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->''"A suicide mission? Hm. Yes, a suicide mission will do nicely."''
-->-- '''[[HitmanWithAHeart Thane]] [[TheAtoner Krios]]''', ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''

[[YourDaysAreNumbered Facing death]] [[DeathIsDramatic is a big,]] ''[[DeathIsDramatic big]]'' [[RuleOfThree moment.]] As Rimmer in ''Series/RedDwarf'' once stated, "All most of us get is 'Mind that bus, what bus, [[LookBothWays splat]]!'" This trope describes those who have some lead time, have some time to tidy our affairs, get our house in order, say our final goodbyes.

If you've led an exceptionally adventurous or questionable life, it may be time to throw out all the rules and go on that last run, complete that final mission, settle that one score. When you have nothing at all left to lose, that's when you can truly give everything you've got.

This trope gives a writer a lot of flexibility in writing for a character. Heroes can become villains, villains can try for redemption, utterly minor characters can [[ADeathInTheLimelight step into the spotlight]], sane characters can go AxCrazy or turn into TheUnfettered, {{Power Limiter}}s are removed, {{Thanatos Gambit}}s are prepared, characters are [[IAmNotLeftHanded suddenly not left handed]], and no one is HoldingBackThePhlebotinum. Dancing the Last Dance can have lasting repercussions for a show, changing the dynamic.

For the dying character, The Last Dance can blend with DoNotGoGentle or the BolivianArmyEnding, but it is more personal; the rest of the world goes on. A common twist is for the character in question to find out that [[MistakenForDying they're going to live]], and have to deal with the consequences of their actions after all.

Frequently overlaps with LivingOnBorrowedTime, if the character manages to lengthen their life beyond the expected span. TimeDelayedDeath is a related trope for characters who do not realize that they are doomed.

Compare RasputinianDeath, ConvenientTerminalIllness. Compare also with LikeYouWereDying for a last dance of joy. Contrast TheDyingWalk, which is about a dying character walking away from whatever they were doing or wherever they were just before death, often in search of a peaceful place to die. Not to be confused with HeroicSacrifice, where the last act is the ''cause'' of death, or SelfSacrificeScheme, where the ''entire act of his life'' is the cause of death. Of course, a dying character is more likely than otherwise to make a HeroicSacrifice or to employ TakingYouWithMe tactics; after all, they aren't giving up all that much extra time. If they extend The Last Dance to last for way, ''way'' longer than the song's supposed to go, then they're LivingOnBorrowedTime. One should be careful when invoking this trope around creatures of vast magical power - you can still get a FateWorseThanDeath...

Often used to make a LastStand.

An '''Ending Trope''', so unhidden '''''spoilers''''' abound.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* At the end of the ''Manga/ElfenLied'' manga [[spoiler: Lucy/Nyu]]'s body begins to melt from [[SuperPowerMeltDown overuse of their powers]] and reviving [[spoiler:Kouta]]. The third personality takes control here to try and bring down as much of humanity with her as she can, all the while murmuring "Painful."
* ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' Looooves this trope. In the first arc, [[spoiler: Kamina]] pulls off the first Giga Drill Breaker after being clinically killed by Thymilph, then we have [[spoiler: Kittan]] doing ''his'' first Giga Drill Breaker after entering the absolute killzone of the Spiral-Energy Absorption machine, and last of all with [[spoiler: Nia]] of all people who teams up with the rest of the gang to take out the Anti-Spirals and makes it through sheer HeroicWillpower to finally [[spoiler: marrying]] Simon before fading into non-existence, having known and accepted that that would happen all along..
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'': After losing everything (his friends, his allies, his [[TheConfidant confidant]], both his family, and as a result, [[DespairEventHorizon his hope]], [[spoiler:Lelouch]] decides to pull out all the stops in order to defeat his enemy. This includes violating his own code of ethics and [[spoiler:using his hypnotic ability to make people his slaves, then marching into the mystical realm where his father is preparing to enact his plans ''and destroying the only exit''.]]
** But what happens next is even worse. [[spoiler:His mom whose death he wanted to take revenge on the Emperor for turns out to be alive and well and [[LadyMacbeth a co-conspirator of the Emperor]]. So he has to kill them both. Now, with the last of his primary motivators gone (avenging Marianne), but certainly no more optimistic from the experience, he refocuses on making a better world for everyone, involving taking over the freaking planet and being ''so'' much of a tyrant that [[ZeroApprovalGambit everyone's anger gets focused on him]], and [[ThanatosGambit then dying]].]]
* ''Manga/DeathNote'' this trope is the reason why Death Note users with [[DeadlyUpgrade shinigami eyes]] cannot see their own lifespan.
* ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic'': [[spoiler:Gauron]]'s original mission [[spoiler:in infiltrating the Tuatha de Danaan was to deliver the submarine and the Whispereds on board to Leonard of Amalgam. He chose such a risky method and didn't seem to particularly care if the de Danaan and all its passengers were destroyed because he had pancreatic cancer and would soon die anyway.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' there's Kimimaro, the most loyal of Orochimaru's servants, who admires Orochimaru so much that he is willing to be his next [[GrandTheftMe vessel]]. However, due to his [[BloodFromTheMouth disease]], he can't, and so decides to help bring the only other worthy vessel to Orochimaru in his ''literal'' final ''hours''.[[spoiler: To do so he just had to defeat two of the main characters including ''the'' main character without breaking a sweat while enduring incredible pain, and then almost defeat Gaara, twice surviving an attack that uses sand to completely crush someone and make a RainOfBlood out of it/them (that never before failed) and being ''buried'' only to be stopped by is own disease killing him. Made all the more tragic by his last words in which he declares that [[TearJerker only Orochimaru ever understood him]]....and cut to Orochimaru saying that Kimmimaro doesn't matter. Bonus points in the fact that he actually calls his attacks "dances", so it makes this trope a little more accurate in that part.]]
** Zabuza gets this too. Following the death of his MoralityPet Haku, utter defeat at the hands of Kakashi, the smashing of his dream to eventually become Mizukage and betrayal by his employer Gatou, he is given a lecture by Naruto on the PowerOfFriendship that forces him to admit that yes, he did care for Haku, despite acting like he didn't give a damn, and takes off his mask, {{lampshad|eHanging}}ing that he is human after all. He proceeds to mow through Gatou's thugs and kill Gatou with a kunai ''in his mouth'', suffering numerous fatal wounds in the process, but lives long enough to ask Kakashi to place him next to Haku.
*** And just to be completely clear, he lost use of his arms BEFORE taking on 20-ish hired thugs to get to Gatou to kill him. That kunai in his mouth? That's his only weapon. Granted, the thugs were pretty puny and if he'd still had his arms he probably could've killed all of them and Gatou without hardly interrupting his fight with Kakashi.
** Itachi's life can be interpreted as an epic, 7 year long Last Dance, waiting for the day that Sasuke will kill him.
* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'': Spike's final assault on the Red Dragon at the end is a definite example of this trope.
--> "[[FamousLastWords Bang]]."
** [[WordOfGod He was]] [[HesJustHiding just tired]]. [[ShrugOfGod Maybe.]]
* ''Anime/ShadowSkill'': After [[IncurableCoughOfDeath years of sickness]] from fighting in [[ForbiddenZone places where even Sevalles fear to wage war]], [[AlmightyJanitor Diaz Ragu]] [[spoiler:faces off against [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Darkness]] to save Gau from being [[CurbStompBattle slaughtered]] by [[BadassLongcoat him]]. Despite his [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique legs being crushed]] and [[BlindWithoutEm vision nearly gone]], he manages to hold his own and [[DynamicEntry deliver a decisive blow]] ''with a freaking boomerang stuck through his leg'' before [[LastStand sacrificing himself]] to [[HeroicSacrifice save his little brother]]. Too bad Darkness has CompleteImmortality]]. He gives him the win and leaves, though.
* ''Anime/BurstAngel'', Jo goes even more [[TheUnfettered unfettered]] than usual, having no regard for equipment or ammo in her assault on [=RAPT HQ=]. The extent of her farewell to Meg is leaving her jacket behind (after punching Meg out to make sure she wouldn't follow).
* Nearly all of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED'' is eventually revealed to be winding down to the BigBad's Last Dance; aware that he is soon going to die from [[spoiler:complications of the imperfect cloning process that created him]], he's resentful and despairing enough to [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds try to take all of humanity with him]]. [[spoiler:Being a MagnificentBastard, the plan almost works, too.]]
** In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'' we meet his another clone of the same line, [[spoiler:Rey Za Burrel]]. Aware that he will be dead before the year is out, [[spoiler:Rey]] decides he needs to leave a positive legacy behind and serves as TheDragon to the series BigBad who's out to [[WellIntentionedExtremist save the world]] by imposing a [[SocialDarwinist genetic determinist]] {{utopia|JustifiesTheMeans}}.
* ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'': In season 1 the BigBad Precia Testarossa is desperate for the Jewel Seeds because she's dying and she doesn't have long before she has to complete her EvilPlan.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'': [[spoiler:Whitebeard]] basically taking on all the admirals at once? After getting stabbed straight through the chest? And then crushing Marineford singlehanded? And ''then'' sneering at the guy most likely to be the series BigBad and utterly curbstomping him without using any devil fruit abilities? Good. Game. Even in {{d|iedStandingUp}}eath he is badass. [[spoiler:Keep in mind we're talking about an old man who needed to be hooked up to life support and regularly monitored by nurses.]]
** Also Dr. Hiriluk. First, he had the IncurableCoughOfDeath. Then, after misinterpreting a medical text, Chopper went on a dangerous quest to retrieve a mushroom that happened to be poison. Instead of telling Chopper all the work he went through was for nothing, he drank it anyway, knowing he would die soon even without the poison. Then, hearing that the kingdom's doctors were sick, he walked into an obvious trap at the castle, knowing that if the disease or poison didn't get him, the trap would. And finally, instead of letting them shoot him, he gave a last toast to his friend Chopper, and drank ''nitroglycerin'', exploding violently after proclaiming he's led a good life, with no regrets.
** The most literal example would be the Rumbar pirates. After a lost battle, they realize they have all been wounded with poisoned weapons and none of them is going to survive the night. So they use the last of their strength to do a musical number.
*** Just a bit {{subverted|Trope}}, the last remaining members knew that Brook's Devil Fruit should allow him to come back for another round with life, so they played the last song as their final legacy to be carried on by him. They weren't 100% sure how or if it would work though, and had no idea he would come back as a skeleton. Still very much a TearJerker.
** Pirate King Roger. [[spoiler:He was terminally ill before he even ''started'' his voyage through the Grand Line. He ''turned himself in'' knowing his time was near anyway, just so he can go out with a bang instead of a whimper. [[BatmanGambit Knowing that the World Government would insist on a public execution]], [[ThanatosGambit Roger took advantage of the worldwide broadcast of his death]] [[FamousLastWords to use his last words to inspire the next generation of pirates]].]]
** At the end of ''Anime/OnePieceFilmZ'', [[spoiler:the titular character]] decides to go out swinging. Some of the Marines there, ones that [[spoiler:he trained]], start ''crying'' as they have to put him down. At his grave, Aokiji yells at the others not to cry since [[spoiler:Zephyr]] died the way he wanted, and that doing so made him an amazing man.
* ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'': The LeitMotif of the Juppon Gatana StoryArc is ''Wars of the Last Wolves''.
* ''LightNovel/TheFamiliarOfZero'': Saito decides to be the rear guard when [[spoiler:during the Tristian retreat one of the Queen's advisors asks Louise to do it. Saito uses a sleeping potion on Louise and goes himself]] Delflinger even says "All men have to die sometime, might as well go in style"
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', knowing full and well that he was on his final leg, Wrath, aka [[spoiler:Fuhrer King Bradley]], still charges into battle with Scar. Despite being on death's door, Wrath was still on the verge of actually winning the fight, and only lost due to being momentarily blinded by the sun as the eclipse ended ([[DramaticIrony right after saying that Scar truthfully believed there was no God at all]]). Perhaps most telling about the character was his simple comment that he had never felt as alive as he did in that battle.
* ''[[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion The End of Evangelion]]'', with the song "Komm, Susser Tod": "So with sadness in my heart, I feel the best thing I could do, is end it all and leave forever..."
* In the [[TheAnimeOfTheGame anime adaptation]] of ''VideoGame/{{Hakuouki}}'', Okita finds himself with the double whammy of his incurable tuberculosis and the fact that [[spoiler:his fury powers are CastFromLifespan and will eventually burn out]]. When he overhears a number of Imperial loyalists planning to ambush and murder Hijikata in the small town where the latter is recovering from his injuries, Okita makes the decision to pull a YouShallNotPass and burns himself out fighting off the entire mob. [[spoiler:Although the moment of his death isn't shown, it's heavily implied that he used up the remainder of his lifespan and crumbled to ash, leaving behind only his sword and a lot of dead bodies.]]
* In ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', the gunmen Van Zant and Smitty decide to go on a killing spree because they believe that Majin Buu is going to kill everyone on Earth anyway. To make matters worse, [[HeelFaceDoorSlam he wasn't]], ''until'' they almost killed [[BerserkButton his puppy and his friend]]. [[KillEmAll The Earth's population didn't even last a day after that.]]
** If ''Dragon Ball Online'' counts, Goku, sensing his end is coming, offers to settle his rivalry with Vegeta once and for all. The two of them fly off to fight in deep space, never to be heard from again. [[spoiler: Years later, a new supernova is detected.]]
* ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'': When Reinhard von Lohengramm declared war on the Alliance again in episode 67, [[spoiler: Alexandre Bewcock comes out of retirement]] and decides to perform his final duty for the nation he had served for over five decades by leading the [[LastStand Alliance defence against the expected Imperial invasion]].
* Although they're facing graduation rather than their deaths, many of the third-year mahjong players in ''Manga/{{Saki}}'' who haven't had much luck in the tournaments have a similar mindset, particularly Hisa, who was the sole real member of the mahjong club in her first year, only had Mako with her in her second, and did not enter any individual tournaments due to wanting to go to the tournament with her friends.
* ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'' has [[TragicMonster Cassandra]]. After the TraumaCongaLine [[TheDreaded of]] [[LonelyAtTheTop her]] [[AllOfTheOtherReindeer life]], her failed RoaringRampageOfRevenge in response to the brutal murder of her only friend that ended with her RasputinianDeath, and then being brought BackFromTheDead by a MadScientist who ''knew'' that she would [[CameBackWrong Come Back Wrong]] and almost immediately transform into an [[OneWingedAngel Awakened]] [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Being]], and then being [[YouWillBeAssimilated assimilated]] by the BigBad, Cassandra is ''finally'' [[ThrowTheDogABone thrown a bone]] when Teresa -- the [[WorldsBestWarrior most powerful Number One warrior of any generation]] -- is also brought back from the dead. When Teresa [[RousingSpeech calls out to Cassandra's pride]] as a former Number One, Cassandra [[HeroicWillpower finds the strength]] to tear away from the BigBad for one last battle, Number One to Number One. When Teresa proves unquestionably superior, Cassandra states that she had fun being finally able to go all-out against an opponent, and requests a MercyKill so that she can [[DyingAsYourself die as herself]]. Teresa [[ItHasBeenAnHonor obliges]].
* The final arc of ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'' serves as one for [[BigGood Yoshimura]] and his loyal subordinates, [[BewareTheSillyOnes Enji Koma]] and [[TheQuietOne Kaya Irimi]]. After spending a decade in [[RetiredBadass retirement]] quietly managing the affairs of the 20th Ward and living relatively peaceful lives, it all comes crashing down when CCG learns ''Anteiku'' is more than a mere cafe. All three resolve to make their final stand so that others can escape the Ward, destroying all evidence inside the shop and calling up their old [[FacelessGoons gangs]] for one final battle. It quickly becomes clear none of them intend to survive the battle, showing no mercy to the humans in their path and intent on dying as penance for their blood-stained pasts. In the end, [[spoiler: Yoshimura is captured by Aogiri while Koma and Irimi are [[NeverFoundTheBody implied]] to have been among [[TheDreaded Arima]]'s ''[[HeroKiller many]]'' victims]].
* In ''Manga/AshitaNoJoe'' this is why Joe fights his last fight: he knows he's going to have to retire soon due to advanced punch-drunkenness and [[spoiler:having gone blind in one eye]], so he may well have that title shot against an invincible boxer and fight him so hard that [[LockedIntoStrangeness the champ's hair turns white from the battle]] and [[spoiler:[[HeroicRROD kill himself through sheer exhaustion]]]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The central theme of ''ComicBook/AllStarSuperman''. Superman is dying from an overdose of solar radiation, but he has enough time left to do some important, amazing things.
* In the Creator/AlanMoore Superman story ''ComicBook/WhateverHappenedToTheManOfTomorrow'', a lot of villains from Superman's past are all showing up in rapid succession. Superman eventually figures out they're going to actually manage to kill him this time when some of his old buddies from the Legion of Super-heroes (who, being from the 30th century, know ''exactly'' when Superman died) show up "just to say hi" and give him a little statue.
** In a twist, Supergirl happened to be visiting the 30th century at the time the Legionnaires decided to come pay their last respects, and she comes back with them to what is (for her) the future (confused yet?). She accepts the reason for the trip at face value, and is mildly curious what she herself grew up to be like. This puts Superman in a difficult spot, since by that point in the then-current DC continuity, she had been killed in the battle against the Anti-Monitor. Superman therefore has to avoid letting her find out that not only is ''he'' about to die, but ''she's'' already dead. The fact that the Legion's time bubble popped in right around the corner from a memorial statue to Supergirl doesn't help.
* This is the premise of Marvel MAX's ''Destroyer'': after discovering that his heart will give out soon, the titular elderly superhero sets out to kill as many villains as he can.
* ''ComicBook/SpiderMan'':
** The Vulture stops holding back when he finds out he has cancer.
** The plot of the storyline "ComicBook/EndsOfTheEarth" is one for [[spoiler:Dr. Octopus]].
* A Senate Guard in ''Franchise/StarWars'' named Venco Autem was fired for blatant corruption. After years of wandering the galaxy, immersed in shady dealings, he learned that he had a terminal illness. Autem undergoes a change of heart and wants to die having done some good in his life. He believes that, as the Galactic Republic is hopelessly corrupt and evil, [[WellIntentionedExtremist that the best he could do is help bring it down]].
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'':
** ComicBook/TheJoker is told he has cancer. Granted, the doctor was lying but what does he do? Start a CrisisCrossover fittingly called ''[[ComicBook/JokersLastLaugh The Last Laugh]]''. Batman has even said Joker is much more dangerous when backed into a corner.
** Then there's ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'', [[spoiler:whose prequel comic indicates that the Joker is diagnosed with the Titan disease [[VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity that he had inflicted upon himself six months ago]] and is told that he has an estimated six months to live. He and Harley Quinn go on a rampage by trying to keep his illness a secret, even setting up Clayface as his healthy BodyDouble to [[DoingItForTheArt do this for the art]] and Dr. Hugo Strange to complete a project called "Protocol 10" that can lead to the slaughter of more innocents and make the Joker's last moments more comfortable. The Clown Prince of Crime even ambushes Batman and transfers his infected blood to him and other innocents at Gotham City so that the Dark Knight can find a cure for them all in a PoisonAndCureGambit. By the end of the game, Batman saves the day, finds the cure, and survives; but the Joker does not thanks to his IdiotBall and impatience for the cure by stabbing the Dark Knight in the arm and forcing him to drop it, resulting in the Clown Prince of Crime [[GoOutWithASmile dying with a smile on his face]].]]
* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'': When a Judge's career is coming to an end, he or she can invoke the trope by taking "The Long Walk": heading out into the [[DeathWorld Cursed Earth]] to bring law and order to the wastelands.
* In Walt Simonson's run on ''ComicBook/TheMightyThor'', Skurge the Executioner does this, [[YouShallNotPass defending the bridge at Gjallerbru]] so Thor, Balder and their allies can make their escape.
-->"And when a new arrival asks about the one to whom even Hela bows her head, the answer is always the same. [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome He stood alone at Gjallerbru.]] And that answer is enough."
* Mr. Hyde in the end of ''Comicbook/LeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'' vol. 2. He dies attacking the Martian invasion force while singing, "You Should See Me Dance the Polka".
* The plot of Creator/KevinSmith’s ''ComicBook/{{Daredevil}}'' story "Guardian Devil" turns out to be the work of [[spoiler:a terminally ill Mysterio]].
* ComicBook/DoctorStrange's old foe, [[EvilSorcerer Baron Mordo]], was the center of a desperately sad arc when he contracted terminal cancer and began a period of confession and meditation to atone for his evil life. His [[DaddysLittleVillain daughter Astrid]] transferred all the cancer to Strange instead, forcing Mordo to take it all back and deal with Astrid. Then, as he lay dying, he wondered if it had been ''enough''...
* This trope was used to retcon Professor X's very first death in ''ComicBook/XMen''. A former villain known as the Changeling who could shapeshift discovered he was terminally ill and sought to make amends in what little time he had left. Discovering that an alien invasion was being planned, Xavier had Changeling switches places with him so he could prepare for it while the Changeling led the X-Men in his stead. He eventually died still in the guise of Xavier by sacrificing his life to save the world from a creature called Grotesk.
* In the New 52's ''ComicBook/Earth2'' comic, the first issue details the end of the Apokolips war. Many superheros and gods are dead, but Batman has a plan to upload a virus that will kill all of the parademons that have already destroyed or enslaved most of the world. It's DC's Holy Trinity having a no holds barred battle to kill as many of the invaders as possible until Batman can upload the virus. Wonder Woman and Superman both die holding off hordes of parademons, and Batman uploads the virus, fully knowing that the control tower would self-destruct once he did...and he didn't mention it to his closest friends, or his daughter, until the bitter end. Notable in that all three of them knew they were probably going to die, and that the city they were fighting in (Metropolis) was already dead, along with most of their friends and family. This wasn't just a "save the world" mission, it was them taking out their rage on the invaders.
* After a disastrous chain of events winds up fracturing the ComicBook/SuicideSquad, resident chessmistress Amanda Waller is informed, early one night, her status and privileges for supervillain custody will end come morning, with a large drug cartel getting virtual free rein and poised to flood the streets with a highly addictive and dangerous stimulant to take advantage of the power vacuum. Amanda refuses to give up, opens up the cells of Ravan, Deadshot and Poison Ivy, and marches off with them to systematically cripple as much of the cartel as they can before morning. They succeed in killing the entire cartel leadership. Amanda releases the three supervillains and calmly waits for the police to arrive.
* The tagline to Creator/FrankMiller's classic mini-series ''ComicBook/{{Ronin}}'' was "If you intend to die, you can do anything!" The hero of the story lives up to the promise.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In the [[BadFuture Dark World]] timeline of the ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'', [[spoiler: Pinkie Pie]] realizes that her Element of Chaos was damaged in the process of [[HeelFaceTurn redeeming]] her, and that she'll soon [[RapidAging age to death]]. However, she chooses to spend what little time she has left patching things up with the others and helping them save the world for as long as she can.
* In ''[[FanFic/TheDarknessSeries Harry Potter and the Descent into Darkness]]'' after Harry has been forsaken by everyone and he's ''sure'' that the Tri-Wizard Tournament is going to kill him he [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope slowly allows himself to be corrupted]] by the DarkSide.
* In ''Fanfic/{{Gensokyo 20XX}}V'', chapter 101, Reimu seems to have this mentality, despite not being terminally ill or anything of the sort (although she is mentally and frequently ill), which seems to explain her behavior, especially when she challenged someone to kill her, stating that she "is a little girl with nothing left to lose".
* From ''Fanfic/KillLaKillAU'', a frequently ill Ryuuko has his mentality and she counts how much time she might have left or the fact that she seems be so broken by being an IllGirl, that she does consider death to be a release. She's nine by the way.
-->'''Ryuuko:''' [...] like living attached to an hourglass, where the sand runs out, and you can't do jackshit about it.
** Discussed in Satsuki's narration of ''Snowflakes'', when a sick Ryuuko escapes the hospital because she wanted to play in the snow, even if the cold could complicate her illness or kill her.
-->'''Satsuki''' (narrating): She had risked death from illness and cold to do something she loved. In a way, thinking back on that night, she wanted to make what could've been her last moments happy and was even happier that someone shared that happiness with her.
* The main plot of ''Fanfic/RequiemForALoud'' resolves around Lincoln, who has been diagnosed with brain tumors and will die an about 2 weeks, try to make the most of the time he has left. Not for himself, but for his sisters, since they are the ones who have to live with his passing, so hhe wants to give them some lasting, fond memories of him.
* The Tydal vs. Tirek arc in ''Fanfic/TheGodSquad''. Tydal knew the moment Discord sent the mystical call for help that he was going to die. He spends his last few hours ensuring his kingdom and subjects are safe, finding Shining Armor, and then setting Chrysalis up to protect Sunset Shimmer. He then marches to his death knowing that he must hold the line for Twilight and her friends.
-->"When you are an old mare, with grandfoals of your own, and they ask you who taught you your spells… tell them ‘he who held the line’. And… let that be enough. ''(pause)'' Let this be enough.”
* As we find out ''Paper Cranes'', Satsuki's reasons for doing many of things documented (i.e going on trips, folding the titular paper cranes, taking photos, etc) was because she was dying of [[spoiler: heart failure]] and she wanted to have fun with (and [[SecretlyDying distract]]) Ryuuko one last time. This is more obvious in chapter 9 when she asks Ryuuko to take her outside to look at the cherry blossoms, which the latter does, and the excitement at seeing then lands her in the hospital, which she didn't mind, as she's dying anyway.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheLastSamurai'' depicts the last [[CherryBlossoms flowering]] of the Samurai. The last of their kind, choose to die the way they lived: as warriors.
* ''Film/{{Excalibur}}''. "Come, Father. Let us ''[[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice embrace]]'' at last."
* ''Film/StarTrekNemesis'' directly references the above scene.
-->'''Shinzon:''' I'm glad we're together now -- our destiny is complete.
* Roy, the replicant from ''Film/BladeRunner'', engages in a final, bleak hunt of Deckard through an old abandoned building. Ultimately, he chooses to save Deckard, uttering some of the most poignant last words in recent film history:
-->'''Roy:''' I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the TannhauserGate. All those ... ''moments'' will be lost in time, like tears... in rain.\\
Time to die.
** Doubles as a CrowningMomentOfAwesome for Creator/RutgerHauer, who ad-libbed the "like tears in the rain" part of the line. Though that speech isn't indicative of The Last Dance for Roy -- it's the cat and mouse game ''preceding'' his death.
-->'''Roy:''' You better get it up, or I'm gonna have to kill ya. Unless you're alive, you can't play, and if you don't play...\\
'''Roy:''' ''[after Deckard clubs him with a spiked board]'' '''''That's the spirit!'''''
* ''Film/Alien3''
** Ripley. "You've been in my life so long, I can't remember anything else."
** The convicts qualify as well, as profoundly stated by Dillon.
--->'''Dillon:''' You're all gonna die. The only question is how you check out. Do you want it on your feet? Or on your fuckin' knees... begging? I ain't much for begging! Nobody ever gave me nothing! So I say [[PrecisionFStrike fuck]] that thing! Let's fight it!
* ''Film/JoeVersusTheVolcano''. The reason Joe agrees to jump into a live volcano -- he'll die as a man rather than from dying from a brain disease.
* Inspector Chan (played by Simon Yam) of the Hong Kong action movie ''Film/ShaPoLang'' (known in the US as "Killzone") has an inoperable brain tumor that could kill him "at any time." Chan, with his time running out, decides to use the remainder of his life to bring down Triad crimelord Wong Po and take care of the little girl that Wong orphaned.
* ''Film/{{Crank}}'' combines this with a gimmick that if his adrenaline ever goes below a certain level he'll die, so to prolong the inevitable while searching for the people who did this he: picks a fight with an entire bar for no reason; screws his girlfriend in public and later gets oral sex from her during a car chase; and shocks himself with a defibrillator, amongst other things.
* ''Film/SeekingAFriendForTheEndOfTheWorld'' is a black comedy which takes place in the last weeks before Earth gets hit with a life-destroying asteroid, so pretty much everyone is doing a Last Dance of their own devising. ApocalypseAnarchy? Oh, you bet.
* Near the end of ''Film/VForVendetta'', with the titular character's final showdown with Norsefire right around the corner, he is pretty much resigned to the fact that he will probably die and takes the opportunity to rather literally invoke this trope, with V echoing a quote by the anarchist Emma Goldman (when admonished that it was unbecoming for her to dance):
--> '''V:''' Would you dance with me?
--> '''Evey:''' Now? On the eve of your revolution?
--> '''V:''' A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having.
--> (They dance.)
** Almost certainly intentionally, given that - at least in the comic, where the line also occurs - V is quite clearly an anarchist and it could well be argued that at least part of his campaign is "propaganda of the deed" of the kind Goldman briefly espoused.
* ''Film/CatchThatKid'', where the sick party is the main character's father, using the illness to justify breaking into a bank.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Saw}}'' franchise, [[spoiler:Jigsaw was dying of a brain tumor and, after failing an attempt at suicide, begins his "games", testing people to see the limits of their desire to live.]] Whether or not he considers his dying state a justification or not is up in the air, but in the [[Film/SawII second movie]], people decide to [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope jump off the slippery slope]] due to the whole nerve gas problem.
* In ''Film/LittleMissSunshine'', the grandfather is very old and is probably dying anyways. Wanting to have some fun before his time, he snorts heroin. [[spoiler:That ends up being what kills him.]]
* Rufus Shinra in ''Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren'' is dying of geostigma. [[spoiler: He's hidden Jenova's head in a box which he has with him the entire time he's being questioned by the BigBad and then proceeds to taunt him and throw it (and himself) off the side of the building they're on. The Turks catch him, however.]]
* The German road movie/tragicomedy ''Film/KnockinOnHeavensDoor'' uses this as its premise. The two protagonists are fatally ill (bone cancer and a brain tumor, respectively), and decide to take a trip to see the ocean, starting with stealing a car, which belonged to a crime boss and contained a gun and a lot of money. Complications ensue.
* Same with the Japanese film ''Film/HanaBi''. Creator/TakeshiKitano plays (quite against type) an ordinary, by-the-book career policeman... who snaps after his partner and best friend are killed and crippled, respectively, right in front of him by a panicky thief. He spends the rest of the movie stone-facedly mowing through Yakuza (ahh, ''that's'' more like it), crushing their operations and robbing them blind, splitting the money between his now retired friend, his partner's widow, and making his terminally ill wife as comfortable as possible. [[spoiler:When the police finally come to arrest him, he asks for and receives a few minutes to say goodbye to his wife. Two shots are heard.]] Roll credits.
* The whole point of the movie ''Film/{{DOA}}'', both the (good) original and the (weak) remake. The hero finds he's dying form an incurable poison and spends his last hours tracking down the culprit.
* The main characters in ''Film/TheWildBunch'' are facing the end of their lifestyle. The old WildWest is ending and most of their gang were killed at the beginning of the movie. They are reduced to doing mercenary work for a corrupt and decadent Mexican general and a group of vicious bounty hunters is after them. Instead of running and hiding they decide to go back and rescue their friend who the general is about to execute for arming the local peasant. They know that by doing that, they will be facing the entire Mexican garrison and as such decide to [[LastStand go out fighting...]]
* The Bear Jew and Omar in ''Film/InglouriousBasterds'': [[spoiler:If they're going to blow up killing Hitler, then they're going to [[MoreDakka blast the living hell]] out of that son of bitch's body]].
* In ''Film/{{Fanboys}}'', Linus is convinced by his friends to go on a road trip to the Skywalker Ranch and steal Episode One before he dies of cancer. [[spoiler:They get caught during the heist, but George Lucas relents and allows Linus to watch the film alone. Their mission accomplished, Linus is at peace, quietly declaring that he's "good right here."]]
* ''Film/TheGrey'' begins with Creator/LiamNeeson's character reciting a short poem about this trope. Bookended when he [[spoiler:stumbles into the wolf's den at the end and faces the alpha wolf [[DuelToTheDeath one-on-one.]] ]]
* This is essentially the plot of ''Angel's Dance'', such that it's actually part of the name. A timid-but-independent woman named [[MeaningfulName Angelica Chaste]] is randomly attacked as a training exercise by an assassin. She hides for a while, but then decides to buy a convertible, eat rare steak, [[FemmeFatale start dressing sexily, wear a blond wig]], and then [[TookALevelInBadass buys bullet-proof armor, take up knife-fighting, and trains to use guns]]. Lampshaded in dialog:
--> '''Rosalini:''' She's beginning her Death Dance... Well, many Native American tribes, before a big battle, would perform a ritual. They'd paint their faces, put on ceremonial robes, and dance all night. Sometimes till dawn. That one night, they would live life to the fullest.\\
'''Tony:''' Maybe they figured their last night on Earth ought to be their best.\\
'''Rosalini:''' If it's their last night.
* ''Film/PacificRim'':
** The Jaeger program has been officially scrapped by all the world's leaders (morons), anyone still in the program is there for only as long as the funding lasts -- eight months -- and willing to fight till the last Jaeger stops functioning.
** [[spoiler:Pentecost is dying of radiation-induced cancer, so him piloting Striker Eureka is his last hurrah. Also because if he's exposed to more radiation, he ''will'' die.]]
* ''Film/TheNeverEndingStory'': Gmork gives an accidental ReasonYouSuckSpeech talking about how the chosen hero Atreyu was doomed to fail to save Fantasia, and now all they can do is wait for the Nothing to come and claim them. He didn't know just to whom who he was talking until...
-->'''Atreyu:''' If we're about to die anyway, I'd rather die ''fighting!'' [[ThrowingDownTheGauntlet Come for me, Gmork!]] '''''I am Atreyu!'''''"
* ''Film/{{Elysium}}'': With only a few days left to live, Max isn't going down without a fight to get his way to Elysium, after being stricken with severe radiation poisoning.
* ''Film/TheReplacements2000'': Expertly invoked and exploited in a RousingSpeech by Coach [=McGinty=] in the last game the Washington replacement roster of has-beens and could-of-beens play before the players' strike ends - the opposing Dallas team is made up of regular pros who had crossed the picket line early.
-->'''[=McGinty=]:''' Listen up! This time tomorrow, the strike will be officially over. Now Dallas has made a big mistake out there tonight - they haven't been afraid of you. And they should be, because you have a powerful weapon working for you: there ''is'' no tomorrow for you. And that makes you all '''very'''. '''Dangerous'''. '''People'''!
* In ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', Rocket Raccoon grudgingly agrees to help fight Ronan the Accuser, an enormously powerful villain [[spoiler: who has just gotten his hands on an Infinity stone]] bent on going on a genocidal crusade:
-->'''Rocket''': Oh, what the hell, I don't got that long of a lifespan anyway.
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRingsTheTwoTowers'': When marching against Isengard, Treebeard calls the attack "the last march of the ents", believing he and his brothers are going pull a TakingYouWithMe against a 10,000 strong army of orc {{Super Soldier}}s. He wasn't aware that the army had already departed for Helm's Deep and only a tiny force of ordinary orcs remained to defend the place. If you're familiar with the story, you already know [[GaiasVengeance the real result of this]] [[CurbStompBattle "battle".]]

* A woman learns she has a terrible illness, and breaks the news to her friends over lunch, with her daughter at her side. She emotionally tells them how she is dying from AIDS. On the way home, her daughter says "Mom, it's your show -- but you have incurable ''cancer''. Why did you say AIDS?" The mother replied "I don't want any of those bitches thinking they have a shot at your Dad."

* [[spoiler: The Contessa]] of the ''Literature/HIVESeries''.
* In Creator/DavidGemmell's Legend, one of the characters, Druss is wounded with a poisoned blade. However when the gate is breached he climbs from his sickbed, takes his axe and charges into the enemy, taking over twenty with him before he finally falls.
* Creator/AgathaChristie:
** An early example of this was in the novel ''[[Literature/{{Curtain}} Curtain: Poirot's Last Case]]'', which was released in 1975 but written around the 1940s. In it, Literature/HerculePoirot, [[spoiler:dying of natural causes and dealing with a murderer he could not bring to justice through proof, kills the man himself and then accelerates his own death by withholding his heart medication]].
** Also the reason behind ''Literature/AndThenThereWereNone''. [[spoiler:A terminally ill HangingJudge decides to have a go at a number of murderers who had avoided justice. ]]
** In an early story, "Wasp's Nest", [[spoiler: John Harrison, a friend of Poirot's, discovered that, due to a terminal disease, he only had a few weeks to live. When he also learned this his fiance Molly was having an affair with Claude Langdon. Harrison decided to commit suicide by drinking tea laced with cyanide, framing Claude for his murder in the process. Poirot was able to replace the cyanide with washing soda and convince Harrison not to go through with it.]]
* ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'':
-->''Under the spreading chestnut tree\\
I sold you and you sold me''
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'', this quote:
-->''It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew -- and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents -- that there was all the difference in the world.''
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' fantasy novel ''Fell Cargo'' has this with [[spoiler: the captain of the Lightning Tree. He's originally heading for peaceful retirement, but joins in the fray one more time to help defeat the Butcher.]]
* In the ''Literature/CodexAlera'' series, the wolflike Canim, a ProudWarriorRace, have a strict set of honor and code of conduct. However, since they are GenreSavvy, each tribe has a group of Hunters who operate outside of the code, to preserve the spirit of the code against those who hide behind the letter of the code. Normally, when a Canim dies, his family sings a Blood Song in memory of him. The Hunters have their Blood Song sung as soon as they become Hunters. One clearly states they consider themselves dead as Canim when they become Hunters.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** In the book ''Discworld/TheLastHero'', Cohen and his Silver Horde decide to go on one last adventure, [[RageAgainstTheHeavens returning fire to the Gods]], [[StuffBlowingUp with interest]], as revenge for letting them grow old.
** Wizards and witches have it as a perk that they know beforehand when they're going to die (as well as having Death show up for them personally). It's mentioned that many a wizard has died drinking the last of his good wine while incidentally owing large sums of money to loan sharks. (Witches tend to be a bit more conscientious and set their affairs in order so their successor can get on with it.) Also, in ''Discworld/ReaperMan'', the rest of the wizards throw a going away party for a wizard slated to die, which goes awry when the [[TheGrimReaper guest of honor]] doesn't show up.
** One of''Discworld/ReaperMan's'' main stories is about Death himself getting [[UnusualEuphemism retired]] and, being who he is, he knows exactly how much time he has left. He chooses to spend it [[CallToAgriculture working as a farm hand]]. [[spoiler: Also a literal example at the end, when he takes Miss Flitworth to the dance, although it turns out that she had been dead before they even left.]]
* ''Literature/{{Chalion}}'':
** Cazaril of ''Literature/TheCurseOfChalion'' knows he's dying ([[spoiler:of a ''haunted'' abdominal tumor, no less]]) by about halfway through the book, but continues to take on missions for his liege lady regardless up to and including [[spoiler:negotiating a royal marriage and smuggling the groom past a hostile border]]. It's pointed out that a dying man makes the perfect representative: he can't be bribed, as he won't live long enough to enjoy anything he could be given, and since he knows he'll be meeting the gods soon he'll do his best to serve with honor.
--->'''Cazaril:''' She will give me an estate in Chalion that will suit my needs perfectly. [[GallowsHumour One pace wide and two paces long, to be mine in perpetuity.]]
** This is played with (and arguably trumped) in ''Literature/PaladinOfSouls'' when Arhys dy Lutez rides [[spoiler:against an army led by sorcerers a couple of months ''after'' he died (although for most of that time he didn't know he was dead, as his young bride had reanimated him by stealing life energy from his brother)]].
--->'''Illvin:''' Arhys, no, this is too fey!\\
'''Arhys:''' Fey? Fey is a man who [[DeathSeeker looks forward to death]]. [[spoiler:[[DeadAllAlong I look back on mine.]] [...] ]] If this dy Lutez manages to die well tonight, let it complete the set so long left undone, and be you healed of the long wound another dy Lutez dealt you.
* In ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'', Jake and Father Callahan prepare for this before charging into a building filled to the brim with the [[BigBad Crimson King's]] minions. Callahan gives Jake his last rites, then they walk in like a couple of badasses. The song/poem thing stuck at the end of the chapter says it all:
-->''[[RecurringRiff Commala-come]]-ki,\\
There's a time to live and one to die.\\
With your back against the final wall\\
Ya gotta let the bullets fly.\\\
Let the bullets fly!\\
Don't'ee mourn for me, my lads\\
When it come my day to die.''
* In the classic scifi novel Seetee Shock, the protagonist receives a lethal dose of radiation in the first chapter. The rest of the book takes place during the "walking ghost" phase of radiation poisoning, as he tries to track down the saboteur who attacked their antimatter mine.
* The title story of "Cobra Trap", Peter O'Donnell's final collection of ''Literature/ModestyBlaise'' stories, has Modesty herself, diagnosed with a lethal and incurable brain tumour, taking on what she knows isn't a Do Or Die mission, but a Do AND Die mission.
* ''Literature/{{Bolo}}'': [[http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/22-MissionofHonorCD/MissionofHonorCD/Bolo/Bolo!.htm 23-B-0075-NKE's death charge]] in ''Miles to Go'' against a mercenary company wiping out the population of Santa Cruz's capital city [[BolivianArmyEnding Ciudad Bolivar]], after being infected by a fatal computer virus (triggered by refusing an illegal order to let the civilians die). [[TearJerker She goes out quoting poetry]], [[TakingYouWithMe and kills every last mercenary (or at least enough to guarantee her allies' victory)]].
* '' Literature/TheWheelOfTime'':
** Rand Al'Thor only truly becomes the [[spoiler:Dragon Reborn]] when he fully accepts that he's got to lead the world to the Last Battle, where it's prophesied that his blood will be on the rocks. In a deconstruction, it also leads to his depression, descent into madness, and HeroicBSOD over time.
** Another example is the Seanchan Bloodknives, elite suicide assassins used only against the most dangerous foes. Each Bloodknife is issued a magic ring, which when activated starts burning up the Bloodknife's Life Force. Once triggered, a Bloodknife will die in about a month (assuming no one kills him first) but for that month gets SuperSpeed, invisibilty, and other inhuman powers. Their sole purpose is to kill off as many enemy leaders and mages as they can before they are killed or run out of life.
* In the ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'', there's a group of warriors whose sole job is to place their prophesied savior into a last dance, whereupon his need and his magic will give him access to magical power through a certain magical sword. The name of the skill is called [[InvokedTrope The Dance with Death]] and is one of the three potential meanings of Richard's title in prophecy.
* In the novel ''Jericho Falls'' the Vietnam veteran helicopter pilot realizes he is going to die and recalls a Vietnamese captive who almost killed him because the captive had no fear of death. So now he takes his own knowledge of his impending death and uses it against his enemies.
* The hero of the short story ''Eight O'Clock in the Morning'' by Ray Nelson (loosely adapted into the movie ''Film/TheyLive'') accidentally discovers that Earth is ruled by a huge conspiracy of man-eating aliens. When aliens find out, they order him to die at eight o'clock the next morning. Turns out, that leaves him enough time to save Earth.
* [[BigBookOfWar Flavius Vegetius]] especially warns from cutting the escape route from a cornered enemy, implying that if the enemy knows it has no hope and will die anyway, it will fight with especially furious zeal.
* [[BigBookOfWar Sun Tzu]] advises commanders who are in a dire situation to inform their men that they are all going to die. With no hope, he states that soldiers will go far beyond their ability. For this reason, it can be advantageous to cut one's own forces off from any escape. And - with the foresight you might expect, he sternly warns against cutting an enemy off from all possibility of escape.
* Machiavelli similarly points out the advantages of hopeless (or nearly so) situations for on the battlefield in ''Literature/DiscoursesOnLivy''.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TwentyFour'':
** After [[spoiler:George Mason inhales lethal amounts of powdered plutonium]] in the second season, he returns to work despite the danger of a nuclear weapon in Los Angeles, and eventually [[spoiler:pilots a plane on a kamikaze course to keep the bomb from going off in populated areas]].
** In season 7, after Jack is infected with a biological weapon he resolves to focus his last hours finding a way to expose the corrupt government officials that were behind rogue company Starkwood getting access to the weapon, which also lead to terrorist attacks on Washington DC from warlords hailing from the FictionalCountry of Sangala. [[spoiler:Of course, this is Jack we're talking about, so after resolving everything and making peace with himself he manages to get saved at the very last second so he can get saved, go through even more suffering in the following season and make the whole "making peace with his inner demons" development relatively pointless.]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** In the first season, [[spoiler:Buffy's death at the hands of the Master is foretold in prophecy; this results in her deciding that she won't fight, but after seeing more people die she changes her mind.]] Of course it was much more complicated but a complete rundown of the episode would go way off topic.
** Also, Buffy's childhood friend Ford, who was setting up a group of vampire mystics as an all-you-can-suck buffet for Spike's gang. Turns out he had a brain tumor. Buffy was not impressed.
** Spike at the end of Season 7 has a hefty dose of this in his HeroicSacrifice.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'':
** The TV series is entirely based on this trope: a struggling high-school chemistry teacher with a teenage son who has cerebral palsy and a pregnant wife. When he is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, he breaks down and turns to a life of crime, and starts producing and selling methamphetamine. He rather quickly gets in too deep to get back out gracefully, [[spoiler:even when he later finds out that his cancer has gone into remission.]]
** This eventually leads into his actions in the GrandFinale. [[spoiler:One of the most wanted men in America and knowing he's finally going to die soon from the cancer, he returns to Albuquerque to ensure money for his family, see Skyler one last time, and wipe out the Nazis to avenge Hank, as well as Lydia to keep his family safe. And at the end, even resolves to save Jesse. It works beautifully and Walter dies on his own terms in the meth lab, where he feels most at home.]]
* Slight variation in ''Series/{{Lost}}'': Desmond's visions foretell Charlie's death. Charlie spends the latter half of season 3 trying to avoid various accidents, until a vision reveals a chance to save Claire and Aaron, at which point Charlie accepts his fate and dies a heroic death.
** Ben Linus. Spine tumor. Leave the island to find a doctor? No; Ask the doctor nicely? No; Kidnap one? Yes! Not that he's a very moral person in the first place, so it might not count.
* Subverted in ''Series/BabylonFive'': Humans bring out every combat-capable ship they've got to the Battle of the Line, but at the hour of their triumph, the genocidal Minbari simply stop and surrender. Figuring out why is one of the major {{Story Arc}}s of the first season. The Earth president's speech just prior to the battle acknowledges that virtually everyone involved will die but that doing so will give humanity some tiny chance to continue. Her stoicism cracks during the speech, and her tearful, halting delivery combines with the wordless images of the pilots suiting up to create an epic TearJerker.
** Londo's observation on the Battle of the Line pushes it into this trope, even with the subversion.
--->'''Londo Molari:''' "No one who saw them fighting against the inevitable could help but be moved to tears by their courage. Their stubborn nobility. When they ran out of ships, they used guns, when they ran out guns they used knives and sticks and bare hands. They were magnificent. I only hope that when it is my time, I may die with half as much dignity as I saw in their eyes in the end. They did this for two years they never ran out of courage but in the end, they ran out of time.,,"
* The ''Series/{{CSI}}'' episode "Living Legend" had [[spoiler:a legendary mob boss thought dead for decades]] exacting revenge on the people that had tried to murder him. He didn't have long to live thanks to the bullet in his chest still moving and thus planned on going out in a blaze of glory. [[spoiler:However, Catherine informs him that the bullet was removed while he was unconscious meaning he now has around 20 years left to live, all of which will be spent in a prison filled with criminals who don't remember him.]]
* In ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', [[spoiler:Hiro decides to go back on his self-imposed "never change the past" rule when he discovers he's dying.]] Of course, [[spoiler:he's better now.]]
* An episode of ''Series/{{Angel}}'' features a normal vampire mook deliberately going into this after Angel kills [[UnholyMatrimony his girlfriend (another vampire, obviously)]]. He has a demon, who is basically a 'collector' of demonic organs, remove his heart. The procedure will kill him after a couple of hours, but in the meantime, he's invulnerable to all the traditional vampire weaknesses - from sunlight to staking - giving an otherwise-unremarkable mook a real shot at taking down Angel...
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In "The End of Time", [[spoiler:after receiving a fatal dose of radiation, the Doctor spends his last hours visiting the people he'd cared about during his tenth life and... well, not so much saying goodbye as helping them out from a distance and then staring sadly at them before wandering off. Except for Rose, whom [[TimeyWimeyBall he meets before she met him]] to have one last conversation with her. ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'' says he visited every companion from all his incarnations.]]
** Eleven did it in "Let's Kill Hitler", after [[spoiler:being poisoned by River Song and told he was cut off from regenerations and would be dead in just over thirty minutes.]] The Doctor's response? [[spoiler:He takes the time to put on a nice tux, fabricate a Sonic Cane, and move the TARDIS to confront the Time Agents out to punish River for his murder.]]
** As Series 9 ''begins'' Twelve is getting ready for this. '''Something''' has happened between him and one of his oldest enemies recently, and now the latter wants to see him. Ohila of the Sisterhood of Karn tries to discourage him from an encounter that will surely prove fatal in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS35ShortPrologue "Prologue"]], but he tells her WeAllDieSomeday and leaves her with his last will and testament to deliver; he leaves to take some time out for himself. In the next short, [[Recap/DoctorWhoS35PrequelTheDoctorsMeditation "The Doctor's Meditation"]], he's in a medieval castle trying to relax but three weeks pass with little progress. As the short ends, he is to be the guest of honor at a joyous revel, and then he will leave for the meeting. All along he is insistent that no one be by his side for this meeting, and he makes no goodbyes to old friends...
** The proper start of Series 9, "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS35E1TheMagiciansApprentice The Magician's Apprentice]]" reveals that the example above is because someone ''else'' is having their own Last Dance -- after centuries of keeping himself alive artificially, [[spoiler: Davros]] is finally dying. So, he engineers to have one final confrontation with the Doctor before he goes. The Doctor is aware that this is a trap, but is so guilt-ridden for [[spoiler: leaving Davros to die as a child]] that he doesn't outright try to avoid it, he just has the Last Dance listed above before facing the music.
** The series ''ends'' with [[spoiler: Clara]] having to face a FinalDeath. However, thanks to Time Lord technology, the 'dance' gets to last a bit longer: [[spoiler: she has to die when, where, and how history says, lest the dangers of meddling with events you shouldn't meddle with, as seen in "Father's Day" or "The Wedding of River Song," potentially ensue. However, being "frozen between two heartbeats" as she is (the Time Lords plucked her out of place less than a second before her death and altered her time stream to keep her just as she was at that moment, playing into the Doctor's complicated but ''awesome'' BatmanGambit to save her; she's able to operate freely instead of being [[TimeStandsStill completely freeze-framed]] because... [[AWizardDidIt Time Lords can just do stuff like that]]), Clara can live a full life, or maybe even ''much longer'' than a human life, though she must ''eventually'' return to face her end]].
* On ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', Tosh and Captain Jack get thrown back to World War II, where they encounter the ''real'' Captain Jack Harkness. Both Captain Jacks fall for each other, but Torchwood Jack is aware that his namesake is killed the next day and while he doesn't directly tell him this, the real Jack seems to figure it out. This trope kicks in quite literally, and the two men share a dance and a kiss before Jack heads back to the 21st century. Presumably the real Jack would not have had the courage to dance with and kiss another man in front of quite a few other people in homophobic 1941 had he not known that he'd be dead the next day.
* In ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'', [[spoiler:in the climatic battle with the [[RealityWarper Utopia Dopant]], Philip knows this is his final battle and afterwards, he'll disappear. It is because of this that he puts all his will power and strength into the fight. The Utopia Dopant is an EmotionEater who feeds off of will power as his most powerful ability, thus Philip's last thoughts overloads him and allows Double to defeat him.]]
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'''s tenth season premiere, Lx-3, an aged, [[CloneDegeneration degenerating]] clone of ComicBook/LexLuthor knows he only has a few days at most to live after he breaks out of Cadmus Labs. His reaction is to murder pretty much everyone he sets eyes on, culminating in a SadisticChoice {{Revenge}} plot against Clark that leaves everyone hurt. One could argue that Alexander, the much younger clone who appeared in the same episode, is going through a similar process, albeit in slow motion. He's fully aware of his own impending death; having [[spoiler:failed in his own attempt at vengeance on Clark]], no one is quite sure where he's headed.
* The Jem'Hadar of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' treat '''every''' battle as the Last Dance:
-->"We are already dead. We willingly go into battle to reclaim our lives."
** Compare to the [[ProudWarriorRace Klingons]] of the same setting:
-->"Today ''is'' a good day to die!"
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'':
** Jenny Shepard. She was slowly dying of a degenerative disease, and an old skeleton out her and Gibbs' closet had come back out, so she went down fighting in an abandoned diner in the southwest, taking four bad guys down with her.
** A terminally ill Mike Franks confronts the Port-to-Port Killer, announcing "I figure I got one fight left in me." ''NCIS'' loves this trope.
* On ''Series/NCISLosAngeles'' a CIA agent has to abandon an undercover mission in Africa when he suspects that his cover is compromised. Sadly, while stopping a terrorist plot he receives radiation poisoning. With only a few months to live he decides to resume his undercover mission In Africa since it no longer matters if he is killed and with the time he has left he might be able to find the terrorist leaders responsible for the attack.
* On ''Series/SonsOfAnarchy'' police chief Unser finds out that he has terminal cancer in the pilot episode and wants to retire and live out his remaining days in peace. However, he is forced into TheLastDance by Clay who needs Unser to keep covering for the Sons' illegal activities. By season 4 Unser no longer fears Clay and decides to dedicate his remaining time to do everything he can to protect Gemma and Tara from Clay.
* In ''Series/BurnNotice'', a client is retiring from the State Department after [[spoiler:learning he has terminal pancreatic cancer]]. Looking back on his life, he decides that he can't stand his legacy as a man who enabled a diplomat to smuggle blood diamonds. He contacts the protagonists and arranges to take down the diplomat, ultimately [[spoiler:[[ThanatosGambit sacrificing his own life so the diplomat will be arrested for murder]].]]
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'' has an episode in the first season with a teenage boy who's into {{LARP}}ing who discovers that his childhood leukemia is returning. [[spoiler:He chooses not to seek treatment, instead donning his superhero outfit and picking a fight with a man he knows to be a domestic abuser. The boy dies in the fight, but the ensuing investigation exposes the abuse and rescues the wife.]]
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' has this for the whole of season 3: Having made a [[DealWithTheDevil deal with a demon]] to save Sam at the end of the previous season, Dean has one year to live. The trope is deconstructed as while at first Dean tries to live it up, as they get closer to the deadline he becomes genuinely afraid and hopes that Sam can find a way to save him before going on a suicide mission to kill [[BigBad Lilith]] with his final hours. Gets lampshaded as they try to put to rest one of the most haunted houses in America (where the haunting only happens on leap years) with Dean getting irritated, mocking Sam for saying that it's "[their] version of the Grand Canyon".
* ''Series/RunForYourLife:'' 1960s TV series about a man whose doctor has given him from nine to eighteen months to live. It lasted for three seasons.
* In the ''Series/TheAlmightyJohnsons'' episode "The End Of The World As We Know It", Michele is told that her revival from the dead won't last after the departure of the gods, so she goes out to eat, drink and be merry (and empty her bank account and ruin her credit) before she dies. [[spoiler: Odin heals her, so she has to deal with the consequences afterward.]]
* The penultimate episode of ''Series/FridayNightLights'' ends with a decision to fold the East Dillon Lions into the Dillon Panthers, effectively ending the Dillon East football program just before the State Championships. They know that whatever happens there is the Lions' last act. [[spoiler:They win.]]

* "Last Dance", by Donna Summer. It's about the waning music in a disco, and the end to the good times for the night. The song underwent {{Defictionalization}} as discos used it as the last song of the night.
* "No Fear The Setting Sun" by Music/AmonAmarth, about an epic final battle.
* Music/{{Covenant}} has a song titled "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Last Dance]]", which appropriately sounds like material for [[WhileRomeBurns an End of the World party]].
* Edge of Dawn's "Beauty Lies Within" is about a couple facing TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* Music/{{Ultravox}}'s "Dancing with Tears in My Eyes". Underlined in the music video for the song. Underlined twice, and in bold, if you consider the era it's from, and the real AdultFear the video's events were a TV-friendly placebo for.
* ''Music/TheLastWaltz'', Music/TheBand's last concert, came with the song "The Last Waltz". It's about how the last waltz is finished, but that doesn't mean the dance is over. Probably better if you forget [[RealitySubtext what happened next]].
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK1lXSxZbHw One Last Drink]], by Music/EnterTheHaggis, about an old man deciding to throw one last big party for himself and all his friends before he dies.
* Music/{{Alestorm}}'s ''Sunset on the Golden Age'' is all about this.
* "Last Dance" by Music/TheRaveonettes is about someone in love with a drug addict, who fears every time they overdose that it's going to be the last time, so urging them to hold on at least until the singer gets to them in intensive care.
* "TheShowMustGoOn" by Music/{{Queen}} is one from Music/FreddieMercury. [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome He famously nailed this song in one take, while he was dying of AIDS and physically weakened]], but his smile "still stayed on".

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' has this, said by a leader of the Imperial Guard, shortly before the entire unit is completely annihilated:
--> ''Our end is come. But what an end! We have been given the most precious gift: a chance to roar our defiance into the foes that overwhelms us with their numbers. Let the Emperor himself hear our final battle cry! Forward warriors of the Guard, and die like the heroes that you are!''
** 40K in general is a walking, talking love affair with this trope. Imperial Guard are indoctrinated from recruitment/conscription that you ''will'' die in service to the Emperor, so make it worth something; the {{Space Marine}}s are effectively immortal unless killed by violence, but when hopeless you end up with stories like 10 of them holding onto the last bastion of an entire overrun world for weeks on end; the Eldar basically have Last Dance as their [[PlanetOfHats racial trait]], alongside being a MagnificentBastard to the last man, given the fact that as a species they're wearing thin; when the Tau get cornered, they tend to [[TranquilFury calmly but ruthlessly]] lay down fire until either they or their attackers are completely wiped out; the servants of Chaos tend to flop between this and {{Death Seeker}}s, since a "good" death would probably just grant them FAVOR with their god of choice. Really the only ones that don't fall into this are the Orks (who live to fight and die anyway), the Necrons (semi-mindless cyber-zombies) and the Tyranids (hive mind insects, who literally use some of their lesser spawns as ''living ammunition''.)
* In 4th Edition ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', most Epic Destinies lead to the (now close to godlike) characters [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence breaking free of mortal restraints in some fashion]] after their "Final Adventure". The DM is encouraged to make this a sufficiently spectacular affair. Not quite death, but close enough.
** And this descended (ha!) from a prestige class in the ''Book of Exalted Deeds'' - the Risen Martyr, who has no choice but to take levels in Risen Martyr whenever he levels up. When he has all ten levels of Risen Martyr, if he levels up once more, he must complete a task, after which he dies instantly and ascends into the heavens as a newborn celestial. [[LivingOnBorrowedTime Also note that one of the prerequisites to become a Risen Martyr is being dead.]]
* ''TabletopGame/AcesAndEights,'' as a game engine for very gritty Westerns, uses certain mechanics to produce some DyingMomentOfAwesome heroics. One case involves the Consumption flaw, which means the character starts out with fatal tuberculosis and has only a few more weeks to live. Another, more spontaneous case can occur when a character takes a very nasty chest wound and suffers Internal Hemorrhaging. Death will occur within minutes, but in a combat system split into ''tenths of seconds'' that's still plenty of time for TakingYouWithMe.
* In ''TabletopGame/MageTheAscension'', members of the Taftani spend most of their careers defying the {{Masquerade}} by performing vulgar magic in public heedless of [[MagicMisfire Paradox]], thereby ensuring that the locals of their home territory never forget that magic still exists. Taftani elders, however, take this practice to its logical conclusion: once they've finished training their last apprentices, they set their affairs in order and set off to perform one last great magical performance - visible enough to break the Masquerade and impressive enough for the resulting Paradox to kill them.
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has this on full display with the aetherborn of Kaladesh and their "penultimate parties". Aetherborn are sentient by-products of aether refinement who live anywhere between four weeks to four years before their unstable bodies disperse back into the aethersphere. Each has an intrinsic knowledge of how long they have left and so they pack as much into their short lives as possible. The penultimate party is the culmination of this, as it is the last thing they do before dying.

* Happens quite a bit in ''Theatre/{{Hamilton}}''.
** Hamilton himself wants to go out in a blaze of glory, as noted with some worry by Washington and his wife Eliza. He's given an opportunity in ''Yorktown'', where he says that he "imagines death so much it feels more like a memory" and wonders if this is how he'll go. In a moment of CharacterDevelopment, remembers his pregnant wife and decides instead to do his part to win the battle.
** Before his duel with Burr, Hamilton takes time to write a letter to his wife and share a last, touching moment with her, seemingly knowledgeable of the outcome of the duel.
** Burr subverts the trope just before his duel by saying that "this man [Hamilton] will not make an orphan of my daughter".
** Hamilton invokes this trope hard as the bullet travels towards him. He first echoes the above words from ''Yorktown'', makes peace with Burr, and sees who's waiting for him "on the other side": his mother, who died when Hamilton was a teenager, his friend John Laurens, who was killed in a needless battle after the ending of the Revolutionary War, Washington, who had died some years earlier, and Philip, his son who was killed in a duel defending Hamilton's honor. Hamilton then thinks of Eliza, and tells her that he'll see her on the other side. His last words echo the FriendshipSong ''The Story of Tonight'' that he had sung at the beginning of the show. Then the bullet strikes him, and he dies.
* ''The Final Battle'' in ''Theatre/LesMiserables''. It shortly follows the death of TeamPet Gavroche, and an unseen army officer tells to surrender and avoid any further bloodshed. Instead, Enjolras and the revolutionaries give a rousing speech to fight to the last man, take down as many as they can, and avenge the deaths of Gavroche and Eponine, knowing that the people of Paris will rise to take their place until they have succeeded. [[DownerEnding (Ultimately, it doesn't work, the people of Paris abandon them, and as Grantaire pointed out earlier, their deaths are largely pointless.)]]


[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers of Sky'' had one of these with the main character. It's explicitly mentioned as a chapter titled "The Last Adventure." [[spoiler:Then a god literally pulls a Deus Ex Machina to bring him/her back.]]
* ''VideoGame/Payday2'' has the "Swan Song" skill, which, when aced, allows for 6 seconds of infinite ammo with a bottomless clip (Yes, even for double barrel shotguns, though the RPG and similar one-shot instakill weapons are excluded) once you go down. Granted, you do move ''very'' slowly, and you can't heal yourself or make any attempt to delay your fate, but whether you're mowing through high level enemies firing high-tier power weapons as fast as you can fire without a care for ammo, or busting out Inspire Aced and reviving like a maniac to save your team from a wipeout, those 6 seconds can definitely be a last dance your team will appreciate.
* ''VideoGame/HaloReach''. [[spoiler:In very much keeping with this trope there is a playable epilogue, which can only end with the players death. Noble Six remains on Reach to fight against an endless horde of Covenant. Done twice really. First you do it, and once you take enough damage it changes to cutscene showing Noble Six's final battle.]]
** [[spoiler:Objective: Survive. Description: ''Spartans never die''. Title Card: There'll be Another Time]]
* ''VideoGame/MetalGear'':
** Partly the premise for ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'', as Snake's genetic engineering is [[RapidAging causing him to reach the end of his rope rather quickly]]. And there's the fact that he's [[spoiler:going to unleash [[TheVirus FOXDIE]] unless he dies]]. Ocelot also has one when he finally confronts Snake for the last time, going for a fist fight like he did all those years ago.
** The end of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'' is this for The Boss.
-->''"In 10 minutes, [=MIGs=] are going to come, and bomb the hell out of this place. Lets make them the best 10 minutes of our lives."''
** The twist ending of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidVThePhantomPain'' retroactively implies one for [[spoiler:Venom Snake in the original ''VideoGame/MetalGear1'']]. Everything that had happened was in preparation for this mission, and he goes into it smiling.
* The final mission of ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption'' has heavy hints of this. [[spoiler:The Phazon corruption doled out to each of the hunters at the beginning of the game has so far proven to be uniformly fatal. Samus herself is so far gone at this point that her gunship's computer can't identify her anymore, she's forced to vent Phazon every minute just to stay alive, and the final boss fight takes place on a radioactive, sentient planet only reachable by wormhole, at the bottom of a pit deep enough that even if she survives, she has no chance of wall-jumping, screw-attacking or speed-boosting her way back up. At the end of the fight, she just lies on the ground utterly exhausted.]] The whole thing feels much less like a Final Showdown and more of a TakingYouWithMe / HeroicSacrifice on her part, which isn't helped by the exchange between Fleet Admiral Dane and his bridge staff in the ending cutscenes:
--> '''Crewman:''' Damage reports coming in. We've lost 37% of the fleet. Surviving ships are reporting heavy casualties.
--> '''FADM Dane:''' What about Samus?
--> '''Crewman:''' Negative, Sir. No contact...
** [[spoiler:Being that ''Prime'' was a prequel series, of course [[ForegoneConclusion she manages to survive anyway]], but a novice to the series might be forgiven for thinking this was really her swan song.]]
* The Opera mod for ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'' had this as a gameplay feature called "Heroic Act", which a player could activate only once per round. It would stop all bleeding if he was already bleeding to death and make shots to the head and heart only hurt as much as regular wounds, as well as granting some extra speed and dealing extra damage for a short duration of time, after which the player would die. Rather fitting as the mod was inspired by films like ''Film/TheKiller'' and ''Film/HardBoiled''.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''; Before the Broken Shore, both armies make quite a few preparations, and along with the usual (inspecting armor, honing skills and the like) a banquet-quality spread is provided to all the soldiers, including your character, with the same purpose as a last meal for a condemned man. ''That'' is how certain they are of a high casualty count in a battle against the Burning Legion. [[spoiler:(And they're right, casualties of the battle include [[AnyoneCanDie Varian, Vol'jin, and Tirion.]])]]
* Forms the basis for a mission in ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarOnline''. With a mere 30 minutes left to live, a warrior wants to reach his goal of killing 10 000 monsters (he's at 9900 when you meet him). Of note: for being on the brink of death, he is actually remarkably fit. He is one of the strongest [=NPCs=] in the game and, if you're on the highest difficulty setting, could probably still beat the everloving crap out of your character without really trying. Which raises the question of why he needs your help in the first place...
** Because what point is there in a triumphal TheLastDance if there is nobody around to witness it?
* Sir Aliste from the PSP remake of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' masquerades as a villain and kidnaps the lover of his ally, Beowulf, so that they may duel with their lives on the line. The former was afflicted with some malady, was destined to die with the middle age's lack of medical care (apparently for some reason the commonplace ''magicall'' healing wouldn't work either), and refused to do so confined and wasting away in a sick bed. Aliste is defeated, and - with his dying breath - urges Beowulf to save his lover Reis.
* Prior to the events of ''VideoGame/StarControlII'', the [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Shofixti]] cause their own sun to go nova to strike a final blow to the Ur-Quan. The news of the extinction of the Shofixti was a DespairEventHorizon to fellow {{Proud Warrior Race Guy}}s, the Yehat. [[spoiler:The player can track down the [[AdamAndEvePlot last surviving Shofixti]] to recruit both the Shofixti and the Yehat to his side.]]
** Doubles as a NiceJobBreakingItHero [[spoiler:- the Shofixti pretty much single-...um, single-sunnedly? ensured that the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za lose to their [[OmnicidalManiac omnicidal]] brethren, Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah.]]
* Invoked in ''[[VideoGame/RType R-Type Final]]'' with Operation Last Dance, where all R-series models in existence gather to fire their respective {{Wave Motion Gun}}s in unison to put a stop to the Bydo.
** Which in itself is referenced by the R-99 Last Dancer, one of the game's three ultimate ships.
* In ''[[VideoGame/{{Tekken}} Tekken 7]]'' at the end of Story Mode, [[spoiler: Heihachi's and Kazuya's blood feud have ruined the public image of both of their corporations, and Heihachi seems to subtly realize that the war between them and Jin has reached a point that it must be stopped. Though he never says it, he gives his life story and his StartOfDarkness to a reporter he knows has a personal grudge against him with what is described as a "mournful look in his eyes." Shortly thereafter, Heihachi challenges Kazuya to one final showdown to the death - [[KilledOffForReal and Heihachi loses.]]]]
* In ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights'', [[spoiler:Aribeth]]'s final actions could be taken as this, as she knows both sides are likely to kill her and just wants to get her vengeance into the middle of the war before she goes.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect''
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', Thane Krios is dying of a terminal disease and is attempting to spend his last days as TheAtoner for his life as a contract killer by trying to make the world a better place and [[spoiler:potentially make things up with his son]]. It's one of the reasons he joins Shepard's team.
*** If he survives ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', [[spoiler:his real last dance comes in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', when he fights Kai Leng to defend the salarian councilor. [[DyingMomentOfAwesome It speeds up his death but he went out on a high note.]]]]
** A recurring theme in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' is that Commander Shepard will either destroy the Reapers or take them down with them.
** It's quite possible to recruit every space-faring race in the galaxy [[spoiler: including two previously extinct ones]] to join Shepard and the Alliance an a final, glorious battle against the Reapers.
* Explicitly invoked by [[spoiler:Captain Price]] at the climax of ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyModernWarfare2'', in about the best monologue in the series:
--> ''The healthy human mind doesn't wake up in the morning thinking this is its last day on Earth. But I think that's a luxury, not a curse. To know you're close to the end is a kind of freedom. Good time to take... inventory. Outgunned. Outnumbered. Out of our minds. On a suicide mission -- but the sand and rocks here, stained with thousands of years of warfare... They will remember us, for this. Because out of all our vast array of nightmares, this is the one we choose for ourselves: we go forward like a breath exhaled from the Earth, with vigor in our hearts and one goal in sight: [[{{Determinator}} We. Will. Kill. Him.]]''
* Invoked by name in the ending of ''VideoGame/VagrantStory'', when Tieger holds off Grissom as the city collapses around them:
-->'''Tieger''': Now the slowest dance begins... 'Tis a fine tomb we shall share, brother.
* In the conclusion of ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'''s ''Fall of the Lich King'', [[spoiler:Tirion Fordring is prepared to become the next Lich King to prevent the Scourge from overrunning the world. At the last moment Bolvar Fordragon intervenes. Knowing he is already dying after his torture by dragon fire, Bolvar volunteers to become the Lich King instead. In doing so, he willingly condemns himself to an eternity of undeath as the "Jailor of the Damned".]]
* This is the typical way an aging Grey Warden prefers to die in ''Franchise/DragonAge''. After about thirty years, a Grey Warden's body starts to succumb to the tainted blood of the Darkspawn that they willingly imbued at their initiation. Instead of descending into madness or possibly becoming a darkspawn themselves, they join the Dwarves in the Deep Roads, where the Darkspawn nest, and throw themselves on the Darkspawn horde killing as many as possible before being felled themselves.
** [[spoiler:Wynne]] is in fact dead, and LivingOnBorrowedTime thanks to a benevolent Fade spirit. She intends to see the Blight defeated before she succumbs.
** The most dangerous dwarven fighters are the Legion of the Dead, all of whom have nothing to lose when they join up, and part of their initiation ceremony involves having a funeral, so that they can fight without any limitations whatsoever.
** Also happens in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', during the final moments, when Hawke can proclaim that "I can fight harder scared than they can angry!"
** Reappears in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' in the ''Trespasser'' DLC: [[spoiler: After two years of relative stability, the anchor has begun to destabilize, effectively beginning to kill the Inquisitor. With the anchor, and the Inquisitor, running out of time, the party must run a gauntlet of Qunari warriors, all the while discharging the Anchor's energy or risk it exploding and hurting everyone. When the Inquisitor finally confronts Solas, it's obvious they're barely alive.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' it's possible to recruit {{The Remnant}}s of the Enclave (all of whom are at least in their 60's) and get them to fight in the Battle for Hoover Dam for old time's sake (the mission's even called "For Auld Lang Syne").
* Invoked in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity'': at the end of the game, the NPC who has been at the player's side the whole time has turned against the player, siding with the player's former Mafia overlords from Liberty City (the player is in Vice City and is taking over.) The player tracks this treacherous NPC down on the roof of his mansion, and shouts "Looks like it's the last dance for Lance Vance!" Lance is not amused; he's also cornered, and proves to be what is most likely the single toughest fight with one person in the game, fiendishly accurate, using a lethally powerful gun, and able to soak up so much damage you'd think he was entering the "full health" cheat code during the fight.
* {{Invoked}} in the final mission of ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}''. Your fleet is outgunned and outnumbered, and with [[WetwareCPU Karan S'jet]] knocked out you don't get the warnings on anything's happening (be it enemy attacks, losses of your ships or new construction)... And the mission objective is to "Eradicate Enemy Forces".
* Gen of the ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' series is constantly trying to invoke this trope. He is suffering from leukemia, but he absolutely refuses to die unless it is in battle.
* The people from Prox in ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' have a habit of transforming into dragons when they're faced with mortal peril.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}'', it happens after you rejected [[spoiler: Gehrman's]] [[MercyKill offering]].
* In a more meta-sense, this is usually invoked by players who find themselves to be the last man standing on their team, or even among an entire team when it becomes obvious that [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption defeat is the only way to go.]] Many a match has gone relatively easy for one team, only for the opposing team to [[LetsGetDangerous step up their game]] at the last minute and dish out some truly epic damage before eventually succumbing.
* An abjectly horrifying example in ''VideoGame/{{Hatred}}'': driven by his [[MisanthropeSupreme loathing for the human race]] and a desire to 'die violently', "[[VillainProtagonist Not Important]]"'s Last Dance involves him going [[KillEmAll utterly postal]] on every human being he can find in a savage and pointless mass-murdering spree; killing and killing and killing and killing and killing until someone manages to put him down.
* The final boss battle of ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsIII'' turns out to be this for [[spoiler:[[VideoGame/DarkSoulsI Gwyn, Lord of Cinder]]. Resurrected as the Soul of Cinder, fighting along with every damned soul ever to link the First Flame, desperate to buy what remains of humanity even a little time more by protecting the Flame to the last, Gwyn returns to give the Unkindled One the fight of their life... even if it means losing everything. In a meta sense, the second phase of the Soul's battle, where Gwyn starts busting out his old tricks, is a last dance for the ''[[UpToEleven entire franchise]]'': the FinalBoss of the first game, often derided as being unsatisfying, returning to challenge players one last time, at the end of the Souls series.]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', everything Ellen does as Elliot's "EvilTwin" and her fearless fighting of the Omega Goo was due to her thinking she would die in less than a month.
* [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2004-10-31 "Tagon's last stand"]] from ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary''. Inadequate intel, mercenary guards too tough, problems with extraction. Tagon [[TeleportersAndTransporters teraported]] his wounded friends to safety, then faced dozens of enemies with a pistol and [[AbsurdlySharpBlade monofilament wire]] between his boots. (Tayler also made a poster with the battle scene, but unfortunately it was lost when the site got reorganized.) He got better later, thanks to time travel.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'' features this prominently due to the nature of characters death being announced, letting the player choose exactly how they want their character's last dance to be played.
* From Wiki/{{Killerbunnies}}, this is how Anwen, who is ill with a progressive and terminal illness, views part of her situation in terms of villainy, figuring she has nothing left to lose, especially if she cannot find a cure for the aforementioned illness

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'', an erroneous diagnosis tells Baloo he's going to die soon. He decides to go out with a bang by braving the Bermuda Trapezoid.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'', Halcyon Renard, otherwise a man who had been defined by his insistence on personal accountability, justifies questionable actions in the episode "Golem" with his failing health. [[WhatTheHellHero Goliath was not pleased.]]
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'', the Smurfs overhear Papa Smurf say what they think is him mourning over Lazy's illness and doubt of him surviving. (He's actually talking about Vanity's houseplant.) When Lazy finds out that they think this, he starts to think so, and decides to do everything he had been too lazy to do his whole life, like climb mountains and tame wild beasts. Unfortunately, all this is rather dangerous and HilarityEnsues as the other Smurfs try to stop him from getting into more trouble.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheJetsons''; George thinks he's dying after a doctor's erroneous diagnosis, so he eagerly accepts Mr. Spacely's offer to test a high-tech safety jacket that can protect the wearer from anything. He's put through a lot of tests with potentially deadly situations (like a room with crushing walls and a large rotary saw) and thankfully, the jacket holds. The cruelest part comes right before the final test (where he is to be propelled into the air with anti-aircraft missiles shot at him) and the doctor shows up to give him the ''right'' diagnosis. (Thankfully, the jacket, again, holds up.)
* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987'', Donatello invents a device that can give a medical physical in less than a minute. While he, Mikey, and Leo are shown to be in perfect health, it gives Raphael a really bad diagnosis, which is not helped when he overhears Mikey and Don lamenting about what might happen to him. (In truth, they're talking about a ruined pizza.) Raph decides to go buy a superhero costume and do very public and dangerous heroics, including recovering a defoliant that a MadScientist throws into a volcano in an act of eco-terrorism. Of course, Don's machine was defective, and they have to help him before he ''really'' gets killed.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Andrew Cunanan was suspected by some to have gone on his murder-suicide spree, killing five people including Gianni Versace, thanks to believing himself to have been infected with HIV, but his autopsy proved him to be HIV negative.
* This was tested in a real-life experiment in FeudalJapan. A sensei (head teacher, in this case) of a school of fencing had a servant who'd been with him for years -- and one day he was notified that the servant was wanted by the Shogunate authorities for a crime punishable by death. The sensei bowed and asked for a few days before turning the man over, then went to his servant, told him the news, and challenged him to a live-steel sword duel. The sensei had had a theory for a long time that a man who knew he had nothing to lose would fight harder, and wanted to test it. It turned out to be correct; the servant fought like a man possessed, and after a while, the sensei was backed to the wall and staring defeat, disgrace and death in the face. Summoning up all his skill, he finally did manage to cut his servant down, and his theory was doubly vindicated.
** A widely common practice in Japan, and to a lesser degree in other East Asian nations such as Korea, was the writing of a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_poem death poem]], often times written just before one faces an imminent death, such as just before committing {{Seppuku}}, or going into a last stand or suicide attack.
* Roman Empire had three punitive sentences for the arena: ''damnatio ad bestias'', ''damnatio ad ludii'' and ''damnatio ad gladium''. The first was an outright death sentence by being tied to a pole and torn to pieces by beasts while the second was being sentenced to GladiatorGames, with hope of ''missio'', being freed after two years or surviving five fights. But the last was literally being "sentenced to sword", being sentenced to gladiator games with ''no hope of liberation whatsoever'': they were forced to fight until they were killed. They basically had nothing to lose, and they were claimed to be the most dangerous opponents, even if they had little fighting skills, because of their desperate situation.
* The following quote is attributed to the writer James Baldwin: "The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose."
* Creator/TerryPratchett. Having learned of his disease, he resolved to write as much as he could, while also advocating the right to euthanasia. He remained awesome and intense until the very end. Likewise, Creator/GeorgeOrwell wrote ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' as a kind of literary swan song while dying of tuberculosis.
* Ironically, the Music/{{Queen}}/Music/DavidBowie collaboration that contains the lyrics "this is our last dance" (specifically the song "Under Pressure") isn't an example for either artist. For Queen, a better example would be ''Innuendo'', their last album released during Music/FreddieMercury's lifetime, containing touching farewell songs like "These Are the Days of Our Lives" and concluding with the triumphant number "The Show Must Go On." (Even more awesome, despite being in the terminal stages of AIDS and seriously weakened at the time, Mercury recorded "The Show Must Go On" in a single take, after a shot of vodka and a declaration of "I'll fucking do it, darling!") Bowie's swan song, meanwhile, would be his album ''Music/{{Blackstar}}'', released on his 69th birthday two days before he died.