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10 Famous Movies That Give Away Their Endings

09 January 2017 | Features, Other Lists | by Nate Barrett

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A small part of the joy of watching films is watching them a second (or tenth!) time. This not only allows one to pick up various bits of dialogues or parts of scenes that might have been missed, but without the need to closely follow a film on a first viewing, one can often spot any easter eggs that the director may have included in the film.

Oftentimes these easter eggs are sly bits of foreshadowing– little hints of what’s to come in the story ahead, or even clues that completely give away the ending. The following 10 films contain such clues that you may have missed the first time around.

 

1. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Quentin Tarantino’s breakout crime film plainly showed the filmmaker’s chops at designing tense, passive-aggressive scenes, writing intriguing characters, and including fun twists or unexpected events that have been present in all of his films.

In a bit of a twist in and of itself, Tarantino lets the viewer know right away that somewhere among this crew of Color-named professional criminals there’s a snitch– and the audience is left in suspense as to who it is until the end of the film…that is, unless you pay attention.

The first hint takes place in the opening scene, where we see the group paying for breakfast at a diner. Everyone except Mr. Pink tips—as he finds the practice stupid—and a long, Tarantino-esque discussion about tipping takes place. When their boss returns and demands to know who didn’t tip, Mr. Orange immediately snitches on Mr. Pink. Later, Nice Guy Eddie is shown speaking on the phone about a heist that ended in an ambush by police—just as an orange balloon floats by.

Another scene, in which Mr. Pink and Mr. White discuss who might be the snitch, blatantly displays in the background sets of pink, white, and orange bottles. If you hadn’t’ guessed yet, the rat is Mr. Orange, and the audience was told immediately and repeatedly—but everything else going on the film most likely distracts the viewer upon their first watch.

 

2. The Prestige (2006)

The Prestige ending

In The Prestige, Hugh Jackman’s Robert Angier becomes obsessed with discovering the secret behind magician Alfred Borden’s (Christian Bale) trick the Transported Man, in which he appears to teleport. Mimicking the trick by replicating himself and then drowning the original to cover it up, he eventually weaves himself into an even greater mess by the film’s end, where it is revealed that Borden simply had a twin brother.

This secret had already been discovered by a young boy who was not fooled by a similar disappearing trick using a bird—causing him to ask where the bird’s “brother” is. The original bird is forced to die to achieve the illusion, thus giving viewers a clue to what’s going on in the story.

 

3. Psycho (1960)

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It’s no secret that Alfred Hitchcock was a pioneer of suspenseful film-making—his films always surprised audiences with what the legendary director could come up with. It should come as no surprise, then, that arguably his most famous film, Psycho, contains a couple nifty hints to what’s really going on at the Bates Motel.

Besides the obvious shot of Norman’s face with an overlay of his mother’s corpse, there’s a scene in which Marion Crane confronts him about an argument she overheard between him and his mother. Norman then tells her that his mother is “as harmless as one of those stuffed birds,” referring to the taxidermy on the wall and hinting to the audience that he’s being quite literal with that assertion.

 

4. Memento (2000)

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Christopher Nolan’s iconic Memento actually opens with the ending of the film, but there’s actually a pretty blatant hint at the story’s “twist” hidden in the middle. The protagonist is Leonard (played by Guy Pearce), who, following an incident where his wife was murdered and he was attacked, suffers from a condition where he can’t form new memories. Throughout the film, Leonard tells us a story about Sammy, who suffered from a similar condition and due to it, accidentally killed his wife.

These scenes, which are shown in black and white, at first appear to not be connected to the main narrative, until it is later revealed that these memories of Sammy are actually about Leonard himself. This is given away early however, when for a brief moment, Sammy “transforms” into Leonard in one of the flashbacks, making this twist clear as day for some viewers.

 

5. Skyfall (2012)

Skyfall (2012)

James Bond’s adventures usually feature opening credit sequences that are more style and substance, but both of these are true in the case of his 23rd film, Skyfall.

The film sees Judi Dench’s beloved character M killed off which surprised audiences everywhere, but this was hinted at long before, in the opening credits sequence—which sees the text “and Judi Dench as M” placed squarely in front of a tombstone centered on the screen.

 

 

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  • I absolutely LOVE Christopher Nolan, and even I think including four of his films in a Top 10 list is overboard.