Top 10 Movie Endings That Made Us Question Everything

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Top 10 Movie Endings That Made Us Question Everything

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Andy Hammersmith
Ultimately, these endings made us reconsider right and wrong. For this list, we'll be looking at films with endings that made us question who were the heroes and villains. Our countdown includes “The Silence of the Lambs”, "Sicario", "The Godfather", and more!
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Top 10 Movies with Morally Ambiguous Endings


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies with Morally Ambiguous Endings.

For this list, we’ll be looking at films with endings that made us question who were the heroes and villains. Ultimately, these endings made us reconsider right and wrong. Needless to say, a huge spoiler alert is in full effect.

Did we miss any of your favorite film endings? Let us know in the comments below.

#10: Lecter Goes Free

“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
Hunting down the killer Buffalo Bill, FBI trainee Clarice Starling enlists the help of incarcerated man-eater Hannibal Lecter. As Starling defeats Bill and saves the day, Hannibal escapes his cell and slips out of the country. Throughout the film, Hannibal's engrossing presence draws in the viewer, tricking the audience into a false sense of security. At one time an ally, the evil psychiatrist turns out to be the real villain all along. With his violent escape, the audience and Starling wonder why they ever trusted someone as sinister as Hannibal. Delivering a final phone call to Starling, Lecter's ambiguous threats to kill again leave the film on a haunting cliffhanger.

#9: Forgetting the Past

“Oldboy” (2003)
After being mysteriously imprisoned in a room for fifteen years, Oh Dae-su discovers he's been held captive by his former classmate Lee Woo-jin. In a complex revenge plot, Woo-jin reveals that he's led Dae-su to fall in love with his daughter, Mi-do. While Woo-jin functions as the film's villain, his plot unwittingly turns hero Dae-su into a criminal. Following Woo-jin's revelation, Dae-su asks a hypnotist to wipe his memory so he can stay with Mi-do. Choosing to erase the traumatic reveal about his daughter, the hero decides to continue the relationship in blissful ignorance. By the end, it’s unclear if the hypnotism worked. Regardless, "Oldboy" features a damaged character doubling down on his unethical lifestyle choices.


#8: Alex Is “Cured”

“A Clockwork Orange” (1971)
After unleashing a violent crime spree on Britain, the Minister of the Interior subjects gang leader Alex DeLarge to a series of experimental tests meant to cure his evil ways. Released back into the world, Alex's former “droogs” beat him up before he's driven to self-harm by a previous victim. Waking up in a hospital, Alex receives a job offer from the same Minister that tested him. In the film’s final moments, the anti-hero has Beethoven-induced visions that reveal he might not be cured after all. Operating outside the usual confines of morality, “A Clockwork Orange” ends without conclusive proof that the ills of society can be destroyed.


#7: The Dunnes Stay Together

“Gone Girl” (2014)
In "Gone Girl," Nick Dunne deals with a media firestorm after his wife Amy incriminates him in her staged disappearance. Playing the role of a survivor, Amy returns to a bewildered Nick and announces that she's pregnant. Artificially inseminating herself without Nick’s knowledge, Amy forces Nick to keep up her diabolical charade. While Nick has his own faults, he becomes complicit with Amy's crimes when faced with few alternatives. Amy's fake murder and deceit made Nick finally wake up, but he was too late to escape her wicked grasp. Ending with Nick trapped in a sham marriage, the film's conclusion provides an uneasy look at a relationship built upon lies.


#6: Heroes or Villains?

“Watchmen” (2009)
Zack Snyder’s adaptation altered the graphic novel's original ending, getting rid of the famous squid monster. Snyder kept the central premise intact, with the masked heroes coming out of retirement when someone murders one of their own, The Comedian. Hero Ozymandias reveals he killed The Comedian in order to keep his ethically chaotic peace solution secret. By setting off reactors around the world, Ozymandias hopes to unite America and the Soviet Union against the god-like Dr. Manhattan. Agreeing with Ozymandias' plan, Dr. Manhattan kills masked rogue Rorschach to ensure his silence. The levelheaded Watchmen, Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II, vow to keep everything secret with reservations. As each hero goes their separate ways, they grapple with the uncertainty of their complicated decision.



#5: What’s in the Box?

“Seven” (1995)
In “Seven,” Detectives Mills and Somerset track down a serial killer that bases his murders on the seven deadly sins. At the dramatic climax, killer John Doe boxes up the head of Mill's wife and endures the wrath of the detective. Instead of committing the final murder himself, Doe compels Mills to become the murderer. By making Mills a killer, the villainous Doe brings the detective down to his level. When everything goes according to Doe's plan, the two detectives end up instruments of the villain's scheming. By the end, Doe reveals the darkest recesses lurking within the very people trying to bring him to justice.

#4: Kate Signs the Paper

“Sicario” (2015)
Part of a government task force, FBI agent Kate Macer navigates the dubious tactics used to take down drug cartels. Throughout the film, Kate is unable to stop her task force from acting outside the law. In the final scene, CIA-sponsored assassin Alejandro forces Kate to sign a paper saying their controversial operations were legitimate. Knowing he'll kill her, Kate reluctantly signs the paper. In her final screen moments, Kate discovers that she can't fight the crooked nature of her organization. Now complicit with illegal activities, Kate signs away her values in order to survive. Condemning the futility of the War on Drugs, "Sicario" ends with the heroes stooping to the same depths as their intended criminal targets.

#3: Plainview Gets His Revenge

“There Will Be Blood” (2007)
As the anti-hero of “There Will Be Blood,” Daniel Plainview pursues oil at the cost of his personal relationships. Having swindled his way to the top, Plainview spends his last moments on screen beating his former rival to death. By killing the preacher Eli with a bowling pin, Plainview sells off the last remnants of his soul. Blinded by his boundless greed, Plainview proclaims “I’m finished” before the film cuts to credits. With only his butler left to deal with him, the oil magnate doomed himself to a life of bitter and drunken loneliness. Closing on a murderous note, the film puts the worst impulses of humanity on full display with the slimmest potential for personal redemption.


#2: Nobody Wins

“No Country for Old Men” (2007)
When hunter Llewelyn Moss steals a case of drug money, hitman Anton Chigurh hunts him and noble Sheriff Bell tries to save him. Unfortunately for them, Moss dies without either man catching up to him. Writing and directing duo Joel and Ethan Coen avoided the traditional Hollywood ending, instead revealing the often unappealing and gray morality of real life. In another film, the wise sheriff would've saved Moss and subdued Chigurh. However, in "No Country for Old Men," Bell retires in defeat and Chigurh lives to kill another day. It's not the happiest ending, but it proves that this film was never an average Western fairytale.


#1: Michael Becomes Don

“The Godfather” (1972)
After rival mobsters shoot his father Vito, the innocent Michael Corleone joins the family business by seeking revenge. Shooting a corrupt police captain and local gangster, Michael flees to Sicily for his own safety. Upon his return, Michael takes over for his father and wipes out the competition. Once Vito dies, Michael officially assumes the morally unsound role of Don. In the film's final scene, Michael lies to his wife Kay about ordering the death of his brother-in-law. As her husband ascends to his new position, Kay realizes she's lost him to a fierce criminal enterprise. While “The Godfather Part II” revealed the true depths of his crooked soul, Michael's heartlessness began with the end of the original film.
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