The classics never really go out of style. It was almost 2,000 years ago on this date that Roman Emperor Claudius I was poisoned by his wife Agrippina. Claudius is generally regarded as one of the more competent emperors, proving that the Romans were nothing if not even-handed in their approach to assassination.
Like other things popularized by the Romans, poisoning has remained a trendy murder option. Less intimate than strangulation, yet more personal than a handgun, it offers that personal touch without any incriminating "hands-on" action. For those looking for inspiration, Hollywood also offers some fine examples.
5. The poison apple -- Snow White (1937)
I haven't watched this movie since I was a kid, mostly because 45 minutes of that maddeningly chirpy voice makes me want to poison somebody too. The lack of an English language clip presented a bit of an obstacle; luckily the French appear to have about as much respect for Uncle Walt's copyrights as they do for American statutory rape laws.
4. Heather Chandler's "suicide" -- Heathers (1988)
Future film historians will find themselves at odds over the actual cause of Heather #1's unpleasant demise, strangulation courtesy of a drain-cleaner cocktail or a violent negative reaction to Christian Slater's crappy Jack Nicholson impersonation.
3. Poisoned, not stirred -- Casino Royale (2006)
It's the little things. I mean, it's awesome that Great Britain's black-ops budget is such that they can shell out for an Aston Martin DBS and a $10 million Texas Hold 'Em buy-in, but there better be some heads rolling in Q's division after they supplied 007 with a faulty defibrillator.
2. "Bad dates." -- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The only thing worse than a traitorous Nazi monkey is a traitorous Nazi monkey that steals your delicious fruit. Now if only they'd found a way to poison that punk Short Round...
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1. The Battle of Wits -- The Princess Bride (1987)
Wesley overcame the second classic blunder (never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line) so easily it makes me wonder if Obama shouldn't talk to him about how to extricate ourselves from the current land war in Asia.