The Most Genius Foreshadowing Moments in Movie History

Next0 / 20

In almost every story, there's a bit of hinting in the beginning that connects to the overall plot or resolution to come. In great films, there are some decisions which cleverly foreshadow the outcome, with some more subtle than others. No matter how obvious, however, it's awesome to see the bits of teasing once you've seen a film in its entirety.


Here are 20 of the most genius foreshadowing moments in movie history. *Spoilers Ahead.*

Next0 / 20
Next1 / 20

20. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

In one scene of The Last Crusade, Donavan notes they're only a few steps away from locating the Grail, to which Indy answers, "That's usually where the ground falls out form underneath your feet." This becomes reality when the party recovers the Grail, and an earthquake occurs.

Next1 / 20
Next2 / 20

19. Jurassic Park (1993)

In the classic dinosaur movie that started an entire franchise, Dr. Grant terrorizes a little boy with a raptor claw towards the beginning of the film, stating, "You stare at him and he just stares right back, and that's when the attack comes- not from the front, but from the side." As it turns out, the raptor does in fact use that same move to take down Muldoon.

Next2 / 20
Next3 / 20

18. Batman Begins (2005)

In Christopher Nolan's first of his Batman series, Lieutenant Gordon shows Batman an evidence bag which contains a playing card, explaining a new villain has come to Gotham. "Take this guy. Armed robbery, double homicide,” he says. “Got a taste for the theatrical like you. Leaves a calling card…” The calling card is a Joker, which we all know leads to The Dark Knight's storyline.

Next3 / 20
Next4 / 20

17. The Incredibles (2004)

In the fan-favorite children's film The Incredibles, fashion designer Edna Mode rants on about how capes are unnecessary to superhero fashion. "No capes!," she famously says. Later on the movie, the villain is defeated when his cape is sucked into a plane engine, dragging him with it. Guess Edna was right!

Next4 / 20
Next5 / 20

16. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

George Miller's visual masterpiece uses foreshadowing for the various deaths in the film. The War Rig, helmed by villain Immortan, is a scary looking truck, which is decorated with human skulls in the front of it. Every time the camera focuses on the skulls, the next scene features a death.

Next5 / 20
Next6 / 20

15. Back to the Future Part II (1989)

In the second installment of this classic series, Bill watches A Fistful of Dollars, during a scene where Clint tricks the bad guys into shooting him in the chest, escaping death due to a hidden metal plate. In the third film, Marty uses that same trick to get away from Buford.

Next6 / 20
Next7 / 20

14. The Shining (1980)

This Stanley Kubrick classic foreshadows Jack's fate at the bar. When he breaks his sobriety and takes a drink, he gives a creepy grin and his eyes roll back. The expression on his face is a mirror image of the one we see on his frozen corpse at the film's end.

Next7 / 20
Next8 / 20

13. The Matrix (1999)

Once you've seen The Matrix the first time, you'll quickly notice the major foreshadowing in the beginning of the film. Neo's boss Mr. Rhineheart rags on him, telling him he has a problem with authority and that, "You believe you are special, that somehow the rules do not apply to you. Obviously, you are mistaken.” Clearly, as the movie goes on, we learn rules literally do not apply to Neo whatsoever. 

Next8 / 20
Next9 / 20

12. A New Hope (1977)

There are plenty of foreshadowing moments in the Star Wars franchise, but one of the most subtle is in A New Hope. When Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, who raised Luke Skywalker after his mother died, discuss Luke's character, they hint at the Dark Side in his parentage. Beru says, "Luke's just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him." Owen then replies, "That's what I'm afraid of." This conversation teases the reveal that Darth Vader is Luke's father.

Next9 / 20
Next10 / 20

11. Inception (2010)

In this mind-twisting Christopher Nolan film, the team infiltrates Fischer's brain, only to see a train come crashing through the middle of the street. This train is later revealed to be a product of Cobb's subconscious, being the only way he and Mal kill themselves to escape limbo.

Next10 / 20
Next11 / 20

10. The Others (2001)

​In this Nicole Kidman horror flick, she yells at her daughter Anne in one scene, “Stop breathing like that! “STOP BREATHING!" when she has trouble catching her breath. As we find out at the end of the film, she actually killed her kids by smothering them by a pillow and cutting off their breath.

Next11 / 20
Next12 / 20

9. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Quentin Tarantino's first hit has a subtle, yet awesome bit of foreshadowing towards the beginning of the film. When Nice Guy Eddie is on his way to the warehouse, an orange balloon appears behind his car. It is later revealed the rat was Mr. Orange.

Next12 / 20
Next13 / 20

8. Total Recall (1990)

In this classic film, foreshadowing occurs when a staff member sees Quaid's memory package, noting it contains "blue skies on Mars." At the end of the movie, the skies of Mars turn blue, as the atmosphere is breathable.

Next13 / 20
Next14 / 20

7. Fight Club (1999)

The incredible twist at the end of Fight Club was actually foreshadowed, when Ed Norton's character beats himself up in front of his boss. He tells himself, "for some reason, I thought of my first fight... with Tyler." We later learn that it would remind him of that fight because he, in fact, was Tyler all along.

Next14 / 20
Next15 / 20

6. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The highly acclaimed film The Shawshawnk Redemption shows the Warden looking at Andy Dufresne's bible, and sarcastically telling him, "salvation lies within." This sentiment becomes literally, as Andy uses the hollowed out pages to hide his hammer.

Next15 / 20
Next16 / 20

5. The Machinist (2004)

In this extremely unsettling Christian Bale drama, his character Trevor takes a child on a ghost train, which quickly turns scary. They see a mourning woman, a man hanged for his guilt, and a kid hit by a car. In the end, it is revealed Trevor had been involved in a hit and run, just like he saw in the creepy ride, and was hallucinating his past.

Next16 / 20
Next17 / 20

4. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

This 1930s classic begins with the famous all black and white sequence, which foreshadows the plot of the rest of the film. After the twister, Dorothy sees the most significant people in her life as imaginary characters, all portraying the conflicts in her reality we saw in the beginning.

Next17 / 20
Next18 / 20

3. Magnolia (1999)

In Magnolia, you might slightly notice the numbers eight and two recurring throughout the film. For instance, the weather predicts an 82% chance of rain, and the science convention begins at 8:20. These references are from a Bible passage - Exodus 8:2 - which is about a plague of frogs. At the end of the film, there is a literal plague of frogs.

Next18 / 20
Next19 / 20

2. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Another moment which foreshadows Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father, in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke slices off Vader's head, only to see his own face under the mask. "Much anger in him," Yoda notes. "Like his father." It's all so obvious once you've seen the reveal for the first time!

Next19 / 20
20 / 20

1. The Avengers (2011)

In the first film of the Avengers series, Tony Stark actually foreshadows what's to come. When the superheroes assemble for the first time, Stark randomly makes a comment about one of the ship's engineers playing the arcade game Galaga. While most probably wouldn't catch on at least the first time watching, Galaga is a video game where you must defend Earth from invading aliens. This is what the Avengers must do in the Battle of New York in the film.

20 / 20