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Every Michael Bay movie, ranked by body count

If there’s one thing Michael Bay is known for, it’s the wanton violence and gratuitous explosions he slaps up on the big screen. In addition to excessive violence, extreme Dutch angles, and a thumping soundtrack, a key component in “Bayhem” is mass death. Every Michael Bay movie has at least one death, but some are far more kill-happy than others.

His newest film, Ambulance, debuts on April 8, and from the trailer alone, Bay seems to be continuing his trademark of depicting graphic deaths on a massive scale. But just how much death has Bay wrought in his three-decade career? Here’s a definitive ranking of his entire filmography, from the lowest body count to the highest. Please note that some of these are approximate numbers, as Bay’s movies have so much murder and mayhem going on, it’s hard to keep track.

14. Pain & Gain - 2 bodies (2013)

14. Pain & Gain - 2 bodies
45 %
Genre Crime, Action, Comedy
Stars Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie
Directed by Michael Bay
If you needed proof that movies could be incredibly violent even without that many kills, you need look no further than Pain & Gain, which features plenty of fights, blood, and gore, but keeps its body count pretty low. Following the lives of a small gang of bodybuilders who decide to kidnap a rich man to make some quick cash, the movie does feature a couple of deaths, but it’s mostly just a joyride through Los Angeles featuring a few insanely ripped men.
Pain & Gain Official Movie Trailer

13. The Island - 12 bodies (2005)

13. The Island - 12 bodies
50 %
Genre Action, Thriller, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou
Directed by Michael Bay
Perhaps Michael Bay’s most forgotten film, The Island tells the story of a futuristic society where citizens vie to be sent to the island, a utopian paradise untainted by the world’s problems. There are some twists along the way, but this is another Bay movie that keeps the kill count relatively low. There are some prominent deaths, to be sure, but none of the gratuitous violence that defined the later stages of his career.
The Island - Official® Trailer [HD]

12. The Rock - 17 bodies (1996)

12. The Rock - 17 bodies
58 %
Genre Action, Adventure, Thriller
Stars Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris
Directed by Michael Bay
Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery both make it out of The Rock, but there are more than a dozen poor souls who do not. Most of those people are minor characters who are either wiped out by Ed Harris’s rogue squadron or are a part of that squadron. In spite of the massive threats on display in The Rock, though, the body count stays fairly low, at least by the standards of Michael Bay.
The Rock (1996) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

11. Bad Boys - 30 bodies (1995)

11. Bad Boys - 30 bodies
41 %
Genre Action, Comedy, Crime, Thriller
Stars Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Téa Leoni
Directed by Michael Bay
The movie that helped put both Bay and star Will Smith on the map, Bad Boys has its fair share of kills, although the movie doesn’t feature the wall-to-wall action that would come to define later films in Bay’s filmography. Here, the deaths are largely confined to a few key sequences featuring the movie’s villain, and the climactic action sequence in which a number of nameless henchmen are dealt with in short order.
Bad Boys (1995) Official Trailer 1 - Will Smith Movie

10. Bad Boys II - 63 bodies (2003)

10. Bad Boys II - 63 bodies
38 %
Genre Adventure, Action, Comedy, Thriller, Crime
Stars Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Gabrielle Union
Directed by Michael Bay
A movie that’s way more problematic than its predecessor, Bad Boys II is also a movie with a much higher body count. The film follows our central detectives as their tasked with stopping the flow of ecstasy into Miami. Nothing is seismically different in Bad Boys II in terms of the action, but the budgets are definitely higher, which means more extras can die, and Bay can go on being Bay.
Bad Boys II (2003) Official Trailer 1 - Will Smith Movie

9. Transformers: Dark of the Moon - 78 bodies (2011)

9. Transformers: Dark of the Moon - 78 bodies
42 %
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel
Directed by Michael Bay
The Transformers movie with the lowest body count, Dark of the Moon isn’t necessarily less violent as a result of its relative lack of onscreen death. Like every movie in this franchise, it features its fair share of human collateral damage, as well as the deaths of a few key transformers on both the Autobot and Decepticon sides. Of course, this being a Michael Bay movie, those deaths don’t feel particularly weighty.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) Official Trailer - Shia LaBeouf Movie HD

8. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - 80 bodies (2016)

8. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - 80 bodies
48 %
Genre War, Action, History, Thriller, Drama
Stars John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Dominic Fumusa
Directed by Michael Bay
In addition to the truly bizarre politics of 13 Hours, it also has a higher body count than you might imagine considering its relatively modest scale. The movie tells the story of the attack on the diplomatic consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and of the men who attempted to defend it. 13 Hours certainly takes some liberty with the facts, and it also kills its fair share of nameless Brown people, which is less than great.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Official Trailer

7. Transformers - 103 bodies (2007)

7. Transformers - 103 bodies
61 %
Genre Adventure, Science Fiction, Action
Stars Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel
Directed by Michael Bay
The first Transformers was tamer than most of its sequels, but it’s the first Bay movie with more than 100 onscreen fatalities. Unfortunately for those of us who don’t like violence, Bay made plenty of movies where the body count far exceeds the demure 103 that came with his first Transformers film.
Transformers (2007) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

6. Transformers: Age of Extinction - 175 bodies (2014)

6. Transformers: Age of Extinction - 175 bodies
32 %
Genre Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz
Directed by Michael Bay
As is typically the case in the Transformers universe, the most meaningful deaths in Age of Extinction are the deaths of Autobots. Human death occurs in these films, but it rarely involves the film’s central characters, and therefore means less to the audience. The body count rose for Age of Extinction, but it’s only the third highest body count of the movies in this particular franchise.
TRANSFORMERS: Age of Extinction Trailer

5. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - 250 bodies (2009)

5. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - 250 bodies
35 %
Genre Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Stars Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel
Directed by Michael Bay
Another Transformers movie, another case of death and destruction. It is worth noting that, while these movies certainly feature plenty of death, they are not the high watermarks of Bay’s career. That’s largely because humanity is secondary to the Transformers, which do most of the fighting and take up most of the space.
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN Trailer (2009) | Classic Trailers

4. Transformers: The Last Knight - 327 bodies (2017)

4. Transformers: The Last Knight - 327 bodies
27 %
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Stars Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci
Directed by Michael Bay
In addition to being a strange movie, The Last Knight is also more evidence for the argument that Bay has gotten more kill-happy as his career has gone on. The Last Knight is the high watermark for the Transformers saga in terms of death, and the low mark in terms of critical appreciation. The movie is incredibly long and filled to the brim with action, and that combination leads to a whole lot of wanton death.
Transformers: The Last Knight Official Trailer 1 (2017) - Michael Bay Movie

3. Pearl Harbor - 2,390 bodies (2001)

3. Pearl Harbor - 2,390 bodies
44 %
Genre Action, War, History, Romance, Drama
Stars Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett
Directed by Michael Bay
Pearl Harbor is pretty widely known as a riff on Titanic, although it’s not nearly that movie’s equal in quality…or pretty much anything else. Still, what that means is that the first half of the movie is pretty consumed with romance and very little death, and the second half features the attack on Pearl Harbor that killed thousands. It’s one of Bay’s higher body count movies, but that’s because of the real-life tragedy that it is based on.
Pearl Harbor - Official® Trailer [HD]

2. 6 Underground - 5,560 bodies (2019)

2. 6 Underground - 5,560 bodies
41 %
Genre Action, Thriller, Comedy
Stars Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
Directed by Michael Bay
Perhaps surprisingly, 6 Underground is one of the most kill-happy movies on this list. The vast majority of these kills (5,400), comes from a sarin gas attack that takes place in the opening of the film, and provides the underpinning for much of the movie’s plot. There’s plenty of other kills throughout, though. After all, one of the members of the squad is a hitman.
6 Underground starring Ryan Reynolds | Official Trailer | Netflix

1. Armageddon - >20 million bodies (1998)

1. Armageddon - >20 million bodies
42 %
Genre Action, Thriller, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck
Directed by Michael Bay
Bay’s most kill-tastic movie isn’t a Transformers movie, but when you think aboutthat makes perfect sense. After all, entire cities are wiped off the map in Armageddon, and while everything works out in the end, there’s plenty of devastation before then. Armageddon is one of Bay’s most beloved movies, and while it’s not quite as violent as some of his other films, death comes on a massive scale.
Armageddon (1998) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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