Memorable Film Endings

Since we’re in the summer “big movie” season, it’s time to do a post about films. But this won’t be about films I’ve recently seen or hope to see.  With the price of a typical movie ticket about $10, I’ve not seen too many movies this year although I’ve recently caught MIB3, Avengers and Prometheus thanks to $5 morning shows and the $3 “second run” theater.”

As the title says, I’m going to focus on film endings.  Some films’ endings have stayed with me.  Unfortunately, some of these memorable endings, such as that of Pan’s Labyrinth, are not available online so I have to limit myself to those that are.

Probably the oldest memorable ending I can recall goes back some 40 years and there’s a reason I remember it: the film itself broke new ground.  Echoes of the finale to Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 “The Wild Bunch” can be seen in many films, including “Saving Private Ryan’s” opening.

Throughout the “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” I wondered about how Tuvo would end up. I liked the way that was handled:

For sheer “bird’s eye” spectacles, I have to go with the final battle from “Mongol”, which depicted Genghis Khan’s rise to power:

For dark and unpredictable endings, it’s hard to beat Se7en, which featured Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey:

The ending of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” was equally surprising:

I’ll continue the “sword film” theme with an ending I often watch: the final showdown between Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu from Kill Bill, with a score that evokes the Clint Eastwood “spaghetti western” films:

The ending to Blade Runner was …interesting:

One of the more touching endings I’ve seen is from Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun” which is about a British boy in a Japanese POW camp. Just before liberation, he honors the Japanese kamikaze pilots about to take off:

One of the stranger film endings is from “American Beauty”:

Perhaps the quirkiest film ending I’ve seen but which worked very well and got me to thinking about film endings, is from the recent remake of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”  This was a very dark and dense film which I found a bit tedious.  The ending has no dialogue but ties everything together quite well with Julio Iglesia’s live version of “La Mer.”  Past and present flash on the screen as the traitor receives justice, Gary Oldham and his wife (who had an affair with the traitor) pick up their life and Gary comes out of retirement to foster recovery.

Tell me about your memorable films endings!


12 responses to “Memorable Film Endings

  1. I totally agree about Seven (sorry, I don’t know how to do that backwards 7 thing). That and Blade Runner are the only two movies on your list I’ve seen.
    Here’s the first thing that came to my mind: The Sixth Sense. I totally did not grasp that until the very end. But here’s what amuses me. Everyone I’ve talked to has convinced themselves that they got it right from the start 🙂 After the fact.

    • I forgot about Sixth Sense. That ending was “copied” by a show with Nicole Kidman called The Others. The film makes you think the home she and her two kids live in is haunted. It them because they are dead.

  2. At least there were several clues along the way in The Sixth Sense, if you were alert enough to catch them. Not so with The Matrix. It took me forever to understand what was going on in that movie, but I think that was just poor movie-making.

  3. Up until Soprannos it was BC&SK but I have fliped them.

    1 The Soprannos last show ending
    2Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
    3 Thelma & Louise

  4. “but PT…you’re mixing apples and oranges”

    Guess I’m just unreconstructed:)

  5. The Sopranos was perhaps the most violent yet intriguing show ever on TV. David Chase the show Director Writer Owner kept this ending a total secret from everyone outside the show. It had a very large and rabid following for 4 years. This ending was received with great emotion throughout the viewing audience. It was perfect. You knew the end was gonna be violent just like BC&SD so it was more dramatic and compelling the way he wrote it

    So the best theory I have seen is that the guy who walked past Tony to the bathroom came out blasting all 3. The only question was did Meadow get it as she came through the door or not. There were only 3 cokes on the table so the perp wouldn’t necessarily have know who she was.

    My daughter went nuclear over this ending. Any time I want to heat her up all I have to do is start singing don’t stop believing.

    Of the ones you listed I like Se7en and Kill Bill the most.

    • I didn’t watch Sopranos. Not sure if it was just lack of interest (in TV generally) or whether I even had the channel. If it was HBO, then I could not watch it even if I wanted.

      I saw previews of a new series I may watch – Revolutionary. One of those “post apocalypse” scenarios where folks are using bows and arrows after something happened. Also, “Vegas” (of course), with Dennis Quaid playing the law when the Mob was there.

  6. “If it was HBO, then I could not watch it even if I wanted.”

    Comcast offers HBO in Tallahassee.

    And Netflix has the entire series available. I still find netflix to be the best value in entertainment. $25 month allows us to watch 24 movies. Thats 300
    a year for $300. Or a dollar a movie.50 per person. Their inventory of movies and TV shows is remarkably deep. You select what you want on line and put it in your Q. There are no late fees and no additional fees, just $25 month.

    • I had Direct TV for years but never picked up HBO; nor do I have it now. I just don’t watch TV enough. Now when I retire next year, I’ll consider Netflix. But I don’t like watching movies using the Internet. I’d rather get the DVD. I’m very “old school” in that area…lol!

  7. Yeah I get the DVD’s too

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