10 Famous Movie Endings That Had Radical Last Minute Changes

7. Pie Warfare In Dr Strangelove

Stanley Kubrick's Cold War satire still cuts pretty close to the bone today, partly because of its incredibly dark ending that sees a "doomsday device" activated which will render the surface of the earth entirely uninhabitable, with only those safe in underground bunkers surviving the nuclear devastation. Or at least that's what's implied by the titular insane former Nazi scientist, played by Peter Sellers, and by the montage of mushroom clouds and nuclear detonations that closes the film whilst Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again" bleakly serenades the audience over the credits. Slim Pickens gets to ride a bomb like a cowboy, though, so that's fun. This experimental and politically daring ending, which incorporated real-life footage from the bombing of Nagasaki and the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests, wasn't what Kubrick initially envisioned, however. In fact that downbeat - and arguably more realistic - finale was in keeping with Red Alert, the Peter George book from which the film was loosely adapted. A much more solemn and true-to-life story about mutually assured destruction, George actually collaborated with Kubrick and satirist Terry Southern on Dr Strangelove's script, which had a far more darkly humorous tone. They would have pushed that version of the story to breaking point with the scripted ending, which saw a symbolic pie fight erupt in the war room that appears throughout the film's running time, and which people had already been warned about fighting in. Nobody can quite agree on why this original ending, which was filmed, got cut in favour of the Vera Lynn montage - Kubrick claimed it was a farcical step too far, some suggested the amount of flan on screen made it impossible to tell who was who, others that the jovial nature of the brawl wasn't quite right - but it would've made for a very different ending.
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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/