Spoiler Alert: 5 Iconic Movies That Revealed Their Endings in the First Few Seconds
It’s always about the journey, not the destination — especially when you learn the finale at the start of the movie. These five movies are prime examples of this good old rule.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for several movies.
5. Memento (2000)
Starting strong, we have Christopher Nolan ’s Memento — the ultimate mind-bending neo-noir adventure by the iconic director that, unlike his later movie Tenet, actually makes sense. Memento follows two seemingly separate storylines in a completely messed-up reverse order until both ends suddenly meet in the middle and it clicks.
According to a popular belief, it’s naive to think you truly understood Memento until at least your third rewatch. The movie doesn’t start from the beginning nor does it begin with the end: you just get thrown into the action without much context, and it’s your job to solve the puzzle. You learn the finale immediately — you just don’t get it.
4. Fight Club (1999)
One of the most cult-classic movies in existence, you know David Fincher’s Fight Club even if you’ve never watched it. It’s just that famous — and for a good reason. Few movies greet you with the shocking revelation that the Narrator is about to end his life, and he just so happened to rig an entire city block to explode in a minute.
Sure, Fight Club tells you the finale right off the bat, but even apart from the terrified anticipation of the giant explosion, there’s another thing that keeps you glued to your screen. You learn about Tyler Durden at the start of the movie, but you don’t understand who that charming fellow is until you’re done — and properly shocked.
3. The Irishman (2019)
You may be wondering, “Why would Martin Scorsese spoil his three-and-a-half-hour-long movie in the very beginning?” That would be a valid question, but it also has quite a sensible answer. The Irishman starts with the main character, Frank Sheeran, sitting in the retirement home and retelling his life story.
In a way, that’s already the big reveal: for the next three hours, you won’t have to worry about Frank because he will survive regardless. However, there’s also a much less noticeable hint at the climax of the movie. As Sheeran recalls one of his hit jobs, Hoffa’s face quickly flashes on the screen, spoiling that he was the target.
2. Titanic (1997)
In the entire world, no love is as famous as that of Jack and Rose — save for Romeo and Juliet, of course. James Cameron’s Titanic conquered the hearts and minds of audiences throughout the world with the tragedy of love, death, and implosion. Even though everyone knows the finale, it’s still a sad and moving film to watch.
Titanic doesn’t just spoil its ending with the story of the real ship: it begins with a much older Rose watching enthusiasts looting the drowned ship to find the iconic diamond. From the way Rose looks at the recovered photos and the scene in general, it’s easy to realize that her lover didn’t make it. And yet, we watch…and cry.
1. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Steven Spielberg did such an amazing job with Saving Private Ryan’s war sequences that most people completely forgot the movie’s beginning by the time they reached the finale. After spending so much time in World War II, it’s too easy to miss the point — and existence — of the slow-paced and out-of-place start.
And yet, Saving Private Ryan reveals that the private will, in fact, be saved. We watch him visit the cemetery and salut his fallen friends, and we already know we’ll see some of them die trying to rescue the man himself. We just don’t remember it later on — because honestly, the D-Day is way more captivating of a scene.