Other alternate endings to movies

We’ve done the alternate ending to Big to death in a thread (yet it will likely rise from the dead like zombie again some day).

What are some other alternate endings people believe we’re shot, or just speculate on what possible it even less possible endings people might remember?

In the Big thread I think I mentioned the alternate ending to Groundhog Day where the groundhog runs away to a golf course and Bill Murray tries to blow him up. There is also the persistent myth that the Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla has Godzilla winning the fight.

Of course you can toss in actual alternate endings to movies if you want to.

My alternate ending to Forrest Gimp has him running through the seedier side of Los Angeles, only to be captured as a sex slave by a biker who runs a pawn shop.

Captain Kirk’s original death at the hands of Malcolm McDowell’s character was rejected because it was “meaningless.”

Not a movie, but my alternate ending for “Green Eggs and Ham” has the unnamed character collapsing from a severe food allergy and gasping out his last words: “I cannot eat green eggs and ham. I hope you’re happy Sam … I … am …”

If you’re serious about real alternate endings, the poster child for this (arguably) is Stanley Donen’s Lucky Lady, which eventually had three different endings because people weren’t satisfied with the first one, then with the next one:

I always imagined he got severely ill from food poisoning- even as a kid I thought that green ham hock looked waaaay past its prime.

If Kirk had to die, at least it should have been with an enigmatic smile, and his last word “Edith…”

This is another real alternate version. Not just an alternate ending, but almost an alternate storyline.

The 1951 RKO film The Whip Hand is about a reporter investigating mysterious goings-on around a quiet lake in Minnesota. It turns out that a group of Communist spies have taken up residence there, and in a secret laboratory are developing diseases to use in biological warfare.

That’s in the film as it stands now. Originally, the movie was going to be called The Man He Found, and instead of Communists making virulent disease germs, the secret was going to be that the mysterious figures were Nazis hiding Adolf Hitler himself, who had survived World War II and had escaped to America. Apparently this version was actually shot, and the movie was edited and ready to go. Hitler was played by Bobby Watson, who had a bit of a career playing Hitler.

Howard Hughes, who owned RKO Studios at that time, decided at the last minute that Nazis were old hat as villains, and ordered the villains to be changed to Commies instead. This necessitated extensive re-writing and re-shooting.

Of course, there’s the “Pie Fight” ending to Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

The terrific technothriller Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, has an alternate ending that is a bit less clear-cut a victory for the hero. I prefer the theatrical release’s ending, but the alternate ending does have some interesting dialogue about “the Constitution 2.0” that I thought would’ve been nice to carry over. You can see both on the DVD.

The 2014 action film Sabotage starring Arnold Schwarzenegger had 3 filmed alternate endings before they decided to go for the more “conventional” ending. The plot of the film involves Arnold being the head of a corrupt DEA task force that takes money from drug dealers during their arrests and is distributed equally amongst the team and the plot starts when some of the money taken during one of these heists winds up stolen itself causing each member of the team to suspect one another of the crime especially since the team members are being killed one by one by an unknown force. The background of the film also has Arnolds family having been killed by one of the drug dealers whom they had stolen money from.

The actual ending of the film involves Arnold finding out the sole female agent of the team was behind the killings of the other agents because she was angry that one of her team had stolen her money. We find out Arnold was the one who had stolen the money but only because he needed it to pay a bribe to some informants to find out the location of the drug dealer that killed his family. Arnold is shown killing off the drug dealer and his associates but is fatally wounded in the process, his mission complete.

The first alternate ending had the same premise except we find out the female agent had also been the one responsible for selling out and killing Arnold’s family in the first place as she had been a mole the entire time for the drug dealers, thus Arnold didn’t need to go far to track down his families killers and the film ends on that bleak note.

The second alternate ending we find out it was Arnold who had killed the rest of his team because they were all against him and his plan of taking direct revenge against the drug dealers since that would dry up the money from the heists they were doing against them. Arnold is killed by the police when he attempts to resist arrest in this ending.

The third alternate ending has the same premise, that Arnold was behind the killings but this time it was because he knew one of his team had tipped off the drug dealers to his families location and he decided that since he didn’t know who did it he might as well just kill everybody. In this ending after killing off the rest of the team he kills the cops tasked with arresting him and escapes with the money.

The studio rejected all of these endings since they didn’t want to make Arnold the villain and preferred a more conventional ending where Arnold is able to kill the people who killed his family directly.

Tennessee Williams wrote four different endings for Sweet Bird of Youth. He gave theater companies a choice of two (relatively) upbeat endings, and two downer endings.

The original Broadway production used the ending where the hero gets castrated by the villain’s henchmen.

In 1962, Hollywood obviously could not put that onscreen. So they tacked on an absurd ending, with the hero and the villain’s daughter running away and living happily ever after.

The movie based on the board game Clue had 3 different endings, depending on which theater you saw it at.

Terry Gilliam’s 1985 *Brazil *has a famous alternate ending, the “Love Conquers All” version, created by a Universal executive against the wishes of the director.
eta: This IFC article discusses Brazil and four other films with alternate versions/endings, including Hitchcock’s Suspicion:

Terminator 2 had an alternate ending where John becomes a senator and Sarah plays with her granddaughter (portrayed by Linda Hamilton’s/James Cameron’s real life daughter) in a playground. Changed not so much to allow for sequels (it’s not like they were churning them out like Disney and Star Wars sequels), but because it made the future set, not something they’d have to keep working for like the empty highway of the ending they did use.

The book contains all four endings. Honestly only one makes any sense.

The original ending of National Lampoon’s Vacation bombed at the test screening. Ramis & company hastily got another 500 grand from Warner Bros. to redo the ending, then another million to hire John Candy as the security guard.

I wonder if this had any connection with They Saved Hitler’s Brain, aka Madmen of Mandoras. :dubious: :confused:

The musical version of Little Shop of Horrors was supposed to end as the play had, with the plants winning. They made an elaborate apocalyptic ending (with one plant crashing through a theater showing Jason and the Argonauts, a tip of the hat to Ray Harryhausen), but it all got scrapped because test audiences didn’t like that “downer” ending. So they shot a new one. But at least they kept it a little ambiguous.