Greatest Twist Endings

by PMullen43 | created - 02 Mar 2012 | updated - 19 Aug 2013 | Public
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1. Planet of the Apes (1968)

G | 112 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
79 Metascore

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.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans

Votes: 148,508 | Gross: $33.40M

BRILLIANT twist. Unfortunately spawned sequels.

2. The Usual Suspects (1995)

R | 106 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
77 Metascore

A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin

Votes: 831,393 | Gross: $23.34M

This is one that will make you want to rewind it just to see the reveal again.

3. The Sixth Sense (1999)

PG-13 | 107 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
64 Metascore

A boy who communicates with spirits seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams

Votes: 781,260 | Gross: $293.51M

I have mixed feelings on this one. To be honest, I kind of saw it coming when I first saw the film, but I can't remember if that was because someone told me there was a twist. Nonetheless it's great and it actually doesn't break any rules; it makes sense completely.

4. Psycho (1960)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
97 Metascore

A Phoenix secretary embezzles $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.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Votes: 480,655 | Gross: $32.00M

Another one so widely known.

5. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Not Rated | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.4
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    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.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester

Votes: 76,593

Wow. Any film that tells you not to reveal the ending to the film in the closing credits has quite a twist. Who would expect any less from Agatha Christie?

6. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

8.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
82 Metascore

After the rebels are overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda. His friends accept shelter from a questionable ally as Darth Vader hunts them in a plan to capture Luke.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 957,301 | Gross: $290.48M

So widely known that it's had to remember how shocking this was.

7. Soylent Green (1973)

PG | 97 min | Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi

7.1
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In the world ravaged by the greenhouse effect and overpopulation, an NYPD detective investigates the murder of a big company CEO.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Leigh Taylor-Young, Chuck Connors

Votes: 48,921

Aged sci-fi film only good because of the twist.

8. The Conversation (1974)

PG | 113 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
86 Metascore

A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple, on whom he is spying, will be murdered.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Frederic Forrest

Votes: 81,703 | Gross: $4.42M

Good irony

9. Memento (2000)

R | 113 min | Mystery, Thriller

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
80 Metascore

A man juggles searching for his wife's murderer and keeping his short-term memory loss from being an obstacle.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior

Votes: 949,357 | Gross: $25.54M

This one is pretty similar to Shutter Island's.

10. Shutter Island (2010)

R | 138 min | Mystery, Thriller

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
63 Metascore

In 1954, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderer, who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley

Votes: 906,700 | Gross: $128.01M

This one is really interesting and if you look into it deeply, it can kind of be interpreted two ways.

11. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
87 Metascore

There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these bloodthirsty, flesh-eating monsters.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman

Votes: 97,365 | Gross: $0.09M

Maybe not a twist ending, but a remarkable twist at the end of the film.

12. The Sting (1973)

PG | 129 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
80 Metascore

Two grifters team up to pull off the ultimate con.

Director: George Roy Hill | Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, Charles Durning

Votes: 197,717 | Gross: $159.60M

Since it's about con-men, you can kind of see the twist coming, but it's still convincing because of Redford and Newman.

13. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Not Rated | 67 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

8.1
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Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene | Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover

Votes: 45,060

Widely considered to be the first film with a twist ending.

14. Chinatown (1974)

R | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
86 Metascore

A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez

Votes: 242,292 | Gross: $29.20M

So much changes in the last ten minutes or so of this film.

15. Fight Club (1999)

R | 139 min | Drama

8.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
66 Metascore

An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soapmaker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf, Zach Grenier

Votes: 1,525,822 | Gross: $37.03M

This breaks a few rules in my opinion, but it's certainly interesting.

16. Carnival of Souls (1962)

PG | 78 min | Horror, Mystery

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After a traumatic accident, a woman becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival.

Director: Herk Harvey | Stars: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison

Votes: 15,613

The Sixth Sense before The Sixth Sense.

17. House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Not Rated | 75 min | Horror, Mystery

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A millionaire offers $10,000 to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with him and his wife.

Directors: William Castle, Rosemary Horvath | Stars: Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long, Alan Marshal

Votes: 18,181

Twist upon twist upon twist. The Chinatown of horror films.

18. The Public Enemy (1931)

Not Rated | 83 min | Crime, Drama

7.7
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A young hoodlum rises up through the ranks of the Chicago underworld, even as a gangster's accidental death threatens to spark a bloody mob war.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods, Joan Blondell

Votes: 14,787

This movie has aged terribly but the twist was interesting.

19. The Prestige (2006)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
66 Metascore

After a tragic accident two stage magicians engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion whilst sacrificing everything they have to outwit the other.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine

Votes: 967,264 | Gross: $53.09M

A little too ridiculous to be higher on this list, but an interesting twist. Actually it's basically two twists.

20. Scream (1996)

R | 111 min | Horror, Mystery

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
65 Metascore

A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich

Votes: 243,329 | Gross: $103.05M

This has a fitting twist to a compelling mystery.

21. Halloween (1978)

R | 91 min | Horror, Thriller

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
78 Metascore

Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran, Nancy Kyes

Votes: 177,773 | Gross: $47.00M

Because of the formulaic nature of slasher films, this probably won't surprise you. But remember, this was the first.

22. Citizen Kane (1941)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
100 Metascore

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 331,653 | Gross: $1.59M

I'm sure you know this one already, but this twist ending (if you call it one) probably holds more thematic weight than any other twist ending.

23. Nothing But the Truth (I) (2008)

R | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
64 Metascore

In Washington, D.C., a female reporter faces a possible jail sentence for outing a CIA agent and refusing to reveal her source.

Director: Rod Lurie | Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon, Vera Farmiga, Angela Bassett

Votes: 32,693 | Gross: $0.00M

Pretty forgettable movie but had a very clever twist.

24. Dead Silence (2007)

R | 89 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
34 Metascore

A young widower returns to his hometown to search for answers to his wife's murder, which may be linked to the ghost of a murdered ventriloquist.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Fairman

Votes: 74,362 | Gross: $16.81M

The movie may suck but the twist was pretty damn good.

25. The Departed (2006)

R | 151 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
85 Metascore

An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg

Votes: 982,654 | Gross: $132.38M

So many twists at the end...