Endings have the power to ruin, elevate or salvage a film. A great ending is what stays with us the most long after the credits have rolled out. It should possess the power to define the film on a thematic level. A film does not qualify to be labelled as “great” if the ending fails to hold up the entire film. But some of the greatest endings in cinema weren’t originally intended the way we now get to see it. In fact, many of them were really bad. Let’s take a look at 12 movies that originally had bad endings. Also note that the numbers here do not reflect rankings of any kind.
12. Chinatown (1974)
Writer Robert Towne had ideas for a lesser depressing and mysterious film ending for Roman Polanski’s iconic mystery thriller, ‘Chinatown’. He was reported to have said that he found Polanski’s ending to be excessively melodramatic. Towne originally wrote an ending in which Evelyn would killer her father, who raped her when she was 15, and would end up in jail. Now this is by no means a bad ending but Polanski’s ending just had a more mysterious, enigmatic quality in a way that is hard to express and kind of defines the film in its entirety.
11. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
I don’t believe it’s humanly possible to hate ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’. The sheer madness, energy and charm of the film is unlike any other and it is quite simply one of the most significant American films of all time. However, this wouldn’t have been the case had they not changed the ending of the film. In the cut that we see it today, we can hear a gunshot fired by the Bolivian forces and we know Newman and Redford are dead but we aren’t really shown anything. But in the original ending, their death is shown on-screen which kind of lessens the mysterious impact of the one that we see it now. It’s subtly ambiguous, mysterious and more in tone with the film.
10. Fatal Attraction (1987)