[[quoteright:224:[[Main/WarIsHell http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/2000yardstare-lg_9954.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:224:The lights are on, but there's nobody home. 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''

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 "thousand-yard-stare" is believed to have originated in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, and was coined for the faces of battle-weary soldiers. 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. Not related to the "[[FlashbackBackBack Thousand Yard Stare of Impending Flashbacks]]", an affliction near universally shared by the characters of ''Series/{{Lost}}''.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In general, most manga and anime will achieve this look by removing the "shine" from a character's eyes. Light is not reflected, but absorbed.
* 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]] [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome 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 ''FullMetalPanicTheSecondRaid'' this happens when [[spoiler: Sousuke believes he's failed in protecting Kaname.]] This happens again [[spoiler: after Gauron tells Sousuke that Kaname was killed by Yu-Lan and Sousuke snaps.]]
* In the Marineford arc of ''Manga/OnePiece'' [[spoiler: after Ace gets killed....]] oh God, [[spoiler: the look on ''Luffy's'' face, of all people]].
** [[spoiler: Zoro's expression after taking all of Luffy's pain]] in Thriller Park. 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 ''{{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.
** 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...
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[[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.
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[[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."
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[[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]] gets one of these for a second when Felix calls her [[{{Trigger}} "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.
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[[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 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 ''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.
* 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/{{Rambo}}'', the fourth film in the series, 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 ''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 Les Miserables]]'' 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/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.
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[[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]].
* 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 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.
* ''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.
* 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.
* 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.
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[[folder:Music]]
* Referred to in the song "Assassing" (sic) by Music/{{Marillion}}.
* Shown in the music video for "Ghost of You" by MyChemicalRomance, much of which is set during the landings at Normandy during WorldWarII. The music video ends with a shot of the lead singer's stunned eyes.
* Referred to more humorously in TomSmith's "Rich Fantasy Lives"
--> "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" - ''Now there's a look in your eyes / like black holes in the sky'' - describing the look Syd Barrett sometimes wore on his face during his CreatorBreakdown.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestlers who take powerful blows to the head are often described as having this, and it is usually an accurate description. Randy Orton, 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, ChrisBenoit was described as having this for much of the last year of his life, outside of the ring.
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[[folder:Stand-up Comedy]]
* Played for laughs in one of 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.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* Part of the arena banter in ''RatchetAndClankUpYourArsenal'' refers to Ratchet having one of these, making him extra dangerous.
* Adrienne Delaney at the end of ''VideoGame/{{Phantasmagoria}}'' as part of her HeroicBSOD.
* [[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]]''.
* [[{{Badass}} 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 III 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 ''LunarSilverStarStory'' which doubles as a HeroicBSOD.
* Season 2 of [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/THEWALKINGDEAD Telltale's The Walking Dead]] 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Stains the dog, also known as the "cupcake dog", has become an internet meme due to sporting one of these when trying to resist a plate of cupcakes.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' the eponymous sponge blanks out after receiving an improbable order. Mr. Krabs explains it as the thousand yard stare to Squidward, that he had seen it during the war.
* DonaldDuck's stuck with one at the end of "Up A Tree", after Chip n' Dale blew up his house into smithereens.
* 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.
* In "WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty", at episode Rick Potion #9, Morty gets this at the ending. Then again, with that ending, even the troper had the same face. [[spoiler: Then again, 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.]]
[[/folder]]
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