After pondering the 10 best opening shots in cinema history, it’s apt of course to consider the other specific shot in a film that can best linger in the viewer’s mind and help cement their lasting impression. It is, naturally, the closing shot, which brings the narrative and its themes to a close, and if done in a matter both aesthetically and thematically audacious, can result in an exceptionally iconic cinematic moment.

Either by lingering on a fascinating human expression, event or location, these 10 stunning shots are among the most beautiful and thought-provoking that cinema has to offer.

They range from the stoic, to the meditative, to the chaotic, and what’s important is that each is imbued with a wealth of information; it either manages to encapsulate the entirety of the film’s dramatic heft, or leaves our minds racing as to what occurs beyond the fade or cut to black.

Here are the 10 best closing shots in cinema history…



10. A Serious Man


The Coen Brothers’ 2009 Best Picture-nominated masterpiece A Serious Man is a perfectly-balanced mixture of the comic and the serious; professor Larry Gopnik comes to doubt his religious faith as his wife leaves him for another man and his professional reputation is being threatened by an unseen complainant – after all, why would any God dare do this to a devoted man of faith such as himself?

The hilarity comes in the fact that even the Rabbis don’t seem to offer much insight, and when Larry inevitably decides to give in to corruption and accept a bribe to pass a failing student, his life comes crashing down.

This is cemented by the film’s final shot, which occurs as a storm approaches the city, implying that, rather ironically, a possibly absent God has returned to wreak havoc on Larry’s family for his defiant actions, or depending on your interpretation, it is simply a random tragedy, promoting the idea that everything in the world has no inherent cosmic meaning. Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody To Love” kicks in, providing a stunning exclamation point to a challenging and thought-provoking slice of cinema.

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This article was first posted on March 6, 2013