Top 10 Worst Movie Endings of All Time
The ending is often the most important part of a film. A movie can be great for two hours, but if that final act doesn't work, it can sink the entire movie. In the history of movies, there are a lot of good movies that have just had the worst endings of all time. Here is our ranking of the worst offenders of them all. This is a pretty comprehensive list but I am sure we may have missed some along the way. Feel free to let us know in the talk backs below if you agree with us or if you have suggestions for other terrible movie endings.
Oliver Stone's films have been very uneven in recent years. Despite some critical acclaim, the reception for his unique brand of paranoia has dulled in the last decade. One of Stone's most recent films, SAVAGES, was a blood-soaked action film along the lines of NATURAL BORN KILLERS. It also featured a violent ending that pulls the rug out from under the viewer by revealing it all to be a made up dream by Blake Lively's character. It spoils what could have been a very nihilistic ending with one that makes the audience feel cheated.
It was bad enough that Brett Ratner shit all over Bryan Singer's first two films by closing out the trilogy with a weak take on the mutant mythos. On top of that, Ratner included the deaths of virtually every major hero in the series and left the rest powerless thanks to the mutant "cure". It neutered the entire series and was thankfully erased from the timeline in DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.
I love, love, love Richard Donner's original film. Between Gene Hackman and Christopher Reeve, this is still one of the best superhero films of all time. But, despite the retro goodness that helped us believe a man could fly, SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE also features the inexplicable ability for Superman to fly around the Earth and turn back time. It is a pretty moving sequence and shows Superman's love for Lois, but it makes absolutely no sense. Wouldn't everyone have flown off the planet and had our gravity totally out of whack? Not to nitpick the impossibility of time travel, but this just makes no sense.
Another case of a classic with a completely nonsensical moment that virtually ruins everything. After a fairly grounded musical comedy with a couple of dream sequences in between, GREASE closes with our favorite mismatched couple finding each other and reconciling. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are one cute couple and you really root for their characters before they drive off into the sunset. Only, they don't drive....they fly. Yeah, their f*cking car flies. If this were another dream sequence, I would be somewhat okay with it, but this doesn't show any signs of being fantasy. Way to ruin a movie with something completely stupid.
I am a big fan of A.I., but even I can recognize that the ending is depressing and weak compared to the rest of the film. Haley Joel Osment is phenomenal as David, the robot boy who wants to become real. His journey is powerful and moving but the ending is all over the place. After freezing in a glacier during the next ice age, David is awakened by the futuristic android beings that have taken over Earth. He is then given the shitty news that he will never become a real boy and is instead given a single day to be with his "mother" which will be followed by the futile and pointless existence he never wanted to endure. Yeah, it basically is the most depressing ending ever.
Richard Matheson's beloved post-apocalyptic vampire novel had a long journey to the big screen. But, instead of the long-attached Arnold Schwarzenegger, we get Will Smith. Instead of practical effects, we get CGI abominations. Couple that with the ending that flies in the face of the original novel and you have a movie that fails to live up to it's potential. The alternate ending included on the DVD release follows the source material more closely and adds even more fuel to the pile that is Francis Lawrence's final cut of the film.
Brilliant scientist Carl Sagan never lived to see his novel become a feature film. He likely would have been very pleased with Robert Zemeckis' film despite audiences being very underwhelmed by the big reveal at the end. After two hours of waiting for the big reveal, the alien beings end up just looking like Jodie Foster's character's father. I guess in a spiritual sense, it is a magical and touching reveal, but coupled with cheesy special effects that do not stand the test of time, it feels very weak after the promise of a life-altering reveal.
Monty Python are The Beatles of comedy. All of their films are cult classics and recognized as varying degrees of masterpieces with some being reissued as a part of the revered Criterion Collection. Still, their most recognized film, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL ends with the ultimate cop-out of an ending. As a massive battles begins, the scene is interrupted by police officers who end production and arrest the characters in a very meta-moment. It comes across as a weak way to cap off what is a work of genius and becomes less and less funny the more times I watch it.
I have defended THE VILLAGE as one of M. Night Shyamalan's better films, but I completely understand why many hate this ending. What is supposed to be the massive twist that reveals the film is set in a contemporary time period and not the 19th century, it feels underwhelming and anticlimactic. The monsters aren't real and the world is a fiction created by the adults of the community. Yeah, I understand why many people hate this twist.
The fourth Indiana Jones film is one of the most hated sequels of all time. With many equating it to the STAR WARS prequels, KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL also donned the phrase "nuke the fridge" in regards to a franchise that has overstayed it's welcome. The big question we have as a fifth film prepares to debut in a couple of years is how they can come back from introducing Shia LaBeouf as Indy's protege and son along with the CGI heavy debacle that included fire ants, monkeys, and translucent aliens in a giant UFO. Yeah, this movie was a mess all over, but the ending is really the biggest crime to the franchise.