10 Best Movie Endings
Movies With the Best Endings
Is there anything more satisfying that a movie with a great ending? Where everything is wrapped up neatly for the viewer and you leave the cinema with a big smile.
Have you ever been to a movie where people have burst into spontaneous applause at the end?
Doesn't matter what the hundred minutes before was all about if the movie ending is a disappointment.
This is my personal list of my favourite movie endings - I'm open to being shot down in flames but only because I love to hear other people's choices, so go on, let me have it!
So if your choices are not here - leave a comment and I might include it in a section of Honourable Mentions to be added at a later date.
Here's the list for better or worse!
Warning: Swearing in This Clip
10. Pulp Fiction
You will know that during the movie, Vince Vega has other business after this scene but this movie is the ultimate in cinema satisfaction and fits neatly as one bookend of this list.
The final scene of Pulp Fiction finds Jules and Vince back in the diner where the movie started dealing with the fallout of Ringo and Honey Bunny's botched armed robbery.
Jules gun is in Ringo's face but he is no longer an assassin having chosen to 'walk the earth' in future. The scene is three minutes of suspense filled perfection which dovetails into some cool music, 'Surf Rider' by The Lively Ones.
Warning - Swearing in This Clip
In the end scene of this movie you get to see Kevin Spacey for only the second time in the entire film but his performance as the sadistic killer will keep you enthralled until the end.
Spacey and Pitt are hot and cold, the law and the criminal pitched against one another out in the middle of nowhere. Spacey has done a terrible thing and Pitt is about to find out what he has done.
The scene is perfectly timed and shot from above ground and on the ground. The figure of Morgan Freeman racing on foot to intercept Pitt before he gets to Spacey keeps the tension and suspense very high. He needs to save Pitt from himself but also ensure Spacey stays alive. Will he make it in time?
David Fincher is a master of cinematography and suspense - this is one of his finest moments.
8. The Godfather
The scene where Al Pacino finally 'arrives' as the new Don in the Corleone family is very chilling because it is the scene where 'family' takes on a completely new meaning.
When Michael Corleone's wife Kay asks "Is it true?" meaning did he arrange this killing, he replies "No" she embraces him and goes to make them a drink but then the 'family' and the 'captains' arrive to pay tribute to him. Diane Keaton walks down the corridor to make the drinks and director Francis For-Coppola has created a 'remove' - Keaton in the foreground close to camera, the little lady of the house, mixing the drinks in her place and Pacino framed by his office door, his father's old room being visited and honoured like a diety.
She realises that she cannot truly ever know what he is about to become. Michael is letting her know that she will always be an outsider in this part of his 'family' life. What she sees chills her to the bone and chills the viewer too.
Michael Corleone is now in charge and the man she met and fell in love with has become someone else all together.
When you watch this scene, you admire the subdued acting of both Keaton and Pacino (no longer a subtle actor lately) but also admire the cinematography - the sadness of Carlo's widow, Michel's own sister swept away as Michael takes over the reins as the Don and you know there will be more to come - Michael's story will be next.
7. Planet of the Apes (1967)
The whole movie, directed by Franklin Shaffner and starring Charlton Heston is pretty good. It rattles along at a good pace as Heston tries to come to terms with his new surroundings and accept that these apes are his captors. The movie was nominated for two oscars, winning one for 'outstanding makeup achievement', a very well-deserved prize.
The movie's ending is a cut above though! As clever an ending as you are ever likely to see in a movie, a wonderful unexpected twist which even the strong man Heston cannot handle. He falls into his knees on the shoreline, seemingly a broken man and then the camera pans back to reveal what he has seen. Brilliant!
6. Some Like It Hot
I have chosen this ending simply because it is one of my favourite comedy movies.
Some Like It Hot is one of Billy Wilder's best movies and it rattles along at a great pace from the very beginning.
Starring two great actors in Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis and with love interest provided by Marilyn Monroe, it is a movie which cannot really fail
Hiding from the mob, Lemmon and Curtis dress as women and become members of a touring jazz band. Curtis sets his sights on the bands ukelele player, Sugar (Monroe) whilst Lemmon spends most of the movie trying to keep himself and Curtis hidden, little knowing that he has an admirer of his own in the shape of Joe E. Brown as 'girl' chaser, Osgood Fielding III.
The ending is an unexpected twist to the movie but is really the cherry on the cake - great comedy movie, great ending!
5. Don't Look Now
Don't Look Now is a movie based on the Daphne Du Maurier novel of the same name. Nicholas Roeg altered the original short story with Du Maurier's agreement so that he was able to include different motifs throughout the movie.
At the time of its release it was more famous for the rather explicit sex scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie but it is its ending which people usually remember.
Their child dies after drowning in their garden pond. She is wearing a red raincoat. Throughout the movie this figure is seen in their imaginations at first and then around the streets of Venice as Sutherland works to preserve an old church.
Ostensibly a movie about grief, it mixes a number of themes and motifs to weave a spell on the watcher. It truly is a movie where you are hopeful of a resolution for the loving couple but also intrigued to know whether their daughter is really trying to contact them from beyond the grave.
The ending then is all the more shocking - a perfect shock at the end of a well-constructed suspense filled thriller/horror.
4. Silence of the Lambs
Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins play out this movie ending without letting up on the suspense that has been built up during the rest of the movie and yet, the director Jonathon Demme still gives us a memorable ending with Lecter escaping from his lower security cell and Clarice Starling finally gets her man. Buffalo Bill with a shot in the darkness.
The two incidences parallel one another - as one psychopath is killed, another escapes back into the world - Lecter's teasing of Starling about 'coveting what we see, covering what is visible' has come true; he is back out there close to what he needs to exist.
His phone call to Starling though tells her he will not come looking for her. He thinks the world is a better place with her in it. We see the thinnest thread of humanity in Lecter but as we know from the sequel, Hannibal, this doesn't last for long.
Warning - Blood and Violence in This Clip,
3. Bonnie and Clyde
The story of Bonnie and Clyde dates back to the depression and it could be that lots of people already knew the story of these two small town crooks, in love and on the run from the authorities.
Arthur Penn's deft direction takes us through their early lives, their meeting, falling in love and their criminal activities and is ably assisted by sterling performances from all of the leads.
Warren Beatty believed in this movie so much that he begged Warner Bros to finance the movie. He had to battle to get his wish but it turned into their second most grossing movie of all time and cemented Beatty's reputation in Hollywood as an A Lister. Faye Dunaway is excellent as Bonnie with both sassiness and vulnerability in equal measure.
The ending caused controversy at the time for its extreme violence, the like of which had not been seen in a movie of this type. It is shocking, brutal and stunning - horrible to watch and yet you can't look away.
2. The Graduate
We all enjoy a good live story and Mike Nichol's 'The Graduate' is a clever, witty and sexy tale of suburban boredom, youth, exuberance and eventually, bravery.
Benjamin Braddock makes a huge mistake by falling for Elaine Robinson, sleeping with her mother and allowing Mr Robinson to be his mentor. Meanwhile, he ignores advice from his parents and drifts along wondering where life will eventually take him.
But Elaine is the only girl for him and when he hears about her family 'arranged' marriage, he is finally thrust into action (it was a long time coming). You will want to cheer Dustin Hoffman as he battles transport and the clock to capture the woman he loves.
I could have chosen a number of movies for the number one spot but I went for Casablanca because I truly believe that it is a cinematic masterpiece.
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, former lovers now exist in different worlds. He is a fixer who makes this happen for those who need it to happen and she is now married and with her husband is in Casablanca to try to escape the Nazis.
The ending of this movie is not 'happy' in the traditional sense of the world but as a tying up of loose ends and as a lesson in someone 'doing the right thing' and a portrait of self-sacrifice it is flawless.
Bogart and Bergman are sexy together, a frisson is there in every scene in which they appear together but she's married to a member of the French Resistance and you know, in the end, Rick is going to do the right thing.
Director Michael Curtiz stuck to the original play in making the movie. It is in 3 distinct acts and he had strong performances from all of the actors. Curtiz captured lightning in a bottle with this movie - it all works and remains a masterpiece even today.
The ending is mainly Claude Rains and Bogart together bringing everything to a close - neat, tidy, dramatic but executed with an assured lightness of touch.
Best Movie Endings - Conclusions
Movie Endings ARE conclusions! There should be a denouement to a story; something that brings things to a close in a movie.
It can be as exciting, funny, scary, sexy or thrilling as you like but if the ending is poor, then the whole movie is spoilt.
We've all been there - a night at the cinema watching a great movie which ends on a strange note or has an unbelievable ending or just sputters towards the credits like someone letting air out of a balloon slowly. My own worst experience of this is from the movie 'Sphere' where the entire cast agree to 'forget' anything that has just happened! Eh? That's ninety five minutes i can never get back!
So movie endings are a key part of enjoying a movie and I hope I have picked 10 of the best movie endings in my list.
Thanks so much for reading.
Thanks go to all of the commenters who have suggested their own favourite Best Movie Endings.....
S8N (guest commenter) - Star Wars
Steve Lensman - Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects
WhydThatHappen - Fight Club
Docmo - Sixth Sense, Usual Suspects and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
Glimmer Twin Fan - Gone With The Wind
TrevorBasile - Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile
fpherj48 - An Officer And A Gentleman
Mary615 - Dirty Dancing
Muckhoarder (Guest Commenter) - E.T. and It's A Wonderful Life
thelyricwriter - Ghost
Benisan85745 - Kill Bill Part I
Nanderson500- The Dark Knight
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