The End Justifies the Means

The IMDb team were discussing favourite movies from the 1970s today (my #1 is Jaws) and I mentioned the little-seen western romance From Noon Till Three which has a truly great ending. This inspired me to collect together a list of movies with brilliant endings. In reverse chronological order as usual. See also my companion list of unresolved endings.
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1.
Source Code (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A soldier wakes up in someone else's body and discovers he's part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train. A mission he has only 8 minutes to complete. (93 mins.)
Director: Duncan Jones
 
2.
Inception (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. (148 mins.)
 
3.
The Book of Eli (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind. (118 mins.)
 
4.
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.)
 
5.
Michael Clayton (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multi-billion dollar class action suit. (119 mins.)
Director: Tony Gilroy
 
6.
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.)
 
7.
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.)
 
8.
The Lake House (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A lonely doctor who once occupied an unusual lakeside home begins exchanging love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late. (99 mins.)
 
9.
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An abandoned wife is evicted from her house and starts a tragic conflict with her home's new owners. (126 mins.)
Director: Vadim Perelman
 
10.
Minority Report (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder. (145 mins.)
 
11.
Signs (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A family living on a farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields which suggests something more frightening to come. (106 mins.)
 
12.
The Others (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted. (101 mins.)
 
13.
Unbreakable (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A man learns something extraordinary about himself after a devastating accident. (106 mins.)
 
14.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him. (159 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
15.
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
 
16.
Dark City (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun. (100 mins.)
Director: Alex Proyas
 
17.
Fallen (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Homicide detective John Hobbes witnesses the execution of serial killer Edgar Reese. Soon after the execution the killings start again, and they are very similar to Reese's style. (124 mins.)
Director: Gregory Hoblit
 
18.
Contact (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Dr. Ellie Arroway, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of intelligent aliens, who send plans for a mysterious machine. (150 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
 
19.
Bound (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Corky, a tough female ex con and her lover Violet concoct a scheme to steal millions of stashed mob money and pin the blame on Violet's crooked boyfriend Caesar. (108 mins.)
 
20.
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
 
21.
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet. (129 mins.)
Director: Terry Gilliam
 
22.
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
 
23.
Fearless (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A man's personality is dramatically changed after surviving a major airline crash. (122 mins.)
Director: Peter Weir
 
24.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. (118 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
 
25.
Dead Again (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An amnesiac and a private eye find they might have a past life connection. (107 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
 
26.
Presumed Innocent (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
When the female deputy prosecutor R.K. Sabich had an affair with is murdered, he is chosen to lead the investigation. However, when he digs too deeply, he finds himself framed for the murder. (127 mins.)
Director: Alan J. Pakula
 
27.
Total Recall (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real - or does he? (113 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
 
28.
The Hot Spot (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
When the drifter Harry Madox reaches a small town in Texas, he gets a job as used car salesman with... (130 mins.)
Director: Dennis Hopper
 
29.
Field of Dreams (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the Chicago White Sox come. (107 mins.)
 
30.
No Way Out (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A coverup and witchhunt occur after a politician accidentally kills his mistress. (114 mins.)
Director: Roger Donaldson
 
31.
House of Games (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A psychiatrist comes to the aid of a compulsive gambler and is led by a smooth-talking grifter into the shadowy but compelling world of stings, scams, and con men. (102 mins.)
Director: David Mamet
 
32.
Angel Heart (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Harry Angel is a private investigator. He is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer called Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn. (113 mins.)
Director: Alan Parker
 
33.
Blue Velvet (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child. (120 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
34.
Aliens (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The moon from Alien has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough? (137 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
 
35.
The Terminator (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A human-looking indestructible cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs. (107 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
 
36.
The Dead Zone (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic detective ability. (103 mins.)
 
37.
The Thing (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
It's the first week of winter in 1982. An American Research Base is greeted by an alien force, that can assimilate anything it touches. It's up to the members to stay alive, and be sure of who is human, and who has become one of the Things. (109 mins.)
Director: John Carpenter
 
38.
Body Heat (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman convinces her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband. (113 mins.)
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
 
39.
The Shining (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future. (146 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
40.
Resurrection (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Edna Mae Macaulay experiences the afterlife for a brief time after a car accident that kills her husband... (103 mins.)
Director: Daniel Petrie
 
41.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
In San Francisco, a group of people discover the human race is being replaced one by one, with clones devoid of emotion. (115 mins.)
Director: Philip Kaufman
 
42.
From Noon Till Three (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
After spending 3 unforgettable hours with an outlaw, a beautiful young widow turns her story into a worldwide famous book. (99 mins.)
Director: Frank D. Gilroy
 
43.
Carrie (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Carrie White, a shy, friendless 17 year-old girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom. (98 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
44.
Obsession (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A wealthy New Orleans businessman becomes obsessed with a young woman who resembles his wife. (98 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
45.
The Conversation (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple he is spying on will be murdered. (113 mins.)
 
46.
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
 
47.
The Sting (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In Chicago in September 1936, a young con man seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con to win a fortune from a criminal banker. (129 mins.)
Director: George Roy Hill
 
48.
Sleuth (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A man who loves games and theater invites his wife's lover to meet him, setting up a battle of wits with potentially deadly results. (138 mins.)
 
49.
Solaris (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A psychologist is sent to a station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane. (167 mins.)
 
50.
Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators. (100 mins.)
Director: Joseph Sargent
 
51.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved. (112 mins.)
 
52.
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy. (126 mins.)
 
53.
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.)
 
54.
North by Northwest (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive. (136 mins.)
 
55.
Vertigo (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her. (128 mins.)
 
56.
Touch of Evil (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town. (95 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
57.
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise. (116 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
 
58.
12 Angry Men (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence. (96 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
 
59.
Curse of the Demon (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Dr. John Holden ventures to London to attend a paranormal psychology symposium with the intention to expose devil cult leader Julian Karswell... (95 mins.)
 
60.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A family vacationing in Morocco accidentally stumble on to an assassination plot and the conspirators are determined to prevent them from interfering. (120 mins.)
 
61.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A novelist aided by his future father-in-law conspires to frame himself in the murder of a stripper as part of an effort to ban capital punishment. (80 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
62.
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit." (106 mins.)
Director: Robert Aldrich
 
63.
Diabolique (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The wife of a cruel headmaster and his mistress conspire to kill him, but after the murder is committed, his body disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women. (116 mins.)
Director: H.G. Clouzot
 
64.
The Night My Number Came Up (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
On a routine flight from Hong-Kong to Japan, a British military transport aircraft's fate may or may not depend on a prophetic nightmare. (94 mins.)
Director: Leslie Norman
 
65.
In a Lonely Place (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A potentially violent screenwriter is a murder suspect until his lovely neighbor clears him. But she begins to have doubts... (94 mins.)
Director: Nicholas Ray
 
66.
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity. (110 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
 
67.
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
 
68.
Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Whilst on the telephone, an invalid woman overhears what she thinks is a murder plot and attempts to prevent it. (89 mins.)
Director: Anatole Litvak
 
69.
Portrait of Jennie (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A mysterious girl inspires a struggling artist. (86 mins.)
 
70.
Laura (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating. (88 mins.)
Director: Otto Preminger
 
71.
Double Indemnity (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions. (107 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
 
72.
The Palm Beach Story (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An inventor needs cash to develop his big idea. His wife, who loves him, decides to raise it for him by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire. (88 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
 
73.
Citizen Kane (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance. (119 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
74.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
 
75.
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard, Baby. (102 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks