Have you ever watched a movie where you had no idea what was going on, until that ONE deciding moment where everything began to make sense? Most people have experienced these movie twists, especially those fond of a certain Mr. Shyamalan. In this list, we count down our picks for the top 10 movie twists of all time. Beware, contains heavy spoilers!
10 – The Departed – 2006
The plot: The movie revolves around the Boston State Troopers infiltrating the notorious crime syndicate run by the infamous Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). Costello however, has his own rat within the police force, making the hunt even more intense.
The twist: As it turns out, Costello is an FBI informant, providing the federal government with the names of his associates and ‘colleagues’. Ironically, he himself ends up getting killed by his very own police infiltrator after the latter finds out that Costello too, is a rat.
9 – The Machinist – 2004
The plot: Trevor Reznik, played by Christian Bale, is a factory machinist with extreme insomnia, affecting both his psychology and physicality. Trevor is stalked throughout the movie by a person named Ivan, who Trevor is certain is out to kill him.
The twist: As it turns out, Ivan is nothing but a product of Trevor’s imagination, and so is a good deal of the scenarios taking place in the movie, leaving one to wonder which events were real and which were hallucinations.
8 – Seven – 1995
The plot: John Doe, played by none other than Kevin Spacey, is a serial killer basing his murders on the biblical 7 Deadly Sins. It is then up to the two detectives, Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and Mills (Brad Pitt) to bring the murderer to justice.
The twist: After turning himself in to the agents, Doe reveals his last victim to be the wife of Miller, sparking the detective to kill the murderer in a fit of rage, thus completing the 7 Deadly Sins’ cycle.
7 – The Sixth Sense – 1999
6 – Saw – 2004
The plot: A photographer wakes up in an isolated room alongside a doctor, their only company being a corpse in the middle of the room, a saw and a television screen to deliver instructions. It is then up to the prisoners to decide who gets to live and who gets to die.
The twist: As one of the men finally manage to free himself, by sawing off his leg, he leaves the other prisoner behind to find help, only for the now lonesome captive to realize the corpse in the room was ‘Jigsaw’ all along, sealing his fate.
5 – The Empire Strikes Back – 1980
The plot: The popular sequel to the original Star Wars oversees many developments expanding upon the Star Wars Galaxy, centered around the aspiring rebels trying to overthrow the evil Galactic Empire, ruled by Palpatine/Darth Sidious, otherwise known as ‘The Emperor’, alongside his right hand man, the iconic Darth Vader.
The twist: As the movie faces its climax during an intense lightsaber duel between the Jedi, Luke Skywalker, and Darth Vader, the latter reveals himself to be none other than Luke’s father, the ‘dead’ Anakin Skywalker. Likewise, it is in this edition of the franchise we learn that Vader is in fact NOT the main villain, but is working under the Galactic Emperor, introduced in the movie for the first time.
4 – Planet of the Apes – 1968
The plot: George Taylor, portrayed by Charlton Heston, leads an expedition into space, but their spaceship crashed into a strange planet ruled by talking, sentient apes. It is then up to our heroes to find a way back to Earth.
The twist: After finally managing to escape the power of the apes, Taylor finds the statue of liberty in a crumbled state, which alongside a few hints dropped throughout the movie, indicates that the planet is indeed Earth, just many years into the future.
3 – Shutter Island – 2010
The plot: Detective Teddy Daniels, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, is attempting to find an escaped mental patient named Rachel Solando, who he believes is responsible for the murder of Daniels’ wife and three children.
The twist: As it turns out, Daniels himself was responsible for the death of his family, and is in fact an incarcerated mental patient himself.
2 – The Usual Suspects – 1995
The plot: A group of petty criminals, including McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) and the physically challenged Verbal (Kevin Spacey) are charged with yet another crime, with no way for the authorities to find out who committed the felony, other than questioning. The mysterious Keyser Söze, is allegedly connected to the crime scene, albeit his identity is one big question mark.
The twist: As most of the movie is explained through police questionings, it turns out that Verbal made up all of his stories, and is in fact none other than Keyser Sõze himself.
1 – Fight Club – 1999
The plot: The mentally unstable, and unnamed, narrator played by Edward Norton, builds a countrywide ‘fight club’ alongside his good friend, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). Its purpose is for the ‘little man’ to vent his frustrations in a street fight setting.
The twist: As the narrator and Durden end up fighting, it is revealed that they are in fact the same person, with the latter just being a schizophrenic hallucination of how the narrator wants to see himself.