[[quoteright:224:[[WarIsHell http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/2000yardstare-lg_9954.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:224:He's not staring right ''at'' you... he's staring right ''through'' you. [[note]]This famous painting by Tom Lea, originally titled the 2,000 Yard Stare, is set at the Battle of Peleliu - one of the bloodiest of the US's battles in the [[WorldWarTwo/WarInAsiaAndThePacific Asia-Pacific Theatre]].[[/note]]]]

->''"This is the part where Cameron's soul snaps like a Twix bar."''
-->-- '''[[WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment Doctor Insano]]''' reviews ''Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff''

The lights are on, but nobody's home.

A character who has just gone through some sort of trauma, learned something they [[GoMadFromTheRevelation probably didn't need to know]], or seen something they really shouldn't have had to, will often have an unfocused, vacant stare into a vast abyss of nothingness, slipping into a [[ShellShockedVeteran shock and weariness]] from which it is very hard to escape.

Note that this trope describes the stare/facial expression itself, and not what causes it or anything related.

The term [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thousand-yard_stare "thousand-yard-stare"]] is believed to have originated in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, and was coined for the faces of battle-weary soldiers. It was popularized in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and named for the perception that such stares really do seem to be able to see very far ahead. Eyes cross a little when focusing on something reasonably close, but eyes not looking at anything will behave like eyes looking at something very far away. DullEyesOfUnhappiness can look similar to this, but they're chronic while this trope tends to be transitory.

See also HeroicBSOD, for what usually goes hand-in-hand with this. A character who exhibits this may be on their way to developing [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posttraumatic_stress_disorder posttraumatic stress disorder]] and thus may develop into a ShellShockedVeteran. Such a veteran though may show it as well, particularly if it's something which helps them feel comfortable and cope after their duty is done.

Compare EmptyEyes. Not related to the "[[FlashbackBackBack Thousand Yard Stare of Impending Flashbacks]]", an affliction near universally shared by the characters of ''Series/{{Lost}}''.

Very much TruthInTelevision, and common on PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) patients.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'', Chiyo-chan does this whenever [[DrivesLikeCrazy Yukari's driving]] is mentioned since she barely survived it.
* Tsukune Aono of ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'' [[http://www.mangahere.com/manga/rosario_vampire_season_ii/v05/c022/3.html has one]] halfway through the second manga season. It's desolate, and if it looks like he's given up... it's because he ''[[SuperpoweredEvilSide has.]]'' Cue [[CurbstompBattle Carnage]] [[UnstoppableRage and]] [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome mayhem.]]
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', Mustang and Hughes discuss it during the Ishvalan war. Hawkeye approaches, and Mustang laments that Hawkeye has the stare too.
* In ''Manga/NoMatterHowILookAtItItsYouGuysFaultImNotPopular'', Kii-chan gets one when her [[BrokenPedestal pedestal gets broken]] in terms of her idolization of Tomoko.
* In ''[[LightNovel/FullMetalPanic Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid]]'', this happens when [[spoiler:Sōsuke believes he's failed in protecting Kaname.]] This happens again [[spoiler:after Gauron tells Sōsuke that Kaname was killed by Yu-Lan and Sōsuke snaps.]]
* ''Manga/OnePiece'':
** In the Marineford arc, [[spoiler: after Ace gets killed....]] oh God, [[spoiler: the look on ''[[ThePollyanna Luffy's]]'' face, of all people]].
** [[spoiler: Zoro's expression after taking all of Luffy's pain]] in Thriller Bark. It even got to the point of almost being a case of DiedStandingUp until [[spoiler: Zoro]] speaks up and says "[[BlatantLies Nothing happened.]]"
* Vash the Stampede of ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'' is prone to this expression when pushed far enough. Even leaving aside his HeroicBSOD after Legato's death, he will do this while ''smiling'' sometimes.
** Nothing emphasizes his isolation from humanity better or more tragically than a sad-Vash thousand-yard-smile, especially if he's doing something like hugging Miss Elizabeth while she breaks down over his not being evil, after trying to blow up the town to kill him.
* Manga/RurouniKenshin starts doing this when his angst level picks up late in the manga, though his first uses are after taking absurdly heavy damage in the Shishio arc. Maxes out during his especially persistent HeroicBSOD and TenMinuteRetirement to the slum of despair. Scares everyone in its first major appearance right after Enishi formally declares his Jinchuu.
** A less pitiful-looking version was also employed back when he was Hitokiri Battousai, aka Teenage Kenshin, and attempting to put off his moral crisis and shellshock for as long as possible so as to fulfill his duty.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' victims of the [[MindRape Tsukuyomi]] generally end up like this.
* Franchise/{{Gundam}}
** Amuro Ray of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' develops one after extended combat on Earth. Even a [[GetAHoldOfYourselfMan Bright Slap]] ain't fixing that. His recovery doesn't really start until [[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam the next series]].
** Chibodee Crockett of ''[[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam G Gundam]]'' has one while wandering around in a (somewhat violent) daze resulting from his clown phobia.
** Kira Yamato of ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED Gundam SEED]]'' and ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny Gundam SEED Destiny]]'' looks like this following the conclusion of the Bloody Valentine War. He spends most of his time sitting on his porch, staring off into space, and flashing back.
** Setsuna F. Seiei of ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam00 Gundam 00]]'' has a permanent one. Being an ex-ChildSoldier will do that to a guy.
** Asemu Asuno of ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamAGE Gundam AGE]]'' does this briefly after [[spoiler:his NoHoldsBarredBeatdown of Decil Galette, who just killed Woolf]].
* This serves as another deconstruction for Casca's post-Eclipse behavior in ''{{Manga/Berserk}}''. After going through a very heinous ordeal of [[spoiler: being raped by her former captain-turned-demon lord Griffith right in front of her lover Guts]], Casca shows very realistic signs of [[spoiler: rape]] trauma syndrome, one of them being that she often vacantly zones off and stares at nothing. Prominently shown on the hilltop scene when [[spoiler: she miscarries her baby.]]
** Guts showed very similar signs the morning after [[spoiler:his own traumatic rape at Donovan's hands]] back when he was a little boy.
* In ''Manga/ACruelGodReigns'' Jeremy displays this very often, every morning after his stepfather sexually or physically abuses him. As the series progresses, his gaze becomes like this most of the time, especially when he is close to one of his several instances of {{Heroic BSOD}}.
* Discussed in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', during the initiation of new recruits. One officer notices the DrillSergeantNasty completely ignores some of the recruits during his hazing process, and wonders over this. His companion points out the ones being ignored have already been broken down, with their blank stares revealing them to be survivors of previous Titan attacks, and to tear them down any more would be pointlessly cruel.
** Eren makes this face at the beginning when Hannes asks him about his father's whereabouts.
** Armin exhibits this multiple times throughout the series, especially during the Battle of Trost after watching his squad mates, including his best friend, get crunched by Titans.
** After Levi returns from the mission that the Female Titan had sabotaged, he is greeted by [[spoiler: Petra]]'s father, wanting to discuss his beloved child's future, [[spoiler: not knowing Petra had died]]. Levi's face is completely frozen, not speaking or even blinking, during the whole time the father was talking.
** Both Eren and Mikasa experience this in Chapter 49 when they see the Titan [[spoiler: that killed their mother five years ago]] slowly approaching them. Cue RoaringRampageOfRevenge...
* In ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'', Simon develops this after the [[spoiler: death of his "big brother" Kamina]], and keeps it for a few episodes until he experiences a HesBack.
* Fate from ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' has this look [[spoiler: [[ATasteOfTheLash after being whipped by her mother]].]]
* Oz Vessalius from ''Manga/PandoraHearts'' sports this expression while in a TroubledFetalPosition after [[spoiler: having one of his best friends disappear in front of him, getting shot by the other best friend, and then proceeding to realize everything he thought he knew about himself and his connections to other people was a lie, thus triggering TomatoInTheMirror, HeroicBSOD, LossOfIdentity, and a bunch of other unpleasant tropes.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/TheWalkingDead'', [[ChildrenAreInnocent Sophia]] has one after [[spoiler: her mother commits suicide in front of her.]]
* Depictions of Franchise/{{Batman}}'s origin often show young Bruce with this look as he stares at the bodies of his parents in the ally after they're shot.
* ''Comicbook/{{NYX}}'': The very first appearance of ComicBook/{{X 23}} in the comics is of her staring blankly at the blinking "Vacancy" sign of the seedy, rundown motel where she has just finished [[StreetWalker a session with a John]]. She spends the rest of the issue in virtually mute catatonia, and is visibly traumatized for much of the series. She'll occasionally lapse back into this once she joins the X-Men after a particularly brutal TraumaCongaLine.
* ''ComicBook/ThePunisher'': In a FictionalDocument, the soldier who was the first to find Frank Castle in the middle of hundreds of dead Vietcong and Marines mentioned thousand-yard stares as common enough in Vietnam, so you can imagine what he felt like when describing Franks as a [[UpToEleven million-mile stare.]]
* In Comicbook/{{Supergirl}} storyline ''Comicbook/ManyHappyReturns'', Kara does this when she meets Post-Crisis Franchise/{{Superman}} and tries to talk him into being partners but Clark -who doesn't know she is his cousin and mistakenly believes her to be an obsessed fan- turns her down.
-->'''Linda:''' By the time we found her up on the roof, she was just... sitting there. Staring off into space. She wouldn't talk to us... wouldn't even look us in the eye.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In the ''Anime/{{Free}}'' fic [[http://archiveofourown.org/works/919045 seen everything there is to be shown]], Seijuurou walks in on Rin and Haru having sex in the pool office and runs out "sporting a thousand-yard-stare more commonly seen in war veterans than in swim team captains."
* ''Fanfic/TheBridge'': Xenilla sports this look after King Sombra made him hallucinate his greatest fear. It takes several days and then a huge pep talk from Blade Dancer to snap him out of it.
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': Shinji recounts that one time Asuka allowed him to have sex with her (a while before their reconciliation and RelationshipUpgrade), she was more akin to a mannequin, and that when he saw this look in her eyes, it completely killed what little mood there was.
* ''Fanfic/FalloutEquestriaOccupationalHazards'': Twintails develops a nice healthy case after the second battle of Pripytrot, after charging across the enemy trench lines he'd only just had strafed with high-velocity White Phosphorous shells.
** ''Fanfic/FalloutEquestriaEmptyQuiver'': The years haven't been kind to him following the finale of Occupational Hazards, either, as while looking north towards where NEAMO was he falls silent, and when Night Strike prompts him to come back to his senses he jumps about and levels both of his automatic rifle barrels upon her. Mercifully, he refrains from opening fire on his own daughter.
*** Night Strike's no stranger to this either, especially following a harrowing moment wherein she ends up stuck in the middle of a tunnel as the entrance is struck with a fuel-air bomb. When a song comes over the radio that happens to feature a jet engine roar followed by an explosion, she ends up screaming and trying to save herself from the lack of danger, much to the worriment of her friends.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Rango}},'' one of the supporting characters goes into this as a "defense mechanism" to keep her from recognizing her abandonment issues with her dead father.
* In ''Disney/WreckItRalph'', [[BrokenBird Calhoun]]'s eyes snap forward in a stare when Felix calls her "one dynamite gal." Cue the TroubledBackstoryFlashback.
* In the final segment of ''WesternAnimation/TheIronGiant'', a soldier is seen with this expression holding a walkie talkie, staring at the scene before him in shock. Even after the general drives by and grabs the communicator from him, the man remains standing with the same vacant expression after they drive away.
* In Tim Burton's ''WesternAnimation/CorpseBride'', Victoria does this during and after her wedding to [[TheBluebeard Lord Barkis]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/AGoofyMovie'', PJ gets one in the principal's office, as he dreads facing a harsh punishment from his father in an equally vacant tone.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/FullMetalJacket'', Payback gives an extended speech about this.
-->'''Payback:''' The thousand-yard stare. A marine gets it after he's been in the shit for too long. It's like... it's like you've really seen beyond. I got it. All field marines got it.
** Joker himself gets to do the stare after [[spoiler:shooting a sniper as a MercyKill]].
* Commonly, the expression on some of the characters in ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' (indeed, the beginning graveyard scene ends with this).
** EnforcedMethodActing: The entire cast was run rugged, interminable military exercises - ''except'' Matt Damon (who plays Pvt. Ryan). It even made the cast ''resent'' Damon, which was entirely the point.
* WWII veteran and B-movie star Creator/AudieMurphy, who saw many of his comrades in arms killed and is credited with personally killing, wounding or capturing more than two hundred Axis soldiers, had a particularly bleak and distant stare, which director Creator/JohnHuston put to good use in ''Film/TheRedBadgeOfCourage''. Murphy developed a warmer and somewhat more animated screen persona around 1953, perhaps due to the birth of his beloved son Terry, but he never really lost the ThousandYardStare.
** This became a bit of a problem for co-star Sir Creator/MichaelRedgrave during the filming of ''Film/TheQuietAmerican'' (1958). Redgrave asked Director Joseph Mankiewicz if he could get Murphy to blink more often. Mankiewicz didn't take any action, possibly feeling that Murphy's stare suited his character in the film.
* If there is a fetish for thousand-yard stares, the film version of ''Film/TheRoad'' is your fuel.
* ''Film/BoogieNights'': During the scene at Rahad Jackson's house, a drug-addled Dirk stares into space for what seems like an eternity.
* Invoked in ''Film/RamboIV'' when an Australian mercenary informs Rambo that he's seen the thousand-yard stare before. He's not impressed, but his opinion changes after the shit hits the fan.
* In ''Film/AnimalKingdom'', Darren, the youngest Cody brother, develops one after [[spoiler: getting raped in jail.]]
* In ''Film/{{District 9}}'', Wikus has one of these in the back of a MNU van [[spoiler:after he has crashed Christopher's command module and has been apprehended by Koobus.]]
* In ''Film/BattleRoyale'', Yuko has one just before [[spoiler: she tries to poison Shuya and ends up killing all of her friends.]]
* Marius from ''Film/LesMiserables2012'' sports one of these after the events in the barricades. It takes a love song from Cosette to pull him out of it. He sports another at the end of the film due to (WordOfGod confirming this) [[spoiler:him hearing his dead comrades from the barricades singing to Valjean from Heaven]].
* Angela in the original ''Film/SleepawayCamp'' has one of these. It's one of the most memorable aspects of the film.
* In ''Film/ApocalypseNow'', [[spoiler: Willard]] sports one right at the end, after [[spoiler: he completes his mission]].
* In ''Film/{{Platoon}}'', [[spoiler: Chris after he kills Barnes]]. And just as dramatically, when Chris first arrives in Vietnam, one of the soldiers boarding the plane back to the States sports a doozy of one.
* In ''Film/JurassicWorld'', Owen has one after seeing [[spoiler: his youngest ''Velociraptor'', Charlie, blown to pieces right in front of him.]] Only the sounds of Barry screaming knock him out of it.
* In ''Film/PathsOfGlory'', General Mireau inspects his troops in the trenches before an assault. One soldier is just standing there with a vacant stare, unable to answer questions about his family. The general sends him off for "cowardice."
* Plenty in ''Film/TheWarGame'' due to its {{docudrama}} portrayal of a nuclear attack on Britain. Most interviewees AfterTheEnd just stare listlessly into the camera when answering questions.
* The look on Hagrid's face [[spoiler: as he's forced to carry a seemingly dead Harry back to Hogwarts]] in [[Film/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Deathly Hallows Part II]]. [[TearJerker Dear God]]...
* In ''{{Film/Predator}}'', Dutch delivers one in the final shot of the movie [[spoiler:after he's picked up by the rescue helicopter, most likely reflecting on the fact that his entire squadron is dead at the hands of the Predator.]]
* In ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'', Dr. Ishiro Serizawa acquires one [[spoiler:in the aftermath of the male Muto's awakening]].
* Actually the subject of a ''joke'' in ''Film/ShaunOfTheDead'': Diane is giving her impromptu zombie-acting lesson, and compliments Barbara for successfully displaying one of these. Barbara: "Sorry dear. I was miles away.." [[spoiler: It eventually turns out Barbara has been [[ZombieInfectee bitten by a zombie]].]]
* ''Film/EdgeOfTomorrow''. William Cage is stuck in a GroundhogDayLoop, condemned to fight the same bloody battle, get killed, then be woken at the start of the day by a kick from a DrillSergeantNasty. After watching his female colleague die yet another horrible and pointless death he wakes up yet again, and the drill sergeant forgoes his abuse and silently hands Cage his gear in recognition of this trope. Then when Cage is being strapped into his PoweredArmor, he's told off by fellow soldier Griff for [[HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic not wearing a helmet]]. Cage says the helmet is a distraction during combat and demands extra ammunition, grenades and power packs. Griff looks like he's going to object, but one look at Cage's crazy eyes convinces him otherwise.
* Directors like to get shots of Creator/ChristopherLambert doing this. Given he's pretty much blind in any role in which he isn't wearing glasses, it's because Lambert literally [[BlindWithoutEm can't see much of anything in front of him]].
* Teenaged Rosetta reacts this way in ''Film/TwoWomen'' after she is gang-raped by some French Moroccan soldiers. She stares blankly for a while, and even after snapping out of her catatonia she shows this look a lot.
* Robert the Bruce in ''Film/{{Braveheart}}'', during a MyGodWhatHaveIDone moment when seeing the carnage on the battlefield of Falkirk he helped to commit.
* The little girl found at the beginning of the movie ''Film/{{Them}}'' [[spoiler:She is the sole survivor of giant ants that attacked the trailer she and her parents were in.]] Formic acid fumes revive her screaming '''[[TitleDrop Them!]]'''
* In ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'', Comicbook/LoisLane has one after [[spoiler: [[Comicbook/{{Superman}} Clark's]] HeroicSacrifice. It's especially notable when she's lying on Clark's bed during his wake, staring up at the planets hanging from the ceiling]].
* In ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'', Captain Terrell has one when they find him on Regula I.
* ''Film/{{Dredd}}''. Judge Anderson's reaction the first time she executes a criminal. She snaps out of it on catching Judge Dredd [[GetAHoldOfYourselfMan staring at her]].
* The very first shot we see in ''Film/{{Melancholia}}'' is Justine in her wedding dress, giving the audience a disconcerting stare [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt while dead birds fall from the sky]] in super slow-motion.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* TheAce does this after being [[BrokenAce broken]] in the ''[[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]]'' episode "Heal Thyself." While [[OutDamnedSpot compulsively scrubbing away invisible blood]].
* Some (canonical) DVD specials from ''Series/DoctorWho'' have noted this about Rory Williams. He spent almost two thousand years guarding a box as an immortal centurion. It happened in a defunct timeline, but he [[RippleEffectProofMemory still has the memories]], which he must suppress for his own sanity, though as the Doctor points out "Sometimes you catch him just staring..."
** He mentions that he can remember all two thousand years he stood guard, he just doesn't ''[[HeroicSafeMode try]]'' to remember it.
** The Doctor himself does it sometimes, but usually only when he's alone or his companions aren't looking. Eleven in particular.
** During an appearance in Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures, the Eleventh Doctor does this when Jo innocently makes a joke about the [[LastOfHisKind Time Lords]].
** Amy does this after the Doctor [[spoiler:is apparently killed]].
** Clara does it after [[spoiler:her lover Danny Pink dies]].
* In ''Series/{{Angel}}'', Faith spends much of ''Sanctuary'' in this state, and is so detached from herself, that she picks up a butcher's knife without even realizing it at one point.
* In ''Series/HoratioHornblower'':
** Archie would stare blankly when troubled in Series One quite a lot. Being ruthlessly tormented by a shipmate followed by [[spoiler: being presumed dead, imprisoned by the enemy, and punished painfully for escape attempts]] and then getting caught up in someone else's war where the chances of survival/victory are extremely low will have an impact on a person.
** Horatio Hornblower gets this unfocused look when he's troubled by something or somebody and when he goes into his "questioning my abilities" mode.
* Mal Reynolds has an empty shocked stare in the ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' pilot at the end of the Battle of Serenity Valley. He gets it from not getting any backup, from losing everyone under his command except Zoe, from losing the war to the evil Alliance, from being essentially sold out by his superiors, and ''especially'' from witnessing the last rebel stronghold get firebombed and overrun into oblivion.
* One of the soldiers on leave in ''Series/BandOfBrothers'' (the whole episode focused on various soldiers dealing with the sudden change from battle to civilian life) has this.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones''.
** Catelyn Stark after she gets the news of her husband Ned's death, though it only lasts [[TheWomanWearingTheQueenlyMask until she gets out of sight of the Northern soldiers]], then she breaks down in anguish.
** Catelyn also gives one of these [[spoiler:after seeing her firstborn son murdered before her eyes.]]
** Subverted in the first episode of Season 4. Jaime and Brienne discuss Sansa Stark as she stares listlessly out to sea. The moment they leave, she drops the vacant look and walks off, implying she's not the BrokenBird they all imagine, but is only pretending to put her captors off their guard. Played straight during Joffrey's wedding, when her family's demise is mocked with the dwarf show.
** After a large amount of time being sadistically [[ColdBloodedTorture tortured]] and {{Mind Rape}}d by [[AxCrazy Ramsay Bolton]], or just seeing what [[FlayingAlive he does to]] [[HuntingTheMostDangerousGame other people]], Theon Greyjoy's face becomes almost permanently fixed with this expression.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'': In "The Doomsday Machine," Commodore Decker has this when he's found on his wrecked ship, having just watched his entire crew get killed.
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager''. The TwoPartEpisode "Dark Frontier" has a NightmareFuel sequence where a fleet of Borg cubes forceably assimilate an alien race into their HiveMind. As the survivors are brought on board a cube for UnwillingRoboticisation they've already given up and have this trope, traumatised by TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. Seven of Nine is able to help a small group escape, but one of them doesn't even look at her, just staring listlessly at the nearest bulkhead the entire time.
* A little girl on ''Series/CSICrimeSceneInvestigation'', who came downstairs to find her relatives butchered and her mother missing, mutely prepares her own breakfast, selects a favorite book from the shelf, and goes outside to sit on a bench in the yard, staring silently into the distance. She's still staring and clutching her book hours later when D.B. questions her.
* The [[UsefulNotes/UnitedKingdomGeneralElection2015 2015 UK General Election]] coverage on May 8th showed Danny Alexander with such an expression after it became clear that he had lost his seat.
* Steve Austin has this look at the end of the ''Series/TheSixMillionDollarMan'' episode "Burning Bright". Hes carrying the body of his friend, Josh Lang, (Creator/WilliamShatner) after hed burned out from his brain boost.
* The final shot of ''Series/WolfHall'' is Thomas Cromwell being embraced by Henry for having so neatly arranged the execution of Anne Boleyn. All Cromwell can do is stare dead-eyed over Henry's shoulder--possibly seeing four years ahead to his own eventual fate.

* In ''Literature/DragonBones'' the empty stare is a sign that Oreg is not quite there at the moment. He is [[Really700YearsOld older than he looks]] and has been a slave for most of his not-life. With [[FridgeHorror all that implies.]]
* In "Literature/MrsDalloway" Septimus Warren Smith, a WWI vet suffering from "shellshock" makes a habit of trying to people-watch with a thousand-yard stare, eventually committing suicide.
* ''Literature/TheBlackIce'': Detective Bosch has an 18-year-old petty criminal drug pusher thrown into the adult lockup overnight, in an effort to get him to divulge information. When the boy comes out he's showing the Stare. Bosch is so ashamed that he immediately cuts the kid loose.
--> He looked like he had aged ten years in the last ten hours. Now he had a distance in his eyes that reminded Bosch of men he had seen and known in Vietnam.

* Referred to in the song "Assassing" (sic) by Music/{{Marillion}}.
* Shown in the music video for "Ghost of You" by Music/MyChemicalRomance, much of which is set during the landings at Normandy during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. The music video ends with a shot of the lead singer's stunned eyes.
* Referred to more humorously in "Rich Fantasy Lives" by Rob Balder and Music/TomSmith:
-->That waitress at Pete's who took so long to seat you,\\
And left you to stand in the doorway,\\
With her stringy red hair and her thousand-yard stare,\\
In her mind, she's the Princess of Norway.
* Referred to in Music/PinkFloyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" from ''Music/WishYouWereHere'' - ''Now there's a look in your eyes / like black holes in the sky'' - describing the look Music/SydBarrett sometimes wore on his face during his CreatorBreakdown.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestlers who take powerful blows to the head are often described as having this, and it is usually an accurate description. Wrestling/RandyOrton, during his brief face run a few years ago, was involved in a story line where he was taking too many bumps to the head, and had this blank stare after each one.
* In particular, Wrestling/ChrisBenoit was described as having this for much of the last year of his life, outside of the ring.
* Wrestling/AngelinaLove had one on Wrestling/{{TNA}} Impact as a result of being drugged by Wrestling/{{Winter}}.

[[folder:Stand-up Comedy]]
* Played for laughs in one of Music/BillBailey's routines, wherein he describes a conversation with someone about swimming with dolphins; apparently, the dolphins the other person had swam with were ex-military dolphins which had been used for underwater bomb training, and had "a glazed, faraway look in their eyes."
-->'''Bill Bailey:''' ''[As the dolphin]'' You weren't there, man; you weren't there.
* BillBurr has a similar joke, about old men. In it, he claims that look not because of anything truly traumatic, but because they've become so old and feeble, they can no longer get away from their annoying wives.
-->Bill Burr:'' Oh shit! Dude, I can't get up! You mean I gotta listen to this the rest of my life!? (old man face)

[[folder: Tabletop Game]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Space 1889}}'', there are a few pictures in the main book that show shipwrecked people who have are going through an arduous wilderness journey. Some of these have a person looking at the reader with this stare.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Part of the arena banter in ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankUpYourArsenal'' refers to Ratchet having one of these, making him extra dangerous.
* During the last chapter of ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2'', every survivor gets this once [[spoiler: they realize that they are the Remnants of Despair]], and Hajime gets one when he [[spoiler: finds out he is Izuru Kamukura]].
* Adrienne Delaney at the end of ''VideoGame/{{Phantasmagoria}}'' as part of her HeroicBSOD.
* Among other characters, [[spoiler: Ayumi Shinozaki and Naomi Nakashima]] both wear these expressions in ''VideoGame/CorpseParty''.
* [[PlayerCharacter Walker]] in ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'' has two, one each at a significant moment in the plot. The first is when he finds [[spoiler:the corpses of civilians among those of the enemy soldiers he ordered to be bombarded with white phosphorous mortar]]. Walker delivers his lines with steely calm, but the moment at which he snaps is still chillingly clear. The second is the climax, when he realizes [[spoiler:the man he hunted down and [[ShootTheDog committed atrocity after atrocity to find]] is [[DrivenToSuicide already dead]]; Walker has been imagining a taunting voice to create an enemy to blame for his own crimes]].
* Lara Croft ends up sporting one of these after her hellish experience on the island in the 2013 reboot of ''[[VideoGame/TombRaider2013 Tomb Raider]]''.
* Raiden sports one of these after [[spoiler: killing Senator Steven Armstrong, who was both the BigBad and quite possibly the one person on the planet who understood Raiden]] at the end of ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance''.
* The [[PsychicPowers Psychic-type]] cat Espurr from ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'' [[http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/thumb/0/09/677Espurr.png/250px-677Espurr.png sports one]].
** According to the Pokedex entry on Espurr, it probably looks like that because it has to keep a constant lockdown on its psychic powers; its brain can barely handle the strain.
** Gen II Pokemon Xatu also has one. It is said to be horrified by its visions of the future.
* In the NES VideoGame/MegaManClassic games, Mega Man's normal sprite has this same, void expression most of the time, even in some close-up sprites from VideoGame/MegaMan3. It would make sense in that A: He's a robot, and B: a lot of his media plays with the idea that destroying other robots isn't something he takes easily, But most cutscenes throughout the series (and even sprites in later games) show that he normally has at least an angry glare on his face, or some exaggerated anime-style expression like shock or excitement.
** Taken to its logical conclusion in the fourth ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' title where Mega Man is a GuestFighter; his expression is not only almost always blank, but his eyes seem to have a rather vacant stare at all times...[[note]]Notably, his eyes in ''Smash [[FanNickname For]]'' are presented as LED screens where his eyes flicker on in his debut trailer, invoking this trope even more. As mentioned, in the main ''Mega Man'' franchise, particularly in printed media rather than in his games, Mega Man is as expressive as any human and his eyes seem to be the same as a human's, rather than being LED screens.[[/note]]
* Done very creepily with Luna during the end of the second act of ''VideoGame/LunarTheSilverStar'' which doubles as a HeroicBSOD.
* Season 2 of VideoGame/TheWalkingDead opens with Clementine giving one straight into the camera, thanks to all the suffering she's seen in the past two years in the zombie apocalypse.
* [[ColdSniper Craig Boone]], a companion in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' always stares in the direction he's facing, not even looking at [[PlayerCharacter the Courier]] when they walk within his field of vision. [[DarkAndTroubledPast Given]] [[TraumaCongaLine what]] [[ShellShockedVeteran he's]] [[MercyKill been]] [[TheLostLenore through]], it ''really'' makes sense for him to have one.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', [[PlayerCharacter Hawke]] sports one after his/her [[spoiler:mother's very gruesome death]].
* In ''VideoGame/Battlefield1'', Daniel Edwards, the Main Character, is pictured in a cutscene where he is in the driving seat of a car. He looks at his hands, which are covered in clean white gloves. The gloves suddenly turn bloody and the scenery changes to a WWI battlefield. The camera then zooms out from his face, and he initiates a KubrickStare, then lifts his head, looking ahead of him.

* Ariel from ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}'' [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?sid=4663 has this expression]] after she's forced to choose between killing an enemy who tried to kill her and fighting her cousin to the death. She chooses to kill the enemy, and it's strongly implied this leaves her with PTSD. Even worse, she's physically the equivalent of a seven year old child when this happens and the victim is the same age.
* [[spoiler: Susan]] from ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' sports one in [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2010-05-31 a flashback]] after [[spoiler: [[TheseHandsHaveKilled killing an aberration.]]]]. And it's eerily similar to [[spoiler: the half-lidded expression she usually has.]]
-->'''Commentary:''' [[spoiler: I have frequently seen Susan described as having a "bored" look on her face. For a long time now, I have seen it as something else. ]]
* In ''Webcomic/KnightsOfBuenaVista'', the characters have learned that if Adriana does this it means she's about to do something that will potentially wreck the campaign, but if [[GameMaster Walter]] does this it means the players are about to do something monumentally stupid.
* Sun from ''Webcomic/{{Nebula}}'', who's just been staring emptily out into the dark, looking at nothing. Mars finds it incredibly unnerving, especially since Sun doesn't seem to hear when he tries to talk to him.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Staiens the dog, also known as the [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/cupcake-dog "cupcake dog,"]] has become an internet meme due to sporting one of these when trying to resist a plate of cupcakes on one episode of ''Series/ItsMeOrTheDog''. Enhanced by the dog's blue eyes, being an Australian Shepard.
* [[http://i.imgur.com/qG78s3A.gif This hamster]] sports one after losing a game of tug-of-war and falling into a sitting position. [[RuleOfFunny Naturally, this being on the internet,]] people responded by adding war-footage to make it look like a ShellShockedVeteran, like in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fsrw0bEVWls this video]].
* In a BadFuture where he's Snob's SexSlave, WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic looks even more permenantly traumatized than usual.
* In ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', done [[TearJerker heartbreakingly]] by [[spoiler:Yang]] at the end of "Fall" when [[spoiler:she is arrested by Atlesian army troops after being goaded into breaking Mercury's leg... [[DeliberateInjuryGambit seemingly]].]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Used in ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' frequently. Finn gets one in "Susan Strong" when he contemplates being the last of his kind for too long. He gets another one in "Marceline's Closet", when he sees Marceline naked.
* ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'': In the episode "Aye Aye Eyes", this is the Creepy-Eyed-Girl's default expression. Dexter and Dee Dee are ''very'' disturbed by it.
* WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck's stuck with one at the end of "Up A Tree", after Chip n' Dale blew up his house into smithereens.
* Mild example in ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'': After Kaeloo [[spoiler: [[ForcefulKiss forcibly kisses]]]] Mr. Cat in the episode "Let's Play Peace Man", he sits under a tree and stares into the distance. A few minutes later, he recovers after she asks him if [[spoiler:they can do it again]].
* In the GrandFinale of ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', while everybody is out looking for [[spoiler:Korra, who vanished in the [[FantasticNuke spirit energy explosion]] that destroyed downtown Republic City]], Asami just [[http://dongbufeng.net/media/gallery/displayimage.php?album=113&pos=1325 stands there,]] looking stunned and profoundly ''lost''.
* In ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty'', in the episode "Rick Potion #9", Morty gets this at the ending. With that ending, even the viewer has the same face. [[spoiler:Burying a corpse of yourself and then replacing their lives while you leave your own reality to die off in an apocalypse does that to people.]]
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' the eponymous sponge blanks out in the knowledge that a food critic is coming to the Krusty Krab. Mr. Krabs explains it as the thousand yard stare to Squidward, which he had once had himself.
** Mr. Krabs himself gets one in the first episode when he realizes that the [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Anchovies]] are coming to the Krusty Krab.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'': At the end of [[Recap/StarWarsRebelsS3E20ZeroHourPartII "Zero Hour"]], [[spoiler:the surviving members of Phoenix Squadron onboard the ''Ghost'' for the trip to Yavin IV pretty much all have this look on their faces, after the Battle of Atollon resulted in heavy losses for the rebels, including Commander Sato]].