Top 50 Endings

Sometimes, the ending is what makes or breaks a movie. It isn't only about the final shot. It's how the story ends. And here are the best of them.
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1.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop. (95 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ Not only is this the absolute perfect way to end a movie, but the final line is one of the most memorable of all time.

"Mein fuhrer, I can walk!" ” - dirty_dutchman
 
2.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which begin when five criminals meet at a seemingly random police lineup. (106 mins.)
Director: Bryan Singer
“ It's not that you can't see it coming. It's how it plays out that makes it so great. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
3.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe. (153 mins.)
Director: Francis Coppola
“ The ending is simply the horrific fulfillment of this dark, inward journey. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
4.
City Lights (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically. (87 mins.)
Director: Charles Chaplin
“ The final scene is so incredibly touching that you can't help but smile along with the tramp. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
5.
Se7en (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. (127 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ What's in the box indeed? ” - dirty_dutchman
 
6.
The Third Man (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime. (104 mins.)
Director: Carol Reed
“ The noir mystery comes full circle with a thrilling manhunt through the streets of Vienna. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
7.
Das Boot (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth, and sheer terror. (149 mins.)
“ As soon as you come to see the human side of these characters, the (un)expected happens. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
8.
Taxi Driver (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process. (113 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ Travis Bickle is a complicated character, but you see what he really is in violent fashion. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
9.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business. (158 mins.)
“ Daniel Day-Lewis owns this role, and the ending is the glorious testament to his acting genius. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
10.
Rebecca (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A self-conscious bride is tormented by the memory of her husband's dead first wife. (130 mins.)
“ Hitchcock has so many great films, but the ending of Rebecca is simply amazing. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
11.
Oldboy (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days. (120 mins.)
Director: Chan-wook Park
“ The entire film is building toward the conclusion, which is, in a nutshell, a pretty big slap in the face. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
12.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem - but not all goes according to plan. (136 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ It's as absurd as it is brilliant and funny. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
13.
Barton Fink (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood. (116 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
“ The conclusion sees Barton's full descent into his own personal hell. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
14.
M (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt. (117 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
“ This is what you get when a community turns against a horrible evil. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
15.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep. (102 mins.)
“ If you've ever thought doing drugs is cool, watch the last half hour of Requiem For A Dream. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
16.
The Deer Hunter (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An in-depth examination of the ways in which the U.S. Vietnam War impacts and disrupts the lives of people in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania. (183 mins.)
Director: Michael Cimino
“ Sometimes the battle between friendship and madness doesn't end up how you'd expect. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
17.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same. (153 mins.)
“ Historians, be damned! ” - dirty_dutchman
 
18.
Magnolia (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley. (188 mins.)
“ It's a bizarre and unexpected ending, but that's the point the film is attempting to make. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
19.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients. (133 mins.)
Director: Milos Forman
“ There are few endings more iconic than this... ” - dirty_dutchman
 
20.
The Godfather (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son. (175 mins.)
“ ...except maybe The Godfather. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
21.
Modern Times (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman. (87 mins.)
Director: Charlie Chaplin
“ You wait 20-something years to hear Chaplin open his mouth, and he comes up with that?!? Brilliant! ” - dirty_dutchman
 
22.
The General (1926)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines. (67 mins.)
“ The grand scope of the ending reinforces how amazing this classic comedy really is. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
23.
Casablanca (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
In Casablanca, Morocco in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications. (102 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
“ Arguably one of the swiftest conclusions without being completely ridiculous. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
24.
The Pianist (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II. (150 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
“ For a movie as bleak at The Pianist, the ending is remarkably powerful and optimistic. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
25.
Heat (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist. (170 mins.)
Director: Michael Mann
“ Al Pacino vs. Robert De Niro. Enough said. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
26.
Chinatown (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption and murder. (130 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
“ Another iconic ending to a superb noir.

Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
27.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it. (161 mins.)
Director: David Lean
“ In any other context, the ending would be unimpressive. But here, it is perfectly fitting. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
28.
Memento (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A man creates a strange system to help him remember things; so he can hunt for the murderer of his wife without his short-term memory loss being an obstacle. (113 mins.)
“ Ending the movie with the beginning of the story is so cool! ” - dirty_dutchman
 
29.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist. (107 mins.)
“ What a twist! At least here, M. Night built up to the twist with precision. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
30.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery. (161 mins.)
Director: Sergio Leone
“ A three man showdown in a cemetery. THAT is how you end a classic western. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
31.
American History X (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did. (119 mins.)
Director: Tony Kaye
“ Redemption doesn't always have a happy ending. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
32.
Psycho (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A Phoenix secretary steals $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother. (109 mins.)
“ Hitchcock reveals one of the vilest villains of all time. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
33.
Paths of Glory (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them. (88 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ The poignancy of this anti-war film comes full circle with the memorable ending. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
34.
Election (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president. (103 mins.)
Director: Alexander Payne
“ This one's a personal favorite. It flat out cracks me up. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
35.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A bitter, aging couple, with the help of alcohol, use a young couple to fuel anguish and emotional pain towards each other. (131 mins.)
Director: Mike Nichols
“ As the dysfunction and despair unfolds, you come to see the true heart of the story. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
36.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A chronicle of the trial of Jeanne d'Arc on charges of heresy, and the efforts of her ecclesiastical jurists to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions. (110 mins.)
Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
“ Who needs sound when you have such a powerful ending? ” - dirty_dutchman
 
37.
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
After the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke. (124 mins.)
Director: Irvin Kershner
“ It isn't a happy ending, that's for sure. Freezing, dismemberment, Boba Fett...everything a good middle chapter needs. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
38.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young couple move into an apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life. (136 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
“ The eyes! ” - dirty_dutchman
 
39.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A somewhat romanticized account of the career of the notoriously violent bank robbing couple and their gang. (111 mins.)
Director: Arthur Penn
“ A graphic tribute to one of the greatest criminal downfalls of American history. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
40.
The Quiet Man (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A retired American boxer returns to the village of his birth in Ireland, where he finds love. (129 mins.)
Director: John Ford
“ It isn't Ireland unless there's a drunken brawl. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
41.
The Killing (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery. (85 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ The perfect plan. A perfect disaster.

What's the point? ” - dirty_dutchman
 
42.
Fargo (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson. (98 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
“ The ending is as fitting as it is infamous. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
43.
Fight Club (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more. (139 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ I used to hate the ending for being too goofy. But that's what makes it worthwhile. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
44.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. (115 mins.)
“ Indy's first run-in with Nazis who choose poorly. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
45.
Mystic River (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives, three men are reunited by circumstance when one has a family tragedy. (138 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
“ Eastwood masterfully directs this spiraling revenge tale to its chilling conclusion. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
46.
Black Swan (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity. (108 mins.)
“ You don't think about how realistic the ending is. You just think about it because...wow. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
47.
The Prestige (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Two stage magicians engage in competitive one-upmanship in an attempt to create the ultimate stage illusion. (130 mins.)
“ The price of real magic. Are you watching closely? ” - dirty_dutchman
 
48.
The Departed (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston. (151 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ This really escalates quickly. I mean, it really gets out of hand. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
49.
The Game (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Nicholas Van Orton is a very wealthy San Francisco banker, but he is an absolute loner, even spending his birthday alone... (129 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ An unbelievable finale, and the two meanings of that word are in full effect here. ” - dirty_dutchman
 
50.
United 93 (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A real-time account of the events on United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on September 11th, 2001 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when passengers foiled the terrorist plot. (111 mins.)
Director: Paul Greengrass
“ We all know what's coming. But when it happens, real or not, it is a remarkable example of true heroism. ” - dirty_dutchman