[[quoteright:300:[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Army_of_the_dead.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Do you have any idea how long we've been waiting to kick ass?]]

->''...there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them,[...] and breath entered them, and they came to life and stood up on their feet - a vast army.''
-->-- [[Literature/TheBible Ezekiel 37:7-10]]

TheEvilArmy is about to [[TheSiege overrun our stronghold]]! HoldTheLine tactics worked just fine until TheDragon showed up and smashed a bloody great hole in our defenses. It looks like the enemy has [[AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs won]]... but wait! The [[SquishyWizard wizard]] has [[TimedMission finished]] that spell he was working on! There's a [[TheCavalry horn]] sounding over the horizon.

Wait... why are all our fallen comrades in the courtyard stirring? Is that army coming over the hills... '''translucent'''?

Man, I sure am glad the Army of the Dead is on ''our'' side. They're tearing TheEvilArmy right up. I sure hope we can keep these guys around! ...What do you mean, "good for one battle only?"

The essence of this trope is: Fallen allies, usually having died either in the battle at hand or in a previous battle with the same enemy, rise temporarily from the dead ''en masse'' and contribute to the ongoing battle in some critical way. The undead in question are more likely to be spectral than physical, but both are possible. The important part is that the loyalty of the fallen is preserved. Also, the Army of the Dead can help win the (usually climactic or highly significant) battle, but they can't then join the standing army. They tend only to last until the immediate threat is vanquished.

The TropeNamer and possibly also modern TropeCodifier is the Army of the Dead from ''Literature/LordOfTheRings''. [[NorseMythology However]], it's OlderThanTheyThink.

See Also: TheCavalry, BigDamnHeroes, DesperationAttack. Contrast AnimateDead and NightOfTheLivingMooks, where the original loyalty of the raw materials isn't relevant. If the dead in question died in different time periods, they may also be an ArmyOfTheAges.

'''ENDING TROPE! Unmarked Spoilers ahead.'''

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* In ''SaintSeiya'', Hades brings back to life fallen Gold Saints of Athena, granting them 12 hours to bring him her head. If they do so, he may bring them back to life for real. It turns out that they remained loyal to their Goddess nonetheless and only accepted Hades' deal to warn her about the upcoming Holy War while killing some members of Hades' army in the process. Once the 12 hours delay expired, they disappeared to return to the Underworld (where they join again to fire a super CombinedEnergyAttack).
* In [[Literature/FateZero Fate/Zero]], among the Noble Phantasms owned by Servant Rider, Alexander the Great, is his Reality Marble: Ionioi Hetairoi, "Army of the King". After the boundary field is set, his ''entire army'' from life slowly appear, each and every one [[UndyingLoyalty so ferociously loyal to Alexander that death itself can not keep them from aiding their king.]] 100 of the greatest assassins in history? [[BadassArmy Meet the army that]] '''[[BadassArmy conquered the world.]]'''
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Back in ''The Invincible ComicBook/IronMan'' 150, Iron Man and Dr. Doom were time displaced to Camelot, and met King Arthur. But Dr. Doom was not interested in him, but in King Arthur's sister: Morgan Le Fey. Doom wanted Le Fey to train him into the black magic, and Le Fey requested in exchange that Doom led an army against King Arthur (a spell prevented her from leaving the castle herself). She had a piece of the Excalibur sword, which allowed her to raise an army composed of all those who died by that sword and wanted vengeance against its wielder.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The film of ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'', as noted above, has the [[TheCavalry Army of the Dead]], led by Aragorn, sweep in and [[NotTooDeadToSaveTheDay save the day]].
* In ''[[MST3K Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell]]'', Deathstalker is able to beat the evil overlord Troxartes with the help of an army of undead warriors.
* ''Film/TheMummyTombOfTheDragonEmperor''. The final battle is between the titular Emperor's army of terracotta soldiers, a smaller army of skeletons that's brought out from under the Great Wall of China, a pair of warplanes, and a group of yetis.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In the ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' book ''Literature/GravePeril'', Harry Dresden raised an army of ghosts against Bianca, assisted by her tearing of the veil.
** Happens again in ''Literature/GhostStory'', when self-styled "Ectomancer" (ghost therapist) Mortimer is suspended in a pit full of shades, and naturally gets control of them.
* In Creator/JRRTolkien's ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', the Dead of Dunharrow, who over three thousand years ago betrayed Isildur by running away and not coming to his aid against Sauron, are called upon by his descendant Aragorn to fulfill their oath so that they are allowed to [[BlessedWithSuck pass peacefully into death]] afterwards. They are released after defeating the fleet of Umbar coming up the river Anduin. This stops Sauron getting reinforcements at the Battle of Minas Tirith, frees the now unoccupied South Gondorian soldiers, and conveniently provides transport to get them up the river to Minas Tirith to once again turn the tide of the battle.
* Subverted in ''Literature/TheZombieSurvivalGuide''. The Japanese and Soviets attempt to create armies of undead to unleash upon their enemies. It doesn't work.
* At the end of ''The Princess and the Bear'', the animal magic brings all the dead soldiers on the protagonists' side back to fight.
* In Micah E. F. Martin's ''Literature/TheCanticle'', any {{Necromancer}} or [[EldritchAbomination High Dead]] worth his salt has a legion of starving ghouls at their beck and call.
* In the climax of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire'', the shades of the last several people [[BigBad Voldemort]] murdered come out of his wand and swarm him, giving [[TheProtagonist Harry]] just enough time to escape.
* In the last book of ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials'', Lyra and Will have to travel through the land of the dead, and dead characters from the last several books decide to come along with them to help [[SupportingLeader Lord Asriel]]'s side in the fight against [[GodIsEvil The Authority]]'s angels.
* In ''Literature/TheBible'', Ezekiel, with God's help, raised his own army of the dead.
* ''NightHuntress'' novel ''At Grave's End'' sees Mencheres raise wraiths from the powdered bones of the good guys' fallen friends. They are the embodiment of the rage that lingers in the bones of murdered people, and when he releases them, they immediately seek out the one responsible for their death, showing where she is hidden, as well and taking out her guards and tormenting her until Bones arrives to finish her.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', all the villains who die go to the Dark Forest, which is essentially cat hell. An important MythArc is that the Dark Forest is rising because of the birth of the Three, and will soon become a villainous variation of this. In the series GrandFinale, ''The Last Hope'', the Dark Forest invades, but the two Heaven equivalents, [=StarClan=] and the Tribe of Endless Hunting, fight alongside the Clans to even the odds. This also allows the characters to reunite with their fallen comrades.
* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' has the Heroes of the Horn, legendary heroes who have become bound to the [[{{Reincarnation}} Wheel of Time]] by their [[FamedInStory famous deeds]]; they're meant to be summoned by the Horn of Valere at the Last Battle. There are only about a hundred of them, but the psychological effect of a glorious band of fearful warriors wreathed in [[MysteriousMist mist]] is enough to [[AdvantageBall bolster the morale of the armies of the Light and give pause to their enemies]].
* Provides a CrowningMomentOfAwesome at the climax of ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}''. [[spoiler: The villians have seized control of Hallendren's army of 40,000 zombie soldiers, changed the magical control codes to lock out the heroes, and then sent them to invade the heroes' homeland of Idris. At this point, Vasher saves the day by giving the heroes the command codes for the D'Denir, an army of a thousand skeletons encased in ''stone statues''.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/AgeOfMythology'', when you lose normal army units while playing as the Greeks worshiping Hades, you will receive weak "shade" units at your temple. They're weak and vulnerable, but they don't count toward your ArbitraryHeadcountLimit, making them great for a ZergRush or as last-ditch CannonFodder.
** There's also a God Power, Ancestors. It summons a bunch of zombies to fight your enemies, but only for about a minute.
** Also, there's the Einherjar, if you're Nordic.
* In ''VideoGame/PhantomBrave'', Marona's power is to [[ISeeDeadPeople communicate with spirits]], and give them corporeal form, basically making an army once you make enough {{player character}}s.
* ''VideoGame/{{Spellforce 2}}'' Paladins, on their deaths, turn into killable ghost warriors who fade over time. They're only slightly weaker than the original unit, so they're useful for pressing an attack or covering a retreat.
* In ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'', Paladins and their evil counterparts, the Death Knights, both have the ability to resurrect dead units ''en masse.'' The main difference is that the Paladin fully restores 6 units to life permanently, but only friendly units, while the Death Knight summons up shades of the most powerful allied or enemy units for 40 seconds, and those shades are indestructible during that time.
** In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', the ability is actually called "Army of the Dead"! However, the way it works changed significantly, most likely due to the GenreShift from a RTS to a MMORPG. The ''World Of Warcraft'' version of the ability simply summons 10 ghouls from the ground to fight for the Death Knight for a limited time. It doesn't require nearby corpses, and the ghouls mindlessly swarm the area and don't have any special abilities, but the spell can still be a very effective "panic button" in some situations.
* In ''VideoGame/TheBattleForMiddleEarth'', with units and powers based on the Peter Jackson films, one of the Tier 4 Ring Powers for Men is Army of the Dead, which... [[CaptainObvious summons an army of the dead.]] Aragorn gets a smaller version of this as his Level 10 ability.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' does this during TheSiege of Azure City [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0449.html here]]. Due to [[WellIntentionedExtremist various]] [[SpannerInTheWorks circumstances]], it [[AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs doesn't end well]].
* DMOfTheRings [[{{Deconstruction}} Deconstructs]] this trope. (It also [[{{Parody}} parodies]] this trope, of course, just like everything else in LOTR.) Commanding elite undead warriors is almost always [[BlackMagic evil]], or at least [[DarkIsNotEvil looks that way]], and relying on ''anyone'' bound to serve you by a curse is PlayingWithFire. Specifically, be careful of the CurseEscapeClause.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original]]
* Used by ''both sides'' in the Olympics plot of Roleplay/DCNation. To be fair, they were fighting Hades. JerkassGod he is, he killed off Nightwing and Arsenal, then sends an army of undead rogues, skeletons, and victims. Just when it looks like the heroes are up a creek, here comes Hawkman, flanked by the two fallen Titans and bringing in fallen ''allies'' for one ClimacticBattleResurrection.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* Depending on whether or not the ghosts in ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' are actually [[OurGhostsAreDifferent the spirits of the dead]], [[WesternAnimation/PhantomPlanet the series' finale]] featured one of these, when Danny [[GondorCallsForAid recruits the population of the]] [[PhantomZone Ghost Zone]] to turn the Earth intangible and save it from a [[ColonyDrop doomsday asteroid]] that's heading straight for Earth,
** Pariah Dark's skeleton ghost army in Reign Storm.
* In ''{{Futurama}}'' The Robot Devil, at Bender's request, assembles for him ''The Army of the Damned.'' Though his robots aren't really "dead", they are from Robot Hell.
[[/folder]]

----