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

The Quiet Earth (1985)

An Ambiguous Ending - Scientist Zac Found Himself In A Strange World With a Rising Ringed Planet After a Catastrophic Event ("The Effect"); Had He Died in Suicidal Explosion, Been Teleported Into Another Dimension...?

This science fiction "last-man-on-earth" film opened with apocalyptic cataclysm survivor Zac Hobson (Bruno Lawrence) awakening to an empty and quiet world (with no bodies) on the outskirts of Auckland, New Zealand. He wondered if his work called Project Greenlight at the Research Division of the Delenko Corporation had anything to do with it.

Apparently the only person left on Earth after the catastrophe (or "the Effect"), the awestruck, utterly isolated and pained Zac began to drift toward insanity and madness ("I've been condemned to live"), and then thankfully met two other survivors: pretty, curly red-haired white woman Joanne (Alison Routledge) and black Maori tribesman Api (Pete Smith) -- all three survived because they were on the verge of death at the moment of destruction.

Toward the end of the film, when Zac became convinced that the "Effect" would reoccur and destroy the entire planet, he sacrificially drove a tanker truck into his scientific facility to avert this final disaster (ironically, who would be saved?) - and after 'dying' in a massive fireball, he ended up on a deserted beach in some unknown alien world with the majestic, enchanting and striking image of a Saturn-like ringed planet rising over the horizon.

The film's ambiguous and perplexing conclusion forced one to ask: Was he killed and dead? Was he taken up into Heaven? Was he in another dimension? Was he rescued? Was he on a habitable moon around Saturn or some other distant planet? Were those nuclear mushroom clouds on the horizon? What was the fate of the rest of the Earth's population? What had happened to Joanne and Api?

However, what was absolutely clear was that his act had brought him even further toward complete isolation.

Race with the Devil (1975)

Cultist Satanists Surrounded the RV With a Ring of Fire Before an Impending Sacrifice

This occult action/horror thriller told about two married couples :

  • dirt-bike shop owner Frank Stewart (Warren Oates) with his wife Alice (Loretta Swit)
  • Roger Marsh (Peter Fonda) with his wife Kelly (Lara Parker)

The foursome set out from San Antonio, Texas, for a ski-trip and dirt-bike vacation to Colorado in Frank's new luxury motor-home RV. In an early scene in central Texas, they accidentally witnessed a Satanic ritual with robed and masked participants that involved a human sacrifice (a naked young woman was stabbed by a masked participant) in a ring of fire. They reported the incident to the local Sheriff Taylor (R.G. Armstrong), but he dismissed their report as nothing more than drug-crazed hippies and an animal sacrifice

In this film's startling and chilling ending, all of the people they had met and been harassed by on their trip, including the Sheriff, were revealed to be cultists and Satanists. When they thought they had escaped from the attackers and were out of danger after being pursued by a convoy of trucks during a wild car chase ("It's all over") , the film closed with an overhead shot of their RV encircled by a ring of fire, in preparation for a sacrifice signaled by the sounds of chanting.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The Ark of the Covenant Was Crated and Stored in A Government Warehouse

In this film's deeply ironic twist conclusion, the powerful Ark of the Covenant was crated in a wooden box and its lid was solidly nailed shut, with a stenciled label containing a long inventory number for identification: "TOP SECRET, ARMY INTEL 9906753 DO NOT OPEN!"

A warehouseman pushed the crated Ark down a long aisle formed by huge stacks of similar crates in an enormous government warehouse presumably in Washington, DC, where it would again be hidden away - by further bureaucratic inefficiency. The scene was deliberately reminiscent of one of the final scenes in Citizen Kane (1941).

Rebecca (1940)

Maxim Detested His Unfaithful First Wife Rebecca, Who Lied About Her Pregnancy (She Was Suffering From Terminal Cancer); She Had Vengefully Goaded Maxim into Killing Her

In the beachhouse, George Fortescu Maximilian 'Maxim' de Winter (Laurence Olivier) recounted the traumatic event of his life to his new wife (Joan Fontaine).

He told her that he actually hated his unfaithful first wife Rebecca and was miserable with her. He accidentally killed Rebecca when she flaunted her infidelities and told him she was pregnant with another man's child - possibly by her own cousin and playboy Jack Favell (George Sanders). Maxim would have deliberately taken her life had she not died accidentally when they quarreled - she tripped over some ship's tackle on the floor, fell, and struck her head.

Afterwards, he confessed that he hid her body in a sailboat and sunk it in the cove. When the boat was discovered with Rebecca's body, an inquest was held and it appeared that Maxim would be charged with the murder.

The film's second twist was also unexpected - Rebecca was apparently lying about her pregnancy. In his office, Rebecca's Dr. Baker (Leo G. Carroll) related that on the day of her death, Rebecca had learned that she was NOT pregnant with a child but suffering from terminal, inoperable, deep-rooted cancer. She knew that she had little time left before her death and didn't want to die unglamorously. Dr. Baker revealed Rebecca's last words in his office after being told she would die in a few months: "Oh no doctor, not that long."

Therefore, she goaded Maxim into accidentally killing her as a final revenge. Maxim was acquitted of her murder, and her death was ruled as a suicide.

The Red Balloon (1956, Fr.) (aka Le Ballon Rouge)

Pascal's Deflated Balloon Was Resurrected, Joined by Other Balloons, and Pascal Was Taken For a Ride

This delightful, short 34-minute fantasy film told about young towheaded schoolboy Pascal's (Pascal Lamorisse) beloved, bright, helium-filled red balloon companion/friend.

The red balloon floated outside his window and followed Pascal everywhere, until it was popped by cruel bullies with a slingshot and deflated to the ground.

In the very sweet uplifting surprise ending, his balloon resurrected itself and was accompanied by thousands of other balloons of various colors from around Paris.

All of the balloons in a cluster lifted him up and took him on a ride over the city, reminiscent of the same occurrence in Pixar's animated film Up (2009).

The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975)

Peter Proud Was the Reincarnated Jeff Curtis, Who Was Murdered By His Wife 30 Years Earlier; She Murdered Him a Second Time

In this paranormal thriller, inquisitive young California college professor Peter Proud (Michael Sarrazin) was experiencing disturbing visions during dream-sleep.

These dreams were actually flashbacks to a previous incarnation 30 years earlier of an adulterous ex-soldier named Jeff Curtis (Tony Stephano) who was beaten to death during a night-time swim in a lake.

On a self-discovery journey, Peter returned to where he used to live in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he semi-incestuously fell in love with his own 'daughter' Ann Curtis (Jennifer O'Neill) and learned that his alcoholic widowed 'wife' Marcia Curtis (Margot Kidder) had murdered him.

She gradually figured out, based on his mannerisms, voice and similarities to her deceased husband, that her husband had come back - and in a sudden conclusion to the film, killed him AGAIN with a boat oar during his nightly swim!

Reindeer Games (2000)

Nick Hadn't Died In Jail; He Had Conspired With Girlfriend Ashley (aka Millie Bobeck) to Rob the Casino, Use Rudy, and Backstab Gabriel; Sole Survivor Rudy Dressed as Santa Claus Spread the Money Around in Mailboxes

John Frankenheimer's action-crime thriller was told as a flashback to six days earlier, hinted at in the film's opening shots of dead and bloody Santa Clauses.

Ex-con auto-thief Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) from Sidnaw, Michigan impersonated his dead cellmate Nick Cassidy's (James Frain) identity when released from Iron Mountain maximum security prison on parole (both men were to be released at the same time). He met up with the man's beautiful, but duplicitous femme fatale pen-pal girlfriend Ashley Mercer (Charlize Theron).

Rudy became reluctantly ensnared in her psychopathic outlaw 'brother' Gabriel's (Gary Sinise) plot to rob the Tomahawk Indian reservation casino in Michigan on Christmas Eve (dressed as Santas), since Nick used to work there two years earlier as a security guard. Quick-thinking Rudy manufactured inside information about the layout of the casino and how to conduct the robbery.

Just before the heist, Rudy overheard Gabriel talking to Ashley in a motel's swimming pool, when she seductively and manipulatively revealed, as she removed her bikini top, that she wasn't Gabriel's 'sister' after all. She convinced a scoffing Gabriel to keep Rudy alive: "The more he wants me, the more his help's for real. He's manpower. That's all he is...He wants me. Your little sister" -- they both chimed in: "If only Ma and Pop - could see us now." She had recruited Gabriel (making herself his love interest) and other truckers who frequented a bar where she worked to carry out the robbery for her own greedy ends.

After the deadly heist, Gabriel learned from the casino manager Jack Bangs (Dennis Farina), that Rudy was NOT Nick Cassidy, his former employee, as Rudy chuckled at Ashley: "It's the story of your life, Ash. You f--ked the wrong guy. Rudy Duncan, honey."

The only three who survived the heist were Ashley and Gabriel (with Rudy bound up). As Gabriel drove away in a truck with them, he laughed happily: "We took the place down with the wrong guy. Is this Christmas, huh?" When Ashley off-handedly stated that she knew how Nick had died in prison - by stabbing (with a "shiv") - although she hadn't been told that detail by Rudy, the two men both knew there was something wrong with her involvement. She abruptly retaliated by shooting Gabriel dead.

Then, the film's major plot twist was presented -- Nick wasn't really dead - he appeared and admitted that he had planned the entire heist with his double-crossing partner: "We made it, baby" - and she coldly told Rudy: "I never f--k the wrong guy." Ashley's real name was Millie Bobeck, who was Nick's girlfriend before he was jailed. She worked in a bar in Motor City where Nick had manslaughtered someone, and had planned all along for Rudy to be the leading sucker, to help a bunch of truckers score big: "Find a sucker who could show them a sure thing." Nick added that he had always wanted to rob that casino: "What better way than to get some guys to rob it for me." Nick had paid a lifer to stab him in prison just before his release, which occurred during a food fight two days before his scheduled release, and then ensured that word spread that he had died, but he was released after healing a short time later.

The film ended with the sole survivor Rudy having killed both Ashley (by sending her over a cliff on the hood of a flaming car) and Nick (by reversing a car into his knees and sending him over a cliff inside a truck). Afterwards, he played Santa Claus (wearing a Santa suit) - carrying two sacks full of money and depositing wrapped wads of bills in mailboxes until all the money was gone, as he returned to his home in Sidnaw for a family Christmas dinner.

Remember Me (2010)

The Film was Set in the Year 2001. In the Unexpected, Abrupt Twist Ending, Tyler Took an Elevator to his Father's 92nd-floor Law Office. A Chalkboard in his Sister Caroline's Classroom Revealed that the Date was September 11, 2001 (Tuesday). In his Father's Office, Located in the North Tower of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers, He Looked out the Window and Watched Helplessly (Off-screen) as AA Flight # 11 Hit the Building Where He Was Standing.

Director Allen Coulter's romantic drama was promoted with the tagline: "Live in the Moment" - a hint to the big surprise twist ending - not tacked on - and considered unnecessary, misguided, unearned, offensive, and coming from left field by many reviewers.

In the film's opening flashback going back to 1991 in Brooklyn, NY, young 11 year-old blonde Ally Craig saw her mother Helen (Martha Plimpton) murdered by a gunshot from a purse-snatching mugger on a subway platform. Then, "ten years later" (in 2001), the film showed how troubled, brooding and rebellious slacker Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson) lived in a grungy Manhattan apartment. The entire Hawkins family was still suffering from the loss of older brother Michael who had committed suicide - Tyler had his brother's name tattooed above his heart. He was also dealing with his wealthy, emotionally-estranged lawyer father Charles Hawkins (Pierce Brosnan). Tyler was approaching his 22nd birthday, the same age as Michael when he committed suicide (by hanging) on his birthday about 6 years earlier (on May 20, 1995).

The story, opening around late spring of the year, became a coming-of-age tale about two star-crossed, NYU-attending lovers, both 21 years of age:

  • pretty blue-collar student Alyssa "Ally" Craig (Emilie De Ravin), who first lied about her age and said she was 19
  • audit student Tyler Hawkins, from an affluent family, and employed part-time in the Strand (a bookstore)

Ally lived at home in Queens with her overprotective and harsh police investigator father Sgt. Neil Craig (Chris Cooper). After Tyler had an altercation with "asshole" Sgt. Craig during a street mugging and was arrested, he accepted a mean-spirited, deceitful bet from his obnoxious, party-loving roommate Aidan Hall (Tate Ellington). Tyler was challenged to initially date Ally to seek revenge on Neil's daughter - he was encouraged to sleep with her and then dump her ("Go on a few dates...Be your charming, gentlemanly self, and then flip the script on her...Screw her brains out"). However, after dinner-dating Ally, he soon fell in love with her, and they realized they had similar life histories - both had "compelling" fathers, and both had lost loved ones at a young age.

In the film's conclusion, there were a few dramatic confrontations involving Tyler, including his Thursday, September 6th arrest after he had vandalized the classroom of his nerdy, art prodigy sister Caroline (Ruby Jerins), to retaliate for her mistreatment by classmates at a private birthday party. He also was reconciled with Ally after her initial shock upon learning of his original reason to date her, and there were the beginnings of the repair of his relationship with his father after he showed renewed interest in Caroline.

On a sunny September morning, Tyler took an elevator to his father's 92nd floor law office in downtown near Wall Street. A chalkboard in Caroline's classroom revealed that the date was Tuesday, September 11, 2001. He was in an office located in the north tower of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. As he looked out the multi-paned window, he watched as American Airlines Flight # 11 struck the building where he was standing (implied and off-screen). Tyler's voice-over was heard (quoting partly from Gandhi) - as various characters looked in shock at the destroyed towers (off-screen):

"Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it, because nobody else will. Like when someone comes into your life, and half of you says, 'You're nowhere near ready,' but the other half says, 'Make her yours forever.' Michael, Caroline asked me what would I say if I knew you could hear me. I said I do know. 'I love you. God, I miss you. And I forgive you.'"

The camera panned over rubble and looked upon ruffled pages of Tyler's diary. Grief-stricken Ally hugged her father. Caroline and her family stood at the gravesite of another deceased brother. The film ended with some resolved loose ends: a healthier father-daughter relationship between Charles and Caroline, Aidan seriously studying (and sporting a tattoo on his right bicep of Tyler's name), and Ally riding on the subway (something she had always avoided).

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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