If you are a movie buff, then you are going to absolutely love this list. It is going to take you back to some of the most popular and cult-classic films of movie history, from the teen movies of the 80s to the action flicks that people still watch today. You are going to reminisce so much with this list, and it is also going to remind you that films take a lot of work and a lot of editing. Sometimes the original script was actually really sucky, and you are going to see this truth in our list of 15 Movies That Had Worse Alternate Endings.
For instance, did you know that The Butterfly Effect had more than one alternate ending? And one of the Star Wars movies had such a pivotal ending that it caused George Lucas to get really hot and heated. What about Pretty Woman, Terminator 2, and Pretty in Pink? You are going to want to read through each movie description on our list and then be sure to check out the alternate endings for yourself. If you ask us, you probably have a movie marathon coming up in your future. Embrace it, and pretend that you are a movie critic!
What is it that makes a decent film ending anyway? We think that it probably has something to do with the journey of the characters, tying up loose ends, speaking to our emotions, and leaving us with something that will have us talking long after the final credits roll. Check out the alternate endings that just didn’t cut it.
15. Terminator 2
Wow, the second Terminator movie came out back in 1991 and was called Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Well, now it is our turn to judge the film. It’s been 25 years, so why not? We must say that in the theatrical version’s ending of the film, we got everything that we wanted. There was an epic battle scene, cool heavy machinery, and loads of special effects. And then there was that moment that pulled at our heartstrings when the Terminator asks to be destroyed in order to keep humanity safe from his potential corruption. The poor Terminator can’t kill himself, so he has to ask his friends to do it. He cries as he is lowered into molten steel; it’s so epic! Very true to the mood of the film. However, the alternate ending was terrible. Everything just ends up honky-dory and it’s all rainbows and butterflies. That’s boring, and it doesn’t leave much of anything left to continue the Terminator movie franchise.
14. I Am Legend
In the theatrical version of the film, Will Smith’s character plays the hero and leaves his lover with the cure for the dastardly disease. Smith then blows himself up in his lab (with the evil Darkseekers in there with him). Sad, but it was what had to be done to save the human race. Plus, it was totally badass and heroic. In the alternate ending, it leaves more questions than answers. The Darkseekers ambush Smith in the lab and have this weird realization where they think that Smith is one of them and has been turning against his own kind. He relinquishes the Darkseeker chick he was investigating and the rest of the Darkseekers just leave him alone. So then that’s it?! We would not be cool with the movie ending and those freaks of nature still being out on the loose. Plus, explosions make a zombie apocalypse movie so much better.
13. Thelma and Louise
Two women with distinct and opposite personalities decide to take a road trip. What ensued was critical acclaim and six nominations for an Academy Awards. The alternate ending of this film was actually really similar to the ending that was chosen for the theatrical ending. As most people know, Thelma and Louise’s car plummets off of a canyon cliff and ends up crashing at the bottom. Then a helicopter goes to the bottom of the canyon to check out the aftermath of the crash. It was the kind of closure that a lot of moviegoers wanted, but in the alternate ending, they wouldn’t get those loose ends tied up, and the suspense would have needled them. In the alternate ending, the car flies off the cliff, but we don’t hear the car crash at the bottom. So, did they crash or what? How dare they think they could get away with that ending. We need answers!
12. Pretty in Pink
Hard to believe that it has been three decades since Molly Ringwald stole our hearts in Pretty in Pink. If you were wishing for Duckie and Andie to date at the end of the film, then watch the alternate ending and see how sucky it was. Seriously, it was a snoozefest, and the primary audience agreed that it would not make for a good ending. It was just Duckie taking Andie’s hand as they hit the dance floor, which of course, opened up to allow them to be the center of attention. They start dancing and everything looks so magical and romantic. Cue the fade-out. Yeah, like we said, totally boring. Molly Ringwald agreed, although she did say that if Robert Downey Jr. were cast as Duckie instead, maybe she would have liked that alternate ending. The role of Duckie was actually written for Anthony Michael Hall, but it ended up going to Jon Cryer.
11. Blade Runner
This is a movie that had a number of options for the ending. The original finale had Roy bleeding out on the roof after saving Deckard from falling to his death. Roy then gives this sappy voiceover monologue about reflections on his life and the purpose of it all. That was the ending that most audiences see. Harrison Ford (who played Deckard) actually hated this ending, which helped to prompt the alternate endings, one of which featured Deckard and Rachael driving on the highway talking about how they’re lovers now and how Deckard never actually loved his wife. Then they talk about the concept of forever and how they’re made for each other. And then it blacks out. Is that any better? What about Gaff chasing Deckard and Rachael as they drive away into the distance? Or Rachael asking Deckard to shoot her? Or Deckard just shooting her anyway? There are seven versions of this film in total, so have fun trying to watch them all!
Did you ever realize that Clerks is broken up into nine distinct scenes to portray the nine rings of hell in Dante’s Inferno? Why else would one of the main characters’ names be Dante? Is your mind blown yet? Well then, check out the alternate ending for this movie, which was really dark. It was going to end with Dante getting robbed at the store and being killed right there behind the counter. Thankfully, the director’s buddies told him that this was way too depressing for Clerks, so the theatrical version of the film cut that final scene out. We much prefer the final scene that is actually in the movie. It involves Randal and Dante fighting in the store and then having this intense talk about how Dante is a deadbeat clerk who closes the store so that he can do stupid things, like cheat on his girlfriend. Now that is drama.
9. The Butterfly Effect
Ah, nothing like so cool time travel to make a movie pop. In fact, as long as time travel is involved, you can bet that people are going to come out to see the film. The Butterfly Effect used this trope, but it turned out to be a really good movie anyway. Even so, there are a series of alternate endings in this movie. In one of them, Evan time travels to the past so that he doesn’t grow up with Kayleigh, his long-term love interest. Instead, he makes sure that when they are grown up, he invites her out on a date, bypassing the childhood drama and trauma. There is another alternative ending, in which Evan makes certain that he and Kayleigh never meet at all. However, he does stalk her as she leaves that coffee shop. That leaves some loose ends that people might be bugged aren’t tied up.
Oh, that crazy Nana Rose. In the alternate ending, she hangs over the railing of the excursion boat and her granddaughter Ruth and Brock think she is going to jump overboard. As they stop her, Rose tells them not to come any closer or else she will drop her beloved Heart of the Ocean necklace into the waters below. When Brock sees the jewel, he’s pissed that Rose had it the whole time, that crazy old kook. As she dangles the necklace in front of Brock’s eyes (he’s practically drooling,) Rose says “You only look for treasure in the wrong place, Mr. Lovett. And life is priceless.” Then she throws the necklace in the water and Brock tilts his head back and laughs like a hyena. Then he turns to Ruth and asks her to dance. LAME. Sure, it was supposed to teach us about the meaning of life, but lots of people will probably feel like the fat guy did: “That really sucks, lady!”
7. The Princess Diaries
This film’s ending was altered all because of a 5-year-old girl. Really! The Princess Diaries had an ending that featured Mia (Anne Hathaway) accepting her fate as the Princess of Genovia. And that was it. The ending kissing scene was sweet, but apparently when producer Garry Marshall screened the film to his granddaughter, she was so sad. Why? Because the 5-year-old movie-goer wanted to see Mia as an actual Princess. She wanted to see the castle and all the fancy things! We suppose she got her wish – sort of. The theatrical ending of The Princess Diaries features Mia flying in a private jet and glancing out the window to see her amazing castle in Genovia. And that’s pretty much it. Marshall made the Disney studio shell out more money just to get footage of a European castle to show it. Sounds like a bit much for a 5-year-old if you ask us.
6. Rambo: First Blood
Ah, Sylvester Stallone. Is there even a possibility of there being a bad film with Sylvester Stallone in it? Well, yes. Yes there could. We will turn this time to Rambo: First Blood. Now, it wasn’t that the movie was bad, don’t get us wrong. It’s just that it could have been really dumb, especially if the producer decided to go with the alternate ending of the film. It was purely suckish! Plus, it would have eliminated any chance of a continuation of the film series. In the alternative ending, you can watch as John Rambo kills himself and thus ends the franchise for good. There is no way to continue with Rambo without John Rambo. It really is no wonder why this ending was trashed and ended up on the cutting room floor. Of course, the theatrical ending was sort of lame too, with John Rambo suffered from a mental breakdown thanks to his PTSD and flashbacks of fighting in Vietnam.
This film was back in the late 1970s (1976) and it is still a huge cult classic. It’s all about the fighter Rocky, who trains hard and has a heart of steel. This big ol’ giant teddy bear starts out as a down-and-out fighter who tries to earn some self-respect and build up his fighting reputation. He meets a girl, he gets trained by a hard-ass personal coach, and then he gets challenged to a big-time fight against Apollo Creed. And now let’s let you in on the alternate ending. The prized fighter Rocky pockets some money in exchange for his agreement to lose the match against Apollo Creed on purpose. What?! How is he supposed to earn respect then? That’s not all though; the alternate ending also ends with Rocky helping his good friend Adrian start a new business – a pet shop. Cute.
4. Pretty Woman
Julia Roberts was very adamant and honest about her opinion of the alternate ending of Pretty Woman. Instead of the happily ever after, the alternate finale had Roberts’ character getting the cash she wanted for her “work,” and then getting back on the streets to sleep with more men. Roberts was appalled by this ending, and considered it to be a sexist version that only a man would think up. It would just portray her character as a drug-addicted hooker who knew no better and ended up with a raunchy deadbeat guy who gave her a false sense of love and security. In short, she thought it was super depressing and would completely ruin the film. That was enough for the director to change things around drastically and now we have the iconic ending of Pretty Woman (and Julia Roberts got to launch her career and that million-watt smile of hers.)
3. Return of the Jedi
Hey man, who doesn’t love them some good Star Wars fandom? Whether it’s your favorite or your most hated installment, Return of the Jedi was a huge hit. The alternate ending possibilities of this film led to some serious artistic differences, and even the dismantling of the George Lucas – Gary Kurtz collaboration. Kurtz was the producer of the film, and he was going to have Han Solo be killed during the scene at the Imperial Base. Writer George Lucas wanted to defend his beloved Han Solo and said that he did not want such a primary character to be killed off. Really though, Lucas’ bottom line was centered on sales and raking in more money for the franchise. If Han Solo was killed, Lucas feared that Star Wars would lose its popularity and favorability. Kurtz was angry about this and he left the film franchise after he finished producing Return of the Jedi.
2. Fatal Attraction
When you have a film called Fatal Attraction, you can be sure it’ll end in death. But the alternate ending had Dan being a condemned killer and Alex turning to the last resort of suicide. Glenn Close actually liked the alternate ending with her character killing herself because she thought it was more true to the personality of Alex. However, when primary audiences saw this, they fought against it, saying that it was too dang depressing and it left a sour taste in their mouth. So, the script ended up going with the more “exciting” ending, which featured an intense shooting scene. That is the ending that you will see now if you watch Fatal Attraction, but you should try to watch the alternate and see what you think. Will you hate it as much as the critics did? If you really like that “boring” option, then you might want to try watching the Japanese version of Fatal Attraction. We didn’t even know that it existed!
1. Dr. Strangelove
If this is any indication of the type of movie we’re dealing with here, Dr. Strangelove is known by another title: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. This is a film that uses black humor and a sinister sense of satire to make fun of the political tensions between the United States and the USSR. For anyone who has seen this movie, please tell us: was the theatrical ending even that good? While it was great to see the original resolution which ends with Dr. Strangelove being able to walk again, it was so random because we never get to understand how that happened. He just rises up from his wheelchair and exclaims that he can walk. Was it a joke? Are we missing something? We wonder what audiences would have thought of the alternate ending. Instead of bombs, it features desserts! Check out the alternate ending and you’ll see there was a pie throwing fight at the end!