1. Playground Granny Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1992)
In a time-line cul-de-sac James Cameron decided to leave unexplored, Sarah Connor (wearing aging make-up that makes her look like a cat) talks mawkishly about how every day is like a gift since she and John defied the laws of relativity and stopped the war against machines.
Scrapped because, a) it was rubbish and, b) it squashed any potential sequels.
Mutant flytrap rampage Little Shop Of Horrors (1986)
The ending to the off-Broadway musical which spawned Frank Oz’s cult vegeterror was originally mirrored in the film, and had giant alien plant Audrey II invading New York like a leafy Godzilla.
Available on DVD for five days in the late ‘90s before a rights-related recall, it was replaced when test audiences informed the studio it was awful.
3. Its all okay, really The Descent (2005)
So the last few minutes were a bit of a downer, what with all the betrayal and death and claustrophobic insanity.
But they were still better than the nonsense ending tacked on for US audiences (the babies!) in which Sarah leaves Juno to die, scales a mountain of bones, escapes to the jeep… and just keeps going.
4. Dantes inferno Clerks (1993)
Director Kevin Smith was convinced by indie film guru John Pierson to ditch this petulant original ending, in which the long-suffering Dante is whacked by a hold-up gunman after closing time (he wasn’t even supposed to be here today!)
5. Suicide revenge Fatal Attraction (1987)
Eight months after production had finished on Adrian Lynne’s sex and death thriller the actors were recalled to reshoots. Why?
As inexplicably irresistible star Michael Douglas explains, the original ending – in which Glenn Close’s crackers stalker frames Douglas’ straying family man by committing suicide – wasn’t emotionally satisfying. ("No one anticipated how much you would hate this woman, when she went after the family."). So a new ending was filmed in which she was beaten, drowned and shot. Job done.
6. Primitive urges I Am Legend (2007)
Instead of Will Smith’s virologist blowing himself up and saving the world like in the studio-sanctioned final edit, this shelved alternative echoes Richard Matheson’s novel by revealing the infected are capable of organisation and even love.
Rather than exploding everyone, Smith hands back the alpha male’s captive mate and heads off with his surrogate family to find the rest of the survivors.
7. Rocket Russian Roulette Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995)
Hard to see why this one was nixxed, as it makes COMPLETE and TOTAL sense. Instead of shooting down Jeremy Irons’ smug Eurotrash terrorist in his chopper during the final scene, this alternative has the grimy cop chase him down several months later and force him to play a game of Russian roulette with a miniature rocket launcher.
In a café.
8. Love will conquer all - Brazil (1984)
The squabble over the final cut of Terry Gilliam’s comic dystopic nightmare got so nasty that the cheeky director infamously called out Universal boss Sid Sheinberg in trade rag Variety (‘Dear Sid,’ his one-page ad ran, ‘when are you going to release my film, Brazil?’)
Among many edits and changes demanded by the studio, Sheinberg’s preferred ending saw hero Sam Lowry miraculously escape the clutches of Michael Palin’s government bastard and live happily ever after in the country. What?
9. Kay lights a candle The Godfather (1972)
The final scene in Coppola’s shooting script was taken straight from the conclusion of Mario Puzo’s novel, and had Diane Keaton’s Kay lighting candles in church for her damned husband. But the drama of the pair’s earlier confrontation – and Michael’s steely-eyed lies – were preferred in the final edit.
10. Just shoot me First Blood (1982)
In a conclusion which would have seen smug peacenik missionaries left to rot in Burma and – no! – treasured Afghanistan in the clutches of the Commies, First Blood nearly had Col. Trautman shooting John Rambo at the future freedom fighter’s tearful request.
The studio, controversially, opted for the (slightly) happier one.
11. Mutually custard destruction Dr Strangelove (1964)
Kubrick filmed this scene of messily escalating pie fighting in the War Room to be cut into the film’s ending sequence.
According to co-scripter Terry Southern, as well as the absurdity of combat, the fight was intended to represent the ‘bitter and unrelenting struggle for congressional appropriations’ between the various branches of the US military. Instead it came off as cheery free-for-all slapstick, and was junked.
12. I slept too long! Army Of Darkness (1993)
On the basis that it’s scientifically impossible to create an ending cooler than the S-Mart shootout Army Of Darkness already has (‘Hail to the king, baby’), this time-lapse gag was never used.
The idea: Ash accidentally takes one drop too many from the big vial of magic sleeping potion, and wakes to find the world he knows has ended.
13. Just me and my robot Blade Runner (1982)
The hardest Blade Runner ending to find now is the original, imposed on director Ridley Scott after test audiences reacted badly to Deckard maybe being a replicant.
In a Brazil-style wrench from everything seen so far, the complicated ethical and philosophical questions raised by the film (What does it mean to be human? Can we create life as well as take it away?) are screwed up and set on fire as Harrison Ford flies into the sunset with his robot girlfriend.
14. Alabama Alone True Romance (1993)
The ending as scripted by Tarantino had Christian Slater’s Clarence catching a bullet full-on in the film’s climactic shootout, leaving Patricia Arquette’s Alabama to tumble tearfully out of the hotel and hitch a ride to her next adventure on the road outside.
Director Tony Scott filmed it, but after deciding that ‘you want these kids to win’, he made Clarence’s fatal shot a glancing blow.
15. Jims dead 28 Days Later (2002)
A sad, circular ending. After all the rage and fury of the film’s final stretch, the by-now mad and semi-naked Jim is horribly injured.
Rather than slipping off to a country retreat and waiting for a military rescue, he’s rushed to hospital – where he awoke at the start of the film – but dies on a trolley as Selena and Hannah stroll away in silhouette.
16. Granny on the railings Titanic (1997)
So James Cameron obviously has a thing for filming massively over-sentimental endings featuring really old women drivelling on about the value of life (see Number 1).
Here, instead of quietly dropping her big diamond necklace into the ocean, Old Mother Winslet is caught in the act by Bill Paxton and the ship’s crew, She teases them with the big stone before cackling insanely and tossing it over the side. Hmm.