Top 15 Plot Twists in Movie History (Spoiler Alerts!)

One of the hallmarks of a great movie is the inclusion of an unexpected plot twist that makes viewers gasp in surprise and leaves them thinking about it long after the twist is revealed. Not every film can achieve this with success and most twists are cliche at best but there are some that completely blindsided us and set the bar for films yet to come. Or at the very least showed us that while it has all been done before, it doesn’t have to all be done the same.

Check out our list of top 15 plot twists in movie history! If you haven’t seen these films shame on you! Oh, and spoiler alert!

The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense PF WENN

Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is a child psychologist working with a young boy Cole named Sear (Haley Joel Osment) who believes he can see the dead. Near the end of the film, however, it is revealed that Dr. Crowe actually died at the beginning of the movie, and is, in fact, one of the dead people Cole can see. It was the twist heard around the world and seared The Sixth Sense in movie history as one of the best films ever made.

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  1. says:

    KEYSER SOZE!! ‘NUFF SAID!

  2. says:

    the shocking twist to departed is that this movie was basically stolen scene for scene from the original Infernal Affairs and dude won an Oscar for best director!!! wtf???

  3. says:

    What about the movie Identity? That movie had one great plot twist. Also i think Inception should be included too.

    • says:

      Inception wasn’t really a plot twist, it was simply an explanation of a character’s backstory that we already knew was mysterious.

  4. says:

    enough ads? jeeeeeeeeeez

  5. says:

    “Witness for the Prosecution” . . . you never know who is telling the truth.

  6. says:

    “Luke, I am your father” is not actually even a line in Empire Strikes Back.

    • says:

      Well to be fair, it did say it starts with “Luke” and ends with “I’m your father”, not that they were connected in the same sentence.

      • says:

        You are incorrect sir.
        “Obi Wan never told you what happened to your father.” – DV
        “He told me enough! He told me you killed him!” – LS
        “No, I am your father!” – DV

    • says:

      it’s all part of the same speech. he starts by addressing him and than a few sentences later says I am your father so really its:
      “Luke ~ blah blah blah blah ~ I am your father”, it’s all part of the same conversation

  7. says:

    Geez, get it right! Its NOT “Luke, I am your father”, its “No…I am your father.”

    • says:

      I think the author realized that. That’s why it says the reveal starts with “Luke” and ends with “I am your father”. It’s a far more quotable line, especially since a lot of people remember it that way than “Luke, Obi-Wan never told you…”

  8. says:

    Presumed Innocent with Harrison Ford should have been on this list. Who saw it coming that his wife was the murderer??!!!

  9. says:

    Um, yeah. Oldboy has a better twist than any of these.

  10. says:

    Man, does this page have enough ads? I had to shut the sound down so the tampex commercial that kept blaring in my ear while I was trying to read the article would quit distracting me. No sooner than I did that, a pop up opens up right in the middle of the text I was reading. Each time I went to the next page, the text would keep moving around while I was trying to read it, as more ads loaded up. I understand that you need advertisers to pay for your web page, but this is ridiculous.

  11. says:

    Where is “the entire damn movie” for The Cabin In The Woods?

    • says:

      Um, that was a twist for the characters, perhaps, but not for us. Had they not shown any of the underground parts until the characters discover them, sure.

      • says:

        Unless he’s referring to how there was a antagonist-protagonist shift after they enter the cabin where the so-called “bad guys” become the “good guys” because there’s an even worse guy under the place that’s under the Cabin in the Woods.

  12. says:

    The best twist would be to visit this site without it freezing up due to all the ads

    • says:

      Copy the address. Then instead of clicking forward, paste the address into the address bar, and type in the next number to forward through the pages. You will avoid freezing.

  13. says:

    How is “The Prestige” not on here?

    • says:

      Cause the Prestige was super predictable? (still very enjoyable though).

      • says:

        You predicted that Nicola Tesla really invented a machine that created duplicates of people before the cat reveal? How? The movie did not have supernatural elements before that plot point was introduced.

        • says:

          I agree. The Prestige had a great twist. I had guessed the duplicates thing, but didn’t see the twin aspect until the end. That was awesome. The movie on this list that doesn’t deserve it to me, is “Shutter Island”. Although I love the film, I guessed the end when I saw the trailer.

  14. says:

    Actually, the Empire Strikes Back twist doesn’t read “Luke, I am your father.” He just says, “No. I am your father.”

  15. says:

    They should’ve made it a top 20 list and added The Cabin in the Woods, Seven, Black Swan, and I haven’t seen them yet, but sounds like it should be The Prestige and Oldboy. And I think The Game had a good twist too and might be a better pick than Wanted.

  16. says:

    Shutter island didnt surprise me because of how easily he found the clues i knew where the movie was going from the start.

    • says:

      I read the book for a bit, suspected what was really going on, read a bit more, became convinced of what the “twist” was, and skipped to the end to confirm. UGH!

  17. says:

    No Shawshank?????

  18. says:

    No Way Out and Body Heat should be on the list.

  19. says:

    Well, if you watch Star Wars in its actual order, Darth Vader being Luke’s father isn’t a plot twist at all.

    • says:

      are u serious? the actual order is 4-6, then 1-3…they are called prequels for a reason..they were created after but set before the originals…anyone who actually likes and knows star wars considers 4-6 the first 3 movie…

    • says:

      sure, 20 years after it was a plot twist, if you want to be technical the entire existence of episodes 1, 2 and 3 are a result of that plot twist, the original movie as shown in theaters did not have the episode 4 heading on its first showing, it was added later when it was put back in theaters (around the same time they added color to the lightsabers in the 1980 re-release, the original showing in 1977 they were all white and the opening credits didnt have an episode number)

      the rereleased star wars in 1980 right before empire strikes back so that they could add the ep5 tag to empire and have color sabers from then on. most people only remember the redone versions, its very hard to find stock footage of the original ’77 release, it was the ’80 release that was put on vhs video (and than redone again in ’91 and redone again as the special editions a few years later

  20. says:

    “No, I am your father.” is the correct line…

  21. says:

    Witness for the Prosecution, A Beautiful Mind, and The Crying Game aren’t on here?

  22. says:

    No list of greatest or least expected plot twists is complete without No Way Out.

  23. says:

    It’s “No…..I am your father.”

  24. says:

    “Primal Fear”

  25. says:

    Nova, not Nora! Sheesh.

  26. says:

    Shutter Island? Really?? I spent the whole movie praying that they wouldn’t have that exact twist because that’s exactly where it looked like it was going. Terrible movie, and that’s a big reason for it.

  27. says:

    The line in fact is, “No…I am your father”.

  28. says:

    The Crying Game!?!

    • says:

      I was going to scroll a little bit further to see if anybody else had suggested “Crying Game”. FCOL, how can anyone come up with a list of plot twists in movies and not include this???

    • says:

      Agreed, Perhaps the most shocked I have ever been during a movie… I did NOT see that one coming. Far more memorable than almost everything else here.

  29. says:

    Wanted?! Puh-lease

  30. says:

    I am shocked an appalled at how WRONG this post is about the “twist” in Memento. The kicker is that Leonard Shelby ALREADY avenged his dead wife. His memory loss has forced him into a cycle where he continually seeks out individuals who fit the description of his wife’s killer. It’s a story of a man against his own psyche. Insulin has NOTHING to do with it.

    • says:

      Yeah, they got Memento all wrong.

      • says:

        no, you just didn’t understand it. horncek already explained this but ill repost for you:

        while it is never specifically stated, it is strongly impled that
        Leonard’s tale of Sammy Jenkins (?) who had a similar injury and gave
        his wife an overdose of insulin (as this article describes) was really
        Leonard. At the end of the film Teddy tells Leonard that Sammy never
        had a wife and that Leonard’s wife survived the attack, leading the
        audience to believe that Sammy’s story was really about Leonard.

        One of the last shots in the film shows Leonard in bed with his wife
        with tattoos on his body, indicating that it takes place after the
        attack.

        So while the movie never comes out and says it and leaves it up for
        the audience to decide, it strongly implies what this article describes –
        Leonard killed his wife with an overdose of insulin.

    • says:

      Actually, while it is never specifically stated, it is strongly impled that Leonard’s tale of Sammy Jenkins (?) who had a similar injury and gave his wife an overdose of insulin (as this article describes) was really Leonard. At the end of the film Teddy tells Leonard that Sammy never had a wife and that Leonard’s wife survived the attack, leading the audience to believe that Sammy’s story was really about Leonard.

      One of the last shots in the film shows Leonard in bed with his wife with tattoos on his body, indicating that it takes place after the attack.

      So while the movie never comes out and says it and leaves it up for the audience to decide, it strongly implies what this article describes – Leonard killed his wife with an overdose of insulin.

  31. says:

    How come Scream isn’t on this list??

  32. says:

    Charade and The Game should be on this list. They both effectively pull off multiple twists. I give Primal Fear and Frailty honorable mentions, too. Frailty is not really top #15 material, though.

  33. says:

    UM>>>THE MATRIX!!!!!

  34. says:

    Wanted came out in 2008. Don’t write something without research,

  35. says:

    I always liked the end of “Shattered” where the guy was living with the wrong identity.

  36. says:

    LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN!

  37. says:

    This was a great list, but it really needed to include “Shattered” (1991) and “Malice” (1993) to be complete.

  38. says:

    Oh my God, I was wrong,
    It was Earth all along …

  39. says:

    So all the best plot twist have happened since 2000 except Star Wars? I find that hard to believe. Citizen Cane? The Sting?

  40. says:

    I read the title and said, “Kevin Spacey will be on this list twice.” And I think Se7ven deserves to be on here as much as The Usual Suspects. Perfect, blindsiding, wracking plot twist. “What’s in the box?!” And yeah, I enjoyed Wanted, but it doesn’t pass muster here.

  41. says:

    these are not plot twists; these are surprise endings.

  42. says:

    Maybe a good idea to have someone who’s actually SEEN Planet of the Apes write the one about Planet of the Apes. “Surviving humans?” “Nora?” Huh?

    The bar for entertainment writing has never been lower.

  43. says:

    Am I the only person that thinks “The Sting” should be on this list?

    • says:

      I’m still surprised that “Psycho” is on the list most of these movies were after 1980.

    • says:

      Of course it should be on the list. It’s one of the greatest and most unexpected plot twists in the history of cinema. Also can’t believe Casablanca isn’t on the list. Two plot twists in five minutes at the end of that classic.

  44. says:

    How could then not include The Sixth Sense

  45. says:

    Actually, the plot twist in “The Empire Strikes Back” begins with “No”, not “Luke”… although most people remember the line as “Luke, I am your father.” the line is actually “No. I am your father.”

  46. says:

    I effiing hate this site. I try to read the stories and all these ads show up and move the page down, and I’m forced to watch an ad. I WILL NEVER BE BACK!!!!

  47. says:

    And how is the book of eli not on here

  48. says:

    Fallen is an awesome movie…def worth watching!!

  49. says:

    i liked the six sense but there was enough things in the movie to disprove he was dead

  50. says:

    Maybe the 2 greatest plot twists ever aren’t in the list: Casablanca at the end of the movie and The Sting.

  51. says:

    VERTIGO??? Even though the twist comes at the middle, it’s still one of the best in the history of cinema. Also: LES DIABOLIQUES. Amazing French horror/thriller. Amazing twist ending.

  52. says:

    I have never thought about any ad blocking plugins until this site. Wholly crap these greedy fuckers are shooting themseselves in the foot.

  53. says:

    SOYLENT GREEN has the best twist in movie history, period!

  54. says:

    I believe this was the best twist ever in a movie. It shocked me to the core and made me literally say “NO WAY!” at the end. I still talk about it to this day.

  55. says:

    REALLY? The headline is TOP TWISTS IN MOVIE HISTORY and then you list RIGHTEOUS KILL? A movie that no one saw and no one cares about and was a huge flop for both its stars – even though it was touted as a reunion of De Niro and Pacino? Aren’t we talking MOVIE HISTORY HERE????? Also, there are numerous inaccuracies and typos in this story. Sloppy journalism.

  56. says:

    What about The Crying Game?

  57. says:

    Charade, No Way Out, Vertigo, Casablance. Isn’t anyone working on this site older than 23?

  58. says:

    Star Wars, Darth Vader being Luke’s father was a shocker? I guess it was a lucky guess, but after the first movie, I said Darth was his father.

  59. says:

    Come on now Saw’s ending was retarded! You gonna tell me this @$$hole lays on the floor of Marilyn Manson’s bathroom all damn night…MOTIONLESS with a mask on just in case his plans go exactly the way he imagines and everyone does exactly what he images??? GTFOH!!!!

  60. says:

    Go on Netflix and watch an Indian movie called Kahanni. It’s a really good movie that’ll throw you a plot twist that, if I never warned you, you would NEVER see coming!

  61. says:

    it’s not Nora in planet of the apes it’s NOVA.

  62. says:

    presumed innocent

  63. says:

    HTH do you leave out that SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE … IT’S PEOPLE!!

  64. says:

    Book of Eli
    WR2

  65. says:

    How about Angelheart?

  66. says:

    These “psychological” thrillers that think the whole multiple personality thing is a twist are clearly not trying. It might have worked for Fight Club, but Shutter Island most certainly didn’t fool anyone who has seen one of these movies.

  67. says:

    The Sixth Sense has the best twist ending of any movie, ever. BUT, that does not make it one of the best movies ever made, as the author of this article suggests. Not even close.

  68. says:

    Witness for the Prosecution. Twist after twist after Twist plus hallmark performances from Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power and the irreplaceable Charles Laughton. It doesn’t get any better.

  69. says:

    Wanted — No luke, I am your father.

  70. says:

    Shutter Island? That twist was obvious from the trailer. It shouldn’t be anywhere near this list.

  71. says:

    umm darth vader never said “luke, I am your father.” he actually says “No, I am your father!”

  72. says:

    Kevin Spacey again – The Life of David Gale

  73. says:

    The line is “No…I am your father.” NOT “Luke, I am your father.” The best twist in cinematic history is also one of the most misquoted lines in film.

  74. says:

    Titanic?never seen that coming

  75. says:

    Now You See Me should be here! (Well, not in movie history yet).

  76. says:

    Yeah, it doesn’t begin with “Luke”. Your resume should begin with “Fired from writing about movies” and end with “Unemployed”

  77. says:

    Where’s Wild Things? I thought that movie was chock full o’ twists!!

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