The Best Cliff Hanger Film Ending - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The Best Cliff Hanger Film Ending

We all love a good cliff hanger ending. Rarely does a film get you talking and thinking more than one with a good twist at the end or a moment of suspense in which the audience is left hanging as the credits role. So, we’ve been thinking about which cliff hangers provide the best film endings and come up with this little list for you to enjoy.

The Italian Job

A classic British comedy caper film, The Italian Job tells the story of a Cockney criminal gang led by Charlie Croker, portrayed by Michael Caine, and their ambitions to steal gold bullion from an armoured truck in Italy.

The film is a classic in many respects, thanks in part due to Michael Caine’s iconic performance and delivery of lines such as “you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off”.

However, it’s the ending which is the most talked about aspect of the film.

After securing the gold from the truck, the team proceed to escape the police by splitting off into three Mini Coopers. Before long, the team drive into the back of a moving coach whereby they unload the gold and dispose of the Minis. Rendezvousing in the Alps, the perilous journey results in a member of the team losing control of the coach, leaving the it dangling precariously over the edge of a cliff (a literal cliff hanger!). As the vehicle sways on the edge of an enormous precipice, the stacks of gold bullion slip slowly towards the rear doors. As Charlie tries to reach for the gold, it moves further, threatening to drop out of the coach and down the cliff face.

The film ends when Charlie announces, “Hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea.”

Of course, we are all left wondering whether or not the gang survived the ordeal and if they did, how they could have escaped with the gold.

Back To The Future Part II

In which the time-travelling sci-fi dudes return following a hugely successful opener. This time round, we see even more dangerous dealings with time as Doc convinces Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer to travel to the future in order to help their future children.

After managing to help his future son stay out of trouble, Marty purchases an almanac containing the results of major sporting events from 1950 to 2000. Doc warns him that profiting from time travel can be dangerous, throwing the almanac away, but it’s recovered by Biff who sends it back in time to his 1955 self.

Upon returning to 1985, Marty and Doc find themselves in a dystopian world controlled by the now extremely rich Biff. Travelling back to 1955, Marty and Doc stop Biff before he could utilise the almanac, restoring the timeline.

Before they travel back to the future, the DeLorean and Doc are struck by lightning and disappear. Marty receives a 70-year-old letter from Doc who explains that he was sent back to 1885.

Marty then rushes back into town to find Doc, who had just sent Marty back to the future from the first film. Shocked at his sudden return, Doc exclaims his famous line, “Great Scott!” and passes out, leaving fans speculating how the pair can recover the 1885 Doc in Back To The Future III.

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Another British crime film makes its way onto this list, this time it’s Guy Ritchie’s directorial debut, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Throughout the film, we follow four members of a petty gang, Eddie, Tom, Soap, and Bacon who end up big money to Harry Lonsdale, a thuggish gangster, following a rigged card game. Starting with a £100,000 buy in the boys end up owing Harry £500,000 – remember this is back in the 90s and the game takes place in a scruffy boxing gym – a far cry from the sophisticated, high payout casinos you now find online! Anyway, ‘Hatchet’ Harry (you wouldn’t, would you?!) wastes no time and sends his debt collector Big Chris, played by Vinnie Jones, to make sure it is paid within a week.

After learning of a robbery being planned out by his neighbours, Eddie and the gang ambush them, taking their money and drugs.

After a shoot-out between gangs in Eddie’s flat, Big Chris acquires a pair of antique shotguns which Harry wanted, delivering them to his boss, before another shootout leaves Harry dead.

Eddie and the gang travel to Harry’s, taking the debt money and antique guns before Big Chris incapacitates the gang, taking the money, but leaving the guns to Tom.

At the end of the film, the gang learns the true value of the antique guns from Big Chris, scrambling to contact Tom who has been tasked with destroying them to remove any evidence against the gang.

As he prepares to drop the guns into the river by leaning over a bridge, he places the phone in his mouth and receives a call from Tom, ending the film with viewers questioning whether Tom recovered or destroyed the guns.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Possibly one of cinema’s most iconic cliff-hanger movies, a series of events occur which left fans craving for answers.

Firstly, Han Solo’s fate is unknown as he is frozen in carbonite and transported away by bounty hunter Boba Fett to Crimelord Jabba the Hut.

Next comes one of the most popular reveals in film history, as Luke duels with Darth Vader, the Sith Lord bests the young Jedi in combat, cutting off his hand before Vader reveals to Luke that, “I am your father”.

Furthermore, the film hints at Luke and Leia as being siblings, as Luke contacts Leia using the force to come and rescue him following his fight.

The ending sees the pair, Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca escape on the Millennium Falcon, leaving fans asking “what comes next?”

Before Sunset

The second entry in the ‘Before Trilogy’ sees Ethan Hawke’s Jesse and Julie Delpy’s Céline rekindle nine years after meeting in Vienna.

The pair roam around Paris after finding out they need to leave the airport for an hour and begin to discuss their previous meeting, life and work.

They talk about how their lives had changed over the nine years and their dissatisfaction as to how it has panned out. Jesse reveals that his novel was inspired in the hope of seeing Céline again.

The pair arrive at Céline’s apartment, and after constantly insisting that he will miss his flight, Jesse plays Nina Simone’s “Just in Time” on her stereo, watching as Céline dances along, both acknowledging that he will miss the flight, which left viewers wondering what comes next in their relationship.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Our last cliff hanger is another Star Wars entry, The Force Awakens, which is the first installment of the modern Star Wars trilogy.

The story centres around a scavenger called Rey and a disillusioned Stormtrooper, Finn. The pair team up with old favourites such as Han Solo and Chewbacca as they try to escort BB-8, a droid who has an incomplete map of Luke Skywalker’s location to give to his sister, Leia, who now leads the Resistance.

The crew travel to Takodana to meet with Maz Kanata who offers to help get BB-8 to the resistance. While this is occurring, Rey is drawn to a vault by the force where she finds the lightsaber which belonged to Luke Skywalker and his father, Anakin.

The First Order, built from the remnants of the Galactic Empire, uses their new Starkiller Base to destroy the New Republic, leaving only the resistance to fight back.

The crew and Resistance manage to destroy Starkiller Base, at the expense of Han Solo, who dies fighting Kylo Ren.

At the end of the film, Rey travels to the location of Luke Skywalker, who reveals himself to her once she hands him his father’s lightsaber, his first appearance on Star Wars in 35 years, leaving long-term Star Wars fans excited for the new direction of the series.

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