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Foregone Conclusions in film.


Animated Films

  • The official midquel Bambi II also has one. During the climax Bambi falls off a cliff and seemingly dies. The scene exists solely to galvanise the bond between him and his father from this near loss, since everyone in the audience knows Bambi has to live past half of the original film's chronology.
  • Bambi Meets Godzilla: you can pretty much imagine by yourself how something titled as such could possibly end... SPLAT
  • The Emperor's New Groove starts with a wet llama shivering in the jungle, and a voiceover telling you that he used to be a human emperor.
    This is his story. Well, actually my story. I'm that llama.
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    • And when the film actually comes to that, Narrator Kuzco and On-screen Kuzco start arguing — and from that point on, the film has no voiceover.
  • In Hoodwinked, the two minute opening sequence makes clear plot points that will show up in each character's story: that Red Puckett will meet the Wolf on her way to Granny's and it won't go well (as she says, "You again?!" in the opening), that Granny will somehow end up in her closet, Bound and Gagged. Fortunately, some of the plot twists - like the Wolf being a journalist, Kirk being an actor, Granny being an extreme sports athlete - are not brought up.
  • A character in Incredibles 2 is called Evelyn Deavor. Take a wild guess at the antagonist's identity.
  • The Legend of the Titanic zig-zags this trope. Yes, the Titanic sinks, but the sinking is the result of a gang of talking sharks, in cahoots with an evil whaler, tricking an octopus into throwing the iceberg into the ship's path, and Everybody Lives.
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  • Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch: Near the end of the film, Stitch dies shortly after being put in the fusion chamber made to fix him. However, since this film takes place before the events of Stitch! The Movie, which was released two years earlier as the Pilot Movie of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, then those watching Lilo & Stitch 2 who are aware of the existence of The Series will know that Stitch's death doesn't take.
  • The beginning of Megamind opens with the title character currently plummeting to his death, which means you know by the end of the movie he's going to wind up in this position. Of course, after the movie reaches that point, he manages to save himself at the last second.
  • In Monsters University, despite initially being antagonistic towards each other, the audience knows that Mike and Sulley will be the best of friends. Subverted because while most knew that Sulley would become a Scarer and Mike his assistant, it wasn't easy to guess that they would be expelled from the university and have to work their way up Monsters, Inc. the hard way.
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  • The Powerpuff Girls Movie serves as a prequel to the TV series. Thus, anyone with even a passing familiarity of the show knows going in that the monkey hobo Jojo the girls befriend will become their arch-enemy Mojo Jojo, Mojo Jojo's evil plan will inevitably fail, and the girls will become the beloved and celebrated protectors of Townsville.
  • The Sword in the Stone: Anyone remotely familiar with the original Once and Future King books or the King Arthur legend they're based on knows that Wart is going to be the one to pull the sword out of the stone in the ending. As a result, Disney doesn't even treat it as a spoiler—the cover art for home video releases of the movie outright show him pulling out the sword.
  • Both averted and played straight in Tangled. The movie opens with the narration "This is the story of how I died." And he does die at the end. It just doesn't take.

Live-Action Films

  • 13 Minutes: Obviously, we know Elser's attempt to kill Hitler will fail.
  • 36 Hours (1965): Just before D-Day the Germans stage an elaborate deception to make the main character, a captured American intelligence officer, believe that it is 1950, the war is over, and he has had amnesia. The idea is to get him to disclose the D-Day plans as "therapy" for his amnesia. History says that surprise was successfully maintained for the D-Day landings, so the tension-inducing question is how the main character will discover the ruse.
  • (500) Days of Summer: As the narrator tells us at the start, "This is a story of Boy Meets Girl. But you should know up front, this is not a love story." The Anachronic Order also helps with this.
  • Alien Abduction (2014) starts with the In-Universe Camera being chucked off an alien craft, telling us that the Morris family's camping trip is going to go horribly wrong.
  • All the President's Men may end in media res with Nixon's reelection, but viewers know the rest of the story.
  • Amen depicts the efforts of SS Lieutenant Kurt Gerstein to stop the Holocaust by exposing it to the German public, via the Allies or the Vatican, and inspiring a campaign of protest against it similar to that which successfully stopped the Aktion T4 programme. The audience of course knows it didn't work out that way.
  • American Beauty: The Opening Monologue includes the line "in less than a year I will be dead." The tension then comes from the question "How?" which isn't answered until the end, at which point several different people have very different reasons to consider murdering him.
  • Apollo 13 manages to wring surprising amounts of tension and suspense out of the story, even though you should know the ending already. They don't get to the moon, but they do survive.
  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is based on the novel of the same name. God only knows how it will end.
  • Barry Lyndon makes excessive use of this trope. Everything that is going to happen is stated outright by the title cards and the narrator well in advance of the outcome. In his review, Roger Ebert even suggested this is the entire point of the film.
  • A Beautiful Mind has an odd variation. Although the major plot developments qualify to those familiar with John Nash's life, the script was written with the (correct) assumption that most of the audience wouldn't know him from Adam.
  • Bill is about William Shakespeare's attempts to make it as a playwright in London whilst King Philip II of Spain plots to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. History tells us Bill will succeed and Philip will fail; the question is what will happen in the meantime?
  • La bonne annee (The Good Year) starts with a character getting out of jail in 1973 then cuts to the same character preparing a robbery in 1966.
  • Boys Don't Cry is based on the last days of a famous murder victim, so the climax of the film is a very carefully choreographed Mexican Standoff, Subverted Trope when the inevitable happens.
  • Breach begins with a news report on the arrest of Robert Hanssen. Since the movie is based on real events, which did indeed end with his arrest, this is understandable.
  • Brick starts with Emily lying face down in a drainage ditch. When she shows up again in the flashback sequence, you already know she's doomed.
  • Carlito's Way: Those who know his story know he gets shot.
  • Casino subverts this, where Joe Pesci's character, Nicky Santoro, has his narration cut off in mid sentence by the vicious beating that leads to his death.
  • Citizen Kane starts with the main character dying, and the rest is told in flashback. So you know he's going to die.
  • Cloud Atlas: In the film, Frobisher's suicide.
    • Subverted with Ewing. When Frobisher mentions he's reading his diary entries, he calls him a "dying man," leading the viewer to believe he will die on the journey. He is dying but only because he's being poisoned by Goose. Autua saves him and he's nursed back to health properly.
  • Coalition is a dramatisation of the real life events immediately following the 2010 UK General Election. The story centres on the question of who will form a new government, and whether the Liberal Democrats will be in it. It was first broadcast in March 2015, just in time for the following election, when a Lib Dem coalition has been in power for five years. Also doubles as a Late-Arrival Spoiler.
  • Confidence begins with the main character, Jake Vig, lying dead from a gunshot wound, his opening line of narration "... So I'm dead." Inverted Trope somewhat in that it turns out Jake's death is faked; his assertion that he is "dead" is only accurate in a sense that he is considered to be dead by the people who wanted him dead.
  • Creepshow titles the segment starring Stephen King "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill".
  • The Crossing, a movie about Washington crossing the Delaware. It's the Darkest Hour for the Continental Army, as they have only ever been defeated, their enlistments are up in days, they're broke, and if they fall to the Hessians—which everyone but Washington thinks is a foregone conclusion of its own because HessiansThe American Revolution is kaput. Not only do they win, they do it without losing a single man in battle.note 
  • Because Deewaar starts with a ceremony attended by Ravi and Sumitra before explaining How We Got Here, the audience knows that no matter what happens they will live.
  • D.O.A.: "I want to report a murder — mine!"
  • Double Indemnity opens with Walter shot in the arm and beginning the confession that makes up the narration for the rest of the film.
  • Downfall is a movie advertised as "Hitler's last days", so you'd have a hard time finding someone who doesn't know how it ends. (spoiler alert: Hitler dies.)
  • Dracula Untold, considering it's an origin story of Dracula. It's pretty obvious that the titular character's vampiric abilities become permanent, and he survives the events of the film.
  • Drag Me to Hell. It's right in the title.
  • The Eagle Has Landed: A team of Nazis land in wartime Britain to assassinate Winston Churchill. And they succeed! Except he's not really Churchill, but a double.
  • El Alamein: The Line of Fire is about a group of Italian soldiers during the Second Battle of El-Alamein in Second World War, which was a disastrous defeat for the Italian army.
  • Evita starts with Eva Peron's funeral before flashing back to her early teenage years.
  • Fallen begins with a voiceover from the main character: "I wanna tell you about the time I almost died." Subverted in that it's the demon Azazel who's really saying it. Denzel's character does die.
  • Fantastic Beasts take place chronologically before the Harry Potter saga, and from there we already know that no matter what happens, Gellert Grindelwald will live in the end, as he's still alive (though locked up) by the time of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Though he'll eventually be brought down.
  • The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas takes place before Fred and Wilma's marriage, so unless you've never even heard of the cartoon, you'll know that Chip Rockfeller's scheme to marry Wilma for her wealth is Doomed by Canon.
    • On a lesser note, when Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty meet, they go on a double date, except with Fred & Betty and Barney & Wilma paired up. Even those unaware of the show should know that Betty and Wilma switch up.
  • Gandhi starts with Gandhi’s murder. It then continues on after the death of the main character, and then goes back and tells the story of how the British Empire was humiliated. Considering the fact that the film is based of the life of a long dead historical figure, the beginning doesn't really give much away.
  • Ghost (1990) is a case where the advertising and in some cases even the subtitle "Message from Sam" do the Foregone Conclusion without the movie itself actually hinting at it at the beginning. If anyone went into that movie, not knowing that Sam will die, they must have been blind and deaf.
  • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah shows that Godzilla is slowly dying of a nuclear overload at the beginning of the film. Which actually starts even before the film, as the trailers for the film actually flat out state "Godzilla Dies!" as part of the advertising campaign to draw in viewers!
  • The Guns of Navarone: The Expository Theme Tune tells that the Good Guys will manage to blow the guns up. The movie tells how.
  • Halo: Nightfall has an Anyone Can Die scenario, but it's known that the main protagonist Jameson Locke will survive to become a SPARTAN-IV, meet the Arbiter as seen in Halo 2: Anniversary Edition and appear as the secondary Player Character in Halo 5: Guardians. Hell, you originally needed Halo: The Master Chief Collection in order to watch Nightfall, so unless you watched this first, you'll know Locke gets out okay.
  • Heavenly Creatures begins with Pauline and Juliet running through a park covered in gore, screaming that Mummy's 'terribly hurt'. The rest of the film reveals how they came to this sorry pass. Those familiar with the case won't be surprised.
  • The Highwaymen: Eventually, Bonnie and Clyde will be killed in a Multiple Gunshot Death by law enforcement when Hamer and Gault track them down.
  • The Hobbit:
    • Since Bilbo is narrating the story, you know that he will survive this journey. Same with Gandalf and Legolas, who both make appearances in the sequel The Lord of the Rings.
    • Likewise, anyone who paid close attention to The Fellowship of The Ring will know that Balin can't die in this trilogy, because he's the one entombed in the crypt at Moria, having fallen to the invading orcs.
    • The filmmakers are really playing with this, going as far as creating a new character as love interest for Kili.
  • Des hommes et des dieux is based on a true story. Seven of the monks were kidnapped and killed.
  • Iceman 2017: "Ötzi the Iceman" is a Stone Age man whose frozen body was discovered in the 1990s. He was found to have been killed by being shot by an arrow, and the film imagines the events leading up to his death.
  • In Ikiru, the narrator tells when and how Watanabe will die. You get to see what he does before then, and then watch his funeral.
  • Inglourious Basterds mostly concerns two independent plots to kill Hitler and the rest of Nazi high command in a movie theater in France, in 1944. Since everyone knows how Hitler really died, there's only one way this can possibly end. Surprisingly, they succeed: Eli Roth shoots Hitler dead.
  • Into the Storm (2009): Obviously the audience knows how the second world war (and Churchill's career) turns out, the interesting part is witnessing Churchill's struggle firsthand.
  • Ip Man. The audience already knows that he would survive the Japanese invasion of China and become Bruce Lee's martial arts master.
  • I Shot Jesse James: Anybody that knows the story of Jesse James knows that Jesse and Robert Ford's friendship isn't going to end well. Hell, the movie's title gives it away.
  • Jack (2013) is largely predictable to those who've followed Canadian Politics more closely.
  • James Bond:
    • Skyfall: It's clear that James doesn't die after being shot by Miss Moneypenny in Turkey, as it happens about 15 minutes into a nearly 2.5-hour long film.
    • Spectre: What, you didn't expect Blofeld to appear in a Bond film named after his terrorist organisation?
  • Kick-Ass references this; since Dave has been narrating all the way through, when seen tied to a chair and being tortured by Mooks, it seems reasonable to think he will survive. He promptly calls the audience on it, reminding them that Posthumous Narration is always an option; "if you're reassuring yourself that I'm going to make it through this since I'm talking to you now, quit being such a smart-ass! Hell dude, you never seen Sin City? Sunset Boulevard? American Beauty?" He survives despite pointing out that he might not.
  • Kill Bill: The scenes in the first film are not shown in chronological order. Although Vernita is actually the second name on the Bride's list, the scene where she confronts her is shown before the far-more climatic confrontation with her first victim, O-Ren Ishii. After killing Vernita, the Bride crosses her name off the list, and the viewer's can see that the name "O-Ren Ishii" has already been crossed out, making it obvious that O-Ren didn't survive in the yet-to-be-seen confrontation.
  • Lawrence of Arabia: You know the title character is going to die. Better yet if you know the true story.
  • Letters from Iwo Jima: Even the Japanese realize that their situation is basically Unwinnable. Really, the only question is whether Saigo will survive the battle or not. He does, and is actually better off, as he is sent to a internment camp, internment camps were actually just boring holding camps, and he gets a free life in the US, and may still be friends with his American friend.
  • Lincoln's ending is well known historic fact. You know how the vote will go but the tension is generated by what it takes to succeed.
  • Love Story:
    Oliver: What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles, and me?
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Melancholia starts with an Apocalyptic Montage. The director has stated he intentionally gave away the ending like this, because he didn't want the audience to speculate on whether or not Earth would survive.
  • Memento starts with Leonard shooting a man dead. The rest of the movie is spent finding out why he thinks he did it. An interesting variation on the trope, as the chronology of the movie mostly runs backwards and so it's natural to have the conclusion at the start. The chronology alternates between going forward and backwards, and meets in the middle in the climax.
  • Michael Clayton shows him survive an assassination attempt in the beginning. Who wanted him dead? Watch the rest of the film to find out.
  • Michael Collins starts with Joe O'Reilly consoling Kitty over the death of Collins. The film then continues after the death of the main character, and then goes back and tells the story of how the British Empire was humiliated. Considering the fact that the film is based of the life of a long dead historical figure, the beginning doesn't really give much away.
  • Milk actually comes right out and says that Harvey Milk is killed within the first few minutes of the movie. Interestingly, though, the movie even continues after he dies.
  • Miracle: Everyone knows that the American hockey team will beat the Soviet Union, but how did they manage to do it?
  • Moulin Rouge!:
    • The film begins with Ewan McGregor's character typing "The woman I loved is dead." So there you go.
    • Director Baz Luhrmann has admitted that his whole Red Curtain Trilogy (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge!) were more about telling the story of getting to the foregone conclusion.
    • And the 1955 version is based on the actual life of Toulouse-Lautrec (and the novel).
  • The Opposite Of Sex: Narrator Dede and her ex-boyfriend struggle over a pistol, which goes off. The both lie there for a moment until Dede pushes his body off her. Her narration says "What, you thought I'd be the one who died? I'm the narrator here, guys! Keep up!"
  • Oz: The Great and Powerful: Theodora is "turned evil" in a situation sympathetic enough that in a different movie, you would probably be hoping that the effects of eating the apple will be undone and she'll return to her good self; just as Oz, not having seen the movies, offers her a Last-Second Chance when sending her into exile. But of course, in 'later' works she is the Wicked Witch of the West and therefore nothing like that will happen.
  • Pan's Labyrinth starts with Ofelia, lying on the ground, bleeding from her nose. From the fact that the blood is moving backwards, viewers can tell right away that the plot is about to rewind, which it does.
  • Pearl Harbor: Anybody who knows anything about the Second World War knows what's going to happen here.
  • Penn & Teller Get Killed: At the end, they, well, do. There's a closing narration along the lines of, "Well, what did you expect to happen?"
  • Pompeii: Vesuvius explodes, Pompeii is destroyed and Everyone Dies.
  • Public Enemies is based on the life of the infamous bank robber John Dillinger, famously shot by three FBI agents.
  • Revolution (1985) is set in the American Revolutionary War, so you know that the Americans will win out against the British in the end.
  • Romeo is Bleeding starts with a bartender telling a story about one of his regulars (Gary Oldman), and why that man is such a mess. There's a bit of a twist, though, when it's revealed at the end that both of them are the same man.
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: Even if you're not familiar with Hamlet, you can probably guess what happens to the two leads at the end.
  • Seven Pounds starts with the main character calling in his own suicide to 911.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows gives us a really good view of a waterfall during the establishing shot of the castle in which the climax of the film takes place. Those familiar with Holmes mythology could tell where the movie was headed from there. Subverted in that it's shown that Holmes survived. Those who weren't sure knew how it was going to end when Mycroft mentioned that the peace summit was taking place at Reichenbach.
  • Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball: As it's a prequel, Lester Tremor and Lazlo Soot are both guaranteed to survive.
  • Space Jam is partly based on real life events; namely Michael Jordan's brief retirement from basketball in favor of baseball, before returning to basketball. So you know he's going to go back to basketball at the end.
  • Star Trek:
  • Star Wars:
    • The prequels, unless you were living under a pop culture rock since the '70s. Even the posters admitted this one was a given — the most famous poster for The Phantom Menace shows young Anakin walking by a building... casting Darth Vader's shadow.
    • While perhaps not immediately obvious to casual fans, it was also obvious to most Star Wars fans as soon as Chancellor Palpatine showed up that he and Darth Sidious would turn out to be the same person; while not mentioned in Return of the Jedi, "Palpatine" was known to be the Emperor's name in many novels where he appeared. And those who were musically savvy knew that he was Darth Sidious/the Emperor from the beginning as, on several occasions, the Emperor's theme plays in the background in certain shots with him in the foreground in both roles. Also, the same actor plays both roles, despite the prequels taking place almost 20 years before Return of the Jedi and being filmed 20 years after. The character was always supposed to be old, but the actor who plays him, Ian McDiarmid, originally played the role in heavy makeup, and by the time the prequels were filmed was old enough to portray the character again.
    • Downplayed in Rogue One: while the mission to retrieve the Death Star's plans to exploit that exhaust vent will ultimately succeed, the fates of anyone participating in it are completely up for grabs. In fact, EVERYONE who isn't Saved by Canon gets wiped out by the end.
  • The first scene in The Stoning of Soraya M. of Zahra burying the bones in combination with the title leaves no doubt about the fate of the titular character.
  • The Strangers begins with saying that the two protagonists left a wedding reception in 2005 and nobody knows exactly what happened next, all but saying that they died. Then they show some parts of the ending. Though the movie cheats at the end by having the female lead impossibly survive. Though she may be better off dead, as she was terrorized by a group of serial killers, saw her husband blow a friend's head off, and was stuck in a chair while he and her husband were stabbed repeatedly. Even if the survivor... well, survives, they won't be getting out of a psych ward for awhile. In her case, "death" may have been meant metaphorically.
  • Stranger Than Fiction: "Little did he know that this simple seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death." "What? What? Hey!" Subverted, though: he lives at the end.
  • Sunset Boulevard starts with a shot of the main character and narrator lying dead in a swimming pool. Being a movie about a screenwriter and an old movie starlet, it sure as hell makes you wonder the whole length of the movie.
  • Terminator: Kyle Reese will live through Terminator Salvation. The humans will win the Robot War in the end.
  • The Thing (2011) is a prequel about the Norwegian camp story, and you know through MacReady and his team's investigation in the 1982 film the overall fate of the Norwegian camp and its occupants, including how some of them are going to die. It also foreshadows the ending that "The Thing" will imitate a dog and 2 survivors from the Norwegian camp will chase and hunt it down, which they will fail to accomplish.
  • Titanic (1997):
    • Titanic is a double example. You know that the Titanic is going to sink, and you know right from the start that the main character survives.
    • May also qualify as Prophecy Twist - viewers paying attention to Rose's backstory at the beginning will know immediately which man she ends up with, as her last name is given as Dawson. However, at the end of the movie it's revealed the circumstances surrounding this were not marriage.
  • Tora! Tora! Tora!!: Most of this film is about the Japanese planning to attack Pearl Harbor and the Americans fretting over their attempts to discover what Japan is up to. The Japanese achieve complete surprise.
  • Transcendence: As Max narrates at the start of the film, reminiscing about Will and Evelyn, it's clear that both of them are dead by this time.
  • Troy:
    • Troy falls in...this film. 'Twas ever thus.
    • The film does have significant differences to the Iliad on which it is based. Both Menelaus and Agamemnon survive the war in the original story, whereas Paris does not; in the film this is reversed.
    • In the film, Helen leaves with Paris because she genuinely loves him and hates Menelaus, the old man who she was forced to marry. In the original legend, Helen dearly loves Menelaus, the marriage is her personal choice, and she only falls for Paris because of a spell put on her by the goddess Aphrodite.
  • Two Came Back: This 1997 made-for-TV movie depicted five young people left adrift in an emergency raft after their yacht sinks. Guess how many of the characters survived the ordeal and returned to land safely? If you need to, take another look at the title.
  • United 93: This film was based on one of the four planes that were hijacked on 11 September, 2001. This was the one that crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
  • Vagabond (1985): The film opens with the still image of a decrepid body, then goes into the two related storylines of the police trying to work out what happened and a woman becoming more uncivilized in every scene. Guess what happens to the woman.
  • Valkyrie: Even if you are not familiar with the historical details, everyone knows that Adolf Hitler will survive the bombing. And if you don't like that, well, just watch Inglourious Basterds instead.
  • Veronica Guerin is not only based on the life and death of the aforenamed Irish journalist, the movie begins with a depiction of her murder. The film then flashes back to two years prior, when she began her investigations into the Irish drug trade, which is what lead to her gruesome fate.
  • WarCraft is a twofold example:
    • People who remember the plot of the first Warcraft game will know the major plot points, twists and the ending to the story, although there are some small (if impactful) differences.
    • The movie begins with a scene of a human and an orc fighting in a ruined land around the Portal, then jumps back in time, restricting possible outcomes to Bittersweet Ending and Downer Ending. It's the former.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: First Class:
    • These films are both prequels to the first three entries in the X-Men Film Series (though the prequels contradict each other in some regards) and therefore contain numerous examples of this trope (assuming that the viewer has seen the first three films and/or is familiar with the comic book source material).
    • In Wolverine, it's a given that Logan, Sabretooth, and Stryker will all survive the film. Logan will receive his adamantium skeleton from the Weapon X program. Finally, Logan's memories of everything in his life up to, and including, the events of the film will somehow be erased by the end of the film.
    • In First Class, it's sadly given that despite Xavier and Magneto starting out as best friends, Magneto's inevitable Face–Heel Turn will result in them becoming the leaders of two opposing mutant factions. Eventually Mystique will make a Face–Heel Turn of her own and become Magneto's Dragon. Beast's attempts to "cure" the physical appearance aspect of his mutation will not only fail, but will actually backfire, making his condition much worse.
  • Yamato is a historical film about the eponymous battleship. She's not going to make it.


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