10 Most Elaborate Movie Climaxes Ever

Wow them in the end, you got yourself a winner.

Inglourious Basterds Melanie Laurent

"Wow them in the end," Brian Cox, playing an overblown version of screenwriting guru Robert McKee, tells Nicolas Cage's troubled writer in Adaptation. McKee's point was that the script can be problematic, have errors, problems, even goofs listed on the IMDB, but if you hit them with an impressive climax, then you leave the audience happy. So wow them in the end, you got yourself a bonafide hit.

There are countless examples of films with impressive closing scenes, but few that live up to McKee's point. The movie, in its entirety, is not all that great, but did you see that shootout/explosion/monster/fight? Films like that are primarily based on spectacle, not storytelling, theme or plot. They just jingle a handful of shiny objects and you're hooked.

Not all films on this list are objectively bad, some are, but their finales are always a site to look upon with awe. Here are a handful that wowed us in the end.

10. The Last Boy Scout

Inglourious Basterds Melanie Laurent
Warner Bros. Pictures

The Last Boy Scout, Tony Scott's first buddy cop picture with Bruce Willis as an alcoholic P.I. teaming up with Damon Wayans' disgraced football player to solve a murder, had a very different finale involving a boat chase when it was first scripted by Lethal Weapon scribe Shane Black. It's also somewhat infamous for tarnishing Black's reputation for a decade, as it was the first script in Hollywood to be optioned for one million dollars, causing the writer to be the envy of his writer friends and sending him into seclusion for most of the 90s.

It's not his finest work, but the script does have kernels of Black's trademark wit, with sharp 1940s Raymond Chandler-esque detective dialogue.

It comes down to teamwork in the end, with Wayans riding horseback during a football game and throwing a perfectly-timed ball to obstruct an assassin's bullet while Willis and the shooter (the late stand-up Taylor Negron) square off. By the end, the football gets shot, not the victim, and the shooter is stabbed, shot and machine-gunned off the top of the stadium.

And because f*** it, he lands on rotating helicopter blades.


Kenny Hedges is carbon-based. So I suppose a simple top 5 in no order will do: Halloween, Crimes and Misdemeanors, L.A. Confidential, Billy Liar, Blow Out He has his own website - thefilmreal.com - and is always looking for new writers with differing views to broaden the discussion.