Sometimes we just don’t want a film to end. Luckily, they often provide us with an extra little treat once the credits have rolled. You have to be patient to get to these gems, but the thrill of seeing something unexpected is pretty rewarding, and as the post-credit stings listed below demonstrate, can occasionally put an entirely different spin on what you’ve just seen. More often than not they’re a bit of fun for the audience, a last joke, or a nod to the fans. But there’s no doubt seeing one is exciting, and often something you can point out to impress your film buff friends.
Some you may know, some may surprise you, and you may even know a few more yourself. The only rule is that the bulk of the scene must take place after the credits have finished, ruling out such things as the outtakes from A Bug’s Life. Other than that, anything goes…
NB: this article is all about movie endings, so bear in mind that some spoilers are present in the entries blow.
50. Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Go past the extended credits of all the actors and their characters, then go past the black and white driving scene of Uma Thurman and the crossed out names of her victims… Then you’re treated to a special post-credits sting – an outtake of Kill Bill’s most talked about scene, the showdown at the House of the Blue Leaves. Except this time the act of ripping an eyeball out merely leads to a fun and wholesome chuckle. Killing can be fun kids!
49. The Grey
Still in cinemas, Liam Neeson’s wolf punching tale of survival makes for some grim and depressing viewing, albeit mixed with some killer action. The film ends with Neeson squaring off to fight the alpha-wolf, a nicely ambiguous ending in itself, but then ups the ante even more by offering a post-credit sting: a tiny scene of Neeson resting his head against his opponent. Is the wolf dead? Dying? Is Liam Neeson dead? The Grey doesn’t answer your questions, just teasing you instead.
Truly an underrated film from Super director James Gunn, Slither not only features Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks, but has a classic ‘you think it’s all over, but…’ conclusion, and a decent stinger too. After the delightful looking alien is dispatched, exploding into many pieces, and the survivors leave, the credits roll. But for those who ever wonder what happens to the mess in these towns, the post-credits scene has the answer. A cute little cat comes to lick a leftover alien piece – cue fade to black as the cat is attacked. A neat set-up for a sequel, plus it answers viewers’ concerns.
46. A Knight’s Tale
Well this was never going to be the most high-brow list I guess, but here’s probably the most infantile entry. And yes, one of the funniest, obviously. After the rip-roaring climax, here’s rip-roaring of a different kind as Roland, Wat, Kate and Geoffrey take part in a farting contest to see who’s the loudest. Completely pointless, but obviously too funny to leave out of the film completely…
45. The A-Team
The Hollywood version of the TV classic didn’t go down too well with some fans, who claimed it really had little to do with the show other than the same character names. Perhaps realising this while making it, there’s a nice little nod at the end, as Face and Murdock meet some very familiar people: Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz. Apparently, Mr T wanted nothing to do with the new film and refused to do a cameo. I pity the fool who doesn’t get Mr T in their film.
44. X-Files: I Want To Believe
This possibly has to be one of the weirdest post-credit sequences of them all. Never mind that film isn’t too great, at least you get to see Mulder and Scully back in action. After a dramatic ending where Mulder urges Scully to “never give up”, we think that’s the end of it. That is, until right at the end, when the camera pans over a tropical island to a row boat with the duo inside. Who then wave to the helicopter filming them? WTF? I am really not making this up, it makes little to no sense, and ends the groundbreaking series probably once and for all. Well, at least it was a happy ending.
Another massively underrated film, and a contender for one of the funniest comedies of the last few years, MacGruber not only rewards the viewer with constant comedy gems throughout its runtime, but keeps them coming post-credits too, as you’re treated to the man sitting in a tree playing saxophone. Again. A great call back to a recurring theme in the film. Sadly, I couldn’t find a clip of it, so instead you can be treated to one of the best end credits songs ever, featuring the classic romantic line, “I was a beached whale dying on the shore”…
42. American Gangster
Sometimes end-credit scenes repeat an earlier joke. Sometimes they help shed light on the themes of the film. Sometimes they provide closure. Sometimes they set-up a sequel, or tease the return of a character. And sometimes they just look damn cool.
41. Super Mario Bros
Finally I get to include the 90s classic in a list. Bob Hoskins as Mario? What kind of mental casting decision was that? Then again, who knows what sort of super-crack the filmmakers were smoking once you see the rest of it… Described as ‘loosely’ based on the game, the movie does manage to get in a few nods to the 1985 classic, especially in the post credits scene. Two Nintendo execs are shown asking to make a videogame of the film’s action, only for it to be revealed to be based on Iggy and Spike instead, and called the Soopa Koopa Cousins.
40. Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny
Did I say A Knight’s Tale was the most infantile extra scene in the list? Hmm, guess I spoke too soon. Instead, that honour goes to Tenacious D, in one of those scenes you know you shouldn’t laugh at, but you just can’t help it. Jack Black asks Kyle to record a masterpiece, that as soon as he feels it, to just lay it on him. In response, Kyle lays on an enormous fart. It’s Jack Black’s deadpan response that makes it, as he simply says, “Let’s hear that back”.
39. Free Willy
A firm fan favourite on the endings front, with Willy swimming off to freedom, we then get a nice Michael Jackson song over lovely shots of whales. We’ll let you do your own joke of choice there. Anyway, after about five minutes of Jackson’s warbling and a bunch of other whales, you’ve pretty much given up hope of seeing our sea-dwelling hero again. But then right at the end, over almost weeping from Jacko, Willy only goes and pops his little fin up. Feel good to the max.
Okay, so the movie’s no great shakes (why do I find myself repeating that? Is there a correlation between bad films and enjoyable post-credit scenes?), but it has a killer last scene, and one that once again answers a question about what happens to villains that don’t die or escape. In this case, Bullseye, played with manic glee by Colin Farrell, is under guard at a hospital, heavily bandaged and in traction, and tormented by a fly in front of his face. However, a quick throw of a syringe shows he may be broken, but he hasn’t lost any of his skill. A pretty clever and amusing way of setting up your villain for a return.
37. Winnie The Pooh
An absolute delight of a post-credit scene, and indeed delight of a film. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, the plot of Winnie The Pooh rests on a misreading of a note from Christopher Robin, leading to his ‘back soon’ becoming Backson, a terrifying monster. One of their plans to defeat it involves laying a trail of items to a pit, hoping it would fall in. Post-credits, the Backson is in fact revealed to be real, but not in the slightest bit scary. Actually quite camp in fact. But that still doesn’t stop the poor thing falling in the pit from earlier. A great continuation of not only the plot of the film, but a perfectly staged gag for adults. It’s what post-credit scenes were meant for.
Not only an underrated film, but an underrated film with one of the best uses of a cameo ever. Commentators Bob Costas and Al Michaels, having called the action throughout the film, call time post credits, with a conversation exactly the same as Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s earlier make-up scene, ‘Dude’, ‘Dude’. The earlier scene ended in a passionate kiss that was both grotesque and alluring, so when Costas and Michaels lean in and pull down a screen bearing the legend, ‘The End’ on it, you know what’s going to happen next. It’s a great refrain to reprise, and shows that non-actors can poke fun at themselves in a film with the best of them, as well as sealing BASEketball as an irreverent cult classic.
A nice little surprise of a scary film, Insidious plays a lot of little tricks on the viewer in order to freak them out, and unsettle them (the dancing boy hiding being one example). It also has a twist ending, which we won’t mention here. Wait to the end and you’ll be treated to a quick burst of the old lady seen at the beginning of the film. Nothing fancy there, just a creepy little bit in order to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up just before you try to go to bed…
34. Ghost World
A great Easter egg for fans of this film, as we see an alternate fight between Doug and Seymour in which Doug wins. It’s great to see the actors messing about on-set and having so much fun, and it’s always cool to see Steve Buscemi go into killer mode, whatever the occasion. It’s great way to end the film, remaining true to the spirit of both the movie and comic book, and also breaking the fourth wall in a way which isn’t horribly forced or post-modern.
Yep, another underrated film, this is an ahead-of-its-time satirical piece from Mike Judge (doomed to be forever ignored in the film world). Joe Bauers, a US army librarian, and Rita, a prostitute, are frozen and awoken 500 years in the future, where they discover they are the smartest people alive in a world full of idiots. Using his new found status as the smartest man alive, he reverses an ecological catastrophe and everyone lives happily ever after. Except after the credits, where a third capsule opens revealing Rita’s pimp to be the occupant. It neatly undercuts the feel-good ending, plus turns the entire film on its head – Joe may not be the smartest kid on the block anymore. Sadly, I couldn’t find the scene in question, but here’s a double dose of pimpin’…
32. The Illusionist
In what is a beautiful and moving film, which in fact is absolutely heartbreaking at the end, you wouldn’t think to find an end credits scene. Especially as it ends so perfectly. But there it is, and it doesn’t detract one bit from the experience, instead making you smile as it shows the drunken Scotsman in the rain messing about. It’s silly and fun and adorable, and the perfect addition to a great film.
The post credits scene of Coraline was a double treat. First of all we get some truly beautiful animation showcasing the creation of the mice, before the rather cryptic message “For those in the know: Jerk Wad”. Well on the Coraline website was a hidden away competition to win a pair of custom Coraline Nike high-tops – but you had to type in a code in order to enter. Well guess what that code was?
30. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Two stingers for the price of one. So Wolverine was pretty terrible as a piece of filmmaking, but with the post-credit scenes it was almost as if Gavin Hood had realised things had gone badly wrong and tried to make up for it.
In the first one, the aftermath of the Three Mile Island rubble, hands are shown reaching for a head of a mutant believed killed, setting us up for the long promised Deadpool stand-alone film (hmmm), while in the other Wolverine is seen drinking alone in a Japanese bar, teasing the fans with the possibility that we might get the awesome Wolverine in Japan storyline that the character deserves. Let’s just hope they get that right.
29. Winter’s Bone
Making sure nothing went to waste, the unexpected stinger on this great and award winning film is a home video of the little girl, Ashlee, playing in the snow. Originally shot for an opening sequence that was never used, it was instead transposed to the end to add a bittersweet final scene – reminding us of the innocence that has been lost over the course of the movie, but also what exactly Ree had been fighting so hard for, and why her struggle to find out the truth about her father’s murder in order to keep the house was so important. Proof indeed that a picture tells a thousand words.
28. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy
There are so many extra scenes in Anchorman that they even made a whole extra film from them. Luckily, however, they saved one of the very best for the stinger. After a few “Great Odin’s raven!” scenes during the credits, it then cuts to the news team, sat around laughing and talking about just how good it feels to be number one. King of quotes Ron Burgundy remarks how they’ll look back on this moment with fondness. Cue awkward silence and the team walking off. Genius.
27. Finding Nemo
Despite the proliferation of extras during the credits of Pixar films, it is actually only Finding Nemo which has a post-credit scene. Luckily, it’s a pretty damn good one, as a cute little fish is drawn in by the light of a terrifying angler fish, only to turn the tables in spectacular fashion. It’s the type of switcheroo Pixar is known for, and the animation is incredible, showing the loving detail lavished on all aspects of the production.
26. The Fast And The Furious
A post-credits scene which not only wraps up a plot point from the main narrative, but in fact acts as the launch-pad for four sequels and counting. Calling back to the famous ‘quarter mile’ refrain, the scene shows that Dom actually did make it to Mexico after all, the ending we all kind of hoped for him. The fact it actually paid off in the other films was the icing on the cake.
25. Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay
Neil Patrick Harris is officially Jesus. A sweary Jesus, mind.
24. X-Men: The Last Stand
Before the exemplary X-Men: First Class, the mutant movies had taken a bit of a wrong turn. But what they lacked in cohesion, direction and a decent script they partially made up for in bonus scenes after the credits. Not content with giving Magneto back his stripped away powers, the stinger in The Last Stand shows Professor X’s voice coming out of a comatose patient, proving that his consciousness was so powerful he had managed to survive disintegration. So some may argue it completely undermines the only really brave thing the film did, but what’s the point of an X-Men film without Professor X vs Magneto? You end up with Wolverine.
23. Chain Reaction
This is one stinger I will always regard fondly as one of the first I ever saw. The end of this fair to middling Keanu Reeves action flick contains a massive explosion – cue credits. However, leave the credits running to the end, and you’re rewarded with an immediate ‘what happened next?’ – in this case, a point of view shot from the escaping helicopter (with Reeves on board) of said massive explosion, with an appreciative “Whoa!” from fellow passenger Agent Ford. I like to imagine he was subtly paying homage to Reeves’ earlier work as Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan.
22. Flags Of Our Fathers
During the end credits the real soldiers are shown next to the actors who played them, reminding the viewer of the veracity of what they’ve just witnessed, before right at the end there are pictures of the Iwo Jima memorial and the famous picture of the US soldiers raising the flag on top of Mount Suribachi. Both a tribute to the men fighting and a sobering reminder that you’re not just watching a piece of fiction, but a recreation of something that truly happened.
21. Married To The Mob
While maybe not the classic film it was hoping to be, you can’t fault Married To The Mob’s ambition, particularly when it comes to its post credit scenes. The credits themselves are stuffed with outtakes and alternate takes, while the stinger is a full-on dance routine featuring Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine around New York. Director Jonathan Demme has modestly stated he was trying to recreate the entire movie in this scene. As you do.20. Thor
The final set-up before The Avengers, and what has recently been revealed as Joss Whedon’s first bit of directing in the Marvel universe. Following the action of Thor, we cut to the obligatory Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury bit, this time revealing the cosmic cube (which would go on to play a big part in Captain America) to Stellan Skarsgard’s Dr Selvig. Only it turns out that the affable Dr is actually under the control of the film’s baddie Loki, who is revealed to have survived and found his way to Earth. Almost worth the price of admission alone, and makes me even more excited about The Avengers.
Offering up one last surprise in a film which is full of them, is this poignant and intriguing last shot. Following the grim and mysterious fate of Paul, the camera pans along his coffin, seemingly lit by his lighter, to reveal the name ‘Mark White’ (the man supposedly rescued by the FBI, but revealed not to have been) inscribed on the coffin from Paul’s perspective. Enigmatic and more than a little bit sad, it adds another twist to the film.
18. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
A variant on the ‘remember that character from earlier’ theme, this one scores big points for carrying on a running joke from the film, as Mufasa (Will Ferrell again), having been shot, but not killed, just very badly injured, is revealed to still be calling for help at the bottom of the cliff, having been left there by Austin earlier in the film. For a film series which was at its best with the small details (what happens to the family of a henchman) this was a great post-credits gag.
17. Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets
A nicely done nod to the book, and a reveal of what happened to Gilderoy Lockhart, one of the best characters in the series – a pan through Diagon Alley to the new book from the amnesia stricken ex-teacher, “Who Am I?”, with Kenneth Branagh doing a delightfully doolally imitation. In a film series that sometimes seemed to strive for the most serious and po-faced retelling of the books, it’s good to see the filmmakers having a little bit of fun.
16. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
It’s always best when a post-credit stingers works with the rest of film and enhance it, rather than being a pointless afterthought. Dewey Cox gets it spot on with this effort, as after the credits role we cut to ‘the real Dewey Cox’, playing Walk Hard in 2002. While it looks almost convincing, it’s just John C Reilly once again, with the original demo of the song playing. In a film built upon aping and subverting other musicians’ images and style, this is the joke on the next level, brilliantly riffing on the idea that this was a re-enactment all along, but also acting as a nice tribute to the song that inspired it all in the first place.
15. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Just hitting the right line between very funny and disgustingly gross, is this coda to Dodgeball, in which a once again obese and embittered White Goodman mocks the predictability of the movie, complaining that the good guys won, before singing milkshake and shaking his frankly big boobies at the screen. I dare you not to crack a smile at this.
Not content with providing one of the finest film cameos ever seen, with the mighty Bill Murray popping up in zombie make-up, then actually making it worthwhile, before providing what has to be on the best death scenes in history, Zombieland rewards the patient viewer with one more gem, and this one is a real treat for Murray fans (surely everyone). Cutting back to his protracted dying, Tallahassee is struggling to come up with suitable final words to say. Bill Murray draws upon his long career to help him out “In the words of the immortal philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir, gopher’”. What a guy.
13. Lethal Weapon 3
A perfect example of a post-credit stinger for the fans, rather than to set up anything else, or make a cheap gag. Calling back to their earlier exploits in the movie, we see Riggs and Murtaugh once again pull up at a hotel and debate whether to go in, except this time they’re far too late. Cue comedy reversing, with Riggs hoping, “Nobody saw us” before a joint “I’m too old for this shit”. If only they had really believed that, this would have been the perfect ending to the franchise.
12. Wayne’s World
As if the multiple endings on endings weren’t already enough, Wayne’s World throws us one more ridiculous goodbye, further building on the surreal finale, and heaping a ‘wait, what, did that really just happen?’ onto the proceedings. The classic Scooby Doo ending has happened, the credits have rolled (including a brownie recipe in there) and we cut to Wayne and Garth sat on their couch, saying goodbye. “Well, that’s all the time we have for our movie. We hope you found it entertaining, whimsical and yet relevant, with an underlined revisionist conceit that belie the film’s emotional attachment to the subject matter.”
Cue fade to black, only to once again fade in to the guys, this time reading a magazine, with a corker of a line from Garth” “You know, I don’t think anyone’s going to tell us when to leave”. A brilliant addition to an already subversive ending, further confusing the matter of whether anything in the film actually happened at all.
11. Kung Fu Panda
A sweeter than average end to the unexpectedly brilliant action-comedy animation from 2008. We see Po and Master Shifu sharing food, before a pan out reveals the seeds Shifu planted earlier have begun to sprout. Clever and nuanced, it demonstrates not only how the two’s relationship has changed, and is now warm, affectionate and equal, but it also sums up the film’s message – if you give something time, it will sprout. For those paying attention in the sequel, the little plant makes a return appearance…
10. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka
This one has never ever failed to crack me up, ever since I saw it way back in the 90s. An earlier and much much funnier parody effort from Keenan Ivory Wayans, this is still the benchmark for comedy blaxploitation movies (sorry, Black Dynamite). After the ending, one of the best characters in the film, Steve James’ Kung Fu Joe, crawls up to a cop still at the scene, “Slade. I must find Slade” before ripping off his shirt and announcing, “Kung Fu Joe is here!”
“Sorry buddy, they’ve already gone” the cop replies and walks away, leaving Kung Fu Joe to ask “A brother for a band aid”. It’s so well judged, with the comedy in the fact you didn’t notice him missing, and then realised ‘oh yeah where was he?’ before getting this little gem as a reward.
9. Adventures In Babysitting
So the madcap Disney film directed by Chris Columbus and released as A Night On The Town in the UK, probably isn’t going to be in anybody’s usual top 10, but then again this isn’t your usual film list, so here it is. Following Chris, Daryl, and Brad’s rescue of Sara from the clutches of Graydon from the top of the Smurfit-Stone building, everyone goes home happy, and Chris and Daryl get an all important kiss. Then after the credits, it’s revealed that Graydon is still stuck on top of the building. Alone and outside, with no way back inside and no one who knows he’s there. So a Disney/Chris Columbus family adventure film ends with a man left to die in one of the loneliest ways imaginable.8. Iron Man
The film that brought post-credits stingers to the mass market, and made it far more than just a nod to the fans, or those audience members too lazy to move. So after the slam-dunk of Iron Man, and the fact that Marvel Studios were go, what could possibly come next? Well, how about the long-rumoured Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury turning up to congratulate Stark and tell him about something called the Avengers initiative? Suddenly, a million geek hearts soared. Marvel was attempting the impossible – uniting the superhero film world and building into something remarkable. Whether they succeed or not we’re about to find out.
How can you top the sheer insanity and inventiveness of what had gone before? Honestly, how could you? Well Neveldine and Taylor found a way – how about the entire film but told in the style of an 8-bit videogame? Thank you very much Crank, you truly are the gift that just keeps on giving…
6. Napoleon Dynamite
Okay, we’re running with the big dogs now – top six time. But luckily Napoleon Dynamite certainly brings it, with a ridiculous three minute long extra scene showing Kip’s wedding, starting with a brilliantly creepy song from the groom – “We met in a chat room, now our love can bloom” – before Napoleon rides in on a horse in a full blown epic orchestral moment, before asking for a photo “real quick”, and then giving the horse as a present to the happy couple. Surreal, overblown and quirkily amusing – this rewarding scene sums up Napoleon Dynamite in all its weird glory
5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
There are films that make a big deal about breaking the fourth wall, and then there is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which pretty much owns breaking the fourth wall. From showing us how to fake it, to constant other asides, we are never far from Ferris’s thoughts, so it is surely fitting that he gets the last word, directly to us. The credits have rolled (in themselves a very funny treat wrapping up what happened to Rooney) and the film is over. Out pops Ferris to admonish us and tell us it’s over. Go home. Fully in keeping with the playful and wish-fulfilment tone of the movie, Ferris makes you wonder quite why you’re still sitting there…
4. Young Sherlock Holmes
Before the recent BBC masterpiece, this was the closest thing we had to a reinvention of Sherlock Holmes. Never afraid to play around and change Doyle’s creation, the Levinson/Columbus/Spielberg film also manages to stay true to the spirit of the books. It’s also a pretty great film, touching on all the elements of Holmes, as well as putting in plenty of nods to later personality quirks and habits. The only thing missing was any mention of Holmes’ nemesis. Which is why, at the very end, a scene with a man signing in at an inn provokes immediate interest. What’s that name in the register? Of course – Moriarty. And just who is the mysterious man? The film’s beaten villain, Professor Rathe. This one little scene turns the whole film on its head and reworks the origin story brilliantly. A very clever touch, and one which you can see from about 6 minutes 55 seconds in.
3. Masters Of The Universe
Oh man, surely the ultimate tease of a teaser ending? In the climatic battle, Skeletor is chucked into the bubbling pit and the heroes are victorious. But being as he was clearly far too great a baddie to waste, Skeletor pops up post-credits to inform us he’ll be back (although I never quite got who he was telling this to in the film itself…). But he never was. Damn you Frank Langella, don’t make promises you can’t keep. To this day, there’s a generation of adults waiting for him to make good on it.
2. The Muppet Movie
Ferris Bueller’s ending may have been brilliant for its breaking of the fourth wall, but it wasn’t the first. Those loveable Muppets were in fact the trailblazers of that, and also the entire post-credits phenomenon (do-doo-bee-do-do). At the end of the classic Muppet Movie, who else but Animal faces the camera and utters the simple yet genius, “Go home, go home! Bye-bye”. Couldn’t have put it better myself. Whether this was the first stinger ever is unknown, but it’s certainly the one that popularised it, and led to this entire list. You can enjoy this very scene, plus a nice song (reprised in the brand new Muppets film) before hand.
Simple, genius, and iconic. The post credits sequence of Airplane! is all of these, which is something you can rarely say about any film, let alone a throw-away moment after the film proper has ended. After the craziness of the film, we cut to Stiker’s taxi still parked in the airport. With his passenger with earlier still aboard. “I’ll give 20 more minutes, but that’s it”. One of the best gags ever written, and its not even in the film. Copied mercilessly by pretty much every other comedy stinger, none has ever quite matched it, and I doubt any ever will. The original and very much the best.