Best "last days of ____" novels (or films, etc.)

I often come here with nebulous ideas or themes that I’m looking for in works, and people are generally great at helping me find what I want. Here’s the latest!

I’m looking for novels (or films, etc., but mostly novels or extended narratives) that are all about the last days of ____ - a historical movement, a period in history, a great civilization, a long relationship, a fad or cultural trend, etc. I guess I’m looking for something that’s probably elegaic in tone, and am drawn to the idea of the characters being “the last of their kind” or a holdover from the past, so that we sort of see the character lamenting the passing of whatever it is that theyr’e embodying and the book is themed around.

Some immediate examples that spring to mind are Gone with the Wind (the last days of the Antebellum south), Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (an aging butler who’s a holdover from the old days of gentility), or even the Little House on the Prairie books (the end of the frontier era).

Anyone have good suggesitons or ideas?

The Shootist, starring John Wayne, is about the last days of gunfighting in the wild west.

Similarly, The Grey Fox, starring Richard Farnsworth, is about an aging stagecoach robber adjusting to life after stagecoaches.

On the Beach by Neville Shute – the last days of the human race.

On a lighter note, there’s Michael Moorcock’s series “The Dancers on the End of Time.”

For movies, how about “The Last Picture Show.” It’s been years since I’ve seen it, but it’s kind of about the death of a little Texas town.

Or, somewhat similarly, you could check out the new Pixar movie “Cars” – about a little dying town on Route 66 and its inhabitants.

For books, check out Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages – very elegiac.

Studio 54
The Wild Bunch
The Fall of the Roman Empire
The Last Days of Pompeii
Marie Antoinette (1938)
Nicholas and Alexandria
The Last Emperor
On the Beach
Grey Gardens
The Mortal Storm

American Graffiti is about the last days of the California cruising culture of the late 50s-early 60s. The film is set in 1962.

There’s always Bulwer-Lytton’s Last Days of Pompeii, about…well, you know.

The Magnificent Seven is about the last days of being a freelance gunfighter in the Old West.

Keith Laumer’s “Retief” series of novels is about an interstellar diplomat trying to prolong/soften the fall of Earth’s galactic empire. And of course Asimov’s whole “Foundation” series is set against the fall of Earth’s galactic empire.

Andre Norton’s “The Last Patrol” is about a patrolcraft of an intergalactic patrol service that gets stranded as its command structure dissolves along with the empire.

Keith Roberts’ **‘The Boat of Fate’ ** is a novel about the last years of the Roman Empire in Britain.

Alice’s Restaurant is about the last days of the hippie generation, if you read enough into it.

The Unforgiven is also about the last days of the life of a gunfighter.

Robin and Marian.

The Lord of the Rings is about the last days of the Third Age.

The OP asked for “best” novels. If *The Last Days of Pompeii * really is the best novel about that subject, then it must be the only novel. I’ve read it. It could be the basis of a “How Not to Write a Historical Novel” seminar.

Nah, these threads always devolve pretty quickly from “best of” to “anything even remotely connected to the original question.”

As is The Shootist

As is The Wild Bunch. Seems to be a popular theme.

Remains of the Day is about the last days of a British social system centered on aristocratic gentility and founded on unquestioned assumptions.

Bright Young Things (a film based on the novel Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh) is about the same, only it deals with that section of the upper crust that prefers hard partying to hunting grouse.

The Last Days of Disco, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120728/

Pretty good movie. Possibly the best “last days of” movie about disco (but the only one I’ve seen).

Which novel about Pompeii is better?

I liked Pompeii by Robert Harris, but I haven’t read The Last Days Of Pompeii, so I can’t compare.