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Perfect Endings (Filler Survey)

I'll get around to answering the rest of the questions a little later - lots of work on the desk today.

Meanwhile, a survey on a topic that caused a heated discussion with a friend last night:

Simply - Best Movie Ending, ever. Feel free to justify your choice.

And if you read the comments, you take the risk of having a movie ruined for you. I don't want to hear any complaints about that. It should be obvious that a survey about movie endings will have....movie endings in it.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Perfect Endings (Filler Survey):

» Survey: Perfect Movie Endings from poliart.blog-city.com
A Small Victory is having a survey on the Perfect Movie Endings. I find it odd that so many missed the most obvious of answers. The Breakfast Club! BRIAN (VO) Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in de [Read More]

» Variations on a Meme from Not Exactly Rocket Science
Michele asks: What's the best movie ending of all time? [Read More]

» THIS IS THE END from Side Salad - Food For Lack Of Thought
Michelle at A Small Victory has a great thread on the Best Movie Endings Ever. The Usual Suspects gets a mention. So does Soylent Green, The Sixth Sense and Fight Club. But for my money, I agree with Chester,... [Read More]


Gotta get The Usual Suspects up quick! You never see it coming until it happens. Big surprise.

"Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Also the endings to the original Ladykillers, and Some Like It Hot. And Army of Darkness: "Lady, I'm going to have to ask you to leave the store."

You maniacs!... You blew it up! ... Ah, damn you!...
God damn you all to hell!!

Soylent Green is people!!!!

even though i think it's kind of a tacky movie altogether, i'd have to say "Arlington Road".

in short: terrorism prof. tricked into blowing up federal building, with himself inside.

I have to go with Val on this.

"Soylent Green is people. It's people!"

I've always loved Empire Strikes Back's ending.

C'mon, nobody can beat the final charge of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table being interrupted by a convoy of bobbies with a paddy wagon.

The end of Real Genius, where they explode the skeezy prof's new house with popcorn.

Best ending ever.

..you can check out anytime you like,
but you can never leave.

Oh wait, movies... right... um, never mind.

A few that come to mind right off the top of my head...

The flick "No Way Out" with Kevin Costner - the ending made me jump up out of my seat - "He's the spy!!!!"...

The ending of "Once Were Warriors" - Uncle Bully gets an ass-whuppin and the family finally leaves Jake for good...

"Imitation of Life" (the first two versions)- the black daughter tragically realizes how much her Mom really meant to her, only now it's too late. This might also qualify (IMHO) as the saddest ending to any movie...

"Into The West" (One of my top 10 movies of all time) Ossie makes contact with the mother he never knew - an ending that is simultaneously happy & optimistic, yet incredibly sad and tragic. This movie is the ONLY movie that makes me cry EVERY time I watch it (yeah, I'm a puss, I guess). I own it on DVD and almost have to watch it by myself anymore. I recommend it to everyone - it's a wonderful family film...

more when I think of them...

What about the ending of Blazing Saddles, driving off into the sunset.

Bruce Willis IS dead people!

When Red gets out of Shawshank and joins Tim Robbins in Zihuatanejo. I think that one comes to mind today because I'm sitting in a classroom full of high school freshmen and wishing I were in Zihuatanejo.

I agree that Monty Python's Holy Grail was the coolest ending of all time. Some other great ones:

"The Way Home" - my favorite movie of all time. What makes this ending so great is that the director did't take the easy way out: NOBODY DIES! Still heart-wrenching, though.

"Wayne's World" - (shut up). The "Scooby-Doo" ending came out of nowhere and had me laughing for days.

"Big Fish" - Good metaphors.

"Mulan" - Peter Jackson STOLE the ending where all the people bow down to the protagonist(s).

"Ace Ventura - Pet Detective" - I never saw it coming. Don't you know, the blonde is ALWAYS supposed to be the betrayer and the brunette is ALWAYS the good guy?

And of course:

"It's a Wonderful Life" - Jimmy Stewart once said that Frank Capra made you PAY for your happy endings. So true of this one.

Godfather II...Michael is left alone to his thoughts, that being his father's birthday party. Sonny ironically introduces to Connie her future fiance and the man who would beat her senseless and set him up to die. Micheael announces he has joined the military (The japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor), which angers everyone in the family, except Freddo, who congratulates him (Which makes Freddo's death seem all the more tragic and sad)...I think it truly sums up where Michael stood in the family and who was most loyal to him.

The Last American Virgin...

I mean really...who saw THAT ending coming...for such a campy teenage movie, it was really harsh.


-- The Ark being carted off into the government warehouse.

-- Butch and Sundance charging out into the plaza.

-- Patton walking alone in the countryside, no more wars to fight.

-- The cops discovering they really didn't know who the Jackal was after all.

-- Little Damien grinning into the camera.

Wouldn't change any of those.

Agree on "The Jackal"

Also, "A Shock to the System" Michael Caine thriller as a where he climbs the corporate ladder by murder.

Best Movie Ending, Don Johnson's "A Boy and his Dog."
I won't spoil it. Someone else can do it if they feel they must.

The end of Office Space with Milton on the beach complaining about the "big grains of salt" on his margarita and threatening to take his travelers checks elsewhere.

Cheech attempting to recover a burning piece of hash from his crotch.

Everybody missed the most obvious and undoubtedly the best movie ending ever!

Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you're crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.
We see Bender walking towards us as Brian's monologue continues.
But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...
...and an athlete...
...and a basket case...
...a princess...
...and a criminal...
Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club. We see Bender walking across the football field as he thrusts his fist into the air in a silent cheer and freezes there.

Ringu/The Ring

The one ghost that didn't really care about getting a proper burial.

I have to say M. Night's endings of "Sixth Sense" and "The Village" oh, and one of his first movies (can't remember the name) about the little boy in parochial school who wants to know if his grandpa is really looking out for him from heaven and a "classmate" answers the question.

"Frankly, my dear. I don't give a damn."

Shawshank, LA Story, Unbreakable, and Life of Brian.

Michele, by the way, you need to do a category for best ending LINE ever. Or maybe not, since that's clearly from Lost Boys.

Last Night. I think it was the single most beautiful and touching ending I have ever seen.

The shot that Jimmy Chitwood hit at the end of "Hoosiers"


Rocky Balboa just getting to his feet before the double-10 count to win the world title in "Rocky II."

Have to go with Seven. It took you right up to the edge and then knocked the hell out of you for spite.

Dr. Strangelove... "We'll Meet Again..." over nuclear detonations.

What I don't understand is that everyone keeps calling the movie a comedy, or satire.

Damn, I love happy endings!


All great answers, but really, how can you top the ending to "Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry?"

They're driving along, laughing and carrying on, you don't see anything but the inside of the car, and BAM!!...chopper view pulling back from a shot of the car burning, crunched up against a train, smoke rising into the sky.

Harold and Maude

A bunch of great ones above - the ending of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is one of those scenes that's just an enduring image of the federal government. But I vote for "No Way Out," especially since the ending all by itself carried what was otherwise a pretty mediocre movie. "The Sixth Sense" gets docked for having stolen the ending of "Jacob's Ladder."

The climax of "A Few Good Men" isn't quite the ending, but I can't change the channel if I go by and see Nicholson in the witness chair.

I always thought "Holy Grail" had, bar none, the worst ending ever, but it's still the funniest movie of all time. "The French Connection" was another good movie with a lousy ending.

"Citizen Kane" had another famous ending, but of course I knew it years before I saw the movie.

Who is Kasier Sosa? Best. Ending, Ever!

Go rent Usual Suspects, now.

call me crazy, but i kinda like the movies that end with a wrap-up of what happened to the characters (after the movie). case in point: the end to Animal House. Senator Blutarsky. hello, that's funny! Hell, the entire last scene with the Deathmobile was funny...

and Mary! the end of "There's Something About Mary" was hilarious, too. "What about Brett Fav...ruh?"

oh yeah, one more. "Zoolander". "You did it, you did it!" "I know! I turned left!"

Fight Club.

I know this because Tyler Durden knows this.

Similar to the Usual Suspects, once you know the ending, all of the spliced moments earlier in the film are right there to be noticed but the eye usually misses it and thinks it is a camera glitch.

How about Payback with Mel Gibson
"I agreed that if she stopped hooking I'd stop shooting people, maybe we were both aiming high."

And you have to love the ending of Unforgiven, where Clint Eastwood takes revenge on Gene Hackman for killing Morgan Freeman. Then shoots up the bar and threatens all the survivors.

Too damn many to choose from, many already mentioned here. My contributions would be;

But I'm a Cheerleader: Megan cheering for Graham at the Truedirections graduation ceremony - love conquers all (I'm a sap for lesbian love stories, so sue me). A Clockwork Orange, he's back oh my loyal droogies, he's back. And finally, "A boy and his Dog" teaches us the lesson of not wasting fresh meat.

I'm also very partial to the end of Memento -- or was that the beginning?

It is interesting to read Burgess' Prologue to more recent editions of A Clockwork Orange regarding the ending of the film version of Clockwork. He gives Kubrick quite a comeuppance in his essay which IIRC is called A Clockwork Orange Resucked. It draws some distinctions between the British novel and the American as well as the moribund expectations of American audiences.

Roman Holiday.

Ohhh, lessee...

I am a big fan of Keyser Soze, Tyler Durden, and his like, but I like it when I can't see it coming, and I figured both of those out. (Okay, I guessed on Keyser, but I knew on Tyler) The ending of "The Sting" is just about perfect, with the final layers of deception revealed. I really enjoyed the ending to Garden State ("The ellipses thing? Okay, that was just stupid.") While people keep mentioning M. Night's films (and the first one with the boy is "Wide Awake", BTW) I really enjoyed the ending of "Unbreakable". Really wish he'd done the trilogy as planned. I'll post more if I think of 'em.

Hey Kev - Neither. It was the middle. ;)

Star Wars (the original)

City of Angels

Best: Usual Suspects. Man that was amazing.

FYI, the ending of GWTW is "after all, tomorrow is another day."

Bah. Das Boot has the best ending.

"Mulan" - Peter Jackson STOLE the ending where all the people bow down to the protagonist(s).

Well, no - he didn't. That scene was taken directly from Tolkein's book.

It has to be the - 'Usual Suspects' - Hands down.

Honorable mention - 'Bound'

And finally - 'He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not' (No so much the ending, but the whole second half. Endure the subtitles - it's worth it. Besides Audrey Tautou is so fricking cute!)

>>FYI, the ending of GWTW is "after all, tomorrow is another day."<<

That line was also reprised as the last line (spoken by the great Divine) in Paul Bartel's hilarious "Lust In The Dust."

Best: Double Indemnity

Runners up, or just unexpected:
Halloween (it wasn't a cliche then)
Reservoir Dogs
I always liked the ending to 8 1/2, and am strangely affected by the ending to Metropolis, even though it might seem corny.
I admit to being utterly stunned by the ending to Last American Virgin, as someone above states. Another movie that completely changes character at the end is Something Wild, though I didn't like it.
And what was the name of that soap opera that got cancelled where they had a flood and just killed the whole town?

'Identity' w/ John Cusack

'A League of Their Own' My favorite tear-jerker. (My mom was of that generation and character.)

'Basic'... "Colonel?" wink Cue music, roll credits.

KBG -- ahhh, NOW I get it! Thanks! ;)

The best ending a movie ever? That's easy. It went so against the Hollywood tripe we see all the time. It really and I mean really threw me for a loop and that's why I love this film.

'Arlington Road' with Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins.

Honorable mentions go to:

The Sting
The Sixth Sense

The Game; starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn.

The ending is a complete surprise. In fact, thru the whole movie, every time you think you finally know what is going on; you don't. Even at the very end when you see you are in the last couple of minutes and you are convinced everything has really finally been revealed you are still wrong. Just wonderful! The best dark film in decades. Uplifting too!

I cannot believe that no one has mentioned The Planet of the Apes or Carrie yet. And what about Body Heat, The Silence of the Lambs, Once Upon a Time in America, or Being There? Or if you want to be depressed, how about Chinatown or The Third Man?

I also liked the ending to the William Friedkin movie Sorcerer, which apparently far too few people have seen. Speaking of William Friedkin, I recently rewatched To Live and Die in L.A. and was once again shocked at what happened just before the end of it. That was so good I'll even forgive their letting Wang Chung provide the music.

TSG, I didn't know you visited here.

LOTR: Return of the King. It ended so many damn times that one of them has to be the best movie ending ever.

Well, its a pretty cheesy movie, but...

Evil Dead II

"Usual Suspects" is good, as was "Sixth Sense," in that both were surprises that you just didn't see coming.

But for sheer style and drama and angst, the finale of "Runaway Train" takes the Oscar. Jon Voight, standing at the top front of the brakeless locomotive, raging against the driving snow and driving fate, his nemesis chained in the cab, as he remorselessly, inexorably leans into the wind and ice and fog, hurtling to his doom. Gut-wrenching.

I also liked the ending to "The Fountainhead." Oh, sure, it was campy, but very stylized, Patricia Neil ascending breathlessly and looking up to her Collosus, standing astride the globe. Perfect.

What about the ending of "The Life of David Gale"? That was pretty wild! Who'd of thought it was so twisted!

Didn't anyone here ever see The Longest Yard?

Usual Suspects and Leon (The Professional).

I guess everyone has forgotten "The Warriors" - a great '70s film about an unjustly accused street gang fighting its way across NYC back to their Coney Island turf. At the time, it was considered an update to the story of Xenophon's 10,000. The final scene on the beach is perfect.

Toy Story 2. A Bug's Life probably started the now overdone gag of having "outtakes" from an animated movie, but A Bug's Life was an awful movie, and the "outtakes" for TS2, when it was still a relatively new idea, were hilarious.

I guess that's not the "ending," as in the end of the story, but that was the best thing ever tacked on to a movie while the credits rolled.

My favorite (story) ending is still The Sixth Sense. I love the warehouse scene to end Raiders, too. I'm glad to see someone mention The Village, it seemed like all the smarty-pants went to that movie with the express goal of figuring out the twist to show how smart they were, and scoffed at how awful a movie it was because they figured it out. But it's an exceptional ending, shot well, kept entirely believable without looking like it's scrambling to tie up loose ends (like Unbreakable did), and Ivy's line, "I'm back, Lucius" was perfectly delivered and the perfect cue to fade to black.

I hate to seem like a teenage girl (a nod to a previous thread), but the ending of Titanic was excellent, too, with the old Kate Winslet throwing the diamond thingie back into the ocean etc.

The end of the original The Italian Job

hey - I've seen The Warriors. i actually kinda like that movie, except for the baseball gang. seriously, were there really gangs like that around? the baseball baddies, or whatever they were called? hahahahah

another great movie ending - Strange Brew (they paint Hosehead the dog like a skunk, then he flies to Oktoberfest and scares all the patrons away, and then drinking all the contaminated beer).

I have to second the ending to "The Game". Deborah Karah Unger (the blond) had me hook line and sinker at the end of that film.

My personal favorites for best ending:
"Saw" with Carey Elwes - During the final scene, I had to scrape my jaw off the floor.

"Seven Samurai" - The whole situation for the remaining samurai and what it said about the role of the samurai class in their future.

"Star Trek: First Contact" - Switching back and forth between the serious Borg invasion, the light hearted storyline of Zephram Cochran and his wacky ways, the seduction of Data, then wrapping them up at the climax.
Data: "For a time, I was tempted by her offer."
Picard: "How long a time?"
Data: "Zero point six seconds. For an android, that is nearly an eternity"

I was disappointed by "The Usual Suspects". After seeing Kevin Spacey in "Se7en", I though Keyser Sose was a total wuss compared to John Doe, and the ending to TUS was not terribly surprising to me.

High Noon...

"Do not forsake me, oh my darlin'...."

Bonnie and Clyde.
the look faye gives warren just before the guns start firing is priceless.

Well, I don't know that I'd be able to pull the best movie ending ever out of my brain without first looking at a list of all the movies I've ever seen to remember what all those endings were.

Having said that, off the top of my head I do remember that I really, really enjoyed the totally lighthearted destruction of the Eifel Tower at the end of the movie The Great Race.

He's being tortured and mutilated and he sees the ghost of his wife in the crowd and screams..."FREEDOM"!

(As "Long Shanks" lies dying in his bed)

How about best movie beginning? I know the movie itself stinks, but the intro to Cliffhanger, where the beautiful girl falls to her death is unexpected and awesome.

Um....How about Fight Club? No one talks about Fight Club.

Oops, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it.

Let me echo the comment about Dirty Mary & Crazy Larry. When I was a kid the cliche about kids writing book reports about books that they hadn't read was that they didn't know how to end the story, so they'd say that the protagonist walked in front of a truck and was killed. That was pretty much the ending of DM&CL.

I agree with all the people who said "Usual Suspects". I heard in advance the Keyser Sose character was going to be a surprise but I (very incorrectly) assumed it would be that blond headed lawyer woman.

I'll go with "The Game" and "The Sixth Sense". They both had me guessing until the end.

Worst ending ever: Any movie with Vin Diesel.

"The Moonshine War" - watched this in my college dorm & we were just blown away (figuratively) by the explosive ending.

Planet of the Apes ending impressed me back when I was 10, but a little ticked off now that it's obviously filmed on the west coast.

Michele did you mean "Game Ball"

But the best ending was "History of the World - Part One" where greg Hines comes out of nowhere with Miricle and they ride off to the safety of the big The End. classic.

But how bout the end of Young Frankenstien. Gene Wilder got a little extra something for Teri Garr. GRRRRRRRRRR GRRRRRRRRRR

Some other good ones are the endings to Death Wish, Alien, Rear Window, 12 Monkeys, The Shining, Memento (beginning in that case?). Vertigo had quite an ending.

But now that I've had the chance to think about it, I think the hands down best ending to a movie ever was the end of Airplane! I mean the very end, after the credits. (An explanation if you don't remember it: At the beginning, Robert Hayes is a cab driver and tells his fare to wait one minute while he rushes into the airport. Then the movie happens. And at the very end, the fare is shown looking at his watch and says, "Well, I'll give him another twenty minutes, but that's it!")

Fight Club.

Until that movie came out I had problems sitting through a movie with Brad Pitt in it, other than the 12 Monkeys, simply because - and I had always complained about this to anyone that would listen, a Brad Pitt movie should end with him getting his head blown off.

Thank you Fight Club.

The second post had it right with "Casablanca", which is the best movie ever made (bite me, Orson Welles). I still love the setup to the ending, where after announcing that Major Strasser has been shot, Louie orders his policemen to "Round up the usual suspects".

There are lots of great movies mentioned above, but the one that strikes the 12-year-old brat in me the most is the end of "The Princess Bride"--the Wesley and Buttercup kiss part, not the Fred Savage and his grandfather part. That movie kills me everytime I see it...I love it, and I'm not ashamed to say it! =)

Amanda, I love "The Princess Bride" too! It's one of my all-time favorites and my daughter and I quote it often...


I got 3 guy movies here:

Unforgiven:My favorite Eastwood western. The last scene when hes leaving town in the rain. "I'll come back and kill every one of you sons-a-bitches."

Thw Mechanic: Underrated Charles Bronson movie. Hey he Kills Jan Michael Vincent- what more could you ask?
Taxi Driver: It made a guy try to kill the president- top that Titanic.

Most Creative ending: Adaptation-sure the ending sucked, but thats what made it neat.

just cool: Whatever happened to baby jane? Man that Bette Davis is a fox.

nice site by the way

The Wild Bunch. "It ain't like it used to be, but it'll do."


another movie with several "endings". None better that the last one, tho....

This is a little trick Ma taught me when you weren't around..


Maybe not the best ever, but it has stuck in my mind for over 30 years.

"For Texas....and Miss Lilly"

The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.

Thelma and Louise
Body Heat
Shawshank Redemption
And I'm probably the only woman who thinks so, but a Boy and His Dog.
"If your dog can find you food, you'll eat, if your dog can find you shelter, you'll live, but if your dog can find you a woman, you better keep that dog".

Since I just saw it for the first time: Sixth Sense.

Big Fish rips me apart every time I see it too.

Best "worst" ending of anything: "To be continued..."

Farscape's TV series final show (yes, the resulting uprising resulted in Brian Henson buying back his studio and self producing the mini series that Sc-Fi aired at the end of last year, but it was still gut wrentching to watch those words on what was the series finale)

Best in no particular order (with commentary):

Usual Suspects (who is Kayser Soze!)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (now where did I put it??)
A Bridge on the River Kwai (Madness...)
Das Boot (I survived hell underwater, only to die ingloriously for who?!)
Pulp Fiction (you never saw that coming palooka)
The Great Escape (the roundup, the cycle chase, and back where we started)

I loved the ending of Wizards, too. I sat there with my jaw on the floor for about five minutes.

I'll go with five, not necessarily in order:

The Usual Suspects
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Harold and Maude
(the Jag-hearse going over the cliff, and Harold walking away playing the banjo)
The Stunt Man
("How tall is King Kong?" "Three feet f---ing six, and that's how tall you're gonna be if you don't give me my f---ing thousand dollars!" "The gag pays SIX HUNDRED!")
The Lost Boys
(Barnard Hughes, after impaling the head vampire, picking his way through the wreckage of his house, and getting a soda from the fridge: "That's the one thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach...all the damn vampires.")

Not the most satisfying ending, since I like "happily ever after" films, but will stick in my mind forever. In the late 60s or early 70s I saw "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter," starring Alan Arkan (sp?). It was a story about a man who came to board with a family and made friends with the the 9 or 10-year old daughter. I don't remember all the particulars of the plot, but in the end, the end the main character commits suicide.

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry

"They'll never catch us now!" - WHAM! They hit a locomotive at a grade crossing in the final frame of the picture.

I didn't see that coming. One very hell of an ending.

Not a movie, but the last episode of the Blackadder WW I series. Gets to me every time.

I think it's a tie between The Sixth Sense and the new adaptation of Ocean's Eleven. Even though they are showing you everything in OE you NEVER see their plot unfolding in it's true nature until it's too late, and I love an ending in Vegas. The Sixth Sense was probally the best I've seen in a theatre, and because it gave you so many clues that no one picked up on.

Fight Club should be on the list as well, as should Usual Suspects, and I think two little movies called Memento and Confidence should go on there too.