Nine Movie Titles That Are Also Spoilers

Lone Survivor

I've seen a few lists like this one, but their obvious choices left me wanting more. After all, just because you call your film Escape from New York or Saving Private Ryan doesn't necessarily mean the characters will escape from New York or save Private Ryan (even though they do); the titles are meant as commands or mission statements. The following nine motion pictures, in comparison, have titles that basically give away the ending.

  1. Lone Survivor (2013). This Mark Wahlberg war movie, still in general release as I write this, is about a four-man group of Navy SEALs in Afghanistan. Guess what? Three of them are killed over the course of the film, leaving Wahlberg the... lone survivor.
  2. The World's End (2013). Although the title alludes to the name of the twelfth and final pub that the film's protagonist (Simon Pegg) hopes to conquer on an epic pub crawl, the last five minutes of this sci fi comedy make it clear that said title is also meant to be taken literally.
  3. The Cardinal (1963). Otto Preminger's overlong drama about a humble priest's ascent in the Catholic church concludes with a brief scene in which the priest is ordained a Cardinal. What a surprise!
  4. The King's Speech (2010). It isn't until the third act that Edward (Colin Firth) is crowned King of England, and the speech itself comes at the climax of the picture. So any tension over whether he will become king and/or give an important speech is pretty much nullified by the title.
  5. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007). This is a gorgeous, thought-provoking modern Western, and there are many reasons to watch it. But it's not exactly a whodunnit, is it?
  6. Bicycle Thieves (1948). Almost every film student is made to watch this Italian neorealist classic, and it's very much worth seeing. For decades, American distributors opted for the alternate title The Bicycle Thief, perhaps hoping to obscure what goes down during the last minute or two of the film. But the plural evident in the original Italian title, Ladri di biciclette, indicates that, although the story follows a poor Roman father searching for his stolen wheels, eventually we're going to meet more than one bicycle thief before it's all over.
  7. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). If you've never seen this movie, or if it's been so long that you don't recall all the details, you might not realize that the titular bride only comes out at the very end.
  8. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993). From the sublime to the ridiculous: In this slasher film, everyone's favorite hockey-masked serial killer Jason Voorhees is blown to bits in the first scene. But his soul remains on Earth, infecting various people like a virus. Nevertheless, just as the title promises, Jason is indeed dragged down into hell at the end. (Sam Raimi's wacky Drag Me to Hell pulls the same stunt, to better effect.) But the title also deceives, in that this was not the "final" Friday the 13th movie. Jason returned in some form or another in Jason X (2001), Freddy vs. Jason (2003), and a 2009 remake of the original slasher flick that started it all. My soul just died a little bit as I wrote that last sentence.
  9. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990). Tom Stoppard directed this screen adaptation of his own absurdist play, based on two minor characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet. As you have probably surmised by now, the two protagonists do indeed die, hanged by their necks shortly before the credits roll. Runner-up: the even lesser-seen Penn & Teller Get Killed (1989).