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[[quoteright:250:[[WesternAnimation/TheTransformersTheMovie http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/250px_tftm_ironhide_dies.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:250:"[[PreMortemOneLiner Such heroic nonsense...]]"]]

After someone attacks a location, there will usually be one or two wounded people left lying on the floor writhing in pain (sometimes begging for mercy, depending how tough they are). The attacker will then dispatch them with a single shot, or any kind of OneHitKill, to the head. This is often done one handed to emphasize how casually the villain is performing his little clean-up job.

If pronounced after the French manner, the term is pronounced "coo deh graass" and translates as "blow of mercy". However, most English speakers hypercorrect the pronunciation so the last word is pronounced "grah", which in French changes the meaning to "[[MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels blow of fat]]". (However, since we're speaking English and not French, it's a bit of a moot point). It comes from the use of such execution methods as the "Breaking Wheel", often used in France during the Dark Ages, where the victim would be stretched across a wheel and tortured by nonfatal hammer blows that would break bones but not cause death -- the executioner would usually be ordered to end the victim's pain with a strike to the chest.

Also used in assassinations. In Russia, this is known as a "control shot". It can be done by all stripes of characters, and often spy characters, either to ensure a kill has succeeded, or to make sure a BigBad [[MakeSureHesDead is indeed dead]]. Not to be confused with actions such as a "DoubleTap" in which multiple bullets are fired during the initial action; these are additional killing shots (or blows) delivered at some point after the target is disabled.

If it's done to ensure a swift and painless death, see MercyKill. Part of the CoupDeGraceCutscene. May be used as (part of) a FinishingMove.

Compare with SickbedSlaying, SittingDuck, and SlainInTheirSleep. Contrast with FinishHim and ThwartedCoupDeGrace.

'''As a DeathTrope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.'''


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/BlackLagoon'', the leader of the Extra Order company does this during their attack on the Yellow Flag in the first arc. Revy also delivers a CoupDeGrace to a neo-nazi she mortally wounded in a later arc.
* ''Manga/DeathNote''. Averted at the very end, when Matsuda's final shot at Light is deflected by his fellow officers, causing it to hit the concrete next to his head. Also averted earlier on, when Soichiro can't kill Mello, even at the cost of his own life. For a series so heavily steeped in GreyAndGrayMorality, it's suitably marked by the good guys' inability to kill anyone. Mello and L are exempt from this one.
* In the anime ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'', Sir Integra has to do this for all Helsing personnel after the mansion is attacked.
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' Kai: The Massacre chapter has the BigBad administering this to Shion and ''Satoko'' after disposing of the rest of the characters. The last of the TrueCompanions, wasn't so lucky.
* In ''Anime/{{Monster}}'', Johan performs several on screen, and God knows how many off.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': After Naruto defeats Kakuzu with Wind Style: Rasenshuriken, Kakashi finishes Kakuzu off with Lightning Blade. Pain tries this once on Kakashi with a nail, and while Kakashi makes the nail disappear with his Mangekyo Sharingan, he seemingly dies of exhaustion after [[HeroicSacrifice saving Choji]] from a missile. Pain seemingly does this a second time on Hinata, although it doesn't kill her. Sasuke starts to deliver one to a [[ShootTheHostage stabbed through]] Karin by Madara's advice that [[HeKnowsTooMuch she knows to much]] to let her live but is interrupted by Sakura arriving.
* In ''Anime/ValvraveTheLiberator'', L-elf delivers one to [[spoiler: Haruto]] in the stinger of the first episode... [[spoiler: only for Haruto to get up and [[OurVampiresAreDifferent steal his body by biting him]], kicking off the plot]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/SinCity'': Marv does this to a female sex-slaver in a Christmas issue. Yes, there was a Christmas issue.
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' graphic novel "Imperius Dictatio" it is done with HumongousMecha.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/StrangeTimesAreUponUs'': Meromi beats a slave hunter into submission and finishes him with a disruptor shot between the eyes.
* In ''FanFic/RobbReturns'', after Baelish drowns in his trial by combat, Bronn takes a heavy chain and drops it on Baelish' head, to make sure he is dead.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformersTheMovie'': The Decepticons hijack an Autobot shuttle bound for Earth and lay waste to its crew. Ironhide is the one unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a ''coup de grâce'' from Megatron (as if being KilledOffForReal so soon wasn't bad enough). Additionally it [[TheWorfEffect cements Megatron's badass credentials]] when he looks at Ironhide, who is feebly grasping at his leg, sneers a magnificent "Such heroic nonsense!" at him and blows him away.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/FullMetalJacket'', Joker shoots a Vietnamese sniper in the head as a MercyKill. She'd already been so wounded, she was going to die anyway, but Joker eased her suffering. His squadmates completely miss the point, and praise it as a cold-blooded kill, despite the HeroicBSOD, complete with ThousandYardStare on Joker's face.
* ''Film/{{Heat}}'': Bad guy on bad guy example.
* ''Film/ThePunisher2004'' contains several instances, both from the good guy and the villains.
* ''Film/ThreeHundred'': An amusing hero-on-villain version; Leonidas and the Captain idly converse about how there's no reason they should not "be civil" when dealing with the Persians. Leonidas is even eating an apple... and all the while the rest of the Spartans are searching the fallen for wounded Persian soldiers to finish off. This is also present in the comic, with one of the Spartans humming or whistling.
* ''Film/{{Serenity}}'':
** Hero on bad guy: Mal shooting an Alliance pilot, although Book had already shot his ship down by the time the crew of ''Serenity'' got there.
** And Hero on NPC: Mal shooting a guy about to get eaten and raped to death by Reavers.
* ''Film/PansLabyrinth'': Done generously throughout, mostly by Captain Vidal but briefly by the heroic guerrilleros as well.
* When clearing the White House lawn and foyer, the terrorists in ''Film/OlympusHasFallen'' shoot each and every downed opponent in the head whether they seem alive or not. When Banning turns the tables on them, he has no problem with ventilating their skulls in kind.
* ''Film/KillBill'': The Bride was a victim of one such, described as such by the Bride's own words. [[TisOnlyABulletInTheBrain Proven unsuccessful, naturally.]]
* At the end of ''Film/ReservoirDogs'' does Mr. White shoot the badly-wounded Mr. Orange in order to [[MercyKill put him out of his misery]], or is it because Orange has just confessed to White that he's a cop?
* In ''Film/ThePatriot'', Benjamin Martin is treating wounded American and British soldiers. The British Colonel Tavington orders the American soldiers shot and the house burned down as punishment for "harboring the enemy".
* In ''Film/{{Rambo}}'', after the titular character has shot up the crew of a pirate boat (with a pistol vs automatic weapons, no less; he gets six shots off in the space of about one second, and they ''all'' hit) there is still one pirate left wounded, so Rambo blows his brains out.
* Clarence Boddicker, noted cop killer, shoots Detroit police officer Murphy in the head after Boddicker's men have just [[KickTheDog had their fun shooting the officer with shotguns]], [[CruelAndUnusualDeath repeatedly]]. With Murphy dead, [=OCP=] technicians have a fresh corpse they can use to build [[Film/RoboCop1987 RoboCop]].
* In ''Film/BadCompany'', Anthony Hopkins shoots an unconscious terrorist dead for no readily discernible reason (there were like 50 CIA agents in the building, so it's unclear why they couldn't have just taken the guy prisoner.). He later complains that there's no one left to interrogate after the second terrorist jumps off the roof of the hotel.
* In one scene in ''Film/BladeTrinity'', Blade and his sidekicks get into a fight against a bunch of security guards armed with nightsticks. After easily overpowering most of the security guards, Blade whips out a gun and kills the last security guard for no apparent reason other than to show that he can.
* ''Film/RedDawn1984'' : The good guys are seen finishing off Soviet wounded as part of that movie's [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized uncompromising depiction]] of guerrilla warfare.
* Film/JamesBond generally [[InstantDeathBullet didn't need]] to execute a coup de grace on his targets. An exception is Dr. Dent in ''Film/DrNo'', who after being shot down receives an extra bullet in the back, for safety. (An act that [[DarkerAndEdgier does not occur in any of Ian Fleming's novels]].) Reportedly the original edit of the film had Bond shoot the man ''six times'' but this was considered excessive. Reportedly, this scene was added primarily to illustrate the "licenced to kill" aspect of the character given most other killings by Bond in the film were of the self-defence or "heat of battle" variety and not cold-blooded. The scene was controversial with Bond fans to the extent that nothing similar would be attempted again until ''Casino Royale'' in 2006.
* In ''Film/{{Commando}}'', Arnie's character, sitting next to a bad guy on a plane, knocks the thug unconscious and, even though the enemy is out cold, then proceeds to break his neck, just to be sure. ("He's dead tired.")
* After Sonny's NoKillLikeOverkill execution in ''Film/TheGodfather'', one of the killers walks over and gives him a superfluous final burst to the chest. Then kicks him in the face.
* In ''T-Force'', one of the cyborg cops, blindly following directives, kills a disabled terrorist, despite her pleading for mercy.
* ''Film/{{Haywire}}'': after a thorough CurbStompBattle against Paul, leaving him dazed and likely seriously injured, Mallory proceeds to execute the man with a bullet to the head (using a pillow silencer).
* After downing Leatherback in ''Film/PacificRim'', Gipsy Danger proceeds to confirm the kill by disintegrating its chest with the plasma cannon. The scene is a CallBack to the opening, where failing to confirm the kill caused the kaiju to make a comeback and defeat the heroes.
* In the film version of ''[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings The Return of The King]]'', the orc general Gothmog finds Faramir's aide de camp helpless and dying on the ground in Osgiliath, and takes the opportunity to shove a spear in his chest. It's probably meant to demonstrate the merciless nature of the orcs and make us hate them personally, rather than just an abstract, "they're the servants of the Dark Lord" level. But really, Gothmog practically did the guy a favor. Surprisingly merciful for an orc.
* ''The Stone Killer'' (1973). A group of trained mercenaries burst into a mafia commission meeting and open fire with submachine guns. Then a single member of the group shoots each victim in the heart with a pistol, [[TheOnlyWayToBeSure whether they're alive or not]].
* ''Film/JohnWickChapter2''. John Wick is sent to assassinate a former friend Gianna D'Antonio, who [[BetterToDieThanBeKilled elects to die her own way]] and [[BathSuicide slits her wrists in the bath]]. Wick holds Gianna's hand as she dies, but once she's unconscious he puts a bullet in her head [[ConsummateProfessional just to be sure she can't be revived again]], but possibly also so she won't have committed a mortal sin by dying from her own hand.

* From the Literature/{{Deryni}} works by Creator/KatherineKurtz:
** After Derry overcomes two men who tried to drug him in Fathane, he finds that one of them is injured but alive and near returning to consciousness. He slits the man's throat before setting the scene to resemble a murderous quarrel, and he vomits in an alley a short distance away.
** After the traitor [[spoiler: Lord Ian Howell]] loses his single combat to Alaric Morgan in ''Deryni Rising'', Charissa administers one of these to him. [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves Before she does, she tells him that she read his thoughts and thus knew he planned to defeat her later]].
** In a combined secular and ecclesiastical meeting discussing the plight of the captive Bishop Istelyn, Bishop Arilan says, "Prayers will not deliver him from the agony Loris intends for him. If I could give him the coup and save him Loris' spite, I would." Archbishop Bradene and Bishop Hugh de Berry look startled at his words, but [[MercyKill Dhugal recalls having to give such a death blow to a clansman who had fallen from a cliff]].
* The central question during the trial in ''Film/MidnightInTheGardenOfGoodAndEvil'' is whether the victim was shot in self-defense during a gunfight, or was wounded and then coup-de-graced.
* ''Literature/TimeEnoughForLove'': In Creator/RobertAHeinlein's novel, Lazarus Long invites a man and his two sons to dinner out in the middle of nowhere on the prairie where his homestead is. After the man pulls a hidden gun and proceeds to inform Lazarus that he and his sons are all going to rape Lazarus' wife, ''she'' shoots the gun out of his hand. After the man's two sons are killed, Lazarus asks him if he has any last words before putting him out of his misery. (Lazarus' misery, that is.)
* In the ''The Book of Dreams'', the final Literature/TheDemonPrinces novel, Howard Alan Treesong is faced with a FateWorseThanDeath, permanently immobilized and surrounded by vengeful enemies. His split personalities, however, have enough psychic power between them to knock him over into a pool of water and drown him.
* In ''{{Literature/Malevil}}'', surviving enemy commander Jean Feyrac is shot with a bow when he rides a bicycle ahead of his retreating men. He falls silently and it isn't until a few minutes later, after the ambush is sprung, that someone checks on him and learns he was only fatally wounded. Hervè is reluctant but Feyrac's crimes are too great and he finishes him off with his rifle.
* ''Tatiana and Alexander'', by Paullina Simons. Alexander shoots a man creeping up on them in the woods. When Tatiana (a nurse) tries to give him first aid, an incredulous Alexander (a hardened frontline veteran) yanks her away and puts a bullet in the wounded man's head.


[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Lommy gets this when one the men who wounded him decline to carry him.
** In "Kissed By Fire", Jaime describes that he slit the Mad King's throat after stabbing him to makes sure he was really dead.
** Arya delivers a couple to men the Hound has downed in "Two Swords", but takes special pleasure in downing Polliver herself and slowly stabbing him in the neck while delivering an IronicEcho.
** The Hound gives a wounded crofter this in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'': One tragic example is that mercenary bastard Keamy killing Alex in the fourth season.
* The TV adaptation of the Robert Harris novel ''Literature/{{Archangel}}''.
* ''Series/{{CSI Miami}}'' features a rare example of a goodie doing this. On two occasions, with only the first being just in style as the guy still had a gun.
* An episode of ''Series/Bonanza'' uses this to set up a moral dilemma: can murder be justified if a man with serious, but survivable, wounds asks for a mercy kill?
* ''Series/BurnNotice'': The pilot starts with the hero being viciously beaten up by some Nigerian arms dealers. After decoying a pair of their dumber thugs into carrying his supposedly helpless self into the bathroom where he then knocks them out, the hero stands over the unconscious thugs while drawing and cocking a pistol. The camera immediately cuts to a viewpoint ''outside'' the bathroom -- and then we hear two pistol shots through the door. The door then opens, revealing the hero limping away.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Another example of the good guys doing it to a fallen villain: Giles cold-bloodedly smothering Ben the doctor to death during the season 5 finale (see ShootTheDog).
--> '''Giles''': "No, she couldn't. Never. And sooner or later Glory will re-emerge, and make Buffy pay for that mercy. And the world with her. Buffy even knows that and still she couldn't take a human life. She's a hero, you see. She's not like us."
* ''Series/TwentyFour'' has had this occur on more than one occasion.
* In an episode of ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles'', John does this to Cromartie, just to blow off some steam, apparently, since one bullet from a handgun won't do much to a Terminator.
** A debatable example depending on one's view as to whether Terminators are actually sentient (i.e., alive), made more complex by how the Terminator Cameron is depicted in the series (is she or isn't she?)
* Subverted in ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}.'' When the insurgents ambush the Cylon execution squad and rescue the human prisoners, Cavil is still alive but badly wounded. Rather than finish him off, Seelix leaves him lying there to suffer, saying, "I hope it hurts a long time before you go to Download City."
** "The Plan" has Cavil getting angry at Boomer for shooting Adama in the chest instead of the head. Indeed Adama himself learns from his experience -- when he orders Admiral Cain's assassination (using a plan clearly based on his own shooting) he makes a point of telling Starbuck to shoot Cain in the head.
** Also played straight in the {{Pilot}} MiniSeries: Galactica's fighter wing is remotely disabled by the Cylon fighters [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard exploiting a backdoor in their fighters' control software]]. Once the fighters are left adrift, the Cylon raiders perform a mass coup de grace, launching a volley of missiles with one missile tracking each helpless fighter.
* A later episode of the original ''Series/LaFemmeNikita'' TV series has the heroine rather disturbingly casually firing bullets into the heads of a group of unconscious Section agents, to ensure their deaths.
* It's shown in the ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' season finale "Judgment Day" that Mike Franks finishes off the bad guys Jenny Shepard only managed to wound during her last stand.
* In the premiere of ''Series/{{Copper}}'' one of the police officers finishes off a wounded bank robber. The criminal was reaching for his gun so it's ultimately justified but given the overall ValuesDissonance the copper probably simply did not want to deal with a wounded prisoner.
* On ''Series/UltimateForce'', in conjunction with NoKillLikeOverkill, SAS troopers are shown taking down terrorists with controlled bursts and then raking the body with a few more to make sure their targets don't get back up.
* In the mini-series ''Rhodes'', a colonial expedition uses a Maxim machine gun to mow down attacking tribesmen, then they finish off the wounded with pistols, with the latter portrayed more as a bloodthirsty slaughter than a MercyKill.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Oftentimes played straight with a wrestler's FinishingMove performed [[RuleOfThree at least three times]] in a big match.
* [[Wrestling/PrinceDevitt Finn Bálor]] has a FinishingStomp from the top rope that's [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the same name as this trope]].

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Done quite often in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''; there are actually rules in the 3rd edition of the game for when it may be done and how it affects attacks. One of the most surefire ways to kill something in 3rd edition is to have a spell-caster [[StandardStatusEffects paralyze or otherwise incapacitate your opponent]] and then have a [[AnAdventurerIsYou fighter or a rogue]] with a high-critical weapon perform this trope on them while they're down, because a coup de grace is a guaranteed [[NoKillLikeOverkill maximum damage]] critical hit. You don't roll anything at all. If the victim survives that, they must roll a fortitude save with a difficulty equal to the damage dealt plus ten or die. Often, it's the failure of the save that kills them, not the damage. It comes up in earlier editions as well, back to the original D&D rules in the "Three Little Brown Books" that came immediately after Chainmail. A helpless person could be slain instantly, for example paralyzed or magically-sleeping ones. Most of the durability of a person (HitPoints) were abstract. It was assumed that regardless of the combat rules one should still be able to behead or neck-shiv a comatose man.
* There are rules for coup-de-grace (here called "point-blanking") in ''TabletopGame/UnknownArmies''. Appropriately for the themes of the game, they also detail the effect killing a helpless victim has on the executor's SanityMeter.
* Aimed shots to the head of an enemy [[HumongousMecha [=BattleMech=]]] are essentially this in ''TabletopGame/{{BattleTech}}''. This is because they can only even be ''made'' if that 'Mech is already immobile (due to reactor shutdown or pilot KO) and because the head is relatively easy to destroy and usually holds the cockpit with the pilot, thus killing two birds with one stone.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'' the protagonist is given one after being thrown through a wall of plate glass and having his throat crushed during the prologue chapter. He survives, obviously, but the person doing it intended a coup de grace. (He ''should not'' have survived, but since he works for a leading [[{{Cyborg}} augmentation research]] corporation, [[BenevolentBoss his boss]] decided to [[WeCanRebuildHim give him]] an EmergencyTransformation)
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', if you are unable to turn Bastila back to the Light Side, you have three options: defeat her in combat and kill her, be defeated and killed ''by'' her, or defeat her and then give her a quick, execution-style death.
* ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'':
** Done by BigBad Zakhaev to the incapacitated SAS troops in the final bridge scene.
** Also done by Captain Price to Khaled al-Asad.
** You yourself can do this to wounded enemy troops, which is usually a good idea: you have no idea if they're going to produce a pistol or a grenade to take you down with them. ''Call of Duty'' does a ''damn'' good job reminding the player of the merciless brutality of war.
** In ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty: World at War'', in the campaign mode, there are various sections where you can finish off unarmed and surrendering Germans. Reznov encourages killing them, but it's ultimately up to the player.
* Several of the [[FinishingMove Sync kills]] in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}: VideoGame/DawnOfWar'' have this at the end.
* Delivered to Ricardo Diaz in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto: [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity Vice City]]''.
** Subverted when it comes to [[Creator/SamuelLJackson Tenpenny]] in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas San Andreas]]'', where he's already dead after delivering his last words, and when the player character takes aim to put a bullet in Tenpenny's corpse, another character tells him not to.
* ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar'' famously allowed the player to curb-stomp wounded enemy soldiers. ''Gears of War 2'' ups the ante with many, many more instant kills to wounded enemy soldiers. Oh the humanity.
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' has an instance of this in the case of a certain spoileriffic death: Joshua shooting Neku while he's down and startled.
* ''VideoGame/DarkMessiah'': The player can use a bladed weapon to run through any enemy that's been knocked to the ground.
* ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'' features this in spades - Not only did each weapon have its own finishing move, each ''person'' had their unique ways to finish off horrors as well. Most of these are with blades as few characters have access to firearms. Also, players were encouraged to finish off enemies as doing so restored sanity. These include:
** Impaling the enemy lengthwise.
** [[ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks Throwing your blade into the enemy and retrieving it.]]
** Stabbing the enemy so hard that the blade gets stuck in the ground.
** ''[[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill Shooting a downed enemy with both barrels of an elephant gun]]''. This finishing move will actually knock you on your ass if you try it.
* You can do this to wounded people in ''{{Postal}}''. There is a control (default: X) which stands for "Execute".
* ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'': [[EvilColonialist Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom]] does this to you if he defeats you. Given how hard it is to beat him without exploiting your own {{Game Breaker}}s, you'll probably see it at least once.
* Each member of the ''VideoGame/{{Killer 7}}'' has their own method for dispatching Heaven's Smiles that have lost their legs. They range from Dan kicking the target onto its back and double-tapping, to Coyote curb-stomping it, to Garcian bashing its head in with his briefcase.
* Done by Ocelot in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'' during the Virtuous Mission[[note]]Virtual Mission?[[/note]]. He walks in while Snake is surrounded by Spetnaz, and then shoots all of them. One is left on the ground, squirming on Ocelot's [[NiceHat beret]]. Ocelot promptly shoots him in the head and picks up his hat.
* In ''VideoGame/TheGodfather: The Game'', you can do this as one of the Execution Styles to [[FinishingMove finish off]] a weakened foe.
* In ''VideoGame/ScarfaceTheWorldIsYours'', if you get into melee range with an enemy while having a gun out, Tony can force him onto his knees and shoot him up. The game clearly labels this as "Execution" and gives you extra Balls for killing folks this way.
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'' you have the option of attacking enemies on the ground and doing so while armed is a OneHitKill. Some of the moves shown for ''Brotherhood'' include sweeping an enemy off his feet and shooting him with the crossbow or following up a flooring GroinAttack with a curb-stomp.
* "Fatality" moves in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat''.
* ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'': If you've knocked an enemy unconscious, you get a guaranteed hit on any part of the body you like, allowing you to do what you like: [[HalfTheManHeUsedToBe slicing them in half]], [[OffWithHisHead decapitating them]], and [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential hacking off their limbs and watching them writhe in agony]] are among the countless options available.
** This also causes trap immune enemies to become vulnerable to traps.
** Although you ''can'' instantly kill unconscious things, it's much more profitable to [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential cut off small extremities to raise skills faster.]]
** The AI generally prefers to go straight for the head when it gets this opportunity, reducing the head to [[ChunkySalsaRule chunky salsa]] or sticking a blade into the skull depending on their weapon. This can [[ArtificialStupidity fail]] if the victim is wearing an [[{{Unobtanium}} adamantine]] helmet.
* In ''VideoGame/DefenseOfTheAncients'', an assassin-type hero named Morted has this as her ultimate. It doesn't always invoke this trope, instead being more of a massive CriticalHit.
* ''VideoGame/EternalSonata'': Actually a subversion. One of the first special attacks Fréderic learns is called "Coup de Grace", yet it can be used any time, is weak compared to later specials, and has no special effects for finishing off an enemy. It feels good to finish an enemy with it though.
* Troika's ''VideoGame/TempleOfElementalEvil'' uses this as per the Dungeon's and Dragon's rules, and uses it as the method to ensure trolls remain dead.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'', the Arbiter does this to Truth, who is already infected and being consumed by the Flood.
* In ''VideoGame/SoldierOfFortune'', [[BigBad Dekker]] delivers this to Hawk.
* At the end of ''VideoGame/{{Mass Effect|1}}'', regardless of whether you killed Saren or [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath talked him into committing suicide]], Shepard will tell his/her squadmates, "Make sure he's dead." One of them will walk up to his body and shoot him in the head. Immediately after which, Sovereign reanimates said body for the final boss fight.
* At the end of the first level in ''VideoGame/MaxPayne 3'', you see some UFE members do this to downed gangbangers, the first sign that something's up with them.
* In ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'' this can be done to wounded or stunned enemies. It also is used to show Walkers SanitySlippage, as they go more and more vicious during the course of the game.
* The finale of ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'' has [[spoiler:Lee infected and on the brink of death. It's up to you as a player if Clementine shoots him or leaves him to turn]].
* The hero of ''VideoGame/FableI'' can do this when an enemy is stunned.
* Critically-wounded enemies in ''VideoGame/CharlieMurder'' can be finished off by a [[YourHeadAsplode head-asploding]] curb-stomp. Some bosses and mini-bosses ''need'' to be killed this way, or else they will get right back up with some health restored.
* In the ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' mission "Cutting the Cord", either Obisek or the Romulan PlayerCharacter shoots [[TheHeavy Hakeev]] in the head, execution-style, after the boss battle against him.
* Somewhat present in the Batman: Arkham series, as the player can finish off enemies that are knocked down but not out. While most characters simply either hit the thug's head with a blunt object (or with the floor, or their fists, or their own head...) rendering them unconscious, the playable Red Hood in Batman: Arkham Knight simply flat out shoots them on their heads.
* A few heroes in ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'' has abilities that can disable the enemy thus giving a chance to perform this. The most memetic example is perhaps [[BadassAdorable Mei,]] whose standard combat tactic is to freeze an enemy with her FreezeRay, and aim an icicle for a BoomHeadshot while they're immobile.
* In ''VideoGame/MarvelPuzzleQuest'', ComicBook/ThePunisher (ComicBook/DarkReign) has an ability called "Retribution" which acts as this trope. If Frank's opponent still has a lot of health, doing this attack will only deal a bit of damage to them. However, after they reach a set percentage of health, using this ability instantly kills them. When you first get this skill, it's an insta-kill at 20% health, but at max, it's insta-kill at ''40%''.
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse'' has Nanashi deliver this to the FinalBoss YHVH on the Bonds and Massacre routes after a post-battle dialogue choice.
--> '''YHVH:''' "Guh...there is no truth to your ideas. The future you pursue is a fabrication. Cease this at once." \\
'''Dagda:''' "Your so-called truth makes me nauseous. Enough of this, kid. '''Put an end to him with your own two hands!'''"
* ''VideoGame/Persona5'' has the protagonist's Ultimate Persona, [[SatanIsGood Satanael]], deliver one via headshot to the final boss Yaldabaoth, a.k.a. the Demiurge, creator of our world but subordinate to Main/{{God}} Himself.
* A game mechanic in ''[[Franchise/GundamExpandedUniverse Gundam Breaker]]'' games, called "Ground Break." It only triggers when you've blown off an enemy's legs, leaving them immobile on the ground. This is usually a good idea, because any enemy that can recover its legs can rejoin the battle--destroying them before they get a chance permanently takes the enemy out of the fight. Notably you can do this to ''any'' enemy that loses its legs, including enemy player teams and even named rival [=NPCs=].
* Defied in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'': CJ ''wants'' to put a bullet in Tenpenny's head, but Cesar stops him. Cesar points out that Tenpenny is going to die from his injuries anyway, and that shooting him would make CJ a marked man, but if he walks away Tenpenny is just another car crash victim with no-one to blame for his death.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' :
** Roy Greenhilt delivers several of these to Goblins afflicted with sleep in one of the early chapters. The technique he uses is even called "Coup de Grace." It wasn't V's spell which put them to sleep but the length and boring nature of the speech ''leading up'' to the incantation.
** Much later, Durkon snaps Zz'dtri's neck after knocking him out.
* Spoofed in ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'', as a rule of nerf gun fighting, if a player finds an enemy who is out of ammo he is allowed to shoot them executioner style.
-->'''Gabe:''' Killing me won't bring her back.\\
'''Tycho:''' Ain't that a shame. (''toink'')
* The eponymous protagonist in ''Webcomic/{{Sarab}}'' deals out one of these to an unnamed girl. Or rather, her [[DigitalAvatar avatar]].
* In ''Webcomic/TheSenkari'', a demon finds the wounded Freija and [[DeathByOriginStory cuts her throat]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Terra}}'', Agrippa, one of the heroes, does this to a injured [[{{Sadist}} Kaleb Ceros]] as a ShutUpHannibal:
--> '''Kaleb:''' Bastard! You think you're really changing anything? Solus has more power and influence than you could ever ''dream'' of. You can't stop him -- and if you kill me, another will take my place.\\
'''Agrippa:''' (''slashes Kaleb's throat with his combat knife'') Then their fate will be the same as yours.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* When fighting in RealLife, be aware that employing this trope may be in violation of UsefulNotes/TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar, depending on the circumstances. Even if the enemy in question was requesting a MercyKill, he won't exactly be able to vouch for you at your court martial later on.
* Relatively common in mechanized and naval warfare. An enemy disabled in the heat of combat may then be ignored while more threatening targets are focused on. While it is a crime to SinkTheLifeboats, there is nothing particularly wrong with swinging back to finish off a crippled CoolShip if there is any chance the crew may repair her and bring her back into the fight. This was indeed a common role for submarines during larger battles during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. Arguably justifiable under rules of war as one is technically delivering a death blow to an inanimate vessel, not the people aboard her (who simply become collateral damage if they don't survive).
* Before modern medicine, the blow of grace was frequently delivered to a mortally wounded enemy. Many weapons could deliver mortal, incapacitating wounds which would leave a human helpless and in agony for hours before their death. Given the battlefields were also prone to attract scavenging wildlife, being swiftly slain after the battle could be a great act of mercy.
* Occasionally employed during executions in some countries, particularly firing squad, if the initial action does not instantly kill the condemned. An officer or other official, upon determining that the prisoner is still alive, may choose to fire a point-blank round into the person's head to ensure death.