Some people look down their noses at happy endings. They dismiss them as pat, or formulaic, or saccharine. Personally? I like them, and I understand why others do too. Life is unhappy enough — and every single life eventually closes with the same unhappy ending. So why not embrace happy endings in fiction? Sometimes, that’s precisely what fantasies are for; to vicariously provide us with the emotions we so rarely experience in our day-to-day existence.

On the other hand, some filmmakers reject happy endings for exactly that reason. They don’t want to give viewers vicarious pleasure, and they do want to capture the authentic flavor of reality. Sometimes the best way to do that is with a dark, depressing, and otherwise unhappy ending to their story.

But what filmmakers want is not always want audiences want — or, more importantly, what studio executives think that audiences want. As a result, you wind up with movies like the 15 titles below: Films that were initially conceived — and very often shot — with bleak conclusions in mind. Invariably, though, each of these movies wound up emerging from the production process with a far rosier finale than their creators initially intended.

This list reveals those original endings that were supposed to be much sadder and more depressing — and, from the sound of it, would have worked a lot better as a result. It’s unfortunate audiences didn’t get to see these films as their directors’ intended, although in some cases the deleted footage has resurfaced years later on home video. That is a kind of happy ending too, I guess, so maybe those don’t just exist in fiction after all.

Movies That Were Originally Supposed to Have Much Darker Endings

These movies were originally intended to end on down notes. Somewhere along the way, that definitely changed...

READ MORE: The 25 Best Deleted Scenes That Never Should Have Been Cut

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