Empire State Ending, Explained (2024)

Director Dito Montiel, who debuted with ‘A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints,’ paints his 2013 true crime heist movie ‘Empire State’ with nervous energy. The story follows the 1982 Bronx robbery that went down in US history as one of the most shocking burglary incidents and the most substantial cash heist. Chris lands a job at a shady logistics company, which involves looking after a room full of dirty money. When people in the street know about the stash, the story goes haywire. Although the ending is well-rounded, some questions may linger in your mind. If you cannot wrap your head around the finale, let us be of aid. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Empire State Plot Synopsis

Chris Potamitis, a US citizen of the Greek Diaspora, makes ends meet doing odd jobs. Tommy, his father, was a policeman back in Greece, but in New York, he works as a janitor in the shady club of Spiro. In the neighborhood, Chris’ best friend Eddie is prone to losing jobs and being of a volatile disposition. From who knows where, Chris and Eddie bring a statue for the garden of Chris’ house. Chris wants to become a policeman after his father, but he only gets as far as landing a job in Empire New York Securities Incorporated.

Empire State Ending, Explained (1)

Tony, a veteran at the company, takes Chris under his wing. As Tony divulges to Chris, many shady things go down at the Empire, but that is none of their business. When Tony dies in a burglary attempt at the Empire, Chris discovers that the company is giving only $5000 to Tony’s family –10 percent of the total insurance amount — as compensation.

Outraged, Chris puts aside some $25000 from the secret stash of the office people, taking some to Tony’s family. Meanwhile, Eddie sees a golden opportunity to rob more from the Empire, and he lets Mike and Jimmy know about the plan. While their initial nocturnal visit gets derailed thanks to the arrival of Detective James Ransome, Eddie plans to go solo. With around $10 million gone from the safe and Ransome closing in on the suspects, things look bleak for Chris.

Empire State Ending: Does The Police Arrest Eddie? Where Is He Now?

Eddie breaks in through the roof and urges Chris to hand over the keys to him. He further knocks out the camera in front of the safe and bashes Chris in the head. The following morning, the city upends in chaos while there remains no trace of Eddie near the crime scene. The FBI initially thinks that this is the job of Cosa Nostra, the organized crime gang. However, Detective James Ransome may be onto something.

Ransome follows Chris, listening in on the conversation between Chris and Eddie. The latter, cocaine addled, tells (more like screams to) the former how he is handing him $8 million. Ransome follows Eddie further as he meets Mike and plans to head to the Colombian for some shady cocaine deal. Ransome even goes to Spiro’s den, implying Mike knows something about the sensational burglary. Afterward, from the crime database, Ransome finds the faces of both Mike and Eddie, as they are both small-time crooks.

Empire State Ending, Explained (2)

When Chris comes to the police station to answer some routine questions, he does not know that Ransome has Mike and Eddie’s photos. Moreover, Ransome, showing Chris the video footage of the camera near the safe just before it goes defunct, asks if Chris thinks Eddie is speaking to someone in the videos. Ransome later heads to Eddie’s workplace, finding a rough sketch of the heist in Eddie’s locker.

In the meantime, Mike takes Eddie to the Colombian. They hand the gangster the money even without checking the cocaine, but it is not like they are getting it anyway. After getting the money counted, the Colombian asks the party to turn back and walk out. While Mike becomes a martyr in the shootout, Eddie runs for his life. He comes to the back porch of Chris’ house, where he negotiates with Chris for some more money. Meanwhile, Tommy walks out of the door, hollering a gun at Eddie.

The police arrive soon after, arresting Eddie and Chris. While the movie shows a final interview clip of Chris, it does not shed much life on Chris’ fate. However, we know that Eddie Argitakos got a 15-year sentence for cooperating with the police in their investigation. On the other hand, Argitakos’ father, Steve, earned himself a four-year prison sentence for hiding the money. However, quite a few decades have passed since the robbery, and the real-life Eddie was seemingly released in 1990.

What Becomes of Chris?

Chris Potamitis is the unarguable protagonist of the story since the positive energy of his character shines through. Although, for the most part, Liam Hemsworth essays the role of Chris Potamitis, the final moments show us a glimpse of the real Chris. And in the finale, it is actual video footage of the investigators and Chris, the man of the hour himself. For being an accomplice to the larceny, Chris spends nine long years in prison.

Empire State Ending, Explained (3)

However, thanks to his family, Chris has been reintegrated into society. What becomes of Chris, you may wonder. Well, the real Chris Potamitis went on to co-produce the movie based on his life, the one we are talking about. Therefore, seemingly he comes unto some hefty amount of money. The thought of money makes us ask the following question.

Where Is The Money?

The finale divulges that the police are still looking for the money. Although the police made several arrests, the cash remains elusive to this date. The interviewer asks Chris in the final moments whether the money is missing even when making the video, to which Chris gives an affirmative nod. In the next moment, Chris goes on to convince the interviewer by saying, “The way it disappeared out of the money room, it disappeared out of our hands.”

Empire State Ending, Explained (4)

The interviewer still does not sound convinced. When he teases Chris by saying, “It looks like you were about to say something,” all he gets from Chris is an uneasy, “No.” Therefore, the finale suggests that Chris may know something about the missing money. In the next moment, just before cutting to the credits, we get another shot of the statue. Here, the suggestion is that the money is still inside the figure, as Chris tells Nancy just before the climax. But, in apparent daylight, the money remains missing.

Read More: Where Was Empire State Filmed?

Empire State Ending, Explained (2024)


What happens at the end of Empire State? ›

Eddie confronts Chris with a gun and demands that he hand over the money, but Chris' father shoots and wounds Eddie just before the police arrive and arrest all three men. Chris and Eddie are released from federal prison on October 10, 1991, but the money is never recovered.

What is on the top floor of the Empire State Building? ›

The Empire State Building has two observation decks: the iconic outdoor 86th Floor Observatory and the exclusive 102nd Floor Observatory. Both decks offer panoramic views of the city, but the 102nd Floor Observatory features unparalleled sights that stretch up to 80 miles through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

How many have jumped from the Empire State Building? ›

Over the years, more than 30 people have committed suicide by jumping from the top of the building. The fence around the observatory terrace was put up in 1947, after five people tried to jump during a three-week span.

Did anyone fall while building the Empire State Building? ›

For example, how many people died building the Empire State Building? Five (5) workers died in slip-and-fall or struck-by accidents over the 13 months of construction (1929-1930). With 3400 workers total, that's a rate of 1.47 deaths per thousand.

Is Empire State based off a true story? ›

It is based on a true life story. The actual robbery took place in 1982. The robbery portrayed in this film was the largest since the 1978 Lufthansa heist, which was depicted in Goodfellas (1990).

How many people died in the Empire State? ›

The five lives lost during its construction serve as a stark reminder of the dangers construction workers face, even as we marvel at the grandeur of the finished product. Today, the Empire State Building stands as an architectural wonder and a testament to the strength and resilience of those who built it.

Is there a secret floor on the Empire State Building? ›

Did you know there's a secret balcony. on the 103rd floor of the Empire State Building? The floor is located in the middle mass. on top of the tower, which was originally said to be for passenger ships.

Does someone live in the Empire State Building? ›

Do people live in the Empire State Building? No, the Empire State Building isn't a residential building. It's a commercial building and landmark where no one lives. There are thousands of offices in the 1,454 feet tall building with a fitness center and seven restaurants.

Is there a 13th floor in the Empire State Building? ›

The Empire State Building, a skyscraper located in Manhattan, New York City, does have a 13th floor; in fact, the building's vice president is quoted as noting that he finds tenants readily willing to rent space on the 13th floor, seemingly challenging the notion that people will fear living or renting space on 13th ...

Who was the girl who jumped off the Empire State Building? ›

Evelyn Francis McHale (September 20, 1923 – May 1, 1947) was an American bookkeeper who jumped to her death from the 86th-floor observation deck of the Empire State Building. A photography student took a picture of her corpse where it lay on top of a crushed car.

What is the tallest building in New York? ›

One World Trade Center

Who owns the Empire State Building? ›

The Empire State Building, “The World's Most Famous Building,” owned by Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (ESRT: NYSE), soars 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan from base to antenna.

How many people died in Empire State Building crash? ›

The crash killed fourteen people (three crewmen and eleven people in the building), and an estimated twenty-four others were injured. Damage caused by the crash was estimated at US$1 million (equivalent to about $17 million in 2023), although the building's structural integrity was not compromised.

How safe is the Empire State Building? ›

There is active, 24/7 security at the Empire State Building. All you will notice is the primary security screening, similar to airport security procedure. Please keep in mind you will be monitored by cameras and other means throughout your entire visit.

What happens in Empire State? ›

Summaries. Two childhood friends plan to rob an armored-car depository, but an NYPD officer stands in their way.

How does the empire strikes back end? ›

Despite those setbacks, the movie ends on an upbeat note, as Lando Calrissian sets off with Chewbacca to find Han, while Luke recovers with Leia and the droids aboard a medical ship — with a hopeful John Williams song playing in the background.

How much time did Chris Potamitis get? ›

Mr. Potamitis, the Sentry guard on duty at the time of the theft, was accused of being the ''inside man'' who pretended that three masked gunmen had carried out a robbery. He was sentenced to 15 years. A fourth defendant in the first trial, Demetrious Papadakis, was acquitted of participation in the theft.

Will the Empire State building last? ›

The earliest steel skyscrapers, like the Empire State Building, which date from the 1930s are least likely to remain standing in 7,000 years because they are constructed almost exclusively of steel, meaning they have exceptional tensile strength but are quite rigid and inflexible.


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