"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

List of favorite movie endings

I’ve installed Intense Debate’s Youtube embed plugin. To to try it out, post a clip of your favorite movie ending.

I’ll kick things off with mine. Its from the Deer Hunter. It’s the only film about Vietnam that I like, understated where Apocalypse Now is overblown, complex where Born on the 4th of July is one-dimensional and epic where Full Metal Jacket is narrow and specific.

The problem with many War films, for me, is that they create an anti-war statement that is macho and an opposition to violence that dwells in its pornographic depiction.

It’s difficult to display fighting as explicitly entertaining unless you are shooting bugs, villains with Hungarian accents or aliens, but if you make a ‘war is hell’ film like Apocalypse Now you can display the deaths of ordinary people with operatic grandeur.

The Deer Hunter is different. Most of the film is about context and relationships, and the war scenes themselves are limited to the blisteringly intense and emblematic depiction of Russian roulette. That the roulette scenes are the most popular on YouTube speaks to a depressing reality, that even in the Deer Hunter people strip out the build up and get straight to the dirty bits, like turning a love story into a porn clip. But in context, the violence in the Deer Hunter is neither gratuitous or unnecessary.

The Deer Hunter starts with a wedding and ends with a wake and in between weaves intertwined relationships that are complicated as in real life. But for me the scene after Nick’s funeral, ending with everyone singing ‘God Bless America’ is my pick for a favorite movie ending.

I am neither American nor do I believe in God but this rendition of God Bless America raises the hair on the back of my neck. This is not a jingoistic, defiant rendition of a patriotic anthem, but a quiet, ambiguous, demonstration of solidarity. A capitulation to ultimately identify as part of a society, while still linked culturally to an old country and living not a Californian dream, but in a deprived town in the rust belt. A community damaged but not broken, from a war which challenged the notion of what it was to be American.

Submit your favorite movie endings with clips embedded in the comments.


21 comments on “List of favorite movie endings

  1. Fernando says:

    [youtube wxrWz9XVvls http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxrWz9XVvls youtube]

    1. david galbraith says:

      Good choice. The idea of a soft, romantic farewell song accompanied by thermonuclear explosions is memorable.

      At the risk of being controversial, I've always thought that Peter Sellers's performance is over-rated, he almost ruins Dr. Strangelove, with obvious, campy slapstick. Its a masterpiece nonetheless.

  2. jason says:

    [youtube _eUz8-dYtNc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eUz8-dYtNc youtube]

    Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family.
    Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars,
    compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good
    health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed
    interest mortage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your
    friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a
    three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics.
    Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning.
    Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing
    game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose
    rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable
    home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up
    brats you spawned to replace yourself.

    Choose your future.

    Choose life.

    1. divadwg says:

      funny how the end monologue "Choose life… etc." looks like a spam comment when pasted

  3. manu70 says:

    [youtube 3Ijjl6t30Kc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ijjl6t30Kc youtube]

  4. pauline says:

    [youtube 7ihvRMoMTFk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ihvRMoMTFk youtube]

    This movie is wonderful from the beginning to the end. I love this whimsical love story between Audrey Tautou and Mathieu Kassovitz (who seems all sweet as Amelie's prince charming, but in real life is the writer and director of "La Haine" – a very violent movie as you can see from the previous clip.)

    1. alice says:

      no one stole for the reason you think

  5. yuko says:

    [youtube Y0zbf9X7SDM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0zbf9X7SDM youtube]

    Olive's final dance competition in Little Miss Sunshine is MEMORABLE!

    1. divadwg says:

      I don't think I've ever been as tense in a movie as the beginning of this scene. You think, how the hell can this turn out well. But it does.

  6. Elliot says:

    [youtube QPB806P9zDk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPB806P9zDk youtube]

    The part where robert deniro is lying fatally wounded but stays alive long enough to see jeremy irons shot in his procession…I tear up every time. Actually, my heart kind of withers up at this point and the thought of the real symbolism behind the entire movie.

  7. Jonathan says:

    [youtube QUhUAa3y4rE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUhUAa3y4rE youtube]

  8. Jonathan says:

    In the moments before they decide to ride off into the final sunset, Pike says; "Let's go." Sam Peckinpah didn't invent going out with a bang but this movie ending is the bang. Yes it's gratuitous violence, but what the hell – men who ran out of time.

  9. Jonathan says:

    [youtube uvNHVQW3dNo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvNHVQW3dNo youtube]

  10. Jonathan says:

    Okay looks like another entry from the nihilist society for favourite movie endings, but I couldn't resist this one once I got thinking about it.

    Bonus feature is the music by Roy Budd. Note for the anally attentive, "J" the assassin shares the same railway carriage as Jack on the way up from London.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Roy Budd playing the soundtrack http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNuvveyKA1U

    1. divadwg says:

      [youtube MNuvveyKA1U http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNuvveyKA1U youtube]Great find, I'm embedding it.

  12. divadwg says:

    Good choice. Amazing to think that Newcastle in the 1970s is globally famous because of Get Carter.

  13. miss modal says:

    [youtube xodsq8LE98Y http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xodsq8LE98Y youtube]

    An incredible ending to what I consider to be Errol Morris' masterpiece, and one of the greatest films ever made, The Thin Blue Line.
    **WARNING: this film is a mystery in terms of its structure and plotline, so I highly recommend watching it in its entirety (this ending will make a lot more sense, too, I would think) before watching the ending.

  14. Bane says:
  15. Fred says:

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/-9WIxeh6l6c&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/-9WIxeh6l6c&hl=en&fs=1&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

    Deathproof is not popular with everyone. But it is a meticulous piece of weirdness. The pacing could hardly be more off, and the end comes rather suddenly in what surely is a tribute to Russ Meyers in Faster Pussycat Kill Kill Kill. Made me laugh out loud twice so far.

  16. Mean Mister Mustard says:

    [youtube De6yIK6-gQ4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De6yIK6-gQ4 youtube]


    I had meant to share this when you first posted this topic. But I couldn't find the clip. This is the end of "Kundun", Martin Scorsese's film about the early life of the Dalai Lama. The clip depicts his exile from Tibet. The narration features the Dalai Lama explaining his highest duties while confronting the very immediate and temporal. Right around 5:00 there is a sequence where he imagines the fate of those who have helped him flee Tibet. I ALWAYS tear up here: while it is just a thought, he goes through the mental motions that almost all 'leaders' evade.

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