Fight Club might have been released more than two decades ago, but David Fincher's film has been at the centre of a huge controversy in recent weeks.


Specifically, that controversy relates to the film's ending, which it recently became apparent had been altered in Chinese editions of the movie – sparking outcry from fans around the world.

According to reports, the original ending has now been restored – but to help get you up to speed with the controversy, we've outlined everything you need to know about the Fight Club ending below.

Fight Club ending explained

The ending to Fight Club includes one of the most memorable twists in cinema – when it is revealed that Brad Pitt's character Tyler Durden is in fact nothing more than the imaginary alter ego of the narrator (Edward Norton), and as such, all the acts carried out by Durden were actually his own actions.

It then emerges that while adopting the Durden persona, the narrator had drawn up plans to permanently erase debt by destroying ten bank buildings containing credit card records. The narrator initially attempts to put a stop to this plan, and kills off his alter ego in the process by shooting himself, but it is too late – and the bombs detonate, with the narrator and his girlfriend Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) calmly watching on as the buildings are blown up.

What are the alternate endings to Fight Club?

In the version that had been available in China, while much of the ending had been kept intact – for example, the revelation about Durden and his death scene – there was one major change at the very end.

The scene in which the narrator and Marla watch as the buildings are blown up is cut completely, replaced by text explaining: "The police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding."

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The message continues: "After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.”

How does the Fight Club book end?

The iconic ending to the film is not actually lifted directly from the novel, which closes in a slightly different manner. In the book, after the narrator shoots himself – with the intention of killing Durden – he blacks out and wakes up in a mental hospital, believing that he is now in heaven.

Crucially, it is then revealed that the narrator's alter ego could yet return, with hospital employees approaching him and explaining that they are members of Project Mayhem and that they expect Tyler to come back.

Interestingly, author Chuck Palahniuk recently remarked: "The irony is that the way the Chinese have changed it, they aligned the ending almost exactly with the ending of the book, as opposed to Fincher’s ending, which was the more spectacular visual ending. So in a way, the Chinese brought the ending back to the book a little bit."

What happened to the Fight Club ending in China?

The recent controversy first came to light towards the end of January, when Chinese viewers noted the changes to the film after it had been added to the library of streaming platform Tencent Video. The changes were made for censorship reasons – to show the authorities winning out – and unsurprisingly caused a huge outcry.

This has now led to Tencent Video restoring the original ending, although the new version still isn't a completely uncut version of the film – with a sex scene between Tyler and Marla having been removed due to nudity.


Fight Club is currently streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus in the UK. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide to find out what to watch tonight.