The Best Twist Endings in Movie History

Let’s celebrate the release of M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass, the latest movie by the one who built his career on twist endings, by taking a look at the very best surprises in the world of cinema.

10. The Prestige

Even though, just like M. Night Shyamalan, Christopher Nolan likes a good twist ending, he is careful not to overuse them in his movies. But his 2006 The Prestige is set up in such a way that we expect to be surprised. But I assure you that you won’t figure things out until the very end.

Arguably Nolan’s most underrated movie ever, it sports the kind of cast that can pull of the kind of twists and turns that the plot delivers with much needed style.

9. Shutter Island

Martin Scorsese’s psychological thriller Shutter Island, based on Dennis Lehane’s novel, is about two FBI agents investigating a disappearance at a mental institution on an island. Things soon get out of hand, and the lead agent (Leonardo DiCaprio) loses his grip on reality. We won’t spoil what happens next, but it makes a second viewing a must.

8. Se7en

An ending that is impossible to forget, and one that is both unexpected and chilling. Enough said! If you haven’t, you must watch David Fincher’s crime drama Se7en.

7. The Usual Suspects

Well, okay, if you can forget for a moment that you’ve got Kevin Spacey in this movie, then The Usual Suspects delivers basically one of the best plot twists ever. Twenty five years since the movie’s release, it’s still a draw-dropping finale.

6. Mulholland Drive

Arguably David Lynch’s best film, Mulholland Drive, follows the exploits of two young women (Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring) in Los Angeles, the former of whom tries to help the latter figure out her identity after a disastrous car crash. That’s about as much detail as we can give you without spoiling the movie.

Weird, eccentric, and a true masterpiece, Mulholland Drive is well worth the time.

5. Citizen Kane

Thought of as one of the greatest movies of all time, Citizen Kane also ends in a way that raises a lot of questions. Remarkable is an understatement considering this movie to be over 70 years old.

4. Memento

Christopher Nolan’s breakout movie is an ingeniously written and plotted thriller that has one hell of an ending. The story of Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), a man who suffers from short-term memory loss and is trying to figure out who killed his wife, Memento is a true masterpiece.

3. The Sixth Sense

This is how it all started for Shyamalan. Yes, he has since made a lot of movies with a lot of twist endings, but The Sixth Sense remains his best ending yet.

2. The Empire Strikes Back


Probably by now everyone knows the four words that ensured the Star Wars franchise became one of the most profitable in movie history. Four simple words that leave anyone watching shocked, confused, and a bit horrified by the possibilities and consequences.

1. Fight Club

David Fincher’s 1999 adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s masterpiece features Edward Norton as a nameless narrator, and Brad Pitt as the charismatic and nihilistic Tyler Durden.

The twist at the end has become a classic, and even though watching it now doesn’t feel so novel anymore,  it is still what we consider the best twist ending in movie history.

What are your thoughts? Any we missed? What do you consider to be the best plot twist in movie history?

15 thoughts on “The Best Twist Endings in Movie History

  1. The Usual Suspects is one of my favourite films, and the twist is fantastic! Agree with all your choices, although I haven’t seen the Star Wars film. Yet. There is also the 1945 film of And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie’s best book). Although none of the films do the book justice–they all chicken out at the ending, which is much grimmer in the book. Still the twist is definitely worth it.

  2. Except for Citizen Kane and Star Wars, I’ve seen all other movies and then I believe no movie was less than brilliance!
    Yet movies like Memento, Fight Club, The Usual Suspects and Se7en were like a canvas full of vivid colours. Cheers to the list!

  3. “The Crying Game” has quite the plot twist.

    Definitely the Wiz of Oz. Most of the movie didn’t happen.

    Se7en is the stuff of nightmares.

  4. I’ve seen all of these except Shutter Island…and wasn’t disappointed in your list. So I guess I now have to go see it!

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