Greatest Film Plot Twists
Film Spoilers and
Surprise Endings


Written by Tim Dirks

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

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001, Mex./US) (aka And Your Mother Too)

Luisa Knew She Was Dying of Terminal Cancer During Her Road Trip

This unrated tale of sexual discovery from director Alfonso Cuaron had a lengthy tagline when translated:

"Life has its way of teaching us. Life has its way of confusing us. Life has its way of changing us. Life has its way of astonishing us. Life has its way of hurting us. Life has its way of curing us. Life has its way of inspiring us."

Set in the late 1990s, it told about two sexually-active, hormone-challenged, 17 year-old Mexican boys, who had both hetero and homosexual camaraderie with each other:

  • Julio Zapata (Gael Garcia Bernal), raised by a working single mother in a leftist, middle-class family; with girlfriend Cecilia Huerta (Maria Aura)
  • Tenoch Iturbide (Diego Luna), the son of a wealthy, high-ranking politician; with sweetheart Ana Morelos (Ana López Mercado)

Both males had sex with their girlfriends before they left for the summer, to travel in Italy. There were avowed promises made over being faithful between the couples. They also experienced co-mutual masturbation while both were lying on parallel diving boards at a local public swimming pool.

Then, the two over-sexed boys met an intriguing woman about 10 years older than themselves at a wedding:

  • Luisa Cortes (Maribel Verdu), a sexy and wise 28 year-old Spanish beauty - the estranged wife of Tenoch's cousin Alejandro (or "Jano")

They decided to take a short road trip, with Luisa as a traveling companion, to find a make-believe, idyllic beach named Heaven's Mouth (Boca Del Cielo).

As their sexual and life tutor, she taught the two vulgar lads lessons about life, enticed and had sex with both of them - separately (first Tenoch, then Julio) and eventually together, although they expressed jealous sexual rivalry and boyish machismo over her. Luisa attempted to tell the competitive boys that she preferred neither of her companions romantically over the other.

There were other tensions based upon the socio-economic differences between the two teens -- they called each other "hillbilly" and "yuppie" respectively. And it was later revealed that both teens had clandestinely slept with each other's girlfriend many times. And shockingly, Julio also confessed that he had sex with Tenoch’s mother -- the basis for the film's title: "And your mother, too" - but was it said in jest or not?

In the film's most famous and pivotal scene, Luisa danced with both boys (one on either side) in a cantina to the sound of a jukebox, then gradually led them to their hotel bedroom for a threesome. She provided the catalyst for them to experience something entirely different between themselves. As they eagerly stripped her down and kissed her, she coaxed the teens to be drawn to each other and kiss (and embrace), while she ducked down and pleasured each of them simultaneously with her hand. The next morning, they woke up sleeping naked next to each other. Ultimately, this homosexual encounter severed the bond between the two males.

Homosexual Kiss
The Threesome

After a journey of self- and sexual discovery with Luisa (who often displayed intermittent tears), the two left her at the beach with a fisherman's family that had lived there for four generations. Their journey ended at the isolated beach where she decided to have an end-of-life experience, due to a terminal illness.

She said her last words to them (delivered by the narrator Daniel Giménez Cacho), as she dove into the ocean:

Life is like the surf, so give yourself away like the sea.

One year later, the two met for coffee and during their conversation, Tenoch revealed that Luisa had been terminally ill with cancer during their trip. Although she had visited the doctor about some tests, it wasn't known until the final minutes that she left her unfaithful husband for an end-of-life experience, and had died about a month after their trip.

Julio With Girlfriend Cecilia (Maria Aura)

Tenoch With Girlfriend Ana(Ana López Mercado)

Luisa Having Sex with Tenoch

Luisa Having Sex With Julio in Back Seat of Car

On the Beach

Dancing With Both Boys

The Next Morning

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

Professor Rathe and Eh-tar Were the Same Person (Eh-tar Was Rathe Spelled Backwards); Rathe was Seeking Revenge, as The Leader of an Egyptian Osiris Cult That Practiced Human Sacrifice, for Being Orphaned Many Years Earlier; Rathe Survived a Deadly Swordfight Against Holmes, And Signed His Name as "Moriarty" - the Adult Holmes' Future Arch-Nemesis

This mystery/adventure film from director Barry Levinson (and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, with similarities to his Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)) had two taglines:

Before a lifetime of adventure, they lived the adventure of a lifetime.
On his first murder case, a brilliant schoolboy is swept into a perilous adventure!

It was a speculative reimagining of the backstory of the famed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle character from the Victorian Era. After the opening credits, the prologue stated:

"The following story is original and is not specifically based on the exploits of Sherlock Holmes as described in the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."

The drama was mostly noted for its revolutionary visual effects. It was the first feature film to have a completely CGI (computer graphics image) character - a knight that emerged alive from a stained-glass window.

Before the credits, the film started with the appearance of a mysterious figure with a dark hood. Armed with a blowpipe loaded with thorns (dipped in a hallucinogenic substance), he shot a prominent and wealthy Britisher named Mr. Bentley Bobster (Patrick Newell) in the neck - and shortly later in a fancy restaurant, the victim suffered "nightmare-like hallucinations" while eating his favorite dinner. The bird on his plate came alive and attacked him. Embarrassed, he fled from the startled patrons in the restaurant to his home, where he suffered a disorienting delusionary death when objects in his bedroom came alive, attacked, and imaginary flames threatened to consume him. He suicidally hurled himself through his upstairs window and died on the cobblestone street below. The ominous shadowy figure of his assassin walked by his corpse.

The title character was soon introduced, exemplifying his brilliant ability to deduce numerous facts from simple observation:

  • Sherlock Holmes (Nicholas Rowe), a 16 year-old schoolboy sleuth

His sidekick was bespectacled, slightly chubby fellow student John Watson (Alan Cox), and both were enrolled at an English boarding school, the Brompton Academy in London. Holmes advised Watson: "The deductive mind never rests, Watson. It's rather like a finely-tuned musical instrument. It demands attention and practice."

There were two more strange deaths of school staff members:

  • in the school's chapel after hearing a faint jingling, and feeling a sharp pain in his neck from a blowpipe thorn, the Reverend Duncan Nesbitt (Donald Eccles) imagined a stained-glass figure (a knight) coming to life from a window and pursuing him. In a crazed and insane panic, he fled into the street and was run over by a carriage.
  • retired inventor and Professor Rupert T. Waxflatter (Nigel Stock), Holmes' mentor, was also shot by a tainted blowpipe thorn. In a London shop, he went mad and suffered a suicidal death by stabbing himself in the chest with a knife while fighting off imaginary gremlin creatures under his coat. He provided a clue to Holmes when he died -- a whispered: "Eh-tar, Holmes, Eh-tar."

Deep within a London warehouse, Holmes, Watson, and Holmes' love interest Elizabeth Hardy (Sophie Ward) (Waxflatter's niece) discovered a massive, underground wooden pyramid temple. They witnessed a secret ceremony (a live human sacrifice of a young girl wrapped like a mummy) conducted by an ancient, clandestine Egyptian cult known as Rame Tep that worshipped Osiris. The symbol of Rame Tap was two golden serpents.

The Secret Human Sacrifice Ceremony of Osiris Worshippers
The Temple Leader
The Mummified Live Female Sacrifice
The Worshippers

When Holmes interrupted the sacrifice, the trio were chased to the London Cemetery, where they were all shot with a blowpipe thorn and suffered frightening hallucinations, although they escaped and survived.

Through further investigations and sleuthing, Holmes learned more about the history of the evil Egyptian cult from the school's Chester Cragwitch (Freddie Jones), before he became the fourth victim (after Bobster, Nesbitt, and Waxflatter). Many years earlier, Cragwitch was one member of a group of six British businessmen who made plans to build a luxury hotel in Egypt ("a land of opportunity"). During excavations, they made a "major archaeological find" - an underground pyramid (and temple to Rame Tap), holding the ancient tombs of five Egyptian princesses. All the relics and treasures were sent to England. However, local villagers felt that their "sacred ground" had been desecrated, and there was an uprising. A number of local villagers were killed when the British Army quelled the riot.

A young local boy of Anglo-Egyptian descent named Eh-Tar fled to London with his sister, while back in Egypt, their parents were killed in their village when the British sent in troops to keep the peace. The orphaned Eh-Tar vowed revenge on the British builders who had desecrated the temple - and also sought to replace the bodies of the stolen five Egyptian princesses: ("The boy vowed when he grew to manhood that the Rame Tep would take their revenge and replace the bodies of the five Egyptian princesses"). [Later, it was revealed that the school nurse Mrs. Dribb (Susan Fleetwood) was Eh-Tar's younger sister.]

Holmes and Watson deduced the identity of the villainous and vengeful Eh-tar, engaged in human sacrifice: it was Professor Rathe (Anthony Higgins), Holmes' own fencing teacher and eccentric schoolmaster.

The two young sleuths attempted to rescue Elizabeth (who was being prepared in the temple as the 5th and final sacrificial victim) after Rathe had abducted her. Holmes created a diversion by crashing a massive light fixture onto the worshippers, and the two fought off attacks amidst fires that had broken out; Elizabeth was released by Watson, but then recaptured by Rathe; the two sleuths were able to pursue Rathe to a dock area where they retrieved Elizabeth from being abducted, but Rathe pulled out a pistol; Elizabeth was shot and lethally wounded when she stepped into the line of Rathe's gunfire and saved Holmes.

While Watson attended to Elizabeth, Holmes fought to-the-death in a sword duel with Rathe on the dock, who appeared to die when he tumbled through the surface of an iced-over Thames River. When Holmes returned to Elizabeth in a poignant scene, she engaged in a dying exchange with him, with a sad farewell: (Elizabeth: "Don't be sad." Sherlock: "Someday, we'll be reunited, another world, a much better world." Elizabeth: "I'll be waiting. And you'll be late, as always"). After she passed away in his arms, Sherlock nuzzled her close to him as a teardrop ran down the bridge of his nose and he cried out: ("Elizabeth, no... No!") -- marking, according to young John Watson, the last time Holmes ever shed a tear.

Later after the mystery was solved, Watson happened to make an off-hand comment to Holmes about Rathe and one "important clue" that he had not known - Rathe's name was Eh-tar spelled backwards. Holmes would declare he was transferring from the Academy: ("There are too many memories here"). When Watson protested: ("Holmes, you have your entire life ahead of you!"), he calmly replied: ("Then I'll spend it alone").

One had to wait for a surprise twist following the end credits. Ehtar/Rathe was revealed to still be alive. He signed his name in an Alpine Inn guestbook as "Moriarty", as the camera captured his devilish raised right eyebrow.

Alpine Inn Guestbook Signature: Moriarty

Eh-Tar/Rathe - Moriarty

He would live on to become Holmes' future literary arch-nemesis and arch-enemy.

The Black-Hooded Blowpipe Assassin

Attacks on Victim Mr. Bobster at Restaurant and in His Home

The Death of Mr. Bobster on the Cobblestone

Young Sherlock Holmes (Nicholas Rowe)

John Watson (Alan Cox)

Lethal Attack by Stained-Glass Knight on Rev. Nesbitt

Dying Professor Waxflatter's Clue: "Eh-tar"

Professor Rathe (Anthony Higgins): The Egyptian Osiris Cult Leader - Eh-Tar

Abducted Elizabeth Hardy (Sophie Ward) Prepared as the Final Human Sacrifice

Rathe Firing At the Group

Elizabeth Shielding Holmes - Shot in the Abdomen

Rathe's 'Death' - Falling Through Ice

Elizabeth's Farewell and Death

Zabriskie Point (1970)

Rebellious Mark Was Shot Dead - A Suspect in a Cop Killing in Los Angeles; In the Finale, Daria Imagined the Apocalyptic End of Materialistic, Capitalistic America

This was Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's first (and only) US film, a controversial anti-Establishment work and embarrassing financial box-office disaster for MGM, that often has been considered one of the worst films ever made. The countercultural film came out the same year as the Woodstock Festival.

Its tagline was:

Zabriskie Point - How you get there depends on where you're at

There were basically only three main characters:

  • Mark (Mark Frechette), a student radical/drop-out who was wanted as a suspect (falsely accused) for killing a policeman during a student strike-riot and for hijacking a small airplane
  • Daria (Daria Halprin), a pot-smoking secretary/mistress-lover of her boss, Mr. Allen, and also of Mark, an anthropology student
  • Mr. Lee Allen (Rod Taylor), an LA real estate tycoon/attorney who was helping to build the Sunnydunes property development in the desert

When Mark (in a small airplane) and Daria (traveling enroute to Phoenix) met, they drove to Death Valley's Zabriskie Point (at the lowest point in the United States) - for the film's most talked-about, hallucinatory, dust-swirling orgy sequence. The couple parked at an overlook and then ran down into a dry river-bed area, where they began making love -- during which other ash-covered couples (and trios) (at least 100 individuals, credited as the improv Open Theatre group of Joe Chaikin) magically appeared creating a massive 'love-in.' Afterwards, Mark remarked: "I always knew it'd be like this." She asked: "Us?" but he replied: "The desert."

The Zabriskie Point Orgy Sequence

In the explosion-filled finale of this simplistic and failed view of 1960s America, a luxurious, ultra-modern desert dwelling built among boulders was blown up (seen exploding from almost a dozen different angles). In addition, various consumer items were seen being destroyed in extreme close-up (pool furniture, racks of clothes, a refrigerator sending forth packaged WONDER bread, a TV, and shelves of books).

The devastating explosion was presumably another wish-fulfillment hallucination of Daria, but it was unclear.

In another plot thread slightly earlier, Mark - who was wanted by police, returned his hijacked, painted single-engine plane to a Los Angeles area airport, where he was surrounded and shot dead in the cockpit by police after he landed and evaded capture.

The film ended with Daria beaming as she looked up at the house (had it really been destroyed, or was it only in her mind?), and then driving away into the desert, as the camera panned over to view the golden rays of the sun as it set.

Mark and Daria

Mark Confronted by Police at Airport

The Devastating House Explosion

Daria Looking Up at House For One Last Time

Zandalee (1991)

Martin Committed Suicide by Drowning in the Bayou; Zandalee Took A Bullet For Johnny

This erotic, steamy bayou thriller and romantic tragedy by director Sam Pillsbury told about a love triangle in New Orleans between:

  • Zandalee ("Zan") Martin (Erika Anderson), a sexually-starved, free-spirited wife
  • Thierry Martin (co-producer/actor Judge Reinhold), an impotent, southern-drawling, emotionally-distant poet-husband, married to Zandalee
  • Johnny Collins (Nicolas Cage), Martin's long-haired, hipster painter and childhood friend with a goatee and mustache

Bored and frustrated by her life and impotent marriage, the vixenish wife turned to the selfishly-hedonistic, predatory Johnny for uninhibited and passionate sexual encounters. Their self-destructive affair led to Johnny's request that she leave her husband, although she refused and recommitted herself to her marriage. Obsessed by Zandalee, drugged-up Johnny pursued the married couple to the bayou where they went to patch up their relationship, "start clean," wear flowers in their hair, and make love after many months ("See, all our parts work").

A tragic end came to all of them - the cuckolded husband committed suicide in the bayou when he plunged into the water from the speeding boat driven by Johnny - he drowned when he wouldn't allow himself to be saved ("He wanted to be let go").

Back in New Orleans after her husband's burial, Johnny confessed to Zandalee his longing for her: "I can't get you out of me" - but she slapped him: "You don't know anything about love." And then Zandalee sacrificially jumped in front of a bullet intended for indebted Johnny, in a drive-by shooting by a drug lord who yelled out: "You gotta make accounts payable, man."

She died in his arms on the street, after which he carried her limp body to the nearby cathedral.

Johnny With Zandalee (Erika Anderson)

The Love Triangle

The Drowning of Johnny

The Death of Zandalee in Johnny's Arms

Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings

(alphabetical by film title)
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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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