15 TV and Movie Betrayals You’d Never See Coming

15 TV and Movie Betrayals You’d Never See Coming

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Nothing stings more than a backstabbing or double-crossing, and when brought into a film or TV series, they often linger in the memories of audiences if executed properly. No matter the setting, seeing a character go against their ally or longtime friend is devastating if their previously healthy relationship flips on its head without any notice. Here are some heart-wrenching betrayals, both on the big and small screen, that made quite a huge impact. It should be obvious, but massive spoilers lie ahead for what’s covered here—you’ve been warned.

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The Red Wedding — “Game of Thrones”

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The fan-dubbed “Red Wedding” which occurred in the season three Game of Thrones episode “The Rains of Castamere,” devastated fans when it killed off Stark family members Robb, Catelyn, and Robb’s pregnant wife Talisa. They also crippled the power of the Northern Army, which was building allies to take on Kings Landing, by massacring most of the troops camped out there.

Along with the sudden and shocking violence juxtaposed against the wedding setting, the sequence was particularly brutal for viewers who knew that Arya Stark was mere steps away from being reunited with her family before they were killed off. This left Arya, Sansa, Bran and bastard Jon Snow as the only living Starks who we had started the series with.


Lando Betrays Han Solo — “Star Wars: Episode V”

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While Lando eventually redeemed himself, the twist that he sold out fan favorite bounty hunter Han Solo, leaving him frozen in carbonite for the rest of The Empire Strikes Back, is a major emotional low-point for the trilogy.


Tony Killing Christopher — “The Sopranos”

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The Sopranos is a series with moments that could fill this whole list, but Tony’s sudden decision to choke out Christopher Moltisanti after he gets them in a drug-induced car accident is definitely one of the show’s most heartbreaking scenes.


Double Ghostface Reveal — “Scream”

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The Scream series continues to this day, but nothing can beat the original’s twist when Ghostface was revealed to be two people: protagonist Sidney Prescott’s boyfriend Billy and his friend Stu. But don’t worry—Sidney, played brilliantly by Neve Campbell, swiftly turned the tables by dropping a TV on Stu and shooting Billy in the head.


Fredo Betrays Michael — “The Godfather: Part II”

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Much of Michael’s story throughout The Godfather: Part II revolves around identifying and punishing a family member who aided in a botched assassination attempt against him. Michael eventually learns that Fredo Corleone was the informant, and has him killed on a fishing boat. While Fredo’s demise is a chilling scene, the moment in Cuba several scenes prior where Michael kisses his brother, and tells him he knows of the betrayal, hits just as hard without any shootouts or violence at all.


Cypher Sells Everyone Out — “The Matrix”


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Here’s someone who wishes he had just taken the blue pill. Cypher not only kills two crew members by unplugging them while they’re helpless in the Matrix (and just straight-up blasts others), he also sells out their location to the Agents so he can go back to living in blissful ignorance of their bleak reality. Unfortunately, he doesn’t finish the job on the pilot, Dozer, who blasts him right back before he can commit more murder.


“There Never Was an Aaron” — “Primal Fear”


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Primal Fear presented audiences with a stunning major debut performance by Edward Norton as a young altar boy, Aaron, accused of murdering an archbishop. Aaron presents himself as a sweet and well-meaning young man with a stutter who defense attorney Martin Vail (Richard Gere) takes a liking to, then later reveals a more violent and sociopathic altar ego named Roy.

When Aaron is declared not guilty by way of insanity at the end of the film, he later taunts Vail, revealing he contrived a multiple personality disorder condition and did indeed commit several murders. The scene is punctuated brilliantly by Norton’s cold delivery of the line, “There never was an Aaron.”


Rose’s Mask Slips Off — “Get Out”

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Get Out was an excellent entry in the psychological horror canon, with main character Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) being tricked by his girlfriend Rose into a trip to upstate New York to meet her family. While her father, mother, and brother all present pretty weird vibes from the start, Rose seems well-meaning until a twist towards the end shows she was in on the plot to kidnap him from the start, bolstered by an incredible performance by Allison Williams.


Faith Flips to the Dark Side – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

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Fellow slayer Faith, played by Eliza Dushku, was one of the more complex characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She starts as an ally before becoming a central antagonist against the Scooby Gang after teaming up with current Mayor and aspiring arch-demon Richard Wilkins. She even messes with Buffy again in a one-off episode in season 4 after the defeated Mayor leaves her a way to switch bodies with the slayer. (But don’t worry — Faith finds her way back to the good side later on in the series)


Scar Kills Mufasa — “The Lion King”

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Sure, this was an animated Disney kid’s film, but The Lion King is literally rooted in Shakespearean drama with it being directly inspired by Hamlet. Thus, it makes sense how they really wanted the brotherly betrayal to hit hard, and they really pulled it off with Scar’s whispered “Long Live the King” line before throwing Mufasa to his death.


Obadiah Stane Manipulates Tony — “Iron Man’

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With this seminal 2008 MCU film Iron Man, newly-minted hero Tony Stark suffered a pretty brutal betrayal via Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), an old partner to Tony’s father and somewhat of a mentor to him. It turns out Stane was working to exploit Tony’s genius to advance the arc reactor technology, and was the one who contracted the terrorist group The Ten Rings to kill him off so he could replace Tony as the CEO of Stark Industries.


Ellen, Joan, and the Cult of Paimon — “Hereditary”

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Hereditary follows a family who becomes haunted by a demon after the death of their grandmother. Several characters through the film, including character Joan, who gets to know Annie (Toni Collette) through a support group, are members of a cult who worship the entity taking hold of this family.

The grandmother herself, Ellen, who never actually appears onscreen alive, was the former leader of the cult, willing to sacrifice herself and her whole family to offer Annie’s son Peter (Alex Wolff) as a vessel for the demon Paimon.


Sang-Woo Tricks Ali — “Squid Game”

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Netflix’s dystopian drama Squid Game was a huge hit with some incredibly heartbreaking moments. In the episode “Gganbu,” Sang-Woo (Park Hae-soo) and Ali (Anupam Tripathi) are paired in a game of marbles together, and the person with less marbles at the end of the game will be killed. Ali manages to win fairly, but Sang-Woo tricks him into giving his marbles away, taking advantage of his friend’s good nature and desire to find a solution where they both can survive the game.


Loki’s Entire Existence — The Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Loki pretty much thrives on betraying the trust of his (let’s admit it, gullible) brother Thor and his fellow Avengers. Loki is eventually killed by Thanos in Infinity War, but thanks to time travel shenanigans, he returned for an appearance in Endgame and got his own standalone Disney+ series.


Harvey Dent Goes From Hero to Villain — “The Dark Knight”

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While Batman is able to stop The Joker from several schemes that endanger the people of Gotham, he fails to stop the villain from corrupting Harvey Dent, a former beacon of hope for the city. Dent then becomes the villain Two-Face (after a chemical burn that leaves him disfigured with — you guessed it — half a face), kidnapping Commissioner Gordon’s children and considering their murder before he is stopped by Batman.

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