->'''Black Siren:''' Flash, look!\\
''[Flash sees a truck full of dynamite on a collision course with a bus full of nuns, who gasp and cross themselves]''\\
'''Flash:''' You've gotta be kidding.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', "Legends"

Sometimes, saving an InnocentBystander from [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Doctor Demonica]] just won't cut it: you need more impact to showcase just how dire the threat is and make the scene exciting. Enter the Bus Full Of Innocents.

Despite the name, it doesn't have to be a bus. Any vehicle or enclosure full of Innocent Bystanders will do, and likewise any kind of person can be put at risk, though usually it will be people who are stunningly innocent, defenseless, and respectable to most viewers.

Common set ups are for the bus to be teetering perilously on a broken bridge or cliff, and a villain to use it in a SadisticChoice along with the LoveInterest.

Major hero points for the super dude who saves it. It's the hero publicity equivalent of a politician kissing babies.

Not to be confused with "Bus Full Of Nuns", the old name for ArsonMurderAndJaywalking. Buses full of nuns ''are'' popular for this trope, though. Also has nothing to do with PassingJudgment.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Deliberately exploited by Light in ''Manga/DeathNote'', when he arranges for a criminal to hijack the bus he's riding on, as part of a scheme to get the name of the FBI agent who's tailing him.
* In one of the funnier {{Filler}} episodes of ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', Goku and Piccolo save a schoolbus of children from falling off a cliff during their driving tests. Of course, they still fail the test.
** Another when Videl saves bus of senior citizens from a hijacking before "Great Saiyaman" arrives.
* An early episode of ''Anime/SailorMoon'' turns this UpToEleven by requiring the Senshi to save half a dozen busloads of victims from a PocketDimension.
* ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'': During the first scuffle with the Daemon Corps, [=SkullSatamon=] lifts a bus full of schoolchildren and threatens to throw it. At this point he's pretty much already routed the heroes, so he's doing it for no reason other than [[ForTheEvulz shits and giggles]].
* In the ''Anime/PokemonMewtwoReturns'' special, Mewtwo saves a bus full of travelers from falling off Mt. Quena during a storm. He states he was simply ensuring no meddling rescue parties would prod into his and his clones' lives had there been an accident.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Comicbook/{{Miracleman}}'' throws one at Johnny Bates during the infamous destruction of London. His narration notes that some apologists of his have said that the bus was ''empty'' when he threw it, but he himself admits it isn't true.
* In an early issue of ''ComicBook/YoungJustice'', Robin found himself riding an out of control superbike towards "Nuns driving a station wagon full of high explosives!" Next to the Great Wall of China.
* ''ComicBook/KingdomCome''. A tram full of innocents is in the crossfire of a brawl between [[AntiHero AntiHeroes]].
* In ''ComicBook/{{Shadowpact}}'' Doctor Gotham's introduction has him levitating a bus full of school children as insurance against the heroes doing anything stupid.
* ''[[ComicBook/TheUltraverse The Strangers]]'' from Malibu Comics. A tram car full of every day people gets zapped by alien energy and crashes into a sports car. Everyone gets super-powers, even the sports car driver (Night Man). Cue start to various series.
* During ''ComicBook/{{Knightfall}}'', the [[ComicBook/{{Azrael}} Jean-Paul Valley]] Franchise/{{Batman}} has to let Abattoir free so he can save a bus full of children he hijacked. Az-Bats is ''not happy'' about it.
* One issue of Marvel's ''[[ComicBook/GIJoeARealAmericanHeroMarvel G.I. Joe]]'' had Major Bludd take one of these hostage. The timely intervention of Stalker and Grand Slam resolved the situation.
* In ''ComicBook/AstroCity'' story "Pastoral", Team Carnivore wants to flush the hero Roustabout out, so they arrive at the carnival and start to menace the crowds there, including threats of violence if he doesn't show up.
* In ''ComicBook/ShazamTheNewBeginning'', Black Adam hijacks a plane full of international delegates after being [[SealedEvilInACan released from hyperspace]], and it's up to [[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]] to save them.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', several items on Bob's wall of memorabilia are notes from innocents he personally saved. A bus is involved. (Earlier in the film, we see him save a train full of commuters about to speed off a broken elevated track destroyed indirectly by Bomb Voyage.)
* During a chase sequence in the ShowWithinAShow in ''Disney/{{Bolt}}'', one of the Mooks placing a TickingTimeBomb on a fuel truck which is right alongside a school bus.
* Parodied in the opening sequence of ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'', in which Mr Potato Head gives Woody a choice between catching him and saving a trainful of 'orphans' (Troll dolls with their heads sticking out the train windows).
* In ''WesternAnimation/SupermanDoomsday'', the Toyman hijacks a school bus full of children and holds it over the edge of a building with his mechanical spider, threatening to dump it if the police don't back off. Lois Lane manages to sneak on board and get most of the children out, but ends up falling with the last child on the bus when the Toyman drops it, only to soon be rescued by Superman (who turns out to be a clone under Lex Luthor's control).
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Bling}}'' features an intense CableCarActionSequence, where the villain willfully damage a school bus full of children (and momentarily turned into a cable car) to get the heroes off his back. They have to struggle very hard to avoid the bus to plummet to the ground.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' has this trope and its inverse as part of a SadisticChoice: A ferry full of civilians and a ferry full of felons. The Joker gives each ferry the ability to destroy the other, and tells them unless one is destroyed both will explode at midnight.
** Also an example of TakeAThirdOption, leading to [[spoiler: a CrowningMomentOfAwesome for the people of Gotham.]]
* The ''Film/SpiderManTrilogy'':
** This happens in [[Film/SpiderMan1 the first movie]] with a tram car, including the SadisticChoice.
** [[Film/SpiderMan2 The second one]] too with a train, it leads to Spidey's CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
* ''Film/{{Superman}}'' (1978). After Lex Luthor triggers a major earthquake in California, Superman saves a bus full of schoolchildren from falling off a bridge.
* ''Film/SupermanII'' (1980). Ursa and Non throw a bus full of people at Superman during the fight in Metropolis. He's slammed into a wall while stopping it.
* ''Film/TheSiege'' plays this trope ''twice''. The first time, some Islamic terrorists detonate a paint bomb on an MTA bus, and no one gets hurt. This is a warning. The second time, a group of armed individuals take a different bus hostage with real explosives. Hubbard is able to negotiate the release of a group of children from the bus, but the terrorists proceed to blow up the bus just as a group of elderly passengers are being released.
* In the 2008 movie ''Film/{{Traitor}}'', one of the main plots was [[spoiler: destroying several buses with suicide bombers. TheMole in the terrorist organization defeats this plot by [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome putting all the suicide bombers]] [[FlockOfWolves on one bus]].]]
* The main action of the movie ''Film/{{Speed}}'' has the main characters on a Bus Full of Innocents that can't go under [[UsefulNotes/AmericanCustomaryMeasurements 50 miles an hour]] without going kaboom.
* ''Film/CemeteryMan'' involves a bus full of Boy Scouts crashing. They all come back as [[ZombieApocalypse zombie]] [[RuleOfFunny Boy Scouts]].
* Used hilariously in ''Film/BatmanTheMovie''. Batman is trying to dispose of a CartoonBomb, but there are innocent bystanders ''everywhere'' he tries to throw it away.
** "Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb!"
** There's a possible parody of this on ''Franchise/WallaceAndGromit: WesternAnimation/AMatterOfLoafAndDeath''. First there's a pond full of ducklings, then a pair of the compulsory nuns giving away boxes of kittens, and finally: the [[UsefulNotes/WarsOfTheRoses Yorkshire]] [[AcceptableTargets border]].
* Used as a humorous LampshadeHanging in ''Film/ShortCircuit'':
-->'''Dr. Marner:''' What if (Number 5) decides to melt down a bus full of nuns? How would you write the headline on that?\\
'''Ben Jabituya:''' Nun soup?\\
'''Newton Crosby:''' ''horrified, covers Ben's mouth'' Ben!
* Played straight in ''Film/MightyJoeYoung'' to [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming perfect effect]] and the added bonus of the title character saving himself from Death Row. [[JerkAss Who]] would want to shoot him after he saves more than a dozen orphans from a burning building?
* During the first live-action ''Film/{{Transformers}}'' movie, Bonecrusher actually rams into a bus, ''breaking it in half in a fireball of death'', and emerges uncathed, Terminator-style.
** A popular joke is that he actually ran through a literal bus full of nuns.
** [[MemeticMutation "Bonecrusher hate Catholic School!"]]
* The opening scene of the movie ''Meltdown'' (also known as ''Film/HighRisk'') has the hero trying to disarm a bomb that's been attached to a bus not only filled with schoolkids, but also has his wife on board. [[spoiler: However, he cuts the wrong wire and the bus blows up, killing everyone inside. Yeah, it's not a very cheerful start.]]
* ''Film/DirtyHarry'' used a school bus full of children as the setting for the film's climax, in which Scorpio held them all hostage as our hero chose to disobey orders to pay him his ransom and simply leaps on the school bus himself.
* This trope nearly happens in ''Film/MyLifeInRuins'', but the bus is not yet hanging from the cliff, the driver manages to stop it just in time.
* The climax of ''Film/TheOxfordMurders'' involves a threat to an actual bus full of innocents.
* In ''Film/HoboWithAShotgun'', one of the {{BigBad}}s torches a bus full of elementry school children to [[MoralEventHorizon show that he means business]]. No, no one saves them, and yes, we do see a tiny charred corpse.
* In ''Film/{{Swordfish}}'', the VillainProtagonist has loaded all of his hostages, himself and his henchmen on a transit bus that the police have provided. The absurdity of this is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] by one of the police officers, who point out there's no where the bus can drive that the cops can't follow. At least, until [[spoiler:a helicopter shows up and picks up the bus, carrying it off into the air]].
* The plot of ''Film/DemolitionMan'' is kicked-off when the hero fails to save a bus full of innocents. [[spoiler: He regains his confidence when he learns saving the bus was impossible no matter what he did.]]
* In ''Film/ManOfSteel'', young Clark is aboard such a bus when he saves his classmates from drowning.
* In the {{Film/Apocalypse}} film series movie ''Revelation'', Thorold Stone investigates a bomb explosion that killed a bus full of school children, believing it to be the work of the Haters (the One Nation Earth's name for the group of underground Christians that emerged during the Tribulation), but it turns out to be an inside job by One Nation Earth agents.
* Unsurprisingly this appears in ''Film/InvasionUSA1985''. The evil communist-led terrorists plant a bomb on a school bus, but Creator/ChuckNorris tears it off the bus while driving past.
* ''Film/IndependenceDayResurgence''. Julius Levinson foolishly drives a schoolbus with children into Area 51, figuring it's the safest place to be (the aliens tried to destroy it in the last movie, so he should know better). [[spoiler:Instead the bus ends up being chased by a [[{{Kaiju}} giant queen alien]], who's rather pissed off after its spaceship got destroyed and is apparently intent on taking it out on the first humans it sees.]]

* One of Creator/GrahamMasterton's ''Manitou'' series books has a yellow school bus being taken over by a Native American spirit of evil. The hostage situation does not end well either for the kids, the police trying to rescue them, and certainly not for the grade-school teacher who meets a [[NightmareFuel particularly horrible death]] trying to defend her pupils.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Possible TropeNamer -- an episode of ''Series/AllInTheFamily'' had Archie injured in a minor accident, which was as much his fault as the other person's. Thinking that the only person who would ''really'' be out would be a "giant insurance company," Archie rejects a settlement offer and instead contacts a lawyer, pushing a very skewed version of the incident. The lawyer later comes by the house to tell him the bad news: they're gonna have to drop the suit and take a much-reduced settlement. When asked why, the attorney notes that there were witnesses that dispute Archie's story. Archie still wants to try, but:
-->'''Lawyer:''' Mr. Bunker, let me give you some free legal advice: In a court of law, you can't beat --\\
''The rest of the cast in unison'': A STATION WAGON FULL OF NUNS.
* Season 1 of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' had a bus with five innocents, one a little kid, murdered by a vampire. [[spoiler: Not one, but two, of said innocents later became {{Trick Boss}}es.]]
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'' encounters a vampire SerialKiller who's planning this. [[spoiler:It turns out he's taking advantage of this trope to send Angel off on a false trail while he attacks Angel's FriendOnTheForce. Angel realises this however.]]
* The second season of ''Series/VeronicaMars'' revolves around the Bus Full of Innocents crashing.
* Used as backstory to ''Series/TwentyFour'', where Jack Bauer capturing and torturing a terrorist who had hijacked a bus carrying innocents becomes a plot point in season seven, where the Department of Justice is filing charges against him for it.
* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/{{Smallville}}''. Metallo explains the reason that he hates Clark: Clark saved a bus from crashing, but later, one of its passengers murdered Metallo's sister.
* An episode of ''Series/KamenRiderFourze'' had the titular Rider try to save a bus full of cute high school girls from a Zodiart who was jealous that they all ignored him in his human form. Though Fourze stopped the monster, it was Shun with the Powerdizer who stopped the bus.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Horrifyingly subverted in the episode "Midnight". The Doctor is trapped in a Bus Full of Innocents when an unseen alien ''thing'' invades. Since he's the only one with enough knowledge to deal with the alien, the passengers suspect him of being the cause of their trouble, and eventually nearly manage to murder him simply to save their own lives. They're all normal, good, innocent people, and none of them were prepared for WhatYouAreInTheDark.
** PlayedWith in the later episode "Planet of the Dead", in which the Doctor is (once again) trapped on a bus with innocent passengers while trying to get rid of dangerous aliens. He remembers "Midnight" and shudders for a bit, but quickly manages to convince everyone that he can be trusted and saves the day without too much effort.
* In Season 2 of ''Series/{{Luther}}'', a SerialKiller who plans to set himself up as a modern-day {{Bogeyman}} is found to have got hold of a bus via his underworld contacts. He uses it to kidnap some schoolchildren whom he plans to have disappear so no-one will ever know what happened to them.
* An episode of ''Series/WalkerTexasRanger'' finds a bus full of schoolchildren buried in a muddy pit dug out of a field where not only will the kids die but clues to the bus's location will be erased.
* In the pilot of ''Series/TheEqualizer'', Robert [=McCall's=] estranged son Scott is complaining about how his father was [[DisappearedDad gone for most of his life]] on missions for his NoSuchAgency. But once he heard a news report about someone who got a busload of kids to the airport as a country collapsed into civil war, and likes to think that his dad did that. It's implied that his father was in fact the MysteriousProtector concerned.
* Attempted in ''Series/{{Gotham}}'' with a bus full of cheerleaders. Thankfully, it failed. The point Jerome Valeska tried and failed to prove with that bus? EveryCarIsAPinto, even those that are yellow and have a long wheelbase.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest''. At the start of "Dead Reckoning", John Reese wakes up wearing an [[ExplosiveLeash explosive vest]] placed on him by the villain. When it looks like Reese is about to [[TakingYouWithMe attack her in anger]], she tells Reese to look around. They're on a bus with women and children.
* ''Series/MissionImpossible'': In "Banshee", an ArmsDealer blows up a bus full of old age pensioners in order to stir up TheTroubles and increase sales of his product. It is this heinous act that gets the IMF sent to shut him down.

* Country singer/storyteller Red Sovine likes this trope. 'Phantom 309' had a hitchhiker picked up by a trucker who turned out to be a ghost-he'd given his life by swerving off the road to save a camper full of kids in a snowstorm. Another one, 'Little Joe', had the driver swerve to miss the bus full of kids and end up blinded after falling down the mountain.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* One of the random street crimes in ''VideoGame/TrueCrimeNewYorkCity'' involves rescuing a hijacked bus. Interestingly, the bus is one of the few vehicles in the game you ''can't'' drive.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* [[http://eheroes.smackjeeves.com/comics/1891142/mighty-annoyed/ Parodied]] in ''Webcomic/EverydayHeroes''.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Played quite literally]] in the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'', during a fight between the Supreme Six (a team of heroes generally considered second-tier) and the Fatal Four (a team of villains generally considered not second-tier at all), when Urania of the Fatal Four used her gravity control powers to hold a literal bus full of innocent bystanders hostage.
* In ''Series/WarpZoneProject'', a CardCarryingVillain that is being held up by a super-hero that supposed to let him go sooner or later asks if the emprisonment will last any longer because he's late to take a school bus hostage.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'': In "My Girl", Superman crashes a weapons deal by one of Lex Luthor's lackeys. Despite the guns being futuristic laser guns that cause things to explode, [[ShootingSuperman they prove to have the same effect on Superman as any other gun]]. The lackey then spots a train in the distance heading towards a bridge and uses the gun to blow that up instead, forcing Superman to save the train while the lackey gets away.
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'': In the episode "Legends," a literal bus full of nuns is on a collision course with a truck full of dynamite. Rescuing the nuns distracts the Flash enough to get him captured by [[CaptainErsatz Dr. Blizzard]] after he had easily won their fight. However, given the reveal of the next episode, [[spoiler:the actual villain had likely warped reality to make it so Dr. Blizzard wouldn't lose before he was supposed to. Or the actual villain warped reality to prevent the Justice League from figuring out the truth.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' saved one of these in the episode "Forever Phantom."
* ''WesternAnimation/SWATKats'' did this twice.
** In "The Giant Bacteria", the titular monster actually eats the subway car full of passengers.
** In "The Deadly Pyramid", a giant {{mummy}} threatens a bus full of tourists.
* On one episode of ''WesternAnimation/CloneHigh'', Abe is so sleep-deprived that he almost crashes his car into a bus full of pandas.
* In a ''WesternAnimation/Ben10'' episode, Kevin (as Upgrade) cuts the brakes of a cable car with people and sends it to fall into the ocean. Ben saves them.
* In ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution'' episode "Growing Pains", a car hanging over the side of a bridge is about to fall on a school bus full of kids. Scott, Kitty and Kurt start arguing over whether or not to help, because they're afraid of revealing themselves. In the end they decide to help after seeing the car beginning to go over the edge. They end up saving the kids and the man in the car.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' Treehouse of Horror IX, one of Snake's three strikes is for blowing up a bus full of nuns (but he insists it was self-defense).
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' parodied this. Peter has to take over as Death while he recovered from an injury, and does such a bad job of it, Death decides he has to do something big to be taken seriously. He decides Peter needs to kill the cast of ''Series/DawsonsCreek.'' He gets on the plane, but when he sees the other passengers, he has second thoughts, and finally says he can't do it when he sees a group of Girl Scouts singing "We like being alive. Oh, we like being alive..."
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfSuperman'': In "The Wisp of Wickedness", the [[ClothesMakeTheManiac possessed hat]] causes a crane driver to attempt to drop a school bus into a metal crusher.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' had to save a school bus they were currently riding in from crashing when Mr. Mime (Not [[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} that one]]) removed the color from the traffic lights. In "Him Diddle Diddle," they had to save another school bus from falling off a cliff.