->'''Shepard''': You survived a gunshot, to the head?\\
'''Zaeed''': Yeah... A stubborn enough person will survive just about anythin'. Rage is a hell of an anesthetic.
-->-- ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''

Almost always, shooting someone in the [[BoomHeadshot head]] is [[InstantDeathBullet going to kill them]], because the brain contains your consciousness and everything you think about, and what tells your body how to move and what to do allowing it to function.

In fiction, dismissing a BoomHeadshot as OnlyAFleshWound is exclusively the domain of a badass and shows just how much of a {{Determinator}} or MadeOfIron a character is. Sometimes the injury will be {{Handwave}}d as a lot less serious than it looked, and sometimes it will merely be implied that the character is just that tough.

In real life, in relatively rare cases people actually ''have'' survived a bullet to the brain, though it usually comes down to luck and the poor velocity of the bullet, rather than badassery. Slightly more common are cases where a bullet has lodged in the skull. There are very rare cases of someone surviving with their personality intact - most with brain injuries have their abilities and personality altered.

May be defied with a DoubleTap or MultipleGunshotDeath. [[VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas Then again, maybe not.]]

Note: This trope only applies to people who have [[BadassNormal no special powers]] other than the RuleOfCool. If they can [[HealingFactor regenerate]] or have [[NighInvulnerability some other]] [[ImmuneToBullets bullet-defying]] superpower, it belongs elsewhere.


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* In ''Manga/{{Monster}}'', Johan Liebert is shot in the head at the beginning of the series. He survives, but only because elite neurosurgeon Dr. Kenzo Tenma operates on him. The series does point out how hard it is to safely remove a bullet to the skull though, and points out that Dr. Tenma is the only one in the entire hospital (an enormous complex) skilled enough to have a chance at it. [[spoiler:At the very end of the series, he's shot in the head ''once more,'' possibly without even losing consciouness, and again survives thanks to Tenma.]] Though Johan [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane may be]] [[AntiChrist technically]] breaking the "no supernatural powers" rule.
* In ''Anime/MaiOtome'', [[spoiler:Sergay]] is shot in the head. He survives with little more than EasyAmnesia.
* ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'': If the newly-found Meiji Government actually bothered to check the corpse of the assassin they shot in the head and ''then set on fire'', they wouldn't have to deal with supreme [[TheSocialDarwinist Social Darwinist]] warlord Shishio Makoto ten years later.
* Accelerator of ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex.'' Ordinarily his [[StoryBreakerPower ridiculous powers]] would have redirected the bullet, but he was very occupied with using them in other ways at the time. He survives thanks to the actions of an elite doctor, but suffers severe brain damage: he cannot speak, walk, or use his powers without assistance.
* ''Manga/MasterKeaton'': A man threatening to kill himself is told by the police's negotiator that, with the gun he's using and position he's holding it (pointed inward at the temple), [[InvokedTrope he's far more likely to just give himself crippling brain damage than cause his own death]]. The negotiator further tells him [[DoWrongRight that if he really wanted to guarantee his own death]] he'll have to [[AteHisGun point it down his mouth toward the base of his brain.]]
* None other than Bean Bandit from ''Anime/RidingBean'', who takes one right between the eyes from [[BigBad Semmerling]], followed by being rammed into another car with her car. This would have killed an ordinary man at least twice over, but for the MadeOfIron Bean, all the headshot accomplishes is scrambling his brains a bit, which get unscrambled when she rams him. And it ultimately has little effect on him, as evidenced when he proceeds to shoulder-check her car and lift the damned thing right off its front wheels when she tries to ram him again! He was wearing a bullet-proof headband.
* Damaramu of ''Manga/DragonHalf'' got a ''sword'' through his head in his first appearance and kept on going through the rest of the manga. Apparently his brain is so small that the blade didn't hit anything important.
* [[spoiler:Muhammad Avdol]] from ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventureStardustCrusaders'' was seemingly killed when shot in the head by Hol Horse and his [[FightingSpirit stand]] Emperor, TakingTheBullet to save Polnareff. He returns later to save Polnareff again, revealing that it was OnlyAFleshWound as he jerked his head back before the bullet broke through his skull.
* In the finale of the 2003 anime of ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'', [[spoiler:Roy Mustang]] is shot in the face by Lt. Col. Archer. He appears to be dead, but is later seen recovering at home with a brand new eyepatch.

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}''
** SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker was shot in the head by an unhinged police officer dressed as Franchise/{{Batman}}. While he had to go through some physical therapy, the event just switched him to a different brand of crazy.
** One-shot villainess "The Absence" takes it to an absurd degree - because of [[ArtMajorBiology a very exaggerated case]] of Dandy Walker Syndrome, the bullet shot through her forehead but missed her brain completely, [[http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110202182329/marvel_dc/images/d/dd/Una_Nemo_001.png leaving a softball-sized hole drilled through her skull.]]
** Dick Grayson took a bullet to the back of the head towards the end of the ''Return of Bruce Wayne'' arc. It was intentionally underpowered so that it wouldn't kill him instantly. Rather, it caused severe bleeding in his brain that would eventually kill him unless he received medical attention.
* The ''[[Comicbook/ThePunisherMAX Punisher MAX]]'' version of Bullseye had four bullet scars on his head. Most of them were probably the result of opponents aiming for the "bull's eye" tattoo on his forehead, but it was implied that his insanity and [[PsychoForHire resulting career choice]] may have been due to brain damage from the first head shot.
* The ''Comicbook/{{Batgirl|2011}}'' villain Gretel was shot in the head without it killing her, and in fact it wound up unlocking a psychic power she didn't know she had that allowed her to control other people.
* ''Young Liars'' features a main character who survived a bullet to the brain; as a result of the brain damage, she suffered an extensive change in her personality including increased aggression, lack of social restraint, and inappropriate sexual behavior. [[http://www.politedissent.com/archives/1943 And according to one doctor, it's a fairly realistic treatment of what could result from such a wound]] (other than the suggestion that the bullet will eventually drop and damage the brain stem -- but that's [[ShownTheirWork correctly noted to be fatal if it happens]]).
* ''Comicbook/SinCity'':
** Dwight is shot in the face but not only survives with a bit of surgery, he stays conscious.
** There is the case of Jackie Boy whose gun exploded, sending the slide into his forehead. He remained alive long enough that the assassin Miho, chopped his head off to finish the job. Well she didn't quite chop his head off, she made a Pez dispenser out of him.
* ''Comicbook/TheSavageDragon'' once had to share his body with a human detective as a result of a story far too long to explain here. The detective was shot in the head by a criminal, resulting in the Dragon [[HulkingOut taking over the body]] and [[HealingFactor healing]] the hole through the head. While this was the sort of thing Dragon could survive due to his powers, they were not so sure about his friend. Fortunately, he pulled through.
* One ''Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}'' story arc ended with ComicBook/TheKingpin being shot at point blank range by Echo, in revenge for killing her father. The last page of the story reveals that he lived through it, but has been rendered temporarily blind. In general, the Kingpin often has the benefits of {{Kevlard}}.
* Denny O'Neill's run on Comicbook/TheQuestion ends its first issue with Vic Sage being shot in the head at point-blank range by the gross assassin, Baby Gun. Luckily for Sage, Gun's chosen weapon is comparatively small-calibre, so the slug is stopped by his skull and deflected away from his brain. (After that, Sage only has to contend with the severe beating that he's taken from Lady Shiva and being dumped into the river. Tellingly, the next time that we see him, he's in intensive care.)
* ''ComicBook/TheTransformersLastStandOfTheWreckers'' has the {{Adorkable}} AscendedFanboy Ironfist, who conspicuously has a bullet hole in his head for the entire run of the comic. The ''Transformers: Mosaic'' "Dead Men's Boots" has very dark {{Foreshadowing}} as to why that hole is there. [[spoiler: Ironfist developed a bullet that automatically targets Transformer brains, but his prototype was sabotaged by a rival and he was shot in a lab accident. The perfected models are later shown to be ''very'' [[BoomHeadshot effective]]. Subverted in that while he was not immediately killed by the shot since the prototype was not perfected, he will inevitably suffer a TimeDelayedDeath.]] He keeps on going with his work and the mission in spite of this. Amusingly, he's probably the ''least'' hardcore Wrecker ever in the entire history of the team, being less "badass" and more "one of the TheKnightsWhoSaySquee."
* In ''Spotlight: Hardhead'', Hardhead takes a plasma blast in the face [[spoiler: from a BrainwashedAndCrazy Nightbeat]], which is the sort of thing that should typically kill a Transformer. True to form for [[Franchise/{{Transformers}} the series]], it turns out that 'Hardhead' is a MeaningfulName, and all he has to show for being shot in the face is a small, smoking hole squarely in his visor. Leads to a combination of MoodWhiplash and CrowningMomentOfFunny, after which he promptly ignores having been shot in the face.
--> '''Hardhead:''' ''*{{Beat}}.*'' "OW!"
* The ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' continuation comics reveal that Alliance lawman Lawrence Dobson survived being shot in the face by Mal in the pilot (despite Mal's sidearm being chambered for ''[[HandCannon .303 rifle rounds]]'', per fluff), and he turns up in one story with an EyepatchOfPower, bent on revenge. Mal shoots him in the head again, then goes for a CoupDeGrace to be sure this time.
* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'': When Dredd tries to expose mad Judge Cal's corruption in "The Day the Law Died", one of Cal's guards shoots Dredd through his brain. He requires some surgery afterwards, but he's tough enough to shrug it off without any lasting damage.
* ''ComicBook/HaloBloodLine'': Black-Two survives a shot to the head by a Covenant beam rifle (basically a particle cannon used as a sniper rifle). After a period of unconsciousness, she dismisses it as having a headache. To put this in perspective, getting shot ''in the leg'' by a beam rifle in ''{{VideoGame/Halo 2}}'' was an instant OneHitKill.

[[folder: Film ]]
* ''Film/BulletInTheHead'' is the actual title of a classic Creator/JohnWoo film. Context is needed here - three friends make the mistake of their lives and participate in a drug deal, but one of them betrays another for the cash by covering his head in a jacket and putting about three bullets in at point-blank range. Fast forward to the present, the poor bugger is still alive but addicted to morphine to take away the pain - forcing the one remaining friend to perform a MercyKill. What most people take from this movie is the remaining guy vs the EvilFormerFriend in a ridiculously ''awesome'' CarFu duel in the finale.
* Renard, the villain of ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'' was shot in the head by 009. The bullet makes him unable to feel pain, but it will kill him, given time.
* ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'':
** A panicky cop shoots Logan in the head in ''Film/X2XMenUnited''. [[TapOnTheHead It knocks him out for a few minutes]] but the bullet is stopped dead by the adamantium on his skull; Logan regenerates and gets back up.
** DoubleSubverted in ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine''. [[spoiler:Stryker shoots Logan in the head with an adamantium round, which actually penetrates. Logan survives the injury due to his regeneration, but most of his memory is gone from the brain damage.]]
* Happens in ''Film/TheXFilesFightTheFuture''. It's {{handwave}}d by saying the bullet only grazed Mulder's skull, although that's a little odd since he was shot at point blank range. In any case, as soon as he wakes up a couple hours later he escapes the hospital, and within 48 hours he's off to [[spoiler:Antarctica to carry his partner out of a massive underground alien spacecraft on foot]].
* ''Film/{{Machete}}'' has ''two'' examples; Machete himself survived a bullet in the brain some time prior to start of the film while Luz is shot through the eye and is back on her feet in no time (it isn't ''directly'' stated that the bullet went into her brain but given the range and the size of the gun it seems pretty likely it did.)
* The Bride survives a bullet in the head from Bill himself in ''Film/KillBill'', though it does put her in a coma for four years. And she's left with a steel plate in her skull.
* Renard in ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'' not only survived a bullet in the brain but actually gained a superpower: [[FeelNoPain he can't feel pain.]] Admittedly it is [[BlessedWithSuck slowly killing him]] [[RuleOfCool but still, pretty cool]]. One can presume he was already badass enough not to injure himself (which is a constant danger in real life for pain-insensitive people). Really it is a case of BlessedWithSuck, since not only is he unable to feel pain, he's unable to feel ''anything'', '''including his girlfriend'''. [[SecretIntelligenceService MI6]] has admitted that they are unsure how it didn't kill him, but he apparently lived long enough to make it to a doctor who did the rest. Presumably, he would have died had he not sought treatment.
* In ''Film/BlazingSaddles'', the Waco Kid warns Black Bart not to shoot Mongo. "It'll just make him mad." PlayedForLaughs.
* Narrowly averted in ''Film/TheQuickAndTheDead'', when Spotted Horse, who boasts that he "cannot be killed by a bullet," is shot in the [[PrettyLittleHeadshots forehead]] by Cort; he briefly raises his gun arm in the air before he finally expires.
* In ''Film/{{Traffic}}'', an assassin discusses why he prefers bombs: "I don't really like guns. You shoot someone in the head three times and some ''pinche'' doctor will keep them alive."
* In ''Film/FightClub'', [[spoiler:the narrator]] survives a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, though it looks like it mostly hit him in the jaw (which is how [[Literature/FightClub the original book]] describes it).
* This trope is {{deconstructed|Trope}} in ''Film/RegardingHenry'', a domestic drama starring Creator/HarrisonFord. While Henry does survive a gunshot wound to the head, the pinched artery that results affects his memory. Cue the rest of the movie depicting him [[QuestForIdentity coming to terms]] with [[LossOfIdentity not remembering anything]] about [[MissingTime his life]] before [[TraumaInducedAmnesia the shot]].
* One of the many wounds sustained by Alex Murphy before he becomes the title character of ''Film/RoboCop1987'' is a bullet to the head. Miraculously, his brain is mostly intact, but all his memories of his former self are lost.
* ''Film/ForGreaterGlory'' ends with a priest-turned-revolutionary, Jose Reyas Vega, taking a bullet to the head without having confessed his sins. He lives another 5 hours until his allies could find a priest to give him his last rites. (Vega was a real person, and allegedly did live for hours after his head wound.)
* ''Film/ILoveYouToDeath'' is a film, based on RealLife events, about a [[YourCheatingHeart Womanizer]] (played by Kevin Kline) whose wife (Tracey Ullman) hires two bumbling killers to make an attempt on his life. He's shot twice in the head by the end of the film, yet survives because the spaghetti sauce full of painkillers she fed him first stopped the blood flow.
* There is a movie about a female cop who's shot in the head by her partner/lover who turns out to be a DirtyCop. She survives but has constant headaches and has to keep taking medicine to keep from feeling dizzy or fainting. Apparently, the bullet is still in her skull. In the end, she pays him back in kind, fatally this time.
* Downplayed in ''Film/IpMan2'' - [[spoiler:Quan]] gets shot in the head by the Japanese and while he survives, the ordeal gives him amnesia.
* In ''Film/JohnWickChapter2'', the sumo assassin is still able to try and get up after John shoots him several times, including once in the head. John has to headshot him a second time to kill him for good.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* In ''[[Literature/TheMillenniumTrilogy The Girl Who Played With Fire]]'', [[spoiler: Lisbeth survives this. And then [[{{Determinator}} digs herself out of her own grave]], grabs and axe, and attacks the guy who shot her.]] It is explicitly a very low-power gun, the bullet is explicitly still halfway in the skull, and there's plenty of medical work done afterwards, but when all is said and done, there isn't even any noticeable brain damage.
* Jerome Wireman from Creator/StephenKing book ''Literature/DumaKey'' is a realistic treatment of this. He survived a suicide attempt where he shot himself in the head, and it subsequently left him with a damaged psyche, chronic pain and the inability to read for longer than a minute or two at a time with blinding headaches, among other effects. Midway through the book, he loses sight in one eye because the bullet is still inside and still moving, and has begun interfering with his optic center in his brain.
* Gabriel Kroun in ''Literature/TheVampireFiles'' was shot in the head and survived with only a white streak in his hair to show for it. He explains the bullet only grazed him. [[spoiler: He's lying. As a matter of fact, it killed him, and he's a vampire like Jack. And there was ''lots'' more damage than the superficial - his entire memory is gone. Though this turns out to be a good thing, seeing as he wasn't such a good guy when he was alive.]]
* In the Creator/AndrewVachss Burke book ''Dead and Gone'', this happens to [[spoiler: Burke.]] He's out of it for a while afterwards and the eye the bullet went through is pretty much useless now.
* In ''[[Literature/SherlockHolmes The Adventure Of The Dancing Men]]'' Hilton Cubitt has been shot through the heart and died instantly, his wife supposedly shot herself through the brain, but fully recovered in several months. Or so Watson was told.
* In ''Literature/TheOnceAndFutureKing'', the Orkney children are told the story about a king who, while fighting in a war, had a projectile embedded in his head. He managed to survive, because of where it hit, but was warned never to get worked up about anything because the stress might cause it to kill him. He heeded this advice until he received word that Jesus was being crucified, [[RealMenLoveJesus at which point he furiously ran to defend his Lord and Savior]] and fell over dead. [[spoiler:This serves as foreshadowing for how Gawain later dies...]]
* In Creator/CliveCussler's ''Night Probe'', [[Literature/DirkPittAdventures Dirk Pitt]] deliberately invokes this in his final showdown with Franchise/JamesBond {{Expy}} Brian Shaw, for whom he has considerable respect. Afterwards he comments that the bullet "only creased (Shaw's) skull" and that he is tough enough to recover completely (which indeed he does).

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* A variant in ''Series/CSIMiami'': Ryan Wolfe was shot in the head - specifically, the bridge of his nose right next to a tearduct of one eye - by a nail gun. His eye got infected, and it affected his job for a brief duration of time, but was back on the job a couple weeks later.
** Morbidly appropriate: the episode in which Ryan sustains this injury was called ''Nailed'', due to the murders which led up to the event seemingly using a nailgun as a weapon.
* However still on ''Series/CSIMiami'' Delko survives a shot to the head. It leaves him with serious lasting damage and imparement of senses. He also looses about 6 months worth of memories.
* In ''Series/{{CSINY}}'' episode "Hearts of Glass" it was eventually determines [[spoiler:a woman with a headache actually has a bullet lodged in her skull from when her husband tried to kill her while she was asleep. She slept through it and took a shower on waking up, so there was no blood]]. Needless to say, the shooter was stumped.
* Jonah Gabriel of ''Series/TheShadowLine'' survived being shot in the head prior to the events of the series, though it did give him LaserGuidedAmnesia as a side effect.
* Subverted in ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' when [[spoiler:Bobby]] is shot in the head, and while he had a chance at survival, he died in the hospital.
* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'', "The Even Chance": Jack Simpson, a sick, twisted bully of a midshipman, shot Horatio in the head during their BoardingParty of a French ship. Luckily, Horatio was shot from a big distance and it was not too deep a wound. However, Horatio fell from a mast to the water, and good, faithful sailor Finch jumped for him and saved his life. Finch lampshades that 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain by saying that wounds in the head bleed terribly bad and that it must hurt like the devil, but he's sure Mr Hornblower will mend.
* In the ''Series/OneThousandWaysToDie'' segment, "Master E-Raced," the victim is a former Nazi member who got shot in the head, but survived. However, 50 years later, while trying to get some milk out of the refrigerator, the former Nazi accidentally hits his head on the freezer door, causing the bullet, which was lodged near an important blood vessel, to dislodge and cut said blood vessel causing internal hemorrhaging in his brain and death.
* In ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'' episode "The Revelations of Becka Paulson", the title character accidentally shoots herself in the head. The bullet is hinted to have hit a tumor, and afterwards she starts to hallucinate and even has flashes of genius based on the hallucinations.
* ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'': Ron Swanson gets shot in the head while hunting with coworkers inexperienced at handling firearms. He's pissed about it, but just got a concussion and a few small wounds on the back of his head. Since they were hunting ducks and turkey, it was probably birdshot.
* Series/{{Hannibal}} manipulates one of his victims into thinking [[spoiler:Dr. Chilton]] was her kidnapper, causing her to shoot him in the head. It messed up his [[EyeScream eye]] and [[FacialHorror jaw]] while leaving a scar, but his motor skills seem unaffected, apparently because the bullet went through his cheek and largely missing the brain.
* In ''Series/BandOfBrothers'' Sgt. Chuck Grant survives being shot in the head due to the quick actions of Capt. Speirs and a German doctor. The real life Grant suffered slight brain damage and lived to 60 years of age.
* ''Series/{{Harrow}}'': In "Pia mater" ("Gentle Mother"), what appears to be a straightforward car accident takes a turn for the weird when the autopsy reveals one of the victims had a bullet lodged in his brain. A bullet that had been there for years before the accident. The bullet shifting in the crash is what actually killed him.

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/LilAbner'' often plays this for laughs. Getting shot in the head is a minor injury for the dimwitted Abner, because his head contains nothing that he can't function normally without.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* VideoGame/MaxPayne is shot in the head [[spoiler:by Vladimir]] in the second game but survives. Also, Mona Sax takes a bullet to the head in the original game. Both cases are {{lampshade|Hanging}}d several times in ''[=MP2=]''. Both times it seems that the bullet just grazed them. Mona, though, is vague about how she survived; the game, however, is not. Essentially pure luck. She was shot in the head, and while the bullet didn't kill her at that time, it remained lodged in her head.
* The Courier in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' is shot in the head at close range, ''twice'', and buried in a shallow grave at the very beginning of the game. Naturally, being the PlayerCharacter, they get better, though some quick work on the part of an escort robot and the local doctor, along with being the Fallout universe, could affect the outcome. Amusingly, if the player sets their characters intelligence stat to 1, Doc Mitchell will profusely apologize as he feels it was his fault for doing a shoddy job. With charisma stat at 1 he'll muse that the cause "must be frontal lobe damage". In an example of GameplayAndStoryIntegration, this turns out to be because the would-be assassin's signature weapon is ''just that weak'' -- if you get your hands on it, you can deal at best 20 points of damage with maxed everything, which indeed wouldn't be enough to kill you even if you had the worst HP possible.
* In ''VideoGame/{{LISA}}'''s Russian Roulette, one of your opponents is a heavily scarred man. It takes ''two'' shots to kill him.
* Due to the way damage works in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'', it's entirely possible to go through the game with various foreign objects (usually but not limited to, bullets) lodged in various limbs. Most obvious is against The Fear, who uses arrows, and yes, they can hit Snake's head and not kill him. And if you don't remove them and let the wound heal naturally for the rest of the game, Snake has an arrow sticking out of him.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'':
** Snipers deal 50 damage with their Sniper Rifles, with a x3 multiplier for headshots and an additional x3 multiplier if they spend four seconds charging the shot. Four classes (the Demoman, the Pyro, the Soldier, and the Heavy) have more than 150 health, and as such can survive uncharged headshots. What's more, if the Heavy takes out an unlock called the Fists of Steel, he can easily survive any sort of headshot (300 health base, 40% damage resistance against ranged weapons while holding his Fists out in front of his body).
** [[{{nerf}} Originally]], Snipers equipped with the Croc-o-Style kit could not be killed by headshots, which instead leave them with [[LastChanceHitPoint one hitpoint remaining]] no matter how healthy he was before, though if they ''already'' have exactly one hit point it's still lethal. Later on, the SetBonus was reduced to a cosmetic effect, and the Darwin's Danger Shield granted a small reduction to bullet damage that, together with its 25 health bonus, is just enough for a Sniper at full health to survive one uncharged headshot.
** A bullet resistance ubercharge from the vaccinator will reduce a fully charged headshot to a mere 38 damage. Every class in the game is capable of surviving that, even a spy wielding the kunai which has the lowest maximum hitpoint total possible.
* In ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'', a headshot was [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown only the last thing to happen]] to Adam Jensen that prompted his EmergencyTransformation.
* ''VideoGame/HotlineMiami'' has this happen to [[spoiler:the hitman himself, courtesy of his employers. A sizable chunk of the game is him replaying the events that led up to this while he's in a coma.]]
* The main character of ''VideoGame/{{Bioshock 2}}'' is brought back to life after being shot in the head in the game's prologue.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'''s [[HeWhoFightsMonsters Zaeed Massani]] survived a point-blank headshot armoured only with ThePowerOfHate.
* The orcs in ''Videogame/MiddleEarthShadowOfMordor'' can do things like take a brain to the head and, despite their death being confirmed, appear again to make your life miserable. Only decapitating them will permanently rid you of them.
* Lilith Vermillion in ''VideoGame/PandoraFirstContact'' was once just a hypocritical cult leader who used the Divine Ascension as a way to amass money and blackmail material without actually believing in anything she preached. Then she got shot in the head by a sniper. She survived, but suffered irreparable brain damage in doing so, leading to her current AGodAmI complex.

* In ''Webcomic/{{Lackadaisy}}'', Mordecai's [[NoSocialSkills lack of social skills]] and [[TheSociopath empathy]] may be because of a brain injury. Bobby shared a rumor with Ivy that "some long-ago incident left a little bit of lead rattling around [Mordecai's] cranium, and carved him that wonky streak."
* Angel in ''Webcomic/ManlyGuysDoingManlyThings'' mentions the trope when she invites Jonesy, a regular human, to her SuperSoldier camping trip/survival derby/cookout and gives her some plate armor [[http://thepunchlineismachismo.com/archives/comic/yeah-she-just-skinned-a-boar-off-panel-that-fast for safety's sake]].
-->'''Jonesy:''' I feel like an invincible can of soup!\\
'''Angel:''' Well... most of us can take an entire sixteen-round mag to the temple, so just watch yourself out there...

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'', Stan survived a headshot when his [[BrainwashedAndCrazy hypnotized]] daughter shot him directly in the head.
* Played for laughs in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/CelebrityDeathmatch'', where Geena Davis' attempt to light the Deathmatch torch with a flaming bow and arrow goes awry, and Nick Diamond is impaled ''through the head''. He doesn't seem to be hurt at all. Johnny Gomez comments that "Geena's arrow [[WhoEvenNeedsABrain doesn't seem to hit any vital organs]]..." (Nick isn't very bright.)

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* In 1978, a young woman named Leslie Worther, working as a cashier at an isolated 7-Eleven in one of the more rural areas of Orange County, Florida, was shot in the back of the head twice (and stabbed in the abdomen once) during a robbery. After the robbers left her store, she called the police for help. Then she sat down and waited for nearly ten minutes for help to arrive. She survived her wounds and is still alive today. OnlyInFlorida.
* Music/{{Chumbawamba}} have a song about the RealLife "El Fusilado", who survived an entire firing squad's worth of bullets to the chest ''and'' a CoupDeGrace to the head. In later life, he toured with the ''Franchise/RipleysBelieveItOrNot'' show.
* Simo Häyhä, the famous ColdSniper, was finally dispatched when the last man left of a counter-sniper team sent against him managed to shoot him in the head with a shot that took off half his face. Häyhä managed to maintain consciousness long enough to kill his attacker, survived the war, and lived until the age of 96.
* There are also tales of people surviving brain impalement via other means. For example, UsefulNotes/LeonTrotsky survived an ice pick to the skull long enough to put up a fight against his assassin, though he did succumb to his wounds the next day. Another famous case is that of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage Phineas Gage]], who survived despite his tamping iron being driven right through his skull by an explosion. He lived for more than a decade after the accident, although friends remarked that his personality (and skill in math) had changed so greatly that he was no longer recognisable as the man he had been. However, by the end of his life his character largely recovered to the point that he was able to live with his family again, demonstrating the survivability and adaptability of the human brain.
* Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head during John Hinckley's assassination attempt on UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan. He survived and became a noted advocate for [[UsefulNotes/AmericanGunPolitics gun control]]; the "Brady Bill", instituting background checks on gun purchases, was named after him.
* Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head during a shooting spree at a constituent meet-and-greet. Seven months later, she [[BigEntrance entered]] the US House of Representatives to a standing ovation to cast a critical vote. ''Seven months'' for being '''''shot in the head!'''''
* [[http://marinecorpstimes.com/news/2011/04/marine-headshot-sniper-survive-040511w/ This Marine]] managed to survive an Afghan sniper's attempt to [[BoomHeadshot shoot him in the head]], the Kevlar helmet deflecting the bullet just enough that it didn't go straight into his brain. It ''was'', however, mere millimeters away from hitting his spinal column and opening several major arteries.
* There is a story that has appeared online a couple of times, about a man who gets out of bed one morning and heads down to his kitchen to commit suicide. He holds a revolver to the side of his head (a lower caliber type, like a .32) and fires. When his wife comes down a little while later, she finds him at the table eating cereal, with a hole through his head and no recollection of the event.
* There was a story in a magazine in England a few years ago about a woman who was shot while trying to escape an attacker. She was apparently halfway up a fence she was trying to climb over when he shot her several times in the back and in the head. She survived because the gun he was using had been stored improperly in a garden shed and the damp had caused the bullets to fire at a reduced velocity.
* There is a story of a suicide attempt with a nail gun leaving the man with amnesia about the whole event. However, terrible headaches soon brought him to hospital. Luckily the hospital didn't have an MRI machine and they X-rayed him instead.
* A suicide attempt with a nail gun had the man ''shooting himself in the head ten times.'' He survived. Which just goes to show that [[VideoGame/{{Quake}} despite what computer games may tell you]], nail guns really suck as weapons. The x-ray published on some news sites showed that the nails were too short and barely pierced his skull without reaching the brain.
* Russian [[FourStarBadass field marshal Kutuzov]] survived a ''[[HandCannon musket ball]]'' in one of his early Turkish campaigns, when he was just a ColonelBadass. The bullet pierced his head temple-to-cheek, glancing his brain, and the wound was initially thought to be fatal. Surprisingly, he completely recovered with nothing worse to wear than splitting headaches after he used his right eye, injured by a bullet, for more than a couple of minutes. Because of this he had to wear an {{eyepatch|OfPower}} that led to the popular myth about him being one-eyed. And then, probably just to finally prove that he was {{Nigh Invulnerab|ility}}le, he was injured a second time ''in the same place'' [[MadeOfIndestructium with the same result]].
* Music/LudwigVanBeethoven's nephew attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head, and survived.
* Ladislav Stroupeznicky, a Czech playwright from nineteenth century, felt DrivenToSuicide and shot himself in the head. He survived, but he blasted his nose off and had to wear a fake one from wax.
* Robert Lawrence took a 7.62 bullet to the head, was left exposed to the elements for the better part of a day without painkillers and ended up with only 57% of his grey matter left. The doctors were amazed enough that he was alive and told him he would never walk again. These days he spends his time taking fellow wounded soldiers mountain climbing.
* In ''Chickenhaw'', Robert Mason recalls seeing a helicopter pilot return to base with a hole in each side of his flight helmet. It turned out that the bullet had hit and gone through the flight helmet on one side of his head, deflected off his skull, turned upwards, followed the curvature of his helmet all the way around his head, deflected off another ridge of bone on the other side and gone back out through the other side of his flight helmet.
* [[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]] has an article on [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_gunshot_suicide multiple gunshot suicides]], reporting one case in which ''four'' shots to the head were required to finish the job.
* In 1812, General Hulin was shot in the head by General Malet during the latter's attempted overthrow of Napoleon's Empire. He collapsed in a pool of blood and Malet walked away, thinking that he was dead; however, when Colonel Doucet came to check on him after arresting Malet a few hours later, Hulin was unable to speak but still conscious enough to let Doucet understand that he had ''carte blanche'' to restore order in Paris. This misadventure earned Hulin a nickname from the Parisian populace: ''Bouffe-la-balle'', or "Bullet-eater".
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai Malala Yousafzai]] was targeted by the Taliban for advocating women's education. The bullet damaged the left side of her brain, following the interior of her skull before lodging in her shoulder near her spine. She recovered from her injuries and continues to fiercely campaign against terror and for women's rights.
** The gunshot injury, in fact, [[NiceJobFixingItVillain arguably launched her to international prominence.]]