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Bungled Suicide / Film

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  • The movie Better Off Dead features multiple attempts by the central character to kill himself, all of which fail spectacularly (and hilariously).
  • The movie Folks has Tom Selleck trying to aid his elderly parents in their suicide attempts only for him to receive a series of comical injuries in the process instead.
  • Happens twice in a row with Winthorpe in Trading Places: first, he lifts his gun to his head and it fails to go off (but does fire when he throws it away), and Ophelia and Valentine save him after he takes a bunch of pills. In both cases, the aftermath is Played for Laughs.
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  • In The Man in the Iron Mask, Porthos gets depressed and believes he has nothing to go on living for. He kisses the tavern girls goodbye and goes into the barn to hang himself. Naked. You hear a big thud, and Porthos swearing. Aramis knew he'd try to commit suicide and sawed through the beam. ...Then the barn collapses on him, since Aramis sawed the wrong beam (he lives).
  • Happens in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. After a failed stint at SeaWorld, Ron tries to hang himself over a fluorescent spotlight. It collapses due to his weight.
  • Happens once in Final Destination 2. Eugene tries to shoot himself in the head, but all the bullets fail because it wasn't his time to die yet. He dies later in the film of an explosion after mass equipment failure and bad luck at the hospital.
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  • Happens again in Final Destination 4, George tries to off himself multiple times later in the movie, but fails for the same reason. He gets killed by an ambulance exiting a hospital.
  • Groundhog Day: Phil kills himself on a few occasions during his "Groundhog Day" Loop, but he keeps waking up in that damn bed and breakfast.
  • The Narrator in Fight Club. Although it could be argued that this was less a Bungled Suicide and more a successful murder.
  • Jude Law's character in Gattaca attempted suicide after the "accident" (which may or may not have been attempted suicide in itself) that crippled him. But he eventually did succeed after the main character, who had taken over his identity, finally got to go into space.
  • Franz Liebkind in The Producers at one point breaks down and attempts to shoot himself. His gun doesn't fire, and he figures it's jammed. In the remake, he then drops the gun... and it goes off.
    Franz: gun clicks "Ach, when things go wrong!"
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  • In the fratboy comedy Bachelor Party, a supporting character, despondent over his girlfriend dumping him, tries to slash his wrists... with an electric shaver.
  • Harold in Harold and Maude repeatedly attempts (apparently fake) suicide attempts, usually involving Rube Goldberg-style complicated processes.
  • In the final third of The World's End it's revealed that Gary had tried to commit suicide some time before the movie by slitting his wrists.
  • Stanley Moon in Bedazzled (1967), feeling like a failure, unable to even talk to the woman he pines for, puts a noose around his neck, steps off a chair - and the pipe he's tied it to promptly snaps, dribbling water over him and making him out to be a total failure.
  • Steve Carell's character in Little Miss Sunshine comes into the film fresh out of one of these.
    "So that's when you tried to kill yourself?"
    "Yep. And I failed at that as well."
  • Subverted in the film The Quiet Earth:
    • Zac Hobson did go through with his suicide attempt and did end up walking away from it at the start of the film. The subversion lies in the fact that he walked away because his suicide attempt was successful; he was at the moment of death, which protected him from the Event that wiped out most of humanity.
    • At the end of the film, the exact same thing happens when he attempts to make a Heroic Sacrifice to avert a second Event. He fails.
  • Woody Allen's character in Hannah and Her Sisters, despairing over the meaninglessness of life, tries to shoot himself with a rifle, but is so nervous and sweaty, he slips and misfires. He later finds a reason to go on watching a Marx Brothers movie.
  • In Taxi Driver, after the final shootout, Travis tries to shoot himself, but all of his weapons are out of ammunition.
  • Nick tries to kill himself in The Invisible, but it fails because of his ghostly state.
  • The Saw films:
    • It is revealed that John Kramer, having been diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor, attempted to commit suicide by driving off an embankment. His car was trashed, but he survived, and the incident gave him more appreciation for the time he had left. On the downside, this same incident also inspired him to become Jigsaw, out of a desire to help others gain a new lease on life just as he did, by having them play his "games".
    • The first movie also contains a subversion: Jigsaw's first victim was a man who slit his wrists in an apparent suicide attempt, but Jigsaw argues that he never intended to kill himself and was merely seeking some attention.
  • In the Harold Lloyd short Never Weaken, the main character tries to kill himself by tying a rock to himself and jumping off a bridge into a river. He lands in the river, to discover that the water is only ankle deep.
  • Herbie the Volkswagen in The Love Bug actually tries to leap off the Golden Gate Bridge. He's partially saved by the fact that his wheels won't let him climb the railing very easily, giving his owner time to reach him, so this is also something of a Interrupted Suicide.
  • Richie in The Royal Tenenbaums cuts his wrists after learning the romantic history of Margot, with whom he is in love. Complete with Important Haircut and some great music.
  • In Bringing Out The Dead, the main character — a paramedic — responds to a suicide attempt where the victim has sliced his veins horizontally rather than vertically, thus ensuring that he's got plenty of time to be healed. Since the main character is going through something of a nervous breakdown at that point, he merely uses this as the starting off point for a rant in which he instructs the surprised and now-terrified victim how to do it correctly next time.
  • Averted in Valkyrie: in Real Life General Beck botched his suicide rather painfully, and had to be finished off by a sergeant. Removed from the film to prevent the touching final scene becoming comical.
  • In S.O.B., Felix Farmer makes multiple attempts to kill himself only to have each of them unintentionally thwarted. He ultimately ends up committing Suicide by Cop almost accidentally.
  • Chuck of Cast Away tries to commit suicide by hanging when stranded on an island, but he does a test run with a dummy and the tree branch snaps. He later says that was the moment when he hit rock bottom — he couldn't even die on his own terms.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • At the end of Thor, Loki lets himself fall into the abyss below the Bifrost after his father Odin rejects his actions, but The Stinger reveals that he survived the fall despite his family's expectations.
    • In The Avengers Bruce Banner mentions that he tried to kill himself by putting a gun in his mouth, but "the other guy" just spat the bullet back out. This is also a reference to a deleted scene from The Incredible Hulk, where you actually see the attempt.
    • Near the end of Captain America: Civil War, Zemo attempts to kill himself after Black Panther decides not to kill him for revenge on the death of his father in the bombing of the U.N. meeting. Unfortunately for Zemo, Black Panther stops him Just in Time, and he ends up going to prison for the crimes he committed, including framing Bucky for the U.N. meeting bombing.
  • One of the main characters in Cosy Dens (Pelíšky) attempts suicide by gas poisoning. Problem was that the oven he had put his head into was electric oven.
  • Played for Laughs in the Korean film adaptation of the manga Antique Bakery. Min Seon-woo, after having his love confession to a male classmate rejected and a cake shoved in his face, attempts to hang himself in his home and fails miserably. This happens in the opening credits.
  • In Series 7, a terminal cancer sufferer named Jeff is selected by lottery to compete in a Deadly Game reality show. As soon as he's given a gun he tries to blow his brains out, but it isn't loaded. Later on, towards the end of the film, Dawn and Jeff agree to shoot each other, in essence committing suicide. Dawn dies, but Jeff falls into a coma, then later, to his horror, wakes up.
  • In Skyfall, Big Bad Silva's Start of Darkness happened when M sold him out to the Chinese, who tortured him for months. Silva then used his Cyanide Pill but it didn't work, horribly disfiguring his jaw and teeth. He then dedicated the rest of his life to getting revenge on M.
  • In the Buster Keaton film Hard Luck, Keaton's character tries to commit suicide but has no luck at it. For instance, he once saw approaching headlights and put himself between them for the car to hit him, only to learn that it was actually two motorcycles running along side by side and avoided him easily.
  • A character in Detox is revealed to have stuck a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger, but only succeeded in blowing a hole in his cheek.
  • In Kill Your Darlings, Lucien Carr attempts to hang himself in a jail cell with his sheet, but the knot undoes itself.
  • A Scanner Darkly: Charles Freck tried to commit suicide by taking a bunch of downers with some wine. He fails, hallucinating a rather... bizarre experience, and is eventually seen at New Path. In the book, he never appears again after the suicide attempt, so he may have succeeded.
  • Seong-yeun tries to kill himself by jumping off a bridge in Castaway on the Moon. Instead of drowning, he finds himself washed up on an island in the middle of the river, under the bridge. A Robinsonade commences from there.
  • In Mermaid, Alice has one leg over the side of the bridge when Aleksandr pushes by her to jump. She jumps in after him and saves him. Later, Aleksandr attempts to get hit by cars, but Alice again saves him.
  • In a flashback to Teddy Daniels' war service in Shutter Island, Daniels, who took part in the liberation of Dachau concentration camp, found the camp commandant tried to shoot himself, but failed. Daniels moved the gun away to prolong the commandant's suffering.
  • In Home Room, Deanna discovers Alicia's suicide attempt scar on her wrist when attempting to take off Alicia's glove. It is implied she did it after her baby died.
  • Manchester by the Sea: Almost immediately after being told by the police that he's free to go home following the deaths of his kids, Lee grabs a gun from a nearby officer and attempts to shoot himself in the head. However, he can't fully pull the trigger because the safety is still on, and several more officers end up tackling him to the ground before he can successfully remove it.
  • In Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night, Henrik tries to hang himself, but fails to do so.
  • Man on Fire: John Creasy attempts to shoot himself in the head with a pistol after he goes through a spell of depression and drinking while remembering his past, but the bullet turns out to be defective and doesn't go off. He's so surprised that he checks the gun and ejects the bullet, then calls his buddy up about it, who reminds him "a bullet never lies." It's actually enough to convince him to keep living.
  • D-Tox: Jaworski attempted to eat his gun but failed: shooting out his cheek and leaving him with a jagged scar down one side of his face.
  • Vampire's Kiss: Peter tries to shoot himself with a gun that only has blanks.
  • The Lost Weekend is about an alcoholic wannabe writer. When he's confessing his bad habits to his girlfriend, he mentions that he bought a gun and bullets to kill himself on his 30th birthday, only he ended up pawning the gun to buy more booze, instead.


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