Spoiler Alert! The 50 Best Movie Twists

45. Sam's rescue was just a delusion.

Movie: Brazil (1985)
Writer: Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard, and Charles McKeown

Terry Gilliam and writers Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown certainly didn’t hide their pessimism while penning the script for the 1985 dystopian masterpiece Brazil. As if the story’s worldview, that of a futuristic society that’s under totalitarian rule and sadly dependent on broke-down machinery, isn’t grim enough, Brazil’s main character, Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) gets subjected to a cruel bait-and-switch of a joke.

Charged with disloyalty toward the government, Lowry is arrested, strapped to a chair inside a cylindrical room, and tortured by an old acquaintance (Michael Palin) who’s wearing a freaky mask previously seen in Sam’s worst bedtime nightmares. But then, like an act from the heavens above, renegade anarchist Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro) rescues him.

Or so Sam, and we, the viewers, think. Tuttle’s efforts only happened in his delusions, and he’s still confined to the chair and on the verge of an execution. It doesn’t get much drearier than that.

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