Confessions of a bitter-ender

In a recent article about going back to watching films in theaters, the author referred to people like me as ‘bitter enders’.

As you would have noticed, in the theater as soon as it is clear that a film has ended most of the people get up and head for the exits. There are a few, and I am one, who are bitter-enders who sit tight and watch the all the way through to the last credits until the projectionist turns off the machine and the lights come on. Films have increasingly large numbers of people involved and waiting for the list to end can take a few minutes. This apparently annoys some people who have to squeeze past people like me to leave.

Why do I do this? One reason is that I like to know who played the various roles, especially the minor ones. While it is true that I can always look it up later, I usually am most curious at that moment. But why do I stay after those have scrolled past? Am I really interested in who was the Best Boy or the Gaffer for the film? The answer is not really, but sometimes I like the music that is playing and sometimes there are clips that play alongside the credits and sometimes there is even a small coda scene at the very end. In the film V for Vendetta, the closing credits were accompanied by Street Fighting Man by the Rolling Stones. Why would anyone leave during that? But the main reason I stay until the end is that there is a satisfying sense of closure that comes when I feel that the film has well and truly ended and I am sure that I am not missing anything.

Clearly the streaming services feel that the credits is a dead time where they lose audiences because they cue the next item as soon as the credits begin. I have to act very quickly to select the option to watch the credits.

When I go for films with friends and family, some of them are the quick exiters and forget that I am a bitter-ender and get up immediately to leave and when they realize that I remain firmly seated, they of course resignedly sit down again.

So be warned. If you ever go to see a film with me, I will not be leaving until the lights come on.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Fun trivia: “the bitter end” does not mean enduring a process that just gets worse all the way along.

    On sailing ships, ropes are often spooled around a pair of vertical posts set into the deck, called “bitts”, so the very last part of the rope to get unwound is … the “bitter” end.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    Reminds me of this :

    That’s the Lovell telescope, for many years the largest fully steerable radio telescope in the world. (still, I think, 3rd largest). It’s about 20 minutes drive from my home.

    What baffles me nowadays is people who leave specifically Marvel movies while the credits are rolling. 25 (26? I’ve lost count) movies in, have some people really not yet got the memo that there’s always a bonus teaser at the end? (of which the best has to be the one at the end of Spiderman Homecoming).

  3. Reginald Selkirk says

    Clearly the streaming services … cue the next item as soon as the credits begin.

    I have noticed different policies with different streaming services. I use one that cues up the next item, which inevitably follows. Another cues the next item, but you can close that and watch out the credits. Another lets the current movie play out to the end.

  4. xohjoh2n says

    @2 awesome as it may be, it still completely fucking failed to detect the Vogon invasion fleet.

  5. John Morales says

    I think it’s both quaint and unpleasant to go to a theater to watch a movie. Very 20C.

    Can’t pause or take a break, shouldn’t fart, people all around you making noises and stuff, kiddies, whatnot. Not to mention the queuing and the travelling. Bah.

    So, so very glad video-on-demand is a thing now. I can watch movies in the comfort of my own home, at my own convenience.

    Films have increasingly large numbers of people involved and waiting for the list to end can take a few minutes. This apparently annoys some people who have to squeeze past people like me to leave.

    Well, yes. Yet another consequence of having to endure going to the theatre to watch a movie.

  6. K says

    Years before Covid hit, we pretty much stopped going to the movies because of the rudeness of other people. You’ve got the talkers who discuss other movies, sports, what restaurant they’ve just eaten in, etc. etc. Maybe because of them, the movie is always played too loud, which makes them yell even louder. You’ve got the idiots who pay $16 to sit in a theater and spend it all on their bright-screened phones as they text, text, text or play games. You’ve got the idiots who bring babies and toddlers to movies made for adults (for example, The Lord of the Rings was jam-packed with screaming, crying, terrified toddlers at 10 pm). Then there are the people who apparently haven’t eaten in weeks and must continually get up and walk across you as they go back-and-forth to the concession stand every 20 minutes.

  7. Callinectes says

    Marvel fans also do this, as they have learned to expect a scene at the very end of the credits. It’s a habit that often extends to other films just in case.

  8. mnb0 says

    @2 Sonofrojblake: “have some people really not yet got the memo”
    Yup, like me. Because I never have seen even one single superhero movie. That particular American wet dream doesn’t crack me up by any means.
    I’m a bitter ender, to a mixture of amusement and annoyance of my loved one, who is the complete opposite.

  9. lorn says

    Lots of people seem to think: Did that, and on to the next. And it is, sometimes better to leave early and avoid the traffic. Of course if everyone thinks the same way … sometimes better to wait.

    Last time I clearly remember sitting through the credits, and a considerable time after, was watching “The Thing”. Curt Russel, ’82’.

    We were tripping balls, good stuff, clean, powerful. Don’t judge. It was a thing at the time. And we timed it just right. My friends and I sat in the middle and about six rows up (the sweet spot in the day) and at the end we all sat there stunned. The ominous theme music played. We sat there in silence. WTF did we just see? Nobody moved. Crowd leaves. Lights came up and we were there for a bit more. Then we, prompted by an usher we knew, walked out dazed into the late evening sun and warmth.

    For some reason, consider the ending of the movie, most of us didn’t want to be around people. I went for a long walk on a nearby trail. I observed several deer. By the time I completed the trail it was dark and the drug had worn off, for the most part, and I walked home. I spent the rest of the night thinking, reading, sipping green tea, and listening to classical music. Just before sunrise I poured a glass of wine and moved out onto the lawn.

    Good times.

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