There are generally two types of movie fans in the world. The first type needs to have every single loose end tied up. Just the mere thought of a film concluding with an open-ending or any lack of closure, gives these kinds of people cold chills and bad dreams. Then, there are the types of movie fans that don’t necessarily need a neat and tidy explanation for every detail. They are fine with the idea of a cliffhanger or tiny plot hole. Many filmmakers hope for the latter type of audience. This list features great films that get away with not explaining things.
There are many types of movies with unexplained parts. We often do not see a complete explanation in a suspense or mystery. M. Night Shyamalan doesn’t necessarily worry about the giant plot hole in The Sixth Sense, because he trusts that audiences will be able to suspend their disbelief, and accept the film's amazing twist ending. I mean, it is a film about a little boy who is able to see dead people, so we’re already being asked to buy into the dream world of the film.
Then, there are those pesky MacGuffins - these narrative devices are used to incite a plot point, but are then never referenced again in the story. Think about the glowing briefcase from Pulp Fiction. Do we ever find out what's inside? No, it’s a MacGuffin; it doesn’t matter. That is, it doesn’t matter if you’re one of those types of people who watch movies that don't explain big parts.So whether the items on this list are plot holes, MacGuffins, or simply just films with unexplained moments, most of these stories thrive without tying up every loose end. Of course, some films on this list could use a little exposition or narrative tightening. Be sure to vote up the films that are actually better off not explaining every detail, and vote down the films where an explanation would improve the story.
Actors: Henry Fonda, Jack Klugman, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, Jack Warden, + more
Initial Release: 1957
Directed by: Sidney Lumet
#52 on The Best Movies of All Time
M. Night Shyamalan's first big movie features one of the best plot twists in film history.
Spoiler alert!Dr. Crowe (Bruce Willis) is dead the whole time and doesn't know it. But that doesn't make much sense. How could Crowe go about his day as a psychologist and a person just living his life and not realize that no one is interacting with him? It's a giant plot hole for sure, but does that really matter?
Actors: Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, M. Night Shyamalan, + more
Initial Release: 1999
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
#72 on The Most Rewatchable Movies
#64 on The Best Movies of All Time
A bitter weatherman (Bill Murray) must relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right in Harold Ramis's 1993 comedy, Groundhog Day. It's a nightmare for Phil, who never wanted to be in Punxsutawney, PA covering the February 2 story in the first place. The film's narrative never gets around to explaining why the day keeps repeating itself, or why Phil is the only character aware of the repetition.
Actors: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Michael Shannon, Harold Ramis, Chris Elliott, + more
Initial Release: 1993
Directed by: Harold Ramis
#3 on The Funniest '90s Movies
#13 on The Most Rewatchable Movies
#69 on The Best Movies of All Time
Actors: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Billy Zane, + more
Initial Release: 1985
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis