5 Movies With Unbelievable Scenes About Death and Funerals


There are some things we can never depend on the movies to get right… all those car chase scenes where the roadster flips three times, lands on its wheels from four stories up, and just keeps on cruising at 120 MPH? Yeah, right.

And what about how every professional from architects to attorneys represent a day of hard work by just sitting at a desk shuffling around papers? For funeral professionals, the representation is even less flattering and far from accurate.

But when it comes to how movies handle funerals, there are some Hollywood flicks that are so accurate you’d swear they were based on true events. Even the most out-of-this-world fantasy films have been known to present death in a way that makes us nod along knowingly. After all, it is one of the only experiences we will all share throughout our lives.

As funeral professionals, you’ve surely been part of more funeral services and stood beside more grieving families than most others. We bet one of the scenes below has stood out to you as an unbelieveable funeral movie scene, whether it was outstandingly real, whimsically wonderful, or just done right.


The wordless opening scene of Disney and Pixar’s Up is one many of us remember as the most unexpectedly emotional scene we’ve been given from Disney. We see the characters Carl and Ellie throughout their many years of marriage, full of joyous moments and gut-wrenching heartbreaks, as they travel through life and time together until Ellie’s tragic passing. A heartbroken Carl sits at his wife’s bedside, and then at her funeral holding a balloon—the emblem of their big future plans. In the final few seconds of the clip, Carl is shown sitting alone in front of a spray of remembrance flowers and balloons after his wife’s funeral.

What to remember: Sometimes a person burying their loved one is losing their only family, their closest confidant, and their oldest companion. These funerals may not be highly attended and the budget may not be high, but It’s important to offer services to folks with these details in mind… just consider how important your company and continued support may be to helping them begin the grieving process in a healthy, comforting way.

Steel Magnolias

Sally Field’s emotional display during her character M’Lynn’s daughter’s funeral in Steel Magnolias is so well-performed, we can’t help but be moved ourselves when we see her beg for some reasoning as to why she’s just had to bury her child. She screeches to no one in particular… she just wants to know why, while the women who are her life support help her through her intense, emotional, nonsensical ramblings about running to Texas and back. When a friend offers another up as a punching bag for M’Lynn, the group bursts into hysterical laughter—completing the pendulum swing of extreme emotions that would doubtless leave an onlooker stumped.

What to remember: Grief follows no rules, abides by no schedule, and sometimes makes absolutely no sense at all. At times, you may be inclined to offer words of comfort to a grieving family member in the throes of a deeply emotional experience, but letting the emotions run their course without trying to nudge them onto a proper path might be best. When in doubt, your best bet is to simply be there with open ears and let emotions run their natural course.


Four Weddings and a Funeral

At his partner’s funeral, Matthew solemnly reads a poem by W. H. Auden, “Funeral Blues.” The musicless scene is dreary, grey, and fraught with emotion. With the beautifully devastating narration of the poem as the only score for the scene in which Gareth is eulogized and then laid to rest in his grave, the entirety of the funeral scene is somber and heavy.

What to remember: Though losing a loved one will never be a joyous occasion, funerals needn’t always be so heartbreaking. As a funeral director, you have the ability to help families memorialize their loved ones in a way that highlights and recalls joyful memories. Try to encourage the family to avoid a dark, dreary funeral, instead opting for a more uplifting occasion in which to celebrate life.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Katniss’s tearful goodbye and burial of her friend proves that there is no proper or improper way to memorialize a life lived. What matters most to the teen is that her beloved little sister-figure is lulled to her eternal sleep in a peaceful way, and that even if no one is there to grieve with Katniss, that her friend is given the respect and dignity of a heartfelt farewell. She takes the time to nestle the body in flowers and sets aside the arduous task of fighting for her life in the Hunger Games for just a few minutes, all that she can spare, so someone that means so much to her has a fitting funeral.

What to remember: There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to burial, or funeral, or remembrance. Some families may surprise you with their requests, or ask for inclusions you’ve never considered for a funeral service before. Go with it! All a funeral or memorial service has to be is a way to honor the life lived, and that may be shown differently for every family.

The Royal Tenenbaums

This slightly odd, slightly whimsical, totally dysfunctional-family-in-action funeral scene simultaneously could be every funeral and is also like none we’ve ever seen. Families are full of quirks, and no two families’ dysfunction or strangeness is quite like any other. That’s highlighted in this scene where no one speaks, a BB gun sendoff is presented by a pair of kids, and the epitaph is, well, epic.

What to remember: Let this occasion capture the essence of not only the life lived, but the family he or she was a part of and that will carry their loved one’s memory and presence forward. It can be a joyful day, a quirky day, or a totally bizarre-seeming day. Not a single attendee of Royal Tenenbaum’s funeral wears black, cueing that a somber, dreary service is not a requirement for a fitting funeral service.

No matter what type of services you offer, or what kinds of accommodations you’ve extended for families, make sure your community and future families know what they can expect from a service at your funeral home. Let your website do the talking for you by turning your site into the ultimate education resource with f1Connect. To learn more, click here to talk to one of our website success specialists.

Rochelle Rietow


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