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Don’t get me wrong: I love a happy ending as much as the next guy. There’s no greater feeling than stepping out of a darkened movie theatre and readjusting to the world, having watched the hero punch the villain off the side of a cliff whilst deploying an awesomely witty line like… uh, “Today’s the day you die!” or, you know, something much, much better than that.

But sometimes you can’t escape the feeling that the writers missed a trick when they decided to grant a movie with a happy ending that feels forced or tacked on… why did they choose to tie things up so neatly? Surely it would have been far better to imbue the movie with a bit of added weight – the kind you get from leaving things ambiguous or mysterious or (better yet) sad.

You see, there’s a time and a place for a happy ending, and Hollywood doesn’t always seem to know when that is. Here’s 7 iconic movies that cling to happy endings, though each and every one of them would have been greatly improved had the associated filmmakers thrown out all the kissing and smiles and replaced them with feelings of torment and sacrifice and characters falling into extended periods of self-loathing.

Okay, that’s a bit much, perhaps, but you’ll see what I mean….

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This article was first posted on April 27, 2013