10 Best Movie Endings Of All Time (According To Letterboxd) – Screen Rant

Letterboxd users have chosen the films with the best endings. These include classics like The Godfather and Marvel movies like Avengers: Infinity War.
As Marvel fans eagerly wait for more details about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it’s the perfect time to rewatch movies from Phase Three. The events in these blockbusters come to a head in Avengers: Infinity War, giving viewers a jarring and unforgettable ending that significantly influences the storylines in the films that follow.
It’s not surprising that the superhero movie is among the most mentioned by Letterboxd users when it comes to the best film endings. Other entries include classics like The Sixth Sense and award-winning movies like Whiplash. These films have powerful endings that are often shocking and memorable and are worth seeing at least once.
The Sixth Sense is famous for its twist ending, as the horror film builds up to a genuinely unexpected conclusion that changes everything about its plot. It follows the child psychologist, Malcolm Crowe, who encounters the 9-year-old Cole Sear, who claims he can see and talk to ghosts. Malcolm is soon convinced that he’s right.
While there are many clues that point to the film’s shocking ending, viewers can’t be blamed for missing them. Malcolm’s harrowing realization that he has been dead all along leads to an emotional scene where he says his goodbyes to his wife.
The renowned neo-noir mystery film, The Usual Suspects, is centered on the interrogation of a supposed small-time con man, Roger "Verbal" Kint. As one of only two survivors of a massacre, he recounts a messy tale of events that are influenced by the enigmatic crime lord, Keyser Söze.
The iconic last few minutes of the movie depict the interrogator slowly realizing that Verbal was using objects around the office to construct his story. As he chases after the suspect, a sketch from the other survivor is faxed to the station, revealing Verbal’s face. The highlight of the entire sequence is when Verbal stops faking his limp, confirming once and for all that him and Söze are one and the same.
The first entry in the legendary trilogy, The Godfather, chronicles Michael Corleone’s transformation from reluctant bystander to ruthless mafia boss following in his father’s footsteps. The film represents a turning point in the gangster genre by allowing audiences to look behind the curtain and discover what the mafia is like from an insider’s perspective.
Its ending depicts a confrontation between Michael and his wife, Kay, who asks her husband if he really had anything to do with Carlo’s death. While Michael’s confident denial initially reassures her, a subtle scene showing Michael inside an office surrounded by his capos casts doubt on his response. The door closing on Kay further underscores how she is being shut out of Michael’s life as the new Don.
Set during World War II, Casablanca revolves around the experiences of the American expatriate, Rick Blaine, who owns a nightclub in the titular location. When his former lover Ilsa Lund unexpectedly walks into his establishment, he has to make some difficult choices for her and her husband Victor Laszlo’s safety.
The dramatic ending of the black-and-white film shows a tear-jerking twist, with Rick sending Ilsa off with her husband instead of asking her to stay behind. He’s soon confronted by fellow fatalist, Captain Louis Renault, who doesn’t turn him in and joins him as they walk through the fog.
The mind-bending sci-fi film Inception follows the story of a group of “extractors” who go on their most ambitious mission yet. They’re hired by a wealthy man to implant an idea into his competitor’s son, which is an action that’s considered impossible. The risky task becomes even more challenging when they learn that their leader, Dom Cobb, hasn’t been truthful about how his past could influence the plan.
By the end of the movie, Cobb and the rest of the team are able to wake up in the real world and Saito keeps his promise. Cobb gets through customs without a hitch and is finally able to see his family after a long time. He uses a top, a totem to check if he’s genuinely not dreaming – audiences never know if it stops spinning.
Avengers: Infinity War sees the events of Phase Three come to a gripping head, as Thanos threatens the safety of the entire universe by getting his hands on most of the Infinity Stones. All the action scenes in Infinity War perfectly build up the jarring ending, which highlights Thanos’ devastating snap and its harrowing consequences.
It feels surreal to watch fan-favorite superheroes and supporting characters vanish in a plume of dust, with some deaths being incredibly heartbreaking because of stellar performances from the actors. The powerful ending leaves fans wanting retribution or at least a solution to the surreal problem Thanos creates.
The epic sci-fi masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey, is a film that needs no introduction. It introduced viewers to the iconic AI villain, HAL, who sabotages a mission to Jupiter in the far future. The goal of the space voyagers was to reach and examine a mysterious alien monolith on the planet, but one of them does manage to get to it eventually.
Dr. Dave Bowman is captured by whoever is responsible for the monoliths and the ending shows him rapidly aging in a bizarre room. Even stranger things happen towards the end, as he’s transformed into a fetus and seemingly sent back to earth. It’s a surreal sequence that has been studied and interpreted numerous times since the film’s release.
The disillusioned and retiring Detective William Somerset is paired with Detective David Mills in Se7en, with the two of them tasked with hunting down a skilled serial killer. The murderer uses the seven deadly sins as inspiration for his crimes, setting up the deaths to parallel each one.
The riveting twist ending of the movie portrays the serial killer’s final crime, as he reveals that he has targeted Detective Mills’ wife to coax him into fulfilling his role as wrath. The stressful confrontation ends with the killer getting what he wants, as he’s shot to death by Mills, with Somerset unable to do anything but watch.
Often cited alongside the most popular romance movies of the decade, La La Land revolves around the love that blossoms between aspiring actor, Mia Dolan, and struggling jazz pianist, Seb Wilder. The duo works to pursue their dreams together, but their relationship falls apart after a few years.
The ending of the film is designed to cause audiences to shed a tear or two, as, after their separation, both Mia and Seb end up fulfilling their dreams. When Mia, now an established actor, visits Seb’s successful jazz club, they share a meaningful look acknowledging what they’ve lost and gained – they had to be apart to achieve their goals, but there’s obviously still a lot of love and yearning there.
Whiplash is centered on the twisted dynamic between the talented student and jazz drummer, Andrew Neiman, and his abusive instructor at the Shaffer Conservatory, Terence Fletcher. Fletcher pushes Neiman to his limits and uses questionable methods to bring out the best in him, all because he sees he has potential.
Their back-and-forth brings both of them to their breaking points, but Neiman manages to impress a crowd and Fletcher with his final performance in the film’s ending. The intensity and rage felt through that performance make Fletcher smile, emphasizing his belief in his cruel tactics that supposedly bring out Neiman’s best self on the stage.
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Saab is an editor and writer for Collider and Screen Rant. Before the two sites, she worked as an editor for a digital marketing company. She’s based out of Metro Manila, Philippines, where she lives with her partner, three fat cats, and two hundred houseplants. She’s passionate about all things pop culture and design. When she’s not typing, she’s tending to her indoor garden or watching true crime stories on Netflix.


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