What are your favorite movie endings?

Fight_lWARNING: A couple spoilers posted below.

If you haven’t already, make sure you check out parts one and two of our Favorite Movie Endings feature, in which we paid tribute to the finales of 40 films ranging from The 40-Year-Old Virgin to Vertigo and more. As our staff brainstormed for the movies to include, we quickly realized that there are way too many awesome endings to organize them into one of those definitive EW countdowns you know and (mostly) love. So instead we picked our personal favorites…no judgments!

Still, there were a few goodies that we remembered too late. If I had the chance to add another pick, it would be the poignant ending of The 25th Hour, in which Edward Norton’s character, en route to prison, has an elaborate fantasy about the alternate life he could have south of the border. Assistant managing editor Jason Adams had the ending of a different Norton movie in mind: ”Fight Club [pictured] has a pretty perfect final scene with the Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind?’ kicking in before the credits.”

What would you add? Pay tribute to your favorites below.

addCredit(“Fight Club: Everett Collection”)


Comments (451 total) Add your comment
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  • ulla

    “The Usual Suspects”. The whole theater just sat there with their mouths open. When I left I just wanted to go right back and watch it all again.

  • Anne

    Thelma and Louise, of course!

  • Ben S

    I love the ending to Narc. Even though I’ve seen it a thousand times I still presume that Ray Liotta is a bad guy until that final scene when with his dying breath he whispers the truth to Jason Patric. Awesome.

  • thdx333

    Say Anything

  • Jared

    Is there anyone who saw “Carrie” and didn’t jump ten feet in the air at it’s final ‘Gotcha!’ moment? Genius!

  • Stephen

    “The Silence of the Lambs.” It still gives me chills, hearing Clarice breathily saying Dr. Lecter,’ name over and over, long after he’s one off to feast on his greatest foe, his therapist.

  • Lucas V

    I was surprised “Heat” wasn’t on the list. The final sequence in which De Niro and Pacino violently confront each other is taut and suspenseful, and the final moment when Pacino holds De Niro’s hand as he dies is unforgettable.

  • Stephen

    Oh, and because I’m a sucker for cheesy epic love stories, where was “Titanic”?? I’m still questioning if Rose died in the end, or if it was just a dream.

  • Strepsi

    ulla is right, The Usual Suspects — because 2 that DID make your lists, The SIxth Sense and Saw, would not exist without The Usual Suspects and it’s Holy-crap-everything-is-falling-into-place ending. In a similar vain, I liked The Illusionist ending also, much better than the overrated Prestige.
    Harold and Maude did tragicomedy better than anything. Deliverance is up there with Carrie for a final image that will haunt your nightmares.
    But my all-time favorite is HALLOWEEN. It’s not the killing of Michael -shocking – it’s not that he’s gone – more shocking! – it’s those final shots of rooms in suburban houses – he could be in YOUR basement! Up YOUR stairs! In YOUR living room… right now! Could not sleep for weeks.

  • Rachel K

    Ok, i really liked the ending to the Matrix, with Rage Against the Machine playing and he flys up, i thought that rocked. The final scene of Serenity was great. The ship’s finally patched up, we say goodbye to some of our fav characters and then the “love the ship” speech b/w River and Mal, LOVED IT! Plus, a piece flew off at the end, made the ending perfect.

  • DawnLD

    I don’t think this list would be complete without “The Shawshank Redemption.” I mean really…(spoiler!!!) you’re watching those last few scenes, wondering if Andy killed himself, only to discover he’s escaped!! Pure brilliance!!!

  • AAR

    “Here’s looking at you kid.” My dad used to say that to me, and it wasn’t until I watched the movie with him that I understood just what it meant. And, of course, the shot of that bottle of Vichy water being thrown away makes the historian in me smile every time.

  • Heleno

    Just had a flip through the top 40 you guys put together, and was largely with you – some I wouldn’t have thought of, some missing I would have included – until I got to the American coda to 2005’s Pride and Prejudice. Are you KIDDING? That’s the most excruciatingly bad thing I’ve ever seen. I could hear Jane Austen spinning in her grave from here. The rest of that film’s lovely; the scene in the field and Mr Bennett’s study (the UK ending) are lovely, but that coda is just dreadful.

  • jordan

    The Breakfast Club. When John Bender walks off into the late afternoon sun with his fist pumped in the air. And then a freeze-frame.

  • reginaroadie

    One ending I absolutely love that still gets me giddy to this day is the ending of THE TRUMAN SHOW. From the shock and realization of the schooner hitting the wall to the image of Truman walking on water to Christof’s appeal to Truman for him to stay, and then when he tells Truman to say something (“You’re live to the whole world!!!”), Truman just says his signature line, bows, turns around and walks through the door as Phillip Glass’ score peaks. And then the last bit with the security guards going “What else is on?”
    It’s one of the most perfect endings to a movie in the last ten years.

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