50 Genius Movie Foreshadowing Moments

Caution: spoilers ahead!

Aliens (1986)

The Foreshadowing: Early in the film, Ripley attempts to fit in with the marines by making herself useful. How does she do that? By demonstrating her prowess with a powerloader. Also worth noting is the request to double-check the airlock is sealed...

How It Pays Off: Ripley uses her powerloader skills to defeat the alien queen, holding her at arms length before forcing her out of the airlock.

Jurassic Park (1993)

The Foreshadowing: Dr. Grant has some fun terrorising a bratty little boy with a raptor claw, telling him, “you stare at him and he just stares right back, and that’s when the attack comes; not from the front, but from the side.”

How It Pays Off: The raptors use that exact hunting technique to take down Muldoon. Clever girls...

The Others (2001)

The Foreshadowing: When Grace shouts at Anne for behaving badly, the little girl’s breathing becomes ragged. “Stop breathing like that,” shouts Grace. “STOP BREATHING!”

How It Pays Off:
It’s a reference to how Grace did for her kids, smothering them with their pillows in order to stop them breathing.

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011)

The Foreshadowing: As John Lithgow’s Alzheimer’s’ sufferer struggles to use his cutlery, Caesar gently reaches across and shows him how to do it. Touching stuff.

How It Pays Off:
Not only does the scene serve to show the bond between the two, it also points to how the balance of power is beginning to shift between man and ape.

L.A. Confidential (1997)

The Foreshadowing: Captain Smith asks Exley whether he would be willing to beat a confession out of a suspect, plant evidence or shoot a criminal in the back to prevent him from acquittal. Exley says that he will do none of those things.

How It Pays Off: By the time the film has run its course, Exley has been complicit in all three. It's a dirty old business...

Pans Labyrinth (2006)

The Foreshadowing : Mercedes’ belt is revealed to contain a secret compartment, in which she stores her kitchen knife. Bet that will come in handy later on...

How It Pays Off:
It certainly does, Mercedes using the knife to free herself from the chair she is tied to, before carving a big old slice out of Captain Vidal’s face. Woo-hoo!

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

The Foreshadowing: Boo hands Sully a stuffed toy that looks suspiciously like a certain orange clownfish from another Pixar movie...

How It Pays Off: Working in a Finding Nemo reference into a film that was released two years earlier is a testament to those forward-thinking brains at Pixar.

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

The Foreshadowing: When Peter and MJ visit Harry Osborne in hospital, a nurse remarks that they seem like good friends. Harry agrees, before going as far as to say he'd die for them.

How It Pays Off:
Guess what? He ends up dying for them. Clearly a man of his word…

Inception (2010)

The Foreshadowing: As the team infiltrate Fischer's brain, a huge train comes ploughing through the middle of the street. Things aren't going as smoothly as planned.

How It Pays Off: The train is revealed to be a product of Cobb's subconscious, it being the method by which he and Mal kill themselves to escape Limbo.

Thor (2011)

The Foreshadowing: Odin tells a young Thor and Loki that both of them were born to be a king. Makes sense, seeing as they're brothers, but there's something the old boy is keeping quiet…

How It Pays Off: Loki is revealed to be an heir to the throne, but not that of Asgaard, when Odin tells him he is the son of the Jotun king. He's part Frost Giant!