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The 16 Worst Movie Endings Ever

24 April 2013 | Features, Other Lists | by David Zou

Movie endings can make a film, like The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects, the last-minute twists and turns is all it’s about. In the same way, movie endings can ruin a film pretty easily. It’s when you are expecting a climax, and what you get is a anticlimax. It’s when you want the movie to end, but the director has something else to tell. It’s when you know it’s supposed to be a twist or happy ending, but the way it is presented makes you sick to the stomach. Here are 16 fine examples of directors don’t know how to end a movie properly.


16. (500) Days Of Summer


The Ending: Joe Gordon-Levitt meets a girl he takes a liking to, and it seems as though he might finally be getting over Summer. The new girl’s name? Autumn. Autumn!

Why It’s So Bad: It couldn’t be coyer.


15. Castaway


The Ending: Having finally escaped his island nightmare, Tom Hanks returns home to find his girlfriend shacked up with their dentist.

Why It’s So Bad: Talk about an anticlimax. All that’s missing is a sad trombone noise.


14. Monty Python & The Holy Grail


The Ending: King Arthur and his knights are taken into custody by a group of modern-day policemen.

Why It’s So Bad: As great as the movie undoubtedly is, this one reeks of not knowing how to wrap things up, as the guys run out of money and ideas.


13. Australia


The Ending: Everything turns out perfectly for practically everyone involved, with even the little Aborigine boy riding off into the sunset.

Why It’s So Bad: It’s a slow build of schmaltz as the famously inhospitable terrain of early 20th Century Australia proves an unlikely backdrop to a whole heap of goo…

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  • Dave Perez

    IDENITY had a great ending. Finding out the little boy is his evil personality is awesome. By the way, that’s what the characters are; his multiple personalities, not figments of his imagination.

    • Bill Talley

      Exactly…I thought it was a great twist…kept you guessing till the end!

  • Aaron

    What about the 2007 movie THE MIST?

    • Teja B

      You’d wanna punch someone right out after the ending! Definitely the worst I’ve seen.

  • Bubbagump

    It always infuriates me when people complain about the ending to “Planet of the Apes.” Apparently the author has never read the book.

  • Jimmy

    The explanation at the end of Psycho was needed to explain what the hell was going on with Norman Bates. Audiences back then weren’t as knowledgeable about psychotic behaviour as they are now.
    And the end scene with the close up of Norman with the mother providing the interior monologue is an absolute perfect ending to the movie.
    Get your facts right!

    • Teja B

      And what a no-brainer to include one of the most successful and landmark film on this list! Pff.

  • Dan Spaur

    Wait Where is Blazing Saddles on this list. it was a great and funny movie right up until the pull back from the fight scene after that I always just stop the movie and say the end.

  • Skywoocay

    The explanation at the end of Planet of the Apes is actually pretty obvious, both ends of the “magnetic storm” follow time in opposite directions…

  • diana_SD

    I disagree on “Castaway.” It’s one of the best endings of all time. It’s real, it’s poignant. I love it that they didn’t follow the boy-gets-girl-formula. After a lifetime of being chained to the clock, the protagonist is free. Time stops for him–a luxury he never had before–and presents him with choices, no longer a man with his nose to the grindstone and no ability to look up and appreciate what he has. He has a precious gift few receive, albeit at a great cost–the chance to live his life consciously.

    • Teja B

      Thank you so much! Clearly the writer of this list can’t comprehend the subtle.

  • Marcus MidiMidi

    Nice article, but sorry- the end of Holy Grail is comedic genius.

  • Alice

    “I Am Legend” is a piece of crap, not only in the end, but during all the movie…
    You did not talk about “Knowing”, with Nicolas Cage, one of worst endings I have ever seen… Completely WTF, and bad, ooooh so bad…

  • Quaramil

    I am still voting for stardust! The movie was awesome but the ending sucked big time!

  • Teja B

    500 Days of Summer, Castaway, Holy Grail, Psycho and Private Ryan on THIS list? Are you kiddin me?! They’ve gotta be among the best endings ever.
    Extremely badly compiled list. The writer seems seems to possess no love (or should I say taste?) for appreciating the cinematic genius behind the subtle. Give him a Die-Hard or a Fast n Furious slick commercial flick; he’d be able to devour that maybe. Please bring down this list or atleast keep this pseudo-intellectual wipe writer off this website. People come here to search for meaningful cinema and stupid lists like these send them off-track. It’s depressing to say in the least.

  • WoWed

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail had a Monty Python ending. It made perfect sense.

  • Matthew French

    Totally disagree about Identity.

  • Dani

    I’m really unsure if this critic is trolling with us, or he just has a very uncommon opinion. Honestly, some of the movies mentioned are the greatest films in film history. I understand some of the movies on the list, but some of them don’t belong. There are far worse endings, trust me.

  • Melissa Jane Moore

    Totally disagree about Identity – I LOVED that ending!

  • MasterChief3624

    I will reserve judgment for the other endings on the list, but The Devil Inside’s ending is no different from the myriad other found-footage horror films. The only thing that makes it different is the “Google search,” but that hardly counts for enough to call it the worst ending ever.

    Let’s see what other found-footage films, the genre that The Devil Inside is a part of, incorporate true “cliffhangers”:

    Paranormal Activity
    Paranormal Activity 2
    Paranormal Activity 3
    Paranormal Activity 4
    The Devil Inside
    The Last Exorcism
    The Frankenstein Theory
    The Blair Witch Project

    …that’s just off the top of my head of the ones I’ve -seen-. There are hundreds others out there, though, and I’m guessing they all have similarly unsatisfying endings. It is arguably the most common trope in all of the found-footage movies. The Devil Inside does not deserve to be given the top spot on a list of worst endings ever, when it is virtually no different than the endless amount of other found-footage horror movies. I agree with someone else in the comments: That terrible movie “Knowing”… that deserves the top spot. Good Lord, that was a terrible ending. UGH

  • Recker

    The thing that annoyed me about the ending of Castaway is that we never found out what was in the package.
    As for the Holy Grail. The ending was brilliant and pure Monty Python. The entire cast and crew were arrested due to the deaths of innocents during the making of the movie! Did you watch the entire thing?

  • SamtheSham

    Nobody is going to catch the Return of the King mistake? Bilbo heads off with the elves, not Frodo… also, clearly this person has never read The War of the Worlds if they’re complaining about the movie ending.

  • David Louis Krownes.

    Totally disagree with ‘Saving Private Ryan’ I’m sure there are worse out there but the others on the list I can see where you’re coming from

  • guy

    Your list is the worst list ever :/

  • Loui P Slywalker

    A pretty poor article if you ask me. I could have thought of many more movies that ended much worse than a lot of these. I mean the ending for War of the Worlds was written by H.G Wells over a hundred years ago which has to count for something right?
    Also – having a pop at one of the best war movies ever made in Saving Private Ryan because of a sentimental ending is just mean. I think after all the horror and blood and guts and loss of life that preceded it – a little sentimental was ok! And what’s with having a go at Return of the King? It was an amazing, thoughtful and un-rushed ending to an amazing, thoughtful and un-rushed trilogy!! About “end it already!” – are you serious? So you would rather of had a wham, bam thank you m’aam ending to quite possible the greatest trilogy ever huh? All I can say is I’m glad you don’t make films…..
    Also – the highlighting of Castaway and Monty Python in this article also baffles me! I can only assume the writer completely missed the point of them by a country mile!

    So Identity, Australia, The Number 23 and Crystal Skull are the only ones I really agree with here. The rest are either fine endings or I haven’t seen them.

    I saw one recently that would make this list though. “Now You See Me”. Good film but a total anti-climactic ending! Avoid if you don’t want to kick in your TV screen out of sheer frustration at the end! ;-)

  • fbcoach16

    can not believe you do not have FIGHT CLUB on this list….
    Great movie til the last 8 minutes….
    are you kidding me, the whole thing started by a guy kicking his own ass in a parking lot….???