Director Paul Verhoeven was initially looking for a high-profile actress to take on the complex Basic Instinct role, but none of the 13 actresses he had in mind before Stone would agree to the racy stipulations of the contract.
Sharon Stone Almost Became A Lawyer
Sharon Stone initially had a tough time finding the perfect breakthrough role that would launch her career and allow her to establish herself as a serious actresses. Stone struggled so much, in fact, that she was actually contemplating leaving acting for good. Just before she was cast as Catherine Tramell, Stone was weighing her options and considering pursuing a degree in law. Luckily, her patience paid off in the end and she is now a well-established actress and a household name.
In a later interview with Playboy, Sharon stone admitted that she felt uncomfortable with co-star Michael Douglas and that he most likely felt the same way. She went on to say, “I think that kind of discomfort lends itself to this kind of movie. Tension is good. I basically didn’t get to know Michael. There was something about the mystery of not knowing each other that lent itself to this situation. It’s odd, because now I have this very intimate bond with a stranger.”
Douglas Hit The Jackpot
Meanwhile the role of Detective Nick Curran was only turned down by Wesley Snipes and Denzel Washington. Other actors considered for the part include A-list names such as Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Harrison Ford, Dennis Quaid, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Tom Hanks, Michael J. Fox, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Al Pacino, Nicolas Cage, John Travolta, Richard Dean Anderson, and Chuck Norris. The part ultimately ended up in the hands of Michael Douglas
The Real-Life Catherine
The character of Catherine Tramell was based on a go-go dancer who Joe Eszterhas met under interesting circumstances. After a night out, Esztererhas and his new dancer friend returned to his hotel room where they proceeded to have some fun together. Following the interaction, the go-go dancer reached into her purse, pulled out a weapon, and pointed it at Eszterhas. Luckily, things didn’t escalate from there and Eszterhas was actually able to hold a meaningful conversation with his new friend.
Only The Real Thing
All of those infamous romantic scenes were just about as close to the real thing as possible. There were no body doubles used when filming any scene from Basic Instinct. Despite Paul Verhoeven’s desire to create the first mainstream Hollywood film ever to display certain illicit body parts, Michael Douglas refused to bare it all for the camera. Douglas also refused to portray Detective Nick Curran as a bisexual man, a characteristic that was written into Joe Eszterhas’s original script.
Joe Eszterhas’s script ended up being sold at auction just three days after he finished writing it. Even though Eszterhas originally went with the title, Love Hurts, the film was ultimately auctioned off under the title Basic Instinct. Despite Eszterhas’s unique lack of time-management skills, his script ended up selling for an impressive $3 million. Back in the 1990s, this price was pretty much unheard of. We just hope he took the time to run his work through a quick spell-check!
Major Plot Hole
Following the success of Basic Instinct, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas confessed to one major plot hole. Despite the fact that DNA testing methods and analysis have been used to uncover crime scene evidence since the mid-1980s, Basic Instinct, which was meant to take place at the time of its release in the early 1990s, failed to feature any references to DNA evidence throughout the movie. In hindsight, DNA evidence could have confirmed that Catherine Tramell was with Johnny Boz at the time of his murder.
Nick Was Supposed To Be Kathleen
The part of Nick Curran, which was eventually given to Michael Douglas, was originally imagined by screenwriter Joe Eszterhas to be a lesbian detective. Eszterhas reportedly had Kathleen Turner in mind for the role before the character was taken in a different direction. After Douglas got the part, he was asked to portray a bisexual detective. But the high-profile actor decided he was already risking enough by accepting the part to begin with so Detective Nick Curran ended up being a straight male.
A Rehearsal Scene Made It To The Final Production
Basic Instinct broke many cultural and social boundaries that were present in film during the early ’90s. Director Paul Verhoeven was adamant about including numerous passionate romantic scenes. One particular scene between Michael Douglas and Jean Tripplehorn was actually performed while the two talented actors were in rehearsal. Douglas and Tripplehorn had no idea they were even being filmed to begin with. Director Paul Verhoeven liked the rehearsal footage so much that he decided to feature it in the final production.
In his youth, Michael Douglas was an avid car racer. When it came time to film Basic Instinct, Douglas decided that he wanted to relive a bit of his younger years and touch up on his driving skills. When filming began, Douglas chose not to use a stunt driver and performed most of his car stunt scenes on his own. While he still has yet to become a professional Nascar driver, his talents in Basic Instinct are still impressing us to this day.
Brooke Shields Turned It Down
Brooke Shields, famous for her breakthrough racy childhood role in 1978’s Pretty Baby, turned down the part of Roxanne “Roxy” Hardy. Like most of the high-profile actresses who were offered roles in Basic Instinct, Shields turned it down because she wasn’t interested in taking part in the gratuitous, graphic, and revealing scenes that were required of whichever actress was chosen to play the part. For many actresses, the career risks involved with taking part in Verhoeven’s film outweighed the benefits.
Dressing The Part
Before the release of Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone was a relative no-name actress. When she first read the script, she knew she’d be perfect for the role of Catherine. However, Stone didn’t want to come off over-eager, so she waited until she was called by Verhoeven to dub lines for an airplane version of Total Recall. When she showed up wearing a tight, Catherine-esque dress, Verhoeven realized she could play the man-eater role and asked her to test with Michael Douglas.
Eszterhas Got A Little Too Much Credit
When screenwriter Joe Eszterhas needed to think of a name for Catherine Tramell’s character, he drew inspiration from one of his favorite baseball players of all time- Detroit Tigers shortstop Alan Trammel. When Sharon Stone did some research on her role, she discovered that the word “trammel” also happened to be a Scottish death shroud. Without understanding where Eszterhas originally came up with the name, Stone offered words of praise to Eszterhas for his high level of creativity and nuance.
Stone Was In Shock
Sharon Stone was in absolute shock, and even scared, upon seeing the final product and her powerfully unrecognizable performance. Stone would later confess to Playboy that, “Halfway through the movie, it was as if I were impaled. I was just sitting there, mouth open, staring at the screen, listening to my heartbeat and wondering how long it would be before it was over, wondering who I should call first to tell them never to see this movie. It was basic horror.”
Dispatching Riot Police
Before Basic Instinct was even out in theaters, the script was leaked and controversy was ignited. As one of the first main stream films was meant to portray lesbian and bisexual lead characters, Basic Instinct was met with heavy criticism and even protest from certain groups of people. In fact, the San Fransisco Police Department had to provide about 50 riot police officers at every location while filming to ensure the safety of the cast and crew in the presence of activists.
Marty McFly’s Cameo?
In one car-chase scene, while Nick is in pursuit of Catharine on California Highway 1, he passes a car with a license plate that reads “OUTTA TM.” Many detail-oriented movie fans have credited this as a possible reference to the license plate seen on Marty McFly’s car in Back to the Future which reads “OUTATIME.” It seems improbable that this license plate was included intentionally. Most likely, the driver of the car just happened to be a fan of Back to the Future.
Douglas Wanted Roberts
Michael Douglas was initially against casting Sharon Stone. Douglas wanted to share the spotlight with a well-established actress like Julia Roberts for a couple reasons. For starters, he knew the film would have a higher likelihood of box office success with two well-knowns in the credits. In addition, Douglas knew he was taking a big risk starring in such a racy and controversial movie and he wanted piece-of-mind knowing that his co-star had just as much to lose as him.
Five Days Of Filming
The biggest romantic scene of Basic Instinct between Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone took a full five days to film. Understanding the movie rating system as well as the explicit nature of the scene, director Paul Verhoeven made sure to have a surplus of close-up, medium, and wide range shots. This allowed Verhoeven the ability to edit and manipulate the scene until the Motion Picture Association of America felt comfortable giving the movie the R rating that Verhoeven was looking for.
Putting His Career On The Line
Michael Douglas stated that he chose to take on the role of Detective Nick Curran in Basic Instinct because he worried that romantic scenes were becoming extinct in Hollywood as a result of the AIDS epidemic, which was becoming a harsh reality in the early 1990s. Basic Instinct was certainly a big risk for a well-established actor. Douglas put his entire career on the line to star in a film that was guaranteed to stir up a bit of controversy.
Too Close For Comfort
During the disco scene, we watch as Sharon Stone’s character ditches one particularly close female friend so she can get up close and personal with Michael Douglas’s character. Many conservative audience members did not approve of this scene mainly because back then, discos were seen as a place for young people to engage in appropriate social behavior. Stone, who was in her mid 30s, and Douglas, who was in his late forties, were definitely participating in some less-appropriate disco activities.
Before Joe Eszterhas wrote the script for Basic Instinct, he worked as a crime reporter in Ohio for the Cleveland Plain Dealer news outlet. While reporting in Cleveland, he met and became friends with a law enforcement officer who was known for playing by his own rules and having an adrenaline-junkie mentality. Eszterhas was so intrigued by this police officer and his personality that he ended up using him as inspiration for Michael Douglas’s character of Nick Curran in Basic Instinct.
Fighting For The Right Rating
In 1990, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) initiated the NC-17 rating. The MPAA initially wanted to give Basic Instinct the NC-17 rating and they even pushed TriStar, the film’s distributer, to not edit for an R rating. This was because the MPAA wanted to prove that NC-17 didn’t only apply to adult films. In the end, however, TriStar’s contract required an R rating, so they edited out 45 seconds and the film was released with an R rating.
Joe Eszterhas was featured in a 2002 op-ed for The New York Times. During his interview, Eszterhas admitted that he regretted the way in which Basic Instinct glamorized smoking. Even during the most iconic scene of the film, Sharon Stone appears with a cigarette in her right hand. In 2000, Eszterhas was diagnosed with throat cancer. Michael Douglas was also rumored to have throat cancer in 2010, but it was later exposed that Douglas was actually diagnosed with tongue cancer.
It can often be difficult in Hollywood when directors, producers, and writers can’t come to easy agreements. Both screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and original producer Irwin Winkler left the production after having script disagreements with Paul Verhoeven. Verhoeven then reached out to Gary Goldman, who wrote Total Recall, to create new scenes that were meant to toughen up Michael Douglas’s character. Verhoeven eventually discovered that his script-changes would be difficult to string together in a logical way, so he apologized and reconciled with Eszterhas.
No Pain No Gain
During the ice pick murder scene, the ice pick was only suppose to make contact with packs of fake blood on Bill Cable’s chest. Sharon Stone was so invested in the scene, however, that Cable suffered multiple puncture wounds, up to an inch deep, on his chest. At the time of the shot, Cable was the only one aware of what was going on and his screams of agony were real. Luckily he was only left with a few scars.
Read Her Lips
During a scene in the original theatrical version, police are questioning Catherine Tramell about her previous dating stint with a man referred to as “the old rocker.” In the film you hear her give an explanation of their romantic relationship which would be appropriate for a high school health class. If you turn the volume on mute and look closely at Sharon Stone’s lips, however, you might notice that her word choice in the original shot was actually slightly more vulgar and explicit.
LoveFilm, a movie subscription service, conducted a poll and named Sharon Stone’s infamous interrogation leg-crossing scene the most-paused “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” moment in movie history. For decades that followed, the iconic scene has become one of the most talked about moments in modern cinema. While it may not have earned her a Golden Globe, Sharon Stone’s boldness earned her two MTV Movie Awards for Best Female Performance and Most Desirable Female along with her reputation as a courageous actress not afraid to push boundaries.
Practice Makes Perfect
While you might think that acting and filming romantic scenes comes naturally to professional actors, in reality, they require quite a lot of planning and preparation. Leading up to filming parts in Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas spent hours rehearsing their intense intimate moments. Stone later joked in an interview about how well-choreographed the intimate scenes truly were. The actress said that herself and Michael Douglas were something similar to “the horizontal Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of the ’90s.”
Preparation Is Key
Director Paul Verhoeven was determined to push the boundaries with intimate romantic scenes in Basic Instinct. Verhoeven knew that it wouldn’t be easy to convince the higher-ups that the shots he had in mind were for artistic purposes and not just for the sake of showing something graphic. Verhoeven went to great lengths to ensure that his vision become a reality. He scheduled meetings with the studio executives, and came fully prepared with accurate and precise storyboards displaying his ideas.
Keep On Rolling
Talk about it the zone! Joe Eszterhas reportedly wrote the entire script for Basic Instinct within a period of just ten days. Believe or not, he didn’t even use a story outline when he began writing! You might be curious how a writer can remain so inspired for such a short and intense period of time. Eszerhas disclosed that he listened to the Rolling Stones non-stop for the entire week and a half it took him to finish the script.
Nick Was Meant To Be Young
Often times, screenwriters have the freedom and flexibility to adjust their scripts as a movie is being filmed or before production begins. In the case of Basic Instinct, casting played a big role in the storyline. According to Joe Eszterhas’s original script, Detective Nick Curran was suppose to be a young man. After the casting directors went with Michael Douglas, however, the script was changed to make Nick Curran a forty-two year old police detective. In real life, Michael Douglas was forty-seven.
The Sequel Flopped
In 2002, Joe Eszterhas managed to bring back Sharon Stone for Basic Instinct 2. Michael Douglas, however, turned down the offer, believing he was too old to reprise his role of Nick Curran. The sequel, which came out close to 15 years after the original, ended up tanking in the box-office. Rotten Tomatoes’ analysis of Basic Instinct 2 states, “Unable to match the suspense and titilation of its predecessor, Basic Instinct 2 boasts a plot so ludicrous and predictable it borders on so-bad-it’s-good.”
You Snooze, You Lose
When it was time for screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and producer Irwin Winkler to find a director, their first choice was Milos Forman, a Czech director famous for directing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. While vacationing, Forman received a copy of the script and read through it. He liked what he read and was ready to sign a contract upon his return from vacation. Unfortunately for him, by the time he was home, Paul Verhoeven had already committed to direct.
Six Degrees Of Separation
Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas opened up to Hollywood Animal and shared that he once engaged in a one night stand with Basic Instinct‘s female lead, Sharon Stone. Eszterhas mentioned that he was grateful for his short-lived affair with Stone because it ultimately lead him to his current wife, Naomi Baka. While filming Sliver, another movie for which Eszterhas wrote the script, Stone had an affair with producer Willian McDonald, who eventually left his wife, Naomi Baka, for Stone, freeing up Eszterhas to make his move.
Sharon Stone’s infamous interrogation scene, in which the then-up-and-coming actress gives the detectives interviewing her a bit more than what they bargained for, was actually inspired by a real-life story from director Paul Verhoeven. While at a party back in his college days, Verhoeven encountered an attractive blonde who pulled the same trick in an effort to embarrass him. It apparently worked, and Verhoeven found the tactic so powerful that he insisted Sharon Stone recreate the bold move in Basic Instinct.
Basic Instinct served as Jeanne Tripplehorn’s film debut. Tripplehorn, who took on the supporting role of Dr. Beth Garner in the erotic thriller, had only previously acted in a few Off-Broadway theater productions and in a television movie titled The Perfect Tribute. Following Basic Instinct, Jeanne Tripplehorn went on to a long and successful career, appearing in movies like 1995’s Waterworld, 1999’s Mickey Blue Eyes, and 2005’s The Amateurs. She’s also been featured in episodes of Frasier, New Girl, and Criminal Minds.
Douglas Took The Heat
Even though their responsibilities a rather limited, actors often end up on the receiving end when it comes to the judgement of critics. Despite its tremendous box-office success, Basic Instinct still received its fair share of poor reviews. As the film’s leading male character, Michael Douglas ended up taking a lot of heat from critics. Douglas felt as though the critics treated him unfairly, especially considering that he had nothing to do with the directing, producing, or screenwriting of Basic Instinct.
A Proud Father
After attending the premier of Basic Instinct, Kirk Douglas, the father of the film’s star, Michael Douglas, offered words of praise regarding the courage and bravery that his son displayed in the making of Basic Instinct, a film which pushed the boundaries of film in the ’90s. Kirk would later jokingly comment on his son’s Hollywood success by saying, “If I had known what a big shot Michael was going to be, I would have been nicer to him when he was a kid.”
One Hit Wonder
Basic Instinct director Paul Verhoeven also directed 1987’s RoboCop, 1997’s Starship Troopers, and 2000’s Hollow Man. Just like Basic Instinct, all three of these films saw a good amount of box-office success upon their release. These three productions, along with Basic Instinct, saw so much success that they were actually brought back for a sequel. Each respective sequel was directed by a new director and, unfortunately, each sequel (aside from RoboCop 2) either tanked in the box-office or was released Direct-to-DVD.
Sharon Stone Had Nightmares
While many people believe that the most difficult scenes to film for Sharon Stone were probably those which involved illicit romantic activities, Stone would later confess that the biggest challenge she overcame while filming Basic Instinct was actually acting out certain scenes which were particularly violent. One specific scene, in which Catherine Tramell attacks and murders Nick’s partner Gus with an ice pick in an elevator, was so difficult for Stone to film that it actually gave the actress reoccurring nightmares.
She Didn’t Know
Sharon Stone once went on Inside the Actors Studio and admitted that she was unaware that she was being filmed below the waste during her famous leg-crossing scene. Basic Instinct Director Paul Verhoeven requested she remove her underwear because the bright colors interfered with the camera’s lighting, and she obliged, not knowing that the camera would be focused below the belt. Verhoeven has stated that Stone was aware of the shot but that her agent changed her mind after the fact.
Stone Was All Alone
When it came time to film Sharon Stone’s iconic leg-crossing scene, the reactions of the interrogators, including Wayne Knight’s frightful gulp, were actually filmed separately. Stone had requested to film her part at the end of the day’s shoot. By then, most of the actors had been sent home and only necessary crew members were left on set. Verhoeven later explained that filming was quick. Once they got a few wide shots and a few closer shots, they called it a day.
Slap In The Face
The leg uncrossing and re-crossing part of the well-known interrogation scene was actually not even written in Joe Eszterhas’s original script. Director Paul Verhoeven thought it up in the middle of shooting. Sharon Stone, claiming the specifics of the shot were withheld from her during shooting, was so appalled upon seeing the final product that she slapped Verhoeven across the face. In recent years, Stone has gained a sense of humor about the incident, even parodying her power-move on Saturday Night Live.
Sometimes, while sitting in the theater, there is a twist, and that’s when you know a move is really special. There have been many great plot twists in the history of cinema, and we have pulled together some of those below.
American Psycho (2000)
Of all the plot twists in this classic thriller, that may be the biggest. Patrick, enamored with Paul, wants to see where he lives. He goes in expecting one thing, but instead, he is greeted with a pristinely clean and organized living space. Shocker!
Now You See Me (2013)
There is nothing like a good heist movie, right? Typically, there are a few plot twists, and that makes for an exciting watch, but with Now You See Me, one of the biggest twists really made this movie what it was. FBI agent Dylan was after the team throughout the movie as they executed the heist. Come to find out, he was there for a good reason – he was the mastermind behind it all.
Ex Machina (2014)
The artificial intelligence question has been examined in many different films, and most of them do have some sort of plot twist to them, but maybe none as big as the one in Ex Machina. Ava, the main AI, seems like a sweet person and even seems like she is beginning to build a relationship with Caleb… Until she goes psycho and locks him in his house and escapes into the world.
The Uninvited (2009)
Having just been released from a psychiatric hospital, main character Anna returns home to her family. Throughout the movie, Anna is plagued with flashbacks of a horrific fire that took her mother’s life. By the time the memories complete their cycle, Anna realizes that being reunited with her sister has all been a hallucination, as her sister passed away in the fire with her mother. She had not been able to cope with the loss.
Murder On the Orient Express (2017)
This movie is based on the very famous Agatha Christie novel, and it is one of those movies that delivers one heck of a plot twist. A mystery ensues, and when the famous detective Hercules Poirot gets involved, it soon becomes evident that many of the suspects wanted to do Edward Ratchet in. In fact, in the end, it comes to light that everyone has conspired together to commit the crime.
Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
When it comes to a coming-of-age story, there isn’t much that we haven’t seen. Typically, an outsider finds their way to a group of like-minded outsiders and then realizes it is okay to be themselves. However, in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, there are some dark twists that take place in this film. The main character struggles and eventually stumbles upon a tragic repressed memory. The plot twist shocks the characters, as well as the viewers.
The hero’s journey can take many different versions – even a musician struggling to master his craft. In essence, that is what Whiplash is. It’s a story of a drummer, Andrew, who just can’t seem to get anything right. However, when the movie takes a nefarious twist at the very end, it looks like Andrew is going to fall prey to the machinations of his teacher. In a classic Hollywood-style ending, the underdog triumphs even when his teacher switches out the music.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Charlton Heston and his fellow astronauts land on a distant planet to discover a race of intelligent monkeys. These monkeys are the dominant species, and humans are enslaved to them. This is the plot for the 1968 film, Planet of the Apes. But wait, there is a twist coming for the stranded astronauts. The crew eventually come to realize that they haven’t crash-landed on a foreign planet at all. Instead, they have traveled to the future, and they have been struggling for freedom on Earth all along.
Everything, Everything (2017)
It would be tragic if you could never feel the sun on your skin or go out and hang with kids your own age. In this movie, that is what Maddy, the lead character, has to live with. However, she meets a boy, and soon a romance begins to brew. Being together is tricky, though, as she is not allowed outside of the house for her own protection. That is what she and the viewers are led to believe, but in a plot twist of epic proportions, it is revealed that her mom lied and that Maddy is not allergic to the sun.
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Okay, Disney and Pixar movies are not notoriously known for their intricate plots. Typically, they are rather straightforward, but there are exceptions to every rule, as seen in Toy Story 2. As Woody would say, “there’s a snake in my boot!” In other words, there was a villain hidden amongst his friends the whole time. It was not a member of his tried and true gang, but rather his new (old) partners, Jessie and Stinky Pete. That’s right, the old miner Stinky Pete turns out to be the villain… Who would have guessed!?
Seven Pounds (2008)
This drama has a lot of impactful performances, but none are as powerful as to lead actor Will Smith’s performance. Though the whole movie is rife with tension and emotion, it isn’t until the big twist is revealed that you get the shivers. In the end, Will Smith’s character admits to taking seven strangers from their families while driving and texting. This is a shocking turn of events and is masterfully portrayed by Will in an epic finale.
Alfred Hitchcock was the master of suspense and the inspiration for a lot of young filmmakers. He excelled at the misdirect, and every one of his films was capped off with a plot twist of some sort. However, perhaps his most famous was in his classic thriller, Psycho. Throughout the film, we all think that it was Norman’s mother skulking around the hotel at night and getting rid of any temptations for her young impressionable son. In the end, we come to learn that Norman’s mother had passed a long time ago, and he had taken on a separate personality.
Shutter Island (2010)
Shutter Island is a period thriller that has Leonardo DiCaprio playing a US Marshal investigating the disappearance of a patient. There are cryptic notes left and clues to be found all over the psychiatric hospital. Unfortunately, things are not what they seem. In the end, DiCaprio wakes in the hospital to find out that he isn’t a US Marshal. In fact, he is a patient in the very psychiatric hospital he had been conducting his investigation in.
The Village (2004)
A small Amish community lives isolated, afraid to leave their village. Why? The village is surrounded by woods that have been inhabited by demons. One of their flock asks for permission to go to the city for medical supplies, which creates a domino effect that unravels the truth of the settlement. The truth! The truth is that the seemingly 19th-century village was actually constructed in the 1970s, the monsters in the woods are members of the village, and the city is set in the modern world.
Get Out (2017)
It already seems like a scary prospect – meeting your girlfriend’s parents – but it was much worse in the Jordan Peele thriller, Get Out. Once the couple arrives at the parents’ home, things begin to get a little weird. In fact, it gets so weird that the lead character tries to get his girlfriend to leave with him, but there are different plans underway. The girlfriend reveals that she and her parents work together to swap white brains into black men and that he is their next victim.
When you are writing or filming a series of movies, there have to be some unexpected twists and turns. If there weren’t, the franchise would fail and be forgotten as quickly as they hit the theaters. The Harry Potter franchise is a good example. There are many twists, but perhaps one of the biggest is what side Snape is truly on. Throughout the whole film series, it looks as if Snape is partnered with he who shall remain unnamed… But it is not so. In the end, it comes to light that Snape has been protecting Harry and his crew all along.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Crime thrillers are some of the biggest users of the plot twist mechanism in films. In this film, the big twist waits until the very end, and it is quite the doozy. Being investigated for a crime that they seemingly didn’t commit, five men begin meeting their end one by one. That is, all but one of them. It is then that the police finally realize that the only man left had been the architect of the crimes the whole time.
Pixar has a way of tearing at your heartstrings. They did it with Up and then with their Latin culture-inspired film, Coco. A young boy finds himself in the underworld and goes on an epic adventure to find a way to change his family’s mind about music. Along the way, he meets Ernesto and thinks, who he thinks is his grandfather. He is not, though. In fact, Ernesto actually facilitated Hector’s (Coco’s real grandpa) trip to the land of the dead. Pretty serious stuff for a kid’s movie!
The Others (2001)
Sometimes, ghost stories can be scary and sometimes, they can be boring. However, there are few that have an epic plot twist like the one in the 2001 film, The Others. Set just after WWII, a young mother and two children live in a remote house. The two children are ailing, and the young mother hires some help. Throughout the film, strange things begin taking place, and soon Grace (Nicole Kidman) thinks the house is haunted. She was partly right. In the end, she learns that she is the ghost, and tragically, so are her children.
The Orphan (2009)
Adopting a child that needs a home is a very charitable and enriching thing, but that is not the case in this horror film. A nice husband and wife take in a nine-year-old girl in the hopes of building their family. Unfortunately for them, this “little” girl is not so little, as she suffers from a rare aging disorder and is actually a 33-year-old woman. On top of that, she is a wanted criminal who plans on getting rid of the wife.
The Prestige (2006)
Sleight of hand and illusions are the name of the game in the mystery thriller, The Prestige. A magician never reveals their secrets, but that doesn’t stop their competition from trying to figure them out. Unfortunately, the secret that Borden has leads to a whole slew of bad things, and eventually, his competition learns that Borden is one of a set of twins. Angier, the magician’s competitor, had used clones instead.
The Departed (2006)
Mafia movies hit big after The Godfather, and since the late 70s, they haven’t stopped coming. Many of them are straightforward, but every now and then, one gets a little twisty. That is the case with The Departed. Two moles, one from each side, struggle to figure out the identity of each other. The big twist comes when Mark Wahlberg’s character shows up and sends Matt Damon’s character to swim with the fishes.
The Boy (2016)
There are few things creepier than a doll, and that is why so many horror movies use them as a plot point or even the villain of the whole film. In 2016, the horror film, The Boy, managed to use a doll as a diversion in their plot. Throughout the whole movie, you are led to believe that the doll is the one creeping around the house. Surprise! It’s not the doll but rather a person living in the walls.
Black Swan (2010)
The world of dance can be pretty competitive, especially in the world of ballet. That is, if you believe what Black Swan portrays in its epic, dark take of ballet rivals clawing their way to the top. Or was it a rival? In the climax of the film, the writer laid out a big plot twist. After having fought and stabbed her competitor, Natalie Portman’s character moves to take the stage, only to realize that she had actually stabbed herself.
The Visit (2015)
Everybody loves going to visit their grandparents. You get to have fun and get away with murder when you are there. That is what horror movie The Visit trades on. Two children are sent off to spend time with their grandma and grandpa, but things start to get a little weird. Eventually, the two are able to find a way to contact their mom, and they get quite the shock. Plot twist… Those aren’t the mom’s parents, and they have been staying with strangers the whole time.
Wizard of Oz (1939)
There are few movies that can manage to have two big twists in a movie, but the classic Wizard of Oz certainly does. The first is the man behind the curtain. The “wizard” is just a man working a machine that he uses to keep control over the munchkins of the land. Then, there is the fact it was all just a dream. Nowadays, that’s pretty cliché, but in 1939, that was the height of a plot twist.
Mystic River (2003)
Misdirects and wrong assumptions lead to tragedy in this crime thriller. After a young girl goes missing and is found later, one of the local guys becomes a suspect. Certain that they have the right guy, some others take the law into their own hands. However, they are wrong, and as this crime takes place, the real perpetrator is revealed. It was too late for the poor accused man, though, as he has already been dealt with in the harshest way.
Fight Club (1999)
The first rule of a good plot twist is to not see it coming, and few saw the one that was laid in the script of the classic, Fight Club. After dealing with tragedy and meeting up with the unassuming Tyler Durden, the narrator of the movie soon finds himself embroiled in mayhem and mischief. Through the whole thing, one thing is clear – there is something not quite right. That is revealed when it comes to light that Tyler Durden is just a figment of the narrator’s imagination the whole time.
Inside Man (2006)
Is there such a thing as the perfect crime? This movie starts with a man telling the story of how he committed the perfect heist. As the movie progresses through the man’s story, the viewer assumes that he is telling the story from a jail cell. Not at all. In fact, the big twist is… He is in a secret room in the vault and has been the whole time. In the end, we watch him leave the vault and walk out a free man.
While trying to repair the effects of global warming, there is a big accident, and Earth is sent into an ice age. To survive, the remaining humans build a train that circumnavigates the globe. Some of the inhabitants rebel, and a war ensues on the train. When all is said and done, the survivors leave the train and find out that the fact that Earth could not support any life was nothing but a lie.
Interstellar finds humans reaching out and looking for a new planet that can support them. All’s well and good until… duh… duh… The big twist. You find out that the lead character has lied about the planet’s capability to support life. He then gets rid of the only other person that knows the truth.
Lone Star (1996)
A crime in town opens up the newly elected sheriff’s eyes to some very interesting facts regarding his illustrious father’s past. He learns that there had been another woman. As the investigation goes on, so too does the young man’s venture into the past. Eventually, we find out that the young sheriff’s love interest is actually his half-sister. They are both shocked and hurt over the lies that they had been told.
The Mist (2017)
The mist moves in, and people begin to suddenly disappear… Or worse, they have their lives taken from them. With only a handful of people left, the lead character begins to lead them out of the city. There seems to be no way out of the situation, so to save the rest of the group any more pain, the lead character becomes the grim reaper. Once he has done this, the Army arrives to save all the people, only to find out he is the only one left.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
A banker lands in prison for a horrific crime and then sets about making himself useful to the people in charge. Using his skills to help them launder money, they make quite a bit of money. All Andy asks for in return is a poster of Raquel Welch and a spoon. The big twist comes when Andy doesn’t show up for roll call, and the reason for the spoon and poster is revealed. He has been tunneling out of the prison for years.
There are a lot of twists and turns in every incarnation of the Saw films, but the first is probably the most iconic, and some may say the most epic, too. Waking to find himself chained to a corpse, the main character must struggle with the tests and tasks that the disembodied Jigsaw lays out in front of him. He finds out in the end that the body he had been attached to was, in fact, Jigsaw himself, who was very much alive.
Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Two sons welcome their mother home after a trip to the hospital and some major surgery. Their happiness turns into a fear that the woman who is now at home is not the same person who went to the hospital. Suddenly, the twins begin to lose their minds and commit horrible acts. The mother, afraid for her life, eventually breaks down and pleads with her son and tells him that his twin is no longer with them and that he hasn’t been for some time. That means that the twin he had been talking to the whole time was nothing but his imagination.
Gone Girl (2014)
Gone Girl is one of those thrillers that was so craftily written that there are many plot twists we could talk about. For us, though, the biggest was how cunning the sweet, innocent Amy actually was. She had been crafty enough to frame Nick for the crime, and then halfway through, she lays out how she did it and that he was innocent. Perhaps, she wasn’t so sweet and innocent after all.
Following the ratification of crime through several decades, this romantic war drama is one that has a significant twist. After accusing her sister’s beau of a horrific crime, the story turns into something completely different. The rough life and consequence of the false accusation become the core of the story, until it is revealed that the story is being written by the accuser to give the couple the ending that they deserved – in essence, atoning for her sin.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Ranse Stoddard is up for another political advancement and gets word of his friend’s passing. While attending the funeral, his conscience gets the better of him and he decides he will not take the appointment. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn what troubles him, and when all is said and done, we learn that he was not the man who shot Liberty Valance – the deed he had ridden to get to where he was. Another flashback reveals that his friend who had passed was the actual hero of the story.
Soylent Green (1973)
The future is filled with too many people, too much pollution, and climate troubles. All of this has left the world running short on food. The nations of the world had to figure something out, and a company called Soylent Industries figured it out. As a couple of detectives begin to investigate who has taken the life of a wealthy influential member of society, they soon learn a horrific truth. The new ingredient in the latest Soylent product is actually people.