Greatest Film Plot Twists
Film Spoilers and
Surprise Endings


R2



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

Righteous Kill (2008)

The Serial Killer Was Detective Fisk (or "Rooster"), Not His Partner Detective Cowan (or "Turk") Who Had Confessed To the Murders on a Videotaped Recording - The Taped Confession Was Misleading Because "Turk" (Coerced at Gunpoint) Was Only Reading "Rooster's" Confession From His Little Notebook; In the Final Scene, "Turk" Shot "Rooster" to Death

Director Jon Avnet's crime thriller and buddy cop film was only the second film (following Heat (1995)) ever made to co-star Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, two powerhouse actors, who were on-screen together for a significant amount of time. The film's tagline was: "Most people respect the badge. Everybody respects the gun."

The film followed two veteran, hard-talking NYC cops on the trail of a serial killer:

  • Detective Tom "Turk" Cowan (Robert De Niro), hotheaded, and a great marksman
  • Detective David "Rooster" Fisk (Al Pacino), highly-intelligent

The formulaic film opened with a trick sequence and red herring - the key to the entire film. It was a B/W videotaped recording of "Turk" admitting to being the serial killer. In actual fact, he was reading (at gunpoint) the notebook-confessional of his partner "Rooster." [The complete scene was replayed in the film's conclusion.]

He began by stating, in the words of the diary, that his name was Detective David Fisk and later, he also reaffirmed: "My name is David Fisk, Detective First Grade." However, the 'real' Fisk had forced his 30 year partner "Turk" to read his own diary confessional (on-camera), admitting that he was the "Poetry Boy" killer. It was confusing for the remainder of the film to hear "Turk"'s voice-over as the narrator for the film's story, offering an interior monologue of the killer's guilt-ridden conscience about his murderous exploits. At first, the script deliberately made it confusing by only using the cops' nicknames, not their real names.

However, in a few cases, it was clear that "Rooster" was the killer and that he had written the monologue. "Turk" spoke on the tape: "Tom Cowan's been my partner for almost 30 years. He's the best cop I've ever seen...He was my role model. The day I stopped trying to be Tom Cowan was the greatest day of my life." The pivotal event that set "Rooster" off to being a 'bad cop' was the "unacceptable" acquittal of child molester and murderer Charles Randall (Frank John Hughes) - after which his idol and partner "Turk" planted a gun at Randall's house to guarantee his conviction ("for the crime he didn't commit").

The cop-poet serial killer was a suspect in a series of ultimately 14 vigilante murders (of murderers, scumbags, degenerates, rapists, drug lords, and pimps) committed over a number of years. All victims were found with a 4-lined rhyming poem and gun next to their bodies. The investigation of the series of murders was conducted by:

  • Lt. Hingis (Brian Dennehy), the cops' supervisor
  • Theodore or "Ted" Riley (Donnie Wahlberg) and Simon Perez (John Leguizamo), two suspicious and nosy junior detectives
  • Karen Corelli (Carla Gugino), a forensics specialist (who was enjoying rough abusive sex with "Turk")

They were convinced that the killer was a cop - with all signs pointing at "Turk."

The film showed flashbacks to some of the other murders:

  • Robert "Rambo" Brady (Rob Dyrdek), a drug dealer, known as "the Skateboard Pimp"
  • Phillip Trager (Brian Stapf), a gun-runner
  • Jonathan Van Luytens (Terry Serpico), an acquitted rape suspect
  • Father Connell (Malachy McCourt), a Catholic priest, child-molester of altar boys
  • Yevgeny Magulat (Oleg Taktarov), a Russian gangster and Italian mob enforcer, almost murdered but a possible eyewitness

By film's end, it was clearly revealed that "Rooster" was the actual "Poetry Boy" killer, who had committed the series of "righteous kills" and taken justice into his own hands against criminals who were released due to lack of evidence or other technicalities.

In the conclusion, "Rooster's" final vigilante kill was the shooting of drug dealer and Harlem Club 404 owner Marcus "Spider" Smith (rap star Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson) in the head at point-blank range. "Turk" witnessed the execution, and then was forced to read outloud from "Rooster's" little notebook, as his cop-friend explained: "Everything you want to know is in there. So go ahead. Out loud. For the record." "Turk" began reading -- restating what was in the film's opening:

"My name is David Fisk, Detective First Grade. I've been a cop in the NYPD for nearly 30 years. In that time, I've killed 14 people."

In the final revelation scene, "Rooster" confessed to "Turk" about the disastrous effects of the Randall gun frame-up:

"(You) let me down. I lost my faith. That's when it all started. And once it did, I couldn't stop. Finally, I didn't want to. So I did my own thing. And you know what? In the end, it got done. The scum went down. And that's it. That's that."

"Turk" responded that he would have to hold "Rooster" accountable for the murders: "At some point, I gotta call it in." "Turk" wouldn't allow his partner Fisk escape. During a stand-off, "Turk" was goaded into shooting "Rooster" after a short chase in a nearby construction site and warehouse. "Rooster" was left to die there (after he asked to have the ambulance cancelled). "Rooster's" final words were:

"You're a good man, Tom. You're a good man. I wish you - I wish you continued success."

The final scene was of "Turk" and his superior officers watching the video of him reading "Rooster's" notebook confessing to all of the "Poetry Boy" murders, and clearing "Turk" of any suspicion. It also appeared that "Rooster's" crime wouldn't be further exposed or prosecuted. "Turk" would choose to continue being a "good" cop.


Detective "Turk" Cowan's B/W Videotaped 'Confession': "My name is David Fisk..."

The Two Detectives

The real Fisk: "My name is David Fisk."



"Turk" Shooting "Rooster" to Death

The Ring (2002)

Rachel Was Spared By Making a Copy of Samara's Videotape To Pass On The "Curse"

In the plot premise of this remake of the original Japanese film, Ringu (1998, Jp.), if a person watched a cursed videotape, they would receive a fatalistic phone call warning them that they only had seven days to live. It was at first thought that simply viewing the videotape would soon cause inevitable death.

The enigmatic tape displayed bizarre grainy images, and led investigative reporter/journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) in a race against time to learn about a murdered girl named Samara Morgan (Daveigh Chase). The girl had been murdered by her adoptive parents when they dumped her into a water well on a horse farm. The 'ring' was the last thing that Samara saw deep down in the well - it was a corona of daylight as Anna Morgan placed a stone cover-lid on top of the well.

The videotape was created, reportedly by Samara's ability to imprint thermographic images on things, including recording tape. The killing spirit of Samara wished to have as many people suffer as possible, as she did. Rachel thought that the discovery of how Samara died, and the proper burial of her body would end the troubling curse, but she was wrong. Her psychic 9 year-old son Aidan (David Dorfman) warned: "She never sleeps."

In one of the film's scariest scenes set in the apartment of Rachel's ex-boyfriend Noah Clay (Martin Henderson), Aidan's father, his TV turned on by itself with the frightening and haunting image of the undead, partially-decomposed Samara emerging out of her watery well grave, walking toward the screen, and then literally crawling out of the TV set -- before killing Noah with her lethal stare and fulfilling the curse.

Rachel realized that she had been spared from being killed because she passed the curse on by simply making a COPY of the videotape and giving it to someone else to watch. She also helped Aidan to make a copy of the tape to show someone else, so he would survive. But he asked the inevitable question in the film's final line:

"It's going to keep going, isn't it? She'll never stop...What about the person we show it to? What happens to them?"


Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts)



Samara Morgan (Daveigh Chase)

Aidan (David Dorfman): "What happens to them?"

The Road Warrior (1981, Aust.) (aka Mad Max 2, or Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior)

The Tanker Truck Was Filled With Sand As A Diversion - To Allow the Band of Survivors to Escape to the Coast; The Film's Narrator Was the Feral Kid

George Miller's action-adventure thriller (a sequel) was set in the post-apocalyptic, lawless wasteland of the outback of Australia. Fuel was very scarce and fought over by gangs. Its main protagonist was an ex-Australian cop known as the "Road Warrior" - or Mad Max Rockatanksy (Mel Gibson).

In the voice-over narration (voice by Harold Baigent) that opened the film, Mad Max was re-introduced, and the environment was described (with footage from the previous original film, including the murder of Max's wife and child by a biker gang):

My life fades, the vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos, ruined dreams, this wasted land. But most of all, I remember the Road Warrior, the man we called Max. To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time when the world was powered by the black fuel and the deserts sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel they were nothing. They'd built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped.

Their leaders talked and talked and talked, but nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled, the cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men. On the roads, it was a white-line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage, would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice. And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were battered and smashed. Men like Max, the warrior Max. In the roar of an engine, he lost everything, and became a shell of a man, a burnt out, desolate man, a man haunted by the demons of his past. A man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here in this blighted place that he learned to live again.

Max assisted a small band of decent-living survivors to defend a remote oil refinery under siege from evil barbarian warriors. Their petrol was a very precious commodity. Attacks were coming from a nomadic terrorizing, marauding horde led by warlord 'Humungus' (Kjell Nilsson) wearing a mask to cover his disfigured face, and his maniacal mohawk-wearing chief enforcer Wez (Vernon Wells).

In the film's exhilarating chase finale, it was revealed that the Mack tanker truck allegedly filled with refined petroleum fuel ("precious juice") that was driven by Max in a breakout drive toward the coast had been a decoy as a diversionary tactic. Unbeknownst to him, his fuel tanker was filled with sand. When Max lost control of the Mack tanker truck and it crashed and rolled onto its side, it began leaking its cargo - sand. (Max held out his hand to catch some of the sand.)

The gasoline had been hidden in large drums stored in a school bus (and possibly other vehicles), allowing the small band of settlers to escape to the coast in a convoy.

The epilogue was conveyed by the same voice-over from the film's opening (from the Feral Kid). The helicopter/autogyro pilot Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence) went North with the settlers as their new leader, and the Feral Kid (Emil Minty) (the Narrator, voice by Harold Baigent) with a bladed boomerang eventually became the Chief of the Great Northern Tribe, when Gyro Captain died:

And so began the journey north to safety to our place in the sun. Among us we found a new leader. The man who came from the sky - the Gyro Captain. And just as Pappagallo had planned, we traveled far beyond the reach of men on machines. The juice, the precious juice, was hidden in the vehicles.

As for me, I grew to manhood. In the fullness of time, I became the leader, the Chief of the Great Northern Tribe. And the Road Warrior? That was the last we ever saw of him. He lives now, only in my memories.



The Road Warrior: Mad Max (Mel Gibson)

Wez (Vernon Wells)

The Crash of the Tanker Truck



Filled With Sand

Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence)

The Feral Kid (Emil Minty)

Convoy of School Bus and Other Vehicles

Gasoline Stored in Drums inside School Bus

Robot Monster (1953)

Everything Was a Dream of Young Johnny, or Was It?

There was a simple twist ending to this famous schlocky 3D science fiction film, often considered one of the worst films ever made.

In this alien-invasion film, an evil Moon robot, Alien Ro-Man Extension XJ-2 (George Barrows, voice of John Brown) - a seven foot tall, alien race robot, resembled a man wearing a gorilla suit/outfit with an antique diving helmet. He was equipped with a deadly weapon called a Calcinator Death Ray and was sent to Earth from the Moon. He was responsible for the entire pre-emptive conquest of the Earth and destruction of humanity, before an impending invasion. He was being directed by his creator and alien leader The Great Guidance (George Barrows again) to destroy Earth's inhabitants.

After committing mass genocide of the entire human race, there were only eight surviving humans who were immune to the ray due to an antibiotic serum that they were given. They included one scientist, a family of five, and two of the scientist's unseen assistants:

  • The Professor (John Mylong), an older scientist-archaeologist
  • Roy (George Nader), the Professor's assistant scientist, married to Alice
  • Mother (Selena Royale), widowed, but also married in the dream (?!)
  • Alice (Claudia Barrett), the eldest daughter
  • Carla (Pamela Paulson), the younger daughter
  • Johnny (Gregory Moffett), the bratty young son
  • two space pilots

Many of these earthbound survivors were destroyed when Ro-Man unleashed his Calcinator on their rocketship bound for an orbiting space station, and he was killing the remainder, one-by-one. He first killed the two pilots, then strangled Carla, and threw Roy (newly married to Alice) off a cliff to his death. But he had fallen - illogically - in love with Alice and tried to abduct her. Ro-Man wanted to be Hu-Man, and his desires for Alice caused conflict with The Great Guidance who had other plans:

"Fact: You have captured the girl and not destroyed her. Fact: You have delayed accepting the surrender of the others. This verges on failure."

Thinking for himself (like humans) and rejecting the original plan, Ro-Man suggested his own plan as he complained: "Yes, to be like the Hu-Man, to laugh, feel, want, why are these things not in the plan?"

Servant Ro-Man, who would not destroy the girl or the family, approached Johnny and grabbed him by the neck. At the same time, Ro-Man was zapped for his disobedience by the Great Guidance and he fell to the ground. Then, the Great Guidance teleported himself to Earth to finish the job with deadly Q-rays ("psychotronic vibrations"). The Great Guidance released prehistoric reptiles (to devour any remains of life) (mostly recycled footage from One Million B.C. (1940)) and a massive earthquake that split the Earth open.

Bratty Johnny, the youngest member of the family, awoke during the destruction of Earth - and it was revealed that everything that had occurred was from his mind. He was on a picnic with his widowed mother and sister Alice when he came upon a pair of archaeologists, the Professor and Roy exploring a cave. He thought he had taken a nap, but he had fallen down and hit his forehead on a rock - with the characters taking various roles in his nightmare. Once he was revived, he realized what had happened to him:

"Boy, was that a dream or was it?"

As they were about to leave the cave area, Alice cautioned Johnny that he should stop overdoing it with his belief in space-robots: "You're overdoing this space-man act. There simply aren't any such things."

But then, the "dream" started again (reminiscent of the plotline of the similar Invaders From Mars (1953)). The camera panned right to the dark entrance of the cave, where a series of electrical flashes revealed the ghostly apparition of Ro-Man, who lumbered menacingly out of a cave towards the camera -- repeated three times!


Ro-Man

Death of Roy

Ro-Man Kidnapping Alice

Great Guidance

Alice Taken As Abductee

Great Guidance Zapping Ro-Man

Ro-Man Zapped, With Johnny on the Ground Next to Him

Johnny: "Boy, was that a dream or was it?"

Ro-Man's Triple Appearance at End

Rocky (1976)

In the Boxing Finale, Rocky Lost The 15 Round Fight (By a Split Decision) Although He Went the Distance

The exciting 15-round world heavyweight boxing fight finale was between two contenders:

  • Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), the champ
  • "Italian Stallion" or Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), the underdog opponent
Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers)
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone)

Apollo won by a split decision, although Rocky, with a bloody face and swollen eyes, had gone the distance.

The importance of the actual outcome of the fight was deliberately muted, minimized, and in the background, emphasizing the profundity of the moral victory Rocky achieved by "going the distance" against overwhelming odds.

He was lovingly embraced by Adrian (Talia Shire) in the ring following the decision as they proclaimed their love for each other.

The self-respecting Rocky proved that he was more than a born loser and "another bum."


End of 14th Round

Adrian (Talia Shire)

"Adrian!"


Rocky At End of the Grueling 15-Round Fight

Romance (1999, Fr.) (aka Romance X)

Newly-Liberated Marie Was Pleased That the Unloving Father of Her Child Died in a Gas Explosion

This sexually-graphic, unrated drama import from daring French filmmaker Catherine Breillat told about a sexually-frustrated, self-reflective, semi-depressed Parisian elementary school teacher named Marie (Caroline Ducey). She was paired with an unresponsive, unloving male partner and model named Paul (Sagamore Stevenin). He no longer touched her or agreed to intercourse, although she still clung to him.

Feeling dishonored, she began to contemplate finding unbridled sexual gratification and lustful fulfillment through various 'no-strings-attached,' explicit sexual encounters with others, including an Italian stranger, named Paolo (Italian porn star actor Rocco Sefredi). She also associated with her older boss Robert (Francois Berleand), a "prince of seducers," who claimed he had enjoyed 10,000 women (with a record of his conquests). He promoted her potential for S&M masochism, degradation and bondage.

When she began pulling away from Paul, she became pregnant with his child during one rare act of sexual contact (through a drop of his seminal fluid without ejaculation). After nine months of drifting further apart from Paul, she left his apartment to deliver her baby, accompanied by Robert. Paul was left passed out from booze in his apartment's bed, with the gas stove turned on - so that he would die in the subsequent explosion.

The film ended abruptly with Marie pleased with Paul's death, the scene of his funeral, and her voice-over:

"I gave my son his father's name. If someone up there counts souls, then we're even."


The Apartment - Scene of Paul's Death

Marie (Caroline Ducey) With Baby

Paul's Funeral

Final Voice-Over

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Rosemary Was Impregnated By Satan, Due to Her Husband's Deal with Devil Worshippers (Their Neighbors); Maternally-Overcome, She Rocked the Devil Child

In this film's shocking twist ending, Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) snuck into the neighboring Castevet's apartment through the closet passageway - with a kitchen knife upraised in her hand. There she found a coven of Satanists including her husband Guy (John Cassavetes), surrounding a black-draped baby cradle to pay their respects.

She approached the black bassinet, with a knife in her hand, expecting to see her own human child. But when she pulled back the black drape, her eyes widened. She discovered that her Anti-Christ child had inhuman eyes ("What have you done to it? What have you done to its eyes?" Lead Satanist Roman Castevet (Sidney Blackmer) calmly responded: "He has his father's eyes!"

She was uncomprehending, and screamed back:

"What are you talking about?! Guy's eyes are normal! What have you done to him? You maniacs!"

Then, Roman and his wife Minnie (Ruth Gordon) (and members of the coven) went further and attributed the baby to Satan:

Roman: Satan is his father, not Guy. He came up from hell and begat a son of mortal woman.
(Coven members cheered 'Hail, Satan!')
Satan is his father and his name is Adrian. He shall overthrow the mighty and lay waste their temples. He shall redeem the despised and wreak vengeance in the name of the burned and the tortured. Hail, Adrian! Hail, Satan!
(Others in the room repeated the incantation.)
Hail, Satan!
Minnie: He chose you out of all the world - out of all the women in the whole world, he chose you. He arranged things, because he wanted you to be the mother of his only living son.
Roman: His power is stronger than stronger! His might shall last longer than longer.

Rosemary realized that she had been impregnated by the Devil (not her husband Guy) and the baby was the offspring of Satan and Rose-Mary (a variant on the name Mary in the Biblical story).

Although Rosemary rejected the devil-worshipping coven, she accepted the reality of the situation and showed an instinctive mothering role and maternally affectionate instinct towards her Satan-spawned baby Adrian in the final scene - she gently rocked the crying child to sleep.


Rosemary (Mia Farrow) With Knife Approaching Black Bassinet

Shock

"What have you done to it?"

"You maniacs!"

Roman Castevet (Sidney Blackmer)

Minnie Castevet (Ruth Gordon)

Rosemary's Instinctive Maternal Instinct

Run Lola Run (1998, Germ.) (aka Lola Rennt)

There Were Three Endings To the Story - Which One Was Real?

This exhilarating film followed three breathtaking and frenetic attempts (all "what-if" scenarios of reliving the past), largely shot in real time.

In each scenario, tattooed, short red-haired Lola (Franke Potente) raced to acquire 100,000 DeutschMarks needed to save the life of her dependent, drug-dealing boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreau). He was panicking at a phone booth in Berlin, where he was to meet his boss Ronnie (Heino Ferch) at noon (in about 20 minutes) with the cash. However, he had inadvertently left the bag of cash on the subway car, where it was picked up by a homeless bum.

Lola's task was to acquire the replacement cash and get it to Manni before he robbed a grocery store to get the cash he needed to pay off the debt.

The film's twist was that she was off by a matter of seconds each time, drastically altering the consequences:

  • First attempt: Lola was shot in the chest by police during the grocery store robbery and died!
  • Second attempt: Manni was run over by a red ambulance
  • Third attempt: Lola won 100,000 marks at a casino playing roulette, and Manni recovered the lost money from a homeless man and paid off the debt

In the third and happy ending, Manni tried to reassure Lola:

"Did you run here? Don't worry. Everything's okay. Come on."

The question the viewer must ultimately ask: "Which scenario was the real one?"



Lola (Franke Potente)

The First Scenario

The Second Scenario

The Third Scenario


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

Previous Page Next Page