37 most shocking movie twists of all time, explained

Being caught off guard by a well-deployed twist is an unrivalled cinematic joy.

Over the years, writers and directors have imagined up fresh ways of keeping film audiences on their toes. Some remain astonishingly bold by today’s standards, while others have had the gleam worn off by the film’s they’ve gone onto inspire.

There are those filmmakers who have attempted to make the twist their trademark (see: M Night Shyamalan, whose 1999 release The Sixth Sense turns 20 this week.

Then there are those who have impressively shaped a film around its rug-pulling denouement (Christopher Nolan’s magician drama The Prestige was essentially one giant magic trick). Either way, they make for memorable viewing.

Intriguingly, twists are mostly prevalent in horror films, which is what makes it so breathtaking when they show up mid-way through a drama – or, even rarer, a comedy.

We’ve compiled what we believe to be 37 of the greatest twists in cinema history.

Click through the gallery below to see what has made the cut. Naturally, spoilers abound – and don’t go ruining the surprise for those who haven’t seen any of these films.

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