Tuesday, June 17, 2008

20 Great Movie Plot Twists

From Premiere. Here are 10. For the rest, check out the full list on Premiere.com.

With only 20, of course, they left some off the list. A few that come to mind are Vertigo, The Conversation, Unbreakable, The Manchurian Candidate, Witness For The Prosecution, Primal Fear and The Spanish Prisoner. What others?


Oh, by the way, spoiler alert. Duh.




CHINATOWN (1974)

DIRECTOR: Roman Polanski


THE SETUP: Private dick Jake Gittes is hired to investigate what he thinks is a routine case of corruption and adultery. It turns out to be a tad more complicated.


THE TWIST: Evelyn Mulwray's sister — slap! — is her daughter — slap! — her sister and her daughter! — slap!


FUN FACT: During the climactic reveal, Faye Dunaway asked Jack Nicholson to really slap her. He did.




THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)


DIRECTOR
: M. Night Shyamalan

THE SETUP
: A very sensitive, and kind of creepy, little kid tells his psychologist that he "sees dead people."

THE TWIST
: His psychologist is actually one of those dead people.

FUN FACT
: Though he's actually left handed, star Bruce Willis learned to write with his right hand so viewers wouldn't notice his character's missing wedding ring.



THE PLANET OF THE APES (1968)


DIRECTOR
: Franklin J. Schaffner

THE SETUP
: A group of American astronauts crash land on a world where apes talk and rule, while humans are primitive slaves with no voting rights.

THE TWIST
: The planet is actually Earth; the space ship traveled in time instead of space. ("Oh my God, I was wrong/It was Earth all along" - The Simpsons)

FUN FACT
: The script was actually written by twist-loving "Twilight Zone" creator Rod Serling.



STAR WARS: EPISODE V -- THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)


DIRECTOR
: Irvin Kershner

THE SETUP
: After blowing up the Death Star in 1977's Episode IV — A New Hope, Luke Skywalker trains to become a Jedi while Vader and the Empire strike back, frequently.

THE TWIST
: Darth Vader is Luke's father. Though as we learned later, he was also Princess Leia's father and, in a way, C-3PO's father. Which kind of makes him the Sith version of K-Fed.

FUN FACT
: In an attempt to keep this twist a secret, the scene was originally shot with actor David Prowse — the guy in the Darth Vader suit — saying to Mark "Luke" Hamill, "Obi-Wan killed your father."



THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995)


DIRECTOR
: Bryan Singer

THE SETUP
: After a group of criminals are caught during a heist, one of them, a crippled man named "Verbal" Kint, reveals that the entire plot was the work of master criminal (and urban legend) Keyser Söze.

THE TWIST
: Verbal is Keyser Söze.

FUN FACT
: Soze is actually Turkish for "talks a lot."



PSYCHO (1960)


DIRECTOR
: Alfred Hitchcock

THE SETUP
: After stealing money from her boss, Marion Crane checks in the Bates motel, where people check in but they don't check out!

THE TWIST
: The murderer is the inn's owner, Norman Bates, who thinks he's his own mother, even though Mama Bates is dead … and kind of ripe.

FUN FACT
: Among the women considered for the role of Marion Crane, which ultimately went to Janet Leigh, were Eva Marie Saint, Lana Turner, and Shirley "Mrs. Partridge" Jones.



JACOB'S LADDER (1990)


DIRECTOR
: Adrian Lyne

THE SETUP
: When Vietnam veteran Jacob Singer starts hallucinating demons and his dead son, he thinks it has something to do with post-traumatic stress from combat.

THE TWIST
: Jacob actually died in Vietnam, and everything he sees is a deathbed vision.

FUN FACT
: Jacob's doctor was played by Lewis Black, who's now known for being a comedian, a Daily Show regular, and kind of twisted.



THE GAME (1997)


DIRECTOR
: David Fincher

THE SETUP
: Nicholas Van Orton is a tightly wound executive who eventually chucks himself off a building when his life goes to hell.

THE TWIST
: Instead of being killed in the fall, Nicholas lands in one of those big air stunt pillows because everything that has happened — including being kidnapped and left for dead in Mexico, and accidentally killing his brother — was part of an elaborate game paid for by his brother (Sean Penn) as a birthday present.

FUN FACT
: While doing such a game may have looked far-fetched 10 years ago, similar A.R.G.s (alternate reality games) have since become popular (and commercial) and have been used to promote things like Nine Inch Nails's Year Zero album, the TV show "Lost," and the upcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight.



CITIZEN KANE (1941)


DIRECTOR
: Orson Welles

THE SETUP
: The story of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane is told by a reporter who's trying to find out what Kane meant when, with his last dying breath, he uttered the word "Rosebud."

THE TWIST
: Rosebud was his childhood sled.

FUN FACT
: Kane was inspired by real-life newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who was so "flattered" by his thinly veiled portrayal that, when the film opened, he decreed that no Hearst paper mention it. At all. Ever.



FIGHT CLUB (1999)


DIRECTOR
: David Fincher

THE SETUP
: On his way home from a business meeting, a normal shlub befriends a far more interesting guy named Tyler Durden, leading the two eventually to form an underground boxing organization.

THE TWIST: Tyler Durden is all in the narrator's head.


FUN FACT: According to Variety, Fight Club was one of the first DVDs to be overseen by the film's director, which might explain why it was, and still is, one of the better movie DVDs ever made.

23 comments:

  1. What about the new Rambo movie? Don't tell me you saw that comin'!

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  2. Amelie has a great twist. One of the characters is obsessed with images of a man he finds in photo booths all over the city, and wonders whether it's a ghost. Turns out to be a photo booth repair man testing the cameras. Simple, amusing and unexpected.

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  3. The plot twist in The Sting with Robert Redford and Paul Newman is one of my favorites.

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  4. The plot twist in "No Way Out" is a sheer classic. Fantastic performances by Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman and Will Patton. A little dated today, but a GREAT twist.

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  5. Plot twist in Gilligan's Island: They DON'T get off the Island.

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  6. Now that I have removed Amelie from my Netflix queue, I will say good call, Daisy, on The Sting. I need to see that one again. It's been years.

    I guess I should have heeded my own spoiler warning. Duh.

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  7. If you like twists, you've got to see "Shattered" starring Tom Berenger and Bob Hoskins. It was great. One of the best twists ever.

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  8. Great fun fact for The Usual Suspects.

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  9. These are some of the best films ever made! Interesting, that it takes a good twist to make a great movie.

    I still gets chills watching "The Usual Suspects."

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  10. The first twist I remember was discovering the Wizard of Oz really wasn’t a wizard.

    Hmmmm, or was he? :)

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  11. I was pretty shocked that they killed off Indiana Jones in the latest movie.

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  12. Body Double surprised me at the time. Don't know why, it was, after all entitled Body Double... musta been having a stupid-moment.

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  13. Poor Indy, I was crushed :oP

    Jacob's Ladder messed with my head when I saw it the first time, great flick!

    I saw Atonement recently and it has a good twist too!

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  14. Anyone seen Memento? That movie has replay value.

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  15. Yes, Memento does have replay value. I like watching "twist" movies over again to see what kind of clues were given.

    Inigo... good call on Shattered. Not a great movie, but a fantastic twist that caught me completely off guard.

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  16. I thought 'wot, no 'The Crying Game', but it is on the longer list...

    That is the most famous modern twist movie, isn't it?

    I think some of the twists are a bit weak, like the device of someone really being dead when appearing to be alive or vice versa as its been done a bit much.

    Nice to see 'The Cabinet of Dr Caligari' on the list as the originator, though.

    You could add LOTS more. What about the 'Rashomon' road of multiple viewings of an event?

    Add 'Run Lola Run' to that when we see an event done differently a few times...and Lola is a really good runner!

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  17. Frailty surprised me, but that could just be me.

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  18. Both 'The Crying Game' and 'The Prestige' have great twists.

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  19. "Sleepaway Camp" has one of the most memorable twist endings of any 80s horror movie.

    If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about.

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  20. No one mentioned Laura! The best twist ever!

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  21. Oldboy. Best twist ever. Period.

    I'm surprised no one mentions it; not only here but anywhere they discuss about Mystery movies.

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  22. Great list, but Jacob's doctor was played by Danny Aiello, not Lewis Black! Yeah, I know, NEERRRRDDDD.

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