[[quoteright:320:[[HayateCrossBlade http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/permission.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:You don't ''have'' to ask for permission.]]

->''"I think I'll try extra hard to remember today's events and conversations, in case I someday want to recall them verbatim."''
-->-- '''Gordon Frohman''', ''{{Concerned}}''

A narrative technique in which we're shown events that took place before the episode's main action. Said events may have taken place on-screen earlier, but may also be new scenes depicting things hitherto only referenced.

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Specific types of flashbacks include: ]]


* AnotherMansTerror: A character relives the end of another character's life.
* FlashbackCut: A very brief flashback.
* FlashBackEcho: In which the past events in the flashback parallel what's occurring in the present.
* FlashbackWithinAFlashback: A flashback within a flashback occurs when a character recounts an event in which he/she also flashbacks into ANOTHER event within the first flashback.
* HappyFlashback: A flashback to a happy time, may segue into a TroubledBackstoryFlashback.
* HowWeGotHere: The episode opens InMediasRes, then the events leading up to the episode's beginning are explained via flashback.
* Mid-Battle Flashback: The character is losing in a fight and flashes back to their training to retrieve the knowledge to win.
* PensieveFlashback: The present-day version of the character shows up inside their own memories of the past, in order to provide snarky commentary or to inexplicably interact with the past.
* RashomonStyle: Multiple flashbacks depicting one event from several different perspectives.
* SelfServingMemory: A character flashes back to an event, only for the flashback to be quite different from what actually happened, usually to make that character look better.
* SeparateSceneStorytelling: If the flashback is being recounted.
* TroubledBackstoryFlashback: A character with a DarkAndTroubledPast flashes back to a happy memory that transforms into a bloodbath.
* WholeEpisodeFlashback: A flashback that [[ShapedLikeItself takes up the whole episode]]. (in literary works, this would be an example of a "frame story").

DreamingOfTimesGoneBy and BadDreams are two ways to show them. See also FlashbackEffects for ways of distinguishing a FlashBack from normal action, and ViewersAreGoldfish for flashbacks to events that are still fresh in the audience's mind. It's also a brilliant way to indulge in some ExpositionOfImmortality.

When a ''character'' is having a flashback, it can be because of [[{{Seers}} psychic/magical powers]], Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or simply resurfacing memories. In either case, it's a common justification for a movie to show the audience a Flashback.

If you want the page about the game ''Flashback: Quest for Identity'', [[VideoGame/{{Flashback}} go here]].


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!!'''Examples:'''
[[index]]
* Flashback/AnimeAndManga
* Flashback/{{Film}}
* Flashback/LiveActionTV
[[/index]]

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[[folder: Comics ]]
* Flashbacks were abused in early issues of the Marvel ''[[ComicBook/TheTransformers Transformers Generation 1]]'' comic, with a page or more of some issues used to recreate scenes from previous issues an an apparent [[{{Padding}} attempt to fill space]].
* ''Comics/TheTaleOfOneBadRat'': Flashbacks are used several times in the story, especially the first half, to show significant events in Helen's life before she ran away. One example is how she adopted her pet rat.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* The ''MetalGearSolid3'' FanFic ''FanFic/TheJoyOfBattle'' uses flashbacks in the same way that ''{{Lost}}'' does to tell [[HowWeGotHere how the characters ended up at the point of the story's beginning]] and also to reveal BackStory through characterizing scenes.
* Several in FanFic/TheTaintedGrimoire:
** Vaticus when explaining his {{Backstory}}.
** Sir Loin has flashbacked to his and Adelle's history together, and his history from before that.
** Bowen had a flashback showing his memories of his wife.
* True to the series, the ''FanFic/CalvinAtCamp'' {{LOST}} parody features some... troubling... flashbacks for the kids.
* ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'' uses this to explain Dr. Brainstorm's SiblingRivalry with Thunderstorm.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' story, ''[[Fanfic/LegacyTotalDrama Legacy]]'', chapter 2 and most of chapter 3 cover events from years before the main setting, but are told as if they were set in the same time frame.
* Chapter 18 of ''Super FanFic/PaperMarioX'' starts with [[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog Sonic]], as always, scared of going in the water ([[SuperDrowningSkills since he can't swim and will drown in the water, after all]]). When he is informed that this was not the first time the group had to go through water, Sonic says to "name the times", followed by a flashback to the first Paper Mario X ({{lampshade|Hanging}}d by Mario). When Sonic says there was no way it happened twice, a flashback to Paper Mario X 2 follows.
** Chapter 61 of the original includes a flashback to the moment when Sonic, [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Link]] and {{Kirby}} first met [[{{Metroid}} Samus]]. It also shows the origin of Sonic and Samus's {{Embarrassing Nickname}}s.
* ''WebAnimation/TurnaboutStorm'', true to the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' style it uses, has several of these, [[MonochromePast usually in monochrome]]. For example, both [[SimultaneousArcs Part 3 - Twilight and Part 3 - Phoenix]] include a flashback to a same scene of Part 2 (specifically the point where [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Twilight]] touches [[Franchise/AceAttorney Phoenix]]'s Magatama, [[WrongContextMagic causing it to react weirdly]]), both for different reasons.
* In the {{Naruto}} AU story [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8340339/1/The-Quiet-Fox The Quiet Fox]], virtually every other chapter is a flashback, each one narrated by a different character. The one narrated by Sasuke is quite notable.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* In ''Franchise/TheDarkTower, Book One: Literature/TheGunslinger'', the first quarter of the novel is devoted to flashbacks to events just prior to the beginning of the novel, and flashbacks to Roland's childhood within those. In ''Book Four: Literature/WizardAndGlass'', [[WholeEpisodeFlashback the bulk of the story]] is a flashback to a formative event in Roland's early adulthood.
* Like the index down there says, this is OlderThanFeudalism: Odysseus has a long flashback in ''Literature/TheOdyssey''.
* Literature/HarryPotter has the Pensieve and Tom Riddle's diary, allowing for magical plot important flashbacks.
* K.J Parker's ''Literature/TheScavengerTrilogy''. In places there's more flashback than straight narrative.
* In the final book of the Literature/{{Sten}} series, the Emperor flashes back to his childhood and his steps on his rise to power.
* In MichaelFlynn's ''Literature/SpiralArm'' novel ''On the Razor's Edge'', Donovan has many flashback of recovering memories.
* ''Literature/WarCrimes'' has in-universe flashbacks. For [[BigBad Garrosh Hellscream's]] trial, the court uses the [[TimeTravel Vision of Time]] to view past events, in order to avoid errors in the witness testimony.
* ''Literature/ToughMagic'' has a few flashbacks, most notably two at the very beginning of the second book.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* ''SallyForth:'' In an arc for Feb. 12, 2010, Sally remembered the first time she met her boss, Ralph. She eventually snaps out of it.
-->'''Ted:''' You seemed zoned out for days! I almost called the hospital.
-->'''Sally:''' Don't worry. [[LampshadeHanging No one's ever died from a flashback.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theatre ]]

* The first act of ''Nine'' ends with a series of flashbacks to Guido's youth.
* ''MissSaigon'' goes back to "The Fall of Saigon" midway through the second act
* During the song "Poor Thing" from ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'', the story of Lucy Barker's rape is shown onstage as Mrs. Lovett sings about it.
* The Tom Stoppard play ''Arcadia'' alternates scenes between flashbacks and the modern day.
* In David Auburn's ''Proof'', there are several scenes that flashback to when Robert was alive.
* The original version of ''MerrilyWeRollAlong'' had the story told in flashback, framed by Frank speaking at a graduation ceremony.
* In something not unlike a PensieveFlashback, [[AngelsInAmerica Prior recounts his encounter with The Angel]] to Belize in the middle of a later scene, and both his telling and the encounter are played simultaneously onstage.
* ''ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' is told in one giant flashback, as the show's opening scene is of the aged Raoul attending an auction selling off items from the opera house.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In a game that revolves around memories, ''VideoGame/AnotherCode'' covers a variety of these.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Flashback}} Flashback: The Quest for Identity]]''. In-game flashbacks.
* In Minori's route in ''BrassRestoration'', flashbacks are used much more frequently than needed, often to recap something that happened half a scene ago. Thankfully not as prevalent in other routes.
* In ''ValkyrieProfile'', flashbacks are often used to show the events leading up to the Einherjar's deaths.
* ''[[Halo3ODST Halo 3: ODST]]'' makes extensive use of this, though technically, it's actually Rookie going through camera recordings, not flashbacks ''per se,'' but it still counts.
* All of the interludes in ''VideoGame/TheReconstruction''. Subverted in that all but one of them are flashbacks to [[AndNowForSomeoneCompletelyDifferent the prologue's cast]].
* In [[ModernWarfare Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare]], when Price finds out Zakhaev is behind the game's plot, he decides to roll a flashback to explain the guy's background. Players know this as the "All ghillied up" mission.

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[[folder: Visual Novels ]]

* ''VisualNovel/MajiDeWatashiNiKoiShinasai'' has flashbacks interspersed between routes as necessary; no single path gives a complete background on the family, with each person's pertinent set of flashbacks happening in their own storyline.

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[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* {{Concerned}} has an mini-arc when Frohman flashes back to his days at Black Mesa, providing arguably the best LampshadeHanging of this trope ever as the quote for this page.
* Lampshaded in [[http://the-qlc.com/loserz/go/134 this]] ''Webcomic/{{Loserz}}'' strip.
* [[VanVonHunter Van Von Hunter]] plays with this. [[http://www.vanvonhunter.com/vvh8.html "You have exceeded the maximum number of flashbacks allowed by the courtroom."]]
* Lampshaded with sarcasm in [[http://guildedage.net/webcomic/chapter-1/chapter-1-page-15/ here]] in ''{{Guilded Age}}''.
* Lance complains about having to [[http://www.goldcoincomics.com/?id=9 go through a flashback scene]] in ''WebComic/GoldCoinComics''.
* In ''SlightlyDamned'', when Kieri reads through [[spoiler:Darius']] diary.
* Crop up at random intervals as "Reg's Lost Years" in ''RegularGuy''
* Lampshaded in [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2004-03-05 this]] ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' strip.
* Lampshaded in [[http://booksdontworkhere.thecomicseries.com/comics/69/ this]] ''BooksDontWorkHere'' strip which starts a FlashBack which took place before the Flashback they are already in started.
* Webcomic/EvilDiva The trial sequence was littered with them, such as [[http://www.evildivacomics.com/?p=815 here]].
* {{Strays}} [[http://www.straysonline.com/comic/77.htm One panel Meela-induced flashback]]
* [[http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_KAMics/4768099/ Shows]] [[http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_KAMics/4771235/ up]] [[http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_KAMics/4771236/ occasionally]] [[http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_KAMics/4819814/ in]] ''{{The KAMics}}''
* In ''ImpureBlood'', [[http://www.impurebloodwebcomic.com/Pages/Chapter005/ib026.html Roan's recounting the past of his people has a flashback backdrop, of many scenes from the past.]]
* In ''NipAndTuck'', [[http://www.rhjunior.com/NT/00570.html how Zelda got her job.]]
* In ''{{Endstone}}'' numerous: to when Jon tried to destroy the world, how he and Kyri met, facing down Drakyl -- etc.
* ''Webcomic/{{Shortpacked}}'' had a character trying to stop flashbacks to avoid drama. She interrupted a flashback mid-sequence, but [[http://www.shortpacked.com/2007/comic/book-5/06-flashbacked/mute/another character continued the same flashback]].
* In ''Unforgettable'', the female lead is in the habit of replaying events that she witnessed earlier in the episode, often finding a clue from something she saw that didn't seem important at the time.
* [[http://wapsisquare.com/comic/10232002/ This]] ''WapsiSquare'' strip uses a single panel flashback to show what happened last time Fermented Banana played at a wedding.
* The entire third story arc of ''TheSenkari'' is basically an extended flashback where Natalie learns some of the titular characters history..
* ''Webcomic/SplitScreen'' jumps back and forth between Jan and Jeremy's childhood friendship and their strained relationship as adults.
* ''Webcomic/ErrantStory'' gets a lot of use out of these, with every main character having at least one, and not a single HappyFlashback to show for the whole bunch of them.
** Sarine gets the first one in the story, as she [[http://www.errantstory.com/2003-06-27/114 remembers]] how her husband got killed
** Bani and Meji [[http://www.errantstory.com/2004-07-14/250 meet]] as outsiders at school
** Jon gets [[http://www.errantstory.com/2004-04-09/216 thrown out of the house]] by his mother, as his sister Sara watches
** Sara's not-so-fun introduction to the Ensigerum is the subject of a [[http://www.errantstory.com/2006-08-18/550 series]] of mini-flashbacks
** The BigBad (Ian) gets an entire [[http://www.errantstory.com/2006-01-02/456 chapter]] of them, to explain why he set off on a quest that [[FaceHeelTurn turned him from adoring kid brother to world-shattering menace]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', various characters have flashbacks which often explain their past and their relationship with other characters.
* Unusually for the series, ''{{lonelygirl15}}'' episode "Comfort Food" included flashbacks to Daniel's grandmother's funeral. Flashbacks were again used in the series 3 episode "I Miss Her".
* ''LG15TheResistance'' makes frequent use of these to show Maggie's past.
* Frequently used in ''TheGunganCouncil'' in order to explain why a character has or does something. "It's Not That I Keep Hanging On, I'm Never Letting Go" uses it in spades.
* Parodied in episode X of TransolarGalactica, when Captain Trigger gets a flashback without the series actually cutting to it.
-->'''Reggie''': Oh great, he's having one of his little flashback things.
-->...
-->'''Samson''' (after half a minute of Trigger staring vacantly into space): ... how long does it take?
* ''Literature/FunnyBusiness'' has a flashback right in the middle of the story that manages to double its overall length, and making what would otherwise be an ordinary PlotTwist into a ShockingSwerve.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''InvaderZim'' also lampshades a common problem with this trope: In "The Fry Cook What Came From All That Space", Zim recalls a flashback of being demoted to fry cook under fry lord Sizz-Lorr, and then escaping. After Zim escapes, it shows Sizz-Lorr alone, shouting at the top of his lungs:
-->'''Sizz-Lorr:''' I will find you Zim, so help me, I will search the entire universe, and I! WILL! FIND YOOOOOOOOU!
-->''(Cut back to present time with Zim and Sizz-Lorr)''
-->'''Sizz-Lorr:''' How did you remember what I said if you weren't there?
-->'''Zim:''' * shrugs*
* On ''{{Jimmy Two-Shoes}}'', there have been a few flashbacks about Lucius' life under [[RoyallyScrewedUp his father]], including the one that made him a SelfMadeOrphan.
* Used a lot in ''PhineasAndFerb'' by the character Dr. Doofenshmirtz, since almost all of his inventions have a backstory and he uses flashbacks to let Perry and the audience know the purpose for it. However, there have been some occasions where he'll skip over a flashback since Perry already knows the story, and on one occasion he had a horrible headache and said it hurt too much to do a flashback.
** In "The Belly of the Beast", Perry was going into a flashback of how he escaped, which Doofensmirtz took advantage of by attacking him.
** Parodied in "Doof Dynasty", an {{Elseworlds}} episode set in ancient China, where this discussion occurs about "Master Perry".
-->'''Phineas''': What's he doing?
-->'''Ferb''': [[NoFourthWall That's a ripple dissolve]]. He must be having a flashback.
-->'''Phineas''':...does he know we can't see it? Should we give him some privacy? I don't know the protocol for flash-backs.
* Used frequently in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender,'' usually in the form of someone in the present narrating something that happened in the past (like the flashbacks in "The Storm," "The Avatar and the Firelord," and "The Southern Raiders"). "Zuko Alone" and "Appa's Lost Days" have characters who [[DarkAndTroubledPast don't]] or [[TeamPet can't]] talk about their pasts quietly remembering them in the form of flashbacks.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheCareBearsMovie'' is told as this.
* ''WesternAnimation/DangerMouse'': "The Return Of Count Duckula" uses footage of DM's first encounter with Duckula from "The Four Tasks Of Danger Mouse" as a flashback as he recounts the meeting to Colonel K.
[[/folder]]
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