What are the best plot twists in movie history? There’s no better feeling as a film fan than watching a movie for the first time, completely unaware of what’s to come, and then being hit with an incredible, shocking plot twist that blows your mind. We love that kind of experience, so we’ve compiled a list of the best movies when it comes to plot twists.
The great thing about plot twists is, they can transcend any genre, any time period, and any language. You’re just as likely to find a brilliant plot twist in an epic science fiction movie, as you are to find one in a French drama movie. Equally, you can find some of the best plot twists in movies from years gone by, or in modern cinema, too.
So, strap yourself in and prepare to be stunned by some of the best plot twists in movie history as we break down the most stunning narrative pivots we’ve ever seen. Beware, if you see a film from the list below that you haven’t watched before, you may well encounter some spoilers ahead!
The best plot twists in movie history:
- Get Out
- Fight Club
- The Empire Strikes Back
- The Usual Suspects
- The Skin I Live In
- From Dusk Till Dawn
- The Guilty
Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele was better known as a comedian before he burst onto the filmmaking scene with this thrilling horror movie which has everything you could want from the genre. It’s got some spine-tingling jump scares, razor-sharp social commentary, and what we’re all here for – a plot twist that well and truly pulls the rug from under us.
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It’s fairly obvious that something is amiss with the Armitage family when Rose (Allison Williams) introduces her African-American boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) into the fold. But, as the sinister mystery begins to unravel, we still can’t quite work out what Rose’s intentions are. That is, until she jingles those keys and reveals her true nature.
Not only is Oldboy one of the best Korean movies of all time, but it also has one of the most jaw-dropping plot twists of all time, too. When Dae-su Oh emerges from captivity, we the viewers are just as clueless about what exactly is going on as he is, but the journey to answers is an enthralling one.
As the movie reaches its conclusion, and the truth is revealed, we are left speechless. Everything that Dae-su Oh has been through was all part of an intricate revenge plot, which is executed in the most cruel and meticulous manner.
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Oldboy was even given the remake treatment by Hollywood, but the Spike Lee movie was a complete fail, and Park Chan-wook’s version is the only one we acknowledge now.
Fight Club (1999)
We’re sure most people are aware of the plot twist in Fight Club by now, and we shouldn’t even really be talking about it to be honest. But, we’ll ask you one question – have you ever seen Ed Norton and Brad Pitt in the same room? Didn’t think so.
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Fight Club is one of the best ‘90s movies there is, and is David Fincher at his most grimy and gritty. Incredible performances, super-stylish aesthetics, and one of the biggest plot twists in movie history; what more could you want?
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
I mean, if you don’t know the twist from the original Star Wars movies, you must have been living under a rock on Tatooine all your life. Even those who aren’t fans of Star Wars are aware of the big reveal in Episode IV, where we learn of the connection between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
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Now, imagine witnessing The Empire Strikes Back for the first time back in the ‘80s, on a big screen, with a crowd of people who had no idea what was coming. Those four little words that Vader utters to Luke are enough to make the hairs on your arms stand on end, even still to this day.
Long before Denis Villeneuve worked his way to being one of the top directors in Hollywood with massive blockbusters like Dune and Blade Runner 2049 under his belt, the French-Canadian filmmaker was making a name for himself with blistering drama movies like Incendies.
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The plot twist at the end of this movie is an absolute gut-punch moment, for the protagonist and for the viewer. It’s not a particularly exciting turn of events, but it’s one of the most impactful and shocking narrative journeys of all time.
No one does it quite like the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, do they? His ’60s horror movie Psycho is quite rightly regarded as one of the best movies of all time, not least of all for the way it effectively pivots its narrative from a story of a woman on the run, to a man and his demons.
The shower murder scene will forever be one of the most iconic moments in cinema, and the revelation of who was actually behind that killing is enough to chill you to the bones. Don’t worry about Mother though, “she wouldn’t even harm a fly.”
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Who is Keyser Söze? That is the big question that plagues the various characters in this classic thriller movie. An intriguing cat and mouse tale of murder, mystery, and money, which leaves you guessing right up until the final frame.
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While the reputation of the director of The Usual Suspects and one of the movie’s stars has been somewhat tainted, the legacy of this ’90s movie remains strong. Stronger than that porcelain mug at the end of the movie, anyway.
The Skin I Live In (2011)
Director Pedro Almodóvar is better known for his rich, realist drama pieces, so when the Spaniard released The Skin I Live In, many viewers probably assumed they were in for much of the same. How very wrong they were.
While you’re watching this movie, you have all these ideas about where it might go, why certain things are happening, and how it’s all linked together. And then the big twist finally hits you, and you feel like you’re the one in need surgery, to pick your jaw up off the floor.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
You know what makes all good movies better? Vampires. I like to imagine the writing process for From Dusk Till Dawn was a fairly simple one, until Quentin Tarantino got distracted by the idea of a blood-sucking cult.
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This isn’t so much a plot twist, as it is a complete 360 degree cartwheel into a tonally very different movie. It really shouldn’t work, but it’s bloody good entertainment.
The Guilty (2018)
We venture into Scandinavia for this next pick, with the Danish movie The Guilty. You may well be aware of the recent Hollywood-ification of this brilliant flick from Netflix and Jake Gyllenhaal, but the original is always better.
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The premise is so simple, as we watch one man take emergency calls, until one particular call captures his and our attention. As an audience, we become so invested in the emotional story from the other end of the phone, that when the truth is finally revealed in the climax of the film, you can literally feel your heart sink.
So, there you have it, those are the best plot twists in movie history. We hope the next movie you watch can shock and surprise you as much as these movies did for us. In the meantime, why not check out our list of the best streaming services so you can find a new movie to watch.