With the arrival of Spring and the sense of new beginnings, my contrarian spirit has me thinking about great endings. Great movie endings, to be precise.

Tying together all that has gone on before, they are the final piece of the puzzle we all wait 100 minutes, give or take, to experience. Only at the end of a film can we really and truly judge it…that short period sitting in our seats- thinking, feeling, reacting — as the final credits roll.

Most great movie endings are marked by either a parting line of dialogue or bit of action that places the proverbial cherry on top of the sundae, perfectly summing up all that's gone before. These special culminating moments are like great advertising taglines- their strength lies in the fact that we can’t forget them.

My own compilation of inspired fade-outs follows. I’ve inserted little cues and clues after each to jog memories, while trying to avoid outright “spoilers”.

Here’s to fresh starts, and smooth finishes.


1) Modern Times (1936)

“Smile” — we’ll get along.

Stream it tonight.

2) Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Dinosaur collapse.

Stream it tonight.

3) The Maltese Falcon (1941)

“The stuff that dreams are made of.”

Stream it tonight.

4) Notorious (1946)

Alex faces the music.

5) Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Norma’s close-up.

Stream it tonight.

6) On The Waterfront (1954)

Terry walks the final stretch.

Stream it tonight.

7) The Apartment (1960)

“Shut up and deal.”

Stream it tonight.

8) To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

“Hey, Boo.”

Stream it tonight.

9) Charade (1963)

Audrey loves him, whatever his name is.

Stream it tonight.

10) Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969)

Shoot-out and freeze frame.

Stream it tonight.

11) The French Connection (1971)

Popeye’s last shot.

Stream it tonight.

12) One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

The Chief breaks out.

Stream it tonight.

13) Field of Dreams (1989)

Father and son play catch.

Stream it tonight.

14) The Fugitive (1993)

The Marshal needs a rest.

Stream it tonight.

15) Traffic (2000)

“We’re here for our daughter”/ Night game.

Stream it tonight.

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