Remember how you felt the first time you realized the true identity of Keyser Soze? Or the disbelief regarding the ending of Memento? This is a list of the best twist endings in cinema history. You know, the kind of conclusions that make your jaw-drop, your heart stop, and your head hurt. This collection features all your favorite shocking and surprising movie endings, that left you speechless, but which of these movies with twist endings are truly the best? It’s time to vote!
Certain directors have a knack for telling stories that make you shriek OMG or WTF during Act III. Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan is so innovative with his twist endings, that even when we’re searching for them, we still can’t find them anywhere in the narrative. Auteur directors like Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Prestige) and David Fincher (The Game, Se7en, Fight Club) are also repeat twist-ending offenders/geniuses/brain-benders, who somehow shock us to our core, despite the jaded media-rich world we live in.
Will you need to watch all of these films repeatedly to truly absorb the twists? Absolutely. These movies were actually meant to be watched several times. Think you can spot evidence of the twist in a film like Fight Club? Fincher wants you to find the clues (after you’ve seen the movie once), in fact the clues are everywhere within frame. You just have to look for them.
Many films today have some sort of plot twist within the story. The movies listed here are simply the best use of the shocking device. Did we miss any of your beloved jaw-droppers? Let us know in the comment section and be sure to vote up best movies with twist endings below!
The Sixth Sense
Troubled and scared Cole (Haley Joel Osment) sees dead people in M. Night Shyamalan’s 1999 psychological thriller that forever changed the way we tell ghost stories. Renowned child psychologistDr. Malcom Crowe (Bruce Willis) is hired to help Cole with his ghost-issues.
The big twist that no one saw coming is that Crowe is a ghost himself, killed in the home invasion that took place at the beginning of the film.
David Fincher’s 1999 postmodern classic about the perils of consumerism and the feminization of the American male has shocked and horrified audiences perhaps more than any film in past 25 years. Our narrator (Ed Norton) meets a macho male named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who is intent on blowing up the world in order to start over. The hard to believe twist is that the narrator suffers from dissociative identity disorder.
He and Tyler are actually the same person. Mind blown, literally, the narrator shoots himself in the face at the end of the movie in order to kill Tyler.
A ghost story in the truest sense of the word. Grace (Nicole Kidman) must keep her children safe at all costs, the kids suffer from a disease where they can have absolutely no contact with sunlight. Grace also suffers from near-debilitating migraine headaches. The mansion they live in is cold and dark. Grace is militant about the rules in the house.
The kicker is that Grace and her two kids are actually all ghosts, it’s revealed that Grace killed both her kids in a crazed-state, then took her own life.
A criminal named James Cole (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to prevent the apocalypse in Terry Gilliam’s 1995 plot-twisty, brain-bender. But he’s sent back six years too soon, and gets put away in a mental hospital. It’s revealed at the end of the movie that the horrific dreams and mad visions that Cole suffers from are actually from his childhood.
You see Cole was shot to death at an airport when he was a kid. What? Exactly.
Plot twist extraordinaire M. Night Shyamalan turns the audience into rubes once again in his take on the superhero movie. Comic collector Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) suffers from a condition that makes his bones susceptible to breaking. The collector convinces “Regular Joe” David Dunn (Bruce Willis) that he has super natural powers after he walks away from a devastating train wreck without a scratch.
What we don’t know until the end is that Price is not one of the good guys, he’s actually just a manipulative villain. In fact, he planned the train wreck in order to find Dunn.
A Beautiful Mind
Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash Jr. (Russell Crowe) may have a brilliant mind in Ron Howard’s Academy Award winning 2001 biopic, however the genius also suffers from schizophrenia. The most disturbing of the his twisty delusions is when we discover that his good buddy Charles (Paul Bettany) is just another figment of his imagination.
Director David Fincher loves his plot twists. In the 1997 twisty psychological thriller The Game, Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a loner obsessed with his finance career. His brother Conrad (Sean Penn) buys him a ticket to play a game with a company called Consumer Recreation Services. However, the experience becomes more than just a game. Nicholas’s whole life gets turned upside down, and he nearly loses everything.
It’s revealed after Nicholas jumps out of a window because he thinks that he killed his brother, that it actually all was just an elaborate game that Conrad set up, to make sure that Nicholas doesn’t wind up like their father who committed suicide.