The 13 best twists and turns in cinema history

Les 13 meilleurs rebondissements de l'histoire du cinéma

A great film can be made even better by a twist that no one expected. Twists and turns can be used to either shock the audience or make them feel incredibly good about themselves when they figured out the twist that no one else could come up with. Some of the best twists and turns left viewers staring in horror as everything came together and the truth of the story was revealed. Let's take a look at some of the best twists and turns in cinema history.

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13. Gone Girl (2014) – Amy's Complicated Plans

Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, this film follows Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), who returns home on his fifth wedding anniversary to find that his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), is missing. As the mystery unfolds and the truth emerges, the story becomes convoluted and dark.

Much like the characters, the audience becomes increasingly suspicious of Nick as the investigation into Amy's disappearance progresses. However, we soon learn that Amy is alive and well and that she meticulously engineered her sudden disappearance to frame Nick for her murder. When she decides to return to him, she murders a former boyfriend and gets artificially inseminated to ensure Nick's loyalty to her.

The film and many of the people involved have received multiple awards for what they have produced. Gillian Flynn, in particular, won Best Adapted Screenplay at several award ceremonies.

12. Se7en (1995) – The Last Two Victims

The twists and turns of Se7en

Andrew Kevin Walker wrote this crime thriller which became a major success, much to the surprise of its executives and studio. The film follows two detectives, William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and David Mills (Brad Pitt), who track and attempt to stop a serial killer who bases his victims on the seven deadly sins.

The two eventually find John Doe (Kevin Spacey), the serial killer who turned himself in after murdering his fifth victim. After threatening to plead insanity, Mills and Somerset take Doe to an undisclosed location where they receive a package. Doe reveals the final two victims: himself, playing the role of Envy and envying Mills' life with his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Mills, playing the role of Anger by killing Doe after learning that he had killed Mills' wife and unborn child.

While the film was initially criticized for its violence and dark ending, it was later considered one of the best crime, mystery, and suspense films of all time, and its twist was referred to as the one of the best in cinema.

11. The Sixth Sense (1999) – Malcolm Crowe is dead

Plot twists and turns in The Sixth Sense

M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed this psychological thriller. It follows Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), a child psychologist shot by one of his former patients, Vincent, who claimed Malcolm had failed him. He decides to repair his mistake with Vincent through Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), his last patient.

Cole reveals that he can see ghosts who don't know they are dead, and Malcolm offers to help the ghosts find closure. They break up, with Cole suggesting he talk to his wife (Olivia Williams) while she sleeps to better communicate with her.

Returning home, Malcolm realizes he is dead and remembers what Cole said, that he only saw dead people who didn't know they were dead. He accepts his fate and tells his wife that he loves her. Now calm, she bids him good night and Malcolm disappears in a flash of light.

The film and some of the people involved in the project have received several awards. Osment won a few for his performance, and Shyamalan for his direction and screenplay. Additionally, the film won People's Choice Awards for Favorite Movie and Favorite Drama Movie, as well as a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film.

RELATED: Orphan: The Horror Movie With the Biggest Twist

10. Primal Fear (1996) – There Never Was an Aaron

The secrets of art history

Based on the 1993 novel by William Diehl, Primal Fear follows Martin Vail (Richard Gere), a defense attorney known for taking on unwanted but high-profile clients. He agrees to pro bono defend Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton), a meek, stuttering altar boy prone to amnesia, who was seen fleeing the scene of Archbishop Rushman's murder.

While questioning Aaran about his past, particularly his meetings with the archbishop, the altar boy becomes violent and calls himself “Roy”. He admits to the archbishop's murder but refuses to let Vail show an incriminating videotape in court. It is concluded that he suffers from dissociative identity disorder.

After winning his case, Vail lets Aaran know that he will be placed in a psychiatric hospital for treatment and that he has a good chance of being released. Aaron then reveals that he had faked his personality and that Roy was who he really was.

Edward Norton received several awards for his outstanding performance.

9. Arrival (2016) – The film is palindromic

The twists and turns of the Arrial plot

Based on Ted Chiang's 1998 short story Story of Your Life, the film follows Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a linguist whose daughter Hannah dies of an incurable illness at age 12.

When twelve alien spaceships arrive on Earth, Banks and Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) are recruited to study the one in Montana. They establish communication with the beings within, and Banks begins to see visions of her daughter.

Banks understands that the aliens' language changes humans' perception of time, allowing them to live in the future. Banks' visions of her daughter are premonitions of her future. She then uses this knowledge to prevent a war. Donnelly expresses her love for Banks, and she knows she will accept him, despite knowing his dark fate.

The film was well received by critics and academics who praised Adams' performance and linguistic accuracy. Arrival won the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing at the 89th Academy Awards.

8. Shutter Island (2010) – Teddy Daniels is Andrew Laeddis

Shutter Island plot twists

Based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island was directed by Martin Scorsese. The film follows Edward “Teddy” Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), a deputy U.S. marshal who arrives on Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of Rachel Solando from the Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. However, he later admits that he is also there to find Andrew Laeddis, the man he believes responsible for the murder of his wife Dolores, about whom he had very sweet dreams.

He has headaches and flashbacks, and one of the patients warns him about the doctors' experiments and the lobotomies they perform on patients in a lighthouse. After a misadventure on the island's cliffs and caves, Teddy goes to the lighthouse, where he learns that he is Andrew Laeddis, a U.S. Marshal sent to Ashecliffe for murdering his wife after she drowned their children.

The film was well received and ranked among the best films of 2010.

7. The Others (2001) – Grace and her children are ghosts


This film, written and directed by Alejandro Amenábar, tells a goosebump-inducing ghost story. It follows Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman), a woman who lives in an isolated country house with her two children, Anne and Nicholas, while waiting for her husband to return from the war. Strange things are happening around the house, and Grace fears that “others” are present.

As the strange events continue, Grace plans to rid the house of any supernatural presence; however, she is stopped by the arrival of her husband, who disappears after a brief stay at home, insisting that he must return to the front.

After leaving the curtains open, endangering her children, who suffer from an illness based on photosensitivity, Grace banishes her servants from the house. The night her children learn that the servants are ghosts, they run inside and try to hide, but they are found by the “other” elderly woman.

Grace goes to confront the intruders at the request of one of her servants and discovers that she and her children are dead after suffocating them and committing suicide, and that the “others” are the new family that has moved into their house .

The film was well received by critics, who felt that it showed that expensive special effects were not necessary to make a film scary. The film won several awards, including the Goya Awards for Best Film, Best Production Design, Best Production Supervision and Best Sound.

Nicole Kidman was named best actress for her performance at several award ceremonies.

6. Psycho (1960) – Norman Bates is the psychotic killer


Based on Robert Bloch's 1959 novel of the same name, Alfred Hitchcock directed and produced this 1960 masterpiece, considered one of his best films. It centers on the events following Marion Crane's meeting with Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins).

After stealing $40,000 from her job, Marion (Janet Leigh) stops at the Bates Motel, where a shadowy figure murders her. Her sister, Lila (Vera Miles), demands to know her whereabouts while a private detective, Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam), searches for the stolen money. He stops at the Bates Motel and, after some research, asks to speak to Norman's mother, but she refuses. After breaking into the Bates house, Arbogast is stabbed to death.

Worried about not having any news, Sam (John Gavin), Marian's boyfriend, and Lila call the police, learn that Norman's mother is dead and carry out their own investigation. Together, they discover the mummified remains of Norman's mother and overpower Norman, who disguised himself as his mother and recreated another personality after killing her and her lover out of jealousy. Now the “mother” personality takes over and murders the woman Norman is attracted to.

5. The Prestige (2006) – Borden uses his twin; Angier uses his clones


Based on the 1995 novel by Christopher Priest, The Prestige was directed by Christopher Nolan and co-written by him and his brother Jonathan Nolan. It follows the rivalry of two magicians, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale), who attempt to perform the perfect teleportation trick.

Initially working under the mentorship of John Cutter (Michael Caine), the two magicians part bitterly after Angier blames Borden for his wife's death during a trick with a water tank. After losing two fingers in a sabotaged catch trick, Borden developed a trick called “The Transported Man.”

Angier is determined to learn the trick and is sent on a journey to find Nikola Tesla (David Bowie). Although initially a distraction, Tesla builds a machine for Angier and delivers it to him, warning that it will only bring him misery.

Angier performs “The Real Transported Man” trick with Tesla's machine and appears to teleport across the theater. Borden sneaks backstage to figure out how the trick is performed and sees Angier drowning in a tank of water. He is then found guilty of the murder of his magician rival and hanged for murder. Finally, Angier is shot by Borden, an identity shared by two identical twins who posed as Borden and Fallon offstage.

Angier's tricks were a little darker than Borden's. A new Angier was created for each performance, while the original was drowned in a tank under the stage. Critics praised the film and the actors' performances, although some felt that the two magicians had very little personality when “taking away their obsessions”.

4. Fight Club (1999) – The narrator and Tyler Durden are the same person

Fight Club

David Fincher directed Fight Club, based on Chuck Palahniuk's 1996 novel of the same name. It follows the unnamed narrator (Edward Norton), who forms a fight club with Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a soap salesman.

While the narrator's life is mostly calm, things quickly spiral out of control: his house is destroyed, he quits his job, and the fight club becomes a way for Tyler to recruit people for Project Mayhem. While trying to stop Project Mayhem, the narrator realizes he is Tyler Durden.

3. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – “I am your father”.

Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back retains the title of film with one of the most shocking revelations. It's not every day that a villain reveals to a hero that he's their father. Darth Vader's claim on Luke Skywalker was therefore completely unexpected.

In the heart of the cloud city of Bespin, Luke has just lost his hand and his lightsaber at the hands of Vader. He now hangs above the city's central ventilation shaft, refusing to join the Dark Side or Vader, since the villain killed his father. “He refuses to join the Dark Side or Vader, because the villain killed his father. “I am your father. Luke refuses to believe the villain and drops himself into the air vent in hopes of escaping the new revelation that has just shattered his world and that of the audience.

2. The Usual Suspects (1995) – Kint is Söze

The man in the street

This neo-noir crime film won Christopher McQuarrie the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and Kevin Spacey the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The film follows the events that unfold aboard a ship believed to be carrying Argentine drug traffickers and $91 million worth of cocaine, narrated by Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey), a physically disabled con artist.

Verbal explains that he and a few others were tasked with destroying the cocaine on board the boat to appease Keyser Söze, from whom they had all stolen. He then explains the legend of Söze. Verbal confesses that Dean Keaton, one of the men who robbed Söze, was behind it, but he refuses to testify and is eventually released.

As he leaves the police station, Verbal loses his limp and flexes his disabled hand. Then a fax arrives containing Söze's sketch, revealing that Verbal was Söze.

1. Knives Out (2019) – The “murder” of Harlan Thrombey and Ransom’s confession

Knives Out

Rian Johnson created one of the best comedy crime films with Knives Out. The film follows private detective Benoit Blanc as he attempts to solve the murder of Harlan Thrombrey and Harlan's nurse, Marta Cabrera, who accidentally killed Harlan by mixing his medications.

It is then revealed that Harlan tasked her with creating a false alibi before slitting her throat to protect her. It's a small revelation that makes the events a little more interesting. Finally, after trying in vain to create an alibi and being blackmailed, she confesses to the murder.

What follows this confession is one of the most satisfying revelations ever. White examines all the evidence, revealing to Marta that she did not poison Harlan and that his death was due to suicide. He then reveals that Ransom is the perpetrator of the attempted murder. Ransom, ever confident, claims his lawyers will help him escape any charges, and Marta reveals that one of his victims, Fran, Harlan's housekeeper, was blackmailing Ransom by telling him she knew he was the author of the attempted murder, is dead, which means that he has just confessed to a murder.

It's a fantastic moment that will leave you satisfied, especially since Marta's revelation is accompanied by her vomiting on Ransom because she is incapable of lying without vomiting.

RELIEF: Did Glass Onion hint at the murder mystery for Knives Out 3?


  • Most great films have a surprising plot.
  • Most of the twists and turns are huge and leave you in complete disbelief, like the reveal in Shutter Island.
  • Other films are marked by quieter, more thoughtful twists and turns, like the reveal in Arrival.

What twist in a movie left you in disbelief in front of the screen?