15 Movies Ruined By Happy Endings

POSTED BY Hilal Zia, UPDATED ON November 13th, 2023
Movies Ruined by Happy Endings

One would think those happy endings are something that all movies need but the truth is that some movies should follow through with the tone it has set throughout the minutes sadly, some writers do not follow this chain of thought. Some amazing movies have been dampened or even ruined just because the writers or director thought it appropriate to stick to a happy scene at the very end of the movie. Since we are going to be talking about the endings of different movies, it is appropriate to say that there will be a lot of spoilers so we would like to warn you before you go on reading the rest of the piece. Let’s look at the 15 movies ruined by happy endings:


15. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle 2017

Image Source: imdb.com

It is hard to imagine a movie featuring movie featuring Dwayne Johnson not having a happy ending. The 2017 action-adventure flick was quite enjoyable and every actor played their respective parts to perfection. The film starts with Alex Vreeke getting sucked into the Jumanji Game World in 1996. 20 years later, when the main characters enter the game world and encounter Alex Vreeke’s avatar, they tell him that the latter has been gone for 27 years.

Vreeke, unaware of the time he had spent in the game world, gets dejected upon knowing the truth. It is an emotional moment that gets completely undone once all the characters successfully return to the real world. It is revealed that Alex Vreeke was returned to the same time during which he disappeared and this gave him a chance to relive his life.

Although it was a satisfying (and expected) ending, the fact that Alex didn’t lose anything in the end, reduces the emotional weightage of his arc.


14. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

X Men Days of Future Past 2014

It is next to impossible to completely understand the Timeline in the X-Men movies. It seems like every installment undoes the events of the previous ones. X-Men: Days of Future Past is among the most well-received installments in the franchise. Featuring an ensemble cast along with an engaging story and brilliant direction, the movie beautifully converges multiple timelines and gives every character a chance to fight for a common goal.

However, the ending could have been a little different. After saving the future of mutants by preventing the growth of sentinels, when Wolverine finally wakes up in 2023, he comes across multiple mutants in the X-Mansion, including Jean Grey and Cyclops (who were killed off in the third installment). This completely rewrote the events that transpired in The Last Stand and it might not have been the smartest move as it made the timeline even more confusing to grasp.


13. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003)

The Lord Of The Rings The Return Of The King 2003

The Lord of the Rings film series has no match in terms of brilliance. From the mesmerizing sets to remarkable action sequences, visuals, and amazing character portrayals, it seemed like nothing could go wrong with the saga. For almost the entire part, that was true. The Return of the King served as a satisfying conclusion to a well-executed trilogy.

As it happens in most of the stories, a happy ending was observed in this movie as well where the heroes prevailed and every subplot was wrapped up convincingly. However, what should have been a satisfying end was prolonged to such an extent that viewers started losing interest. It is said that exaggeration ruins everything and it could have been easily prevented in this case. Still. The LOTR film series stands among the best movie franchises of all time.  


12. Boxing Helena (1993)

Movies Ruined by Happy Endings Boxing Helena 1993

Boxing Helena, at the time of its release, was being anticipated by many as people were curious how Jennifer Chamber Lynn would fare in her first outing as the director of a feature film. The plot revolves around a surgeon named Nick Cavanaugh who gets abnormally attached to the titular character Helena, a beautiful woman who becomes a victim of a brutal accident.

Nick kidnaps her to complete the treatment process in his home. However, he surgically removes her limbs to control her. This intriguing thriller throws it all away in the end when it is revealed that Nick was dreaming the whole time. The pursuit of a satisfying ending led to an unintentional disaster. 


11. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1996

When Victor Hugo’s outstanding gothic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame was being adapted into a live-action feature by Disney, most people were concerned as Disney had never been a fan of depressing endings, which is exactly how the 1996 film should have ended.

Notre Dame Cathedral Quasimodo was disfigured and he struggled to find acceptance in society due to his overly different appearance. What happened from there is what you can expect from a standard Disney movie. He gets accepted by a Gypsy Esmerelda and in the end, saves the day from the villains, much to everyone’s delight.

He is then assumed to live happily ever after as a hero. The younger audience should have loved the ending and gone home happy. In the novel, however, Esmerelda and Quasimodo end up dying. Although Disney’s approach makes sense, given its target audience, it was their chance to do something different and they decided not to. Regardless, the film is pretty enjoyable, especially if you haven’t read the novel.  


10.  The Game (1997)

Films Ruined by Happy Endings The Game 1997

Even though this thriller movie is by the immensely talented David Fincher, the ending of the movie is so awful that it does not seem like his movie. The main character of the movie is a rich banker who is denied entry to a high-stakes game that is played by all the other wealthy people but he does not know why he is denied entry.

After that, his life starts crumbling from the most peculiar events; he is chased by goons, buried alive, and driven to suicide. The twist comes when the movie reveals that all the odd events were part of the game and he was never denied entry to it.

He had been playing all along without knowing what was happening to him. We think that the movie could have gone a lot differently without the character being driven to kill himself just because of the game.


9. War of the Worlds (2005)

War of the Worlds 2005

It might sound like a fun movie with there being an alien invasion of Earth by Martian invasion but apparently, that is not enough to make a movie good. The film stars Tom Cruise’s son whose character did not know how to do anything right in the movie.

It is very clear from the beginning that Robbie does not have any sort of combat training which means that he should have steered clear of the way but did he do that? The answer is expected; whilst the Martians are attacking and destroying humanity itself, Robbie decides it best to head into the fight himself.

He enters a fully engaged battle between the aliens and the army without a single weapon hoping to fight. You are probably predicting his death but nothing of the sort happens. Robbie was looked after by some guardian angel because of whom, at the end of the movie, we see Robbie not only alive but completely fine, without a single scratch on his body. The alien invasion is not an unrealistic thing in this movie, him being unscratched and alive is.


8. World War Z (2013)

World War Z 2013

It starts as a grisly zombie movie where the main hero, Brad Pitt, and his family are stuck in a sea of zombies when a pandemic breaks out. The movie is based on a novel of the same name but very loosely; if you watch it, you will see the discrepancy and the rough transitions between the scenes. There were plenty of rewrites, so much so that the third act of the movie was entirely reshot.

The movie sure starts great but suddenly the viewers see Brad Pitt roaming the facilities of the World Health Organization where he tricks a whole horde of zombies and finds a temporary solution to remaining safe from the zombies. Moreover, you even see our hero doing a cheap product placement when he drinks a can of soft drink for no apparent reason.


7. Minority Report (2002)

Films Ruined by Happy Endings Minority Report 2002

This movie comes straight from the mastermind Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Cruise which was enough to hype up anyone when the movie was about to come out. This sci-fi movie is pretty cleverly crafted with there being a system of experimental combat that fights crime before it even takes place and it is all thanks to a bunch of people who have a precognition of the events.

Tom Cruise is a police officer who is on a mission but suddenly he is targeted by the system as a future murderer and he runs. In the end, our hero gets caught and is imprisoned even though it becomes clear that he is just being framed. If the movie had ended here then it would surely have been perfect but just in the end, his ex-wife busts in and saves him, and both of them discover the truth which is that the main villain is the director of the system himself.

We are of the strong opinion that the movie could have ended with Cruise being implicated and imprisoned without his ex-wife making an entry into the film.


6. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises 2012

We know that our readers might be enraged and surprised to see this movie on the list but the truth is that Christopher Nolan’s movie deserves to be categorized just so. You would think that people would let Batman rest with the Caped Crusader where he made the ultimate sacrifice i.e. his life but Nolan goes on to make another movie.

The movie itself is pretty good, there is no doubt but the ending is a bit too much because Batman survives the nuclear blast that he set off. He was thought to be dead because who lives after a nuclear blast? But apparently, Batman had some sort of protective suit or some other hidden talent that saved his life. We think that everyone should pretend that Alfred never saw Bruce Wayne or Selina and then the ending would make a lot more sense.


5. Source Code (2011)

Source Code 2011 Movie Ruined by Happy Endings

The movie has a strong start with a commuter train being blown up by terrorists. To recognize the bomber, a US Army captain’s mind is implanted with the last 8 minutes’ memory of one of the passengers who died on the train and it is an attempt at an alternate reality. The main hero (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) relives those excruciating minutes a lot of time but unfortunately for him, he falls in love with a woman on board.

Now you must be thinking that that sounds pretty depressing because that woman is dead but apparently, the very fabric of the universe fights to keep their love thriving so not only does the hero of the movie save the day somehow but also gets to live his life with his lady love in an alternate reality by falling into a coma. How bizarre is that!


4. The Vanishing (1993)

Flick Ruined by Happy Endings The Vanishing 1993

It is an American remake of a French-Dutch film that centers on a man who is continuously in search of answers regarding his girlfriend’s sudden disappearance 3 years ago. During the search, he comes across a man who claims that he is responsible for the whole thing. Now the original movie shows that the main hero of the movie gets buried alive.

But the American remake sees the hero magnificently getting out of the grave, bravely killing the perpetrator, and turning his story into a novel which he later sells to a publishing company and becomes famous.

You would think that this happy ending which is so different from the original would twist the actual director’s knickers but as it turns out, the director for both movies is the same guy which does not make sense. The confusion is why did he not stick to the original ending which was way better.


3. Savages (2012)

Savages 2012

It is a movie that is not talked about much because not only the main plot of the movie is down in the dumps, but the twist that was the ending was so dull and mind-boggling in a bad way that you are sure to feel that you have wasted around 2 hours of your life. It follows the story of the three main characters who belong to a small town, are drug dealers, and are in a polyamorous relationship.

The characters almost die because of a raging firefight whilst they go under a self-inflicted overdose and just as you are thanking God that they will all die and the movie will end, it turns out that everything up till now had been happening in a nightmare of one of the three. They somehow go on to help the police arrest the real bad guys of the movie. Right at the end, the trio goes to an island like a paradise to live out their happy days.


2. Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

Memoirs of a Geisha 2005

The movie is based on the novel by Arthur Golden which portrays the life of a Geisha, a Japanese courtesan, and outlines all the not-so-glamorous details of such a person’s life. Both the novel and movie follow the main character, Chiyo, who is shown to fall in love with a chairman.

The ending is where the novel and film differ; whilst the author went for a more female-empowering story where Chiyo leaves her old life behind and moves to New York where she opens up her teashop and is content with her own life, the movie tries to stick a happy note on it by showing that the protagonist and chairman end up together.

The movie completely tramples on the novel’s idea of Chiyo being satisfied with her freedom, instead, it shows that she feels fulfilled because she has a man by her side which was portrayed as her ultimate romantic fantasy.


1. The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

The Adjustment Bureau 2011

There is no doubt that this sci-fi movie is a complete gem but again, it has been ruined by the upbeat end of it. The plot of the film sees Matt Damon as the star of the movie where he is a congressman and living his best life when he suddenly discovers a shady organization called The Adjustment Bureau and once he does, his life is suddenly turned upside down.

The job of this organization is to carry out and maintain a system called “the plan” which is a map of every human’s life on the planet but since it is pre-planned, not one human has free will or the power to self-determine. Once the dauntless Matt Damon figures it out, he takes up the responsibility of fighting back whilst he runs away with his forbidden lover played by Emily Blunt.

When the agents of the organization get a hold of them, the main characters share one last kiss but soon Matt Damon finds out that they both have been allowed to live their lives freely because their love is admired by the bureau.

Did we miss any of the movies ruined by happy endings? Feel free to share your views in the comments below!

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