I am confused, what happened at the end of The Grey (2011)? Did Ottway die or did he manage to survive?

  • 1
    There's a scene after the credits that could help you with deciding who survived, but regardless it's one of those movies where you have to decide for yourself
    – user1557
    Jun 22, 2012 at 20:09
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    I think it's obvious both of them died because,don't you think you would hear noises if either of them died?
    – user2087
    Sep 22, 2012 at 2:20
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    he had small whiskey or brandy bottles from the plane crash taped to his hands and broke off the tops to make them pointy and very sharp . anyway a stupid movie why didn't they just stay in the fusilarge of the plane create a fortress plus having all that steel they could have made weapons and kill off the pack like duh!!!!
    – user3568
    Dec 10, 2012 at 9:15

6 Answers 6


I think the ending is intentionally ambiguous, so each member of the audience can draw their own conclusion. Even if Ottway kills the Alpha, will the rest of the pack let him survive?

If you watched past the credits, you saw that there was a very short (maybe two seconds) scene where we see Ottway and the Alpha wolf after they fight. They're both alive, but badly injured. Ottway's head is resting on top of the wolf's body. Since both are so badly injured, I think it's unlikely that either one of them will survive.

  • I didn't know about that short scene as I didn't watch past the credits. Thanks for your answer. May 17, 2012 at 11:53

It's symbolic: honor your life and confront your fears. The whole movie was about his ambivalence about living after his wife died. He fought the enemy honoring "life" and symbolically, he won. That's my take.


Its almost certain that after someone or something kills the alpha of a pack, then the other wolves back off, praise, or even make them the new leader of their group. Because the alpha was lying weakly on the bed of snow at the brief scene after the credits, it should be obvious that he was killed or in the middle of dying. Otherwise, he'd undoubtedly be eating John and so would the others. Meanwhile, John is lying and resting his head on the side of the black alpha wolf. We're not certain if he's dead or if he survived, but the one thing we know is that the wolf is dead. One thing I can say about the way the wolf died was by the dagger John held and the broken glasses he wrapped around his hand (which looked to be some sort of medicine tube). John must have known something about the glasses because he was a huntsman after all, maybe containing poison to kill off the wolves. Either way the wolf was dead and as for John, its really up to you to figure that out. Odds are, he was sitting there thinking and praying judging the way the director casted him always in deep thought.

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    Sorry, I chuckled a little. The glass was small bottles of alcohol from the service cart on the plane. It wasn't medicine or poison (although I suppose some would call alcohol either of these).
    – xdumaine
    Mar 31, 2013 at 23:17

I think the ending is fairly obvious, if you recall toward the beginning of the film Ottway shoots a wolf trying to attack the drillers. While the injured wolf is dying in the snow Ottway hovers over it and places his hand on the wolfs chest, the entire time we are clearly seeing the final labored breaths of the dying animal which is very similar to the scene at the end of the movie. Its pretty clear they both died, unless Ottway was pooped and decided to spoon with the alpha for a bit before returning to his aimless wandering through the Alaskan wilderness.

Furthermore this scenario would never happen since pack alpha's rarely do any of the killing, however they do in conjunction with the beta's decide who eats first.

Also, wolves are absolutely timid around humans, most documented fatalities have been children during the 18th and 19th century in North America. Although there are circumstances that would cause a wolf to attack, its very rare - I think shark and bear attacks are more common compared to wolves. The idea that these wolves would hunt these men down one by one like velociraptors is far-fetched unto itself but certainly makes for great cinema.


Live and die on this day... the wolf died, Liam lived.

Otherwise the wolf would have been eating him and his buddies would have joined in.

Either that way, or Liam found the meaning of life on the same day he died.


My take: He's alive and hopes for survival in the end. His face is towards sky. He still hopes that God exists and will send someone to rescue him or at least those purses would be collected. After all, those purses were so much valuable to them. It wouldn't make sense they'll go waste.

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