Greatest Film Plot Twists
Film Spoilers and
Surprise Endings


Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings
Film Title/Year and Plot Twist-Spoiler-Surprise Ending Description

F For Fake (1973) (aka Vérités et mensonges)

The Last 17 Minutes Of the Film Were Fake

Writer/director/actor Orson Welles' last feature film was this non-linear, documentary-essay (and magic trick at its end) about fakery, art forgery, authorship and authenticity, charlatanism, the value of experts, magicians, and the art world.

Within a hodge-podge of re-edited films (BBC film stock, an earlier documentary on de Hory, candid film footage, newly-shot commentary), the bearded, self-indulgent Welles served as playful emcee as he narrated about "two world leaders in fakery" -- famous Hungarian art forger Elmyr de Hory (Himself) - who lived on Ibiza, and his scamming biographer Clifford Irving (Himself), who wrote a biographical book called Fake about the prolific art forger. Irving also wrote his own believable but fraudulent biography of a real person - Howard Hughes, and when found out was dubbed "Con Man of the Year" by Time Magazine.

Welles opened the film with a simple statement that hinted at the 85 minute long film concluding with an odd plot twist:

Ladies and gentleman, by way of introduction, this is a film about trickery and fraud, about lies. Tell it by the fireside or in a marketplace or in a movie, almost any story is almost certainly some kind of lie. But not this time. No, this is a promise. During the next hour, everything you'll hear from us is really true and based on solid facts.

The final segment of the film consisted of a 17-minute long dramatic retelling of how a young, sexy Croatian actress Oja Kodar (Herself, Welles' real-life girlfriend at the time of shooting), first seen in the film in a segment on girl-watching, enticed famed artist Pablo Picasso in the village of Toussaint by walking by his place during one summer in provocative beach-dress, and was soon invited in to be his mistress in exchange for ownership of the 22 nude paintings he made of her.

Later, she sold fraudulent Picassos made by her painter-forger grandfather to several museums and collectors in their place, and supposedly made a fortune by selling the real paintings - although her grandfather said they had been burned. After a tense "reenactment" of an argument between Picasso and Kodar's dying grandfather (who was the accused forger), Welles - admitting that he was a charlatan himself, playfully and mischieviously reminded the audience of his earlier promise to tell the truth for only an hour, and that the concluding portion of the film was just more fakery:

At the very beginning, I - of all this, I did make you a promise. Remember? I did promise that for one hour, I'd tell you only the truth. That hour, ladies and gentlemen, is over. For the past 17 minutes, I've been lying my head off. The truth, and please forgive us for it, is that we've been forging an art story...

He then apologized to Picasso and summed up: "To the memory of that great man who will never cease to exist, I offer my apologies and wish you all, true and false, a very pleasant good evening."

The Faculty (1998)

The Master Queen Alien Was New Transfer Student Marybeth, Killed in the Conclusion by Casey

Scream's writer Kevin Williamson scripted this Robert Rodriguez-directed horror film, creating a hybrid of teenage angst high-school films (such as The Breakfast Club (1985)) and the sci-fi alien invasion film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).

The film opened with leading members of the faculty of Herrington High School in Ohio being taken over by murderous aliens. The first to be possessed was menacing Hornets football coach Joe Willis (Robert Patrick), and then drama teacher Mrs. Karen Olson (Piper Laurie) who used a pair of scissors to murder and also infect briskly efficient principal Miss Valerie Drake (Bebe Neuwirth).

Six key members of the student body who would investigate the weird happenings were then introduced during the character credits:

  • repeating senior-year loner and troubled misfit Zeke Tyler (Josh Hartnett) who was selling fake IDs, dirty videos, condoms and drugs from his car's trunk
  • geeky whipping boy outcast Casey Connor (Elijah Wood)
  • freckle-faced, black-garbed lesbian and sci-fi buff Stokely "Stokes" Mitchell (Clea DuVall)
  • pretty head cheerleader but vindictive and superficial school newspaper editor-in-chief Delilah Proffitt (Jordana Brewster)
  • Delilah's red-haired ex-football-playing jock boyfriend Stan Rosado (Shawn Hatosy) who wished for academic respectability
  • friendly girl-next-door new student/Southern belle Marybeth Louise Hutchinson (Laura Harris) from Atlanta

An alternate universe of alien beings came to fruition after a small alien pod (pelagic or sea-dwelling organism) was found on the football field, and then thrived and replicated in a tank of water - and developed sharp teeth. One of the alien converts, elderly teacher Mrs. Brummel (Susan Willis), warned before dying: "I don't know what's happening. They want everyone." And then Casey and Delilah watched from hiding as hypochondriac School Nurse Rosa Harper (Salma Hayek) was murdered and infected with a bloody ear-injection from Coach Willis' mouth - and then reappeared apparently normal.

Almost the entire faculty was soon "commuted" and the students were next, beginning with the most influential. Casey and Delilah were the first to suspect the alien control and parasitic take-over of human bodies at the school (Casey: "It's a devil's cult or something. Maybe they worship comets?...Everybody's been acting really strange, especially the faculty"). Stokely jokingly theorized: "It's like they've all turned into f--kin' pod people or something...Invasion of the Body Snatchers. A small town was taken over by aliens." Casey was more suspicious: "Maybe X-Files is right. Where do all these movies come from anyway? How do we know Spielberg, Lucas, Sonnenfeld, Emmerich haven't been visited by aliens? You know, maybe they're aliens themselves. Maybe they're simply preparing us for what's to come." Stokely replied: "Aliens have just been setting us up over the years, creating this happy little make-believe existence with their E.T. and their Men in Black movies just so that nobody would believe it if it really happened." Casey convinced his friends why the aliens had chosen Ohio: "If you were going to take over the world, would you blow up the White House Independence Day-style or sneak in through the back door?"

It appeared that once the faculty members (and then students) were alien-inhabited, they had a transformative make-over and strange character change (often revealing their true or better selves), plus they required huge amounts of water to survive. The first real evidence of alien-takeover was when science teacher Mr. Furlong (Jon Stewart) attacked the students in the lab-room, and dope-dealer Zeke severed his fingers from his hand (and they crawled along the floor) and poked his eye out with a long, thin tube of his own dehydrating (diuretic) drug - causing Furlong to decompose.

After a getaway, the unlikely group of students (a nerd, a geeky jock, an outcast, a cheerleader, a misfit rebel, etc.) theorized that if they found the 'master alien' or "Queen" leader and killed it, they could eliminate the threat and the further spread of the parasitic alien seeking human hosts, and everything would revert to normal. Each student, suspicious of the others, snorted the drug (composed mostly of the contents of caffeinated no-doz pills) to prove their non-alien status (in homage to John Carpenter's blood-test scene in The Thing (1982)). Delilah was revealed to be one of the aliens, and in the confusion, Marybeth concealed the fact that she didn't snort the drug.

With little time to spare before the human race was entirely taken over, the group of five returned to the school's Friday night football game where they shot and killed Principal Drake in the gym, but she wasn't the "Queen Bee." On the field, Stan became infected, and tried to convince Stokely to join him: "It's so much better. There's no fear or pain. It's beautiful...No problems or worries." When Zeke went to his car trunk to get the last of the drug, he encountered infected frumpy teacher Miss Burke (Famke Janssen) - now a sexpot, who was beheaded when he crashed his car, but remained alive.

Transfer student Marybeth revealed herself as the head "Queen" alien with huge tentacles - she infected Stokely in the swimming pool. While standing naked in front of Zeke in the locker room, Marybeth first tried to entice Zeke ("Do you like what you see?"). He was knocked out, and then she stalked Casey and told him about her own alien world:

You know, in my world, Casey, there were limitless oceans as far as the eye could see. A beautiful home until it started to dry up. So I escaped, came here, and met you. All of you. All of you were different from the others. You were lost and lonely, just like me. And I thought that maybe, I could give you a taste of my world: a world without anger, without fear, without attitude. Where the underachiever goes home at night to parents who care. The jock can be smart, the ugly duckling beautiful, and the class wuss doesn't have to live in terror. And the new girl -- Well, the new girl, she can just fit right in with people who are just like her. You see, Casey, even Marybeth's feelings can be hurt by a bunch of pathetic, lost, little outcasts who truly believe that their disaffected lonely life is the only way they can survive. I can make you a part of something so special, Casey, so perfect, so fearless. Don't you want that, Casey?

When he replied: "I'd rather be afraid," she retaliated: "Fine. All right. Have it your way. 'Cause this is where your land of fiction gets it right. We win. End of story!" Casey trapped the creature in the collapsing gym bleachers, and then stabbed it in the eye with the last tube of the drug. Although Casey was infected, things immediately returned to normal - unexplicably.

In voice-over, a female news-reporter on the campus a month later claimed there had been "a mysterious disappearance of several faculty members one month ago. Both the local authorities and the FBI have largely discounted several students' claim that an extraterrestrial was involved. A spokesperson for the FBI has indicated that no substantiating evidence has been found."

In the meantime, cross-clique romantic pairings had occurred: Stokely and Stan, Casey and Delilah, and Zeke had joined the football team and was dating Miss Burke. After Delilah kissed Casey, she told her hero: "You know, you can be pretty cool sometimes." He replied: "Things sure have changed, haven't they?" It was unlike the ending of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where: "They get us. They win, we lose."

Fallen (1998)

The Evil Spirit Azazel (in the Serial Killer) Almost Died, But Jumped Into the Body of a Stray Cat

The opening voice-over ("I wanna tell you about the time I almost died...") from homicide detective John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) in this soul-transference, supernatural thriller was revealed to be not his voice, but the voice of evil spirit or fallen angel named Azazel, that could possess people's souls.

Most recently, Azazel (who ominously sang the Stones' song "Time is On My Side" in each new body host, and enjoyed Kellogg's Corn Flakes) had hopped from the soul of executed serial killer Reese (Elias Koteas) into other people and continued to commit similar murders.

In the film's climax, possessed detective Jonesy (John Goodman) shot and killed Lieut. Stanton (Donald Sutherland), followed by Hobbes' fatal shooting of Jonesy (with a shot to the forehead), and his subsequent predictable possession by Azazel.

To rid the evil spirit forever, Hobbes' plan was to kill both himself (by smoking a poisoned cigarette) and the demonic spirit at an out-of-the-way remote cabin so that when he died, Azazel wouldn't be able to possess anyone else in the vicinity. However, just before his death in the snow outside of the cabin, Azazel 'jumped' into the body of a stray cat (shown from Azazel's POV), ready to inhabit another new body, and told Hobbes as he chuckled:

Oh! You forgot something, didn't you? Back at the start, I said I was going to tell you about the time I almost died. Be seeing you.

Fargo (1996)

The Surviving Kidnapper and Jerry Were Arrested; Norm's Painting Would Be Displayed on the 3-Cent Stamp

This classic Coen Brothers' film ended with the resolution of multiple homicides, including:

  • the death of indebted car salesman Jerry Lundegaard's (William Macy) wealthy father in law Wade Gustafson (Harve Presnell) after he delivered ransom money to criminal Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi)
  • the death of Jerry's kidnapped, hostage wife Jean (Kristin Rudrud) in the presence of the second criminal Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare)
  • Gaear killed Carl with an axe, during an angry dispute; pregnant local Chief of Police Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) found Gaear feeding Carl's body into a woodchipper - she arrested him, after shooting him in the leg

Jerry was arrested in a motel room near Bismarck, North Dakota. It was unclear whether the ransom money that Carl buried in the snow was recovered.

In the satisfying epilogue, Marge and her loving husband Norm (John Carroll Lynch) were watching TV in bed. She congratulated him on being the winner of the USPS oil painting competition (of a mallard duck) for the 3-cent stamp, a necessity when the postal rate was to be increased.

They were anticipating a hopeful future, thinking about their new prospective life as a family after the birth of their child: "We're doing pretty good...Two more months..."

Fatal Attraction (1987)

Wife Beth Shot Her Husband's Scorned Lover Alex Forrest to Death in the Bathtub, After She Appeared Drowned But Resurrected Herself

Adrian Lyne's popular thriller included a few terrorizing scenes of scorned lover Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) seeking revenge after experiencing a short fling with errant husband and successful New York publishing lawyer Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas). Earlier in the film, she made "hare stew" of his daughter Ellen's pet rabbit (named Whitly).

In the shocking and violent conclusion, Dan (seen struggling in closeup) held the hysterical woman under the water in his home's second floor bathtub after she had attacked his wife Beth (Anne Archer) with a large kitchen knife and also attacked him -- he apparently drowned her when she went limp under the water.

"Return From the Dead" Shock Ending

But then she suddenly and explosively emerged still alive to repeatedly slash at him, until Beth shot her in the chest to finally end her terroristic advances.

[Note: In the film's original ending, crazed and unstable Alex committed suicide to frame former lover Dan, making it look like he had murdered her. After preview audiences objected, the ending was changed.]

Femme Fatale (2002)

Laure Woke Up in a Bathtub After A Lengthy Dream; She Advised Doppelganger Lily, Thus Changing Both of Their Futures For the Better; Laure's and Veronica's Theft of $10 Million Was Successful, When Replayed

Brian DePalma's erotic thriller was a prime example of a plot-twister, deliberately hinted at many times by various clues. Except for the first half-hour (and the film's short concluding segment), the film with themes of voyeurism and double-identity was almost entirely a dream of the title character's nightmarish future.

The film opened with a spectacularly sexy heist during the screening of the film Est-Ouest at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival; nearly-nude, sleek film model Veronica's (Rie Rasmussen) see-through gold-plated "amazing top in the shape of a serpent" was encrusted with 500 diamonds worth over 10 million dollars. Blonde femme fatale Laure Ash (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) posed as a photographer at the event, scored to Ravel's "Bolero," and during a hot lesbian/bisexual tryst of kissing and stripping in the ladies room with Veronica, the serpentine gold-plated bodice was supposedly swapped with a fake one.

The theft wasn't everything that it appeared to be, although Laure (together with partner in crime Veronica) did execute a double-cross and absconded with the jewels utilizing a bait-and-switch tactic. Wearing a black wig and hiding out in Paris, Laure met up with her camouflage-wearing brunette girlfriend in Belleville (a suburb outside of Paris) in front of a church [the girlfriend was later revealed to be her partner-in-crime Veronica!] to receive instructions about where she could obtain a passport to leave the country (Room 214 at the Sheraton Hotel). Outside the church, she was photographed by long-haired, in-debt Spanish paparazzo Nicolas Bardo (Antonio Banderas) from his overlooking balcony (in split-screen).

In the church, she was mistaken for a missing, suicidal woman named Lily (also Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), her own look-alike doppelganger, who experienced a "terrible tragedy" (loss of husband Thierry and daughter Brigitte). Lily's parents (Irma and Louis) trailed her to the hotel - [Note: as she took the elevator up to the room, passersby later appeared in Laure's dream as major characters]. She was thrown off the multi-story balcony of her room into the hotel's inner courtyard by vengeful, double-crossed partner Racine (Edouard Montoute), but miraculously survived the fall. Lily's parents brought her to her apartment to recover, where Laure noticed her resemblance to Lily in photographs framed on the wall. While watching TV, a commentator said: "And if you could see the future in a crystal ball, or in the palm of your hand, or in a dream, would you change it?" -- a major key to the remainder of the film when Laure responded to herself: "Yep." She found Lily's passport and plane tickets and decided to take them.

At 3:33 pm (all clocks remain fixed at 3:33 pm during the next segment of the film) while she took a soothing soak in an overflowing bathtub, she fell asleep -- and the dream commenced. Laure was awakened when a distraught Lily returned and committed suicide with a gun, near a flooding aquarium (hint!). To "start a new life" and escape pursuit, Laure appropriated Lily's identity and flew to the US - conveniently meeting businessman Mr. Watts (Peter Coyote) on the plane and subsequently marrying him.

Seven years later, she was forced to return to France when Watts became US Ambassador to France. Tabloid photographer Bardo snapped her picture as she exited her car at her new Parisian residence (the photo was printed and posted on billboards), and her second, bloodied, double-crossed partner Black Tie (Eriq Ebouaney) was released from prison after serving seven years - he joined Racine to hunt down Laure.

They first caught up with brunette Veronica, who was "fencing diamonds," and threw her under a truck. Bando continued to pursue femme fatale Laure/Lily, meeting up with her in Room 214 at the Sheraton Hotel. To seek revenge against him for taking her picture, she manipulated and enticed him, first by non-chalantly stripping to her skimpy underwear in the room (he asked: "Are you flirting with me?" and she replied: "You're so damn lovable") while setting him up for two charges by the police: stealing her car, and a scheme of kidnapping for ransom aimed at her husband (at the Passerelle Debilly Bridge).

However, to first have some fun, she performed a strip-teasing dance for him to arouse his angry jealousy in the basement of a sleazy bar/pool-room, before making vigorous love to him - during which time he recorded her admission of her treacherous guilt in the staging of the kidnapping plot ("I made everybody think you kidnapped me, so I could screw my husband out of 10 million bucks"). At the bridge rendezvous at 2 am, Laure/Lily killed her husband ("I was just being careful") and then wounded Bardo. She was attacked from behind by Black Tie ("F--king over everyone again, hmm, not this time!"), who threw her into the cold Seine River - where she was shocked into reality -- the dream ended.

Suicidal Lily entered the apartment again and this time, Laure warned Lily about killing herself and gave her a second chance to change her future - and her own ("I'm your f--king fairy godmother, and I just dreamt your future. And mine too. And all I know is, if there's a snowball's chance in hell of any of that s--t happening, we're gonna change it right here"). She encouraged Lily to take the plane to America, and sit next to "good guy" Bruce Watts who would "fall in love" with her. Lily chose life, and hitched a ride to the airport with a truckdriver, to whom she gave a reflective glass-ball necklace to remember the man's 10 year-old daughter ("when you're on the road, your little girl will always be with you").

Seven years later, once again paparazzo Bardo was asked to get a picture of the new US Ambassador to France with his three children and wife. He also photographed Laure at an outdoor cafe giving a $4 million share to girlfriend Veronica after slowly fencing off the diamonds they had stolen together. Veronica was again pursued on the street by the two double-crossed criminals, but this time, the crooks lost their lives when a truckdriver (the one with the glass-ball necklace swinging from his rear-view mirror who was blinded momentarily with a flash of sunlight reflecting from Laure's shiny case into the piece of jewelry) veered into them and impaled them on a spiked, loading truck gate. After witnessing the accident, Bardo assisted a shaken-up Laure and asked: "Haven't we met before somewhere?" - she replied honestly: "Only in my dreams."

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Ferris Successfully Took A "Day Off" From School, Fooling the Dean of Students

Malingering high school senior Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), after skipping school to attend the Von Steuben Day parade in downtown Chicago, rushed home to get into bed to escape detection by his parents.

Bueller's suspicious Dean of Students Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) entered the Bueller house and was attacked by the family Rotweiler, and then humiliated when wandering in the street and picked up by a schoolbus driver (and offered a warmed-up Gummi bear).

After the credits rolled, a surprised Ferris emerged from the bathroom, addressed the "fourth wall" (or movie audience) and ordered everyone to go home: "You're still here? It's over! Go home. Go!"

Field of Dreams (1989)

Ray Kinsella's Estranged Father John, Not Shoeless Joe Jackson, Was Summoned to the Ballfield For A Game of Catch

This mystical sports film ended with the revelation that all the strange and compelling 'voices' that Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) had heard (i.e., "If you build it, he will come," "Ease his pain," and "Go the distance") were not

(1) to summon the ghost of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) and fellow banned Chicago White Sox ballplayers,
(2) to renew the spirit of disillusioned author Terence Mann (James Earl Jones), or
(3) to give Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham (Burt Lancaster) a chance to play in the majors

Instead, the voices were actually Ray's own internalized desire (Ray: "It was you" Joe: "No, Ray. It was you") to allow his estranged ghostly father John Kinsella (Dwier Brown) to appear. He reacted with great surprise.

Oh, my God...It's my father... ('Ease his pain.' 'Go the distance.')... My God. I-I only saw him years later when he was worn down by life. Look at him. He's got his whole life in front of him, and I'm not even a glint in his eye. What do I say to him?

His wife Annie (Amy Madigan) suggested that John meet his granddaughter Karin (Gaby Hoffman). When father and son spoke alone, John said: "For me, it's like a dream come true. Can I ask you something? Is-is this heaven?" Ray responded, typically: "It's Iowa." John replied: "I could have sworn it was heaven...It's the place dreams come true." Ray pondered: "Maybe this is heaven." And then, slightly choked up, he requested: "Hey Dad? You want to have a catch." The two enjoyed a game of catch between father and son one more time as the sun set.

The film ended with a stream of cars (and headlights) approaching the ballfield in the middle of an Iowa cornfield, signaling that Ray wouldn't lose his farm after all.

Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings

(alphabetical by film title)
Intro | A1 | A2 | B1 | B2 | B3 | B4 | B5 | C1 | C2 | C3 | D1 | D2 | D3 | E1 | E2 | F1 | F2 | G | H1 | H2 | H3 | I | J-K | L1 | L2
M1 | M2 | M3 | M4 | M5 | N | O | P1 | P2 | Q-R1 | R2 | S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | S6 | T1 | T2 | T3 | U-V | W1 | W2 | W3 | X-Z

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