The Happy Ending: Ten-year-old Elliot (Henry Thomas) watches on as alien buddy ET is taken home by his family in a shiny, blinking spaceship.
The Depressing Implications: Hurray, ET’s been reunited with his kind and whisked off home amongst the stars.
But boy is that depressing, not least for poor little Elliot, who’s lost his only friend.
Thank goodness the sequel - featuring carnivorous evil albino ETs - never made it past the treatment stage.
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Nov 21st 2012, 7:21
in The Thing isnt it Childs played by Keith David that escapes with MacReady ?
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Nov 21st 2012, 9:02
Well, about "The Thing" (like marc96 stated: it was Keith David). I think it was perfect. Was meant to be like that. Keeps us guessing ... did they make it? Was one of the in the end infected?? It was a good ending. Then the ending in "Gladiator". It's not what I would call an Un-Happy Ending. He didn't really have much to live for anymore anyway. He just wanted revenge. And he got it and now he's back together with his family in the afterlife. The filmmakers made it pretty clear that he was happy when he walked toward his son and wife. Then there's the countless disaster movies with "Happy" endings....leaving the world in ashes and pieces with Millions...even Billions dead (ID4, 2012 etc.).
Nov 21st 2012, 9:27
I watched Tyrannosaur last week. That should be near the top of the list. It's got the happiest ending possible considering all that the two main characters go through. Very hard going film.
Nov 21st 2012, 9:32
Surely it T2, once the Terminator is killed off, John Connor would cease to exist?
Nov 21st 2012, 10:02
I'm sure they just explain plot holes like that as a paradox.
Nov 21st 2012, 10:47
How did you get Last Samurai so completely wrong? If anything, Algren helped the Emperor to realise he couldn't sacrifice his country's honour and traditions in the sake of modernity; that a balance between the two would have to be found. And WWIi as the implication? Come on guys, that''s stretching even for TF.
Nov 21st 2012, 12:58
A great list, thanks, enjoyed reading my lunch whilst reading (yes, I eat practically on my computer). I'd add in Watership Down (the most harrowing children's film ever) and Minority Report. We all know how the latter film really ends.
Er, eating my lunch. Although I did read the nutrional info.
Nov 21st 2012, 13:04
Like the inclusion of Grease - no one ever seems to mention that Sandy just decides to utterly change everything about herself for him! Bit of a cop-out really.
Nov 21st 2012, 13:17
No "The Princess and the Frog"? Tiana gets her restaurant set up, her man etc. 70+yrs later - Katrina! So...yeah.
Nov 21st 2012, 13:27
@Hadouken76 - as T2 doesn't end with Cameron's original version of an older Sarah playing with John's grandchildren and there being a T3 & T4, we have to assume that they didn't change the future and therefore he would still exist. I personally (as a budding screenwriter) would have done T4 set in the future war and ended it with Connor 'smashing Skynet's defense grid' (as Kyle Reese says in the first one) but realising it was all a ruse and Skynet is still winning, Connor finds the time displacement machine, but sees that Skynet has only sent back the T-1000. There's then some 'Maguffin' explanation that time cannot be changed and as soon as the T-1000 was sent back, some 'Timey-wimey' wormhole effect meant that if the events of 1 & 2 didn't happen, the world would blow up (or explained a little less, you know....s*it) and so Connor is the one who has to send back the 2 'Arnie' Terminators and lie to Kyle Reese..............Ok, so that has nothing really to do with this article, but hey, i've been looking for somewhere to post this idea for ages.
Nov 21st 2012, 13:33
Im always bummed out (oo er) by the ending of Brewsters Millions, as Brewster walks off with a wimper and nobody knows that he wasnt a massive tw@t but acutally very clever!
Nov 21st 2012, 14:32
Of the 50 movies listed, only 11 actually have happy yet depressing endings.
Including a movie in this countdown because of what events happened in history a few years later doesn't make the end of the movie depressing. To say that "The pursuit of Happiness" is depressing because in reality the great depression hit the following year, for instance? That's reality! The movie is fictional!
And "Well, this character's a teenager so will probably change her mind after the credits roll" Err no, again, this is fictional and that's the end of the story. There is no post-credits, unless there is a sequel.
And don't even get me started on "Return of the Jedi" and your "Well, the death star shrapnel would have destroyed Endor". This is a fictional universe, where Endor is clearly a planet with a vast denseness which sustained the onslaught of such shrapnel. Or the shrapnel was all so small it was burned up when it hit Endors atmosphere. Whatever - IT'S FICTION!! Get a grip, TF.
Nov 21st 2012, 15:13
Childs is The Thing!
Nov 21st 2012, 17:01
No way is Childs The Thing.
Nov 21st 2012, 17:04
The one that's missing for me is Harold And Maude.
Nov 21st 2012, 18:47
The Beauty and the Beast inclusion is unnecessary. It's a Disney movie. Why not just let a happy ending be one? There's no reason to think that the French Revolution would even happen at all in that universe.
A lot of these so called "happy yet depressing" endings just seem happy to me. I mean, you're tacking on reasons why they should be depressing. Seems like somebody had a lot of time on their hands or something.
Nov 21st 2012, 19:49
But, you can clearly see that the rope wasn't tied at the end of Hard Candy.
Hence, Patrick Wilson's character didn't hang, just fell.
And maybe was caught by his girlfriend or by the police arriving.
Nov 21st 2012, 20:59
lol SiMan thats a good theory, although T1 and T2 are considered canon and the others just seem to annoy people. Best depressing happy ending has to be Silent Running. The forest is safe! But the robot is alone *sobs*
Nov 22nd 2012, 1:08
Lost in Translation not included? It was a sort of happy ending, but depressing still.
Nov 22nd 2012, 1:23
Ah brilliant. Nice to see Josh Winning returning to form. It's KEITH DAVID at the end of The Thing, not Wilford Brimley, and the character's name is Childs. It's pretty easy to spot, as Keith David is a tall black guy built like a brick s**t house and Wilford Brimley is a fat old white bloke. Seriously, how do you screw up an ending THAT iconic and work for a film mag?
Nov 22nd 2012, 1:24
# 38: Even major movie sites like this continue to misquote Field Of Dreams' most famous line. It's "..Build it and HE will come". Geez.
Nov 22nd 2012, 14:03
Uggggh, I tried so hard not to comment, but you got SO MANY OF THESE COMPLETELY WRONG. I finally lost it on Gladiator.....dude, he's MISERABLE in life, death is most certainly a HAPPY ENDING.
The THING was NOT a happy ending, PERIOD. Neither was LIFE of BRIAN, the song being happy is FUNNY because it doesn't fit...if it FITS, it's NOT FUNNY, proving the ending is NOT happy in the first place.
Lord of the Rings is ALSO not a happy ending...it's at best, bittersweet. They defeated evil but with GREAT PERSONAL SACRIFICE, that's the whole friggin' theme of the story!
And I lost count of how many times you had to INVENT things that happen after the END, which makes no sense, because then the END, is not the END. Or how many times you had to resort to historical events that take place AFTER the end (which means the end is not the end and) which means EVERY STORY, EVER, of ALL TIME, doesn't have a happy ending because none of us are getting out of here alive.
You had maybe 8 or 10 good ones...this would have been a good Top Ten list with some work. At fifty, it's one of the dumbest lists I've ever read.
Nov 22nd 2012, 14:16
Oh my God, thank you! The so-called happy ending of Grease was my biggest problem with that film - which, despite having some really catchy songs, is an overrated film in my eyes. It's like the message that they're trying to put across there is that if the man you're in love is embarrassed to be around you, if he's clearly showing glaring signs that he'll be cheating on you and is just generally an all out dick to you, then it's your own fault for not being sexy enough. Transform yourself into the complete antithesis of who you originally were, so that you can now live a potentially dysfunctional relationship where you're now living behind a forced s**tty façade while he still remains the d******d that he was before, not learning anything about his initial treatment of you. Because THAT'S the foundation on which a healthy relationship is built. Please! I really don't see how anyone doesn't see anything wrong with how disturbingly sexist that is. The initial point of their relationship was the fact that they were complete opposites. I think it would have worked better if they at least had it where they both learn a little something from each side - that injecting a little rebellion into Sandy's life wouldn't be too bad and that Danny learns not to be ashamed of her and appreciate her for who she is. By having her transform into a s**t, it just turns their relationship from a truly romantic one into something completely shallow and one-sided. This is a really long comment, I know, but that ending just p**ses me off so much!
Nov 22nd 2012, 14:19
Die Hard 2: Die Harder - a planeload of Brits goes down but that doesn't seem reason to interrupt the festivities as Let it Snow gleefully plays over the end credits.
Nov 23rd 2012, 12:24
how about 500 days of summer?
Nov 23rd 2012, 15:25
I am someone who agrees with you SteveWev - I actually like Grease, but I always see it as a kind of cynical message to girls that they need to completely alter who they are to nab the boy of their dreams. Unfortunately, this happens all the time, and probably not because of Grease - so perhaps it's just an accurate reflection of a sexist world - that was even more sexist in the 1970s and even more so in the 1950s. :)
Nov 23rd 2012, 17:04
50 First Dates, the character Lucy. When the film finished I actually teared up a little at the thought of her Father one day dying (or something happening to another loved one) and her having to be retold every day (or each day that she inquires after him) and each time her heart breaking.
Nov 23rd 2012, 17:16
Furthermore.. If Skynet failed the first couple of times, why didn't it / they just send TWO T-1000's back?
Nov 23rd 2012, 19:03
Hey, What's about the "City Lights" treatment '
Nov 24th 2012, 9:58
effbiscuits is spot on regarding Tyrannosaur---maybe viewer has EARNED some happy payback after a film that tough?
Beneath the Planet of the Apes blows up the whole Planet--depressing until you realise that it was the end of X-Factor, too.
Nov 26th 2012, 23:56
KRAMER VS. KRAMER -- There was talk of a sequel in which the parents, having made changes in their lives, actually get back together.
12 ANGRY MEN -- There's always the distinct possibility that the un-named, never-seen defendant actually did kill his father . . .
Nov 27th 2012, 14:09
#50 = welp, the entire epoch of the second world war's a sad event
Nov 27th 2012, 14:10
#45 = the kids got him covered, no worries
Nov 27th 2012, 14:11
#44 it is a sad ending for the producer, Al Fayed
Nov 27th 2012, 14:14
#36 saw this on the cinema and remember how the movie felt like a flop with the way it turn out with its ill-contrived ending of explaining things away as resolved by "REINCARNATION" balderdash. That's the sad reality of it :-/
Nov 27th 2012, 14:16
#31 - it is a sad thing for such a movie as this clinton era farce get a way of being presented like it's a wholesome family fare - when it has a whole lot of filth and humour that borders on the tasteless idjit kind of audiences infused for the mainstream
Nov 27th 2012, 14:20
#23 = "Always look on the bright side of life!" ~LoL!
Nov 27th 2012, 14:21
#22 -a divorce really is never been a happy ending
Nov 27th 2012, 14:24
#17 - ever seen the sequels? those were the unhappy part of it
Nov 27th 2012, 14:26
#16 - there's no problem with it, until now that they told there's a new trilogy sequel coming- that's the sad part
Nov 27th 2012, 14:28
#14 - unbelievable they cast a lead role who's acting's worth spit -- even more so, he won the academy awards! WTF...
Nov 27th 2012, 14:30
#13 - found his true love, but too bad she's a replicant, now Dekkard'd be stuck with it.
Now what's really sad is I can no longer find that copy of the 4 disc dvd edition, darnit!
Nov 27th 2012, 14:33
#7 - moviedom, getting infested by non-credible actors and actresses, that's depressing
Nov 27th 2012, 14:34
#4 - actually there's a fitting end! :)
Nov 27th 2012, 14:37
#2 = you know what's really depressing? -- Good movie franchises turning sour to the note of a cash registry
*# kh-CHINNG! $$!!
Feb 20th 2013, 14:42
@LSJShez - I don't think Harold and Maude made the list because if anything it was the opposite. i.e. a seemingly depressing ending, but when you really think about it probably inevitable and allows Harold to get on with his life.
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