Re-watching Walter White use a bike lock to choke Krazy-8 to death got me thinking: what are the greatest garrotes of all time? (talking about movies and TV, obviously, not real life you sick bastards). I know it’s a somewhat morbid topic but it’s also important cinematic research. One last reminder: we’re clearly talking about movies here. Fictional garrotes.
Maybe I shouldn’t have used the word “greatest.” What I meant to say was “most effective” from a cinematic standpoint. Because we all know that murder is bad. And murder-by-garrote is not only bad, but also cowardly. It’s basically the sucker-punch of executions. Nevertheless, it makes for some very memorable film scenes.
The five clips below (links are provided) are some of the most horrendous, despicable and morally reprehensible garrote scenes in movie/TV history. That’s why they’re also the “greatest.”
Honorable Mention: A History of Violence
Key word: almost. Joey Cusack, played by Viggo Mortensen (pictured above), was basically John Wick before John Wick was even born. He’s the ultimate killing machine, and probably the only person in the world who can get themselves out of a garrote by breaking the assassin’s arm in his own armpit. If you think that’s wild, you should see what Joey can do with a coffee pot.
5. The Sopranos season one episode five, “College”
Febby was a former gangster that turned snitch and went into the Witness Protection Program. Tony Soprano happens to recognize him, and…well…let’s just say it ends poorly for Febby. Considering the risk involved — Tony is visiting potential colleges with his daughter in New England — this is an impressively orchestrated kill. It also proves that the man’s pretty much a certified psychopath.
It’s also the greatest TV episode of all time.
4. From Russia with Love
Coming at the end of the greatest fight scene in cinematic history, this is also the most claustrophobic entry on the list: Agent 007 and his would-be assassin (played by Robert Shaw) try to kill each other in a train compartment (with the lights off) for several excruciating minutes.
At first, Grant chokes Bond with the wire from his watch, but then Bond is able to execute a last-second reversal and use Grant’s own weapon against him. Pretty gruesome stuff. Thankfully, the scene ends with some trademark English wit: Bond takes money from Grant’s suit pocket and then jokes with the dead body. “You won’t be needing this, old man.”
3. Breaking Bad season one episode three, “And the Bag’s in the River”
Hey, I just watched this episode the other day, you should read my review! Anyways, this is definitely the most “painful” murder on the list, not because of its high emotional stakes, but because it looks like it hurts really fucking bad. Krazy-8 is fastened to a pole in Jesse Pinkman’s basement with an out-of-date metal bike lock around his neck. That’s already some medieval shit. To add insult to injury, Walt was about to free Krazy-8 before he realized killing him was the better option. Tough break.
2. The Godfather
A classic, old-school Mafia murder. Even if you’ve never seen The Godfather, you’ve probably heard of this scene. It’s where we got the phrase: “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.” Also, you should probably watch The Godfather.
Apparently the book version gives him a more honorable death. I sure hope so. That’s a pretty embarrassing GIF.
1. No Country for Old Men
Hands down the most brutal murder on this list. That’s because it’s also the longest murder on this list. Listening to the officer helplessly scuff his boots on the floor while the camera focuses on Chigurh’s unblinking expression is terrifying. After watching this scene, you can reasonably assume that Anton Chigurh is Satan himself.
I can sadly state that the cop does not receive a more honorable death in the book version.