cliffhanger
  a film characterized by scenes of great tension, danger, adventure, suspense, or high drama, often climaxing at the end of a film, or at the end of a multi-part serial episode, where the plot ending and the fate of the protagonist(s) are left unresolved; the name was derived from the movie serials of the 1930's where each week the hero (or heroine) was perilously left dangling from a cliff -- with a 'to-be-continued' ending -- to increase interest for the next episode (sequel).
  A good example of early movie serial cliffhangers is The Perils of Pauline (1914), from which the term originated; also, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) ended with Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) leaving in the Millenium Falcon to rescue frozen Han Solo (Harrison Ford) - with the unresolved issue between Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) after their climactic duel (Was Vader really Luke's father?)

Glossary of cinematic terms . 2015.

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  • Cliffhanger — wird heute hauptsächlich mit Fernsehserien, Seifenopern oder selten mit planvoll fortgesetzten Kinofilmen assoziiert. Der Begriff steht für den offenen Ausgang einer Episode auf ihrem Höhepunkt. Den Fortgang der Handlung beantwortet die nächste… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • cliffhanger — n. a contest whose outcome is uncertain up to the very end. [WordNet 1.5] 2. an episode of a drama that ends in suspense. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cliffhanger — If something like a sports match or an election is a cliffhanger, then the result is so close that it cannot be predicted and will only be known at the very end …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • cliffhanger — ☆ cliffhanger or cliff hanger [klif′haŋ΄ər ] n. 1. an early type of serialized film in which each episode ended with a suspenseful climax, as the hero hanging from a cliff 2. any highly suspenseful story, situation, etc. cliffhanging adj. cliff… …   Universalium

  • cliffhanger — suspenseful situation, 1937, in reference to U.S. cinema serials, agent noun from CLIFF (Cf. cliff) + HANG (Cf. hang). In some cases, especially Westerns, the hero or heroine literally was dangling from a cliff at the end of an episode …   Etymology dictionary

  • cliffhanger — [n] something suspenseful close call, close shave*, narrow escape, shocker, spine chiller, squeaker*, thriller, white knuckle; concepts 410,679 …   New thesaurus

  • cliffhanger — ► NOUN ▪ a story or event that is full of suspense because its ending or outcome is uncertain …   English terms dictionary

  • cliffhanger — ☆ cliffhanger or cliff hanger [klif′haŋ΄ər ] n. 1. an early type of serialized film in which each episode ended with a suspenseful climax, as the hero hanging from a cliff 2. any highly suspenseful story, situation, etc. cliffhanging adj. cliff… …   English World dictionary

  • Cliffhanger — For other uses, see Cliffhanger (disambiguation). Poster of the 1914 Perils of Pauline , which popularized the term cliffhanger in the medium of film A cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in fiction which features a main character… …   Wikipedia

  • Cliffhanger — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cliffhanger (homonymie). Le terme « cliffhanger » est une expression anglophone qui désigne, dans la terminologie des œuvres de fiction, un type de fin ouverte visant à créer un fort suspense. On dira… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cliffhanger — Para otros usos de este término, véase Cliffhanger (desambiguación). Los cliffhangers (literalmente colgante de un acantilado , que también se puede traducir como al borde del precipicio o al borde del abismo ) son las escenas que normalmente, al …   Wikipedia Español

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