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Bright Side

Ten famous movies that could have had completely different endings

There are certain movies that we know almost by heart - we remember virtually every line and plot twist. For many of us, these films are almost perfect, and we can't imagine them being any different. But it turns out that in many cases the directors actually picked out a conclusion from a selection of possible endings for their work - and in some cases, this was a matter of life or death for the main protagonists. On occasion, more than one ending was filmed, and it's now possible to find out online what might have been.

Who knows what we would think of these films today if their directors had gone for a different conclusion? To help you decide, we at Bright Side have put together ten movies that could have turned out completely differently. Just remember that there are spoilers below!

Breakfast at Tiffany's

For anyone who's seen this movie and then gone on to read the novella of the same name by Truman Capote, they're in for a big surprise: the characters in the latter certainly don't come together in a romantic kiss under the rain. There's no happy ending here, and there couldn't have been - that wasn't in Holly Golightly's personality. At the end of the book, the irrepressible and contradictory Holly ends up in a very strange place, and the hero loses track of her.

Some of us prefer the novella's ending to that of the film, filled as it is with bitter irony and a kind of sad charm.

Forrest Gump

One of the best movies in cinema history was based on the book by Winston Groom, but the director decided to depart from the latter's narrative in terms of the story between Forrest and Jenny. In the movie, as we all know, Jenny dies, and Forrest is left to raise their son alone, in an almost painfully touching finale. In the book, they have a son, but Jenny ends up marrying another man. So, which ending do you think is better?

Winston Groom himself very much disliked the screen version's ending. He even started writing a sequel to the first book, in which the eponymous hero warns 'Never let anyone make a film about your life.'

I Am Legend

The arguments over which ending to this movie is the better one continue to rage. One other ending apart from the one we've all seen (in which Robert Neville dies, giving hope to humanity) was made. In the alternate version, the leader of the zombies comes to Robert to take back the person he loves, proving to him that these 'non-people' are capable of feeling attraction - and thus, in turn, perhaps capable of building some kind of social order. Moreover, the hero survives and leaves the city.

This turn of events is closer to that which was depicted in the original novel by Richard Matheson, in which the zombies learn how to found their own society, and many think it is, therefore, the better version of events. Yet the movie as it currently stands is still very impressive.

The Butterfly Effect

Several different endings were made for this wonderful film. We all know the version in which Evan decides to leave Kelly in peace, understanding that he's destroying the life of the woman he loves. The two protagonists see each other on the street but walk past without a word.

In the director's more depressing version, the main character commits suicide while still in the womb. An early screening of this version left viewers in shock. In another super positive ending, Evan and Kelly start a conversation on the street, and it seems everything will turn out great for them. In the end, the director picked the 'middle' ending - not too happy but not too sad.

  • You can watch all the different endings right here.


This great horror movie that grew out of a short story by Stephen King also has two endings that differ fundamentally from each other. In the cinema, we all saw how the hero, John Cusack, was saved from the fire (as it was in Stephen King's version). But in the alternate and gloomier version, he dies and becomes a ghost.

Some viewers consider this alternative ending to be the better one, whereas others argue the original, in which the 'happy end' is far from unambiguous, is still the best.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

This movie officially ends with a scene featuring a family psychiatrist, but the alternative version shows the cute daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. We see how even at a young age she already has the abilities of a sharpshooter.

Fight Club

Director David Fincher followed the book written by Chuck Palahniuk almost to the letter, but he nevertheless completely changed the ending of the film version of Fight Club. Perhaps this contributed to making it one of the biggest cinematic successes of the 1990s.

In the book, the detonators don't work and there are no explosions, and the narrator wakes up in a mental institution surrounded by hospital attendants who long to save their leader and continue their war against society. Tyler Durden is dead, but it seems the hero is doomed to remain in his shadow.

Fincher decided to go for a braver ending: he wanted to show that all of us can overcome our inner Tyler and take steps towards a better life. Jack and Marla choose each other and hold hands as they watch the old world collapse. Palahniuk admitted that he preferred the film version's ending to his own.

Sex and the City

In the last episode of the series, everything ends perfectly: Carrie breaks with Petrovsky and is found by Mr. Big, who realizes that she is the love of his life. But there were actually three other alternative endings:

  • Version 1: Carrie decides to marry Petrovsky.
  • Version 2: Carrie and Mr. Big may or may not end up together. Carrie tells her friends that she won't rush things.
  • Version 3: Carrie breaks off her relationship with both and chooses friendship.

The Mist

As you might have noticed, this is the second film in our list based on a novel by Stephen King. The author himself prefers happy endings, or at least neutral ones, whereas his fans like the opposite. Directors are often forced, therefore, to change the endings of his books when they make a screen version.

In The Mist, King leaves the ending open, with the protagonists setting off to find the military area and the reader not knowing if they succeed or not. Director Frank Darabont thought up a harsher ending to the film version, in which the despairing hero kills everyone close to him 5 minutes before they can be saved. King actually liked this version.

Pretty Woman

This film is, quite simply, the best reimagining of Cinderella ever made. We all remember how it ends: Edward leaves Vivian, but then understands that he can't live without her. He enters her apartment via the fire escape with flowers between his teeth and proposes to her.

But in the original screenplay written by J. F. Lawton, there's a completely different ending - a dark story about modern life. Protagonist Richard Gere returns Julia Roberts to Hollywood Boulevard and throws a pile of money at her with the parting words: 'You'll regret not taking it, you'll regret it as soon as I leave.' In the final scene, she goes to Disneyland with her friend to spend the money. And ahead of her is nothing - no future, nothing but longing and sadness.

As the screenwriter said himself, they decided to change the ending after they had already started shooting. The chemistry that developed between the two actors made them feel that they just couldn't allow the movie to have a bad ending. And we're very glad about that decision!

There are many more movies out there which almost ended differently - these are just a few that we found. Let us know in the comments which other ones you know of.

Preview photo credit Touchstone Pictures
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