Some of Hollywood’s Greatest Surprise Endings Revealed and Synopsized
Million Dollar Baby
Caught in an agonizing conflict between his faith and his love for Hillary Swank, Clint Eastwood elects to unplug his surrogate’s life support. After he departs covertly, a diaphanous, fey-looking Hillary Swank opens her eyes to the hospital room, now illuminated in the afterlife. Sitting on the hospital bed with her is child psychiatrist Bruce Willis. “Welcome to my world,” he says. There is an awkward pause, after which Willis adds, “I’m dead, you know.” Eastwood eats some pie. Roll credits.
Planet of the Apes
Bruised, broken, and exhausted, Charlton Heston lies supine on a beach, looking up and taking in the giant horror protruding unmistakably from the sea before him. It is the half-submerged form of Bruce Willis himself. “Dead, dead, dead!” shouts Willis. “It was Donny Wahlberg! That gunshot killed me!” “This place is full of apes,” answers Heston. Each man weeps for the other’s plight. Cue music.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Darth Vader, pausing for effect, fixes his black gaze on the eyes of Luke Skywalker, and prepares to deliver shocking news. Suddenly Bruce Willis supervenes, removes his Chewbacca mask, gurgles, and realizes that he is dead. Skywalker falls down a shoot. Hey look, a weather vane. Is that Lando? It is. Wipe shot, over and out.
The scam having gone off splendidly, Paul Newman gets up and removes his bulletproof vest. He and Redford have fooled that nefarious Robert Shaw, all right. “We did it!” exclaims Redford. Newman agrees and, gesturing at an unsuspecting Bruce Willis in the corner, says, “We sure did. I’m not dead at all … unlike that idiot over there.” Willis bristles: “What the hell are you talking about?” Détente.