Whether it’s a terrifying horror flick, a brilliant mystery, or an inspiring drama – we all love a great plot twist. The kind that make our eyes bulge, jaws drop, and hearts skip a beat. Here are 20 of the greatest ones ever.
20. Unbreakable (2000)
The followup to M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense. Unbreakable is an intriguing movie about a seemingly ordinary man (Bruce Willis) who – after surviving a horrific train wreck unscathed – discovers that he has superhuman powers.
The ending isn’t quite as shocking as The Sixth Sense, but still incredibly twisted.
19. Hide and Seek (2005)
Robert De Niro stars as the father of a little girl who blames all the strange occurrences in their new house on an imaginary friend named Charlie. Sounds scary, right?
The ending doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but you’ll never see it coming.
18. Black Swan (2010)
One of the very best films of 2010, there’s no real bombshell — other than Natalie Portman — but rather a slow revelation of something so disturbing that you might not realize it until well after the film is over.
17. Presumed Innocent (1990)
A legal suspense thriller about a lawyer (Harrison Ford) who is accused of killing the woman with whom he was having an affair. The surprise ending comes with a long, frightening confession from the real murderer.
16. Psycho (1960)
The oldest film on our list, and also one of the most legendary for it’s freakish ending. If you don’t wanna know, stop reading now. The surprise… Norman’s mother was actually Norman himself… in a wig, wearing a dress, and carrying a knife.
15. Identity (2003)
This is an ensemble mystery thriller that sharply and deliberately keeps you guessing every minute of the entire movie. It becomes almost aggravating after a while.
There are two separate endings. If the first one doesn’t shock you, the second one probably won’t either.
14. The Others (2001)
The mind-numbing shock at the end of this film was borrowed from another film on the list, but you’ll still have no idea what it is. The plot involves a woman who lives in a giant mansion with her two kids when ghosts suddenly appear.
13. Twelve monkeys (1995)
This is the only pure science-fiction movie on the list. It’s about a guy from the future (Bruce Willis) who travels back in time to prevent a virus that destroys mankind.
This one doesn’t try to circumvent the time travel paradox, but rather embraces it — even though it still doesn’t make sense. But as far as time travel movies go, this is one of the best. The whole movie is like one long twist with a massive knot in the middle.
12. Fight Club (1999)
Brad Pitt plays the quintessential alpha male who beats the shit out of everyone in an underground basement fight club. Edward Norton plays the wimpy, insecure friend.
When their relationship spirals out of control, it results in one of the biggest WTF moments ever.
11. Vanilla Sky (2001)
A remake of “Open Your Eyes” from 1997, this is one truly great film. Even without the huge revelation at the end, Vanilla Sky is still magnificent filmmaking.
As far as the secret is concerned, when it’s revealed, you just might feel incredibly uplifted.
10. Shutter Island (2010)
Leonardo DiCaprio plays a US Marshal investing the strange events that have been taking place on an island prison. The ending can be interpreted in only one of two valid ways.
One is terrifying and the other is even more terrifying.
9. Frailty (2001)
This is one seriously twisted movie. A father of two receives a message from an angel telling him to kill people. I told you. The killing scenes are hard to watch.
The ending is very shocking, but is well-aligned with the rest of the movie. It doesn’t feel forced at all, which is very refreshing.
8. The Village (2004)
The first half of this movie is one of the scariest I’ve seen in a long time. There are two separate major bombshells and they both come about halfway into the film.
After they’re revealed, the movie still keeps us guessing for a little while longer — just enough to keep doubt lingering in your mind. The real ending is so so.
7. Primal Fear (1996)
A legal mystery thriller about a lawyer (Richard Gere) who defends an innocent, abused kid (Edward Norton) who might be suffering from multiple personality disorder.
The very last scene felt a tiny bit contrived, but I think most people’s jaws will drop out of disbelief.
6. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
One of the best films of 2001, this is loosely based on the remarkable true story of John Forbes Nash, a brilliant, nobel prize winning mathematician who suffered from schizophrenia.
The shocking revelation comes midway through the film and is truly heart-breaking. With or without it, the entire movie as a whole is absolutely soul-stirring.
5. The Usual Suspects (1995)
This movie is notorious for its mind-bending final few minutes. If you’ve ever heard of the movie, then you know how it ends. If not, I’ll give you a clue… take a look at the photo. A long, close look. One of them is not who they say they are.
4. Planet of the Apes (1968)
The film depicts a future earth where apes have taken over society and enslaved humans. Definitely possible.
The final scene shows the statue of liberty half buried in the ground as a result of some kind of apocalyptic event. Mind-blowing, I know.
3. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The highest rated film in history, according to IMDB, Shawshank takes place almost entirely inside of a prison where a man is serving a sentence for a murder he didn’t commit.
Shocking doesn’t seem like the right word to describe the ending. Breathtaking might be more fitting. You just won’t believe it when you see it. A true masterpiece of a film.
2. Shattered (1991)
This film was actually a box-office disappointment. Nevertheless, it has the all-time, most spine-tingling endings that doesn’t involve ghosts.
When the secret is revealed, you might feel like you were hit with a bowling ball, or at least punched in the face really hard.
1. The Sixth Sense (1999)
The all-time most shocking, heart-stopping ending to a movie. Ever. The secret of the ending spread like wildfire after the movie came out. If you’ve heard of this movie, you know how it ends. If not, I won’t ruin it for you.
The whole movie, not just the ending, is one of the best ghost stories ever made.