Die Hard With A Vengeance
The Ending: Simon gets away scot-free but a bitter John McClane - now forced out of the NYPD following the events in the film - tracks him down some time later and forces him to play Russian Roulette with a rocket launcher. Simon loses and shoots himself in the chest only for McClane to reveal that he was wearing a flak jacket all along (which could presumably withstand a rocket launcher?)
If They Had Left It In: The over-the-top Russian Roulette seems a bit silly but McClane as an angry, fired cop? That could give him a certain edge that he's been missing in the more recent films.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Ending: A deleted epilogue shows April O'Neil entering the offices of a comic book publisher to pitch the idea of a Ninja Turtles comic, but only to have it shot down for being "too far-fetched".
If They Had Left It In: It's a nice nod but ultimately feels too back-slappingly self-referential. They might as well have ended on a director yelling "cut!"and have everyone climb out of their suits only to reveal the real turtles serving as executive producers.
Full Metal Jacket
The Ending: As everyone crowds round the dying Vietnamese sniper child and Private Joker shoots her to put her out of her misery, what was cut from the original version is that he then breaks down, jumping on the corpse and cutting it with his knife.
If They Had Left It In: It's a far more shocking statement about the nature of war and shows that no one can escape its devastating effects.
The Karate Kid (2010)
The Ending: After Dre wins the tournament, rival teacher Mr Li attacks Jackie Chan's Mr Han and the two fight, with Chan ultimately defeating him.
If They Had Left It In: It's always fun to see Jackie Chan fight but the film isn't about him and this ending steals Dre's thunder in a big way.
28 Days Later
The Ending: In what Danny Boyle and Alex Garland call the "true ending" to the film (before test audiences nixed it), Jim dies from his wounds on a hospital bed.
If They Had Left It In: Jim's story is complete - from hospital bed to hospital bed via some vicious zombies and unhinged soldiers.
Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid
The Ending: Rather than the infamous freeze-frame ending, we nearly got to see our heroes get riddled with bullets followed by a shot of their motionless corpses.
If They Had Left It In: The last scene we know and love filled with hopeful, cocky bravado suddenly becomes an ending so horribly depressing it might as well come with its own prozac subscription.
The Ending: In a supposed alternate ending (although really just a joke one shot specifically for the DVD), Dave and Saul realise that, in all the carnage, they actually missed on the bad guys... who proceeds to shoot them both dead. And just as they die, they hold each other's hand.
If They Had Left It In: A terrible, unsatisfying ending for the sake of a cheap gag. Which doesn't sound too implausible for this film.
Mr And Mrs Smith
The Ending: Set some time after the events of the film, Brad and Ange are in an exotic location when they start to suspect that something's wrong. Seemingly on a mission, they circle around their target, only for it to be revealed as their own little girl... who promptly fires a toy gun, hitting the bullseye of a doll square between the eyes.
If They Had Left It In: A planned sequel about the spies tackling parenthood may have gone ahead after all but, as director Doug Liman said: "kids and guns are not necessarily a great combination".
The Bourne Identity
The Ending: Instead of reuniting with Marie and sharing a touching, conserved embrace, the two suck each other's face in front of a setting sun.
If They Had Left It In: We see Bourne as a passionate man in love, which doesn't really fit in with his previous two hours' worth of cold, calculated actions.
The Ending: While we get Robert De Niro's Sam waiting to see if Deirdre meets him in the cafe only to leave disappointed, an alternate ending shows that Deirdre DID turn up, only to be snatched away in a van at the last second.
If They Had Left It In: It's open to debate as to whether the people that took Deirdre were revenge-fuelled IRA or CIA tying up loose ends. Either way, we would be left with the overwhelming desire for a sequel that never came.
The Ending: In order to kill Stephen Dorff's villainous vamp Deacon Frost, Blade kills him by kicking vampire poison into him. In the original ending, however, Frost first becomes a weird tornado of blood and bad computer effects.
If They Had Left It In: the film would join the likes of The Mummy Returns as being remembered for having terrible CGI endings.
The Lion King
The Ending: After his dramatic showdown with Simba, instead of being killed by hyenas, Scar was originally storyboarded to die from a fire that engulfs Pride Rock.
If They Had Left It In: It could have ended up as one of Disney's great 'too scary for kids' moments, like the marching pink elephants in Dumbo or when Pinocchio starts to turn into a donkey.
The Ending: There are four alternate endings to this film that all consist of an epilogue in which Veronica dreams about a human baby with butterfly wings hatching from a cocoon and flying away.
If They Had Left It In: The Fly II could have been really surreal.
X-Men: The Last Stand
The Ending: Deleted from the original released version, we get to see a new school year at the X-Men Academy, with Beast in charge and Rogue returning with all her powers still intact.
If They Had Left It In: The ending we got, which shows Magneto starting to regain his power hints that the events of the entire film were all for nothing and this just confirms that. Tsk, all those deaths over a cure that never really existed...
The Ending: Hitchcock's originally planned to end on a shot of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge surrounded by hundreds of swarming birds.
If They Had Left It In: It could have become an even more iconic ending than the one we got.
The Day The Earth Stood Still
The Ending: In Edmund North's original screenplay, Klaatu resurrects a dead Gort indefinitely, rather than the temporary revival that is explained to us in the version we see. This is because 1951 censors wouldn't allow a full resurrection, stating that "only God can do that".
If They Had Left It In: 1951 audiences would have burned Edmund North at the stake apparently.
Highlander II: The Quickening
The Ending: Shown only in some European countries and often referred to as "The Fairytale Ending", Connor floats up into the sky, asks Louise to go with him and they fly off to return to his home planet Zeist.
If They Had Left It In: It would be much harder to ignore the fact that this film, with all of it's added alien backstory nonsense, actually exists.
The Ending: Seeing that Mills is about to become 'Wrath' and kill John Doe for beheading Gwyneth Paltrow, Somerset steps in and shoots the serial killer himself.
If They Had Left It In: The idea is that Somerset saves Mills' career and a life in prison by sacrificing himself, but it doesn't really ring true. Besides, there's something deliciously dark about knowing that John Doe 'wins'.
A Clockwork Orange
The Ending: The UK edition of the novel has an extra chapter that takes place some time after the main events. In it, Alex is part of a new gang but has grown bored of their violent activities. The he bumps into old friend Pete, who is now married and leads an average life, prompting Alex to muse about how much he really want to just settle down.
If They Had Left It In: It's a complete turnaround for the character that doesn't really make much sense. No wonder the US book publishers - and subsequently Kubrick - didn't want it included.
Being John Malkovich
The Ending: In the original script, the Merton cult are revealed to be satanists trying to take over the world and end up controlling Malkovich as a kind of puppet king that rules over all of mankind.
If They Had Left It In: The film wouldn't seem any less like Kaufman's work, but it would have needed a bigger budget for one thing. In any case, John Malkovich would have surely relished the opportunity to act even more bizarre.
The Ending: In Stallone's original script, Rocky throws his match against Apollo Creed and uses the money he makes from betting against himself to buy Adrian a pet shop.
If They Had Left It In: The greatest underdog story in cinema would become a film about a guy who gives up and scams his way to lots of money. Hardly inspirational.
The Ending: Filmed but ultimately ending up on the cutting room floor, following the Terminator's destruction, some suite men hide the cyborg remains from the police and the camera pans to show that the factory belongs to Cyberdyne Systems.
If They Had Left It In: Before Terminator 2 spelled it out to us, this would have been a neat way of rounding out the full story of how the cyborgs came to exist. Even if the whole chicken/egg premise makes our heads hurt.
The Ending: Tarantino's original script had Christian Slater's Clarence die from his wounds. The final shot was to be girlfriend Alabama hitchhiking alone in Mexico.
If They Had Left It In: A tragic ending for cinema's greatest alternative love story. It suggests that those who like to operate outside the rules can't have happiness. Or maybe Quentin just thought it'd be cool to kill off his hero.
The Ending: Rather than end up as a museum tour guide, Matthew Broderick's McAllister is shown to be a car salesman. Witherspoon's Tracy visits him to test drive a car and they both apologise for their previous behaviour before driving to Tracy's house where she asks him to sign her empty yearbook.
If They Had Left It In: It's a more poignant, remorseful ending that doesn't suit the rest of the film, even if director Alexander Payne would opt for this tone for later films.
The Ending: Following the fight at the Terminator prison, The original script called for John Connor to die from his wounds and for cyborg Marcus to take his name and his place as leader of the Resistance. This is apparently possible because "very few people know what John actually looks like".
If They Had Left It In: In a bleak twist, John Connor turns out to be a cyborg - THE VERY THING HE HAS SWORN TO DESTROY. It's game-changing stuff that would have probably divided fans.
The Ending: Instead of being killed out on a frozen lake by 'mum' Vera Farmiga, 33-year-old-cum-9-year-old Esther is seen to survive. She returns to the house, puts on the make-up that helps her pass as a child and lets the police in before escaping.
If They Had Left It In: While, in this version, Peter Sarsgaard's death is confirmed, we don't know what happens to Farmiga and her other daughter. Will Esther track them down or will she go on to torment a different family? It leaves everything too open-ended.
Lethal Weapon 2
The Ending: Shane Black originally wanted for Riggs to die from his wounds in Murtaugh's arms at the end of this film.
If They Had Left It In: The Lethal Weapon franchise would have ended in a high and we would never get to see one of the greatest buddy cop partnerships reduced to a mere comedy double act.
The Ending: Instead of simply Old Rose throwing her diamond into the sea and dying (to be reunited with Jack), Cameron's alternate ending sees her give an impassioned speech to Bill Paxton, telling him that "only life is priceless" and that he should make each day count. Then she throws the diamond into the ocean, prompting one of the boat's crew to shout "That really sucks, lady!" And Paxton starts laughing like an evil genius at the sky.
If They Had Left It In: A completely insane ending to a tragic love story. Cameron could have rewritten history and have The Titanic survive its brush with the iceberg and it still would have been preferable to this utter nonsense.
The Ending: In the pre-test audience version, jilted bunny boiler Alex kills herself and frames Michael Douglas' cheating Dan for her murder. As he gets taken away by police, his wife finds a tape by Alex that details her suicide plan.
If They Had Left It In: It's dark and tragic, but preferable to the ending we got in which Dan gets to live happily ever after with his wife despite cheating on her with a maniac.
The Ending: A filmed epilogue that has never been released shows MacReady having just taken and passed a blood test, proving that he definitely isn't the shapeshifting creature.
If They Had Left It In: We would be without one of the best movie endings of all time. No longer ambiguous and downbeat, the film might as well end on a musical number.
Dawn Of The Dead
The Ending: Instead of Peter and Francine deciding against suicide and escaping in a helicopter, Romero had originally written that they DO kill themselves: Peter by shooting himself and Francine by sticking her head in the helicopter's rotor blades.
If They Had Left It In: A bleak ending suggesting that there is no chance of humanity's survival. But we'd at least get to see one more cool, gory shot.
Iron Man 2
The Ending: Mickey Rourke's Whiplash holds Pepper Potts hostage with mini-whips prompting Stark to come and rescue her. Some nifty teamwork between him and Potts allow them both to escape before Rhodes' War Machine blows the villain up.
If They Had Left It In: It feels like a brief anticlimax - even more so than the one we got - but it allowed for some more dialogue between Whiplash and Stark, which may have been more satisfying had the rest of Whiplash's character development not ended up on the cutting room floor (as Rourke recently claimed).
The Ending: After Veronica shoots J.D., the original script called for the bomb to then be seen strapped to her as she blows up the whole school. Then, bizarrely, the film was to cut to the prom in heaven where all of the students and cliques would be seen getting along with each other.
If They Had Left It In: It may be a bit over the top and ridiculous but it still somehow seems like a fitting ending, if only because it makes good on J.D.'s earlier claim that "The only place different social types can genuinely get along with each other is in heaven."
The Ending: Rather simply be moved by Ed Harris' sacrifice to save them from a nuke, the aliens take him on board and grill him about humanity's tendency for war and violence. Luckily a love letter to his wife is enough to sway them from completely destroying all of mankind.
If They Had Left It In: It doesn't really stand up to close scrutiny, does it? Aliens punish us for our destructive ways by... um... destroying us? And while trawling through human history, they couldn't have already found something akin to a love letter?
A Nightmare On Elm Street
The Ending: Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nancy wakes up to find that it was all a dream.
If They Had Left It In: We would be left with a lot of questions. Did Freddy Krueger really exist? Would there be any sequels? Would Robert Englund now be spending his time doing anything other than endless cameos and fan convention appearances?
Pretty In Pink
The Ending: In the original script, instead of ending up with rich boy Blane at the prom, Andie chooses Duckie and they live happily ever after as evidenced by the sight of them dancing together to David Bowie's Heroes.
If They Had Left It In: Every insecure, funny-looking teenager in the world would believe that they had a chance of getting the girl. More importantly, maybe Jon Cryer would have had a more successful movie career and we might have been spared 10 series of Two And A Half Men.
Little Shop Of Horrors
The Ending: Removed after test audiences threw a hissy fit, the original ending for this film matched the stage musical upon which it is based. Namely: Audrey II kills Seymour and Audrey and everyone else in sight and goes on a killing spree with its offspring, in order to take over the world.
If They Had Left It In: No one would ever buy a venus flytrap ever again.
The Ending: Instead of surrendering and leaving the police station with Colonel Trautman, Stallone originally planned for Rambo to beg Trautman to kill him before committing suicide.
If They Had Left It In: It's certainly bleak, but this ending would make more of an impactful statement about Rambo' post-war state of mind, not to mention spare us the several action sequels that forgot this message along the way.
The Ending: After the studio objected to the thought of Cary Grant playing a villain and had it changed, the original ending was to show his Johnnie was a murderer after all, confirming his wife's suspicions by poisoning her.
If They Had Left It In: Cary Grant would have shed his 'dashing hero' typecasting early on and might have had a very different subsequent career.
The Ending: Just as Dante closes the store, a guy comes in and shoots him dead. Then takes some cigarettes.
If They Had Left It In: It's hard to imagine that Clerks would still be remembered as the break-through indie comedy sensation it has become if the studio had let Kevin Smith heartlessly kill off his protagonist. In any case, Dante's lament of "I wasn't even supposed to be here today" would certainly take on an altogether more poignant meaning.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
The Ending: The Average Joes are all set for a triumphant victory but suddenly White Goodman wins the game for GloboGym. Straight to credits.
If They Had Left It In: Comedy ending or not, the audience would feel cheated and we would all be denied Ben Stiller's fat-suit rant after the credits.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
The Ending: Edgar Wright ran out of time to film a possible alternate ending which would have consisted of a news report revealing that a local teen had been on a killing spree. Yes, Scott Pilgrim was essentially a serial killer living out a videogame fantasy.
If They Had Left It In: An epic twist that is a hell of a dark joke to end on. Probably best that it stays filed under 'What if' though.
The Butterfly Effect
The Ending: Rather than simply go back in time and prevent he and Kayleigh from ever becoming friends (thus making sure that her life doesn't get ruined), Evan does something a little more drastic in the original filmed ending. He travels back to when he was still a foetus in his mother's womb and strangles himself with the umbilical cord.
If They Had Left It In: It is never a good idea to end a film with infanticide. Even if the child in question is Ashton Kutcher.
I Am Legend
The Ending: In the original cut, rather than blow himself up with a grenade to take out the Darkseeker's leader and allow two survivors to escape, Will Smith's Neville realises that the leader just wants one of his own people back. Neville realises that he has been the bad guy all along for the way he has been experimenting on the Darkseekers. He apologises and leaves.
If They Had Left It In: Ok, so ending the film with an apology is hardly as cinematic as ending it with an explosion but this is a far more preferable - and clever - resolution. Besides, what a twist! Will Smith is... a bad guy? No one would have guessed it.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Ending: Flashforward to August 29, 2029. Sarah Connor is a grandmother and John Connor is a senator. As Sarah sits in a playground filled with children, her voiceover reveals that they successfully prevented the Skynet revolution.
If They Had Left It In: It might be terribly saccharine and Linda Hamilton's make-up may have made her look like a scrotum, but this ending would have effectively killed off the franchise, meaning no Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines or Terminator Salvation . So there's that.
Dr Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb
The Ending: A massive pie fight in the war room.
If They Had Left It In: Kubrick's satirical comedy would have descended into farce right at the end. But then, who doesn't love a good pie fight?
The Ending: A never-before-seen epilogue shows Wendy recovering in hospital and it's explained that Jack's body was never found.
If They Had Left It In: So did Jack survive? Was he a ghost all along? Did he get transported back in time? Was it all a figment of Wendy and Danny's imagination? For a film that has always left certain things open to interpretation, this would have put the whole story in question.
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
The Ending: To capitalise on the well-received downbeat ending of The Empire Strikes Back, the original plan was to have Han Solo die during the raid on the Imperial base.
If They Had Left It In: Return Of The Jedi wouldn't be remembered as the Star Wars film that sold out to give us dancing ewoks, but it would have come at a terrible price. Not to mention that we would have all grown up playing with 'Han Solo Corpse' action figures.
The Ending: Rather than turn up to Vivian's apartment with a rose and a wish to free her from a life of prostitution, the original script saw wealthy businessman Edward drop off the agreed transaction amount of $3,000 in an envelope and then drive away in his car. Presumably to see which other hookers are now available.
If They Had Left It In: We all learn an important lesson: hookers just shouldn't have hopes and dreams.
The Ending: Originally, after escaping the Nostromo, Ripley was to be surprised by the xenomorph, which would proceed to bite her head off and start communicating Earth earth using her voice.
If They Had Left It In: The sequels would have had to explore that ability to mimic people, right? Potentially hilarious.