In L.A. Confidential, an unsuspecting Bud White, while trying to aid Ed Exley, gets shot thrice by Dudley at the Victory Motel shootout.

The Three Shots:

  • Bud pushes Ed out of the way. Gets shot, presumably in the left arm, as we later see his left arm is in a sling.
  • As he rushes towards Dudley, he is shot again, in the chest (this is important). He then collapses
  • Later, he takes out his switch blade, and stabs Dudley in the calf. He gets shot in the jaw.

Now, with all these in mind, it is fairly obvious that he died just then and there. But, epic reveal, HE'S ALIVE, with a few complications. Remember how Dudley used the same pistol on Jack Vincennes, and he died within a matter of seconds. Remember how he was also shot in the chest. So Bud's survival didn't make a whole lot of sense.

For your convenience, here's the original script, and it makes far less sense:

    At that instant, Dudley steps through the bathroom door.
    He's got Exley dead to rights.  As he squeezes the
    trigger, Bud leaps forward, pushes Exley hard to the

    The SHOT passes through Bud's back by his left shoulder
    blade.  It spins him around.  A SECOND SHOT to the
    stomach slows him to a walk as he charges Dudley.  A
    THIRD ROUND SHATTERS Bud's jaw, but still he comes.
    Driven by rage, his hands reaching for Dudley's throat.
    He even gets hold before a FOURTH SLUG tears his chest.

So, if you have any ideas or explanations, please do let me know.

Here's the frame showing a bullet-hole on his right-lung. It's much clearer if you see the bullet-hole forming, and blood dripping out, than just a still shot. I added the red circle just in case. The dimly lit bullet-hole

  • Why would a shot to the stomach kill him? The script says "stomach"... are you saying that it wasn't in the stomach? If it was in the chest, where? As Paulie says, not all chest shots are fatal.
    – Catija
    Jul 10, 2017 at 16:02
  • The script is radically different from the movie, in terms of detail. In the movie, he really gets shot in the lung, as you can see in the new edit. Jul 10, 2017 at 16:21

2 Answers 2


Being shot in the chest doesn't have to be fatal....it's the heart that's the most important. If you miss that (and some other major organs) you have a pretty fair chance of survival.

In fact, White survives in the source novel too...Exley visits him in the hospital...

He had tubes in his arms, splints on his fingers. His chest held three hundred stitches. Bullets had shattered bones, ripped arteries. He had a plate in his head. Lynn Bracken tended to him - she could not meet Ed's eyes. White could not talk - being able to talk in the future was doubtful.

L.A. Confidential - James Ellroy


Chest wounds are often fatal because of the damage they do to vital organs or systems. There isn't anything magical about breaching the skin that surrounds the ribcage/chest cavity that makes it automatically fatal.

If the path of the bullet never passes through the central area, this would mean the most potentially fatal areas of - the heart, the major blood vessels around the heart and spinal column would be left unscathed.

The bullet could have missed the lungs, entirely and only damaged muscle tissue, which would usually be non-fatal ("It's just a flesh wound...." YouTube: Monty Python and the Holy Grail - Black Knight).

Even if it did some damage to a lung, if treated early enough, the long-term effects could be fairly minimal, and people have often survived wounds that cause an entire lung to collapse, so just being a chest wound does not mean it has to be fatal.

It really all depends on how bad a chest wound it is, in the relative scale of chest wound severity, as well as the speed and quality of medical assistance rendered.

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