Alternate endings have, until the dawn of DVDs and special features, been a sort of urban myth for film fans.
Before then, there were hints and rumours of studio in-fighting, directors clashing with stars and studios and loads more besides. There's been a few examples of infamous alternate endings where the entire meaning of the film is shifted and changed and others where the studio simply stepped and tacked on the ending they wanted, leaving something else to finish out a great film.
We've collected ten of the very best alternate endings that definitely should have made it into the final cut.
Take a look!
8. DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY
Dodgeball, although it might be dismissed as a sort of screwy comedy with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, has a lot of intelligence to it. Particularly in the ending that was originally envisioned. The ending that was originally planned saw Stiller hit Vaughn and lose the final match, meaning that Average Joe's lost and GloboGym took it all. It's in the title, don't forget - a TRUE Underdog Story. In real life, underdogs don't win usually. The ending that we saw was, of course, purposefully put in by the studio against everyone's wishes. In fact, Stiller made reference to that fact in the credits scene where he's in the fat suit.
7. DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE
Let's state the obvious, first off. Die Hard should have ended here. The two films that followed on from Die Hard With A Vengeance were pants and nobody - NOBODY - wants a prequel. Anyway, the Alternate Ending for Die Hard With A Vengeance was almost a direct antidote to the carnage that was most of the film. It went that McClane was to show up at Simon Gruber's mansion - after he had successfully stolen all of the gold, by the way - and played Russian Roulette with him. Except instead of a gun, it was a ROCKET LAUNCHER.
6. RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD
The 1982 survivalist classic bears little resemblance to the full-on action spectaculars that followed, but it's interesting to note that - if Stallone and the director had their way - they would have never been. The original ending saw Rambo effectively end himself by forcing Col. Trautman, played by the underrated Richard Crenna, to shoot Rambo so that he doesn't have to go back to a cell. It's a particularly powerful moment, but would have killed any opportunity of a sequel. Not only that, the audience testings basically said that it was too depressing.
5. THE TERMINATOR
Not so much an alternate ending as it was a direct link to Judgement Day, the ending Cameron saw the police and cleanup crews working to figure out what happened in the factory at the end. A couple of suits turn up and quickly sweep up any evidence of the Terminator. The real catch? It turns out the factory was owned by (drum-roll) CyberDyne Systems, the company that actually built the Terminator in the first place. This ending, as such, was used as the catalyst for the second one. Cameron allegedly cut it because he didn't have the money to finish it out and thought the image of Sarah Connor driving off to train her son was more powerful.
4. DAWN OF THE DEAD
George A. Romero's zombie classic is a pretty dark, depressing film. But the original ending is in a league of its own. The ending that we all saw showed the man and women eventually escape in a helicopter after Peter Washington, the main character, decides to fight off the zombies rather than finish himself off on his own terms. Although not exactly a happy ending, we see Peter and Francine fly the helicopter off the roof to an uncertain future. The alternate ending, which was changed during production, was MUCH darker. Romero had written it that Peter would have shot himself and Francine would have walked into the blades of the helicopter - rather than be taken by the zombies. The real icing on the cake, however, is that the blades of the helicopter would have stopped shortly after Francine ended herself, meaning that they were doomed no matter what. Even if they did escape in the helicopter, like in the ending we saw, they would have still died. Grim.
3. FATAL ATTRACTION
The classic thriller, which gave birth to the term 'bunny boiler', scooped a number of Oscar nominations - including a Best Actress for Glenn Close and Best Supporting Actress for Anne Archer. Honestly though, if they went with the alternate ending, BOTH of them would have won. As you'll see below, it's pretty damn dark and, in a sense, ties in with the Madame Butterfly thing they had going on the whole way through it. Although the used ending is a lot more dramatic and shocking, this ending really drives home the crushing dread that permeates the film.
2. RETURN OF THE JEDI
Although we've got The Force Awakens due out in December, Return of the Jedi wouldn't have ended on the so-called 'teddy bear's luau' that everyone hates. The original ending that producer Gary Kurtz had in mind was much more of a Spaghetti Western ending. As he saw it, the Rebel Alliance would have been in tatters from the assault on the Death Star and the war in general. Han Solo, for example, was supposed to die in an earlier part of the film. The finale of Return of the Jedi would have saw Princess Leia named Queen and beginning to struggle with her responsibilities whilst Luke Skywalker would have left to wander the galaxy, alone. Instead, we got bluey Alec Guinness and dancing teddy bears. Thanks a lot, George Lucas.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this ending Ridley Scott cooked up was equal parts disturbing, horrific and absolutely genius. It would have, however, prevented the genius that is Aliens. So, in a sense, it's not that great. Here goes: Ellen Ripley makes it out of the Nostromo, safe and sound. The Nostromo explodes and she's headed for Earth. Except that there's an alien still on the shuttle who proceeds to BITE HER HEAD OFF AND USE IT AS A PUPPET WHEN SHE TALKS TO EARTH. How amazing would that ending have been? The alien would have used Ripley's head and spoke with her voice as she communicated with Earth as the shuttle prepared to land. Unbelievable.