Ending Trope; Spoilers below will be unmarked.
open/close all folders
- Inverted in the classic Daredevil story, "Born Again" where Matt Murdock is ruined by the Kingpin when he learns his enemy's Secret Identity. The Kingpin is eventually defeated and disgraced, but feels he at least made Murdock miserable by impoverishing him while he plans to strike at him again. However, when you see the final panel of Matt and Karen being happy in their situation, you know the Kingpin has truly lost.
- In Catherine and Her Fate, a rich merchant's daughter is asked whether she would rather be happy in youth or age. When she chooses age, her father loses his wealth and dies, and she lives in poverty, but she ends up marrying a wealthy king.
- In "Jack and the Beanstalk", the gold Jack steals from the giant makes him and his mother rich.
- "Bluebeard" ends with the heroine rich.
Bluebeard had no heirs, and so his wife became mistress of all his estate. She made use of one part of it to marry her sister Anne to a young gentleman who had loved her a long while; another part to buy captains commissions for her brothers, and the rest to marry herself to a very worthy gentleman, who made her forget the ill time she had passed with Bluebeard.
- "Hansel and Gretel" return home with money.
And as they had no longer any cause for fear, they went in the old hag's house, and here they found, in every corner of the room, boxes with pearls and precious stones. "These are even better than pebbles," said Hansel, and crammed his pockets full of them; and Gretel said: "I too will bring something home," and she filled her apron full.
- In The Peasant and the Devil, the peasant outwits the devil to lay claim to treasure in his field without giving anything for it.
- In The Boy Who Went Out to Learn What Fear Was, staying the house three nights wins him treasure as well as the king's reward.
The old man led him back into the castle, and in a cellar showed him three chests full of gold. "Of these," said he, "one part is for the poor, the other for the king, the third is thine."
- In Thirteenth, Thirteenth is given treasure by the king.
Films — Animated
- In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, the real reason why the explorers went to Atlantis is just so they can help the villain become rich. However, at the end of the film, said explorers turn to the hero to stop said villain and save Atlantis, yet they still end up rich because of this, judging by their clothing the last time we see them. It's implied that the Atlanteans are quite wealthy, by normal standards. However, because their city is isolated and in ruins they've come to consider things like food and creature comforts more important than treasure. Given that the explorers saved Atlantis at great personal risk, it makes sense that the city's people would reward them.
Films — Live-Action
- Harold Lloyd was fond of this trope. His typical Happy Ending was Boy Gets Girl, Boy Gets Rich. Examples include Safety Last! and Speedy.
- Run, Lola, Run. Lola wins a ton of cash from a casino to help her boyfriend, who had a bag of money that he was supposed to deliver to a mob boss stolen by a homeless man. But before she can give him the money, her boyfriend runs into the homeless man and takes back the money, so they end up with more money than they need.
- Paycheck ended with the protagonists winning $90 million lottery. By seeing the future.
- It Could Happen to You: In a beautiful twist, they were destitute, but took in a homeless man to give him soup when they could ill afford to share anything. That homeless man was a reporter for the NY Times who described them as kind, gentle people who were not bitter they'd been made destitute. And then the donations came pouring in, making them rich again. Meanwhile, the selfish harpy that took all their money gets all of it stolen by a con man and is forced to move back in with her mother and return to her old job in a nail salon.
- National Treasure had the museums paying 1% of the treasure's value to the protagonists. It was stated a few times the treasure was worth about $10 billion US dollarsnote , so even 1% set them for life.
- In The Gold Rush, Chaplin and Big Jim find the mountain of gold at great personal risk and the story ends with them leaving the Klondike rich.
- Slumdog Millionaire ends with the protagonist, who grew up in poverty, winning the game-show and its enormous prize.
- The end of The Mummy finds Rick and Evy riding off into the sunset on a camel that is, unbeknownst to them, loaded down with treasures. Their giant house in the sequel indicates that they've made a pretty good living with the grave robbing.
- When Marty McFly fixes his parents' past in Back to the Future, he returns to a present where his father George is a wealthy science fiction author. Interestingly this ending didn't sit right with Crispin Glover (George's actor), who felt it sent the wrong message and didn't return for the sequels.
- Many heist movies (Ocean's Eleven,note Fast Five, The Italian Job (2003) for example) end with the (surviving) members of the crew reaping the rewards of their heist.
- The Whole Town's Talking: There was a reward $25,000 for the killing of Mannion, and since Jones shot him down like a boss, he can now travel to Shanghai.
- Ruthless People, as the sympathetic kidnappers and their victim make off with the ransom.
- Bedtime Stories: Skeeter's best friend who was a hotel waiter marries a hotel heiress and becomes the 9th richest person in the world.
- Hot Tub Time Machine ends with Lou remaining in the past and using his knowledge of the future for personal financial gain. By present day he is a multi-billionaire. His other friends are also better off than they were before their time travel adventure.
- In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel The Gallifrey Chronicles, former companion Anji turns out to have become one of the richest women in Britain because Trix, while traveling with the Doctor, managed to send her financial information from the future. Since Fitz and Trix have decided (for the time being, anyway) that they want to settle down together, she cuts them in on it.
- The Warlock O' Glenwarlock by George Mac Donald (alternative title: The Laird's Inheritance) ends with Cosmo Warlock discovering a great treasure within the walls of the family keep. After, of course, learning that money doesn't really matter if you have faith in God and a good heart.
- Sara Crewe from A Little Princess, after Mr Carrisford finds her and adopts her and the investment that her father had put into was actually worth much, much more than they thought.
- Jane Eyre inherits £20000 (which back then was a lot of money) from her long-lost uncle close to the end of the story. Being the kind of person that she is, she shares it with her cousins, dividing the money equally between four people; yet even after that she's left quite wealthy.
- By the end of Mara, Daughter of the Nile, Mara has realized that there are things that are far more important to her then freedom and gold, her motivations at the beginning. However, she ends up receiving both of them anyway, one through a boon of the new king, and the other through marrying her love, Count Sheftu.
- At the end of the final book in Dean Koontz' Frankenstein series, Mr. Lyss wins the lottery.
- Marius and Cosette at the end of Les MisÚrables when Jean Valjean gives them all the money he earned while he was mayor of Montreuil-sur-mer. Marius' aunt and grandfather are very pleased; Marius and Cosette themselves are too absorbed in their love to take any notice.
- Subverted in Holes: the treasure that Stanley and Zero dug up does bring their families money... but the narrative mentions that it was worth less than a million dollars altogether (while certainly a significant amount, probably not enough to set them for life). The movie plays it straight and ends with the main characters hanging out in a mansion.
- Ready Player One has Wade Watts become a quarter of a trillion dollars richer by winning Halliday's contest. He ends up sharing it with his surviving friends for working with him.
- The Hobbit has Bilbo returning to Hobbiton rich, although he could take home much more treasure if he felt it worth the bother.
- Older Than Dirt: The Ancient Egyptian tale "The Eloquent Peasant" apparently ends with the protagonist Hunanup richly compensated for his troubles and rewarded for his eloquence with numerous goods confiscated from the household of Djehuty-nekht, the man who had wronged him.
- Win the Hunger Games and the Capitol awards you more money than you can spend in a lifetime. The ending to the actual book series doesn't reveal if Katniss and Peeta got to keep that wealth, however.
Live Action TV
- This would have been the ending to Only Fools and Horses, if it hadn't been brought back five years later. But at least it allowed Rodney to find out who his real father is, and become a father himself.
- Comically subverted in The Young Ones episode "Cash", where a lorry full of money crashes into the Young Ones' house, apparently solving their financial problems forever, until the house and money get blown up.
- Outrageous Fortune
- In the Doctor Who episode The End of Time, the Doctor's present to Donna outside her wedding is a lottery ticket.
- The last season of Roseanne. Until the last few minutes of the final episode, anyway.
- Wings ended with Joe and Brian finding money left to them by their father (the money they were searching for in the very first episode), then having to decide how best to use it.
- Played straight in the Amazing Stories episode "Gather Ye Acorns". A small elf tells a kid to forget about studying to be a doctor and that hard work is not a virtue. "There's doctors aplenty is this world," he says, "What we could truly do with is a few more dreamers." We switch from 1932 to 1938 and he winds up spending all his hard-earned money on a fancy car. His dad is a little peeved, to say the least, and boots him out of the house. Years go by and the boy is now old, broke, friendless, homeless and trying to beg for enough money to gas up his car to commit suicide with it. But a wealthy lady notices some collector's piece in his collection of junk and offers him $10,000 for it. Cut to him now wealthy from selling all his childhood collectables. It turns out that all his artifacts are worth millions. This is treated as a happy ending.
- Played for Laughs in Rayman 2 in the Cave of Bad Dreams level when Rayman is given a choice between the Elixir of Life that will allow him to continue his quest, or get the mountains of treasure hoarded by the Guardian. If you choose the latter, you get a Non-Standard Game Over ending where Rayman simply forgets about saving the world and retires to a "Far Side" Island. Of course, because the game can't actually end on such a lousy note, you return to the Guardian's offer until you make the right choice.
- The surviving protagonists of Darwin's Soldiers are each offered millions of dollars in hush money by the government.