Best and worst movie endings

Given the success of the best/worst series finale thread, I thought we should do a movie version!

So let us have it! What movie had the best ending, and which one made you want to storm out of the theater/destroy the DVD copy/smash your TV in disgust? I’ll go first.

Best: this one has to be Avengers:Endgame for me. So many people had tremendous concerns over how a movie which wrapped up a story arc spanning 23 movies would work, and somehow or other the Russo Brothers made a film that did the impossible; give nearly fifty A-list stars equal opportunities to wrap up their part of the story. It was amazingly well done.

Worst: Se7en. I HATED how this movie ended. Brad Pitt’s over the top acting, the lame reason Kevin Spacey’s character had for killing Brad’s wife… so much was terrible with this ending. I wanted to throw something at the screen SO BADLY. Hate that movie, and I have refused to watch it ever since.

So how about y’all?


I have a lot of movies I enjoyed the end of, but here’s one.

Best: The Fiddler on the Roof. Somehow, this musical manages to find hope in the midst of the tragedy. The whole show begins with Tevye singing about the traditions, exemplified by the fiddler who stands on the roof and plays. Throughout the show, the fiddler shows up at odd times without any lines. Then, at the end, the Jews of Anatevka have been driven out, Tevye’s family will be separated and then, as he pulls his cart out of the place that had been his home, who shows up one last time? The fiddler. And in spite of his world falling apart around him, he gestures for the fiddler to follow him. And the movie ends with the personification of his traditions coming with him wherever and his family ends up.

Worst: This will make me sound terrible, I’m sure, but pretty much any movie version of Francis Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess. In every single movie version, Sarah’s father ends up alive with amnesia instead of dead. Now, that should be wonderful because it makes for a beautiful happy reunion, right? No! The whole story is one that tests Sarah’s ability to survive and to keep up her hope for a better future and then to find that the man next door who had found a way to bring himself hope for something better by helping the poor girl in the attic was actually looking for her as a voyage of redemption. All that is wiped away by her father being alive. In the book, the “Indian Gentleman” takes Sarah in to make up for his mistakes that led to her father’s death. And it really bugs me that there’s none of that in the movies. None of the movies.


Is it too obvious to mention Lucas’ do-over of the ROTJ conclusion, in which he replaced the shade of Old Darth with that of Young Darth?

I’d already heard complaints of the original being corny, but I wasn’t bothered by it. The original movies had a certain amount of that, which was fine. But Vader, at the end of his life, was who he was. To make him eternally young in the afterlife… Nah. No good. C’mon, George!


Yes! I hated that! All the changes made to the original trilogy were pointless. I hated that we were confronted with Hayden Christensen even in the trilogy where we were spared his presence. I don’t get the reason why that was done.


Best? Too many to name. I’ve been re-watching a lot of Christian Petzold this year, and the man sure knows how to deliver an ending, so to Tarkovsky. And how about Carpenters, The Thing? But after some debate I’ll go with…

Sunset Boulevard - Gloria Swanson’s brilliant camp performance all wrapped up in that last scene, and how fitting the casting, not only of Swanson, but Erich von Stroheim playing director. Two silent era giants (or troubled giant for the later) whose stars have fallen.

Worst? I’m not a big fan of Tarantino, but was really digging Django Unchained, and Christoph Waltz was a big part of that. Might have been a 5-star favorite, except for it going off the rails once Waltz is out of the picture, and the director gives into his self indulgent nature, shoots another guy in groin, yadda, yadda, yadda - just, wrap it up for Christmas sake!! It didn’t ruin the movie for me, but it put a major dent in it.

There are probably worst endings, but that’s the one that immediately sprung to mind. “Oh, if only he’d stuck the landing”


Oh, and I could add pretty much any horror movie. Now, I’m a major wimp when it comes to scary stuff. I can’t watch many of them if I want to sleep at night (can’t even think about some), but far too many of these monster/bloody murderer/ghost whatever movies ends with the supposedly ambiguous ending of whether or not the nemesis is really out of the picture and it’s patently obvious that the purpose of this is to make sure that, if the movie is a hit, they can make a sequel with the same villain and press the repeat button just with a few different characters to kill.

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Especially the one starring Shirley Temple. She embodies everything I find repulsive about child stars, and I never understood why she was so popular. MGM really dodged a bullet when Fox refused to loan her to star in The Wizard of Oz.

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I’ve only seen Shirley Temple in a couple of things but I didn’t think she was amazing in any way. But yes, I hated that version. I was so irritated by it.

If we’re talking about The Wizard Of Oz, can I borrow this thread just to say that Bill Corbett complaining about Auntie Em being grumpy is a level of Pot: Kettle which should be enshrined in the Smithsonian on a dais behind a velvet rope?


Also, I think that movie has a great ending. (And I understand Dorothy’s aunt very well, coming from a long line of grouches. If she were sweet and forbearing through the beginning of the film, the moment later where Dorothy sees her in the witch’s crystal ball wouldn’t be nearly so affecting. I bet it would still get to me right now, if I watched it again.)


Worst recent film I’ve seen was old, but the whole film was so slow and my hearing isn’t great so I didn’t hear a lot of what the foreign actor was saying, so I don’t know if it counts.

Best monsters inc, Sully opening the door and hearing boo say kitty after the emotions of Mike rebuilding the door and having plasters all over his hands.


There are several endings that I love - Being There, The Shawshank Redemption and Magnolia come to mind, but if I had to choose my favorite, I’d go with the ending of the movie I mentioned in the cult movie thread - Withnail & I.

No matter how many times I’ve seen it, it never fails to gut me.

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For best the first thing that popped into my head was The Long Good Friday, purely on the strength of Bob Hoskins’ performance, seamlessly oscillating through a full range of emotions without saying a word. It’s a also a really satisfying end to the story as a whole.

Struggling with the worst, because to my mind it would have to be a film that was otherwise good but undone by it’s ending. I definitely am not a fan of how Scorsese chose to end his adaptation of Silence. I love the book which allows for a certain amount of ambiguity about where the Rodrigues character ends up in terms of his faith, but obviously Marty didn’t fancy saying the number of Hail Marys necessary to atone for putting that in his film, so went for a clear and unambiguous ‘Jesus Won’ with scenes that weren’t in the book at all. But aside from being a bit irksome it isn’t a truly terrible ending.

Actually I really hated the end of Kill List when I saw it, having enjoyed the film up to that point. But people persist in saying it is good and I haven’t seen it in a decade so maybe I was just in a bad mood that day? I do continue to find Ben Wheatley’s films frustrating though.


The Long Good Friday is such an underrated movie. I should watch it again. Yeah, his face as the credits cue up just says everything you need to hear. Anything more would’ve been superfluous. A lot of filmmakers could learn from that.


It’s one of a handful of films that I re-watch every year (see also: Wake In Fright, Dazed and Confused) and never fails to shake me up. I once saw it at the BFI Southbank and being able to walk out and be right next to the Thames, at dusk, after watching it was an amazing feeling.

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Worst: in the same vein as the complaint about The Little Princess, every filmed version of The Count of Monte Cristo has him getting back together with Mercedes, when the entire point of the book was that he finally stopped living in the past. I hate it!

Best: the ending of Casablanca - there are no other contenders.


Speaking of bad reunions, I always mentally pencil on an extra ending to Peggy Sue Got Married in which she has second thoughts about her second thought to reunite with her loser husband. I know it was “morning in America” and all, but… Feh. What a cop-out.

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i honestly can’t think of a best, so here’s some nominations for worst:

‘grease’ - there is no way that relationship lasted longer than that car flying off screen

‘indiana jones 4’ - i was willing to suspend my disbelief until we got to aliens and then i was out

‘the world is not enough’ - this is the one with christmas jones as a bond girl… if you’ve seen this you know what i’m talking about


I didn’t mind some of the added shots of seeing different planets throughout the galaxy celebrating the empire’s defeat. makes the victory seem much more triumphant and impactful than a small dance party in the ewok village. I might be playing some devil’s advocate here but I can still see how most of the edits were unnessecary. I will never understand what was going on in Georges head, thinking that having that musical number in jabba’s palace was a good idea. it will forever make me internally implode from the cringe.


I always felt Danny’s character arc made more sense than Sandy’s. Danny had to learn to not be so concerned about what others thought about him and tried to become a better person for Sandy. but Sandy, I guess, had to learn to give into peer pressure? I can understand that maybe they were going for the angle that she had to not be so uptight and to go outside her comfort zone, but it really didn’t come across that way.


I don’t mind the galaxy-wide celebrations. It’s the other things.