I’ll always be a fan of action flicks and suspense thrillers that end hard, clean and decisively and no fooling around, like the last minute or so of John Frankenheimer‘s French Connection 2 (’75).

But I’m an even bigger fan of edgy pulse-pounders that end with great denouements. Denouements are meditative wind-down sessions…summary scenes that provide a nice breather as both the main characters and the audience are given a chance to consider what’s happened, sort out some of the loose ends and maybe imagine what’s to come.

My all-time favorite denouement is the second-to-last scene in Three Days of the Condor (’75) — a nice dialogue scene between Robert Redford‘s “Turner” and Max Von Sydow‘s “Joubert”, standing outside of Leonard Atwood‘s suburban Virginia home at the break of dawn.

Another fave is the final scene in The Social Network, a let’s-get-real moment between Jessie Eisenberg‘s Mark Zuckerberg and Rashida Jones‘ junior attorney at a law office in Palo Alto…early evening.

There could have been an Apocalypse Now denouement that might have mirrored the ending of Joseph Conrad‘s “Heart of Darkness,” which Francis Coppola‘s 1979 Vietnam film is based upon. Martin Sheen‘s Cpt. Willard could have visited the Long Island home of the widow of Marlon Brando‘s Colonel Kutz, whose last words are “the horror! The horror!” When she asks about Kurtz’s final moment of life, Willard tells her that he wept as he called out her name. A good denouement, but Coppola felt that leaving Vietnam and transitioning to Great Neck or Oyster Bay would have been too much of a shock to the system.

Is the final scene in Red River (“You’ve earned it”) an apt and satisfying denouement or a forced and even silly ending that doesn’t quite work? (I’ve always liked it but that’s me.)

The famous Psycho denouement, in which a sandpaper-voiced psychiatrist (Simon Oakland) explains how Norman Bates killed his mother and her lover and thereafter stole her corpse and decided to become his mother in spirit — to “give half his life to her, so to speak” — feels a bit labored by today’s standards. It does, however, set up the final scene between Anthony Perkins and that fly, which is dead perfect.

Please name some other great ones.