EW's 40 Perfect Movie Endings

August 12, 2007
Source: Entertainment Weekly


It's a Sunday and what more do you want to do than kick back and watch a great classic movie. Maybe Indiana Jones, maybe Matrix, maybe even something like The Thing or the original Halloween. Well compliments of Entertainment Weekly, they've put together a list of 40 perfect movie endings. Ranging from the new Bourne Ultimatum (which I suggest everyone go see) to North by Northwest and The Sixth Sense. If you're struggling to think of something great to watch any night of the week, then this list may give you some inspiration.

Over at EW.com you can see a photo and a description of the end (spoilers of course!) for every movie listed. However for simplicity purposes I've written out the full list below. It's not in any specific order, just numbered.

1 - THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN (2005)
4 - SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)
5 - VALLEY GIRL (1983)
6 - THE THIRD MAN (1949)
7 - BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997)
8 - MANHATTAN (1979)
10 - WHITE HEAT (1949)
11 - THE KARATE KID (1984)
13 - PRIDE & PREJUDICE (2005)
14 - THE KILLING (1956)
16 - SAW (2004)
19 - THE OTHERS (2001)
20 - A TASTE OF CHERRY (1997)
22 - VERTIGO (1958)
23 - ONCE (2007)
24 - THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)
25 - DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)
27 - ROCKY II (1979)
28 - BEFORE SUNSET (2004)
29 - THE SEVENTH SEAL (1957)
30 - RUSHMORE (1998)
31 - GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)
33 - THE 400 BLOWS (1959)
34 - SIDEWAYS (2004)
35 - CASABLANCA (1942)
36 - ABOUT A BOY (2002)
37 - THE SEARCHERS (1956)
38 - BIG NIGHT (1996)
39 - FACING WINDOWS (2003)

If anything, this list here sounds like more of the crown gems of cinematic history than anything. The ending is always one of the most important parts and if that's perfect, then the movie is nearly perfect.

Personally I'm glad they chose to include Cinema Paradiso (one of my own personal favorite movies), Once, and Reservoir Dogs. I'm sure there are plenty more everyone else could add to this list, so go ahead and drop off your best suggestions below.

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  • My immediate thought was THE THIRD MAN. Glad to see it made the list.
  • Zach
    A great list with some real classics on there. Glad they included: The Third Man, Casablanca, Vertigo, North By Northwest, The Seventh Seal, The Killing and Reservoir Dogs. I also think that Notorious should be added to the list. I noticed that a lot of old movies end quite fast and abruptly. But I guess that's good, because these days a lot of movies drag on and on because the director doesn't know how to end them.
  • No Se7en, no sale.
  • walker
    Im gonna get some heat for this, but what about "The Da Vinci Code"? I really liked the ending, whatever you may think of the rest of the film. The music in that scene was great too. (Chevalliers d´sangreal, something like that) I agree on "Seven" too...gotta be there!
  • Sneakers. No question.
  • I LOVE Sneakers! Glad you mentioned that, but is it that amazing to be on this list... I think so!
  • TheGuyInThePj's
    "Se7en" and "Donnie Darko" should both be on this list.... in my opinion!
  • tjfurr
    the usual suspects?
  • Mark
    Donnie Darko fanboys are still around? :p Sneakers! Yes, that's a guilty pleasure of mine, too :) Se7en should be there as well.
  • Clarke
    What, no Return of The King? The thing had 7 endings! :-) Surely one of them had to be good enough to make this list.
  • Ok, I've got to mention another one to add to this list! I just saw Michael Clayton earlier today (comes out early October) and holy SHIT was it the most amazing ending I've ever seen!! I'll be writing an article on this later, but damn was the ending just perfect... I really want to see it again to just feel the same euphoria at that ending again. Just amazing...!
  • PopCorn
    A List Of Movies With Perfect Endings That Does Not Include "The Usual Suspects"? You Gotta Be Kiddin Me
  • My list of eprfect movie endings: The Usual Suspects Donnie Darko Once Upon A Time In The West Saw 2001: A Space Odyssey Fight Club
  • hammer38
    I can't believe you didn't include The Shawshank Redemption! Or what about The Silence of the Lambs?
  • James Porter
    Se7en Fight Club There Will Be Blood p.s. so glad that rushmore made your list, that's one of my favorite movie endings of all time!
  • Seven!!! Field of Dreams!!!
    Haha Great list! -- The Others was one of the best endings I have seen... In my opinion Seven was the best and Field of Dreams in the top five...
  • Moriarty
    Am I the only one who is crazy to think that 40 Year-Old Virgin made this list? Yeah it was funny, but it's certainly not among the best endings of all time. It was creative and quirky, but not that good. I would agree that Shawshank Redemption should be on the list. Or maybe the Sting? That is a classic; or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. That was a tremendously memorable ending, and dramatic. Even a Walk to Remember was better than 40 Year-Old Virgin. I just don't get it. The Last Castle, the Mosquito Coast, Terminator 2 had a marvelous ending, Blade Runner, It's a Wonderful Life was sweet and moving, Leon the Professional, and the Breakfast Club was good for it's time and demographic. But of their weren't different opinions, then who would I disagree with? I hope whoever reads this had a good day, and bless you.
  • Jennifer
    Don't forget about the great ending to Crocodile Dundee, when Mick Dundee walks over the shoulders of the crowd in the NY subway station.
  • calvin
    no shawshank redemption?that should have made that list.
  • paul
    where the hell is the italian job (original)!!! the best ending ever!!!
  • Keyser Soze
    the usual suspects isnt on this list. this list is horrible. no usual suspects? it is in the top 5 of greatest endings in like every poll ive ever seen. it was so good that they spoofed it in scary movie, just the ending nothing else. the ending to 40 year old virgin is just awkward to watch if your with other people, its hard to watch its so weird.
  • E
    Alex for once I agree with you. :)
  • EmilyK.
    What?!? Come on, you've gotta be kidding me. Charade isn't on the list but North by Northwest is? They're in the same class, same main actor, but Charade's ending is FAR better. Well... North by Northwest is good... but still, Charade should be on there.
  • franklin
    city lights - best ending ever
  • webpurchaser
    This list is useless without "The usual suspects"
  • webpurchaser
    1- The Usual Suspects 2-Fight Club 3-The Bourne Ultimatum 4-Seven 5-Saw
  • Chuckles
    Animal House -- "Senator and Mrs. John Blutarsky" -- 'nuff said.
  • Jeanie
    I'm not sure why movies like The 40-Year Old Virgin and Sideways (both overrated , in my opinion) made the list...And why Rocky II? Lost in Translation was a very good movie, I don't see what's so special about the ending. Casablanca should be there in first place. And what about Treasure of Sierra Madre? Also, if the list includes classic westerns like The Searchers, why was Shane left out? I also think that Woody Allen's "Love and Death" should go right along with "The Seventh Seal" ending -- two movies that should be watched together.
  • Talasker
    "Sixteen Candles." Finally it all comes together for poor Molly Ringwald.




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