“And they all lived happily after” just isn’t good enough. Happiness doesn’t last forever (sorry to break it to you), and there are an ample number of movies which agree. Their final scenes might appear lighthearted at first, but some unsettling truths lie underneath. Or you might think about them for just a tad longer than the majority of the audience and begin to work out that oh dear god, there were nazis in the Sound Of Music and we all know how forgiving they are…anyway, best not to swell on it. Let us do all the depressing overthinking for you, and take a look at our 50 most depressing happy endings – just make sure you have some tissues handy.
The Sound Of Music (1965)
The Happy Ending: The von Trapp family escape into the Alps, fleeing the Nazis, to the uplifting trains of ‘Climb Every Mountain’.
The Depressing Implications: The family have a heck of a long walk ahead of them. Hope winter’s not on its way. Also, having helped the von Trapp family, surely the nuns are going to bear the brunt of the Nazis’ ire?
The Village (2004)
The Happy Ending : “I’m back, Lucius.” Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) returns to the village with supplies that should help Lucius get better.
The Depressing Implications: Rather than face the outside world, the Elders of the village decide to keep the knowledge of the modern world secret from everybody else. Which will surely lead to more illness, disease and death.
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)
The Happy Ending: Electrician Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) fulfils a life-long ambition by seeing an alien spaceship.
The Depressing Implications: Well, Roy’s kidnapped by the ETs, meaning he’s just left behind a wife and kids, for a start. Also, who knows what the aliens are going to do to him. Sure, they played nice on Earth, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be nice when we’re not looking…
The Happy Ending: After spending a little too long as a thirtysomething man, Josh (David Moscow/Tom Hanks) decides it’s probably best that he goes back to being a 13 year old again.
The Depressing Implications: Poor old Susan (Elizabeth Perkins), whom Josh crushes on as an adult, just lost the guy she loves…
Miracle On 34th Street (1947)
The Happy Ending: Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) manages to restore Susan’s (Natalie Wood) belief in Christmas by giving her family a dream home.
The Depressing Implications: Father Christmas doesn’t actually exist, so Susan’s in for a whole lot of pain when she grows up. The deceit. Just think of the deceit.
School Of Rock (2003)
The Happy Ending: Dewey’s (Jack Black) school band compete without him, and even though they come second, they win the crowd over. Meanwhile, Dewey sets up his own School of Rock and we all sing into the credits.
The Depressing Implications: Dewey has a lot to answer for. He kidnapped a bus-load of kids and committed identity fraud. We imagine he’d be found playing the harmonica in prison if there was ever a School Of Rock 2…
The Princess Bride (1987)
The Happy Ending: Pirate Westley (Cary Elwes) raids Prince Humperdinck’s (Chris Sarandon) castle and saves the lovely Buttercup (Robin Wright). The end.
The Depressing Implications: Westley spares Humperdinck’s life, which means this story is surely far from over. This guy has an army, for heaven’s sake – and knows exactly where Westley lives…
Super 8 (2011)
The Happy Ending: Joe (Joel Courtney) and his friends help the invading alien rebuild his starship and jet off into space. We all smile and feel fuzzy inside.
The Depressing Implications: Wait, what about the military, who were trying to keep this thing under wraps? With an entire town of witnesses on their hands, they have a massive clean-up operation to bolster. Wonder how they’ll keep everybody quiet…
The Happy Ending : Juno (Ellen Page) decides to give her baby to Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) after all, and admits her feelings for goofy track runner Paulie (Michael Cera).
The Depressing Implications: Juno’s still had to give up her newborn baby. Sure, she can live out the rest of her teenhood, but she’s always going to be wondering if somebody’s going to turn up on her doorstep one day asking “mommy?”
The Happy Ending: Charlie ‘CD’ Bales (Steve Martin) ends up with the Roxanne Kowalski (Daryl Hannah), the woman he’s been pining over forever.
The Depressing Implications: Is ending up with Roxanne really the best thing that could happen to CD? Throughout the film, Roxanne proves herself to be flippant, argumentative, paranoid and damned stupid – not least in her silly lusting after fit-but-dim Chris (Rick Rossovich). CD, you can do better.