- It may be done to tease the audience, if, for example, the last characters seen are a favored pairing in a romantic looking setting and the writers are leaving the audience to ask Did They or Didn't They?.
- It may be for comedic purposes, where one character has done something which is sure to lead to a Hilarity Ensues moment, but the door closes, leaving the audience to imagine what happens next.
- It may be for something darker. If the hero has been captured by the Evil Overlord and has been taken to the dungeons to be tortured, but just as he is strapped to the rack, the dungeon door closes, shutting viewers out, and locking him inside along with whatever it is they are about to do to him.
- Finally, if done at the end of a Grand Finale episode or the last movie of a series, it could be used to invoke the sense that the final curtain has come down.
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Anime & Manga
- Nightwalker: In the final scene of the show, Guni hangs a "closed" sign outside Shido's detective office and shuts the door.
- An example of the first kind occurs at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #149, Peter Parker says farewell to the Clone of Gwen Stacey and then went home to his apartment, where he was pleasantly surprised to find someone waiting for him.
Peter Parker: Mary Jane! Lady, am I ever glad to see you.
Mary Jane Watson: Do you mean that, Tiger? For real?
Peter Parker: Come here... and I'll show you. [Closes the door in the audience's face with an audible CLICK].
- Strangers in Paradise ends the entire series like this.
- This is also the ending of the comic strip El Negro Blanco
Films — Animation
- In Fantasia, the "Dance of the Hours" segment ends with the palace doors slamming so hard they're knocked off their hinges.
- The Stinger in Mr. Peabody & Sherman has the titular characters walking into the WABAC Machine and shutting the door behind them.
- Frozen's Award Bait Song "Let It Go" ends with Elsa closing the door of her ice palace, separating herself from all of civilization. It's used as part of a larger theme of doors and gates separating people, both for good and for bad.
Films — Live-Action
- The first Saw movie ends with the Jigsaw Killer saying "Game over" before closing the bathroom door, leaving Adam to die. Dr. Gordon also does this to Hoffman in the final shot of the seventh movie.
- The Candidate, in which one-time idealist Bill McKay wins election to the Senate, but sells his soul in the process. After the famous line "what do we do now?", Bill's campaign workers burst into the suite and more or less drag Bill and Marvin out of the room. The door closes behind them, leaving the hotel room empty and silent. Roll credits.
- The director's cut of Blade Runner ends like this, immediately after the main character has found out he's a replicant too.
- A the end of the 1984 film The Stone Boy, about a boy who accidentally shoots & kills his older brother and the family's grief, there is a shot of the surviving brother and his father closing the barn doors, seen from the inside.
- At the end of Kenneth Branagh's Henry V the modern-dress Chorus ends the film with his epilogue, then closes the door on the newly engaged King Henry and his bride-to-be. This parallels the opening of the film, where after the Chorus's prologue he throws open the doors to show the first scene.
- The Lord of the Rings, as Sam returns to his family and home, having just seen the last of the fellowship leaving.
- At the end of The Godfather, after Michael lies to Kay about not being responsible for killing his brother-in-law, we see the door shut on Kay as Michael is being proclaimed the new Don.
- Goodfellas ends with Henry Hill closing the door of his new witness protection house.
- At the end of The Searchers, a happy family reunion occurs inside a house, but Ethan realizes there is No Place for Me There and wanders off to the background desert. Ethan is left literally out of the picture as the door of the house closes and "The End" appears.
- At the end of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the title character and his love interest walk through a door to hyperspace and it closes behind them.
- Event Horizon ends with the door closing to the sleep chamber deck as Starck screams uncontrollably from the stasis nightmare she's had as the rescue crew try fruitlessly to calm her.
- The film of Don Giovanni ends with a servant closing the palace's doors.
- The Mask of Zorro ends with a door closing behind the eponymous hero as he strides out into the sunset.
- The original ending of 28 Days Later. Test audiences however assumed it meant the surviving protagonists were doomed, so a happier ending was filmed showing they had survived the Zombie Apocalypse.
- At the end of Hud, Anti-Hero/Villain Protagonist Hud watches his nephew Lonnie walk away. Now all alone after having driven everyone off, Hud gives a dismissive wave and closes the screen door to the kitchen. The End.
- Breach: After Eric runs into Hanssen on the elevator and assures him that he'll pray for him, the elevator doors close. Cue Fade to Black.
- Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: As Ryan is lead in to give his briefing to the president, the camera pulls back as the office door shuts.
- Kingsman: The Secret Service proper ends with Merlin closing the monitor panels of his Mission Control computer console, so as to discreetly avoid watching Eggsy having Rescue Sex with Princess Tilde. But this is quickly followed up by The Stinger.
- Beyond a Reasonable Doubt ends with Tom being denied a pardon for his murder conviction—the governor finds out at the last second, literally as he's about to sign the paper, that Tom is guilty after all. The film ends with Tom being led out of the office by a prison guard as the door shuts behind him.
- Babylon 5:
- One episode had Delenn ask Ivanova a rather awkward question as they get into a turbolift ( about human female periods), and while Ivanova tries to figure out how to respond, the doors close.
- Another had G'Kar as a prisoner of Emperor Cartagia, who decides he doesn't like how G'Kar is looking at him. The solution? Pluck out his eye. As the emperor leaves, a guard pulls out a knife and the prison door is shut.
- Warehouse13 has shots before some commercial breaks where the final screen shrinks and as if panning back to show the screenshot is inside a crate on a black field, then the top of the crate closes over it with a snap sound effect and then it goes to commercial.
- Charmed did this many times throughout the series, including the series finale.
- The season finales usually ended this way.
- The Pilot ended this way, making subsequent uses of this trope more of a Call-Back.
- In The Closer: the last we see of Brenda Leigh Johnson in the Grand Finale is her eating one of her long-missed chocolates as the elevator doors close.
- Scrubs 1x15, "Bed, Banter, and Beyond" deconstructed Will They or Won't They?, showing JD and Elliot's first day together as well as the ensuing weeks and their break-up. The episode ended on the door of JD's apartment closing on the Dramatic Irony of JD and Elliot promising each other the relationship won't proceed down the path we just saw it follow.
- An episode of The Larry Sanders Show combines this with Brick Joke: midway through an episode, a character can be seen drawing something on the office door. The last thing that happens is people walk out the door, and as they close it behind them, we're treated to a drawing of a giant middle finger.
- The Nightmare Room does this twice every episode: once before the commercial break and once at the end.
- Mad Men does this numerous times, finally deliberately averting it in "The Suitcase."
- Boardwalk Empire: The second-to-last scene of Season 3 has one as an homage to the one from The Godfather, with a gender reversal as Margaret is the one who closes the door on Nucky.
- Friends: The last shot of the series pans arounds Monica's empty apartment, past the six keys belonging to the characters and fades out on the purple door and iconic gold frame that is the Friends motif to millions. Definitely representing the final curtain coming down as the gang have left Monica's for the last time and are moving on to a new era in their lives.
- Occurs on Chuck at the end of "Chuck vs. the Masquerade" as Vivian reactivates Volkoff Industries.
- The ending of a Modern Family episode parodies The Godfather ending, with Phil sternly telling Claire not to ask about his business, and Luke shutting the door in her face.
- Seinfeld did as well, when Jerry and Elaine are dumped as prospective godparents for a couple's child, who choose Kramer. They go across the hall to talk to him, and shut the door exactly (with the Fade to Black) as was done in The Godfather.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In "Crush", Spike finds Buffy has revoked his Vampire Invitation after his Anguished Declaration of Love. She then closes the door on his shocked face.
- In "A New Man", Giles cautions Buffy about her new alliance with the Initiative, having been warned about a secret project called 314. The episode ends on an Initiative scientist swiping through an electronically-locked door marked 314.
- "Lies My Parents Told Me" ends with Buffy shutting the door in the face of her mentor Giles, after his attempt to kill Spike.
- An episode of Kings ends with David bringing his brother home to a family that is not happy with him for supporting the king and shutting the door on him.
- The Series Finale of Barney Miller ends this way, with Barney closing the door to the detectives' squadroom for the last time (the whole station is being decommissioned).
- Yes did this on their album Fragile, when Jon Anderson's solo piece "We Have Heaven" ended with the sound of footsteps walking away and then a door slamming. (A hidden track after the last song on the album has the door reopening onto a reprise of "We Have Heaven.")
- Sound Horizon: In the fourth horizon, five of the songs end with the sound of a heavy door (or, perhaps, a gate) being closed. Fans often interpret this as being the sound of the gates to paradise closing.
- The Inner Sanctum radio show ended with the creaking door slamming shut.
- Ditto CBS Radio Mystery Theater.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ends with Sweeney slamming a door after he has walked through it.
- Act One of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ends with this. The Golden Ticket tour group enters the mysterious factory through a heavy metal door; Willy Wonka follows them in and, after Breaking the Fourth Wall to invite the audience inside as well, he slams it shut.
- Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House ends with Nora slamming the door behind her as she leaves her husband and family.
- Super Smash Bros. for the N64 had a variation on this. After defeating Master Hand on Classic, the camera zooms out to reveal the room from the title sequence, followed by the screen going black to the sound of a door shutting. Cue credits.
- Defeat another faction by force in Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri, and you get to see one: the defeated faction leader levitating in a sphere of Electric Torture. Bloodcurdling scream. Blast door with the defeated faction's logo slamming shut, closing off the victim from view mid-scream.
- The Game Over sequence in Donkey Kong Country 3 has this.
- Dark Souls II ends with the Player Character taking their seat on the Throne of Want, which is basically a kiln with a chair inside, and the door closing on them.
- Mario Party 8 has this in one minigame; the minigame starts with a door opening to find Player 1 in a room full of clocks. The winner, however, will be shown for the minigame end scene, where all of the clocks start ticking. After a while on the results screen in Party Mode, the door is then shown to be closing.
- Project X Zone ends with Kogoro and Mii walking into the latter's mansion for a drink of tea as the doors are closing.
- In Undertale, choosing to stay with Toriel at the end of the True Pacifist ending results in one of these. If you did a Genocide run at any point beforehand, though, there's one more Reveal Shot before the cut to black.
- In BlazBlue, the Astral Finish of Relius Clover has him capturing the other character. The scene cuts to what appears to be a dungeon with shadows of hanging corpses in the backrgound and the victim restrained in one way or the other (each character has a different one). Relius then proceeds to say something, usually in the lines of "Let the experiments begin". Double doors close on the scene and the captured character is heard screaming.
- Katawa Shoujo has one for Rin's Route If you select "Then Explain" during Hisao's argument with her, he slams the door on his way out, ending with a short quip.
- "Virtue's Last Reward" has this on a more dramatic note. In certain endings/game overs where one or more player gets nine BP then you get to see the number nine door close slowly with a groan.
- The Game Over sequences in the Ace Attorney franchise end with the courtroom doors closing.
- Inverted in Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Last Window. The last player-controlled action is to open the door of the building the adventure has taken place in, representing Kyle having accepted the events of the game and moving on with his life.
- 1/0 ends this way, with a Happy Ending where everyone is Back for the Finale. Those who died during the comic's run were resurrected and turned into humans (except the Running Gag, which gets turned into a fish). The door in question is a dimensional door between the world of the comic (which will be destroyed) and the real world.
- The Godfather's final shot is homaged in the ending of a mafia-themed episode of The Simpsons, with Lisa in the role of Kay. Subverted as the door opens again to reveal Michael is playing with his toys.
- When Terrytoons started formatting their cartoons for TV, they attempted to end each show with a door closing, the character's face on the door and a star flashing above. Only three shows had this closing—Mighty Mouse Playhouse, The Heckle And Jeckle Cartoon Show and The Deputy Dawg Show.
- Code Lyoko's "Straight to Heart" ends with the door closing on the audience.
- The first episode of Gravity Falls closes with one of these; Just as Dipper's narration wonders what other mysteries are in the titular Town with a Dark Secret, Grunkle Stan enters the secret passage behind the Mystery Shack's vending machine.
- The Grand Finale for Phineas and Ferb ends with a shot of Phineas waving the viewer goodbye and closing his back door.