The best movie endings are usually the ones that stick with us. Unfortunately, making a truly brilliant ending isn’t easy. By definition, it’s only a small percentage that can really be considered the best.

So what is it that makes a great ending? There’s no set formula, but it’s usually satisfying, shocking, or thought-provoking in one way or another. Most importantly, a good ending is memorable – so much so, in fact, that many of them are still talked about even decades later.

Obviously, we’ll be talking about endings, so big spoiler alerts for every film on this list. Each entry has been selected for different reasons, but ultimately, they’re all incredibly good endings to their respective stories. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have titled this list as the 10 Best Movie Endings of All Time, would we?

10. The Graduate (1967)

Katharine Ross as Elaine Robinson and Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock on the bus in The Graduate (1967)

Released in 1967, The Graduate follows recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock after he returns home. After realizing he has grown disconnected from his family, he seeks companionship with a much older woman named Mrs. Robinson in a tawdry affair. However, he soon meets and falls in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine, complicating his life and making his future all the more uncertain.

After Elaine learns of Benjamin’s relationship with her mother, they break up. After returning to college, Elaine meets another man, and soon finds herself forced into marrying him by her father. Still in love with Elaine, Benjamin rushes to the church to prevent their union. The pair flee the church together, hopping onto a bus and escaping the ceremony just in time. The camera remains trained on their faces as their excited smiles slowly fade, and the reality of their situation begins to set in.

What makes this one of the all-time greatest movie endings is its quiet depth. Watching as the implications of their choices begin to dawn on the pair, The Graduate opts not to end on a happy note, but on a pensive one. Yes, Benjamin and Elaine can possibly find happiness together, but that isn’t the point. The point is that their lives will go on, and they’ll have to find a way forward into the uncertain future. It’s powerfully understated, and endures as one of the best movie conclusions of all time.