film The 15 Best Movies About Suicide (or Seemingly Suicidal) Missions  

Aaron Edwards
448 votes 111 voters 2.7k views 15 items Follow Embed

List Rules Vote up your favorite movies where the protagonists seem headed for disaster.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the latest in a long and proud tradition of suicide mission movies. Not to be confused with "men on a mission" films, these flicks aren't just about a group of people trying to accomplish a goal. No, these movies are about people going out... and they're not expected to come back. Whether it's in ancient Greece or World War II, there have been plenty of impossible situations that people have conquered in real life, so of course there's going to be films about it.

 It's no coincidence that most suicide mission films are set during the second World War. It's the perfect venue for setting up missions with impossible odds. Given that Star Wars was directly inspired by parts of World War II, expect to see a lot of influence from the following films in Rogue One. Curious which films are the best of the lot? Check out the list below!


Saving Private Ryan 
    is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 15 Best Movies About Suicide (or Seemingly Suicidal) Missions
Photo: DreamWorks Pictures

The Characters: A group of American soldiers led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks). 

The Mission: The soldiers have to locate Private James Francis Ryan and bring him home.

Who Survived: Ryan is successfully rescued, but most of Miller's team (including Miller) is killed, with the exception of Private Richard Reiben (Edward Burns) and Corporal Timothy E. Upham (Jeremy Davies). 

Also Ranked

#1 on The Best Movies "Loosely" Based on True Stories

#1 on The Best War Movies Ever

#83 on The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

#3 on The Best Inspirational Movies

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300 
    is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 15 Best Movies About Suicide (or Seemingly Suicidal) Missions
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Characters: A group of 300 battle-hardened Spartans led by King Leonidas (Gerard Butler).

The Mission: The Spartans have to hold a pass against a vast army of thousands of Persians bent on conquering Greece.

Who Survived: Poor Dilios, who lost an eye in an earlier engagement, is sent away to convince other Spartans to join the battle and defend Greece. Everyone who remained was slaughtered, though they do succeed in delaying the Persians for three days. 

Also Ranked

#8 on The Best War Movies Ever

#28 on The Greatest Action Movies of All Time

#32 on List of Movies Like Inception

#27 on The Best Epic Movies

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Inglourious Basterds 
    is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 15 Best Movies About Suicide (or Seemingly Suicidal) Missions
Photo: The Weinstein Company

The Characters: Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) recruits a team of Jewish-American soldiers to go behind enemy lines in Nazi Germany to kill as many enemy soldiers as possible and scalp them to spread fear.

The Mission: The team discovers that a movie screening will hold some of the Nazis' top leaders, including Hitler, and plan to bring it all crumbling to the ground.

Who Survived: The only two of the team we know for sure survived are Lieutenant Raine and Private Smithson (B. J. Novak). The entire Nazi brass, including Hitler, is killed.

Also Ranked

#37 on The Best War Movies Ever

#34 on List of Movies Like Inception

#65 on The Best Movies of All Time

#27 on The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

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Seven Samurai 
    is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 15 Best Movies About Suicide (or Seemingly Suicidal) Missions
Photo: Toho

The Characters: Seven Ronin eagerly looking for work: Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura), Gorobei Katayama (Yoshio Inaba), Shichiroji (Daisuke Katō), Kyuzo (Seiji Miyaguchi), Heihachi Hayashida (Minoru Chiaki), Katsushiro (Isao Kamura), Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune).

The Mission: The Ronin are hired by a poor village to defend them against bandits.

Who Survived: Katsushiro, Kambei, and Shichiroji survive. They manage to defend the villagers and defeat the bandits. 

Also Ranked

#72 on The Best War Movies Ever

#1 on The Best '50s Martial Arts & Kung Fu Movies

#26 on The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies

#51 on The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 
    is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The 15 Best Movies About Suicide (or Seemingly Suicidal) Missions
Photo: Disney

The Characters: Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a criminal recruited by the Rebellion, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a morally compromised intelligence officer for the Rebellion, Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen), a blind warrior with a strong belief in the Force, K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), a reprogrammed Imperial droid, Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), an Imperial pilot who defects to the Rebellion, and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), a heavy weapons specialist and best friend to Chirrut.

The Mission: Jyn Erso's team must steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire's planet-destroying superweapon.

Who Survived: No one. Not a single one of them, not even the droid. They do, however, manage to get the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance before being killed.

Also Ranked

#6 on Every Star Wars Movie, Ranked Best to Worst

#4 on The Best Action Movies of 2016

#2 on The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked

#34 on The Best Movies With Star in the Title

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The Dirty Dozen 
    is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The 15 Best Movies About Suicide (or Seemingly Suicidal) Missions
Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Characters: A group of the Army's worst convicts is turned into a commando unit to be sent on a top-secret mission behind enemy lines.

The Mission: Days before D-Day, the team must assault a Nazi chateau holding a meeting between some of the top German officers. By eliminating them, the Allies hope to disrupt the Nazi chain of command.

Who Survived: Wladislaw, Reisman, and Bowren are the only ones to make it out. The German officers are locked in a room and blown up. 

Also Ranked

#27 on The Best War Movies Ever

#53 on The Best Adventure Movies

#38 on The Best Movies of the '60s

#6 on The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

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The Guns of Navarone 
    is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The 15 Best Movies About Suicide (or Seemingly Suicidal) Missions
Photo: Columbia Pictures

The Characters: A group of commandos put together by Allied intelligence led by Major Roy Franklin (Anthony Quayle).

The Mission: Destroy a Nazi fortress that is a major threat to Allied naval operations in the Aegean sea and rescue 2,000 British troops.

Who Survived: Stavrou, Miller, and Mallory survive. The fortress is destroyed. 

Also Ranked

#34 on The Best War Movies Ever

#31 on The Best Movies of the '60s

#12 on The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

#67 on The Best Military Movies

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The Lord of the Rings: The Fel... 
    is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The 15 Best Movies About Suicide (or Seemingly Suicidal) Missions
Photo: New Line Cinema

The Characters: Four hobbits (Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, and Dominic Monaghan), Aragorn (Viggo Mortenson), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), Boromir (Sean Bean), and Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen).

The Mission: Take the one ring of power to Mt. Doom in Sauron-occupied Mordor, where they can cast it into the volcano's lava and destroy it forever.

Who Survived: Gandalf falls (literally) in battle against a Balrog. Boromir is slain by the Uruk-hai chief. Everyone else makes it out alright. While it does take a while, the ring is eventually destroyed by the two Hobbits Frodo and Sam. 

Also Ranked

#75 on The Best War Movies Ever

#40 on The Greatest Movie Themes

#5 on The Best Fantasy Movies

#25 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

see more on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring