17

The first narrative movie ever was Trip to the moon of Georges Mélièrs.

It's about men going to the moon and fighting aliens, so a classical sci-fi movie but without any plot twists.

What was the movie with a plot twist?

  • Possibly The Face at the Window , or Quo Vadis?, both from 1913. – Cascabel Jun 15 '17 at 20:40
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    Surely there are early silent films about the life of Jesus, which has a twist ending from the perspective of the Romans: (spoiler alert) they knew not what they did, and surprise, next thing you know barely three centuries later the Roman empire is in the hands of Christians. – Eric Lippert Jun 16 '17 at 0:47
  • There were quiet some movies before 1895. How you think that one was the worlds first movie? movies.stackexchange.com/a/42182/20039 – Zaibis Jun 16 '17 at 6:41
  • @Zaibis Thanks for the correction, I believed an old french myth that it was the very fist movie ever (even harder not to believe it when you work at La Ciotat where they put allusion to "VERY FIRST MOVIE EVER MADE WAS DONE HERE" everywhere) – sh5164 Jun 16 '17 at 7:42
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    @poepje I actually said that thanks to Zaibis that corrected me with a link to the answer of "first movie ever made" – sh5164 Jun 16 '17 at 9:41
37

I don't know if it was the earliest, but certainly one of the earliest plot twists (and the earliest notable one that I know of) was the ending of The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1920). The film uses the framing device of a man named Francis sitting on a bench with another man, telling him the story of his encounter with the villainous Dr. Caligari and his assistant Cesare.

97-year-old spoiler incoming:

The ending reveals that Francis and the other man are merely patients in a mental asylum; "Cesare" is also a patient, and "Dr. Caligari" is merely the benign director of the asylum. The whole story was nothing more than Francis' delusion.

That said, plot twists are so universal in storytelling (dating all the way back to Arabian Nights, and probably even earlier), that I wouldn't be surprised if there's an even earlier example.

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    Really nice answer, I'll still wait to see if there's a confirmation for very first plot twist before confirming this – sh5164 Jun 15 '17 at 11:53
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    The plot sounds similar to Shutter Island. – Nav Jun 16 '17 at 9:45
  • @Nav I've never seen Shutter Island, but Dr. Caligari is by no means the only film to use this kind of twist ending. – F1Krazy Jun 16 '17 at 9:46

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