Top 5 “Taking Out the Trash” Sequences
A “Taking Out the Trash” sequence is a montage of dead people or people being killed across a span of time and locations. These scenes are most commonly identified with gangster films. They are the point in a gangster flick where lots of people/trash are getting whacked/taken out. I’m gonna count down these great movie montages showcasing murder and mayhem (for your viewing pleasure).
Honorable Mentions: I will only look at movies for the main list, but here are two examples from other media.
The Prison Hit; Breaking Bad: Of course a great crime TV show has an amazing “taking out the trash” scene. The protagonist, Walter White, orchestrates the assassination of ten prison inmates confined in three different prisons, all in under two minutes! This two-minute scene is glorious. White’s plan works perfectly, and a whole lot of prisoners get shivved, beaten and burned.
Vanessa Fisk’s Revenge; Daredevil Underboss: This “taking out the trash” sequence spans a double-page spread in the comic. Vanessa Fisk, the grieving wife of the Kingpin, goes on a vengeful killing spree against those that attempted to murder her husband. The sequence starts with the cold blooded eyes of Vanessa Fisk getting closer, leading to the two page spread of the failed assassins getting their just desserts. This scene marks the moment where Vanessa Fisk changes from a supporting character to a major player in the Daredevil storyline.
Onto the list:
#5. The Baptism Scene; The Godfather: This is the “taking out the trash” sequence most people have seen and can easily recognize. The death rate is high, and the killings are creative and important to the story. We get to see the duplicitous nature of the new Don of the Corleone family as the sequence cross cuts between grizzly murders and Michael Corleone attending the Baptism of his nephew/godson.
#4. Layla Scene; Goodfellas: A great “taking out the trash” montage where no one dies on screen. All the trash is shown post-kill, including two guys who end up in a garbage truck. The entire scene is accompanied by the song “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos. The soulful piano riff contrasts perfectly with the images of death constantly thrown at the viewer. It’s one of my favorite scenes in my favorite crime film of all time.
#3. Rise of Bejo; The Raid 2: An amazing action sequence that also works as a great “taking out the trash” montage. So many different settings and creative kills are utilized in this scene: we are introduced to the playful murders perpetrated by Baseball Bat Man and the brutal bashings brought forth by the sexy Hammer Girl. Heads are bashed in, people’s necks are torn out with hammers, and a guy gets a pickaxe through the head. It takes place in an underground train, a warehouse, and a cornfield. If you like your “taking out the trash sequences” to burst with blood and energy, than watch this movie.
#2. Finale of The Godfather, Part II: The Godfather may have had a higher body count, with quicker paced killings, but all three deaths in The Godfather part II’s “taking out the trash” sequence carry more weight. The three victim’s final moments will haunt your memories long after the film has ended. The victims in the second film play bigger roles and get more screen time than the trash wasted in the baptism scene. These characters have deaths that range from tragic to brutal. The death on the boat in particular is one of the most beloved scenes in the entire Godfather series.
#1. The End of an Era; Casino: Scorsese brings his style in full force with this film. This “taking out the trash” scene boasts the highest kill count involving well known characters; very bloody and brutal deaths that span across many locations, throughout a wide period of time; House of the Rising Sun by The Animals plays in the background; and it builds up to a moment foreshadowed earlier in the movie. We see the downfall of the Mafia’s influence in Las Vegas through cold and unforgiving murder. This is the perfect “taking out the trash” sequence.
Coming Up: My home is San Francisco. Any time I see a movie that takes place in SF I get skeptical of its inaccuracies or end up enjoying it more because of the recognizable settings. Many classic crime films have become staples of SF and I plan on watching five of them throughout the month of April.
Written by Tyler Ducheneaux
Images from Daredevil #69, Darwyn Cooke, Breaking Bad, Casino, The Godfather parts I and II, The Raid 2, Goodfellas