"20 Most Satisfying Movie Happy Endings"

April 3rd, 2010 by

Another fun movie list from TotalFilm.com: 20 Most Satisfying Movie Happy Endings. Here are the first three:

Rushmore (1998)

The Ending: His play a triumph, and an imperfect but stable compromise reached with Ms Cross, Max Fischer looks ahead to young adulthood with a new girl on his arm and a new perspective on his own myriad vagaries.

It’s been a rocky ride for the young firebrand, but the sense of emotional achievement is palpable.

Goosebump Moment: Right as those “all the world’s a stage” curtains swish closed, the chorus lyric to the Faces’ Ooh La La kicks in over the top, and Wes Anderson’s hitherto-somewhat-obfuscated point suddenly comes into beautifully sharp focus.

If They’d Gone Bleak: Max would’ve tried to give Ms Cross the reacharound, had his specs slapped off, and left us with the unimaginably sour implication that he’d learned absolutely nothing about the world or his place in it. Gah.

Back To The Future (1985)

The Ending: Having successfully jumped back to 1985, Marty wakes up in his own bed, in his own life. Only it’s better than before – his modern family have developed into a far more awesome unit thanks to his historical, quasi-incestuous meddling. Bonus.

Goosebump Moment: We want to say the bit where we glimpse adult Biff’s total subordination to adult George. But let’s be honest, it’s the bit where the future DeLorean blasts off towards an ace sequel.

If They’d Gone Bleak: Marty wakes up with a steaming hangover after the school dance, only to find that he had indeed fathered himself last night.

This immediately results in an irreversible loop of catastrophic inbreeding, with subsequent generations of McFly offspring increasingly resembling nightmarish mounds of tentacled offal.

Oh, and no shiny new truck.

Field Of Dreams (1989)

The Ending: In possibly the most shamelessly saccharine finale on this list, Costner’s bruised dreamer Ray finally transcends all boundaries of reality as we know it, reuniting with a younger version of his father for a last, lumpy-throated game of catch.

Goosebump Moment: As the two reconciled men throw the ball to each other in the lengthening shadows, a pull-back crane shot reveals a long line of car headlights snaking back to the horizon – he built it, and indeed they came. Sniff.

If They’d Gone Bleak: Karin would’ve choked to death in the hotdog incident that immediately precedes this scene, forcing Ray to face the fact that he drove his family to financial ruin guided by voices that were in retrospect a fairly clear indicator of severe mental illness.

I remember watching Field of Dreams at the WGA theater with a room full of hardened and cynical writers — and at the end of the film, you could hear dozens of guys weeping. Seriously. Grown men reduced to tears by this:

John Kinsella: Well, good night Ray.
Ray Kinsella: Good night, John.
[They shake hands and John begins to walk away]
Ray Kinsella: Hey… Dad?
[John turns]
Ray Kinsella: [choked up] “You wanna have a catch?”
John Kinsella: I’d like that.

And I was one of ‘em.

Hit the link above for the rest of TotalFilm’s 20 most satisfying movie happy endings.

What are your happiest movie endings?

5 thoughts on “"20 Most Satisfying Movie Happy Endings"

  1. Martin says:

    I have two:

    Harold and Maude
    The Graduate

  2. E.C. Henry says:

    Meg Ryan meets Tom Hanks at the top of the Empire State Building in "Sleepless in Seattle."

  3. Peter Dwight says:

    More recently I'd have to go with Big Fish. Great father son finish, so sad yet so happy.

  4. johnnyboymalloy says:

    Man… I've always felt that "Shakespeare in Love's" was perfect. Yes they (SPOILER) don't technically end up together. And perhaps the imagery of Gwyneth Paltrow thrust to and fro in the ocean, shipwrecked and then walking on the beach of "a new life" is just part of Shakespeare's imagination for his new play "Twelth Night"… but, it's incredibly cathartic an ending for a Love Story if they CANNOT be together. Not to mention them performing Romeo and Juliet together.

  5. Christian H. says:

    I'd have to stick with baseball and Costner for two really good ones:

    For the Love of the Game

    The Rookie

    But WALL-E was GREAT.

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