30 Greatest Final Shots

Inception (2010)

The Final Shot: Dominick Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) runs to greet his family, but is it all a dream?

The final shot of the spinning top (possibly) failing to fall over still has movie-lovers rabidly debating whether or not it was all just a dream...

If It Had Been The Opening Shot:
It would have set up the enigma of the spinning top earlier, but arguably robbed it of most of its heft.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

The Final Shot: Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) have been racing around in a 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible attempting to evade the police, but their luck runs out at the Grand Canyon.

Trapped at the edge of a precipice, they decide to keep going, and race over the edge. The film freezes on the airborne car, sparing us the sight of their mangled bodies...

If It Had Been The Opening Shot:
It would have revealed Thelma and Louise's fate, which would make the rest of the film a bit of a downer...

The Wrestler (2008)

The Final Shot: Randy 'The Ram' Robinson (Mickey Rourke) is back in the ring, despite the fact that wrestling again could be the end of him.

Not caring, he launches into his signature move, the 'Ram Jam', tears in his eyes, and sails out of view...

If It Had Been The Opening Shot:
It wouldn't have worked - we need to know why The Ram's in tears. By the end of the film, we're in tears with him.

Back To The Future (1985)

The Final Shot: We discover that Doc (Christopher Lloyd) has made a few fancy alterations to his DeLorean time machine.

Not only is it a super-cool set of hot wheels that can travel through time, now it can fly , something director Robert Zemeckis thrillingly reveals as the DeLorean crashes right through the screen.

If It Had Been The Opening Shot:
And miss out on all those clocks? No thank you.

Casino Royale (2006)

The Final Shot: "The name's Bond. James Bond."

Daniel Craig's tenure as Bond finally begins at the close of this system reboot. Having tracked down Mr White (who blackmailed his squeeze Vesper), he makes the above pronouncement. And credits.

If It Had Been The Opening Shot: That would have been too easy. Martin Campbell's film is all about the making of Bond - and this is one heck of a payoff.

Jurassic Park (1993)

The Final Shot: Not the shot of the T-Rex roaring as the 'When dinosaurs ruled the Earth' banner spills from the ceiling (though what a great closing shot that would have been).

Instead, Spielberg opts for something a little more subdued as Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and co fly home in a helicopter. Beautiful.

If It Had Been The Opening Shot:
Why would they be leaving the island at the beginning of the film?

Psycho (1960)

The Final Shot: By the end of Psycho, it's fair to say that some shit has gone down.

Hitchock's film ends with something coming up, though, as Marion Crane's (Janet Leigh) car is levered out of the swamp where Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) dumped it.

If It Had Been The Opening Shot:
It would have set up an intriguing mystery, but also given away that Crane's car ended up buried, potentially removing the shock factor of her death.

Rocky (1976)

The Final Shot: An unforgiving close-up of Rocky's (Sylvester Stallone) face, which has been beaten black and blue by Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).

But it's OK, because Rocky's in the arms of his love, Adrian (Talia Shire). The look of exhaustion, relief and love on his pummelled face is enough to crack a tear.

If It Had Been The Opening Shot:
We'd have been robbed of that lovely shot of a benevolent-faced Jesus...

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969)

The Final Shot: Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and Sundance (Robert Redford) accept their fates and go out like true anti-heroes.

Surrounded by Bolivian soldiers, they come out guns firing - and we get a freeze frame shot of them in action that spares us seeing their bodies riddled with bullets.

If It Had Been The Opening Shot:
The spoiler police might have had something to say about it.

Seven Saumrai (1954)

The Final Shot: Kambei (Takashi Shimura) and Shichirji (Daisuke Kat) stand and observe the graves of their fallen comrades, commenting on the fact that they've survived once more.

Is it the farmers who are the real victors?

If It Had Been The Opening Shot:
It would have set us up for the great losses in the film, but also revealed just who survives.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.