10 Famous Movie Endings That Had Radical Last Minute Changes

Filmmaking is not an art, it's a crapshoot.

Filmmaking is not an art, no matter what Cahiers du Cinéma tries to tell you. It's a total crapshoot. It's art made by a committee which, more often than not, manages to avoid the problem of "too many cooks in the kitchen". A film production is dozens - maybe even hundreds - of the people involved in a film chucking ideas at a wall and seeing what sticks. We know this because of the amount of articles we read, making of documentaries we watch, and interviews we read with cast and crew all the way down the credits list. We also know it because of the amount of irrevocable changes films make whilst they're being made. Every successful film that comes out is something of a happy accident, the conflation of all these things somehow resulting in a good movie. Life finds a way, we guess. Equally fascinating is the amount of films that come close to being total failures, or have the potential to be great only to trip at the final hurdle. Thanks to the era of DVD deleted scenes and that excess of online movie gossip, we're more aware of the former than ever before, as we get to check out director's cuts that totally change films, or have the opportunity to leaf through scripts before they went through umpteen revisions. Our favourite insight into the crapshoot of making a movie, however, is the amount of insane alternate endings that are out there. Creative types in all forms of media will mull over multiple ways to finish their story - it's one of the most difficult things to get right, but also the most important, because it's the lasting impression the audience will walk away with. They'll forget the crappiest movie if the ending is strong, but also discount a mostly strong outing if the finale stinks. We're not sure if these alternate endings are any better or worse (for the most part) than what was actually shown on the silver screen, but we do know they're radically different and got dropped at the last minute.
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Tom Baker is the Comics Editor at WhatCulture! He's heard all the Doctor Who jokes, but not many about Randall and Hopkirk. He also blogs at http://communibearsilostate.wordpress.com/