Is there any movie based on the "I Am Legend" novel by Richard Matheson that shares the same ending to the book?

I only know two, but could be more: (1) Will Smith's "I Am Legend", (2) and Vincent Price's "The Last Man On Earth" . Both present the spectator with a different/alternative ending, far from what happen in the actual book.

SPOILER ALERT - How the book ends (thanks to Wad Cheber)

The book ends with Neville (a bitter, despicable alcoholic) discovering that he has been ruthlessly murdering thousands of innocent sick people (including his wife and child), many of whom were trying to rebuild society. They arrest him and sentence him to death, but he commits suicide in his cell. His last thought is that in this new society, he will be remembered as the personification of evil, a story used to scare children. He will become a legendary figure representing all that is evil - hence the title "I Am Legend".

  • 3
    @Omegacron - The book is depressing but brilliant. It would make for a difficult to watch but incredible movie. Cormac McCarthy's book "The Road" has the same vibe of hopelessness and a similarly depressing ending, but the movie stayed VERY true to the book - and it is fantastic. A faithful film version of I Am Legend would be challenging to the viewer, and wouldn't be a blockbuster, but it wouldn't be the disappointing steaming pile of dog ---- that the Fresh Prince movie was. They turned a phenomenal book into a mediocre-at-best action snoozefest.
    – Wad Cheber
    Apr 23, 2015 at 19:37
  • 1
    @WadCheber please delete the ending from your comment, and I will add it to the question with the SPOILER ALERT warning... Thanks!
    – jimm-cl
    Apr 23, 2015 at 19:49
  • 1
    @WadCheber I don't disagree. Unfortunately, though, Hollywood only makes movies that they think will sell to a general audience. Also, I'm not so sure the point of the book's ending could be told well in movie format - on film, it would probably just be depressing with no point.
    – Omegacron
    Apr 23, 2015 at 21:29
  • 1
    @Omegacron - That is the brilliance of The Road: it is basically depressing with no point. The world is over; we never learn why or how this happened. The story follows a father and son; we never learn their names, as they are only referred to as "the man" and "the boy". All plant and animal life is gone (aside from a few humans); we never learn why the man is trying so hard to keep his son alive in such an uninhabitable world. The wife/mother died sometime after the apocalypse; we never learn how.
    – Wad Cheber
    Apr 23, 2015 at 21:39
  • 1
    @WadCheber almost reminds me of "A Boy and his Dog" - no point at all to the ending, just life after the apocalypse. Of course, that was one of the rare cases where it worked well on-screen.
    – Omegacron
    Apr 23, 2015 at 21:42

2 Answers 2


In a word, no.

Of the four adapatations, none of them ended the same way as the book;

The Last Man on Earth (1964)

Stabbed and dies

The Omega Man (1971)

Spear to the chest, crucified and dies but not before giving cure to survivors

I Am Legend (2007)

Kills self with grenade but not before giving cure to survivors (or in the Alternate ending, drives into the sunset with the girl.

I am Omega (2007)

Blows up the nest, gets the girl, drives off into the sunset

  • I think heard about alternative ending for I Am Legend...
    – Mithoron
    Apr 23, 2015 at 11:41
  • 1
    But there's supposed to be Alternate Theatrical Version: imdb.com/title/tt0480249/alternateversions, but it still doesn't preserve book ending
    – Mithoron
    Apr 23, 2015 at 11:59
  • 4
    @Mithoron - the alternate ending is a lot closer to the book but still not quite right. The book ends with the realization that Neville is a monster, no version of any of the movies has such an ending. movieweb.com/movie/i-am-legend/alternate-ending
    – Wad Cheber
    Apr 23, 2015 at 19:29
  • 1
    @WadCheber - For the record, I quite liked I am Omega. For an ultra-low budget film, it was surprisingly fun.
    – Valorum
    Apr 23, 2015 at 19:58
  • 2
    @Richard - but the book I Am Legend is almost sacred (like Cormac McCarthy's book The Road) and deserves to become a GREAT film or no film at all. The Road is a great movie, and very faithful to the book, despite the incredibly depressing, bleak, and hopeless atmosphere (and ending). Someone needs to work up the courage to do the same with I Am Legend. Matheson's story deserves as much.
    – Wad Cheber
    Apr 23, 2015 at 20:14

As Richard said, the short answer is no. The "alternate ending" of the 2007 I Am Legend probably comes closest, but still isn't quite right. As I understand it, the "alternate" ending was the way the movie originally ended, but it didn't test well with audiences so they dropped it and gave Neville the more heroic end we see in the version which made it into theaters.

  • 1
    And now everyone thinks that the theatrical version was mediocre, and that the alternate ending is much better. It figures.
    – KSmarts
    Apr 24, 2015 at 15:58
  • 3
    The theatrical version was mediocre.
    – Wad Cheber
    Apr 24, 2015 at 21:59
  • 1
    @WadCheberstandswithMonica: The theatrical versions' ending was mediocre or worse than mediocre as they shoehorn the title into the final narration; Matheson's concept of a single human becoming a legend to infected humans was an important idea that they ending chosen just tossed. Very sad.
    – releseabe
    Jul 26, 2020 at 5:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.