Best Movie Endings of All Time, Ranked
Some of the greatest moments in movie history come from the last scene of a movie. The anticipation an audience member feels at the end of a great movie is unlike anything else. The urge to see how a story will unfold and where a character’s fate lies is a huge reason why we even watch movies in the first place. From dramas and romances to comedies and action movies, iconic movie endings can be seen across all genres. The best endings are the ones that stick with you even after you leave the theater and, in some cases, linger in your mind for years. You connect so deeply with the characters and the story being told on screen that you feel like you’ve experienced the event with them.
Ranging from 1960s classics to 2000s movies, our list of amazing movie endings is filled with passion and anticipation, and has left viewers completely overwhelmed. From Alfred Hitchcock’s famous psychology to the epic of James Cameron Titanic, we can see all the factors that contribute to creating a timeless ending. Not only do these two films feature incredible actors like Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh and Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, respectively, but the directing choices, cinematography, editing, and costumes all play into why their endings are so revered. Here are the best movie endings of all time, ranked.
The sixth sense
The end of the 1999 thriller/horror The sixth sense is one of the most shocking and unexpected endings we’ve seen in the last 30 years. Malcolm, played by Bruce Willis, is a child psychologist whose existence changed forever after working with a very gifted boy named Cole (Haley Joel Osment). Cole has a unique gift where he can see ghosts, a secret that weighs heavily on him, and he hides himself from most people aside from Malcolm. At the end of the film, Malcolm learns that he himself is a ghost and has been dead the whole time, shocking both the characters and the audience.
Over the years, support me became a classic and is one of the most beloved coming-of-age films released in the 1980s. Wil Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell, River Phoenix and Corey Feldman play four best friends from a small town in Oregon who go on an adventure to see a suspected corpse near their home. Despite the dangerousness of the journey, the boys watched each other and their on-screen relationships are what made countless people connect so deeply with the film. At the end of the film, after the boys find the corpse, they end up going home and saying goodbye. This ending may seem simple, but after watching their journey and seeing the boys’ strong friendship, their farewell is incredibly emotional for the viewer to watch.
Nicholas Sparks’ iconic lovers Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton, played by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, are hands down one of the best movie couples of all time. Despite all the people in their lives trying to pull them apart, Allie and Noah always seem to find a way to find each other. The film is narrated by Noah as an older man telling the love story to Allie who now has dementia and can’t remember who Noah is. At the end of the film, with the audience most likely already in tears, Allie and Noah lie down and die in each other’s arms, proving that their love is so strong it’s capable of anything.
Eyes wide closed
Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise portray Bill and Alice Hartford in Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 drama/mystery Eyes wide closed. This film is provocative, intense and at times disturbing, but also extremely entertaining and a perfect example of what Kubrick does best. As tension mounts in Bill and Alice’s marriage, the two begin to fight and learn secrets about each other that will cause the other to question the foundation of their relationship. Bill finds himself sneaking into a private meeting, which he soon regrets. At the end of the film, Bill realizes how terrifying people in power can be and cries on his bed with his wife Alice. In the final scene, Alice tells her husband that they should be grateful that they survived their adventures even though they were just a dream.
Fargo is truly a masterpiece and an example of the incredible talent of the Coen brothers and Francis McDormand. The film follows a car salesman named Jerry Lundergard, played by William H. Macy, who hires two men to kidnap his wife after he finds himself in serious financial trouble. Marge Gunderson, played by Francis McDormand, is the police chief investigating a murder committed by the two men who kidnapped Mrs. Lundergard. Through her investigation, she is able to locate the killers and takes Gaear, the only living partner into custody. The beauty of Fargo lies in its simplicity and the fact that crazy events can take place in the most mundane areas. As Marge brings Gaear back, she says “And for what? For a little money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’t you know that? And you’re here, and It’s a beautiful day Well I just don’t understand it.
The Godfather is one of the most famous and beloved films of all time. The Corleone Family is an extremely powerful and successful Italian-American crime family whose leader Don Vito Corleone, also known as The Godfather, has the ability to change someone’s entire life with just one word. Throughout the film, the family is constantly portrayed as above all other families, and they seem almost inhuman, hiding in the shadows and covered in a cloud of mystery. At the end of the film, Don Vito’s son Michael, played by the great Al Pacino, lies to his wife Kay, played by Diane Keaton, about Carlo’s death. This lie seals Michael’s fate to the public, showing everyone the man he chooses to be.
This epic crime/mystery is packed with an incredible cast including Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwenyth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey. Detectives William Somerset and David Mills investigate horrific murders happening all over their town. The murderer attacks citizens who he believes represent one of the seven deadly sins, hence the name of the film Se7fr. After the two detectives go to great lengths to try and catch the killer, they are finally in a position where they can stop him, only to realize that they are too late, and the killer has already killed his last victim, Detective David. Mills’ pregnant wife.
Alfred Hitchcock is recognized as one of the greatest directors of all time, responsible for creating masterpieces such as Vertigo, The Birds, and of course psychology. After Marion Crane flees her home, job, friends and family, she finds herself at the Bates Motel. A seemingly quiet and boring place that turns out to be much darker than expected. Marion is brutally murdered in a motel bathroom, a scene that has become iconic in the world of cinema. At the end of the film, we see that motel owner Norman Bates, played by Anthony Perkins, is a very sick and deranged man who murdered Marion. He created an alternate personality where he inhabited his deceased mother and turned into a monster. Norman Bates looks at the camera at the end of psychology is one of the most unforgettable movie scenes of all time.
by James Cameron Titanic is an epic masterpiece from start to finish. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet play star-crossed lovers Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater, who fall in love aboard the Titanic. After seeing the two reunite, despite all the people in Rose’s world disapproving of their relationship, it makes the wreckage even more heartbreaking to watch. Jack ends up dying in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic while saving Rose and making her promise that she won’t give up and live a full life without him. At the end of the film, we see photos of Rose throughout her adult life flying in airplanes, riding horses, having children, and doing whatever Jack wanted her to do. 101-year-old Rose lies peacefully in her bed, and we dive into a dream where Rose finds herself aboard the Titanic, where she is greeted by all the passengers and meets Jack, the love of her life atop the grand staircase. They share a passionate kiss and the passengers all applaud them.
The Shawshank Redemption
The end of The Shawshank Redemption is about hope and what a beautiful change can happen when you surround yourself with the right people. The two main characters Red and Andy, played by the greats Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, are prison inmates who have given up all hope of living outside of Shawshank. The two connect on a deep level that goes beyond just friendship, and together they end up changing prison life not just for themselves but for all inmates. At the end of the film, Andy manages to escape from prison, and he and Red find themselves on a beach where they can begin this new chapter of their lives full of hope for the future.
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