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How a movie ends forms a large part of my opinion of it. Amazing films can be ruined by a bogus ending, while lackluster bores can be redeemed by a worthwhile finale. When a movie’s final scene stays with you long after the credits roll, you know the filmmakers have done their jobs well.

Here, I’ve decided to list my absolute favorite conclusions, not necessarily a film’s general ending but the very last scene before (or after) the credits. You’ll notice that I’m a sucker for the reunion or “together forever” kind of ending, which touches me on a personal level, especially with a powerful musical score behind it. The top three often bring me close to tears even.

To avoid spoilers, I won’t include a description of any of them (except #9), and obviously I recommend that everyone watch these films before seeing their conclusions. I count all of these films among my favorites, especially the endings.


  1. The Color Purple (1985)


  1. Millennium Actress (2001) (Sorry I couldn’t find a video with subtitles, but this video’s YouTube source does have the translation in its description; the emotion transcends the words, though.)



  1. Glory (1989)



  1. 1776 (1972) (Couldn’t find a video of this at all, but the signing of the Declaration of Independence always makes me feel as if I’m watching history itself.)
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  1. Places in the Heart (1984)



  1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) (brief language warning for this one)



  1. The Way Back (2010)



  1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)



  1. Inception (2010)



  1. Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)



  1. Titanic (1997)



  1. The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2004) (Again, no video of the ending, but this trailer gives a hint of the feels behind the best Hallmark movie ever made.)



And since there are so many amazing movie endings out there, I’ve included a host of runners-up that fit into different categories. What final scenes touch or encourage or thrill you the most? Feel free to let me know your favorites!



The Avengers (2012)
Ella Enchanted
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
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Epically cool:

Back to the Future
The Breakfast Club
Casino Royale (2006)
Escape from New York
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Iron Man
Men in Black
No Way Out (1987)
Raiders of the Lost Ark
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All Quiet on the Western Front
Bright Star
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Driving Miss Daisy
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
Les Miserables (2012)
Somewhere in Time
Toy Story 3
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(500) Days of Summer
“Crocodile” Dundee
The Dark Knight Rises
The Great Escape
The Iron Giant
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Music Man
The Passion of the Christ
The Princess Bride
Ruby Sparks
Sleepless in Seattle
The Truman Show
Whisper of the Heart

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
You’ve Got Mail
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Being There
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Captain Phillips
Cast Away
Harold and Maude
The One I Love
The Shining
Wuthering Heights
United 93
The Usual Suspects
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