2016 Cannes Film Festival: top five silver screen funerals

13 May 2016

This week we celebrate the start of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, as we look back at the most memorable funerals ever to hit the silver screen.

Top 5 silver screen send-offs

Live and Let Die (1973)

Who better to begin with than international man of mystery, Bond, James Bond. The opening scene of this instalment takes place in New Orleans where a nonchalant British Secret Agent watches the slow march of a funeral parade. But he becomes a lot more involved than he would have hoped when he is killed and bundled into the coffin whereupon the mourners break into colour and dance.

Wedding Crashers (2005)

The phrase ‘never meet your heroes’ is illustrated to perfection when Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson meet the inspiration behind their spate of wedding crashes. When they realise he has tapped into an entirely new phenomenon of crashing funerals to meet potential suitors, they retreat quickly for a long hard look in the mirror.

The Godfather (1972)

When Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone collapses in the orange garden outside his house it spells the beginning of a troubled time for the family. But the funeral itself provides interesting insight into Sicilian culture, with giant ostentatious headstones and dazzling floral arrangements as guests line up to present the family with single roses.

The Third Man (1949)

No one talks about the significance of the funeral scene in this critically acclaimed Orson Welles drama but in truth this scene kicked off the entire plot. Purposeless novelist Holly Martins meets Harry Limes at the funeral of a mutual friend as the story of the deceased’s suspicious death becomes clearer through the pooling of information.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Even Hugh Grant was momentarily outshone in this excellent romance film by John Hannah’s punctuating reading of W.H. Auden’s ‘Funeral Blues’. Eulogising the ceremony of his lover, Hannah read: “My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song. I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.”