From Jaw-Dropping to Heart-Stopping: These 13 Movie Endings Are Truly Epic

All stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but movie lovers know that the ending of a film can make or break the entire thing.

Recently, someone asked for the best final scenes in movie history.

The thread is full of excellent movies with even better endings.

Beware of the spoilers if you haven't seen any of these epic films!

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption Morgan Freeman
Image Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment.

In the U.S., everyone is innocent before proven guilty. But what happens when an innocent person is found guilty and sent to prison for the rest of their life? That's what The Shawshank Redemption is all about.

One moviegoer shared, “Red walking up the beach at the end of Shawshank Redemption.”

“I heard they filmed it later after test audiences felt there needed to be a happier ending,” added another.

Looks like the producers made the right choice on that one.

2. The Terminator (1984)

The Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger
Image Credit: Orion Pictures.

The classic action movie that put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the map.

One fan suggested, “The final scene of the original Terminator. Sarah Conner stops at a Mexican gas station and gets her photo taken, the photo that would eventually end up in the hands of Kyle Reese.”

“She looks south and sees the storm clouds gathering. The gas station guy says, ‘Storms coming.' ”

“She replies, ‘I know.' ”

“With some combination of resolve and resignation, she puts her Jeep in gear and heads into Mexico. The Terminator theme swells. Amazing ending.”

3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins
Image Credit: MGM.

The Silence of the Lambs has captivated and creeped out its fans since its release.

One film buff replied with one of the best psychological horrors of all time: “For me, it's gotta be Silence of the Lambs. ‘I'm having an old friend for dinner.' Such a raw line.”

4. The Departed (2006)

The Departed Matt Damon Jack Nicholson
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

This famous mob movie is all about undercover cops and undercover criminals coming head to head. Who will win in the end?

One movie fanatic suggested, “The Departed. Marky Mark always gets his man.”

Others felt similarly: “Came here to say this, with the rat on the balcony at the end too?? Best Scorsese movie ever.”

5. Gattaca (1997)

Gattaca Ethan Hawke
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures Industries.

This underrated sci-fi film grapples with disability and finding love when a disabled man purchases someone else's DNA in order to join the space-bound mission on Gattaca.

One filmgoer responded, “The closing scene of Gattaca is my favorite. There's just an elegance about that movie you rarely find in Sci-Fi. The ending is both simple and powerful. Gattaca just checks all those boxes for me.”

“No movie talks to me like Gattaca,” added another. “Sadly not many see the greatness of this movie. Best sci-fi movie in my opinion.”

6. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Full Metal Jacket R. Lee Ermey
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket follows soldiers in basic training as they prepare to fight in the Vietnam War.

One critic said, “Singing the Mickey Mouse Club Theme song while walking out of Hue City at the end of Full Metal Jacket. Demonstrates the absurdity of the war in Viet Nam.”

7. Inception (2010)

Inception Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Inception is a critically acclaimed sci-fi movie known for completely bending minds and changing people's perspectives on their own reality.

One person replied, “The slight wobble in Inception is pretty high up there.”

“Amazing movie,” added another. “I watched it three times back to back when I first saw it. Just to take everything in and make sense of it.”

8. The Mist (2007)

The Mist Thomas Jane, Jeffrey DeMunn, Laurie Holden, Frances Sternhagen, Nathan Gamble
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Dimension Films.

This eerie horror film about a town shrouded in creeping mist may not be known for its excellence overall, but for its ending.

One moviegoer recommended, “The Mist. Holy moly. The ending made a not good movie unforgettable.”

“The movie was fine by itself, but the Darabont ending was great,” added u/artemishorizon.

9. Whiplash (2014)

Whiplash J.K. Simmons
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.

Whiplash is all about the danger of perfectionism and obsession when a musical prodigy is pushed to his limit by his high-achieving instructor.

One fan said, “I don’t think I breathed for the entire climax of Whiplash. God**** what a tense and incredible ending.”

10. American History X (1998)

American History X, Edward Furlong
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

This film tells the compelling story of a man fuelled by hate who decides to change his ways and in turn, influence his brother to abandon hate.

One person responded, “Danny getting shot at the end of American History X. It really drove the point home. Hate is corrosive and never ends well. Even after all the character development, you wonder if Derek is going to revert to his old ways.”

11. Chinatown (1974)

Chinatown (1974) Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Chinatown is a tense and dramatic movie about infidelity, secrets, and mysterious deaths that keeps its viewers entranced the whole way through.

One filmgoer shared, “Chinatown. Hours of craziness and plot twists, then bang! None of it matters. And the reasoning for the title becomes apparent.”

12. The Matrix

The Matrix Keanu Reeves Laurence Fishburne Carrie-Anne Moss
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

The sci-fi action epic from the Wachoskis thrilled audiences with impressive fight scenes and special effects that changed the movie industry.

As for the ending, one fan said, “The story going full circle and Rage Against The Machine kicking in.”

13. Kill Bill Volume 1

Kill Bill Volume 1 Uma Thurman
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

“Kill Bill volume 1. Hands down,” said one moviegoer.  “Ain’t another comparison.”

The first half of Quentin Tarantino's fourth film introduces us to The Bride and her story of revenge. Tarantino pays homage to samurai cinema, martial arts movies, and grindhouse cinema.

What would you add to this list of movies with unforgettable endings?

A thread inspired this post.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Credit: Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/Shutterstock.

Maya (she/they) is a queer entertainment and culture journalist. They cover interviews, reviews, roundups, news, and more. She loves horror, history, and creativity. They hope their writing both entertains readers and inspires them to think critically. Her favorite pastimes include needle felting, gaming, and drawing.