[[caption-width-right:350:Idealistic Flavor -- No worries, for the rest of your days.]]

The world in which the characters live in is [[CrapsackWorld less than pleasant]], to say the least. [[GaiasLament The sky is choked with pollution, the crops won't grow,]] and [[EvilOverlord the evil dictator]] of the land brings nothing but despair and suffering to the people.

Or, on the more positive end, the world the characters live in is fine, but the characters are restless. Perhaps they are bored with their current life and want to find something better, or perhaps they are misfits in an otherwise nice world, and desire a place where they will have no worries.

Regardless of the case, there are stories of some mystical land, of which rumor and legend tell, where all people can be happy. The ground is fertile, the food is good and the best part is: you can get to it if you know how.

This trope comes in two main flavors, the idealistic portrayal, and the cynical portrayal. The promise, so to speak, of the Promised Land lends itself very much to an idealistic flavor, but whether or not this promise is actually true depends very much on the tone and genre of the work it takes place in.

'''Idealistic Flavor:''' The Promised Land is everything that it has been cracked up to be. Rivers flow with clean water and plenty of tasty fish. Fruit just falls right out of the trees, perfect for eating, the land all around you is perfect for farming, the weather is always perfect, and anyone can make it big with just a little hard work. Sadness, despair, and hard times are all but just stories and bad memories in this place. The promise of the Promised Land will be a driving force for the characters of the story, and while they face many hardships while trying to get to this place, arriving there is almost always an immediate HappilyEverAfter ending. It is possible that the Promised Land isn't exactly what it was said to be but still good; if the rivers flow with clean water and food is abundant, it's not that important that there are no genuine rivers of milk and honey. The main characters might have to work at it, but at the end of the day they'll still [[EarnYourHappyEnding earn their happy ending]].

[[quoteright:350:[[Series/BattlestarGalactica2003 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/badland.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Cynical Flavor -- [[RealityEnsues Truth Hurts]].]]

'''Cynical Flavor:''' The Promised Land is anything but what it's advertised to be, and the truth about it usually falls into one of three major sub-flavors:
* '''No Promised Land:''' The Promised Land never really existed, or if it did exist, it is nothing but a shell (or even less) of its former glory. Here, the Promised Land was just a myth, perhaps created to give people hope of a possible better life, or from a misunderstood or distorted legend of the past. Sometimes, even more cynically, the idea of the Promised Land is a lie, deliberately concocted in order to control people with a false promise of better times with the price of submitting under a cruel rule, or to lure people into danger and death.
* '''Crappy Promised Land:''' The Promised Land is in disarray, either from everyone else who arrived there before the main characters using it up, or some other event. The once beautiful land is now dry and barren, with only vermin as its remaining native life, and ruins as its last structures. Worse, the Promised Land may even appear to be exactly as advertised, but turn out to be [[CrapsaccharineWorld just as bad as, if not worse than, the world that they know]]. This trope overlaps ''heavily'' with the Idealistic Promised Land.
* '''Unreachable Promised Land:''' The Promised Land exists, and is probably a great place to live -- that is, if you could actually ''get'' there. Either the Promised Land can only be reached by those with money and/or power, or some kind of barrier, physical, political, or whatever, prevents the characters from arriving to this place. In this case, getting there may be a driving force of the story, like in the other flavors, but the goal may be later discarded when reality sets in. Another take on this flavor is that the Promised Land is never really visited or even seen, but merely mentioned by the characters as they wistfully dream of making it there, but know deep down that they could never make it and continue on with their dreary lives. A variant of this is that the land is reachable, but at a great cost. Perhaps the character would have to sell his or her soul, or enslave him or herself to a cruel master, or eat a thousand babies alive before they could even think about setting foot there. Regardless, the land is not reachable for common folk.

For both No Promised Land and Crappy Promised Land, the revelation of the truth of the Promised Land is usually the story's big [[TheReveal reveal]], and can usually be a [[BreakTheCutie breaking moment]] [[SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids for the characters,]] and at its worst, a DownerEnding. If they ''still'' make it, it is a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming. See also SafeZoneHopeSpot.

Can go hand in hand with LastFertileRegion, and GaiasLament, and almost always, CrapsackWorld. Very likely to show up in works set AfterTheEnd.



* The Galactic Leyline in ''Manga/OutlawStar'' is a Promised Land.
* The eponymous ''Anime/{{Shinzo}}'' is a Promised Land for the human lead Yukumo to find the rest of the human race, in a world populated by animal-human hybrids called Enterrans. [[spoiler:It turns out that Shinzo doesn't exist anymore, as Mushra, Katul, and Sago go 500 years back in time to the end of the Human-Enterran War, and find out Mushrambo had destroyed it.]]
* ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'': The Golden Land can act like this, depending on which [=EP=]. The catch: resurrecting Beatrice, done by having about a dozen people killed in as horrific a manner as possible. [[spoiler:Except from a mundane perspective, it really just refers to the place where Kinzo's gold is hidden.]]
* Paradise (Rakuen) in ''Anime/WolfsRain'' is apparently real. Nobody seems to know what it's like, only that it's desirable to get there.

* The [[Series/DoctorWho Fourth Doctor]] comic story "End of the Line" takes place on a planet ruined by years of industrial, chemical, and nuclear development, where a horde of ''Film/MadMax''-style cyborgs terrorize a small band of human rebels. The rebels are trying to get to the mythical "Countryside," a small patch of unspoiled land. The Doctor gets there, only to find that it's just like the rest of the land. A truly [[TearJerker heartwrenching]] example of No Promised Land.
* The [[Comicbook/GiveMeLiberty Give Me Liberty]] series of comics sees child soldier Martha Washington finding the Promised Land in the form of a meritocratic, technologically advanced Promised Land that is extremely Idealistic by any definition -- with gardens and pyramids and shiny suits and all. It doesn't fall flat because of the sheer hellishness of the former life experiences of its inhabitants, and the selfless fervor with which they are prepared to defend it against other inhabitants of the former United States gone insane.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* The Nesting Grounds in ''Disney/{{Dinosaur}}''. Although according to the viewers of the film, the Herd is going there because it's the only part of prehistoric Earth that was not destroyed by the meteorite, [[AllThereInTheManual according to the book]] ''[[AllThereInTheManual Dinosaur: The Essential Guide]]'', the main reason the Herd was going there is that during the winter, the Nesting Grounds actually become too cold and infertile for the dinosaurs to lay their eggs, and as a result they were all evicted into the desert where they all remained for days until springtime. The film's events actually take place in the spring since that is when the Herd is supposed to return to the Nesting Grounds.
* Gibraltar in ''Animation/SkyBlue'' is talked about as if it's the idealistic flavour. [[spoiler:Guess where the crapsack city of Ecoban is]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Antz}}'' manages to subvert its idealistic utopia ''without'' turning it into a cynical one. When Z reaches Insectopia (a garbage dump) he finds that it ''is'' everything he dreamed of -- but in the end he voluntarily leaves because he decides that saving the colony is more important than selfishly living out his days in idle luxury.
* The Great Valley in ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime'', a lush valley where herbivore dinosaurs are free from predation by "[[PredatorsAreMean sharpteeth]]".
* In ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'', the expatriate Russian mice ''en route'' to New York sing of their destination, "There are no cats in America / And the streets are paved with cheese." Upon arrival, they are quickly proven wrong, and [[EarnYourHappyEnding it takes some work]] to establish a niche where they are free from predation.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheIsland'' is named for its so-called Promised Land which people can "win" a one-way trip to -- in reality, [[spoiler:they're clones being harvested for parts. Winning your trip to the Island means that it is your time to be harvested]].
* ''Film/LogansRun'' features a Promised Land by the name of Sanctuary, which the Runners are trying to reach. In the movie, it doesnt exist, the Runners who left before the story takes place [[spoiler:were harvested and turned into nutrition by the malfunctioning robot Cube. The outside world still exists though, and is mostly unspoiled.]] In the novel its based on, Sanctuary IS real [[spoiler:and it's an old abandoned space station orbiting Mars. However, by the time of the sequel novel, it has fallen apart due to supply ships no longer arriving after the resistance leader back on Earth dies in a suicide charge]]
* ''Film/{{Clonus}}'' features America as a Promised Land.
* In ''Film/TankGirl'', The Rippers have a belief in such a place, as related by Booga.
-->'''Booga:''' It's one of Johnny Prophet's dreams. See how the people are all free, and the water just comes down from the sky and it don't cost nothin'. With flowers and rainbows.
* ''Film/ABoyAndHisDog'' has the title characters searching for "Over the Hill" (which, when you think about it, would be a more appropriate destination for the escapees from ''Literature/LogansRun'', but we digress )
* The ''Film/MadMax'' films use this trope a lot.
** The intended destination of the besieged "villagers" in ''Film/TheRoadWarrior'' qualifies (described as fertile place of plenty, with "nothing to do but breed")
** The lost kids in ''Film/MadMaxBeyondThunderdome'' think that Max is the SecondComing of Captain Walker, who will take them to "Tomorrow-morrow Land."
** ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad'' has "The Green Place", where Furiosa planned to take the Five Wives to, only to find out it's now an uninhabitable swamp land.
* Dry Land in ''Film/WaterWorld''.
* Pacific Playland fits the No Promised Land description in ''Film/{{Zombieland}}''.
** "Out west, we hear it's back east. Back east, they hear it's out west. It's all just nonsense. You know, you're like a penguin on the North Pole who hears the South Pole is really nice this time of the year."
* ''Film/BladeRunner'': The Earth (or at least Los Angeles) has become a sprawling, overpopulated megalopolis suffering from pollution, urban decay, and corporate hegemony. As the [[ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld zeppelins floating in the sky]] announce:
-->"''A new life awaits you in the Off-world colonies! A chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!''"
* The Gorgonites in ''Film/SmallSoldiers'' don't want to fight the Commando Elite -- they just want to be left alone and find their way back to Gorgon, their idyllic homeland. An odd case in that Gorgon is fictional in-universe, making it ''technically'' No Promised Land, but the Gorgonites don't mind: [[spoiler:when they set off on their journey in the end, it's safe to say that they'll find ''some'' place they'll be happy to call home someday.]]
* In ''Film/TheSeventhContinent'', Australia is symbolized as the ideal place to escape to for the doomed European family. Ironically, this place is visualized as an otherworldly beach, with a mountain range on the left border and pool of water with mysterious waves (which are clearly physically impossible) in between. The falseness of this place foreshadows the fact that the parents never intended to go there.

[[folder: Folklore]]
* The mythical and surreal Cockaygne (Cucaña, Kukania) of the Medieval European myths and folklore. It is said to be an earthly paradise with abundance of food and wine, where Christmas lasts one month and where there are five Easters in the year and eternal May, and fasting once in a hundred years. But it represents the Unreachable Promised Land, since the only road leading there is an unnavigable -- but wadeable -- neck-deep river of faeces. It will take five years to reach there.

* Beleriand to the Noldor Elves in ''Literature/TheSilmarillion''. It proved to be a Crappy Promised Land.
** Likewise, Númenor to the Dúnedain. It became a lost paradise.
** Valinor itself to the Elves, as Unreachable Promised Land. Sure, they could reach it by the Elven ships, but going there would be an one-way journey, leaving everything behind with no chances of return... ''ever''.
* ''Literature/HouseOfTheScorpion'': The boys under control of the Keepers in Aztlán (Mexico) view the United States as this, and one boy mentions that his father is probably currently living it up in California as a movie actor. This fact was subverted earlier in the book when El Patrón mentions that when he captures illegal immigrants for his work force, he catches them not just coming in from Aztlán, but ''from the United States,'' [[FallenStatesOfAmerica saying that America has seen better economic times.]]
* In Creator/DrSeuss' story ''Literature/IHadTroubleInGettingToSollaSollew'', the titular Solla Sollew is a Unreachable Promised Land, as a key-slapping slippard prevents the door from being unlocked.
* The mythical land of Sugar Candy Mountain in ''Literature/AnimalFarm'' qualifies, though this is supposed to represent Heaven -- and in the context of the novel in general, it's meant to symbolize the promises of religion (represented by Moses the Raven), which were seen as empty and another means of control by those with the money and power (represented by Man) according to the proponents of the Russian Revolution.
** When life on Animal Farm worsens, Napoleon invites Moses the Raven back, so that Moses will keep the others happy with his tales of the promised land. It is never clarified if this land exists, but it is clear that Napoleon doesn't believe it does. So, No Promised Land, at least from Napoleon's point of view.
* In ''Franchise/{{Dune}}'', the Fremen believe they can turn the planet Arrakis into a Promised Land through ecological engineering. They refer to it in the same quasi-religious terms. They get their wish in later books, which turns out to be a mixed blessing at best when the sandworms [[spoiler:that create all Spice go extinct from the moisture.]]
* Chicago in UptonSinclair's ''Literature/TheJungle''. It turns out to be a Crappy Promised Land.
* California in ''Literature/TheGrapesOfWrath.'' This falls under the cynical side of this trope, as [[spoiler:everyone else has been trying to get to California, resulting in government officials blocking it off, and forcing many people into labor and government camps.]]
* ''Literature/DeathLands''. Earth has become a DeathWorld after WW3. A popular myth is that a gateway to a better world lies in the Darks (Glacier National Park in Montana). [[spoiler:Turns out the 'gateway' does exist -- to a LostTechnology PortalNetwork which takes the protagonists from one part of Literature/DeathLands to another, which is not exactly an improvement.]]
* Three examples in the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' series:
** The oldest known group of cats lived around a lake, but human construction work made prey scarce and life difficult. Jayfeather/Jay's Wing promises them that there is good land for them in the mountains; he knows this because he's traveling back into the past and knows that the Tribe of Rushing Water lives in the mountains later and realizes that these cats would become the Tribe.
** In the ''Dawn of the Clans'' prequel arc, the Tribe is starving because they are overpopulated for the prey that lives in the mountains. Stoneteller, the Tribe's leader, has a dream of a prey-filled land that lies in the direction of the rising sun. About half the Tribe leaves to follow "[[TitleDrop the Sun Trail]]" and find this land.
** In the ''The New Prophecy'' arc of the main series, the Clans - having lived in the forest for countless years - are struggling because the forest is being destroyed by humans. Midnight promises them that there's a place for them to live with oak forests and streams and plenty of prey, and when they leave on their journey, their ancestors give them a sign to show them which way to go. This was actually the original forest that the first group of cats started in, but it no longer has extra human activity and has perfect territory for each Clan.
* In ''Literature/OfMiceAndMen'' Lennie and George's dream of a little homestead for themselves is one of these. For most of the book it's out of their reach because they never made much money and had to move about to keep Lennie safe; it becomes a HopeSpot when Candy decides to use his life savings to try and make it a reality. But when [[spoiler:Lennie accidentally kills Curly's wife]] George admits that he only really started believing in it because Lennie did and without him it feels pointless.
** The book points out throughout the story that most of the ranch hands spend all their pay on booze and women because they believe themselves to be in a no-win scenario and might as well enjoy themselves, becoming a SelfFulfillingProphecy. [[SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers George could have taken up Candy's offer and lived a better life but his grief and cynicism blinded him to it.]]
* ''Literature/WatershipDown'' for the rabbits in the eponymous book. Of the Idealistic flavour -- after a long struggle [[EarnYourHappyEnding the rabbits reach it]].
* Creator/SelmaLagerlof's ''Jerusalem''. A Swedish sect decides to sell their property and real estate and found a colony in Jerusalem. In the end they find, instead of land of milk and honey, a slovenly run filthy and crappy Oriental town. [[spoiler:[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome They still make it]]. The book is based on RealLife events (see RealLife section). [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming The colony exists still today.]]]]
* ''Literature/TheVoyageOfStBrendan'' recounts St. Brendan's search for the "Land of Promise of the Saints", a paradisal island in the Atlantic which God will give to "His elect" when the entire world will be subject to God and "days of tribulation may come upon the people of Christ" (this refers probably to the beginning of the end times as described in the Literature/BookOfRevelation). St. Brendan finds the Land of Promise, but is sent back by an angel because the time is not yet ripe to reveal the Land of Promise to mankind.
* Literature/TheVinlandSagas: There are many enthusiastic descriptions of Vinland's natural resources, such as wild-grown wheat, grapes, streams with plenty of fish, no frost or snow in winter, and forests full of game for hunting and timber for building. At Leif's Huts, there is salmon "larger than they had ever seen before" (''The Greenlanders''); at Straumsey, there are "so many birds there that they could hardly walk without stepping on eggs" (''Erik the Red''). When Leif and his companions drink the dew of Vinland right after making land, they "thought they had never tasted anything as sweet" (''The Greenlanders''). ''Erik the Red'' also asserts that Leif found Vinland accidentally when he was sailing to Greenland with a mission from the king of Norway to preach Christianity there; this and the combined mention of wheat and grapes--which are used to make bread and wine, i.e. the food used in the Eucharist--suggest between the lines that maybe the discovery of Vinland was according to some divine plan. Vinland is not a perfect paradise, though: In ''Erik the Red'' Thorfinn and his party suffer famine during their first winter in Vinland because their preparations were insufficient, and the natives fight back and kill Thorvald Eriksson and Thorbrand Snorrason.
* Invoked in the Icelandic ''Book of Settlements'': After spending two winters in unpopulated UsefulNotes/{{Iceland}}, Floki Vilgerdarson and his company return to Norway. When people want to know how good the new land is, Floki says it is all bad; Floki's retainer Herjolf says that it has both good and bad qualities; his other retainer Thorolf says that it is so good that "butter drops from every blade of grass".

[[folder: Live-Action Television]]
* The planet Earth in ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}.'' [[spoiler:The colonists eventually find Earth in the re-imagined series, but it is a burnt out wasteland, putting this trope in the cynical side. However, the trope swings over to the idealistic side, when they find another planet, with more biodiversity than any of the planets they originally came from, which they decide to call Earth in honor of the series-driven dream.]]
* Myth-shrouded Utopia in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode of the same name.
** Another ''Series/DoctorWho'' example from the first season of the new series, The Long Game: the workers on the TV satellite talk about the legendary "Floor 500", which is described as a promised land. Falls under a mix of No Promised Land and Crappy Promised Land, in that there is a 500th floor of the satellite, but it's [[spoiler:full of corpses being used by the station's abominable alien overlord.]]
** Series 8 actually shows us that ''Series/DoctorWho'' has an afterlife, which is referred to as "the Promised Land" (alongside "Heaven" or "the Nethersphere"). Various villains from the earlier episodes are trying to reach it, and minor characters from the past, present and future intermittently show up there when they die. The whole thing's run by the mysterious Missy, [[spoiler:and once again it's a mix of Crappy Promised Land and No Promised Land - Missy's the Master. Her "Promised Land" is actually a Time Lord matrix built to delete the emotions from the human minds it stores, before uploading them into Cybermen.]]
** "The Crimson Horror" has Sweetville, proposed in 1890s England as a haven from the sinfulness of modernity. It is, of course, all part of a plot to [[spoiler:rain the titular Crimson Horror down from the skies]].
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' has an episode where Maybourne learns of a Promised Land and tricks SG-1 in to taking him to the gate that sends you there. Jack follows him through. Unfortunately for him, the message pointing him to the planet was millions of years old, and the Promised Land stopped existing at some point in the intervening millennia.
* ''Series/{{Defiance}}'': Before settling in Defiance, Nolan and Irisa were trying to make their way to Antarctica, which has apparently been terraformed into a tropical paradise. Everyone tells Nolan it's a pipe dream, and given the current state of the world that we see, it's likely that very few people have been there to confirm it. In general, however, ark hunters are trying to make enough money to get to Antarctica, if the tie-in game is to be believed.
** Earth was supposed to be this for the Votan fleet. It's not clear if they knew it was inhabited ahead of time, and they may simply have had no other choice.
* ''Series/{{The 100}}'':
** People from TheArk and Mount Weather view the Earth's surface as their beautiful, ancestral home that they must one day return to; on the Ark, returning to the Ground is actually part of their religion. Living in crowded space stations and underground bunkers will do that to people. Too bad there are already people living on the Ground who [[OccupiersOutOfOurCountry don't take kindly to invaders showing up.]]
** In Season 2, the City of Light is this for many people traveling across the Dead Zone, including Jaha and his followers. The reality is much stranger and more sinister than they realized, though Murphy seems content to take the underground bachelor pad full of food and booze he stumbled across as his personal Promised Land.

* Oingo Boingo uses the idea for one of their renditions of Tender Lumplings with a heavy lean toward the cynical.
-->"Oh listen, Tender Lumplings, let me take you by the hand
-->I'll take you from this hellhole to the Promised Land.
-->But don't blame me, oh children, if those promises don't keep
-->'Cause promises, like lives, can be bought so very cheap."
* The song "Big Rock Candy Mountain" by [=Harry McClintock=] depicts a hobo's version of paradise, with cigarette trees, hens that lay soft-boiled eggs, wooden-legged cops and rubber-toothed bulldogs, where the boxcars are empty and the "bulls" (railway police, whose job it was to protect railroad property and often booted hobos from trains) are blind. The [[https://casanders.net/music-history/the-true-story-of-the-big-rock-candy-mountain/ original version]] that [=McClintock=] wrote in 1898, however, is ''far'' more cynical than the regular version, meant to illustrate the dangers of hobo life, with a final verse omitted from the other versions that lays bare that it's all a lie:
-->''The punk rolled up his big blue eyes\\
And said to the jocker, "Sandy,\\
I've hiked and hiked and wandered too\\
But I ain't seen any candy.\\
I've hiked and hiked till my feet are sore\\
But I'll be damned if I hike any more\\
To be buggered sore like a hobo's whore\\
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains."''
* The Seekers, "I'll Never Find Another You"
-->There's a new world somewhere they call the Promised Land
-->And I'll be there someday if you will hold my hand

* Literature/{{Exodus}}, from Literature/TheBible, is the TropeNamer, showing that this trope is OlderThanFeudalism. The Promised Land is the land which, according to the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible), was promised and subsequently given by God to Abraham and his descendants, and in modern contexts an image and idea related both to the restored Homeland for the Jewish people and to salvation and liberation is more generally understood. Subverted slightly in modern times that the present incarnation of the Promised Land may be mostly like the trope--but only after years of labor and constant effort to ''make'' it like that and ''keep'' it that way. Also referred to as the Land of Milk and Honey, milk referring to goat's milk and honey referring to a type of date paste.
** The land is part of the "Fertile Crescent". Compared to the desert or near-desert to the south and east, it's practically heaven, even without irrigation. Irrigation has ironically contributed to it becoming ''less'' like this over the last couple of millennia, because the largest major sources of irrigation water ... the Sea of Galilee and the River Jordan ... are slightly saline (due largely to salt-water springs under the Sea of Galilee), resulting in the gradual salination of the irrigated land.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''. It contains "the promised land, a land which promises supreme happiness". The Shinra company wishes to find it and extract the allegedly abundant Mako in order to build Neo-Midgar. [[spoiler:It turns out to be mostly metaphorical not that that stops anyone fighting over it.]]
** The ExpandedUniverse indicates that the Promised Land is [[spoiler:the collection of souls that makes up TheLifestream, essentially being the setting's version of the afterlife.]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyCrystalChroniclesMyLifeAsAKing'' contains another promised land with the name "The Promised Land" Imaginative bunch, aren't they?
* [[color:green:Rupeeland]] in ''Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland''
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', the people forced to live in the Taris Undercity have a legend about a Promised Land where life will be better. You can help them learn the location of the Promised Land, or give the clues to a slimy merchant who's perfectly content with the way things are.
** Though somewhat unreachable as [[spoiler:the entire planet gets bombed from orbit shortly after that part of the game]]. ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' reveals [[spoiler:they made it, only to find it was a wasteland. After running out of vaccine, the survivors were [[ShootTheShaggyDog picked off by disease, starvation, and radiation poisoning]], turning this into a Crappy Promised Land.]]
* ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'': Some of the factions consider Planet to be this, especially when you compare it to what Earth ended up turning into before the game begins. The [[ChurchMilitant Lord's Believers]] actively refer to it as such, and get an environmental penalty as a result (hey, if it's the Promised Land, why worry about treating the native life right?).
* The titular land of ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'' was this until it was brought to ruin by [[ArtifactOfDoom the very artifact]] that drove it to prosperity.
* Erinn, the setting of ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'', is seen as one of these in the DarkerAndEdgier prequel, ''VideoGame/{{Vindictus}}'', and is very much an Unreachable Promised Land, what with the war against the Fomors in order to reach it. [[spoiler:By the time Erinn actually does get reached, several quite sympathetic characters have been corrupted, killed off or both, the biggest Badass of the entire game has become the BigBad, and sweet and adorable Tieve has become Morrighan herself]].
* ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' has Yu'biusk, the goblin homeland. It's supposedly a green land of happiness and tranquility, where all goblins can live together in harmony, but when the player gets there, what's left of it is barren rock and toxic sludge, completely inhabitable.
* In the ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' add-on, ''Honest Hearts'', [[TheAtoner Joshua Graham]] refers to Zion Nation Park as the Idealistic Version. [[SceneryPorn It's hard to argue with him]]. The player's actions can have Joshua and the tribals leave Zion for another Promised Land (which leads to Zion being polluted and despoiled by the White Legs), or fight off the White Legs to preserve Zion's natural beauty at the cost of introducing war to its (innocent) local population.
* ''Nirvana'' from ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' is [[ThereWillBeCake promised]] to be a Promised Land of the idealistic type. [[spoiler:But in the sequel, it turns out to be a Crappy Promised Land.]]
* Satellite in ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarIII'', where Ayn's generation go to resettle after Shushoran and Cille are attacked by cyborg armies. [[spoiler:Satellite turns out to be a Crappy Promised Land. It's the headquarters of the chapter's BigBad. Ayn can settle his people there afterwards and remain as their leader, but if he does, Siren will attack and destroy it 17 years later, killing all the survivors who went with him.]]
* Season 2 of ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'' has a promised land in the form of Wellington, a nigh-mythical settlement that has managed to become a safe and stable society amidst the zombie apocalypse. In [[MultipleEndings one of]] the finales, it's finally revealed that [[spoiler:Wellington does exist, and seems to be as safe as rumored. Unfortunately, it's become so overcrowded that they have to turn away anyone that seeks refuge there. However, Kenny is able to [[EarnYourHappyEnding get Clementine and AJ in]] at the cost of [[HeroicSacrifice not getting in himself.]]]]
* All three games in the ''VideoGame/{{Patapon}}'' series have the title people on a search for Earthend, their Promised Land.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* The Land of Milk and Honey in ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfWinnieThePooh''.
* Toad Hollow in ''WesternAnimation/ToadPatrol''.
* Tino remembers and tries to convince the other members of the group that The Crevasse of Dreams in WesternAnimation/TheWeekenders is real. This example is both the Idealistic version and an Unreachable Promised Land as they can't quite remember how to get there.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheMarvelousMisadventuresOfFlapjack'', everyone in Storm-Along-Harbor wants to find Candied Island.
* ''WesternAnimation/RenAndStimpy'' travel to Canada which is called the promised land and got rich in selling wieners that grow there (as in they grow in the ground). But after a while they hit rock bottom.
** There was also an episode (2X12) where they struck... dirt? in Canada, which is highly valued as a food source (wait what?), and then they claim the land and set up a colony and everything's good for a few years, but years after they die the colony turns into Canadian Pittsburgh. Or something.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the [[UsefulNotes/TheUnitedStates USA]] for many immigrants from poorer European countries (and lately, non-European ones too as they allowed them to immigrate). North-western and central European countries are also this trope for many these days, as well as other developed countries like Taiwan and Japan. This trope falls under both the idealistic and cynical sides of this trope. For some immigrants, they find a golden land of opportunity, for others, they find themselves in dirty slums facing violent gangs and discrimination and distrust from the native population. For the indigenous peoples, it resulted in genocide, depopulation, and poverty and discrimination that continue to this day.
* There are stories of people running away to places like California (a western state of the USA), hoping to make it big in the movie industry, but wind up poor and penniless when they find out the difficulties of getting in.
** Lots of people on the East Coast were sold 'agricultural' land in the West Coast that turned out to be horrible for farming when they finally reached it. Some of the luckier victims of this scam found that the clay soil hardpan that flooded and killed the wheatfields they'd been promised was actually excellent at growing rice...
* Indentured service in lthe 17th and 18th century was basically an Unreachable Promised Land. A poor man would basically sell himself as a slave to get to the Americas and work as a slave for several years at the plantation, factory or farm. Once the period of servitude was over, the indentured servant was free to live as an inhabitant of the land. Providing, of course, that he survived the harsh treatment, climate, work and diseases first.
* Israel is pretty nice when it hasn't been ecologically wrecked by the constant fighting that goes down there.
* The Soviet Union was at first known as the "the workers' paradise". It quickly turned into a Crappy Promised Land, especially after Stalin took over.
** This may have something to do with the Soviet Union being {{Totalitarian Utilitarian}} ''at best'', or at worst, [[BananaRepublic a totalitarian nation with a sham ideology]] [[DespotismJustifiesTheMeans designed to support more totalitarianism]]. A "worker's paradise" would only be a good description if you believe that certain government provisions outweigh the {{Long List}} of horrors including the omnipresent {{Propaganda Machine}}, lack of opposition parties, threat of going to {{The Gulag}}, threatening {{secret police}}, [[UsefulNotes/ColdWar constant threat of war]] and the [[DeadlyEuphemism threat of "disappearing"]].
** Even the government provisions may just be {{Metaphorically True}} -- for example, everyone has free access to education, even at universities, but to enter, you need a party membership and then your education will be full of propaganda. Or they may be {{moving the goalposts}} as in North Korea, where the 100% literacy rate is because "literacy" there simply consists of the ability to write "Kim Il-Sung".
** And the Soviet Union was still a totalitarian regime even before Stalin, though perhaps less brutal -- and even then, it was a country reeling from [[UsefulNotes/RomanovsAndRevolutions war, revolution]] and [[FullCircleRevolution the vestiges of the former Tsarist autocracy]].
** And nowadays, despite communist countries still claiming to benefit workers, the state run unions (of which membership may be compulsory) do little to support the workers, by almost always refusing strikes, refusing to raise minimum wages and being a {{yes man}} to the government.
** In short, Communist countries are in reality "No Promised Land" because the benefits may only be {{metaphorically true}} while freedom and democracy are sacrificed and [[ResistanceIsFutile punishment befalls anyone who disagrees with the government]].
* The Swedish-American colony in Jerusalem, which sparked Selma Lagerlöf to write her novel ''Jerusalem'', founded in 1881. The colony was founded by religious extremists, who wanted to make a "permanent pilgrimage" to Jerusalem -- only to discover that the town, like any bustling city, suffered from the realities of urban planning, falling short of their ideal. Seeking to fulfill their vision of the Promised Land, the settlers founded the commune, which grew and eventually moved out of the city, where it served a variety of functions, including hosting refugees from UsefulNotes/WorldWarI. The colony eventually collapsed from internal strife, and a hotel now bears its name.