[[quoteright:298:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/doomsday-clock.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:298:At its highest point (1991), it was 17 minutes to midnight; at its lowest (1953), it was 2 minutes. As of January 2012, the clock stands at five minutes until midnight.]]

->''"And WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve tell me where ya gonna be?''\\
''Cleaning up the mess we've made or watching your TV?"''
-->-- '''BillyTalent''', ''Turn Your Back''

->''"Please don't stop it's lonely at the top''
->''These lonely days when will they ever stop?''
->''This [[TropeNamer doomsday clock]] ticking in my heart"''
-->-- '''Music/TheSmashingPumpkins''', "Doomsday Clock"

This handy metaphor is pulled out of the writer's bag of tricks whenever we need to be shown that time is of the essence in a particular dilemma. It is almost as good as a MagicCountdown for getting across the message that time is running out. Expect the minute hand to be mighty close to the 12 at the top of the clock.

The ''[[http://www.thebulletin.org/ Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists]]'' at the University of Chicago actually keep one as a prop... of DOOM! When it was originally introduced [[UsefulNotes/ColdWar in 1947]] the clock symbolized how close the world was to nuclear war, with the metaphor supporting it being: talks have broken down, and once midnight hits, the attacks start. [[DespairEventHorizon And we are all DOOMED]]. Since [[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp the fall of the Iron Curtain]], the original metaphor is (mostly) obsolete, and it was expanded to [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt catastrophic destruction]] of any sort, provided it's on a global scale. The ''Bulletin'''s website specifically mentions GlobalWarming and [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke bioengineering]] as possible causes of DOOM in addition to nuclear war.

This is a subtrope of WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve. It may overlap with TimedMission. Also see DeathsHourglass.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Laid close to the Twelve Zodiac Houses in ''Manga/SaintSeiya'', is a tower whose clock has blue flames where the numbers would normally be. When Athena gets hit by a cursed arrow, the flames tell how many hours remain until the arrow ends up killing the wounded goddess. Once every hour, one flame is extinguished, so the main characters have only twelve hours to travel through the twelve houses, defeat the Gold Saints patrolling said houses, and convince the head honcho to remove the arrow from Athena's chest. In the end, [[spoiler:all twelve flames in the clock disappear, but Athena manages to lift the curse and the arrow with her cosmic energy]].
* In ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', when Polnareff first appears as an enemy, he uses his rapier on [[PlayingWithFire Avdol's flames]] to draw a clock on a flipped table, claiming that he could kill Avdol before its hand reached the 12. But Avdol uses his manipulation of fire to get rid of the clock, calling Polnareff out on his arrogance.
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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* A recurring motif in ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' with the clock gradually ticking towards midnight until the end. It is also mentioned directly with the clock being at five minutes near the beginning. Ironically, because of the deterrent posed by Dr. Manhattan at the beginning of the story, this is actually further from midnight than the real-life clock was in the early to mid-1980s (his departure moves the clock up significantly). The clock is seen more often as the most well-known symbol of the series: the Comedian's smiley-face badge. If you look at it with both eyes pointing up, the bloody smear resembles a minute hand pointing at 11 on a clock. This was actually the entire point of the design, to dress up something happy to something terrifying, with one tiny change.
* One Sunday strip of ''ComicStrip/BrewsterRockitSpaceGuy'' had Agent X bring aboard the Doomsday Clock, itself a physical representation of the time to doomsday. Brewster, having missed this explanation, thinks the clock is off and sets to the proper time of midnight. This causes nuclear explosions all around Earth in the background.
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[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/DrStrangelove - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'' has this.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* In PiersAnthony's novel ''[[IncarnationsOfImmortality Wielding a Red Sword]]'', the Incarnation of War can use the DoomsdayClock to bring about WorldWarIII.
* In KimStanleyRobinson's ''[[ThreeCaliforniasTrilogy The Gold Coast]]'', where it's about 2050 AD and the UsefulNotes/ColdWar is still going on, one character mentions that the Doomsday Clock has been set at three seconds to midnight for several decades.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The story ''Four to Doomsday'' was released when the real life clock was at four minutes. Possibly a coincidence.
** The story ''Kinda'' has an apocalyptic dream sequence that features a multitude of Doomsday Clocks of different technological types.
* The ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' episode ''Seven to Midnight'' revolved around stopping a nuclear bomb from going off in UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity. At the time it was aired the clock stood at seven minutes.
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' episode ''Murder 2.0'' had the DoomsdayClock, at the time set to five minutes, used as a clue to indicate the next murder would take place at 11:55 p.m.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' reveals in later seasons that [[spoiler: the repeated number sequence, 4 8 15 16 23 42]] is in fact a component of an insanely accurate DoomsdayClock: [[spoiler: the Valenzetti Equation, which predicts the extinction of mankind, with the Numbers serving as the input.]]
* The second to last episode of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' season 5 is called "Two Minutes to Midnight". "Midnight" in this case referring to the rise of Lucifer on earth, who did show up in the last episode of season 5.
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[[folder:Music]]
* ''2 Minutes to Midnight'' by Music/IronMaiden.
* Music/TheSmashingPumpkins [[TropeNamer named]] the trope with their song of the same name from ''Zeitgeist''.
* MusicLinkinPark's album ''Minutes to Midnight''. The music video for ''Shadow of the Day'' from the same album also makes reference to the clock with 11:55 appearing at the beginning.
* ''11:59'' by {{Music/Blondie}}.
* ''The Call Up'' by TheClash has the lyric "55 minutes past eleven''.
* Likewise, ''Turn Your Back'' by BillyTalent has the lyric "When the clock strikes twelve, tell me where ya gonna be?" at the beginning. The entire song makes reference to disasters occurring and hoping the world can change.
* ''4 Minutes (To Save the World)'' by {{Madonna}}.
* ''One Minute to Midnight'' by Music/{{Justice}}.
* "Particle Man" by TheyMightBeGiants doesn't mention doomsday, but it does say that Universe Man has a watch that seems to measure the age of the universe. ("Hes got a watch with a minute hand, a millennium hand, and an eon hand".)
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* While not an exact representation, RiseOfNations has an example clearly based on the Doomsday Clock. When a player researches nuclear weapons, a counter appears on his HUD. Every time ''any'' player uses a nuke, it goes down by 1. If it reaches zero, the game ends with everyone losing as the clock strikes midnight.
* ''The Infinite Ocean'', an indie game about an amnesic AI trying to avert a disaster, has a symbolic clock set at two minutes to midnight.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'', the player has three days until the moon crashes down on Termina, with a giant clock tower counting down to this in the center of the HubLevel (which is appropriately named Clock Town) and a smaller clock display at the bottom of the screen.
* ''LightningReturnsFinalFantasyXIII'' features this as a central theme of the game, but plays with it: Regardless of what happens, Nova Chrysalia ''will'' be destroyed no matter what you do as the player. The clock signifies that you have thirteen [[spoiler:(or, if you play ''really'' well, fourteen)]] twenty-four hour days left in to ensure that said world and all of the people living on it are [[RestartTheWorld reborn]]. If you accomplish the tasks at hand, the world will renew itself.
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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' has a doomsday clock near Terezi's home.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* One episode of ''AdventuresOfTheGummiBears'' featured a DoomsdayClock built by an evil sorcerer, which would actually destroy the world if it ever struck twelve - unless, of course, it was destroyed first.
* The title of ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' episode ''Twenty Years to Midnight'' is a reference to the actual Doomsday Clock.
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[[folder:RealLife]]
* In addition to the TropeNamer, there are also several similar clocks, albeit with slightly different purposes. For instance, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Debt_Clock National Debt Clock]] in New York provides a running total of the US government's deficit and each American family's share of it.
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