From Avengers: Infinity War to Lord of the Rings, some of the most iconic movie franchises have characters making dumb decisions that result in others getting killed. These characters may be beloved and have the best of intentions, yet death and destruction can be traced back to a choice they previously made. Films rely on a story struggle for the characters, but these ten dumb decisions made the struggle much more difficult.

Since the rise of narrative movies, characters have been making ill-conceived choices across genres, galaxies, and multiverses. There would often be no movie without some person making a dumb decision. This list celebrates ten of the most dimwitted choices that have led to others getting killed and, consequently, some of the most iconic scenes and stories in film history. While these characters’ choices may have resulted in death, their dumb decisions live on forever.



10 Star-Lord Attacks Thanos In Avengers: Infinity War

One of the most controversial and frustrating scenes in recent blockbuster history is when Star-Lord attacks Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. The mighty Avengers had Thanos in near-submission, but after Star-Lord learns that Thanos killed Gamora, he enters a blind rage. Star-Lord’s anger overcomes his better judgment, ruins the group plan, and essentially leads to Thanos taking over and erasing half the population, including Star-Lord. Thanos’ victory is seen as Star-Lord’s fault. Some may argue Star-Lord’s reckless behavior was all part of a larger plan to defeat Thanos, however, this means the plan anticipated that Star-Lord would make a dumb decision that put others’ lives in danger.

9 The Mayor Keeps The Beach Open In JawsThe mayor in Jaws

The mayor in Jaws ignores warnings to close the beach not once, not twice, but three times. After two shark attacks killed a young woman and boy, Amity Island’s Mayor Vaughn still insists the beach should stay open. The mayor’s refusal to take action is influenced by money, a reason still relevant for any politician today. Mayor Vaughn’s explanation surpasses the healthy suspicion of a great white shark and dives into the dumb, deep end of financial greed. The beaches are finally closed after three shark attacks that resulted in at least three deaths. Jaws establishes that while sharks are dangerous, a politician’s stupidity can be just as lethal.

8 Captain Smith Ignores The Iceberg Warnings & Maintains The Ship’s Speed In Titanic

In Titanic, the only thing thicker than the iceberg is Captain Smith’s skull, as he refuses to listen to repeated iceberg warnings. The supposed unsinkable ship’s downfall wasn’t just the iceberg, but Captain Smith’s hubris to reach New York City in record time. Due to the captain’s determined yet careless choice to maintain the ship’s speed, the Titanic hit an iceberg, leading to over 1,500 people drowning. While what really happened to Titanic’s Captain Smith remains a mystery, the movie establishes Smith chose to drown with his ship, yet no amount of water can wash away the shame of his dumb choice.

7 A New Park On Isla Nublar Is Opened In Jurassic World

The Jurassic Park franchise relies on dumb decisions. Part of the audience’s enjoyment is seeing how repeated plans to revive dinosaurs can go horribly and violently wrong. In Jurassic World, opening the new park on Isla Nublar is especially moronic and delightful because of the documented past public failures to tame dinosaurs. In Jurassic World, the dumb decisions are amplified by rich business people seeking to open the park and guests choosing to visit a park filled with violent prehistoric creatures. The dinosaurs in Jurassic World wreak havoc on the tourists and once again make the audience question if the wrong species went extinct.

6 Saving Private Ryan In… Saving Private Ryan

Several wounded soldiers look on in Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan is an epic war film showcasing courage, strength, and a dumb decision at the core of its story. The 1998 Spielberg drama follows Captain John Miller and seven soldiers on a mission to find and rescue Private Ryan during World War II. The question brought up by viewers and the soldiers rescuing Ryan was: why so much sacrifice for one soldier? Saving Private Ryan is one of the best war movies ever made, but the journey to save Private Ryan results in the deaths of many more soldiers, and while well-intentioned, even Private Ryan agrees it was a waste.

5 Reading From The Necronomicon In Evil Dead

Jane Levy in Evil Dead (2013) Photo Sony

The Evil Dead franchise is a horror cult classic and a prime example of what not to do in a scary movie. While many scary movies show young people making bad decisions, the 2013 Evil Dead remake takes irrational behavior to new heights when Eric reads from the cursed book, the Necronomicon. Eric is so curious to read the book that he cuts the barbed wire encasing it, ignores the all-caps writing on multiple pages that warn to leave the book alone, and proceeds to read aloud the evil incantation. Eric’s actions led to many gory deaths, but reading a new language aloud is nevertheless impressive.

4 Pippin Alerts The Orcs By Dropping Balin’s Body In LOTR: The Fellowship Of The Ring

Lord of the Rings Mines of Moria

Hobbits are understandably not worldly travelers, but in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Pippin Took’s foolishness drags the fellowship down to a new low. Like a child tempted to touch everything, Pippin makes the baffling choice to twist the hand of Balin’s corpse. The corpse falls down a well, and the sound echoes and alerts every orc in Moria. Pippin puts his friends in danger as they must escape from hundreds of orcs. Consequently, Gandalf sacrifices himself for the others’ safe passage through Moria. Gandalf’s fitting last words to Pippin are, “Fool of a Took! Throw yourself in next time and rid us of your stupidity!

3 Kane Is Allowed Back On The Ship With A Facehugger In Alien

Facehugger From Alien 1979

Alien is considered one of the best sci-fi horror films in existence, yet the space crew would not have had to endure any aliens if they simply kept Kane in quarantine. Against Ripley’s wishes, the rest of the crew brings fellow member Kane onboard while a sinister alien facehugger is gripping his head. By allowing Kane back on the ship, the team welcomes their own demise as the alien eventually bursts through Kane’s chest and wreaks havoc on the ship. Some may view Kane’s return onboard as part of the android Ash’s diabolical plan, yet why the rest of the crew accepted this choice is as mystifying as outer space.

2 Obi-Wan Leaves Anakin Skywalker Alive In Revenge Of The Sith

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Revenge of the Sith

In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan has the upper ground, yet he does not have the foresight to see that allowing Anakin Skywalker to live may come back to haunt him. Obi-Wan left Anakin as a defenseless, amputated body in a state of seething anger. At best, the Jedi Master’s decision was illogical, yet leaving Anakin to suffer can also be seen as equally cruel. Leaving Anakin’s burning body alive resulted in Darth Vader, the Death Star, and hundreds more galactic deaths, including Obi-Wan’s. Anakin predicted Obi-Wan’s mistake and ultimately viewed his Jedi Master’s mercy as a flaw. Obi-Wan’s actions prove that ignorance can still be found in a galaxy far, far away.

1 Killing John Wick’s Dog In John Wick

John Wick playing with his little dog.

Hundreds of deaths, shootouts, sword fights, and stairway falls can be traced back to the death of John Wick’s dog in the original John Wick. John Wick’s return to an intricate crime syndicate and deadly international battles started with a couple of Russian gangsters breaking into the wrong house and killing the wrong man’s puppy. Iosef Tarasov, the primary gangster who killed John Wick’s puppy, can be credited with setting off hundreds of violent deaths all in the name of vengeance. Tarasov’s choice in John Wick was dumb, lethal, and a reminder to never hurt an animal.

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