Action movies where the black guy is the first to "go"?

Its a well known cliché that in science fiction, horror, or adventure films - the sole black character meets an early and untimely end. I am sure this rule even has a name somewhere because it is so widely held.

The problem is, I can’t think of any specific film where this happened. I suppose all those bad 1980’s slasher movies are now a collective blur in my memory. Yet there are enough second hand references to this in comedy, spoofs, and other sources that few people seem to doubt that the rule holds true.

I remember that one of the first marines to die in Aliens is black. However,a couple white marines die around the same time, so it probably dosen’t count.

In From Beyond, one of the first people to really die is black, IIRC.

Maybe one of the cops in ** Dawn of the Dead ** who dies in the beginning is black?

Actually, the black guy was one of the two who live in Dawn of the Dead. Same with the other two Romero zombie movies (although he does end up getting it in the end of Night.)

It’s been my experience that the black guy usually lives up until the very end, and then gets taken out by the monster. Cook (and in some sense, Childes) in The Thing, that one guy in Predator, Earnie Hudson in Leviathan, the vietnam vet in From Dusk till Dawn…they generally last a good while, but get taken out towards the end. You’re right about Aliens, but in all the other Alien movies, the black guy is one of the last (if not THE last) to go. And, although he survived, LL Cool J’s character in Deep Blue Sea gets attacked at the very end. One more person dies after him, but still…it was grituitous.

Not an action film, but the first two victims in Scream 2 were black.

Actually, I thought of Deep Blue Sea as soon as I saw the thread title.

LL Cool J riffing on ‘The brothers never live through these things.’ was great.

That’s interesting. I remember when I saw Predator many years ago, that I thought, “I know those two nerdy white guys are gonna be the first to go.”

“The Edge.” This movie is only a few years old. A plane carrying Alec Baldwin, Anthony Hopkins, and harold Perrineu crash in the Canadian wilderness. Perrineu bites it that same night. Literally. A bear eats him.

First guy to go in Jurassic Park 3 was black.

Jurrasic Park 1, the dude in the opening sequence.

I it’s true that black characters in horror films rarely survive, especially when there’s only one black character in the film, but I think the the widely accepted “Black Guy = First to Die” rule is just an exaggeration of this fact made for comic effect.

I think the major exceptions to the minority death rule come when you have two black characters (as in Deep Blue Sea) or when most or all of the cast is black. (Rare, but there are a number of examples of horror films with all or mostly black casts.)

I was about to name two films I thougt were true exceptions to the rule (A black character survives despite being the only one in the film.) then I realized they weren’t exceptions at all.

Damn, but I just can’t think of a single genuine exception!

I think this phenomenon was also mentioned in Scary Movie.

I have a feeling that it is just a joke. Sort of saying “Whites control the movie industry…that’s why the blacks always die first!”

Of course 90% of movies a white guy dies first but whatever.

But I would think that since it was such a small cast, the death of the white pilot would count as the first one. And I think Harold Perrineau was added as almost an after-thought (at least, it seemed that way to me) so the filmmakers could show the vicious nature of the bear. The film, really, was just about Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin.

I thought it was a great movie, though. One of those “hey! it’s on again. I think I’ll watch it” movies you’ve seen fifty times.


I was going to say Anaconda – Ice Cube survives – but then I realized I can’t remember the characters who died in the first half of the film, so I could be wrong.

In The Matrix, the first two characters to get blasted by Joe Pantoliano were black. Tank recovered, but poor Dozer was goners.

(And I was relieved because Tank was a cutie!)



The two black guys survive. In the director’s commentary on the DVD it’s mentioned that most of the audience (i.e., the white crowd) won’t pick up on this.

They weren’t really worth remembering anyway.

That final fantasy movie.

The term is “tragic mulatto” or somesuch…

In the Jet Li film “The One”, one of the two trans-dimensional super cops chasing the evil Jet is black (actor Delroy Lindo). While he is nowhere near the first character to die in the film he is the only one of the major characters to be killed.

Nope, “good” Jet Li’s wife gets smoked by “bad” Jet Li, and before Delroy, too.

Bad, Jet Li, bad!

Nope - he wasn’t killed until after the plane wrecked. The white mercenary was killed as they were taking off.

…that’s not what "tragic mulatto means at all.