The final shot in a film is an opportunity for a filmmaker to leave you with an indelible image. Does that moment leave you wanting more? Some films end with an image that is not only memorable, but has become strongly associated with the film. For example, the final shot in Rocky, battered and embracing Adrian, is one of the most memorable images of the film. The other being Rocky with celebratory arms raised at the top of the flight of stairs. This is a case of filmmakers finding that final moment that captures the culmination of the journey that the audience has been taken on.
For films that have been awarded a Oscar for Best Picture, you might think that there is a high percentage of films that end with iconic or at least highly memorable images. I was surprised to find that this is not true. While watching this compilation of final shots I was able to identify some only because I remember the film really well, or could place it in chronological order, not because it was a powerful or memorable moment.
So many of these final moments, when taken in isolation, were nothing more than a moment from a film. Perhaps this is because, when taken out of context, the final scene isn't carrying the emotional weight of the scenes that have come before it. In other cases I think it is because the strength of the film came from the journey taken, not the strength of the final moments alone.