Direct copy from the Premiere website but I want this for my archives.

So here they are: 20 Big-Time Movie Twists.

I’m actually surprised they did not include Saw (the best twist in years imo) or Memento but interesting list nonetheless.


Planet of the Apes

Movie: The Planet of the Apes (1968)
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
The Setup: A group of American astronauts crash land on a world where apes talk and rule, while humans are primitive slaves with no voting rights.
The Twist: The planet is actually Earth; the space ship traveled in time instead of space.
Fun Fact: The script was actually written by twist-loving Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling.

Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back

Movie: Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Director: Irvin Kershner
The Setup: After blowing up the Death Star in 1977’s Episode IV — A New Hope, Luke Skywalker trains to become a Jedi while Vader and the Empire strike back, frequently.
The Twist: Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Though as we learned later, he was also Princess Leia’s father and, in a way, C-3PO’s father. Which kind of makes him the Sith version of K-Fed.
Fun Fact: In an attempt to keep this twist a secret, the scene was originally shot with actor David Prowse — who was the guy in the Darth Vader suit — saying to Mark “Luke” Hamill, “Obi-Wan killed your father.”

Fight Club

Movie: Fight Club (1999)
Director: David Fincher
The Setup: On his way home from a business meeting, a normal shlub befriends a far more interesting guy named Tyler Durden, leading the two eventually to form an underground boxing organization.
The Twist: Tyler Durden is all in the narrator’s head.
Fun Fact: According to Variety, Fight Club was one of the first DVDs to be overseen by the film’s director, which might explain why it was, and still is, one of the better movie DVDs ever made.


Movie: Psycho (1960)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
The Setup: After stealing money from her boss, Marion Crane checks in the Bates motel, where people check in but they don’t check out!
The Twist: The murderer is the inn’s owner, Norman Bates, who thinks he’s his own mother, even though Mama Bates is dead … and kind of ripe.
Fun Fact: Among the women considered for the role of Marion Cane, which ultimately went to Janet Leigh, were Eva Marie Saint, Lana Turner, and Shirley “Mrs. Partridge” Jones.

Citizen Kane

Movie: Citizen Kane (1941)
Director: Orson Welles
The Setup: The story of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane is told by a reporter who’s trying to find out what Kane meant when, with his last dying breath, he uttered the word “Rosebud.”
The Twist: Rosebud was his childhood sled.
Fun Fact: Kane was inspired by real-life newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who was so “flattered” by his thinly veiled portrayal that, when the film opened, he decreed that no Hearst paper mention it. At all. Ever.

Soylent Green

Movie: Soylent Green (1973)
Director: Richard Fleischer
The Setup: The Earth has become so overpopulated that people will do (and eat) anything to survive.
The Twist: In the immortal words of Detective Robert Thorn, “Soylent Green is people.”
Fun Fact: On the cartoon Futurama, Soylent Green was the special ingredient in a parody of the cooking show “Iron Chef,” while in another episode characters enjoyed a nice, refreshing can of Soylent Cola.

The Usual Suspects

Movie: The Usual Suspects (1995)
Director: Bryan Singer
The Setup: After a group of criminals are caught during a heist, one of them, a crippled man named “Verbal” Kint, reveals that the entire plot was the work of master criminal (and urban legend) Keyser Söze.
The Twist: Verbal is Keyser Söze.
Fun Fact: Soze is actually Turkish for “talks a lot.”


Movie: Oldboy (2003)
Director: Chan-wook Park
The Setup:
After being held prisoner for 15 years, Dae-su is finally released, not knowing who held him or why, only that his wife is dead and his daughter is nowhere to be found. Joined by Mi-do, a woman he met in a sushi bar and later falls in love with, Dae-su tries to find out what happened.
The Twist: Mi-Do is Dae-su’s daughter … which he doesn’t learn until after they’ve slept together.
Fun Fact: Oldboy is actually based on a Japanese comic book of the same name, further proof that not all comic books movies have to be, well, comic book movies.

Mission Impossible

Movie: Mission: Impossible (1996)
Director: Brian De Palma
The Setup: After the members of his spy squad — including his leader, mentor, and friend Jim Phelps — are killed, and he’s accused of being a double agent, super spy Ethan Hunt goes on the run to clear his name.
The Twist: Phelps not only isn’t dead, but he planned the whole thing.
Fun Fact: Because of this twist, actor Peter Graves, who played Phelps on the original TV show, declined to appear in the film.

Friday the 13th

Movie: Friday the 13th (1980)
Director: Emile Chautard
The Setup: When a group of kids at a summer cap start turning up dead, they believe it’s the work of Jason Voorhees, a kid who years earlier was allowed to drown in the camp’s lake and who, they think, has returned from the grave to enact his revenge.
The Twist: It actually wasn’t Jason killing all those kids, it was his mommy. Which is just so embarrassing.
Fun Fact: In 1992, Jason was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the MTV Movie Awards.


Movie: Chinatown (1974)
Director: Roman Polanski
The Setup: Private dick Jake Gittes is hired to investigate what he thinks is a routine case of corruption and adultery. It turns out to be a tad more complicated.
The Twist: Evelyn Mulwray’s sister — slap! — is her daughter — slap! — her sister and her daughter! — slap!
Fun Fact: During the climactic reveal, Faye Dunaway asked Jack Nicholson to really slap her. He did.

The Wicker Man

Movie: The Wicker Man (1973)
Director: Robin Hardy
The Setup: Responding to an anonymous tip, Sergeant Howie goes looking for a missing girl, and ends up on a strange island full of human-sacrificing pagans.
The Twist: Actually, the pagans sent the anonymous tip to lure Howie to the island so they could sacrifice him.
Fun Fact: Christopher Lee actually appeared in the film for free. He has since said that he considers his role in the film to be one of the best of his career.

12 Monkeys

Movie: 12 Monkeys (1995)
Director: Terry Gilliam
The Setup: After a deadly virus nearly wipes out humanity, the last remaining scientists send James Cole back in time to find out how they can stop the Army of the 12 Monkeys, who they believe to have spread the virus.
The Twist: The Army of the 12 Monkeys was actually a PETA-like animal rights group that released animals from a New York City zoo on the same day the virus was released by some jerk.
Fun Fact: Like Christopher Lee and The Wicker Man, Bruce Willis agreed to star in 12 Monkeys for free, though he was eventually paid after the movie came out.

Jacob's Ladder

Movie: Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Director: Adrian Lyne
The Setup: When Vietnam veteran Jacob Singer starts hallucinating demons and his dead son, he thinks it has something to do with post-traumatic stress from combat.
The Twist: Jacob actually died in Vietnam, and everything he sees is a deathbed vision.
Fun Fact: Jacob’s doctor was played by Lewis Black, who’s now known for being a comedian, a Daily Show regular, and kind of twisted.

Eddie & the Cruisers

Movie: Eddie & the Cruisers (1983)
Director: Martin Davidson
The Setup: When the re-release of their only album returns them to the spotlight, the members of the long-defunct ’60s rock band Eddie & the Cruisers reminisce about their band and its dead lead singer Eddie Wilson.
The Twist: Eddie ain’t dead, he just grew a beard.
Fun Fact:
Unlike Eddie & the Cruisers, the band that performed all the music in the movie, John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band, is actually still around … and on MySpace.

Angel Heart

Movie: Angel Heart (1987)
Director: Alan Parker
The Setup: When private dick Harold Angel is hired by Louis Cyphre to find a missing singer named Johnny Favourite, it leads Angel into the bizarre world of New Orleans’s voodoo scene.
The Twist: Angel is Favourite, he just doesn’t remember, though Louis Cypher, also known as Lucifer, does.
Fun Fact: According to the IMDb, Robert De Niro’s performance as Cyphre is actually an impression of his pal and Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese.

The Game

Movie: The Game (1997)
Director: David Fincher
The Setup: Nicholas Van Orton is a tightly wound executive who eventually chucks himself off a building when his life goes to hell.
The Twist: Instead of being killed in the fall, Nicholas lands in one of those big air stunt pillows because everything that has happened — including having his house vandalized, being kidnapped and left for dead in Mexico, and accidentally killing his brother — was part of an elaborate game paid for by his brother as a birthday present.
Fun Fact: While doing such a game may have looked far-fetched 10 years ago, similar A.R.G.s (alternate reality games) have since become popular (and commercial) and have been used to promote things like Nine Inch Nails’s Year Zero album, the TV show Lost, and the upcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight.

The Crying Game

Movie: The Crying Game (1992)
Director: Neil Jordan
The Setup: After a British soldier is accidentally killed fleeing from the IRA members who had been holding him hostage, one of his captors goes to make sure the soldier’s girlfriend is okay.
The Twist: That girlfriend is a man, baby.
Fun Fact: This gender twist was also used, albeit a lot less successfully, in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.


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