Movies with tragic heroes present audiences with a man who believes he is doing this right thing. Along the course of the movie, he displays a flaw that causes him to make a mistake that leads to his downfall. These men do not always become bad guys, some just fall to their vices.

  1. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” – R.P. McMurphy was a petty criminal who used the system to enter a mental asylum instead of prison. Along the way, he helped patients stand up to poor treatment but his own anti-authoritative attitude led to his eventual demise.

  2. “12 Monkeys” – Cole is a convict in a post-apocalyptic world sent back in time to find out what happened to wipe out Earth’s population. He investigates and starts building evidence to help solve his world's problems. His vice is dreams of a past he can’t remember that will lead to his downfall.

  3. “Revenge of the Sith” – One of the most famous movies with tragic heroes is the “Star Wars” franchise. Loyal Jedi, Anakin Skywalker, sets out on the road to his own tragic demise. The man who would become Darth Vader fell to his own fears of envy and power.

  4. “The Godfather Trilogy” – In the first “Godfather” movie, Michael Corleone was war hero. His father was head of a mafia family but Michael wanted to make it on his own. Thanks to paranoia and a deluded sense of family values, he became a tragic hero, never escaping the family.

  5. “There Will be Blood” – Daniel Plainview was a man who discovered oil and became a tycoon. He built his empire without caring about anyone or anything. Plainview’s life was spent running over people, manipulating those who cared about him. It is the ultimate tale of greed destroying a man.

  6. “No Country for Old Men” – A small town hunter named Llewlyn Moss finds a group of dead bodies and over $2 million in cash. When he chooses to take the money and run, he finds himself hunted by death personified. His greed made him expendable.

  7. “The Dark Knight” – The greatest superhero movie ever made is great because it is a movie with tragic heroes, none more so than Harvey Dent. Dent was a district attorney, bringing down crime in Gotham City. When he is disfigured, he goes crazy and the city’s only white knight loses all faith in humanity.

  8. “Seven” – This movie with tragic heroes is a serial killer thriller by David Fincher. David Mills is a rookie cop and is partnered with Somerset, a grizzled vet. When they start to investigate a case where the suspect is killing based on the seven deadly sins, things hit close to home for David. The ending is tragic.

  9. “The Fly” – Seth Brundle is a scientist who is working on a device that will teleport any object from one pod to another. One night, overcome with jealousy when he believes his girlfriend is cheating on him, he attempts to teleport himself and his DNA splices with a fly. He soon grows into a horrible monster.

  10. “Blade Runner” – Rick Deckard is a Blade Runner, a man tasked with hunting down Replicants and eliminating them. Thie movie with tragic heroes shows a man who begins to doubt his own beliefs. The end of the movie, when Deckard faces Roy, is one of the greatest reveals in cinema history.

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12 Monkeys -

Revenge of the Sith -     

The Godfather Trilogy -

There Will be Blood -