Towards a Theory of the “Death Film”

A “death film” is distinguished by some or all of the following characteristics:
1) A plot concerning death or murder
2) An auteur* of advanced age or at a late career point
3) Exaggerated or eccentric style that often departs from the auteur’s previous work

*Extending "auteur" in this case to mean any key collaborator whose presence dominates the work, from lead actor to cinematographer

There are 32 dramatic films in this list.

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • The Dead
  • Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
  • Irrational Man
  • A Prairie Home Companion
  • All That Jazz
  • Night Across the Street
  • Youth Without Youth
  • The Devil, Probably
  • Star 80
  • Monsieur Verdoux
  • The Immortal Story
  • The Other Side of the Wind
  • Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
  • Twin Peaks: The Return
  • You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet
  • We Can't Go Home Again
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
  • Ludwig
  • Death in Venice
  • Ran
  • A Quiet Passion
  • Love Streams
  • Phil Spector
  • 4:44 Last Day on Earth
  • The Tarnished Angels
  • Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
  • The Turin Horse
  • Amour
  • Blue
  • Synecdoche, New York
  • Million Dollar Baby