"He didn't die of old age, either. He was poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered. [...] There was a prophecy. Just before his head died, his last words were 'Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I'll be back.'"
If someone is supernaturally relentless, unstoppable, or Made of Iron, then this is the most reliable way to kill them. Related to a Self Destructive Charge and to There Is No Kill Like Overkill (in this case, there is no kill except overkill). Might be done because someone wants to Make Sure He's Dead. Sometimes the person actually does want to die, but screw it up, so it becomes a Bungled Suicide.
In video games, this is often a Recurring Boss.
The trope takes its name from a myth spread by Prince Felix Yusupov about the assassination of Grigori Rasputin in 1916. Ironically, Rasputin's Real Life death wasn't at all Rasputinian; the 1916 autopsy report (as discovered after the Cold War and reviewed by American and Russian doctors in 2002) shows that Rasputin was shot in the head with a .455 Webley and died instantly. However, his killers wanted to portray him as a near-indestructible son of Satan, so they made up an elaborate story about how he survived poison, beating, and bullet wounds only to drown in the Neva. Later embellishments by Yusupov (he thought up a new one every time he was short on money) even had Rasputin dying of hypothermia, having attempted to claw through the ice that covered him, and to top it off, when they cremated him, his body was trying to get up again as it burned.note It should be noted that the use of a .455 Webley pistol suggests it may have been a British intelligence agent, so even the real version is pretty cool.
Even with the legend having been debunked, it remains much more popular than the truth because the true story of Rasputin's death is boring, whereas the fake story is much cooler. His death is also disputed, as without Rasputin, who would beAlan Moore? Finally, the myth of Rasputin's death fulfills all five of the possible reasons listed above.
This is a Death Trope, so EXPECT SPOILERS!
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Anime and Manga
Minor villain Byakko from YuYu Hakusho is impaled, explodes, falls off a tower, falls into a pit of lava, and is finally frozen and shattered by his teammate, ironically enough. His severed, iced head then complains for several minutes.
Kazuo Kiriyama of Battle Royale got shot in the stomach with a shotgun, stood near an exploding car, took a spearhead to the eye, was shot in the face, and finally died with a shot to the neck/chin.
Gauron in Full Metal Panic! survives being shot in the head, and having his Arm Slave blown up twice. The second time, what's left of his AS falls into the ocean (Where he is attacked by sharks), but in spite of that and a case of terminal cancer he turns back up again in The Second Raid, now quadriplegic but still alive. He apparently finally dies for real after Sousuke unloads a gun into him and the entire building he's in blows up, but considering his history, some fans still have doubts.
In Fullmetal Alchemist, this happens with the homunculi. Their Philosopher's Stone powers enable them to survive being killed repeatedly.
In the case of Lust it takes half a dozen bullets, a bomb blast, entirely destroying her body by ripping out her Stone, two dozen more bullets, and being set on fire over and over to finally kill her. Which, of course, set up Roy Mustang's Crowning Moment of Awesome line, "I'll just keep killing you until you die."
Bradley/Wrath got one, what with him still going strong after being on a train that exploded, getting run through, having an eye clawed out, getting shot, nearly drowning, nearly being set on fire and having his hands blasted off. He has now finally died of blood loss, but had enough time to give a dying speech first.
It should be noted that Wrath/Bradley is the only Homunculus without any healing powers, he's just that Badass
And Envy got his Philosopher's Stone destroyed, reducing him to a little fetus... fish... thing, ate a bunch of Cyclops soldiers to grow back to his full size, then gotColonel Mustangangry, which resulted in him getting his tongue burned out, having the water in his eyes boiled several times, and being lit on fire over and over and over. And Riza shot him about a dozen times, too. After Roy burninated him back to Fetus!Envy, he gets lectured by Ed and finally rips what's left of his Stone out, committing suicide. Sheesh.
Sloth got filled full of bullets, shot a couple of times by a tank, frozen solid, and defrosted none the worse for wear; the next encounter with him saw him being filled with even more bullets, stabbed and pummeled by Alex and Olivier Armstrong, tossed around like a ragdoll by Izumi and Sieg, and eventually dying with a smile on his face from charging into a bunch of giant spikes Armstrong had made grow out of the floor. Which he had done several times already before it took.
In the 2003 anime version, Scar suffers one, surviving losing both of his arms (and as a result, a great deal of blood), and takes two hails of bullets before dying.
The 2003 anime's version of Pride is paralyzed and then incinerated repeatedly by Mustang until his body runs out of red stones (although, this was enabled by Mustang getting a hold of Pride's Achilles' Heel, something the homunculi didn't have in the manga/Brotherhood). Notably this happened in the anime's Gecko Ending long before Mustang fought Lust (and killed her in the same manner) in the manga.
Szilard Quates of Baccano!. Number of things he survives over the course of one night (most in rapid succession) before Firo finally "consumes" him: being shot dozens of times by gangsters; getting run over by his own car; being literally stabbed in the back by his disgruntled Battle Butler; getting set on fire; and having his arm sliced in two - the long way - by Firo. Okay, so he's immortal, but props anyway for taking everything up until the fire in stride.
In One Piece, it takes 267 slashes and stabs, getting shot more than 562 times with bullets and 46 times with cannonballs, pierced by a laser, a mid-battle freezing, and having half of his face melted off ON TOP of having previously refused medical attention prior to kill Whitebeard. And nothing of that would have happened had Whitebeard not been stabbed by one of his children the moment he decided he'd get in the fight.
He didn't go down without a fight, either. He was truly Defiant to the End, telling the entire world that One Piece did exist (pretty much giving the finger to the World Government before he fell). And on top of that, his Bad Ass Longcoat falls off immediately after, revealing that despite having hundreds of scars and wounds from knives, swords, and bullets, his back didn't have so much as onenote Minus one that was the result of a sword coming from the front THROUGH his back; having never been wounded there in his entire life, because he never retreated from an enemy, not evenOne. Single. Time. Honestly, given the man he was, he would have wanted it this way.
Not to mention, it's heavily implied that the only reason that was enough to kill him is that he was already terminally ill;he was usually seen hooked up to medical equipment and iv-drips while being attended to by several nurses. In his younger, healthier days, all of those insane wounds combined still wouldn't have taken him down.
Zabuza Momochi is bitten by a half-dozen dogs, his arms rendered useless, and stabbed with an armory's worth of weapons during his run on Gato before giving a tender goodbye to his loyal companion Haku. Having accomplished his goals he died apparently because he didn't have anything else to be badass at doing.
Orochimaru has his arms devoured by the Shinigami, his transfer form torn to shreds by Sasuke, and finally gets stabbed by a sword that forces him into a permanent illusion when he reappears later. This doesn't even kill all of him, as he is still alive and trying to take over Kabuto. Now he's back to more-or-less human form again, as Sasuke revived him for not entirely clear reasons. The guy just won't stay dead.
Kakuzu was stabbed through the heart twice and blown up with a jutsu that essentially killed him on a cellular level. And then Kakashi had to kill him againjust to make sure. And now he's back thanks to the Impure World Resurrection by Kabuto.
Jiraiya gets an arm taken off by a surprise attack, is stabbed in the shoulder of his remaining arm, then gets his throat crushed and get stabbed by a half-dozen metallic bars, and dies... before willing himself back to life so he can send a message before finally drowning in a lake.
Kushina gave birth, got a bijuu released from her (which is supposed to kill her), chained down Kyuubi with her chakra, got her torso pierced by a giant claw, and after that she talked, and talked, and talked some more. Then she gets sealed in her son, where she lies dormant for several years.
In Rurouni Kenshin, Shishio survived being shot in the head, doused in oil and burned. And that was just his back story. In the final battle against him, he defeats Aoshi, Sanosuke and Saito, and almost kills Kenshin, though Kenshin recovers and continues to fight. In the end, Kenshin doesn't even defeat him. Technically, Shishio defeats himself by fighting for too long, overheating due to his sweat glands being destroyed when he was burned, and then finally bursting into flames.
In Guyver Guyot used up all of his energy, had his arm and the right side of his torso nearly severed, had his zoacrystal pulled out of his brain, got a quantum black hole blast through his heart, and fell over half a mile into an erupting volcano. And then it turns out he's still alive.
Filler Villain Maki Ichinose from Bleach got sliced in half, had his sword broken, thus rendering him powerless, and yet he shows up to fight Ichigo alongside Kariya. He then gets stabbed with his own broken sword, and then gets struck by lightning, by Kariya no less.
Implacable Man Roberto from Monster is shot in the shoulder and left for dead in a burning library. He drags himself out only after everyone else leaves, with his good arm paralyzed. When he next appears he's gotten into much better shape, and eventually gets into a fight with fellow Implacable Man Inspector Runge, where he's shot in the gut but still manages to get the better of the Inspector. Runge turns the tables by jamming his thumb into Roberto's bullet wound, causing him to pass out, but only briefly as he manages to stagger to where the final confrontation between Tenma and Johan is taking place before dying.
Light Yagami of Death Note is shot several times by Matsuda and runs into a warehouse where Ryuk puts his name in the eponymous Artifact of Doom, dying of a heart attack in the middle of the stairs. This symbolizes he doesn't go to Heaven nor Hell, just nothingness after death.
Cowboy Bebop: Subverted with Spike. He gets stabbed in the shoulder, shot in the chest and thrown out of a stained glass window, yet he survives. He does take a long time to recover, though.
Happens to most of the villians of Bleach but Ulqiorra stands out thanks to his Healing Factor. He has his arm and lower half of his body torn off and most of his organs are damaged beyond repair before simply coming apart in the wind.
Yuuto Kigai goes through this in the X/1999 movie. First, he's impaled by Fuuma through the stomach with the Shinken, but that doesn't kill him. Then, he has his right arm blown off but that still doesn't kill him and he can even speak to his soon-to-be killer. Then, he's telekinetically tossed against the Super Computer known as The Beast, which causes him to be subjected to massiveElectric Tortureand also causes Beast's owner, Satsuki, to be electrocuted to death. Only then, he dies.
Rasputin pulls this yet again in the first volume of Hellboy, when he is harpooned through the chest and then incinerated and still doesn't go down completely until the eponymous big red guy crushes his still ranting and raving skull with his Right Hand of Doom. And even then his ghost comes back a few time to plot revenge against H.B. and friends.
The Big Fat Kill - Manute had previously survived everything from being knocked out of a window, getting shot multiple times, stabbed by Miho, and getting an eye torn out by Marv. Even right before his death, he survives a close-range grenade with what appears to be minor burns. He eventually dies when Dwight and the Old Town girls unload on him and his minions to the point where they are nothing but "wet chunks of meat".
Marv survives jumping out of several story windows, fights against multiple lackeys, being tortured for a bit by the women of Old Town, being beaten by the serial killer in the barn, being run over at high speeds twice, and has several rounds of bullets fired into him, and he still doesn't die after that. He also does all of this without eating, drinking, or getting any sleep for literally days. It finally takes the electric chair itself to kill him, and even then they have to shock him twice.
Further proved by Marv's last words(before being shocked again): "Is that the best you can do, you pansies?"
His target Kevin survives having his arms and legs cut off and most of his organs eaten by a wolf yet still calmly breathes till Marv saws his head off.
In That Yellow Bastard, Junior Roarke is stabbed, gets his balls ripped off, and is beaten to the point where his head turns to mush. He was probably going to die from the stabbing alone but John Hartigan reallydidn't like the guy.
In one arc, Frank Castle's fighting a mobster's insane muscular lackey. After trading punches (and shivs) with him, Frank tosses him out of a window, where he lands several stories down onto a spiked wrought iron fence, impaling him through the torso. Frank then jumps from the window and lands on the thug. Later, the thug (fence still jutting through him), stumbles towards Frank; who blasts him in the face with a shotgun. Even then, Frank has to mentally reassure himself that the next steps the guy takes are just reflexive.
When Frank later "meets" the lackey's sister, after gunning her down he makes a point of emptying the clip into her, just to make sure.
Even more ridiculous is Barracuda. Over the course of several fights, Frank stabs him, gouges his eye out, knocks out his teeth four times, cuts off the fingertips of his left hand, strangles him with barbed wire, shoots him point blank in the groin, chest, and face with a shotgun, tosses him into shark infested waters, blows him up with a claymore, fractures his skull with a wrench, bites off another one of his fingers, breaks his arm, bites a chunk out of his face, stabs him again, hooks up a car battery to his testicles for an hour and a half, shoots him with an M-60, breaks his nose, tears off said nose with pliers, cuts off his arm with an axe, shoots him in the throat and finally shoots his head to bits with an AK-47, then lights the bits on fire just to be sure.
Punisher himself spends about the entire Homeless arc dying. Still wounded from the Bullseye fight fights Elektra, getting stabbed and beaten. Then he is ambushed at his former home by the Kingpin and gets despite getting shot about a dozen times he manages to kill the thugs and then fights the Kingpin, who flees into the city where Punisher follows him and executes him, then goes all the way back to his home and dies there. Keep in mind that he is also 65 years old and has been a vigilante for about 36 years, probably having been shot and wounded probably hundreds of times during that.
Nick Fury: ''Autopsy's taking forever. I asked the coroner for a cause of death and he just laughed. He's up to eight pages of injuries with no end in sight.
The Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Jiminy Christmas, but he was a doozy to take down, and then to make him stay down: First, he was assaulted by pretty much every last surviving hero from several universes (which did dick-all); the first one to get to him was Doctor Light, who hit him with the energy of a star after he had his power drained by Alex Luthor. Then, he was poisoned by Earth's wizards, who had magically altered his minions, the shadow demons, which he absorbed to replenish his power. Then, Superman hit him with a bunch of asteroids and a moon. When he came back for more, frickin' Darkseid blasted him using Alex as a conduit, which caused the Anti-Monitor to fall into a star. When he flew out again as a ball of plasma, still screaming bloody murder, Superman finally shattered him into smithereens.
He still came back, years later, in Green Lantern Comics... it seems he's simply an integral part of his evil universe, and will be reborn even when killed for real.
Among the many, many, many many character deaths in Marvel's ill-conceived Ultimatum is Wolverine's, first having almost all his soft tissue blasted away, then having his skeleton torn apart, then having the individual cells of his last remaining bones destroyed. Considering the many gruesome injuries he had previously recovered from, almost his entire life can be considered one long, extended Rasputin death scene.
The Russian in both mainstream Marvel continuity and Punisher Noir. The Noir version especially, surviving explosions, knife wounds, dozens of bullets, and more. He eventually dies after having his arm bitten off by an alligator and catching a slug right between the eyes, but before he goes he not only kills the offending beast, he brags to the Punisher about being invincible.
From That Other Wiki, the circumstances of Amos Fortune's death: "Professor Amos Fortune had half of his face blown off in Villains United #6, surviving only to be thrown from a moving helicopter in Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special before absorbing energy and exploding in JSA Classified #16."
Rasputin himself gets another Rasputinian Death in the 1997 Don Bluth animated musical Anastasia. After the Reliquary which is the source of his power is smashed, it releases an explosion of green energy then a ball of fire comes down from Heaven and smites the screaming Rasputin, melting his flesh. His still living skeleton then disintegrates into dust and blows away on the wind. You know, for kids.
Rasputin gets one in Hellboy, when he's stabbed through the abdomen with Hellboy's horn then a dark god tears its way of him, grows to an enormous size then flattens him and his girlfriend with its tentacle. Poor Rasputin's having a very eventful afterlife.
In French movie Delicatessen, one of the secondary characters is trying to commit suicide. She rigs about four or five different things to happen (pills, hanging, a stove rigged to explode, a gun triggered to a door, etc.) but they cancel each other out through a fluke accident when her husband bursts into the room. She decides after seeing her husband that she wants to live again, only for the last of her traps to actually go off.
In Legend, the Lord of Darkness is stabbed through the heart with the horn of a unicorn, hit by concentrated rays of sunlight which is anathema to him, loses his arm and is sucked through a portal into oblivion. The end of the film implies that he has somehow survived.
Claudia Hoffman from Snow White: A Tale of Terror. Lilliana stabs Claudia's mirror which is the source of her power, causing the Vain Sorceress to rapidly age, before the mirror explodes, its shards lacerating the screaming Claudia who then catches fire and is finally crushed by falling debris.
Almost immediately after killing Boromir, the Uruk-hai captain gets a knife thrown in his leg, his arm cut off, stabbed through the chest, and decapitated.
Saruman in the director's cut was stabbed in the back by Wormtongue, causing him to plummet from the top of his tower and be Impaled with Extreme Prejudice on a water wheel, which then turned and drowned him. (In the book, he merely had his throat cut.)
When movie Denethor goes off the deep end and gets really suicidal, he first sets himself on fire, then jumps off a cliff. (In the book, he skipped the cliff part.)
The animated version of The Lord of the Rings plays Boromir's death like in the book, except we can see it happen. Four arrows land in his chest and he just pulls them out and hacks away until the exact same thing happens again; by the end he is bleeding all over and pinned to the tree by the arrows.
Ghostbusters 2: Possibly referencing Rasputin, Vigo the Carpathian (a.k.a. Vigo the Cruel/Despised/Torturer/Unholy/Butch) was over 100 years old when he was... well, see below. And his disembodied head still could give his Dying Words.
Egon: Vigo the Carpathian. Born 1505, died 1610.
Peter Venkman: 105 years old, he hung in there, didn't he?
Ray: He didn't die of old age, either. He was poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered.
Boris the Blade/The Bullet Dodger has the reputation of being simply impossible to kill. Here's what happens to him: first, he gets ambushed by three gangsters, beaten viciously, and thrown into the trunk of their car. Next, Boris is still in there while the vehicle is in a car accident. Then Boris crawls out and gets hit by a van at high speed. And after that Boris surprises everyone by showing up to a major shootout with an AK-47, only to have Bullet-Tooth Tony finally shoot him with the entire clip (plus one bullet from an earlier clip) from a Desert Eagle. At that point, Boris has finally had enough. (Also, note these events are not spread out, they happen one after another in a very short amount of time).
Tony himself is a subversion. His tough-guy credentials come from the fact that he survived getting shot six times in one sitting and still being strong enough to kill his attacker with a sword. However, a single stray bullet is enough to put him down. It's so random that the character who shot him doesn't even realize it at first.
In The Naked Gun, it appears that this happens to OJ Simpson at the beginning, but it turns out he lived. Later, Ricardo Montalban plummets to his doom, then is trampled by a marching band and run over by a steamroller. Earlier, the mind-controlled doctor gets one. While attempting to flee, he swerves his car into a truck transporting gas, escapes the explosion with half his car only to roll into a truck carrying huge missiles, escapes that explosion as well, ending up on the last missile that rolls into a nearby fireworks factory. Cue third explosion.
Mustafa from Austin Powers. He gets burned, shot, and then a second time. Its a Running Gag for the series how he loudly proclaims that he's not quite dead before being finished off. Also, Robin Swallows who is asked 'why won't you die?' by Austin himself after she is: stabbed, shot with a machine gun, shot with a bazooka, and then falls off a building (though if she really dies is uncertain). A deleted scene shows that Austin keeps her in his car trunk as a handy human shield.
Cyrus "The Virus" in Con Air gets stabbed in the foot, goes through a pedestrian flyover and falls in electricity cables before finally coming to a rest on a conveyor belt. He only dies after meeting the rock crusher at the end of it.
In Throne of Blood, Akira Kurosawa's adaptation of Macbeth, the title character takes at least 20 arrows to the chest and still tries to walk and fight, finally falling to an over-dramatic arrow through the neck.
Wez, The Dragon from The Road Warrior, takes serious damage many times, including falling from a truck in high velocity, but only dies close to the end of the movie.
Auntie's Plucky Comic Relief in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (Ironbar, played by Angry Anderson) also takes very long to die, and there's an almost totemic aspect to his survival. He's one of an apparently elite group who have a mask on a pole the rises from the back armor. He survives everything (including having the car he's in rammed by the train and explode, leaving him blackened and screaming on the cowcatcher)... until his mask is finally knocked off him, when he uses his dying strength to give Max the finger.
Quinn in Blade only dies after being decapitated by the title hero. Before that he is impaled, burned, beaten, etc.
Blitzen: Let's trample him into dust, then throw the remains of the dust to the wolves, then blow up the wolves.
Prancer: You don't like him very much, don't you?
Blitzen: Not particularly, no.
In Willow, General Kael. Madmartigan smashes his skull-mask, and Kael chases Madmartigan up a flight of stairs. Madmartigan stabs him in the chest; Kael responds by punching Madmartigan in the face and trying to strangle him. Madmartigan slashes Kael's belly, then twists the blade still in his chest. Kael does not appear to notice. Madmartigan impales him on his own sword. Kael is still on his feet when Madmartigan finally shoves him off the walkway. Even then he is still moving so Madmartigan throws a dagger into him just for good measure.
In GoldenEye, James Bond throws Trevelyan hundreds of feet off of a huge platform. Then an antenna cradle falls on top of him and explodes. (Bonus: Trevelyan was played by Boromir.)
This is the premise of Crank. The entire movie's essentially his one-day Rasputinian Death, compressed into about an hour and a half. Even after falling from an airplane, he lives, making Crank High Voltage possible. And then, he burns alive after recharging himself on a high voltage power line, gets his normal heart back inside him, which stops, and then starts again, ending the credits with him opening his eyes... again!
Amilyn the Vampire in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, played by Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman), begins to grunt and flail in an over the top mocking "death" scene when staked. Continues to grunt and flail for a minute, realises that the Slayer and his master are watching him, with disapproving looks. At the end of the film, now that his master is apparently dead and the Slayer is long gone, he opens his eyes again and starts doing his fake "death" scene again. "Death" groans continue throughout the credits.
Memnon in The Scorpion King also dies like this. He is pierced by an arrow, thrown from the top of a building and set on fire during the fall.
The creators of The Godfather film decided that Sonny had acquired a "Rasputin-like mystique." His assassins decide that There Is No Kill Like Overkill, and filled his car with machine gun fire, then took him down in a hail of bullets as he staggers from it.
Valentine from Poseidon (2006) immediately comes to mind. After dropping an already lethal distance from an elevator shaft, he falls into large impaling spikes. The elevator itself follows soon afterwards, crushing him and also somehow resulting in a very large Hollywood style explosion. Plus, the ship sinks into the ocean at the end. The scene can be seen here.
What happens to the teacher in Final Destination is a textbook example. An exploding computer monitor drives shards of glass into her throat, a trail of fire starts heading towards her down the trail of dripped vodka from her mug, and her attempt to pull down a towel drops a butcher-block full on knives into her chest. When the protagonist comes in to try to save her, to add insult to injury, a bookcase falls and drives the knife deeper into her chest. And then her house explodes.
Hades, the mutant leader from the 2007 film The Hills Have Eyes 2 is shot, impaled, brutally beaten, has chunks of his brain ripped out and only dies after getting a bayonet through the mouth (after another beatdown).
Urban Legends: Bloody Mary features a pretty disgusting version of the trope, with a character named Heather popping a pimple on her face, releasing the spiders inside it, which start swarming over her. Trying to get the things off Heather accidentally smashes her face through a mirror, leaving a big shard of glass embedded in her forehead. Somehow still alive Heather actually starts ripping her own face off, finally dying about halfway through removing it. Also, as all this is going on the spiders just keep coming, eventually covering most of the room.
Ajax from Troy takes two spears to the gut, keeps fighting, and isn't brought down until Hector stabs him with a sword. And he still gets another brutal blow in before falling.
Lust, Caution: The idealistic students gang up on a traitor who was threatening to blackmail them. They stab him repeatedly, but he still manages to walk out, so they have to snap his neck. The heroine is so shaken up she splits on the spot.
Scarface: Tony takes an improbable number of bullets to the torso and isn't even fazed, but this might be explained by the fact that he had his face buried in a mountain of coke just before. It takes a shotgun blast at close range and a fall off a balcony to finally kill him.
The Party opens with Indian actor Hrundi V. Bakshi's character dying during a shoot out scene. He takes so long to get through his death throes that the other actors end up ignoring each other and shooting at him instead. Hilarity Ensues.
In The Movie of Dead Like Me, Cameron gets this treatment. As a reaper with powerful regenerative abilities, the group has to restrain him, dismember him, burn the body parts, and load the ashes into a capsule that is subsequently launched into space.
The older brother in the Korean war epic Taegukgi ends up taking on what seems like the entire North Korean army by himself. This is after he is viciously beaten to a pulp by his own brother. His opponents take no chances and literally drown him in gunfire.
Kim Sun-Woo, the main character of A Bittersweet Life, is beaten by three men with clubs, gets hanged and punched in the stomach, has his hand broken by a wrench, gets buried alive, gets stabbed in the gut at least six consecutive times, has his ear shot off, and takes three rounds of machine gun fire to the chest. This subdues him, to be sure. But he doesn't die until a merciful gunman shoots him in the head.
Parodied unto absurdum in the Broken Lizard film Club Dread, to the point that the final shot features the killer's disembodied legs swimming after the survivors.
The villain from Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain takes a good long while to go down, including spending most of the climactic fight with a butcher knife sticking out of his chest. Hitchcock's main goal with the film was to show how hard it could really be to kill someone.
The second Kamen Rider Decade movie (well, third if you count the Den-O crossover) gives us Doras, a Kamen Rider ZO monster resurrected by the villains, apparently for the simple purpose of finally killing this guy. He's brought down by TWELVE different Kamen Riders, ten of whom were in their Super Modes, hitting him with finishers, the last being Complete Form Decade's Rider Kick.
In What Lies Beneath, it takes nearly ten minutes for Claire to drown Norman. Every previous attempt she made to kill him failed.
Buddy in Six String Samurai goes through about three separate sword fights in rapid succession, taking wounds that really ought to be fatal in each of them, before finally succumbing to Death.
In Return of the Living Dead, the medical cadaver zombie. The characters are Genre Savvy so they immediately brain it with a pick axe...which doesn't kill it. Then they saw off its head with a hack saw...which doesn't kill it...Then they slice it up into small individual pieces...which doesn't kill it. They finally have to cremate it just to get rid of it.
In a hilarious Big Lipped Alligator Moment from Me, Myself & Irene, Charlie and Irene come across a cow that's been hit by a car. Charlie shoots it multiple times to put it out of its misery, but the cow keeps raising its head and mooing. He pistol whips, strangles, and smothers the poor animal before it stops moving. The cow is shown alive during the credits.
In its debut film, the title character demonstrates its notorious "immortality", first by having its chest blown out with a rocket launcher, only for its skeletal system to rip out of its ruined body and continue to move on its own. It continues to scuttle after the protagonists, even through several point blank grenade blasts, only so much as losing an arm when one is strapped directly to its ribcage. It continues to press on until it takes a point blank shot from a BFG, obliterating the skeleton... and leaving the head to fly around and grow an entirely new body minutes later. Finally, its primary head is shot to bits, and it dies... at least until the sequel
In the sequel, Zeiram gets a sword through the forehead and its arm cut off, and heals up just fine. It then has a grenade stuffed under one of its breastplates, semi-crippling it. The heroine then shoots at it repeatedly until its limbs are severed and its mechanical head is obliterated. Its central head pops out, and gets shot off as well... just in time for the remaining portion to try and reform itself.
In The Quick and the Dead, Spotted Horse, who constantly brags that he "cannot be killed by a bullet," is proved right: he gets shot clean through the heart, gets back up, fires off several shots while his opponent reloads, takes a second shot to the forehead, then starts to get back up again before finally dying for real.
Undercover Brother. Mr. Feather is dropped out of a helicopter over the ocean. Just before he hits the water (after falling hundreds of feet, the impact alone of which would've killed him instantly) a great white shark leaps out of the water and eats him.
In Battle: Los Angeles, the first alien actually killed on-screen is given one of these. First it gets shot up by Lenihan, and falls into a pool. Then when Nantz and two other Marines arrive, the alien leaps back out of the pool, and gets drilled by all four Marines at point-blank range with about a hundred bullets before it drops back down into the pool. One of the Marines drops a grenade in the pool for good measure.
Annie Wilkes in Misery takes a bit to go down. First she gets bashed on the head with a very heavy typewriter, still alive, she gets shot repeatedly, still alive, she has burning paper rammed down her throat, look who's still in town and finally dies when she's bashed over over the head with a cast iron doorstopper. So now we know, if we're ever attacked by a seemingly indestructible force of evil, just keep a doorstopper nearby.
In Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, this is the best way to describe the death of Shockwave. He takes concentrated fire from NEST and all the Autobots, badly damaging him and leaving his eye hanging out. He still has the power to fight, even when Optimus then punches half of his side off. It takes Optimus ripping his head apart and tearing out his eye to finally kill him.
In the film adaptation of V for Vendetta, the eponymous character is shot repeatedly at close range by half a dozen gunmen and an old man with a revolver. After staggering briefly, he then goes on to deliver a short speech on ideals, kill every single gunman with short swords before they can reload, lift the old man off his feet and strangle him to death and then pass on his legacy to his apprentice before finally expiring without anyone ever knowing who he was.
In The Passion of the Christ, Jesus is beaten, first with canes then with whips that have sharp objects attached to the end, at one point having skin visibly ripped from his side. Then he is given a crown of thorns and a crucifix to carry, and heaves it up through the streets while being whipped, kicked, beaten, and hit by thrown objects. At one point, he falls and is beaten to the point where he can barely move, and another man is forced to carry the cross for him. Then he finally gets to the top of the mountain where he has nails driven into his hands and feet, and still manages to survive for several hours on the crucifix.
In True Romance, after Alabama is beaten enough by Virgil, she stabs him in the foot with a cork screw, sets him on fire with an Aerosol Flamethrower, hits his head with both a toilet lid and a bust of Elvis, and then grabs a shotgun to finish him off. And even after Virgil's dead, Alabama hits the corpse with the unloaded weapon for good measure!
Slim from House II: The Second Story. The primary villain of the film, he is obsessed with gaining the Crystal Skull... so obsessed that no amount of gunfire will seem to down him. He withstands being blasted by a revolver AND a shotgun and even continues to shoot after his entire head is blasted off! Slim is presumably destroyed at the end of the film by the mass firepower of the local police and the mansion burning down.
Slattern, the final Kaiju fought in Pacific Rim, gets a death that's drawn-out even among its (already insanely tough) brethren. Final count is: getting slashed repeatedly by Striker's wrist-mounted blades, including a few to the neck and so many to the shoulders the arms are barely hanging on, getting tricked into charging Striker just as it sets its nuke off, eating several megatons of nuclear power, getting stabbed many, many, many times by Gypsy, and finally killed by getting his chest cavity fried by Gypsy's nuclear turbine running at full power, to the point it starts coming out the other side.
In the "Evil Dead" remake, Eric's death draws out across about 45 minutes of screen time, beginning when he is stabbed underneath the eye with the needle of a syringe full of tranquilizer, continuing through his being shot repeatedly with a nail gun and beaten over the head with a crowbar and culminating when he finally succumbs to his wounds and drowns in the basement. His corpse is then incinerated with the cabin.
The Lone Ranger: Latham Cole. He falls several hundred feet, is crushed under several tons of silver, and presumably drowned if all that didn't kill him.
Planet Terror: The Rapist (played by Quentin Tarantino) is smashed over the head with a table leg, impaled in the eye by the leg's broken end, has his privates melt off from the infection taking over him, has a syringe launched into his other eye, melts into an inhuman monster, pukes up his guts, then finally is shot in the crotch with a grenade launcher. Good grief.
Pain and Gain: Minus the victim actually dying, this is what the gang tries to do to Victor. Not intentionally however; their stupid preparation results in the victim surviving each time. They try to get him drunk and crash him in his car, but leave his seat belt on and his airbag in place. They try to burn him alive, only for him to get out of the car in time. Even driving their own car over his head ends up failing.
The movie version of The Lord of the Rings was Boromir's less bad-ass last dance. In the book, Aragorn never arrived to "save" him: Boromir defeated dozens of Uruk-hai on his own before going down, with many of them shooting at him instead of just one. And there are none left standing by the time Aragorn and the others reach him. Of course, the actual scene isn't written; we just see the aftermath. Fits the trope even more in that Boromir's shield and sword were broken to pieces by the time the fight ended, indicating truly brutal melee combat amidst being shot full of arrows.
Arhys in Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls is actually dead when the book starts, but doesn't realize it (he's being sustained by magic being done by his young wife). The climax involves him riding out on a suicidal mission sustained by an amped-up version of the same spell, over the course of which he suffers several more fatal wounds and is eventually chopped to pieces.
One standard version of vampire lore (dating back at least to Dracula) says that, to kill a vampire, you need to stake him through the heart and chop his head off (not to mention filling his mouth with garlic/holy wafers). And sometimes burn the body to ashes and toss said ashes into a fast-flowing river. And in at least one version of the lore, even when all the steps are taken it wasn't really dead. A drop of blood on the ashes would reform it — stopped only by the fact that the ashes are scattered too widely.
Pratchett's vampires seem to follow the rules listed above, although to different degrees depending on the vampire. This is because on the Disc every single vampire cliché is true, but any single cliché does not necessarily apply to any one vampire, so anyone trying to kill them has to try several different ways to make sure they actually die. Vampires eventually start carrying easily broken vials of blood so they'll smash and bring them back if they're dusted, which for the ones sensitive to light as well is fairly often (especially if they work as photographers).
He has serious fun with this in Carpe Jugulum, where various subtypes of vampire have increasingly silly requirements for true death, starting at the weirdest end of the real life myths and going from there, including mention of a vampire who wouldn't die until carrots got hammered in its ears! The protagonists muse about just how much trial and error it must have taken to get it right.
The Assassins' Guild Diary cites the case of Duke Harold of Pseudopolis, whose assassin resorted to a cudgel, length of chain, pistol crossbow, dagger, poison, and ultimately to attaching the man to an anchor, chopping a hole in a frozen river's ice, and pushing him in. The Duke did die, but three months later, of a chill he caught from the frigid dunking.
In The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood, it takes cancer, a heroin overdose, and falling six stories to finally kill Zenia. Even then it's debatable — Zenia's defining trait is her ability to convince people of things that aren't remotely true, and she'd already faked her own death once by the beginning of the book.
Sven Hassel's WW2 novels. Whenever Porta and his gang from the 27th Penal Regiment decide to murder someone, there inevitably follows an entire chapter of bungled attempts which end in the victim either dying by accident or just going insane.
In Battletech, specifically Mechwarrior: Dark Age, Victor Steiner-Davion faces down the Clans and wins, fights a brutal civil war against his sister and claims victory while personally leading the charge, survives the Jihad, becomes a Paladin of the Sphere, and is finally snuffed by no less than four assassins in the dead of night. At the ripe old age of 107, he takes two with him.
In Angela's Ashes, Frank is reading about saints and decides that his favourite is St. Christina the Astonishing because she "takes ages to die".
Word of God has it that historical NecromancerBig BadKemmler suffered one of these in the backstory of The Dresden Files: In addition to magical swords, there were "guns, axes, shovels, ropes, a flamethrower, and a number of other extremes." This is after a fight with every combat-competent wizard in the world. After they killed him once, decades earlier, and it didn't stick.
Jim Butcher gives us Nihilus Invidia's death in Codex Alera: She was shot with a ballast bolt, one of which can go through two heavily armored legionaries. The ballast bolt was poisoned with two different kinds of poison: One that kills immediately and one that causes a nearly-incurable long-term infection in the wound. She was declared dead by a doctor, but her body disappeared; she'd watercrafted herself to the point where she could move despite being mortally wounded. She mentions, later, that the crows had come for her. She was found by the Vord Queen, who stuck a great big Vord parasite on her as life support. She acted as The Dragon for a while, then came up against her (ex-)husband Attis; she sliced him in half, but he burned most of her face and a good bit of her body off. A bit later, she gets into a fight with a bunch of the High Lords... and dies from being literally stabbed in the back by Amara.
In Oleg Divov's Night Watcher, the Big Bad ends up being delimbed, partly encased in cement, hit in the face with a shovel several times and finally injected with (lethal, to him and his kind) silver. The main character actually sort of pities him.
First Mate Cox in Nation takes an axe to the chest (blood loss, probable major organ damage), falls into a lagoon (drowning) and ultimately gets eaten by sharks.
Take your pick of any of the sorcerers in the Black Company novels by Glen Cook. The Limper had a building collapsed on him, shot several times by a ballista, shot full of magical arrows, beheaded, burned, and cooked in a giant pot. To make sure he never came back (again), his enemies pushed his remains into another dimension. The Dominator was buried alive, shot with magic arrows, stabbed countless times, then burned. Shadowspinner was also shot with ballista bolts then impaled on a spear and took around a day to die (and that spear was poisoned). Another case in these books was a magical wereleopard called the "forvalvaka". One fought in a battle survived that and was crucified and took days to die with some magical help. Another one of the forvalvaka took 30 or so people shooting it with poisoned crossbow bolts, and magical fireballs, plus being stabbed with a magical spear, before it died.
In Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple's contribution to the anthology The Dragon Book, The Tsar's Dragons, this happens to Rasputin, naturally. It is his Real Life death, with the only exceptions being: 1) he was pushed under the ice by dragons and 2) he had a magic charm that stopped the other attempts from killing him. Presumably because that man was stupid hard to kill.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy gives us: "You barbarians! I'll sue the council for every penny it's got! I'l have you hung, drawn, and quartered! And whipped! And boiled...until...until...until you've had enough! And then I will do it again! And when I've finished I will take all the little bits, and I will JUMP on them! And I will carry on jumping on them until I get blisters, or I can think of anything even more unpleasant to do..."
Fortunately the construction workers and bureaucrats in question are simply vaporized by the Vogon constructor fleet a couple minutes later.
The Chronicles of Narnia: In The Horse and His Boy, Lasaraleen attempts to keep a secret by threatening something like this to her servants, though considering her airhead personality it may be mostly a matter of not bothering to think before opening her mouth:
And anyone I catch talking about this young lady will be first beaten to death and then burned alive and after that kept on bread and water for six weeks. There.
Legacy of the Dragokin: Mordak is killed or exorcised three times in this book: the first time Kalak and Zarracka beat him up in the mindscape, then Kalak kissed the evil out of Zarracka (his back up body) then Kthonia scattered his physical remains into a thousand pieces with a hurricane gust. The two from the previous book brings the grand total up to five. Justified by a combination of You Kill It, You Bought It and Body Surf.
Lolita. Humbert Humbert ends up emptying a couple of magazines from his .32 automatic into Quilty, who wanders around the house mildly protesting at each bullet impact. When he finally collapses, Humbert then goes to confess the deed to some people who'd turned up for a party, but they don't believe him, especially after Quilty staggers into the room and collapses a second time, this time for good.
Walker, Texas Ranger: The main villain in the episode "Warriors," from 1998 (the fifth season, the leader of a new-age supremacist group, has created a prototype muscle man who is not only unbeatable but can withstand everything without so much as flinching or feeling any pain. The group kidnaps a genetic researcher and forces her at gunpoint to share her secrets of "rapid healing" DNA (which she intends to use for good) to perfect his prototype. In the meantime, the man-mountain has beaten Walker and Trivette to pulps, No Selling being shot more than 10 times and Walker's powerful roundhouse kick. In their final fight, Walker is clearly losing against the muscle man, when the researcher shows up to finally throw flammable liquid and a flask in the warrior's face, finally allowing Walker an opening to kick the stunned warrior (who is enveloped in a ball of flame) into an oil field and to his doom. The bad guy's ultimate goal was to clone the prototype and create an army capable of overthrowing the world's governments and — in ruling the world — creating a reign of terror unmatched even by such real-life villains as Ghengis Khan and Adolf Hitler.
Mikhail "Patchy" Bakunin, from the third season, is zapped by the sonar fence, only to come back a few episodes later. In the season finale, he is shot in the chest with a harpoon gun, then comes back to life minutes later, only to die while blowing open an underwater window with a grenade.
Martin Keamy, the main villain of season four, as well. He is shot in the back four times, stabbed in the back once, and only dies after being stabbed repeatedly in the heart.
Juliet is trapped by heavy chains, falls hundreds of feet down a shaft, detonates (or not) a nuclear bomb right next to her... and only dies in the next episode.
Lorenzo "Happy" Morales from the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "Ending Happy". The drugged-up ex-boxer is fed seafood to which he is allergic, causing his throat to close up. He's then shot through the throat with a crossbow, allowing him to breathe again. He goes to attack someone, who hits him with a crowbar (hard enough to leave an impression). He's later injected with snake venom, and staggers off to rest on a chair by a swimming pool. The chair collapses under his weight and drops him into the pool, wherein he finally drowns.
In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy", the "Six-Way Killer" kills the same man six different ways. It was nothing personal. He was trying to distract attention from another murder.
On Soap, Peter Campbell was killed this way — stabbed, shot, strangled, suffocated and bludgeoned.
In the Firefly episode "War Stories," the death of Niska's torturer. He gets beaten up by Mal, shot several dozen times by Jayne, Wash, and Zoe, knocked off a railing, bounces very painfully off a steel girder, hits another girder, then gets sliced in half by a giant drill-saw, and then gets dumped into a pit of something very glowy and unhealthy-looking. We're fairly certain he's dead.
Parodied in a sketch in British Comedy show The Two Ronnies. The sketch is a court room gameshow in which the defendant is accused of murder. When asked about the particulars of the crimes he responds that the victim was poisoned, strangled, shot 10 times in the back and stabbed fifteen times in the chest and that the conclusion of the police upon finding the body was that "he was dead".
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Dischordia's death. It takes the finishers of Ninjor, the Shogun Megafalconzord, and the Shogun Ultrazord to kill her.
Gekiranger / Jungle Fury had some very complex, multiple-strike finishers consisting of several finishing-class attacks that seemed just overkill on the poor monster. One of them consists of each attack knocking the monster back into the air in order to be hit by the next, over and over, with warmup humiliation before the Megazord arrives for its super punch attack, and more individual Zord finishers after. Mind you, the only one to receive its maximum fury was the strongest Phantom Beast General, who'd proven Nigh Invulnerable all episode. And as there were two episodes to go in the season, he survived even all that. Still, you had to feel sorry for the Monster of the Week types who got to eat at least most of it.
Akudos Gil, the final boss of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, takes an even worse beating than Doras. The complete rundown:
Attacked by the Gokaigers using past teams' Super Modes, including Silver using anotherFinishing Move (one that draws upon the power of 15 past heroes, no less). All this really manages to do is destroy his sword.
Finally, when he's still standing after all this, the team straight-up shoves their BFG into his gut and fires it point-blank, which finally finishes him off. At this point, their initial worry that Akudos is still alive is completely justified.
The Body of the Week of the Castle episode "Pandora" was found shot, stabbed, strangled, and with a pencil shoved into the side of his neck, before having been thrown out of a fourth floor window to the ground below. Quoth Castle, seeing the body: "Gives new meaning to the term, 'overkill.'"
The finale to the first season of Black Adder, Prince Edmund is strapped to a device that will have "..a spike will go up your nethers... shears will cut off your ears... axes will chop off your hands... the coddling grinder... Then these feathers will tickle you under whats left of your arms." Though he actually survives the ordeal and does not die (immediately) from these wounds.
In the Sliders episode The Exodus, Professor Arturo has his brain fluid sucked out, is shot, and then is finally left behind on a planet which subsequently explodes. Apparently the actor portraying him didn't get along well with the producers.
Subverted in Torchwood: Miracle Day. A magic spell means no human on Earth can die but can still suffer injuries. A particularly gruesome scene shows the still twitching remains of a suicide bomber. The walking dead all die at once when the spell is lifted.
The Sopranos has an ambiguous example in the Russian mobster from "Pine Barrens". After seemingly getting his throat crushed, he turns out to still be alive. After seemingly getting shot in the head, he simply disappears into the Pine Barrens. Paulie even compares him to Rasputin, but it's never known what happens to him or if he even dies of his injuries.
Smallville's Jason Teague is shot, dropped off a cliff, takes a beating in his fight with Jonathan and Martha Kent, and finally dies when a meteor hits him.
The Eagles' "Hotel California" includes the eerie line, "They stabbed him with their steely knives/but they just can't kill the beast," which some rock critics contend is a reference to Satan and, by extension, an implication that Satan can't be stopped or defeated, regardless of what's tried.
Boney M's Disco song, Rasputin, mentions his end. Unfortunately it does not mention that he died of drowning, ending with Rasputin merely being shot 'till he was dead.
Ra, Ra, Rasputin Lover of the Russian Queen! They put some poison into his wine! Ra, Ra, Rasputin Russia's greatest Love Machine! He drank it all and said, "I feel fine!"
In the video for the Type O Negative song "The Profits of Doom", a rasputinian character played by singer Pete Steele proves remarkably hard to kill, surviving poison, only to be shot at the end of the video.
Rose Connelly in the Murder Ballad "Down In The Willow Garden". No explanation is given for why the singer found it necessary to poison her wine and then run her through with a sabre. It's not clear whether she was thrown in the river just to hide the body, or if he was hoping she'd drown as well.
The Celtic folksong "The Sick Note," based on a monologue by Gerard Hoffnung, is about a bricklayer who falls off a fourteen story building, surviving numerous amusing injuries on the way down.
The traditional song "John Barleycorn" looks like it's about this at first - poor John Barleycorn is buried alive, left out in a field until midsummer's day, has his legs cut off at the knee, is stabbed in the heart by pitchforks, tied to a cart and rolled round a field, flayed by being hit with sticks, and finally ground between two millstones. However, the last verse reveals it's about the harvesting process, and John, who's now become brandy, "proved the strongest man at last".
Older Than Feudalism: In Greek Mythology Hercules (or Heracles in Greek) suffered such a fate, likely as there was no real other way to kill somebody like him. He donned a garment contaminated with the poisoned blood of the Lernaean Hydra; for anyone else it would have proved fatal but instead Hercules suffered excruciating agony as it tore apart his body. Even as skin peeled from bone, he managed to build himself a funeral pyre by tearing down trees and ordered his companions to set him ablaze. Apparently being burned alive hurt less than the poison.
Just as a general idea of how horrifically painful and potent the blood of the Hydra is: when one of Hercules' poisoned arrows nicked the immortal centaur Chiron, it left him writhing in agony (because the poison couldn't actually kill him) and begging Hercules to end his life. Because he was one of the few good Centaurs, Chiron was then lifted to the stars by Zeus as a constellation (either Sagittarius or Centaurus, depending on whether you're listening to Ovid or not).
Ajax the Lesser, a "hero" (today we'd probably call him a war criminal) from The Trojan War, died this way too. Good riddance. Poor Cassandra...
In Kalevala, Untamo tries to murder Kullervo, a young boy, without much success. First, Kullervo is put inside a barrel which is thrown into the ocean, but when Untamo returns three days later, he finds Kullervo alive, fishing. Next, Untamo orders the construction of a pyre and attempts to burn Kullervo - the pyre burns for several days without Kullervo getting hurt at all. Untamo attempts to hang Kullervo, but Kullervo survives this as well.
English folklore states that a wizard must be killed three times before they die for good. Prescribed methods are generally stabbing, impaling, and then drowning. This is invoked with the death of Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film (stabbed, impaled, drowned), and possibly with Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ( cursed, poisoned, insta-kill spell, fallen off a tower).
As with wizards, some European folklore has it that vampires must be killed multiple times for it to stick. To start with, you behead the corpse and stake it to the coffin so that it can't rise. If you want to go the extra mile, you can bury it under a crossroads (the idea is that the traffic keeps the ground compacted) or burn it.
In Ars Magica Gruagachan have the power to remove their souls from their bodies and hide them in small objects. Mechanically, this results in them suffering Warping in place of Fatal or Incapacitating Wounds. Certain Infernalists (with access to Incantation and Consumption) have access to a spell that has a similar effect.
Zapathasura, the antediluvian founder of the Ravnos clan in Vampire: The Masquerade. When White Wolf killed him off as part of ending the Old World of Darkness, his death came about from first fighting a trio of elder vampires for three days and three nights, having a magically boosted nuclear bomb dropped on him and then finally by being exposed to super-focused sunlight beamed directly at him through satellites controlled by the Ancient Conspiracy. And even then it took several hours of direct exposure (most vampires wouldn't last more than a few seconds) to do him in. It should also be noted that he was the weakest of the thirteen antediluvians.
In the Operation: Rimfire Mekton adventure, Lord Dremmond's death scene description is, and I quote: "Tough as nails, he gets one dying speech" (followed by a twenty-seven lines such speech) before any PC can finish him off. That would be not a Rasputinian Death but a vanilla Final Speech, were not his death in the middle of a frantic close-quarters battle with the whole Rimfire flight crew gang-banging him with all sort of weapons, including lightsabers, in an alien spaceship full of monsters about to be psychically awakened by him — which really gives the PCs no reason at all to cease fire until well after he is Deader than Dead. Which every group of players, routinely, does. After that, he detonates a hard-radiation nuke. And survives.
In Dungeons & Dragons, and more generally in games that use a hit point mechanic, high-level characters often survive a series of horrific traumas any one of which should be fatal - anything from being dropped off a 200-foot cliff, to being squashed by a falling block of stone, to being eaten by an enormous monster.
Just as one example, going by the rules as written: It's possible for a character to fall from orbit, with no special protective equipment (or any equipment at all, actually), land on the ground, and pick himself up and walk away, bruised and probably not feeling so great, but still completely able-bodied. Assuming minimum damage is rolled, this is technically possible at level 1. Though there -is- an inversion of sorts, especially early on, noted as the 'Massive Damage' rule. If you hit a single enemy with one attack for fifty or more hit points of damage, the victim must make a roll to save versus Instant Death.
The tarrasque can be slain only by inflicting enough damage to kill it (despite its extreme regeneration and epic DR), then using a Wish or Miracle spell (essentially, invoking a Deus ex Machina) to make it stay dead. Even nuking its corpse doesn't work, because it will revive inside a week without the Wish.
and in 3rd ed. it takes getting it down to -30 hit points to kill it in the first place (rather then the -10 it takes to kill most other things)
Subjects of holy word and its sister spells dictum, blasphemy, and word of chaos suffer an escalating series of effects based on the difference between the caster level and the subject's hit dice. If the difference is ten or more, the victim is deafened, blinded, paralyzed, and killed instantly. One would have thought the last one would have been enough.
The vampire lord requires a variation of this, specifically in disposing of the body so it can't regenerate. You have to behead the creature, cremate the head and body separately, scatter the body's ashes over running water, immerse the head's ashes in holy water, and bury the immersed ashes in holy ground... and a vampire lord can recover from even this, though not without help.
The backstory for Dogs of War character Borgio the Besieger survived several increasingly over the top attempts on his life, eventually being killed in the bath with a toasting fork.
An even more outrageous rasputinian death was Vlad von Carstein. He survived being chopped up with his own magical sword, being impaled on a dozen lances and being decapitated by a lucky cannon shot. His eventual demise only occurred after the Grand Theogonist of Sigmar threw himself and Vlad off the battlements in the siege of Altdorf, landing on a moat of sharpened stakes. Even then, Vlad only dies because Manfred stole his reincarnation ring. Otherwise he probably would have just shoved the Grand Theogonist off of him and continued fighting.
Any GURPS character with Supernatural Durability can theoretically take an any amount of punishment before dying. Short of a weapon that vaporizes them in a single hit only one very specific method (e.g. a metal spike through the heart) can ever actually kill them.
Many heroic characters in Warhammer 40,000 can take unbelievable amounts of punishment. Especially characters with the "Eternal Warrior" trait, which makes them immune to the Chunky Salsa Rule.
Marneus Calgar and Darnath Lysander each have a whopping four wound points, which, combined with the aforementioned Eternal Warrior rule, means they can each take at least four hits from heavy artillery before going down.
Commmissar Yarrick has a rule where if he loses his last wound, he has a 2/3 chance of getting up again the next round. As opposed to every other 40K example, he's but a humble guardsman (meaning he's an unmodified Human) pushing into his early 80's/late 70's. He's able to shrug off a hit that would permanently put down Marneus Calgar, the guy with a rule called God of War, and the Avatar of Khaine, the Embodiment of an actual God of War. And all of this is supposedly through sheer determination and nothing else.
Old One Eye has a similar rule. It's the most powerful in third edition, where he automatically regenerates one wound per turn (as oppose on a 4+ on a D6) and could stand back up if he was killed. He is drastically toned down for the new release.
St. Celestine is supposed to have died dozens of times before finally being nuked. In game terms she can stand back up within a couple of turns.
Many newer characters possess a version of this rule. One of the first outside of Celestine was Chaplain Grimaldus of the Black Templars, although he had to pass a leadership test each turn or his will gave out and he would collapse. Justicar Anval Thawn takes it to the extreme, being able to come back from anything in the game and can continuously test for it even if he fails the first time around. This is very useful as, unlike the other examples, Thawn can claim objectives and so is a bane to the opponent during Objectives games.
Possibly the very, very best version of this is the old 3rd edition version of the Fallen Dark Angel Cypher, who has a god looking out for him. When he loses his last wound and fails his armour save, Cypher gets a 4+ invulnerable save... On a 3d6. It will only fail on the roll of three 1s, a 1/216 event. The remaining 215 times he simply vanishes, still alive and kicking, and the other side gets no victory points for killing him. It doesn't matter what you throw onto him; the odds of it actually doing something to Cypher is very low indeed. By the lore, Cypher has survived at least one Exterminatus (killing every last living organism on an entire planet) and vanished tracelessly from a cell in a Black Templar battle barge.
In Malifaux this is what many people ascribe to Leviticus, except he turns up later alive. Subverted however because Leviticus really does die every time he claims its Only a Flesh Wound; missed his heart/the body can stand to lose that much blood/intestinal removal isn't fatal. This is because he's somewhat worked out the secret to eternal life, specifically eternal respawning. In game terms he will die every other turn, and reappear at the end of the turn he died. He can be permanently killed but it requires a lot of work to setup.
In the Pathfinder Adventure Path Reign of Winter, you actually get to fight the man himself. You have to kill him three times in a row before he finally kicks the bucket. Naturally, this will likely involve a lot of stabbing, shooting, poisoning, clawing, burning, freezing, and/or electrocution, etc... depending on your party.
Claudius in Hamlet gets stabbed with a poisoned sword and then forcibly fed poisoned wine. In the Branagh adaptation, a Falling Chandelier of Doom also lands on him.
Clarence from Richard III is another Shakespearean example: He's stabbed several times before being drowned in a barrel of wine.
Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman constantly tries to kill himself by intentionally crashing his car and sucking on a gas pipe, but he always survives. He eventually succeeds with one last car crash.
Luca Blight from Suikoden II. Took two armies; yours and his own conspiring against him; then riddled with arrows (killing his horse), fought three times (by three different combat parties), riddled with arrows, riddled with arrows again, and then fought in a duel. Only then does he die. He is probably the most shining example of #1.
In Saints Row 2, the Boss of the Third Street Saints fights Mr. Sunshine, second-in-command of the Sons of Samedi. After beating him, he gets up after being shot. The Boss shoots him again, and Sunshine gets back up again. This results in the Boss yelling "For fuck's sake, just die already!" and unloading a pistol clip on Sunshine, then cutting off his head and throwing it into a meat grinder.
Liquid Snake crashed a burning helicopter, got shot in the face with a bunch of Stinger missiles, had a giant walking tank explode around him, fell several stories from the top of the wreckage, was riddled with hundreds of bullets from a machine-gun turret, crashed and flipped over his Jeep, and finally died when a genetically tailored disease stopped his heart (either instantly or for several minutes, depending on whether one is talking about the original or the remake). And he still LIVES ON, through this ARM! Except not really, but it's somewhat tantamount to his incredible resilience that nobody questioned it.
Let's not forget Vamp.
Oh, and Big Boss: Had the crap beaten out of him by a professional boxer with super powers and enough strength to punch through concrete walls, electrically tortured by said boxer, then his eye was shot out, he fell down a waterfall into a river, where he nearly drowned, and later took on the boxer again, said boxer riding a nuclear tank, and his own mentor. 6 years later, he survives being caught within ground zero of the ignition launch sequence of the rocket booster of the ICBMG. Four years after that, Big Boss then managed to survive being electrically tortured at least nine times, three of the shocks even being significantly heightened in frequency. 31 years later, he faces his son in combat, taking several missiles to the face, before a nuke detonates his own fortress. He survives, rumoured to be a quadruple amputee, and is burned to death a few year later. MGS4 elaborates his past: he survived in a coma, went through surgery to replace about 50% of his body, and was in perfect working order only a few days later.
Then, at the end of the fourth game, he shows up again, perfectly healthy. He's just that awesome. Then he dies of FOXDIE, but manages to endure before expiring in 15 minutes, despite being in pain from a viral-induced heart attack.
Zagi in Tales of Vesperia. Granted, Yuri and Estelle don't really do that much more than fend him off the first time he's encountered, but the second time he fights the party, he's thrown off a boat, jumps back on, then is left on when it explodes. Amazingly, he survived to interrupt the finals of a tournament to get at Yuri and show off his new mechanical arm. After overloading the Blastia with magic, his arm basically overloads and explodes. Then he shows up again for another round to destroy Yuri's party at the warship, and literally sprays himself with poison perfume to kill Yuri. He appears to finally die after he gets thrown off of another boat several times after he tries to get Yuri. Amazingly, Zagi survives yet again and makes it into the final dungeon because he's still not done. After the fifth battle with him, Zagi is almost shutting down, but he ultimately dies by falling to his death into a near bottomless pit...after being slashed across the chest by Yuri. The party was probably just as sick of seeing him as the player was.
Forcystus, Desian Grand Cardinal of Tales of Symphonia, should qualify too. At the beginning of the game he is caught in a point blank explosion, tough for anyone to survive. Later in the game, he fights the party and once defeated, falls backwards into a reactor. He promptly shakes it off and meets the heroes again on the way out and is only finally killed after Lloyd stabs him in the chest.
Mass Effect 2 starts with the Normandy being destroyed by a Collector cruiser. The Normandy gets blown apart while Shepard is still the only person left on board, but being thrown out of the wreckage by a huge explosion is not as bad as the space suits air supply being shredded and the air tubes ripping. However, that's not what killed Shepard, who then started to fall towards the nearby planet to burn up in the atmosphere. And then impacted on the planets surface. S/he gets better, though.
More so than that, the medical scans shown during the montage of the resurrection process and Miranda's own labnotes reveal that that Shepard's body endured exposure to vacuum, the heat of reentry (likely mitigated due to their hardsuit's shields), exposure to subzero temperatures on the planet surface, as well as an impact that left most of Shep's skeleton shattered.
On the Unlimited Blade Works route, Archer loses most of his mana and gains a nasty arm wound from a duel with Lancer, and then breaks his contract. This normally means he would fade away from mana loss, except he has a class ability that lets him stick around for another three days. That's reasonable. After a day of mana leakage he gets into a fight with Shirou and gets impaled. Then Gilgamesh shows up and he gets impaled about twenty times MORE and a piece of the building collapses on top of him. Everyone assumes at this point he's gone. He shows up during the final battle a day later to rescue Rin and give the killing blow to Gilgamesh. And he still has enough time left to have a conversation with Rin before the Grail being missing removes any last anchors he has to the world.
Lancer has this kind of death himself in Unlimited Blade Works, he is ordered by his master Kotomine to kill himself, which he does in spectacular fashion by stabbing himself in the heart with his Noble Phantasm, he then kills Kotomine with the same weapon before being brutalized by Shinji and only resists when Shinji threatens Tohsaka, he finally dies by lighting his funeral pyre and takes a whole castle with him.
Berserker's Noble Phantasm, essentially 12 1-ups that each have to be removed in a different fashion, more or less makes this trope obligatory for him. It's subverted in two of the routes, but his death in Unlimited Blade Works, charging down at Gilgamesh as the latter kills him over and over with a never-ending Storm of Blades, counts.
His death in Heaven's Feel is also spectacular. After being consumed by the Shadow and spat out as a blind, crippled version lacking its defensive Noble Phantasm, Shirou obliterates an eighth of its body with eight simultaneous attacks. That still isn't enough to kill Berserker, so he jams his sword through the heart.
Shirou experiences one over the course of Heaven's Feel. After losing his left arm and receiving Archer's as a transplant, the strain on his body causes it to start breaking down. His body's attempts to heal by replacing damaged tissue with blades just serves to injure him even further, and use of his magecraft causes parts of his brain to break. By the end of the story his body is barely alive, and in the Normal End his Self Destructive Charge destroys what was left.
Lisa Trevor in Resident Evil is shot multiple times with not effect before voluntarily jumping into a bottomless pit. Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles reveals that she survived that, and takes multiple rockets to the faces and a fallen chandelier before getting blown up with the rest of the mansion, which she presumably did not survive.
Post G-Virus William Birkin in Resident Evil 2 has to be killed multiple times, but keeps coming back in a stronger form until finally being killed for good at the end. The B scenario requires the player to kill him two extra times, then another time in the extended ending, followed by a cutscene in which he dies yet again, presumably for good this time.
There's also Nemesis in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, who has to be killed at least twice being completely destroyed, and it is possible to kill many more times before that.
Happens in Resident Evil 5 to Wesker. Rocket blows up in his hand, overdosed on his meds, falls from a high-altitude aircraft, whatever you do to him in the boss fight, immersed in lava, two simultaneous rocket launchers to the face. Probably qualifies as overkill, but, then again, there was no body... note Word of God claims the missiles finally did him in. Though one does wonder, seeing as what it took to kill Albert, what exactly it will take to kill off his perfectly immortal "brother" Alex Wesker.
Rachel from Revelations qualifies to an extent: she gets eaten by an Ooze, mutates (it's debatable whether or not she's actually dead, seeing as she'll talk to you), gets shot with more bullets than almost any other monster in the series can handle, and then comes back repeatedly in the game (she appears quite a bit in Hell mode) where she will withstand a ton more damage. She's presumably killed when the entire ship explodes.
HUNK is of the Nikolai variety: he's known in-universe for being constantly being sent into extraordinarily dangerous situations and returning completely unharmed. His teammates aren't so lucky.
Simmons in Resident Evil 6 relentlessly goes after Leon and Helena after Carla injects him with enhanced C-Virus via a J'avo. He finally meets his fate after getting impaled on a pillar, but not before surviving five boss fights, getting run over by a train, falling off a skyscraper into a fireball, rockets, helicopter fire, exploding barrels, and multiple electrocutions by lightning.
Ustanak, the Spiritual Successor of Nemesis, also counts. Getting crushed by debris, fall from the helicopter, drilled by mining drill machine, crushed by falling electric pole, even getting dunked by lava doesn't stop him to relentlessly chasing Jake and Sherry.
On the gameplay side of things, just about any video game character, from Mooks to Big Bads to the main characters have deaths like this, considering just how much ammunition/magic/sharp pointy objects you have to pump into them in order to bring them down. Specially if unneeded.
Arguably the case for most Fatalities in Mortal Kombat and its long line of installments. Some examples from the 2011 reboot:
Kratos' fatality sees him stabbing the enemy's gut, causing their insides to start falling out. While the opponent tends to their wounds, he stabs them from behind, and slices their entire upper body in half.
Freddy Krueger's finisher has him teleport and stab the enemy from behind, then proceeds to drag them down to hell. And blows them up in a large, bloody geyser.
This is commonly referred to as the "Johnny Depp Fatality."
Sub-Zero, in a combination of two of his older fatalities, rips the enemy's spine out, freezes the body in place, and shatters them with the aforementioned spine.
Johhny Cage (similar to SZ's example above) decapitates the opponent with an uppercut, and then rips their headless torso off.
In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni's Watanagashi-hen, Keiichi gets his head smashed in with a mondo rock, is supposed to get nails hammered into every joint in his hands (probably followed by a Satoko-style crucifixion), does get stabbed outside his house, and what does he finally die from? A heart attack once it's all over.
''Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories gives us Zexion who in his final moments gets sliced through, fights a battle, and is sliced through again with the power of light by Riku before being finally betrayed and having the darkness sucked out of him by the Riku Replica via a chokehold.
Ridley gets this treatment in Metroid Prime. After you finally get his health to zero (which requires dozens of super missiles or charged plasma beam shots, or a hundred or so regular missiles) he gets blasted in the chest by laser-shooting Chozo statues and falls over the edge of the Artefact Temple into a huge crater. He comes back in Metroid Prime 3, where he gets beaten by Samus again and falls into the bottom of a several-hundred-meter-deep pit. He gets better, though, and you have to fight him again later in the game.
Ridley is more of a case of Joker Immunity than anything else; he's survived at least 3 potential "deaths", finally dies at the fourth known one, but then gets a clone which survives two potential deaths in one game before the clone is eliminated. They include (in Canonical order):
Metroid/Zero Mission - Missiled to death
Prime - see above; and he also ends up shot by several eyelasers from the temple's statues, before being knocked over and then exploding.
Prime 3 - again, stated above
Super - Depending on the player, the first time 'round he's either badly wounded, relatively unhurt, or somewhere inbetween, but has his ass thoroughly handed to him later on. It should be noted that this is his canon death because his remains were still on Zebes when it blew up, so he couldn't be remade. The Ridley in the next two games is a clone of him.
Other M - The clone survives a battle, but has his Life Energy sucked out in a second battle.
Fusion - Finally dead (maybe), but still fought in X form
And he was planned to be in Metroid Prime: Echoes as well, either possessed by the Ing or clad in his own version of the Dark Suit.
In Yggdra Union, at the end of chapter 8: You fight Gulcasa and injure him severely. Luciana or Aegina, whoever is still alive, comes running out to cover him. When she goes down, Gulcasa awakens Brongaa and you beat him down again. He still refuses to die quite yet, and heads stubbornly for the altar where he's supposed to complete the Ritual of Soul Unbinding, where you have to pound him to death's door A THIRD TIME (the characters hang amazed lampshades on Gulcasa's sheer determination here) before he finally actually dies. The man is a true Determinator.
Max Payne gives this treatment to Jack Lupino after beating him at the end of Act One of the game.
Max Payne: When Lupino finally went down, I wanted to make real sure he'd stay that way. V was a bad monster, turned them into freaking zombie demons from outer space.
In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, which is set in the near future, we learn that Dracula was finally killed for good in 1999 by Julius Belmont. What did it take to finally end ol' Drac? First, he needed to be challenged and defeated, like in many previous Castlevanias. Then, Julius sealed the holy Vampire Killer whip inside Castlevania, to weaken Dracula's power over the castle (which is the symbol of his power). And finally, Castlevania itself was sealed within an eclipse, to keep Drac's soul from ever reaching it again. It worked, though Drac reincarnated all the same. This time as a good guy, though.
Noble six gets shot, beat up, blown up, and can spend most of the game on the edge of death depending on how good the player is; and by the end, Six is responsible for the death of multiple army battallions. In cutscenes, (s)he takes it about twenty times worse: (s)he gets tossed out of a spaceship, trapped in a downed aircraft, impaled bodily, and attacked by a plasma turret (in the open, no less), among other things. Given the numerous injuries the player sustains in gamplay and out, it's no small wonder that it takes an entire platoon of elite warriors to kill him (or her)...while (s)he's alone and dying in the desert. Even then, (s)he's impaled twice in the gut and decapitated before (s)he finally stops fighting.
Also, given that Emile gets impaled from the rear and then snaps the neck of the alien who did it while he's being held in the air, and can be heard heavily breathing over the radio for several minutes afterwards, he might count as well.
In the second fight with Dogadon in Donkey Kong 64 (see at the end of this video), it dies pretty damn spectacularly. First it gets punched backwards into the wall, then flies up, has a sort of Technicolor Death with light coming out from the boss at all angles and falls into lava head first, eventually coming up again while on fire, then sinking back in with it's hand going down last with smoke coming from it. Possibly a Family-Unfriendly Death.
Adam Jensen from Deus Ex: Human Revolution gets thrown through a pane of really thick glass, smashes into a heavy computer frame (with glass shards still stuck in him), nearly strangled to death, then shot in twice in the head for good measure. That's just what we see; apparently, after getting shot, the heavily damaged wall behind him fell on top of him due to the fact that the building he was in was also on fire (strangely, this actually saved his life, as it protected him from the flames and the fumes). He survives, but has to become a cyborg.
An E-Book you can find in one of the LIMB clinics says that, even after going through all that, Jensen only needed one arm replaced. The other arm, two legs, vital organs, and retractable sunglasses were "requested by employer".
In Crisis Core, Zack Fair fights off tons of army guys, all armed with guns when he only has a sword; after being shot full of bullets, he still manages to give Cloud his Final Speech.
Ōkami gives us Shiranui. The start of the game makes you think she died from one of Orochi's attacks, but later it's revealed that she was instead impaled by a... thing... and then took a boulder for someone. Ōkamiden reveals that between these two she was frozen, and after all this it takes an extremely powerful attack from the game's Big Bad to finally finish her off. Gods sure are hard to kill, and even after all this she managed to get reincarnated 100 years later.
Attempted on JoshuaGraham, or as he's better known, the Burned Man. He survives (among other things) a hanging and at least five .308 rounds from NCR snipers on different occasions. Then, having failed Caesar and the Legion at the Battle of Hoover Dam, he's covered in pitch, lit on fire, and thrown into the Grand Canyon. It doesn't work.
Using V.A.T.'s reveals that Graham has a damage threshold of 50 (with a natural threshold of 35) while the strongest power armor only gives a threshold of 28, making Graham harder to kill than a Brotherhood of Steel Paladin or a Deathclaw. He's also apparently immune to chems and drugs so feels constant agony from his wounds and still keeps going.
Even Graham is absolutely nothing compared to Frank Horrigan, the Enclave's walking super weapon from Fallout 2. The only real way for the player to inflict decent damage on him is to repeatedly shoot him in the eyes with the Gauss rifle, while up to five of your companions also unload their weapons him. This will usually fail. However, you can also reprogram the seven minigun turrets in the room and convince a squad of four Enclave soldiers armed with the most powerful guns in the game to help you. Meaning Frank's death will almost certainly consist of nineteen targets firing on him simultaneously with the most powerful weapons in the entire game until finally he goes down, likely after being shot thousands of times. Apparently, this isn't enough. So he gets shot more, torn apart, and finally nuked, with whatever's left of him sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
In Haunting Ground, Lorenzo, the game's final boss, is put through a rock crusher, thrown into a pit of lava, comes back as a flaming skeleton, before finally disintegrating into dust. Not to mention all of the previous times you could have kicked him, laid traps for him, or sicked the dog on him.
Not only that, but all of this happens with the wound caused by being impaled, before the game started, by the Sages, who had then sent him to the Twilight Realm. This wound is also the only vulnerable area of his Beast Ganon form.
Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is no slouch either. First, Link fights him and delivers enough sword-strikes that Ganondorf coughs up blood and collapses. Then his entire tower collapses with him on the roof, leaving nothing but bits of stone debris. He survives that, and transforms into Ganon. Link fights him, slashes him in the back many times, and finishes it off by cutting up his face and stabbing deeply into it. And he still doesn't die, being instead sealed away.
In Wind Waker, to show he's been Killed Off for Real this time, he gets stabbed through the head, Taken for Granite, the tower you fought him on collapses, and the ocean rushes in and buries him under miles of water. We don't actually know for certain which of those steps really did it, either.
Really, just about every RPG end boss that goes through multiple forms before finally going down (read: almost all of them) qualifies for this trope.
In Danganronpa, the mastermind, Junko Enoshima, goes through all 6 executions shown throughout the game in a row, and is only killed by the final one. What's more, she actually seems to enjoy the experience, up until the last blow, which is delayed, much to her annoyance.
Earlier, in the fourth chapter of the game, the class trial concerning Sakura Oogami's death is complicated by the fact that although they were bashed over the head not once but twice, by two different people, neither of those injuries was the cause of death.
Hades in Kid Icarus: Uprising takes a truly staggering amount of punishment before he's dead for good. After having his heart destroyed a few chapter earlier, Hades doesn't even slow down aside from a quick whimper. In the final battle, he gets the wound from his chest shot open even further, gets cleaved in half at his waist, gets his head blown clean off from having his most powerful attack turned back on him, and still seems to be in perfect shape after having regrown all his limbs. It takes the gun from the most powerful weapon ever made filled to the brim with the power of the goddess of light, a Wave Motion Gun beam that completely obliterates his existence, to finally finish him off. And if the Easter Egg you get for waiting after the credits is any indication, he's still alive in some form, waiting to reform.
In Neverwinter Nights 2, Shandra Jerro is already suffering from blood loss due to spilling large amounts of it on purpose to free several fiends from their summoning circles to weaken the mage controlling them. The mage catches up with her, impales her with an ice spike, sets her on fire, and blasts her with eldritch magic. She still has enough breath to reveal to the mage that she's his granddaughter before she expires.
Drakengard 3's intoners are so resilient, they can handle being stabbed by their kryptonite multiple times. Even then, there's a fairly good chance of them being resurrected. This may have to do with the fact that their true combined form is a Grotesquerie Queen, one of which was the leader of the eldtrich abominations from Drakengard 1. Five manages to get up after being stabbed repeatedly by a dragon-forged sword, four doesn't die instantly from the first three charged slashes, three gets the Wicked Witch of the East treatment from her own summon and survives, two survives getting blown to bits from a dragon fireball (in Ending B?). One is probably the least resilient of the intoners, but she makes up for it with her eldtrich-infused dragon bodyguard, which was mutated by her into a nigh-unkillable beast. Zero herself is literally unable to die without the right conditions, but her resurrection tool eats away at her sanity and risks Armageddon, hence her desire to destroy it.
Though a Rasputinian Death did convince her daughter, it wasn't quite enough◊ to get Dr. Narbon Sr. (Although it's hinted she has a lot of clones for just that purpose. Like when she "helpfully" supplies her own head in a box to an assassin later to show her employers.)
Red Mage: I have disposed of the zombie dragon's remains in the ancient ways. His bones I scattered and broke before I buried them. His head was buried upside down at a cross roads. I added the upside down part as an extra precaution. Black Mage: Ideally, this is how we would deal with all of our enemies.
Sene'kha Vel'Vloz'ress is stabbed by her sworn enemy, captured by another clan, imprisoned with her arms in chains and legs in solid rock, given to said sworn enemy, beheaded, and set on fire. The Kyorl'solenurn clan does not fool around when making sure nether summoners stay down.
Sene'kha's mate, Kess'sen, was horribly difficult to kill. He was set upon by nagas, but fought through them, then survived a manabomb, was stabbed twice, took a blast of fire dead-on, released his seed to be taken over by the demon, and had his head sliced open by Kiel'ndia's chain weapon. Hopefully, the chain weapon did the trick.
Dellyn in Goblins survives being impaled on a rusty sewer pipe during a duel with Thaco. While recovering from that wound, he's tracked down by Forgath and Minmax, but manages to offend them by describing his 'hobbies' in great detail. In the bar brawl that follows, he's thrown through a window, pummeled, set on fire with lantern oil, smashed over the head with a table, and finally killed when his slave stabs him repeatedly in the neck with a broken sword.
In Genocide Man Joey shrugs off several sarin-tipped railgun darts (of course Genocide Men are immune to most toxins and the darts are too small to do much damage), so Jacob electrocutes him with a pair of mistuned railguns at point-blank range several times. When that doesn't kill him Jacob drags him to a nearby river and holds his head underwater with his boot until the crocodiles show up. And then the neurotoxins saturating Joey's flesh killed the crocs eating him so what was left got buried under a mound of dead reptiles. The sequence starts here and concludes 15 pages later.
Sidney Crosby in Survival of the Fittest, who managed to survive multiple gunshot wounds long enough to prove a vital distraction before biting it for good (after being shot a further few times).
Rick Holeman was shot in the chest, stabbed, and then all but hacked to pieces, and STILL had enough strength left to deliver a few last words before he finally died.
Anderzel in the Season 6 finale of Mindcrack Ultra Hardcore. In order, he is: shot, stabbed, set on fire, attacked by dogs, partially drowned and stabbed again.
Though it isn't actually a death, Freeman's Mind invokes this at one point. Gordon complains about all the abuse he's suffered trying to escape, listing all the ways he's been injured up to that point, and follows it up by directly claiming "Rasputin wasn't this lucky!"
Red vs. Blue: the Meta survives Tex's landmines, multiple knife wounds, various other explosions, Tex punching him, multiple gunshots from a variety of weapons, slashes from Tucker's Energy Sword, and four point-blank shotgun blasts from Sarge... before (apparently) dying from being pulled off a cliff by the Warthog's tow cable. He does have advanced body armor, but Wash, in the same armor, still only managed to get through the landmines, punching, and a few gunshots before being seriously out of it.
A real humorous one on behalf of The Angry Video Game Nerd, with the Winter Games cartridge as the victim during the review of said game. After reading the back label, which says, "Do not store in extreme temperatures, do not immerse in water, do not clean with benzene, thinner alcohol or other such solvents, do not hit or drop cartridge, do not attempt to disassemble." Not only does The Nerd does all of the above in a montage, he burns the cartridge inside his fireplace.
Averted in Don Bluth's Anastasia by Rasputin. They leave out nearly everything that was done to him. He just drowns after falling through the ice. Since he sold his soul for the power to kill Anya in the first place, he gets trapped in Limbo after the curse fails to kill her, which makes him a living corpse that is prone to falling apart, although undead and indestructible. But he dies if you break his reliquery, which is made of glass and is quite easily breakable.
Chef's infamously over-the-top death scene in South Park.
Also of note is the scientist's suicide in the homeless episode, where it takes NINE SHOTS to kill him.
This is after making a noble speech, of course. And the implication is that he didn't die of his wounds directly, but from a complete drain of energy (he used the last bit to destroy an ancient artifact that could predict the future).
A Robot Chicken sketch features a man trying to shoot a pursuing werewolf. The werewolf tells the man that he can only be killed by a silver bullet. The man's response: Whipping out a chain gun and blasting the werewolf with it long enough to only leave behind a thick red paste which the man shovels into a bucket, pours gasoline over, sets on fire, snorts the ashes like cocaine, shits it all out, and flushes it down the toilet where we see the inner workings of a sewage treatment plant going to work on the remains.
The Giant Chicken from Family Guy. frequently does this and survives, in one instance his neck snapped, he got impaled on a 10ft tall rusty piece of metal, blasted and essentially cooked by twin space shuttle engines and finally getting caught in the center of an oil rig explosion. And its implied that he's still alive.
Pointed in a Gamesradar article, the Disney's Snow White Evil Queen's death: Struck by lightning, fell from a great height, crushed by a boulder, and then eaten by vultures.
And if some comic serials are anything to go by, she still survived.
Clone High did this hilarious in their Tonight Someone Dies episode, when Ponce de Leon, serial litterer, is Hoisted By His Own Petard: His wrists are bound by beer-can holders, his skin is slashed by razor-sharp candy wrappers, a plastic bag flies onto his head, he slips on some garbage, and finally drowns in a bag full of his own blood.
Invoked and subverted in The Great Mouse Detective. Rattigan couldn't decide which crazy supervillain execution method to use on Basil, so he uses them all! Subverted in that Basil survives, managing to get the many traps to disable each other and even set him and Dawson free.
There's an urban legend about a man in France who attempted suicide by simultaneously hanging, poisoning, shooting, and burning himself. All on a steep cliff above the sea. The attempt failed, when he shot himself in the head while jumping off, and the shot missed his head and instead ripped through the rope, causing him to fall into the sea and survive, which not only put out the fire but also made him spit out the poison he had swallowed earlier. He was then rescued by a fisherman - but then died of hypothermia. Snopes tracked the first version of the tale to forensic literature of the very late 19th century. Interestingly, in the first versions the man actually survives.
A joke, probably based on the above, ends with the punchline, "Then he had to swim as hard as he could to save his life."
You poor, poor fools. I'm still here! Mwahahahahahahaha...