9. The Ultimate Downer Ending - Brazil
Terry Gilliam's entrancing, dream-like dystopian sci-fi is an unforgettable film, in large part due to its unexpectedly bleak ending.
Sam Lowry (Jonathan Price) is an office drone who, when following up on an administrative snaffu, winds up a wanted man, presumed to be a terrorist by those in charge. After being captured, it appears that he is sprung from his captivity, and reunited with his former flame, allowing him to live out the rest of his days in peace.
But of course, at the end, it's revealed that none of this - at least the happy stuff - ever took place, and Lowry is still a prisoner; the film's haunting final imagery is of Sam in a torture room, catatonic and clearly having lost his mind.
Given the fairly whimsical tone, this downbeat denouement came as even more of a surprise, yet without damaging the film's tonal consistency.