List of plot twists

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The following is a list of notable plot twists or surprise endings (if near the end of a story—sometimes erroneously referred to as "spoiler endings"[1][2]) various media.


  • Citizen Kane – Charles Foster Kane's dying word, "Rosebud", turns out to be the name of his childhood sled.[3]
  • Chinatown – Evelyn is forced to admit that her sister is also her daughter.[4]
  • Fallen – It is revealed that the narrator (voiced by Denzel Washington) is actually Azazel and not Detective John Hobbes (played by Denzel Washington).[5]
  • Fight Club (film and book) – The character Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt) is revealed to be an alternate personality of the narrator (played by Edward Norton).[6]
  • Friday the 13th – It turns out that it was not Jason Voorhees (who is dead) doing the killing, but his mother (although the many sequels tell a different story).[7]
  • Happy Birthday to Me shows that the killer is Ginny, but then it turns out the killer was her friend Ann Thomerson who has been embittered by the revelation of her father's affair with Ginny's mother. It turns out that both girls are half-sisters. Ann slaughtered the six members of the clique, that never showed up for her birthday party, expressly for the purpose of framing Ginny."[8]
  • Planet of the Apes – It is revealed that the main character, thinking himself on another planet, was actually on Earth the whole time[9]
  • Psycho – It is revealed that Norman Bates' mother is not the killer (she has been dead for years); it is Norman dressed as her.[10]
  • Remember Me – 9/11 happens.[11]
  • Se7en – The serial killer turns himself in to the detectives and leads them to where a package was dropped off. Inside the package is the head of Detective Mills' wife.[12]
  • Sleepaway Camp – "Angela" is actually Peter, her thought-to-be-dead brother. It is revealed that the real Angela died in the accident and Peter survived. After Martha gained custody of him, she decided to raise Peter as the girl she always wanted.[13]
  • Soylent Green – Food shortages force most of the population to eat mass-produced rations which a police investigator discovers are made from human remains[9]
  • The Crying Game – The main character becomes romantically involved with a woman before discovering that she is a pre-operative transsexual woman[9][14]
  • The Empire Strikes BackDarth Vader is revealed to be Luke Skywalker's father Anakin[9]
  • The Game – Successful banker Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) believes he has accidentally killed his brother Conrad (Sean Penn), but it was all part of 'the game'.[15]
  • The Sixth Sense – The character played by Bruce Willis (a child psychologist) has actually been dead the whole time, though he does not realize it.[9]
  • The Usual Suspects – An unreliable narrator (Verbal Kint) undergoes a police interrogation regarding a notorious crime lord (Keyser Söze) before it is revealed that he is the criminal in question[9]
  • The Village – The whole movie appears to take place sometime in the 19th century. But it is revealed in the closing scenes that the entire film has taken place in the present day, the village constructed as a way to get away from the real world by its chief Elder, Edward Walker (William Hurt), and "Those We Don't Speak Of" being the Elders' costumes meant to keep people from leaving.
  • The Phantom Menace - The woman thought to be Queen Amidala is revealed to be a decoy while the real Amidala is revealed to be Padme, the handmaiden Anakin Skywalker befriended.[16]


  • The Mousetrap – Sergeant Trotter, despite having presented himself to the household as a policeman, is actually the murderer while Major Metcalf, who came in the guise of a lodger is, in fact, a policeman who has been tracking the murderer[17][18]
  • The Last Question - The story appears to take place in the distant future, but is revealed to have taken place in a Cyclic model universe that (depending on how you read it) either predates our own or, alternatively, is our own, but with a means of "reinvoking" its original creation having been found.

Video games[edit]

  • BioShock – It is revealed that ally Atlas is really antagonist Frank Fontaine and the protagonist Jack was his unwitting agent whom he controlled with the key phrase "would you kindly..."[19]
  • BioShock Infinite – During the game, it is told that Elizabeth was sold to, and later held captive by, antagonist Zachary Hale Comstock, who leads everyone to believe that she is his daughter. During the game's climax, it is revealed that protagonist Booker DeWitt is actually her father, who sold her to Comstock as an infant. In order to save Elizabeth from ever being captured, he vows to kill Comstock before he is born. However, it is finally revealed that, in some alternative universes, Booker actually changed his name to Zachary Comstock; in order to withhold his vow, he allows Elizabeth to kill him before he is "reborn" as Comstock.[20][21]
  • Crackdown – It is revealed that the street gangs around the city were set up by the same Agency that asked the unnamed protagonist to defeat them, and a New World Order is allowed to take place due to the Agency's gained trust while doing so.[22]
  • Silent Hill 2 – Mary, the wife of the protagonist James Sunderland, was presented as having died of sickness, when in fact James himself killed his wife to end her suffering, therefore his presence the in town of Silent Hill and the existence of the Pyramid Head acts as a punishment to himself.[22][23]


  1. ^ "When's a spoiler not a spoiler?". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. 26 July 2007. While some are all too eager to divulge a good spoiler... 
  2. ^ "Night accused of dark deeds". Park City Daily News. 11 August 2004. ...she did tell the New York Times that she saw 'The Village' and noted that 'the spoiler ending is the thing that is the biggest similarity' 
  3. ^ Wales, George. "30 Greatest Twist Endings". 
  4. ^ Wales, George. "30 Greatest Twist Endings". 
  5. ^ "Spoiler Alert! The 25 Best Horror Movie Twist Endings". Mark H. Harris. Retrieved 31 August 20117.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ "Empire Essay: Fight Club". Empire. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Wales, George. "30 Greatest Twist Endings". 
  8. ^ Guarisco, Donald. "Happy Birthday to Me - Review - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "How does Hancock stack up among best plot twists?". The Age. 8 July 2008. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  10. ^ Wales, George. "30 Greatest Twist Endings". 
  11. ^ Arellano, Jennifer. "I'm Still Not Over... The twist ending of 'Remember Me'". 
  12. ^ Wales, George. "30 Greatest Twist Endings". 
  13. ^ "25 Best Horror Movie Twist Endings - Best Twist Endings in Horror Movies". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  14. ^ "Stand by Your Man". Reverse Shot. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  15. ^ Dirks, Tim. "Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings". AMC. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Wales, George. "Greatest Twist Endings,". Total Film. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  17. ^ Christie, Agatha. The Mousetrap and Other Plays. Signet, 2000. ISBN 0-451-20114-0
  18. ^ Ben Leach (29 August 2010). "Agatha Christie’s family criticise Wikipedia for revealing Mousetrap ending". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  19. ^ Nick Cowen (13 January 2010). "BioShock 2 developer interview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 September 2010. BioShock's layered narrative was superb when taken purely on its own merits – the plot twist is the stuff of legend... 
  20. ^ Lee, Ben (29 December 2013). "Why BioShock Infinite's ending was one of 2013's biggest moments". Digital Spy. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  21. ^ Phillips, Tom (4 April 2013). "BioShock Infinite ending explained". Eurogamer. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^