Director: Stanley Kubrick
Screenwriter: Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke

There are probably 2001 ways to interpret the finale to Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi masterpiece, which is just one reason why it stands among the greatest endings ever. Kubrick's exploration of evolution follows man from ape to architect of the future to a fetus floating in space, in the forehead-smacking finale. All the while a pesky black wall, the God-like monolith, keeps popping up to usher in a new era. That generations continue to puzzle over the film, its mysteries, and that unforgettable image of a fetus watching Earth from afar is testament to 2001's lasting power and influence. —Rad. S