Just when you thought the movie cannot get any better, the director pulls off an unexpected twist in the story to make the heads spin. On the other hand, a plot twist can bring a boring movie to an elevated height beyond its praise. Here are the best plot twist movies of all time that you should definitely add to your movies-to-watch list immediately. Caution! Spoilers ahead!
30. Triangle (2009)
Utilizing time loops and a sea adventure, director Christopher Smith amazed the audience with the 2009 psychological thriller film Triangle. When Jess took her son on a boat ride, every one of the passengers was killed one by one.
Confused and panicked, Jess discovered that the killings were being done by another version of herself stuck in an infinite time loop.
29. Gone Girl (2014)
On his fifth wedding anniversary, the last thing Nick Dunne expected was that his wife Amy had been missing. Labeled as a sociopath by the media, Amy is speculated to be killed by her husband due to the distraught in their marriage.
The murder actually never happened as Amy set up a clever scheme of blaming her apparent murder on Nick after discovering that he was involved in an affair.
28. Wanted (2008)
Troubled and down on his luck, accountant Wesley Gibson learns that he is an heir to a career as an assassin in a secret society called The Fraternity, a group his father used to work in too until being killed by Cross.
Once trained to do so, Gibson battles and successfully kills Cross only to find out that he was his real father and left society due to their evil intentions.
27. The Uninvited (2009)
Believing that her father’s current girlfriend Rachel killed her mother while she was her nurse, Anna and her sister Alex begin to track her whereabouts but to no avail.
In one of the most unexpected tales of a mentally ill patient and one of the best movie twists in recent years, Anna is found to be suffering from memory loss and – as flashbacks revealed – actually responsible for the killings of her mother, sister Alex, and boyfriend Matt.
26. Primal Fear (1996)
Based on William Diehl’s 1993 novel of the same name, Primal Fear highlights the shy yet interesting prisoner Aaron Stampler accused of murdering an archbishop.
Aaron reveals that Roy actually takes control of his actions and commits the crime. It is soon learned that “Roy” never existed and Aaron made the whole story up.
25. Predestination (2014)
Recently released and starring Ethan Hawke, the 2014 Australian science fiction film Predestination had very little success at the box office but left its audience astounded by the plot twists involved in it.
A time-traveling agent goes back in time to stop a notorious terrorist known as the Fizzle Bomber.
He eventually succeeds but comes to a state of shock as he realizes that the criminal was none other than an older version of himself.
24. The Others (2001)
In the horror-thriller film starring Nicole Kidman, Grace Stewart lives in a haunted house with her son Nicholas and daughter Anne.
The two cannot come in direct contact with the sunlight. The problem? They are actually dead since they are the ghosts haunting the very house they live in.
23. Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Living with her eccentric aunt Dr. Martha Thomas and cousin Ricky Thomas, Angela Baker is not an ordinary girl. In fact, it is found out that she is not even one since she is Peter, her thought-to-be-dead brother.
The siblings were involved in a motorboat accident that killed their father and the real Angela. Once Dr. Martha gained custody of Peter, she decided to raise him as the girl she always wanted.
22. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
The world of Harry Potter is filled with occasional twists and turns but let’s take a look at not only the first one but also the most momentous one from the very first book and the movie that promised big things to come in the sequels.
Finding out that it was not Professor Snape after the stone but Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Professor Quirrell, things did not stop there as it was soon revealed that Lord Voldemort had been living at the back of his head.
21. The Village (2004)
Director M. Night Shyamalan successfully trolled the audience with his psychological thriller film The Village. What appeared to take place during the 19th century turned out to be something else entirely as the movie was about to end.
The setting was actually in the present day and the 19th-century village was made in such a fashion by its Chief Elder Edward Walker in order to keep the villagers apart from the real world.
20. Se7en (1995)
Considering killing as an art, John Doe commits his murders in order to represent the seven deadly sins one by one. When he turns himself into homicide detective Mills, he leads him to a box containing his pregnant wife’s severed head as a sign of “envy”.
Fueled with anger and disbelief, detective Mills kills Doe only to realize that he completed the killer’s “work” as the murder was a representation of the sin, “wrath”.
19. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
After a diamond heist goes terribly wrong and leaves two dead and one fatally wounded out of the five criminals who do not know each other and are given color code names assigned for the job by Joe Cabot, the remaining crooks begin to suspect that one of them alerted the cops on purpose.
Played out in such a way that the cool-minded Mr. Blonde may be the rat, a plot twist occurs when Mr. Orange who has been lying in a pool of his own blood throughout the movie is revealed to be an undercover cop.
18. Batman Begins (2005)
Perhaps one of the most underrated films of all time, Christopher Nolan reintroduced the Dark Knight to the silver screen in 2005 after the disastrous Batman & Robin eight years ago.
Batman’s mentor Ra’s al Ghul dies but the movie unfolds in an unlikely tone as the man killed was merely a decoy and the real Ra’s al Ghul unlike its Arabic counterpart in DC Comics was actually the American Henri Ducard.
17. Soylent Green (1973)
Director Richard Fleischer takes the concept of cannibalism to a whole new level. It is the year 2022 and there are 40 million people in New York City alone.
Left with no other option but to eat mass-produced rations due to food shortage, detective Frank Thorn smells something fishy only to discover that the food is made from human remains.
16. The Prestige (2006)
Director Christopher Nolan gave a double twist when rival magicians Alfred Borden and Robert Angier competed against each other to find out who can come up with better illusions.
While Borden pulled off stage tricks with the help of his identical twin brother, Angier used his clones from a Nikola Tesla machine for his illusions and later killed them beneath the stage.
15. Friday the 13th (1980)
The slasher film was poorly received but managed to be a box office success and indeed memorable mainly due to the unique plot twist revolving around the mass murderer with a machete, Jason Voorhees.
As opposed to the many sequels, the 1980 Friday the 13th flick showcased that it was not Jason Voorhees committing the murders as he had been dead. Shockingly, it was his mother.
14. Fallen (1998)
The fantasy action film Fallen made the audience glued to their screens as Denzel Washington narrated throughout the movie while also portraying the Philadelphia Police Detective John Hobbes.
As strange as it may sound, the two did not share the same role in the movie as it seemed, it was the demon Azazel serving as the narrator and not Detective Hobbes.
13. Angel Heart (1987)
Being a Private Eye is not an easy job. A lot of detective work and quick observation are required throughout your case. When hired to find pre-war crooner Johnny Favourite, things take an unexpected turn for investigator Harry Angel.
In a story filled with war and voodoo elements, Angel’s case becomes easy yet horrific as he indeed finds Johnny since both share the same soul.
12. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
The worst thing about betrayal is the fact that it comes from a loved one so imagine the grief Don Michael Corleone had to bear after finding out that the traitor is his elder brother Fredo Corleone.
Initially believing the idea that one of his close associates Hyman Roth or Frank Pentangeli might be the conspirator, things take a swift change when Fredo is revealed to be the traitor after feeling pushed over.
11. Shutter Island (2010)
United States Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels travels to Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island in order to track down the escaped resident Rachel Solando.
The plot is revealed to be a clever scheme planned by the doctors to capture Daniels, who himself is a patient, in order to medically treat him.
10. The Crying Game (1992)
Director Neil Jordan sure knows how to ruin a love story. Bewildered in love, the last thing IRA foot soldier Fergus was expecting from his girlfriend Dil was that she was once a man who had a sex-change operation.
9. Saw (2004)
Locked in a room with a bloodied corpse to play the “game” concocted by the Jigsaw Killer John Kramer, worried Adam and Zep desperately try to survive while knowing that the mastermind was watching them.
With Zep dead and Adam winning, the corpse rises up revealing to be none other than Kramer; who was indeed watching them too closely the entire time.
8. Chinatown (1974)
Starring Jack Nicholson in one of the most unexpected and sickening plot twist films of its time, director Roman Polanski introduced a matter of taboo in his 1974 mystery film Chinatown.
Evelyn Cross Mulwray shook the audience when she explained her relationship with Katherine Cross by exclaiming,
“She is my sister and my daughter”
revealing the sexual bond shared with her own father.
7. Citizen Kane (1941)
It was amazing how director Orson Welles came up with the awe-inspiring storytelling in his 1941 debut film Citizen Kane.
The movie begins with the death of Charles Foster Kane uttering the word “Rosebud” as he takes his last breath and that starts an unsolved mystery of the word’s significance. The movie ends as his childhood sled named Rosebud is burned in a furnace.
6. Fight Club (1999)
Based upon the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club may have lower-than-expected box office revenues but quickly gained a cult following.
When things start to fall apart for the unnamed narrator of the movie after opening a recreational fighting club with the charismatic soap salesman Tyler Durden, it is found out that the latter is the former’s alter-ego.
5. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Nominated for six Academy Awards, the supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense focuses on the relationship between Cole Sear, an isolated boy who can see dead people, and his psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe.
As the story unfolds, it’s learned that Dr. Crowe is equally deranged and troubled as his patient Sear, and for a good reason too as it is revealed that the psychologist is also dead.
4. Psycho (1960)
Directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock and adapted from the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, the psychological thriller-horror film Psycho is one of the best films of all time.
Believing that Norma Bates, mother of the Bates Motel owner and manager Norman Bates, was the killer, the film takes an abrupt turn as Norman is revealed to be the killer while dressing like her.
3. The Usual Suspects (1995)
Before director Bryan Singer gave us the first two X-Men movies, he gave a glimpse of his film-making skills by presenting a momentous plot twist in his crime thriller The Usual Suspects.
As agent Kujan interrogates the crippled Verbal Kint about a ship that caught fire in San Pedro Bay due to the involvement of criminal mastermind Keyser Söze, he believes that Kint is not the culprit. Once freed, Kujan realizes that Kint made the whole story up only to hide the fact that was indeed Söze.
2. Planet of the Apes (1968)
Gaining freedom, astronaut George Taylor takes a stroll with Nova but soon gets the shock of his life by seeing the beach-covered remains of the Statue of Liberty.
It turns out that the ape-populated planet is not an alien planet but the future Earth after a global thermonuclear war.
1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Undoubtedly the mother of all plot twists. As the epic lightsaber battle reaches its climax, the villainous Darth Vader disarms Luke Skywalker by severing his right hand and reveals himself to be none other than his father, Anakin Skywalker.
With the line “No, I am your father” being the most culturally referenced dialogue, kids know who Luke’s father is before who the President is and that is no exaggeration.
These movies also deserve a special mention here for their great plot twists:
- Black Swan (2010)
- The Game (1997)
- The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Feel free to share some other films that have great plot twists in the comments below!