Endings aren't always happy. Sometimes an unhappy, shocking or sad ending caps the film for effect. There may be small spoilers here. After all, you now know all these movies don't end well, the team doesn't win and the characters don't come through (at least not all of them). Read only the titles and not the description, if you don't want spoilers. Good films, sad endings. These are the best unhappy ending films of all time.
1 - The Mist (2007) Gruesome and poignant, the main character does a terrible thing at the end, only to find out it was entirely unnecessary. The least happy ending out there. Watch it a word of warning: it's not a feel-good movie.
2 - Thelma and Louise (1991) After going on the run, two women are cornered. They drive off a cliff, literally. Not a happy wrap-up.
3 - Terms of Endearment (1983) the tear-jerker that won a slew of academy awards, including Best Picture. Starred Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger.
4 - Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) - During WWII, the son of a concentration camp commander befriends a boy of the same age who is a prisoner. The ending is sad for both.
5 - Say My Name (2014) Some love stories don't end with a kiss, they end with a tear.
6 - Harold and Maude (1971) We lose a beloved main character at the end.
7 - A Star Is Born (1976) also remade in 2018 to less fanfare and quality.
8 - Wall Street (1987) Go directly to jail. No one wins in the end. Money and freedoms are lost.
9 - Planet of the Apes (1968) - the humans are the losers and the planet has already lost. The shocking final scene is memorable.
10 - Night of the Living Dead (1968) - in the end, the lone survivor, Ben, comes out of the house and is shot my police thinking he is one of the walking dead.
11 - Se7en (1995) Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, with Kevin Spacey as a brilliant criminal."What's in the box?" It's not a happy ending.
12 - Maze Runner: the Scorch Trials, the second movie in the Maze Runner series. Things are not good at the end. Minho has been taken, and the world is still crumbling.. The first movie doesn't end well either, as the world and the boys are in bad shape.
13 - The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) Sad and disturbing.
14 - Ender's Game (2013) based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, at the end Ender realizes he has nearly wiped out an alien race and must make amends.
15 - Pan's Labyrinth (2006) A sacrifice in death, a drop of blood.
16 - Queen and Slim (2019) Two lovers go on the run after accidentally killing a cop. It ends badly for the couple in the end.
17 - My Girl (1991) - a young main character suffers an untimely young demise.
18 - Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Yeah, half of humanity went poof! Doesn't get sadder than that.
19 - The Departed (2006) A spy in the police department, and nothing ends well.
20 - I Am Legend (2007) our beloved main character, Dr. Neville, doesn't make it, though his cure might. A slightly different take on Richard Matheson's book of the same name.
Bonus 21 - Titanic. (1997) Well, the ship did sink, and a lot of main characters died. It has to be on the list, despite the inaccuracies and poor quality of the film itself.
- Also check out at Top2040 the Best Post-Apocalyptic Movies
Honorable Mention for movies with unhappy endings, goes to:
Cold Mountain (2003)
Mad Max (1979)
The Green Mile (1999)
On the Count of Three (2021)
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
Sometimes a director wants to make a point with agony or sorrow. Those were the saddest films in recent movie history. No happy ending there.