The hardest part of writing a screenplay is creating the ending. Some films such as Casablanca and Godfather II achieve an extra moment that produces a masterpiece. Some other movies are not as good and are only remembered by one last good scene. Others, with good plot and cast are completely ruined for the opposite reason.
This list will showcase some movies which could have been great until that last scene which ruined everything due to a terrible ending twist with aliens or a cliffhanger that’s overly ambiguous when the movie needed something more clear. A really good movie of two or more hours can be destroyed in a blink of an eye.
Some movies, such as the Tim Burton version of Planet of the Apes could easily fit into this list if it weren’t bad enough without that goofy ending, the scene with a new version of the Abraham Lincoln memorial, complete with a couple of ape reporters, ape cops and fire apes. Others, such as Titanic, already a good movie, were chosen for other particular reasons.
Never underestimate the power of the ending scenes. Spoiler Alert.
15. Titanic (1997)
Titanic’s a good movie but something’s wrong for it could be even better. The historical ending is already known. The problem here is the way the director and writers chose to end this beautiful fictional love story over which they had creative control.
The Ending: Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), after the Titanic sinks, puts Rose (Kate Winslet) on a board, which is part of the ship’s remains. The board itself is big enough for the two, so the last part where Jack is dying in the icy waters from hypothermia in front of Rose turns out to be an unnecessary emotional goodbye for the couple.
14. Remember Me (2010)
This is a romantic drama ruined by a “Hollywood” ending. First, the story: Tyler (Robert Pattinson) is an introverted guy who isolates himself from the world after his brother Michael commits suicide. His family fractures depresses him until he finds Ally (Emilie de Ravin), another damaged human being. They both heal each other’s souls against all the odds.
The Ending: Tyler is visiting his father at work when it’s revealed that he’s in the Twin Towers just before the plane crash of 2001. A tasteless 9/11 advertise campaign. This is an exploitative twist which seems completely out of place in an engaging love story which actually deserved another type of ending. A national tragedy is an unnecessary ending which steals the focus from the movie’s real message.
13. The Devil Inside (2012)
This is a good horror movie until the final crucial seconds, this time containing a cliffhanger which is hard to explain, and not for being awesome or interesting, unfortunately.
The Ending: It actually can’t be considered a real ending. Someone obviously got bored of writing the script and thought it was right to go to a website “for more information”. No, people pay their tickets to see a movie with an “ending”.
12. Superman (1978)
This entry in the Superman franchise is directed by Richard Donner with Christopher Reeve as the man of steel/Clark Kent. Superman was nominated for three Oscar nominations, but the ending though…
The Ending: Superman has no logic sense powers. He just flew around the Earth to reverse the planet’s rotation and turn the time back to resurrect Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). He didn’t even bother holding on to something. He just flew around the Earth as fast as possible and she was resurrected with that force. Well, he can do it, he’s Superman.
11. The Wolverine (2013)
Hugh Jackman did what no one thought it would be possible. He turned Wolverine into a beloved and recognizable character inside the X-Men movies. James Mangold embraced the challenge and directed the movie, which was good until the end.
The Ending: Logan showed throughout the movie that he doesn’t need to be a fighter to be an interesting character. The movie is introspective with some good action scenes in Japan until the end where Wolverine is forced to battle a giant samurai robot made out of Adamantium and also a femme fatale. There was no need. This was a good way of ruining the first two acts in a few minutes.
10. Savages (2012)
This Oliver Stone movie based on Don Winslow’s novel had all the elements to be great… if not for the last 5 or so minutes. The film features a strong plot with an awesome cast including Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Demian Bichir, Emile Hirsch and Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Taylor Kitsch with Blake Lively forming a love trio. They deserved a lot better end to the movie.
The Ending: Oliver Stone went Hollywood and ruined the story where O, Ben and Chon should have died in each other’s arms like true “savages”. Instead, they all survive (including the bad guys) after a “rewind” moment and lived happily forever. It looks like the directors got scared of the way the novel ends.
9. Sunshine (2007)
A great achievement by Danny Boyle in the sci-fi genre features an ending that’s inadequate. In 2057 an astronauts crew is sent to revive the dying Sun with a nuclear fission bomb, but they fail. 7 years later a new team is sent as the Earth’s last resort.
The Ending: This is a sci-fi movie that suddenly turns into a slasher horror movie. A drastic shift in the last third act that just doesn’t fit in the plot.