[[quoteright:400:[[Film/VForVendetta http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/government_curfew_from_v4v_01030.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:400:''[[{{Irony}} "This is for your protection."]]'']]

->A Militsya patrol stops a passerby a few minutes before the curfew (they're under martial law). They check his documents and everything seems to be in order, so they let him go. But when the man turns to leave, one of the officers shoots him in the back.
->"What the... why'd you do that!?" his colleague exclaims. The first officer shrugs.
->"Oh, I know where he lives. There's no way he's getting home before the curfew."
-->-- Old [[UsefulNotes/{{Poland}} Polish joke]]

Curfew: the piece of martial law no self-respecting dictatorship can go without. Specifically: a curfew on everybody, often at an unreasonable time, enforced by burly if not overly observant guards.

Curfews are a good early sign that a government is controlling people's lives, so they're useful as a sign of benign government turning into a cruel regime. Narratively speaking, the authorities can say that someone is a rebel just for being about; it also means characters can fight in major urban areas without risking innocent lives.

A common feature of a {{Dystopia}}.


[[folder: Anime & Manga ]]
* Dressrosa in ''Manga/OnePiece'' had a curfew implemented when Doflamingo usurped the throne 10 years ago. The exact reason is not known yet, but it seems to be related to another law that forbids humans and LivingToys to enter each others' houses, so it may be more than just a strict law...
* Apparently, ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' has one where people aren't allowed on the streets at certain times (though this was only shown in "The Ghost of Maiden's Peak"). It was because of this that an [[OutOfCharacterMoment uncharacteristically strict]] Nurse Joy wouldn't let Ash go out and save Brock from the Maiden's ghost.

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* In ''ComicBook/VForVendetta'', Evey gets in trouble with the [[SecretPolice Fingermen]] over prostitution. ''And'' curfew. [[LighterAndSofter Toned down]] to just curfew in the film, though given [[KickTheDog the punishment they were going to give her]] is the same, that just makes it ''worse'', and either way, it makes it a relief when AntiHero V shows up to kick their asses.
* Bluto and the Commodore had one over the town in ''ComicBook/{{Popeye}}''.
* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'':
** The insane Cal instituted such a curfew during his [[TheCaligula tyrannical reign as Chief Judge]].
** As did the Dark Judges during the ''Necropolis'' arc. They tried to discourage people getting shot as "there are so many more interesting ways to die."
* In one ''ComicBook/SonicTheComic'' story, set when Robotnik was still ruler of Mobius, badniks started declaring new, asinine laws around a town, including a curfew set at a time that had already passed, meaning everyone broke the law retroactively.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'', Molly's evil parents enforced a curfew upon her by using their psychic abilities to force her to sleep. This is implied to be the cause of her notoriously low stamina.
* King Tyrannus from ''ComicBook/{{Swordquest}}'' prevents threats to his rule by imposing a nightly curfew in his realm. This is enforced with flying four-armed demons welding flaming swords.

[[folder: Film ]]
* In ''Xchange'', everyone is required to carry a dogtag, fitted with a trackable chip, apparently replacing plastic and paper [=IDs=]. It is illegal to be out after curfew, if you don't have a proper tag. It is never revealed what the punishment is, though. The government is not a dictatorship, though.
* In ''Film/TheHungerGamesCatchingFire'', new Head Peacekeeper Romulus Thread declares a curfew in District 12.
* In ''Film/TheRunningMan'' the Cadres apparently enforce this in what is left of the United States. It's not a major plot point, but announcements in the background talking about a midnight curfew, and violators being "permanently detained" can be made out.
* Happens - of course - in ''Film/VForVendetta.'' Also provides the page image.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* ''A City In Winter'' -- enforced by death, no less
* [[Literature/{{Discworld}} Ankh-Morpork]] experienced this under the rule of Homicidal Lord Winder as seen in ''Discworld/NightWatch''; it may have occurred under other Patricians as well. By contrast, Lord Vetinari dislikes curfews. [[PragmaticVillainy They're bad for business]].
* Occurred in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'' -- just in Hogsmeade, though, as it's the only all-wizarding settlement (not for lack of trying on Voldemort's part).
* In the Literature/DeliriumSeries, love (called "amor deliria nervosa") is considered a disease and at age 18, all Americans are "cured" of the ability to love. The curfew for "uncureds" is set to add appeal to the procedure and also to stop lovers from meeting.
* In Creator/MalorieBlackman's book ''Thief'', this is one of the first things that happen to Lydia when she is transported to the future.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The story [[Recap/DoctorWhoS25E2TheHappinessPatrol "The Happiness Patrol"]].
** The episode [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E5RiseOfTheCybermen "Rise of the Cybermen"]] shows a curfew in the parallel world, but no indication that there's anything wrong with the government.
* Mentioned as part of President Clark's declarations as he seizes power in ''Series/BabylonFive''.

[[folder: Music ]]
* This is one of the theories of the origin of a popular Ashkenazi Jewish Klezmer song "7:40". In Imperial Russia, Jews couldn't show up in Odessa after dark if they weren't registered residents (and even that was the case, they had no right to leave their ghettos after dark). So any Jew from outside Odessa who had business in the city had to arrive on a morning train which entered the city at the eponymous time (7:40 am), and leave in evening.
* ''Rebel Music'' from Music/BobMarley 's ''Music/NattyDread'' tells the story about a man being arrested by the police after ''three o' clock'' at night during curfew and taken in custody for possession of marihuana.

[[folder: Tabletop RPG ]]
* In ''[[http://misspentyouthgame.com/ Misspent Youth]]'' by Robert Bohl, a game where you play a group of teenage anarchists out to change the world, the group creates Systems of Control that are sci-fi-ish details about the world that The Authority uses to mess with your lives. As in the real world, the authorities frequently use curfews to control children.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* You first gain control of the main character of ''VideoGame/ZorkGrandInquisitor'' seconds before the town's curfew goes into effect.
* In the Konquest mode of ''VideoGame/MortalKombat Deception'', the main character returns to meet his former ally and all-around KnightTemplar Hotaru in the town he's just conquered, only to be arrested for breaking curfew. Judging by appearances, he is held in a cell awaiting trial for ''over a decade''.
* One of the options in political simulator ''VideoGame/{{Democracy}} 2''. It will take a lot of political influence and it will make you unpopular very quickly.
* In ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryII'', it's against the law to be out at night in the fascist city of Raseir, fallen twin to the free city of Shapeir.
* ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' features a curfew in Paris now that it's under martial law, enforced by twitchy [[RealRobot military robots]].
** A fan-made prequel and GameMod ''[[VideoGame/TwentyTwentySeven 2027]]'' features Moscow under martial law. Police and bots will shoot at anyone caught out after dark.
* The online video game ''[[http://www.thecurfewgame.com/ The Curfew]]'' is about a future Britain where this ([[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin unsurprisingly]]) has happened.
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'', the town in which chapter 3 takes place is under a very strict curfew, any PMC registered person outside after a period of time is arrested (or in Snake's case, shot at) under suspicion of being part of LaResistance. Naturally you have to tail a resistance member who's breaking curfew - [[StealthBasedGame what else were you expecting?]]
** However, in an amusing instance of DevelopersForesight, if you wear the Otacon mask you got in the chapter previous and don't carry any weapons, the guards will pat you down and let you move completely freely, passing you off as a citizen on his way home.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', hallmarks of Meredith's reign as Templar Knight-Commander apparently include curfews and midnight raids on families suspected of sheltering mage relatives. It doesn't stop Hawke and co. from going wherever they please, but most of Meredith's methods tend do more damage than they prevent.
* In ''VideoGame/TheSims3'', there's a curfew for child and teen sims. When their curfew is up, child sims will automatically head home or to the nearest adult family member. Teen sims can stay out past curfew and sometimes they even get the desire to do so. If they stay out long enough, a police officer will show up to take them home, where they will be scolded by an adult member of their family. Teen and child sims are not considered out after curfew if they're accompanied by an adult member of their family.
* In ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamOrigins'', all of Gotham is under a curfew due to the city expecting an implausibly powerful winter storm making it unsafe for people to be on the streets that night. This means the vast majority of people out and about fall into three categories: Cops, Crooks, and Batman.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* The episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken" revolved around an enforced curfew for minors after being blamed for vandalizing Springfield Elementary ([[MisplacedRetribution though unbeknown to the police, it was a drunk Homer, Lenny, Carl and Barney who were the culprits]]). In retaliation, [[spoiler:the kids started revealing their parents' secrets on radio and the episode ended with a musical number and the curfew being extended to ''everyone under 70'']].
* Fire Nation-occupied settlements in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''.
** In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', Tarrlok's idea of a sane response to anti-bending revolutionaries is to impose curfews on every non-bender in Republic City. [[KickTheDog Taking this a step further]], he shuts off the electricity to a whole district just to goad them outside, where he can accuse them of breaking curfew and have them rounded up.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'', new leader [[spoiler:Sentinel Prime]] wastes no time in establishing a curfew on Cybertron, allegedly to protect against the looming Decepticon threat.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'', Gosalyn is sent to the future, where the Gosalyn-less Darkwing has become a vicious dictator called Darkwarrior who does this. Gosalyn even notes "Only my dad would set a universal curfew at 8 o'clock."
* The MirrorUniverse in the ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "Brave New Metropolis".
* WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs go through this in the episode "Tick Tock Smurfs" when Brainy subjects every Smurf to his own personal time schedule.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' episode where Vlad becomes mayor of Amity Park, he imposes this as an excuse to protect the children from ghosts when in reality, he's doing it to make Danny and his friends miserable.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* RealLife: Dictatorial regimes have in fact been known to do this. [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany The Nazis]] did this during the occupation of Continental Europe. The Communists did in NationalStereotypes/EasternEurope during the UsefulNotes/ColdWar. UsefulNotes/AugustoPinochet is said to have enforced his curfew with snipers. Mubarak tried it in Egypt recently. It was quite ignored indeed.
** Not only dictators, the Americans did it in Iraq, too. Curfews are an effective counter measure against insurgencies or when you're expecting trouble. Not only is there the implication that people ''not'' following the curfew must be Up To Something, but it can also help to ensure that innocents are out of the way if and when trouble happens.
* The United States has areas that employ age-based curfews, depending on what city or state you're located in.
** On the state level, the laws for new drivers under 18 often include a curfew, usually 11 PM or midnight. Though there are exceptions made for those driving because of emergencies, school/religious functions, or because they are licensed [=EMTs=]. There's also an exemption for kids who have jobs, as long as they get their parent(s) and boss to sign a waiver.
** In some larger U.S. cities, curfews exist for anyone under 18 outside at night[[note]]usually defined as 30-60 minutes after sundown[[/note]] without adult supervision, implemented mainly to combat gang activity or drug dealing.
* This was actually a historical and very grim way racial segregation was enforced in the US. A "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundown_town sundown town]]" was one in which non-ethnic-Europeans would be assaulted and/or killed if found there at night. Non-europeans could not buy land in these communities, and being caught in them after dark could lead to harassment, expulsion, or even lynching, sometimes at the hands of local law enforcement. This phenomenon was not limited to Southern white-on-black oppression - the technique was used against blacks, Native Americans, Jews, and Chinese minorities, and the state with the most confirmed cases of the phenomenon was Illinois.
** There was a similar thing in the towns of UsefulNotes/SouthAfrica in apartheid times. At 6 PM (18:00) a bell rang in the city hall, meaning it was time for the blacks to leave for their residence in suburbs. Reportedly some whites liked chasing and hunting those unhappy blacks which were too late to leave. [[CarFu With automobiles.]] And if they would run him over, most likely they would get away with that. Mind you, this was only one of the many reasons to dislike the "apartheid" regime.
* Also happens on occasion for more reasonable cases where a city is struck by a riot or an increase in violent crime.
* Temporary curfews are often imposed in the wake of hurricanes or other natural disasters. It can be an arrestable offense if it looks like you're out to cause trouble.
* One noteworthy RealLife example occurred during the Jewish rebellion against British rule in the League of Nations Mandate of Palestine in 1947: in an effort to regain control, the British authorities imposed a [[UpToEleven 24-hour curfew]], meaning that Jews were simply not allowed to go outside at all. This still didn't work.
* Back during the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Crisis Sinai War,]] Israel established a curfew on the Arab areas in Israel, under [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citizens_of_Israel#1949.E2.80.931966 the martial law in effect in those areas]] after the [[UsefulNotes/ArabIsraeliConflict War of 1948.]] The Israeli Border Police were ordered to open fire on people who violated the curfew; while in most places the order was not followed, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafr_Qasim_massacre it was notoriously followed through in Kafr Qasim.]]
* Shortly before the American Revolution broke out, the British colonial government imposed martial law on the ever rebellious city of Boston. This was pretty much the last straw for Bostonians because that fabled "shot heard 'round the world" would be fired soon afterward.
* In Turkey, a 24 hour curfew took place every five years, in order for the census to be done. It was a case of curfew being done not out of authoritarianism but simply lack of technology, and most Turkish people treated it as a day off. Because nobody expected trouble, the worst you could expect if caught violating curfew was detainment for the rest of the day. Once the system was computerized, the whole curfew method of performing census was done away with.
* During the Second Intifada and even beforehand, the IDF would often enforce curfews during military activity.
* While not quite the same, the effect of the concept known in German as ''Sperrstunde'' is similar. It dictates an hour after which bars (and in some cases discos) have to be closed. Nothing is keeping you from being out and about after this hour, but you really don't have any place to go. Most German cities have greatly reduced the effect of this rule by creating more and more exceptions or gotten rid of it altogether. Some have a nominal one where e.g. fast food restaurants have to close for an hour ("cleaning hour") before they can reopen. However, the whole issue still differs between each of the sixteen States of Germany.
** Similarly, certain holidays (again, depending on state law) are considered "silent," and you cannot have any type of festivity involving song and dance on those days. In practice this means there won't be commercial parties, but private parties will only get into problems if they have excessive noise. As all of those holidays are religious and it is worded as a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_ban#Legal_bans "dancing ban,"]] atheist, secular and civil liberties groups have taken to holding dance-ins on those days.