of an overdose of painkillers the following Tuesday. There may be some photos of him out there taken closer to the day he died, but this is the most popular one.
Have a look at his last movie:
Not gonna lie, still not totally over this one. This pic was taken of Paul at a charity event. He is in the car he died in, when the driver crashed at high speed.
This was the last picture taken with all four members of the band together.
Good new and bad news
The good news is, you catch the guy who's about to murder you on film. The bad news? You're dead.
Living and dying off the land
Chris McCandless took this last picture of himself before dying of starvation in Alaska, while attempting to live off the land.
The movie Into the Wild tells his story:
The Space Shuttle Challenger Crew
This is the last picture of the entire crew taken together, before they were killed during launch. They say the crew compartment survived the breakup in mid-air, but the impact with the ocean's surface was too violent, killing anyone who would have still been alive.
Not much explanation here, except that this is the last known photo that was taken of the ship as it left Queenstown, Ireland, as it headed towards New York.
This is the last known picture of River Phoenix.
River as a young Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade:
Not a good place to be
In Ooltgensplaat, the Netherlands, in 2013, two technicians were working on a wind turbine when it caught fire. After embracing, one jumped to his death, and the other crawled down through the tube, only to get trapped inside.
His biggest fan
Let's end this list with one of the creepiest pictures out there. Mark David Chapman, hours after getting John Lennon's autograph, shot and killed the singer as he was returning to his apartment. Chapman actually had the gun on him when he got the autograph, but chickened out.