30 March 2009

10 Movies With Best Endings - No Spoilers

What is the most important part in the movie? Everyone will have different opinion. Screenwriters, sitting hours in front of the computer screen day after day, know exactly what's most important to them. Directors, with their gaze at the "big picture", know what they need to pay attention to. Moviegoers, Film critics, everyone has something that most important to them to see in the film, TV show or short movie.

For me, it's the ending. No matter how you judge a film, the ending is the last thing that you see, this is the last impression, the closure. Endings has the power to turn the whole thing around. Good movies can be completely ruined by bad endings, on the other hand bad movies can upgrade themselves with great endings. Usually it's the ending that matters the most how you'll remember the film, memorable endings are the sign that the resolution of the film, the closure of the story, was delivered in very effective way, leaving powerful feeling from the watching experience.

So now I'll list number of movies that have great ending, that when the final credits roll on the screen you're still sitting there and staring at the screen, trying to digest what just happened. Since I can't mention them all, here is just 10 of them, and later I'll mention 10 more. So this is again, my objective judgment. The order of the films have no meaning, and I will not describe the ending, of course, no spoilers.


Aguirre: The Wrath of God, 1972

Werner Herzog was really at his peak, as well as his leading star - Klaus Kinski. The movie is actually a metaphor about everything that is sinful in humanity. This is told in the form of a metaphorical journey, that I personally see as interpretation of Dante's Inferno. The ending is absolutely epic.

Brazil, 1985

Terri Gilliam was fiercely fighting to end the film as he wanted. The studio didn't like it for being too dark, so they edited a shorter version of the film, not only changing the end but the whole film (I saw this version and it's really bad). After big battle the studio gave up, and the result is great movie and one of the painful endings in the cinema history.

A Boy and His Dog, 1975

Cult post apocalyptic movie that every sci-fi fan should see. As opposed to somewhat innocent title, this movie is not innocent at all, and deals with some very mature stuff.
The best thing about the ending is, that it takes a few seconds to fully understand what happened. And once you do, a sense of shock and horror overwhelms you, you just cannot apprehend it. The next reaction - hysterical laugh, because there is no other way to deal with this.

The Conversation, 1974

Very unusual film by Coppola, that he did between the first two parts of The Godfather, and indicating his variety as director.
Very quiet film about paranoia and the evasiveness of realty. The ending is a perfect conclusion to the story, leaving the viewer with certain sadness.

Dark Star, 1974

I've already wrote about this film (here) in the review of Carpenter's work, and it's definitely deserves another spotlight.
Amazing ending, very successfully catching the essence of eternity, the vastness of the universe and how insignificant all human problems on Earth really are compared to it. In philosophical sense.

Time of the Gypsies (Dom za vesanje), 1988

Probably the best film by Kusturica, and I've seen most of them. Very grim and rough, with his familiar style of surrealism and magical reality and with superb story. The power of the ending is that it happens on the highest point in the film, both emotionally and story wise. After that point can be only decline, and this is exactly where the movie ends. This mind blowing ending feels like someone hit you on the head with a hammer.

Fireworks (Hana-bi), 1997

Most famous film of Tkeshi "Beat" Kitano, that his works I am planning to cover in "Meet the Director" series of stories later.
The ending is so unexpected and touching, that it leaves the feeling of a bitter emptiness. The movie stays in mind for a long, long time just because of it.

Rabid, 1977

Old "body horror" Cronenberg at his best, probably the first director ever to feature porn star (Marilyn Chambers) in legit film. The ending is very morbid and cynical, like in any good B movie don't expect a happy ending.

Silent Running, 1972

Cult sci-fi about loneliness and desperation in space with metaphorical references. The movie could be just average, but the ending it what upgrades it entirely.
Worth seeing if only to experience the powerful ending.

Raging Bull, 1980

No need to introduce neither Martin Scorsese nor Robert De Niro. The ending is just a final signature, maybe not as remarkable when on its own, but as the end to this masterpiece it's just perfect.


  1. I've actually only seen Raging Bull, Rabid and Brazil out of these movies. Will try to check out the others as well.

  2. I know I dramatize it a little, but the description is sincere.