With DVDs and Blu Rays dominating home video distribution for the last 15 years, seeing alternate endings to films has become rather commonplace. But in the days before digital dics, we only heard of the alternate endings of films in articles and the occasional television special. Many times endings are changed because the original ending just wasn't cutting it or the definitive ending gets scrapped for a more ambiguous wrap-up that leaves the possibilities of sequels. Here were are taking a look at alternate endings you may have seen on your special edition DVDs, and some that may come as a surprise to you. For the most part we are sticking to alternate endings that were actually filmed in order to showcase the would-be conclusion, but we've added a few that didn't get past the planning stages but are too interesting to not mention.
Theatrical Ending: After escaping the woods and Sheriff Teale’s men, Rambo is confronted by his old Commanding Officer, Col. Trautman, who tells Rambo that there’s no chance he can fight his way out. Rambo rages about his experiences in the Vietnam War and the treatment of returning soldiers, finally surrendering to Trautman and being arrested.
Alternate Ending: The original ending for ‘First Blood’ stayed in line with the original novel, with Rambo begging Trautman to kill him after his speech on the horrors of war. When Trautman refuses, Rambo grabs Trautman’s gun and pulls the trigger himself, committing suicide. The ending was shot, but Sylvester Stallone decided against the established ending, resulting in the opening for further films, with three sequels and a fourth reportedly in pre-production.
‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ (1984)
Theatrical Ending: After defeating Freddy by no longer being afraid of him, Nancy demands that he return her loved ones he’s killed. Nancy steps out of her house, ready for school. Her mother is alive and sober, and her boyfriend pulls up in his car with their friends who had been killed by Freddy. Nancy gets into the car, but the convertible top comes down on its own, showing the colors of Freddy’s sweater. The windows on the car roll up and it starts driving on its own. Nancy starts screaming for her mother as the car pulls off, then her mother get pulled through the small window on the front door by Freddy.
Alternate Ending: Director Wes Craven wanted a definitive, happy ending for the story with Nancy’s family and friends returned after defeating Freddy, then getting into Glen’s car with her friends and driving away. The head of New Line Cinema demanded the ending seen in theaters. A variation of the theatrical ending had Glen being replaced by Freddy who drives the car off. Due to the disputes over the ending, Craven refused to return for the sequel.
Theatrical Ending: ‘Clue’ is going to be the most unique entry on this list in that when it was shown in theaters, the ending of the film varied. In some theaters the ending had Ms. Scarlett revealed to be the killer, in other theaters it was Mrs. Peacock, and others showed an ending where everyone except Mr. Green killed someone and Wadsworth was revealed to actually be Mr. Boddy just before Mr. Green is revealed to be an agent with the FBI and shoots Wadsworth. For home releases, all three endings were combined, with the first two being shown as possible scenarios and the “Wadsworth is Mr. Boddy” ending being labeled as what actually happened. For DVD releases, viewers are given the option to watch the film theatrically, with one of the three endings randomly inserted as the end of the film.
Alternate Ending: A fourth ending was filmed, though never released, where Wadsworth was revealed as the killer, having killed everyone and poisoned the rest of the guests out of a obsessive need for perfection. In the end Wadsworth would have been killed by the dogs while attempted to flee from the police. This ending has never been shown, but was included in the novelization with a single picture from the scene.
Theatrical Ending: After the T-800 is lowered into the molten steel, the scene cuts to a dark road with a voice-over from Sarah Conner who is talking about the unknown future and noting that if a Terminator can learn the value of human life, maybe humans can too.
Alternate Ending: In one of the most popular alternate endings ever, the shot of the dark road is replaced by a park in the year 2027 where an elderly Sarah Conner is watching her son, Senator John Conner, playing with her granddaughter on a playground. With the hype and excitement surrounding the release of ‘T2’, James Cameron scraped the definitive ending, opting for an ambiguous ending that would keep the door open for future sequels.
‘Army of Darkness’ (1992)
Theatrical Ending: Ash and the army are victorious against the Deadites and Evil Ash. The Wise Men give Ash a potion to return him to his own time, but once again Ash forgets the final words of the magical phrase. In present time, Ash is telling his story to employees and shoppers at S-Mart when a Deadite arrives due to Ash not saying the magical phrase correctly. Ash gathers weapons in S-Mart and defeats the final Deadite.
Alternate Ending: In an ending preferred by director Sam Raimi and star Bruce Cambell, Ash drinks the potion that is supposed to let him sleep in a cave and wake up in his own time. Ash mistakenly drinks too much of the potion and oversleeps, waking up in a post-apocalyptic future. This ending was restored for VHS and DVD releases, with the S-Mart ending added as the alternate ending or a post-credit scene. The inclusion of the S-Mart ending was at the behest of the studio who wanted the film to end on a high note, but Raimi noted that he thought of the character of Ash as a fool and greatly enjoyed torturing him.
Theatrical Ending: After closing down the video store, Randal enters the Quick Stop and has a fight with Dante who blames Randal for the fine earlier in the day for selling cigarettes to a minor, offending customers, and damaging his relationship. Randal points out that it was Dante’s irresponsible behavior that lead to the troubles he had that day, and that Dante thinks he’s more advanced that Randal and the Quick Stop customers he always complains about. The two reconcile and the film ends with Randal taking down Dante’s “I Assure You We’re Open” sign and saying, “You’re closed.”
Alternate Ending: The original ending expanded on the theatrical ending which was actually cut short. After Randal leaves, Dante starts counting down the register until another customer comes in. Dante tells the man that the store is closed, but the man pulls out a gun and kills Dante and then takes the money from the register. After the credits, another customer (played by Kevin Smith) comes in, doesn’t see Dante’s dead body behind the counter, and steals a pack of cigarettes. Kevin Smith was highly criticized by his mentors for this ending and was encouraged to cut the ending short.
Theatrical Ending: After helping to bring down the kidnappers, Harry and Lloyd begin walking back home, hoping to get a break one day. A bus of bikini team contestants stop and tell Harry and Lloyd they are looking for two guys to be responsible for oiling them up. Harry tells them they are in luck and directs them to Aspen right up the road. Lloyd freaks out and runs after the bus, apologizing for his dumb friend and explaining that Harry sent them in the wrong direction and the town is the other way.
Alternate Ending: The morning after catching the kidnappers, Harry and Lloyd are trying to sneak out of the hotel without paying, but get stopped by the Concierge (who was cut out of the film). Harry and Lloyd apologize for tipping everyone with counterfeit money (another point cut out of the film), but the Concierge tells them the Swansons have already said they will reimburse everyone Harry and Lloyd gave the money to. The Concierge then suggests Harry and Lloyd stay in Aspen, living in the hotel in exchange for working half a day a week as his trainees. Harry and Lloyd laugh it off saying they don’t want a job where they’d have to kiss someone’s butt. The original scripted ending included Harry and Lloyd getting onto the bus with the bikini team, but Jim Carrey pointed out that the guys wouldn’t be smart enough to do that.
‘Die Hard With a Vengeance’ (1995)
Theatrical Ending: John McClain and Zeus escape the cargo ship before it blows up. Believing Simon to be long gone, Zeus convinces McClain to call his estranged wife and start to make things right. While waiting for Holly to pick up the phone, McClain figures out Simon’s location from an aspirin bottle Simon gave him. McClain, Zeus, and the NYPD arrive and surprise Simon and his crew, resulting in a firefight and Simon trying to gun down McClain from a helicopter. McClain shoots down a neon light, causing Simon’s helicopter to swerve and crash.
Alternate Ending: Instead of figuring out Simon’s location, McClain is implicated as a collaborator in Simon’s plot, believed to have let Simon go. McClain is terminated from the NYPD and decides to hunt Simon down himself. Finally catching up with Simon in a European café, McClain challenges Simon to a riddle-based game of Russian Roulette with a rocket launcher McClain altered to make the ends indistinguishable from each other. Believing he’s bested McClain, Simon presses the trigger and is killed by a rocket to the chest.
Theatrical Ending: With the ritual successful, Frost is now the blood god La Magra in human/vampire form. He battles Blade in a swordfight, but proves to be invulnerable to Blade’s attacks and weapons. Blade resorts to throwing multiple vials of an anti-coagulant (which kills vampires) into Frost’s chest, causing Frost to explode. Blade and Karen leave the temple and Blade declines Karen’s offer for the cure to his vampirism, instead instructing her to make him a more powerful serum to suppress his blood thirst. The film closes with Blade hunting vampires in Russia.
Alternate Ending: The original ending of the film showed Frost becoming La Magra, but instead of keeping his own form he morphed into a gigantic bloody blob. Blade would still end the fight by using the anti-coagulant, but Frost would return to his normal form and be stabbed through the heart by Blade. Blade and Karen then leave the temple, and see a mysterious figure waiting for them in the distance.
Theatrical Ending: Upon defeating Drake/Dracula, Drake decides to give Blade a gift for fighting honorably, transforming his body into Blade’s. When the FBI arrives they find what they believe to be Blade’s body and call off the manhunt for him. As they begin the autopsy, Drake’s body reverts to its normal form and a voice over from Hannibal King said that Blade is still fighting the fight.
Alternate Endings: ‘Blade Trinity' actually has two alternate endings of note, with the first being the used ending on the Unrated Cut. Instead of Drake taking Blade’s place, Blade pretends to be dead and wakes up on the autopsy table, killing the FBI agents and goes to bite a nurse. The ending was meant to be ambiguous about Blade’s future and if he had given in to his vampire side as Drake predicted. This is reportedly writer/director David S. Goyer’s intended conclusion. Another ending was meant to lead into a proposed Nightstalkers spin-off film, with Hannibal and Abigail hunting werewolves. This was the ending used for the novelization.
Theatrical Ending: Rocky Balboa and Mason Dixon’s fight goes the distance, with both fighters still punching away as the final bell sounds. Rocky tells his brother-in-law that all desire he had to fight one more time is gone. Rocky thanks Mason for the fight and leaves the ring to a standing ovation before the results are announced, a victory for Dixon by split-decision. The film ends with Rocky visiting Adrian’s grave.
Alternate Ending: Though the theatrical ending was the scripted ending, an alternate ending was filmed where Rocky does not leave the ring while the results are announced. Ring announcer Michael Buffer starts to hint that Dixon is the winner, but reveals that the split-decision went in Rocky’s favor.
‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ (2006)
Theatrical Ending: After the battle at Alcatraz Island, Storm and Logan return to the school to welcome a new class of students, Rogue explains to Ice-Man why she chose to get the cure and lose her powers, Hank “Beast” McCoy is named the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Magneto is sitting in the park by himself at a chess board trying to use his powers on the chess pieces. In a post-credit sequence, Dr. MacTaggert, seen earlier on a video with a comatose patient in Xavier’s class on Mutant Ethics, is checking on the patient when the he suddenly greets her in Xavier’s voice.
Alternate Ending: After the battle, Beast returns to the school as a new teacher with Storm, Rogue tells Bobby that her powers are who she is and she decided to not take the cure, and Logan returns to Canada and goes into the bar he’s introduced in from the first movie. In another version of the ending not released it was said that Magneto would have been playing chess with Mystique, revealing that her betrayal of him to the U.S. Government was all part of the plan.
Theatrical Ending: After experimenting on an infected woman, Dr. Neville creates an antidote to the virus, giving a sample of it to Anna and protecting her and her son’s escape through a coal chute. While Anna and her son escape, Dr. Neville uses a grenade to kill several infected trying to break into his lab, killing himself in the process. Anna and her son make their way to a survivor camp the next morning to deliver the antidote.
Alternate Ending: The original ending, much like ‘First Blood', stayed true to the source material, but didn’t paint Will Smith’s Dr. Neville in the best light. While the infected are breaking in, the leader draws a butterfly on the window and Dr. Neville realizes they are there trying to rescue the infected woman he had been experimenting on. He allows them to leave with the woman and realizes that he underestimated the infected, not thinking of them as people anymore and begins to understand how he treated the infected woman. Dr. Neville leaves the next morning with Anna and her son to deliver the antidote to the survivor colony.
‘Terminator: Salvation’ (2009)
Theatrical Ending: John Conner is mortally wounded during a fight with a new T-800, but is successful in destroying the Terminator and the Skynet base, while escaping with Marcus, Kyle, and Star. Kate attempts to save John’s life, but is unable to due to the amount of damage to his heart. Marcus, a half-man/half-Terminator, sacrifices himself and donates his heart for transplant.
Alternate Ending: Though never filmed, an alternate ending was talked about that would have completely changed what fans knew about the Terminator franchise. In the proposed ending, John would have died as a result of his wounds, and instead of Marcus giving his heart, Kate and Marcus, knowing the future John is to have, hatched a plan to skin John and put his skin on Marcus’ body, with Marcus taking on John’s life and role in the fight against the machines.
'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (2010)
Theatrical Ending: With the help of a shot of adrenaline from Quentin, Nancy wakes up in the Daycare's boiler room and pulls Freddy out of the dream world. Using the blade from a paper slicer, Nancy cuts off Freddy's gloved hand and then slicing his throat. Nancy and Quentin set the room on fire and leave. Later, Nancy and her mother return home from the hospital and Freddy is revealed to be in the living room mirror, then reaches out, stabs Nancy's mother through the back of the head with his claws and pulling her into the mirror.
Alternate Ending: Just before being pulled out of the dream, Freddy reverts to his unburned look and is pulled out as such. Instead of using a paper slicer, Nancy attacks Freddy with a baseball bat, and in the scuffle a lantern is knocked over and sets some old newspapers on fire. After beating Freddy with a bat and yelling that she now remembers what he did to her, Nancy hits buckets of paints and chemicals onto Freddy, causing the already raging fire to engulf him. Nancy and Quentin leave Freddy to burn with the rest of the boiler room.