I presume there is not much you can do after somebody spoils a movie, but could we say something that may cause them to think before spoiling in the future? I don't like spoilers which is why I don't read review of movie before I watch them.

Citing a recent example, I was going to watch Kingsmen but a friend spoiled that for me. It turned out that the spoiler didn't affect much because there were other interesting moments.

So, how should I respond without overreacting? Is there something I could do or say so that he would know it is unacceptable to spoil movies?

I don't think it's a cultural issue but if it matters I am from Nepal.

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    Why not just tell him that he spoiled the movie for you? Oct 5, 2017 at 17:26
  • 3
    So, you're looking for answers that explain what to do after the film is already spoiled? It seems like most of the answers are telling you what to do to prevent this from happening.
    – Catija
    Oct 5, 2017 at 19:56
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    Just try to avoid killing the guy. One of the podcasters I listen to will occasionally still go off on a rant about the guy who spoiled The Sixth Sense for him as he was leaving to go watch it ... 19 years ago.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 6, 2017 at 15:09
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    Well there's research that shows that people who read the plot of a movie beforehand enjoy it better, so you should thank your friend. wired.com/2011/08/spoilers-dont-spoil-anything universityofcalifornia.edu/news/…
    – Rich
    Oct 6, 2017 at 17:52
  • 2
    Just wait until he watches "the 6th sense", and casually drop the fact that Bruce Willis is dead. ;) Oct 7, 2017 at 11:34

7 Answers 7


After your friend spoilered the movie for you,

  • tell him about the effect it had/has on you:

You were/are going to watch the movie yourself and were looking forward to it. By revealing possibly important plot points, he somewhat ruined the movie for you. You feel like you won't enjoy the movie as much (maybe not at all) as you would have without that prior knowledge.


  • present a future way out:

Suggest to him to ask you if you have seen a (new) movie already and want to see it. In general, he should warn you of Spoilers beforehand, so that you still have the opportunity to intervene and say that he shouldn't tell you.

So your response should focus not on what he did wrong, but on the effect it has on you. Stay calm, do not overreact (there's no need for that). Tell him, how it makes you feel without accusing him of wrongdoing. He won't feel attacked this way, but he will understand that what he does is wrong and hurts a friend - you are friends after all, so he should care. You furthermore present him with an option to avoid spoilering movies for you in the future.


Be frank and be polite.

If someone starts talking about spoilers just say "No spoilers, I haven't seen the movie yet."

Most people will respect a kind request to not share spoilers.

Be aware that if you're the only person who hasn't seen the movie or doesn't want to hear spoilers It's your responsibility to leave, put on headphones, or otherwise make sure you don't hear the spoilers.

Good luck, may all your conversations be spoiler free.

  • 3
    Upvoted because there comes a point where one's unwillingness to hear any "spoilers" starts to be an annoying imposition on other people. Also, spoilers really don't spoil the storytelling experience at all. We've known that for thousands of years, but recently seem to have forgotten for some reason.
    – barbecue
    Oct 5, 2017 at 23:23
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    @barbecue: When you know how a story ends because you remember the surprise twist from seeing the movie before, you partly remember how good it was the first time when it really did surprise you. If it was spoiled for you, on later viewings you're always going to remember that frustration of never having the experience the storytellers were trying to give you. (Whether it's a book, movie, TV show, play, or whatever.) In some stories the suspense / mystery is more important than others, of course. Oct 6, 2017 at 0:55
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    @PeterCordes You're describing a theory of how spoilers could hurt enjoyment, but not providing any evidence that such a phenomenon actually happens. In fact, actual research on the subject suggests that enjoyment of a story is improved if you know the outcome. And of course, thousands of years of human storytelling support that as well. Someone once told me they didn't want any spoilers for Romeo and Juliet. That's flat-out ridiculous.
    – barbecue
    Oct 6, 2017 at 2:15
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    re: Shakespeare. His stories are hard enough for us to follow because of the language barrier that it helps to know the plot ahead of time. And also that the plot isn't the main thing that's interesting; the story-telling style doesn't depend on suspense / mystery very much. Some movies (maybe sci-fi more than most) does depend more on secrets. In mystery novels, half the point is the mystery as the characters try to figure it out. (The other half is hopefully the characters themselves). I don't think you can say that all stories are unaffected by spoilers. IMO some are. Oct 6, 2017 at 2:40
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    @barbecue it's possible spoilers don't ruin the movie experience, but a good twist, I think, adds a layer that the movie alone can't. One that you can't experience if the movie is spoiled ahead of time. Presumably, a movie with a twist has left clues throughout that were enough to put the pieces together, but subtle enough that you probably didn't (not right away, at least). Consider The Sixth Sense: when the twist is revealed, you get to go back and connect the dots, which is usually a separate and very rewarding experience. If you knew ahead of time, you can't ever have that experience. Oct 6, 2017 at 21:28

Like you, my son hates spoilers. Whenever I bring up a movie that I've seen but he hasn't yet (that he wants to see), as soon as he hears the name of the movie, he just says,

Please don't talk about that movie, I haven't seen it yet, and I don't want any spoilers.

Now, I'm a bit stubborn, so I'll say, "But it won't spoil anything! I just wanted to..." And he'll interrupt and repeat,

Please don't talk about the movie, I want to see it, and I don't want anything to spoil it.

At that point, I'm well aware of his wishes, and that he's right. I'm not offended at all. Sometimes I'll ask him to let me know when he's seen it, and we talk about it then.

  • 17
    For what it's worth, I've had so many people say something wouldn't spoil something for me, and it did. With the Sixth Sense, for example, I did the same thing your son does, and my friend said "It's not a spoiler! I was just going to say that I was late and missed the first ten minutes so the ending really surprised me!" Which meant that I knew the first ten minutes were extra-important, and easily then figured out the conclusion. Err on the side of caution with spoilers!
    – user3306
    Oct 5, 2017 at 20:22
  • @thumbtackthief - I agree. Which is why I don't talk anymore when I actually think about it. :) Oct 5, 2017 at 23:04
  • I can't think of concrete instances off the top of my head, but I have had times where I wasn't spoiled until after someone else complained that what was just said was indeed a big spoiler. (Things like dropping a smooth movie reference into the conversation somewhere it feels natural. Those who have seen the movie get it, and those who haven't didn't even notice anything. Then someone says "Dude, don't spoil move so-and-so!", and it is spoiled.) So one should be cautious even there in a group conversation.
    – Arthur
    Oct 6, 2017 at 11:33
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    @thumbtackthief Did you just spoil the Sixth Sense without a spoiler warning? >:-/
    – wizzwizz4
    Oct 7, 2017 at 7:38
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    There's something about mothers... ;-) I have had this exact conversation with my mother, and because she's my mom and we are very comfortable with one another I've even cut her off mid-sentence with something like "stop stop stop! I haven't seen that yet! No, stop talking!" It's said jokingly and she generally laughs, and then we change the subject. With a really close friend or relative I think you could even go so far as fingers in the ears and "la la la I can't hear you" to get the point across (and protect yourself from spoiling).
    – 1006a
    Oct 7, 2017 at 17:22

I am ... a little confused. The spoiler guy is a friend of yours, hence I'd imagine you are pretty familiar with back-and-forth between you. Has not your friend ever done something you didn't want repeated before? The answer to this question is almost entirely dependent on the style of speech you and your friend typically use.

With most of my friends, the correct thing to say would be "If you spoil another movie for me there will be mindless, cartoon-like violence."

I have some gentler friends, to whom I'd say "Hey [name], please be more careful about the movie spoilers, 'kay?"

See where I'm coming from? The basic message is 'do not do that again'; you just have to phrase it appropriately to your friendship.


I think the trick is to have a broader pattern of "what's acceptable" with people.

Maybe its cause I'm a Doctor Who fan - but a good chunk of folk I know just use the River Song approach to dealing with spoilers - good naturedly interrupting by saying or typing SPOILERS!. We all know what it means and least in the geeky community, it works fairly well with minimal fuss.

So, when it happens, just go "duuude, SPOILERS! I wanted to find that out for myself!" Keep it light, and don't make a big fuss over it. Just make sure the lines are clear.

Citing a recent example, I was going to watch Kingsmen but a friend spoiled that for me. It turned out that the spoiler didn't affect much because there were other interesting moments.

And that's also important. A movie or a book just isn't about the skeleton of the plot (unearthed in a spoiler) but also, what you feel about it. Its about the visuals, the acting (good or bad!) and so on. Even if part of the plot is spoiled, clearly, it didn't affect your enjoyment that much (amusingly one of the things that kingsmen's sequel did was spoil a plot twist right in the trailers).


Simply tell him to not narrate the events of the film to you. And if he does close your ears with your fingers and if he still continues walk away if you are really serious about not spoiling the film for yourself. Your friend should get the hint that you are really serious about this. And if he still continues you need to reconsider what type of friendship you have with this person. Usually when I tell my friends or colleagues to not do this they don't. I hope your friend is also that much considerable.

And now he has already ruined the film simply tell him not to do this in future and you are really serious about this.


I had this problem before, and for me, the solution was the other way around: I learned to cope (mostly).

Obviously, it depends on the exact contents of the spoiler, but to continue with your example, there was a certain revalation about a thirdway into that movie that was heavily hinted at in most movie posters and other promotional material. I don't think I would call a confirmation of that fact a spoiler. To me there isn't much difference between sitting in my seat thinking "Will it happen? And if so, when?" compared to "When will it happen?" Immersion is kind of broken either way (boo to the marketers on that account).

Same with general gists of the movie (that the main antagonist is a drug lord, for instance, or that there are Awesome Action SequencesTM) or anything else that the movie itself doesn't really try to hide, like the devastating events that happen around the 20 minute mark (I didn't time it, but I think that's about right).

That event is even less of a spoiler considering how it's an important part of storytelling in general, so you should almost be expecting it, or something like it (without having seen studies, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the timing of events like this, kicking the movie into gear, and announcing that Shit Got RealTM are within a few percent of one another from movie to movie, at least conventional blockbusters)

On the other hand, there are, during the course of the film, hints that there might be hidden agendas, or there might not be. I would not want to know the truth of those ahead of time, because that is something the movie is trying to hide. We are meant to be uncertain. Smaller stuff, like the initial stages of the antagonists plan are also spoilers, because they change the way you see sequences of people using drugs in the movie, but it's not a major point. Also, the film itself hints to the connection earlier, so if you're paying attention to those hints you will have figured it out already by the time it's relevant.

Once I realised all of the things I'm saying here, navigating the jungle of reviews and friends who had already seen the movie, and expecially social media where anything could happen was a lot easier, because they do usually have the sense to avoid spoiling the big twists. Also, this might not help you, but studies have shown that enjoyment of movies increases when you know the basic gist of what's going on, because you can focus on watching the movie rather than frantically trying to keep up with all the plot points because you don't know what might be relevant, and what might be important. Certainly, my life quality improved marginally when I became less afraid of (minor) spoilers.

I know that everyone are different. For instance, my sister is adamant that she never wants anything spoiled, ever, and I don't believe she will ever be able to change her mind the way I changed mine. So this might help you, it might not.

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