I was thinking recently about several movies that came out in the 1980s that have one thing in common: at one point in the movie the villain/bad guy executes one of his henchmen. This happens in:
Batman The Joker kills one of his own men.
The Untouchables Robert DeNiro as Capone, ditto.
The Search for Spock The Klingon Commander played by Christopher Lloyd kills his henchwoman/presumed lover early in the film.
Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves (OK, that was 1990s). The Sherrif of Nottingham kills his cousin.
The Empire Strikes Back Vader, of course.
I seem to also remember something like this happening in the Bond flick A View to a Kill. There was definitely something similar in Braveheart. Was it also used in one of the Robocop movies?
In all these movies it seems to serve to emphasize the bad-assery of said villain. Sort of tell the audience this is a heavy dude you don’t want to mess with.
Anyway I was wondering if this was a common occurence in movies before the 1980s but I really haven’t seen enough that are older than this to really be sure either way. Are there a lot of examples of this happening before the 1980s?