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Blatant Movie Spoilers You’ll Only Notice The Second Time You Watch

Updated October 15, 2020 3.3k votes 763 voters 224.5k views18 items

List RulesVote up the most obvious foreshadowing in these classic films.

Movie foreshadowing is a tricky thing. When done well, viewers might not even realize they're being told what's around the corner; when done poorly, the film is just handing out obvious spoilers.

The best kind of foreshadowing doesn't even click for a viewer until they're watching a movie for the second time. Films like Shaun of the Dead and Fight Club are stuffed to the gills with visual and textual clues that reward rewatches. You can also find plenty of subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints of things to come in the Star Wars prequels and the works of M. Night Shyamalan.

Check out the films below and vote up the bits of foreshadowing that are super obvious - but only the second time around.

  • Reservoir Dogs opens with our group of well-dressed bad guys first discussing Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and then Mr. Pink's (Steve Buscemi) aversion to tipping.

    When Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) joins them, he asks who didn't throw in a dollar for the tip. Without hesitation, Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) says it was Mr. Pink. As will become clear later in the film, this is because Mr. Orange is an undercover informant, and his job is to inform on those who break the rules.

    Which is a nice way of saying Orange is a rat.

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  • The Departed features several main characters being bumped off throughout the film. This is signaled by an "X" appearing on screen in some form.

    Before Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) is thrown off a building, we see X-shaped tape on the windows. There is an X in the elevator behind Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) just before Sullivan (Matt Damon) takes him out. There are also X's on the carpeted floor of Sullivan's apartment, where he's whacked by Sean Dignam (Mark Wahlberg).

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  • It's understating things to say Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) has a few screws loose, but when he tells Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) not to worry about his mother, Norma, he's being completely straight.

    Marion thinks Norman is in an unhealthy relationship with his mother because she's heard Norma berating Norman. In fact, it's just Norman talking to himself.

    Norman tells his guest his mother is "as harmless as one of those stuffed birds” he keeps around the motel. That's because she's a taxidermied mummy Norman keeps in the cellar.

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  • Early in The Matrix, Neo (AKA Thomas Anderson) gets chewed out by his boss, Mr. Rhineheart, for showing up late to work - something we're led to believe is habitual for him. In criticizing his employee, however, Rhineheart is basically telling him what the audience is about to discover: Neo is The One.

    "You have a problem with authority, Mr. Anderson," Rhineheart says. "You believe that you are special, that somehow the rules do not apply to you."

    Turns out, that's exactly right. And, as Rhineheart continues to berate Neo, he explains what is essentially the plot of the film. Every employee (i.e., "human slave being used as fuel for evil robots") is "part of a whole," and if an employee has a problem "the company [the Matrix] has a problem."

    Rhineheart then tells Neo that "the time has come to make a choice." Either Neo can show up to work on time, stay plugged into the Matrix, or find himself a new job. Lucky for Neo, the "savior of humanity" position has just opened up.

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