Bolt makes masterful use of this trope, in conjunction with the Rule of Three. The beginning of the movie sets up one of Bolt's fictional superpowers, the Super Bark, by giving him a specific ritual to perform before making it. In the middle of the movie, he tries the ritual / Super Bark again to prove to Mittens that he's a superhero; he just barks normally. Finally, when Bolt and his owner Penny are trapped in a fire at the studio, Bolt manages to lead her to an air duct ... and then performs his Super Bark ritual again to bark as loudly as he can down the duct. The echo of his bark along the ducts allows the firemen to locate and rescue them.
Additionally, Mittens is shown at the beginning of the movie bullying pigeons to get food for her. One would most likely assume that this behavior (as well as the great lengths she goes to talk about her claws, but never use them) is simply a throwback to her acting like a mob boss, but we later find out it's because she's declawed.
It was subtle but the ghost eyes: the little ball that one of the mice was playing with during the circus scene; the pearl ring that the Other Forcible wears during the theatre scene; and the part of the Other Father's tractor during the garden scene.
Another subtle one is the Detroit Zoo snowglobe.
In a way, the stale taffy after Spink breaks it to reveal the green stone that would later help Coraline find the eyes of the ghost children.
The green stone was a (somewhat) obvious Chekhov's Gun. What is less obvious however is how it became one. Just before the second visit to the Otherworld, Coraline baits the jumping mice with a piece of cheese. Once she gets there, it has been transformed into fine cheddar.
Kung Fu Panda: The scene where Mantis is giving Po acupuncture and reveals that it is very hard to find his pressure points under all the fur and fat—this becomes a key plot point during the final battle.
At the prison, what seems like a Perpetual Molt trope turns out to be this as well.
Another example is the Wushi Fingerhold, which seems like a throwaway gag near the start of the film... really, the entire movie is a love-letter to Chekhov's Gun. Remember, "there are no accidents."
In the first movie, Po remarks how Mantis is the same size as his action figure. In the second movie, Po swaps Mantis for his action figure while they were being locked up in chains so Mantis could save them after.
Also in the second movie, Po comes across Master Shifu mastering the concept of inner peace by catching a dew drop, rolling it along his arms and shoulders, and depositing it on a nearby leaf. This comes in very handy later when Lord Shen is firing fireworks at Po; he catches them and sends them back at the bad guys, blowing up the battlefleet.
The fine folk at Pixar are masters of this, and most of their films have at least a few examples.
Finding Nemo alone has at least a dozen. "All drains lead to the ocean." "Sandy says that sea turtles live to a hundred!" "Swim down!"
Also, the mine field surrounding Bruce's boat.
Dory: Hey look! Balloons! It is a party!
Bruce: Mind your distance, though. Those balloons can be a bit dodgy. You wouldn't want one of them to pop.
WALL-E has a slight variant, in that the fire extinguisher which comes into use at a critical moment isn't the same one seen previously.
Andrew Stanton states that the landing pads for the cruise ships serve as one, and the Axiom lands on one at the end.
Chekhov most have written Up himself, as it's full of these; the dogs chasing the tennis balls, the Grape Soda bottle cap, the list goes on.
They actually started out by subverting the trope: in Toy Story Woody gets a match put into his pocket which he later pulls out to light a rocket that will let him and Buzz catch up to their moving owner...only for a passing car to immediately blow it out.
But then immediately plays it straight when Woody uses the burning things with a magnifying glass trick that Sid had done to his forehead using light going through Buzz's helmet to light the fuse.
The third film also has a straight example. Prior to the film's events, Mrs. Potato Head lost one of her eyes, though she can still see through it when she covers her other eye, or when both eyes are removed. Later in the film, when the toys are at Sunnyside Daycare, Mrs. Potato Head sees Andy frantically looking for them through her missing eye, convincing the toys to return home.
A big example in The Incredibles is Buddy, the annoying little kid who pops up in Mr. Incredible's car in the beginning of the movie. Since the opening of the film shows us "a day in the life of a superhero", Buddy just seems like a typical fanboy...until he grows up to become the supervillain Syndrome.
When Mr. Incredible goes to Edna for his new costume, he asks for a cape. Edna shoots this down, describing in detail every super that had been killed by their cape. The fact that Syndrome has a cape ultimately leads to him being killed by being sucked into a jet engine.
It's also implied that the jet plane from the cape-death montage was put back in danger after the superhero in question, Stratogale, was killed by its engine. Considering that jet engines sometimes do fail when birds hit them, this implication effectively turns this into a nested Chekov's gun once you see that Syndrome's death, being yanked into its turbine by his cape, was what caused the Manta Plane to explode.
Done by the Pixar staff for Cars 2, as an aspect of the film is Tow Mater's habit of fanciful storytelling. Since this was a trait not shown in the first film, it was feared that the sudden appearance would look like an Ass Pull, so the "Mater's Tall Tales" shorts were created to establish this two years in advance.
Mater's gatling guns which he uses to escape from being tied up in Big Bentley.
Pixar studios likes to put Easter eggs into their movies that turn out to be a reference to their next movie. Anything in the background of any scene can be this. For example, Dug's shadow can be seen as the dog that barks at Remy, and in Up, Lotso-Huggin' Bear can be seen in the little girl's room when Carl floats by. Andy's room in Toy Story 3 features a poster of the same model car as Finn McMissile.
In Disney's Robin Hood, the little rabbit sister can't run as fast as the other children, usually lagging behind. This becomes important in the final battle as she struggles to keep up with the evacuating villagers and Robin Hood has to double back to retrieve her, leaving him trapped on the opposite side of the gate.
It could be said it made up for it when SpongeBob used the Goofy Goober song he and Patrick had been singing throughout the movie in a rock and roll rendition to free everyone under Plankton's control.
In Tangled, Rapunzel's hair glows when its magic is invoked. This comes in handy when she and Flynn/Eugene need light to find their way out of a watery death.
At one point in the movie, Rapunzel shoves Gothel into her mirror, causing the mirror to break. Flynn/Eugene would later use a broken glass shard to cut Rapunzel's hair.
Rapunzel's painted walls and the hankie Flynn buys from the marketplace are what causes Rapunzel to realize she is the lost princess.
In Wallace and Gromit: The Curse Of The Were Rabbit, the official trailer showed a scene where Wallace got stuck coming through the trapdoor to the kitchen and Gromit needed to use a mechanized hammer to get him through. This at first seemed like an amusing gag, but it turned out to be the very driving part of the film concerning Wallace's diet and his unfortunate transformation.
In South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Cartman is outfitted with a V-Chip that electrocutes him whenever he cusses. At the end of the movie, it malfunctions, allowing Cartman to sling lightning when he cusses.
Film - Live Action
Certain items herald their later use by their very existence. For instance, anytime you see a vat of acid (or chemicals or boiling oil,) you know that someone (most likely a villain) is going to fall into it.
In The6th Day the Governator's character Adam Gibson is a chartered helicopter pilot. In one of the first scenes he is seen checking out the new model of remote control for the helicopters. Much later in the movie the remote is used to fly a decoy helicopter.
A perfect example in the form of the powerloader. In a seemingly throwaway scene towards the beginning of the film, Ripley is shown to have a remarkable degree of skill with this particular piece of equipment — and she goes on to use this exact piece of equipment in the climactic mano-a-mano battle with the Alien Queen.
Even more subtle is the air lock that the Marine sergeant offhandedly demands to be sealed in the same scene.
The tracking device that Hicks gives to Ripley. Ripley later gives it to Newt, and near the end she uses it to track down Newt inside the alien hive. It doesn't get her to Newt's exact location, but it does get her close enough to hear Newt scream when the egg near her hatches.
In Alien vs. Predator, one scene in the beginning informs us that the waters of the Antarctic are so cold you'd die in 3 minutes. Now guess how they took out the alien Queen.
The Amazing Spider-Man has the Ganali device. Connors points it out to Peter when he shows him around the lab, saying it's been sitting there collecting dust. The Lizard takes it to spread the serum across New York; Peter uses it to distribute the antidote instead.
Anchorman has a Chekhov's Gun early in the movie when Ron Burgundy says, "I'm Ron Burgundy?" while voicing the question inflection because he reads exactly what is read on the teleprompter. This later causing him to say "Go fuck yourself, San Diego" instead of his trademark "Stay classy, San Diego", which caused him to be fired, a major plot point later in the film.
The Andromeda Strain (1971). Dr. Hall is repeatedly told about Wildfire's nuclear bomb Self-Destruct Mechanism (which will go off if a disease escapes containment), how he's the only one who can stop it from detonating and how important it is that he be able to get to one of the deactivation terminals quickly. Guess what happens at the end of the movie.
In the novel, Dr. Leavitt is repeatedly shown averting his gaze from blinking lights. In the climactic chapter, he doesn't do so fast enough, and thus do we learn that he has epilepsy.
In Angels and Demons the book, there's an unusually large amount of detail given about St Peter's tomb when the characters are merely wandering by it. Naturally, it's an important place for plot related reasons later.
In the beginning of Arachnophobia, the main character is introduced to a nail gun by carpenters building his wine cellar, and later happens upon said nail gun in the final act of the movie.
Apocalypto begins with a group of hunters funneling a tapir into a spring-loaded trap. Later, as the hero is being pursued by warriors through the area, he finds a similar use for the trap.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery: Midway through the movie, Vanessa shows Austin a variety of dental hygiene products. Austin assumes that they are actually weapons, but she informs him that they really are for him to clean up his teeth. Later on in the movie, when Austin and Vanessa are suspended over a pool of ferocious sea bass, Vanessa remembers the toothpaste. Austin judo-chops the tube, spraying toothpaste in the only guard's eyes and causing him to fall into the water where he gets consumed by the bass, allowing Austin and Vanessa to escape via dental floss swing.
Random Taskâ€”and his "lethal" footwearâ€”reappears during the denouement, along with Austin's Swedish Penis Pump.
In Awake, there is a brief scene near the beginning of the film where Sam, the protagonist's wife, grabs her mail and sticks it in her purse as she and Clayton are on their way out of her apartment. This becomes important later on when Clayton's mother goes through Sam's purse after finding out that Clayton's transplant failed, and finds out that not only was Sam living under an assumed identity... but that she used to be a nurse, who worked with Clayton's doctor in the past. She then realizes that Sam has been part of a conspiracy with Clayton's doctor to kill him and take his money.
Babes in Toyland (The Laurel and Hardy version): Toymakers Stan and Ollie mess up at the beginning by, instead of making 600 1-foot-tall wooden soldiers, they make 100 6-foot-tall soldiers...who join the fight in the final battle.
In an early scene of Back to the Future, a woman tells Marty and Jennifer about how the town's clock tower was struck by lightning and hands him a flyer that gives all the details. This works mainly since the scene is also funny, allowing viewers to think it was simply a joke and thus not realize its significance until later on.
Perhaps the best Sci Fi example of this is the hoverboard from Back to the Future, Part II. Kept in the Delorean after Marty McFly uses it to beat Griff Tannen, the hoverboard plays an essential role in the third film, when Marty flies it over to Doc Brown, who is hanging off a speeding train. Not only are Doc and girlfriend Clara saved, but the hoverboard allows Brown to rebuild the technology, allowing him to create a FLYING TRAIN. Holy shit.
In a rare case of a Checkov's gun being set on the mantle in one film intentionally to be fired in the sequel, Marty walks into 1985-A Biff's hot tub room in Part II and sees him watching the scene from A Fistful of Dollars wherein Clint Eastwood uses a metallic plate-like object as a makeshift bulletproof vest. When he ends up bumping into and knocking off a stove door in the Old West in Part III during a hectic pre-shootout sequence, he remembers this and it ends up saving his life.
A similar rare Checkov's gun is the notice of dismissal the older Marty receives in 2015. The younger Jennifer took a copy of that print in Part II while hiding in a closet. It was erased after Marty refuses to race with Needles, when he is back in 1985 at the end of Part III. Marty had learned from the past and did not react on Needles' teasing anymore. It proved he had finally overcome his Berserk ButtonNobody Calls Me Chicken. However, an explanation for this two rare Checkov's guns can be given: "Back to the Future" was intended to be a trilogy on forehand. This made it possible to use Chekhov's Guns which were planned to be set in a previous part and fired in the next. This especially occurred in Part II and Part III. These two parts were recorded at the same time, but released on a different date, also a fact that is rarely seen in movie history.
Batman (1989). The Joker's helicopter first appears after Batman uses the Batmobile to blow up the Axis Chemicals complex. After the Joker and Vicki Vail climb to the top of a building, the helicopter appears again (after being summoned by the Joker) as a means of escape.
Batman Returns (1992). Bet you forgot about that tazer Miss Kyle picked up before she became Catwoman!
Batman & Robin (1997). Gotham Observatory has a satellite system that's designed to reflect from around the world so that its telescope can look at the sky everywhere. Near the end of the movie the system is used to concentrate sunlight from the part of the world that's in daylight to defrost Gotham City.
A subtle one can be seen when Alfred is putting Rachel into a car to take her home. To lay her down in the back seat, he moves some random golf clubs out of the way. Why are they there...so Alfred can use them to beat down a henchman of the League of Shadows upon his return. Also in Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne is subjected to ninja hallucinogens at the beginning of the movie, which are later revealed to be the same as the Scarecrow's weird gas poison.
Also, the monorail built by Bruce's dad turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun used by Ra's al Ghul to spread Scarecrow's gas.
There are so many examples of this in Batman Begins that it is too hard to list them all. The piano, the introduction to the capabilities of the Batmobile, everything having to do with Ra's al Ghul / Ducard. Seriously, like everything in the first half of the movie comes back in the second.
A small gag is used with Bruce not knowing all the features of his new suit and shooting the blades of his gauntlet. Near the end of the film, he uses the gauntlet's blade-shooting ability deliberately.
The sonar technology used to map out Lau's Hong Kong office is used again to track down The Joker during the climax.
Also, Harvey's coin is introduced early in the film, which he later uses when he becomes Two-Face.
The film introduces one in the form of the Bat's faulty auto-pilot. It becomes relevant later when Bruce uses the Bat to dump a bomb out at sea, but has to pilot it manually due to the auto-pilot being faulty.
And then subverted when it's revealed Bruce had fixed the auto-pilot and used his "death" to make a new life.
In Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie, several items which are only briefly seen at the start of the film come into play much later (such as the M&M's, and the laxatives).
Blade Runner. Early in the movie is shown creating small figurines out of paper (origami) and matchsticks. At the end of the movie Deckard finds one outside his apartment, letting him (and the audience) know that Gaff had been there and not killed Rachael.
Both used and subverted in Blood Simple. The gun and the number of bullets it has is a running detail. Many other details, such as the lighter under the stack of fish, get shown but end up playing no importance at all. In fact, the whole movie is really more of a satire of Chekhov's Gun, toying with the audience as it focuses on details only to either not use them or use them in a way not expected.
In Bloodsport, Frank Dux demonstrates the Dim Mak, a powerful palm strike, by breaking a brick. In the quarterfinal of the tournament, he applies this technique against the Hawaiian wrestler. And it fails to work, so he has to follow up with a cheap shot.
In The Bourne Supremacy we're treated to a brief tour of Agent Jarda's kitchen, which is well-equipped with very nice, and very obvious, cutlery, which naturally makes its appearance in the ensuing combat between Jarda and Bourne.
In 80s B-Grade monster movie The Brain, the main character finds out pure sodium explodes on contact with water, and uses it for a prank involving the school's toilets. Guess what's used to kill the titular monster at the end of the movie.
Burn After Reading plays it straight and literal. Harry Pfarrer brags more than once that in all his years as a federal marshall, he's never discharged his weapon. So you know before the end of the movie...
Bill Murray himself could apply in Caddyshack. His attempts to kill the gopher are seen as just a funny subplot - until the explosives he sets off at the end cause tremors that allow Danny's final putt to sink in.
Subverted in the first Charlie's Angels film. The film goes a little out of its way to point out the lighter that Drew Barrymore carries everywhere, and when she's tied to a chair during the climax she naturally snatches it from her sleeve and tries to burn the ropes. However, it refuses to make any flame and so she has to fight a bunch of guys while still tied to the chair.
Played straight, though, in the sequel, when Bosley II points out the girls' custom-made Kevlar vests that later save them when they get shot by the Big Bad.
Chinatown has the car horn: Evelyn Mulwray dozes off in the car, her head falls and sets it off. In the end when she tries to escape, a policeman fires at her and then we hear the horn blare...
In the subpar adaptation of the bookThe City of Ember, Tim Robbins gives Doon an object that is the key to them leaving the city. Because, you know, its cool to change a book's plot, from being a great mystery/adventure book into a average Indy ripoff.
Subverted in City of God in scenes involving Goose's gun. When we first see the gun in The Sixties, Goose is hiding it in a drawer and tells Rocket to never touch it. Later, in The Seventies, Rocket finds the gun and takes it with him during his "flirtation with crime"; however, the gun is never fired or even used.
Chekhov's gun in retrospect in Cloverfield. The premise of the film is that it is amateur video footage of a giant monster attack in Manhattan, and that this footage is overwriting the tape that is already in the machine. The original recording on the tape was of a date between two of the main characters several weeks earlier, and in one of the scenes left intact, the falling satellite which awakened the monster can be seen in the background. This is only seen at the end of the film, when the monster footage ends.
In Cowboys and Aliens when the alien appears in the stranded ferry, it's chest opens revealing it's weak spot: it's beating heart. It was only vulnerable once, when the kid used another Chekhov's Gun: Dolarhyde's knife.
The Country Bears, combined with Running Gag. Big Al throughout the film constantly tells people not to walk on the grass out front of Bear Hall. In the end of the movie, the band is depressed when no one shows up for their concert, but Big Al says they are all out back because he did not want them walking on his grass.
Crash is a movie that seems to almost entirely be based on Chekhov's Guns. The most noticeable example being part of the climax. The Persian woman insists on buying ammunition for a new gun, from a box that the owner gives her a cock-eyed look for choosing. When her father later attempts to shoot the lockpick, who he feels cheated him, the lock installer's young daughter jumps in the way. It turns out that those bullets came in handy, and were actually blanks, since the Persian woman knew that her father may actually end up firing the gun irrationally one day. Which works even better in conjunction with a rather charming example from much earlier in the movie, where the lock installer tied a "bulletproof, invisible cape" to his daughter in a heartwarming scene, which ironically worked, despite being make-believe.
The Da Vinci Code goes out of its way to point out an apparently utterly trivial detail about the Louvre near the beginning of the film — which turns out to be of vital importance in its last minutes.
In The Seeker, the young hero gets a digital watch for his birthday, which he later uses to amaze a Viking.
Date Night has a gun hanging from a wall that a character looks at briefly; naturally, a few scenes later, it's revealed that he stole it. It does eventually get fired, but is hilariously ineffective.
In Day of the Dead's 2008 remake, before Hud is bitten and turned into a zombie, he tells the female romantic interest that he is a vegetarian in an attempt to impress her. When he is turned into a zombie, he doesn't eat people, which later comes to serve as an Ass Pull by allowing him to save the main character.
In The Dead Pool, "Dirty" Harry Callahan witnesses the use of a portable whaling harpoon in the first act, and rediscovers it when the plot steers its location back to the same locale.
In the Death Race remake, one of Jensen's mechanics jokes that the cigarette lighter is the most important part of the car. Sure enough, in the ensuing race, Jensen uses the cigarette lighter to eliminate one of the drivers trying to kill him by igniting a tank full of napalm.
The Death's Head trap is another, as all the drivers manage to evade them after the preliminary intro race...until Joe and Frankenstein use their cars to obscure a Death's Head mark on the ground, causing the gigantic deathtruck from hell to impact and flip, dropping its flamethrower tank right on top of the cab.
In Deathtrap the main character fakes a murder and in the process invites his guest to try out Houdini's Handcuffs, which he cannot escape because they are fake. Later, when his accomplice betrays him and is robbing the house the main character is handcuffed to a chair, then shortly after calls out "You can come down now, those were Houdini's real handcuffs."
In the Italian horror film Demoni, which is set in a movie theater, there is a mannequin of a samurai mounted on a dirt bike in the main lobby, complete with samurai sword, presumably as a movie promotion. In the film's climax, both of these items are put to good use.
In The Departed, a random scrap of paper written by one of the protagonists is the key to uncovering the mob's rat in the Massachusetts State Police.
Diamonds Are Forever. When James Bond first meets Tiffany Case she's wearing a brunette wig. Later in the movie she says "What's my black wig doing in the pool?" It turns out to be the hair of Plenty O'Toole, a brunette that Bond met earlier - she was drowned by Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd off-camera.
Die Hard was rife with Chekhov's Guns, from a passenger's advice regarding jet-lag, to Argyle's list of the limousine's features ("CB, CD, TV..."), to Holly Gennero's new Rolex watch. The significant details seem to outnumber the insignificant ones. In the third film, McClane complains of having a headache from the moment he joins the film and convinces the Big Bad to throw him some aspirin while he's tied to a colossal bomb. After escaping, he keeps the aspirin, finds that it's empty, lays it down so he can see the bottom of the bottle and figures out where the villain's hiding because that's where the aspirin bottle came from.
Played straight in Dillinger Is Dead: the main character finds an old revolver that doesn't work one night as he is making dinner at home. Throughout the movie, while going about his evening, he carefully disassembles the gun, cleans it, reassembles it, paints it red with white polka-dots, hangs it to dry, and then in the end shoots his sleeping wife with it.
The prawn Exosuit would have been this if not for trailers.
Dodgeball had Peter's receiving of Patches' scarf and a random reading of the Sudden Death guidelines, both of which come into play in the final showdown (though not the "alternate" ending where the villains win outright... the fact that said guns would've remained unfired suggest it was never meant to be a serious ending.) However, though the fact that one of the members of the Average Joe's gym believes himself to be a pirate was important to the ending in earlier drafts (which would have had several huge scenes at the Treasure Island casino), he serves little purpose in the final cut.
In Dolphin Tale, Kyle gives his cousin Sawyer a Swiss Army Knife. Later, Sawyer uses the knife to free Winter the dolphin from the crab trap ropes.
A gun in Doom (the film): The BFG. No, not a BFG, this is Doom we're talking about. It's The BFG.
In Doomsday the film, the main character, Eden, has a prosthetic eye in place of her missing right eye. Its purpose serves as night vision and a camera. She uses it a few times early on, and then it is forgotten about until the end when she uses it as a recording device to record incriminating evidence to bring down the Man Behind the Man.
In Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, the Monsignor attaches a large metal cross to door of the Count's castle to prevent him from entering; later, this is removed and cast into the ravine below, where, later still, Dracula falls to his doom, impaled on the cross itself.
The coin-collecting side plot in Drag Me to Hell, if Chekhov's gun was surrounded by flashing neon and howled "Look at me! Look at me!" whenever possible.
In Dream House, the opening scene shows Will quitting his job at GPH publishing. It is later revealed that he had been a patient at Greenhaven Psychiatric Hospital for five years, and his "co-workers" were fellow patients.
Jack Patterson looks at an e-mail concerning the custody dispute with his ex-wife Ann over their daughter Chloe. This was the motive for the triple murder, as he had sent a hit man to kill Ann to get the insurance benefits and sole custody of Chloe.
Also, Will's co-workers at GPH actually, his fellow psychiatric patients at the hospital, mention the novel he was working on. In the ending, he had published a novel called Dream House under his real name, Peter Ward.
Dude Wheres My Car contains several examples. The most memorable is probably the nature show the boys are watching at the beginning which provides the key to saving the universe. Many seemingly random people and events in this film are actually significant, but just as many (such as the pissing roommate) have no plot relevance whatsoever and are there solely for the WTF factor.
At the beginning of Duel, David Mann stops at a gas station and is advised to get his radiator hose replaced. This errand is put on hold when David is targeted by a murderous truck driver, and naturally the strain the truck's pursuit puts on his car eventually causes the hose to break.
Several examples of Chekhov's Guns can be found in Enter the Dragon. In one scene, Roper is taken through a medieval torture museum room by Mr. Han, which includes a glass display case with several replacement weapon-hands. One of them, a metal claw, is used during the big fight with Bruce Lee in the end. In addition, during the big fight (which takes place in said museum room, acting as anotherChekhov's Gun), Mr. Han tries throwing a spear at Lee, which goes through a wall and into the Hall Of Mirrors beyond. The climax of the movie involves Lee kicking Han right into the spear and Impaling Him With Extreme Prejudice. In fact, the advice that Bruce takes about "smashing the image" in order to defeat Han was itself a Chekhov's Gun given by Bruce's master near the very beginning of the film.
Equilibrium has an incident where John Preston hands his gun to Brandt for later exploitation.
Escape From LA has a few of these and one of the best played examples. When Snake is given the weapons and tools for his mission, they show him a Holographic projector that can display his image from a distance. He also is determined to get his Badass Longcoat from a thug who took it from him mid-film. Before taking on the mission he placed the projector in the inside pocket of the coat and never mentioned it again for the rest of the film. During the final scene, when his superiors realize that the EMP control disc they have is a fake they open fire on Snake who had been using the projector as a decoy the whole time. Cue Crowning Moment of Awesome, Destruction of Modern Society, and a badass break in the Fourth Wall.
Executive Decision starts with the main charactertaking a flight test. At the end of the film, he has to land a 747.
Fast Five has an extra safe of the same style that they are trying to steal.
As well as the knife that Alex tries to stab Dan with during the confrontation in her apartment. Watch the lingering close-up on Dan's hand around the blade handle as he places it on the counter. In the original, Alex uses that same knife to slit her throat, effectively framing Dan for her murder.
In Fearless, Jet Li's character says that all tea tastes the same to him, so he doesn't bother to check what is in his cups. In the final act, he fails to notice his tea has been poisoned.
The mithril shirt that Bilbo gives to Frodo in Fellowship of the Ring is a mild example.
In The Fifth Element, Corbin Dallas's box of matches is almost empty in his first scene (which is OK because he's been meaning to quit smoking anyway). The last match winds up being a key part of switching on part of the alien weapon at the end.
In one of the first scenes of Firewall, we see the sister yelling at the brother because his radio-controlled car causes interference with the television. Guess what Harrison Ford uses later to disrupt the villain's security system?
Clumsily done in Fletch. Near the beginning, Fletch (Chevy Chase) lights a cigarette with a Zippo lighter. This is the only time he's ever seen smoking in the movie. But at the climax, when he needs a way to escape, the lighter comes in handy.
Partly subverted in Flyboys. Each of the young pilots is given a revolver by veteran pilot Reed Cassidy. The explanation is that, if their plane catches fire they can use the gun for a quick suicide. The audience KNOWS this will be used for that, but the first plane to catch fire explodes before the pilot can act. It is used near the end of the movie by Briggs Lowry, finishing the loop. However, Blaine Rawlings then uses HIS gun to surprise and kill the Big Bad when his gun is shot out in the final duel.
Subverted in Foul Play. Gloria is unknowingly slipped a cigarette pack with the bad guys' plans, which ends up dropped behind a couch in her apartment. Much, much later, the landlord's pet snake finds them, only for him to say "How many times do I have to tell you, don't eat cigarettes!" and toss it in the fireplace, not knowing its importance. Cut to the snake laughing.
In the first ten minutes of Frequency, John's best friend's kid finds a shotgun in an old case where John's father's old ham radio is. Although it is only mentioned and seen in passing then, John's father later uses it to blow off the hand of, and, 30 years later, kill, the villain.
In Funny Games, the film points out a knife that gets dropped to the deck of the family sailboat. When the woman is brought back to the boat by her captors, she grabs the knife but her captors immediately spot her and grab the knife, making the whole thing a red herring.
Arguably a lampshaded red herring, considering the context of the film.
In the opening scenes of The Fugitive, Dr. Kimble's friend Dr. Nichols returns his keys to him, thanking him for loaning him his car. Later, during Kimble's murder trial, the investigating detective testifies that there was no sign of a break-in, making him doubt Kimble's claims of an intruder. Not until the very end of the film does Gerard realize the significance of this and tell Kimble that Nichols must have used the keys to let the assailant into his home.
Galaxy Quest. The time-machine device that allows the user to go back 13 seconds into the past, just enough time to correct a mistake. It's mentioned early in the film but then dismissed and not used until the end.
The incinerator in Gattaca- in the final scene, as Vincent finally leaves Earth, Eugene crawls into it to commit suicide.
Almost averted in Get Carter. In the first act Jack Carter finds his brother's double-barreled shotgun, which he then carries on and off for the rest of the film — but never actually fires. He does kill a man with it, though — he beats him to death with the stock.
Occurs practically every other movie in the original Godzilla series.
The Golden Child. While Chandler Jarrell is in Tibet, Kee Nang's father (masquerading as a beggar) sells him a medallion. Near the end of the movie a demon tries to stab Chandler with the Ajanti Dagger and the medallion deflects the blow.
Averted and subverted in Gran Torino: Clint Eastwood's character threatens people with guns several times but only fires a gun once, by accident and early in the movie. Additionally Eastwood's character in the finale mimics movements that he made earlier where he pulled a gun, but he isn't carrying one at the time, which he does for the purpose of tricking the gangbangers who raped Sue into killing him and getting them all arrested for murder.
Subverted in The Green Hornet with all of the cars in the garage; the only one that ends up being driven is the Black Beauty.
In Gremlins, the Peltzer family keeps a shield and two swords in their living room. At least one of the swords is still a very functional weapon.
Early in Grindhouse: Death-Proof, the characters have a conversation about whether or not carrying a gun is necessary to protect oneself. Near the climax, the character who carries one shoots the Big Bad with it.
In Grosse Pointe Blank, Martin Blank is given a pen with the business details of an old schoolfriend at a reunion. He later uses this to stab a would-be assassin to death.
The Hangover has several Chekhov's Guns that are used by the three friends trying to find the groom. Some are noticed immediately while others are forgotten about until later. There is the tiger that leads Mike Tyson to them, the card counting book that leads to the Chekhov's Skill, the Holocaust ring that winds up in the hands of a stripper. But probably the most important one is the mattress that was thrown out of Caesar's Palace. Since the windows are locked, it could have only been thrown from the roof, where the groom is.
In Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, while searching a car, the titular characters come across a huge stash of pepper spray. Later in the film, after they're arrested by the FBI, they manage to escape after it's revealed that Harold managed to hide a can of pepper spray in his pants and uses it to disable their captors.
Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle also had a number of Chekhov's Guns. For example, the cheetah is mentioned on a number of news reports before the protagonists find it, but the news reports are just treated as background noise. The hangglider on top of the car they steal from the extreme sports enthusiasts ends up being the vehicle that carries them to their final destination.
In Heathers, Veronica's talent for handwriting forgery is introduced early on with the prank on Big Martha.
In Hook, the titular captain reveals in a victory speech to his underlings that he is finally getting his revenge on the now-adult Peter Pan. Prior to kidnapping Peter's kids, Hook killed the crocodile that had been pursuing him all these years and turned it into a Clock Tower. It winds up killing Hook in the final battle when it's accidentally brought back to life.
The Home Alone movies are full of this. Everything from gifts given to things said to items seen briefly in a bedroom come back in some way, shape or form.
The cop-movie parody Hot Fuzz, aka "Chekhov's Gun: The Movie," from the same team as the below-mentioned Shaun of the Dead, has what would be better described as Chekhov's Arsenal stashed in a police evidence room. Actually the entirety of Hot Fuzz is a great example of this, as nearly everything seen, done, or said in the first half of the film becomes an important plot point in the second. Watch it twice then make a checklist. It's uncanny.
The DVD feature Fuzz Facts points out every single one of them. And there are a lot.
A particularly apt example might be the sea mine, which fails to go off when it's first discovered in a farmer's barn ... so that it can be detonated in the police station right at the end of the movie.
House of the Dead had one girl who is blatantly pointed out as being on the fencing team. This is of absolutely no importance to the plot until the climax where the Big Bad picks up a sword and a rather dull sword fight ensues.
How To Murder Your Wife: If you understand Italian, you'll hear Mrs. Ford recite Stanley's ultimate plot during the couple's visit to the lawyer's office. She summarizes the plot of a recent movie starring Marcello Mastroianni: "He wanted a divorce and couldn't get one, so he murdered his wife."
In The Hunt for Red October, Jack Ryan consults with a submarine expert in his factory. One of his side projects is a "daughter-ship" mini-submarine capable of docking with other submarines. Later, the mini-submarine permits the American protagonists and the Russian defectors to commune and collaborate aboard Red October, unbeknownst to the crew adrift.
Also the (seemingly random) introduction of 'Chef's assistant Loganov' to witness Ramius take possession of both Missile Keys. He is later revealed to be The Mole for the KGB.
Averted in In the Loop. One character keeps a live grenade in his office as a paperweight — several other characters mention this fact, and we even get to see the grenade, but it's never in any danger of detonating.
In the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy finds a snake in the plane. The Ark of the Covenant is hidden in a giant pit filled with snakes. And then Belloq seals him in there...
Also in Raiders, Marion is first introduced as a competitive drinker who can hold massive amounts of alcohol. Later, when held captive by Belloq, she gets him drunk so she can attempt to escape.
Early in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Indy asks Willie to hold his gun during the car chase and she throws it out the window. Near the end he's confronted by two swordsmen, reaches for his gun and... oops!
In Iron Man 1, Tony Stark builds a electromagnetic device called an Arc Reactor to protect his heart, then upgrades the unit by having his secretary, Pepper, install a larger version in his chest. He tells her to throw the small unit away, but Pepper has it put in a display case for him. The miniature reactor becomes crucial later on, when Obadiah Stane takes the larger reactor from Tony's chest while he's paralyzed, and he must rely on the smaller model to power his suit and his heart. Also, Tony's second attempt at the suit doesn't work out too well after ice builds up during a high-atmosphere flight.He later uses this against the Big Bad.
The giant Arc-Reactor which is mentioned in the first third of the movie, then overloaded at the end to finally defeat Obadiah Stane. Every character, item, and detail has at least two uses in the movie. "How did you solve that icing problem?"
The sequel has loads as well, including Howard Stark's model of the Stark Expo and what happens when two repulsor blasts hit each other.
It also contains a subversion, when we are introduced to Hammer's "ex-wife" bunker-buster shell. When Rhodes tries to use it on Vanko, it proves completely worthless - after a long, dramatic charge-up sequence, the much-vaunted missile pings harmlessly off Vanko's armor and sputters on the ground like a dud firecracker.
This includes a subversion and a straight example. When Hammer is going through all the weapons he's going to add to Rhode's armor, the "ex-wife" is the only one he manufactured himself. Hammer's well established incompetence at weapons design is Chekhov's Gun.
In the beginning of a James Bond film, Q briefs 007 on all the new clever gadgets. Not only will every single one get used at some point, but every aspect of each item will be relevant. When, for example, Q added a fingerprint recognition feature into the grip of a camera-gun, the weapon was subsequently taken by a foe and pointed at Bond. The pause while the thug fruitlessly attempted to fire the weapon gave 007 the moment he needed to dispatch him. You know that a Bond movie will never end unless every named gadget from the Q scene has either been used or deliberately written off.
An exception to this is the film GoldenEye, where Q explains all the gadgets in Bond's new BMW, none of which are used at all in the film.
This is because the BMW Product Placement came really late into development, so a scene using the car couldn't be created.
This was referenced in an Eddie Izzard bit where he points out that Bond never returns and says "Q, I've got a lot of stuff I didn't even fucking use!"
Similarly, the series itself lampshades this at one point when Q is giving Bond his set of gadgets for the film, and at the end says, "do try to bring some of it back this time..."
An especially good example also comes from GoldenEye, however. At one point, Boris the hacker's nervous habit of spinning a pen in one hand while typing with the other is conspicuously shown. When combined with Q's earlier scene, in which Q introduces a pen that acts as a grenade (with three clicks arming the grenade and another three disarming it), you just know Boris will be spinning Bond's pen-grenade near the end, with explosive consequences. Sure enough ...
Live and Let Die both utilized and subverted this. Bond is given special "shark pellets" that are capsules full of compressed gas. He never uses them on any sharks, instead using them as a quick way of dispatching the villain by force feeding him one and making him swell up like a blimp and pop. The subversion is practically the opposite of the above GoldenEye subversion example; instead of not using a gadget that has been introduced earlier, he more or less produces a gadget out of nowhere with no build-up or foreshadowing whatsoever, in this case being a miniature buzz-saw blade in his watch that he uses to saw through rope.
The watch has another subversion earlier, as it was introduced as a powerful magnet, which Bond tries to use to pull a metal canoe toward him when he's stranded in the middle of a bunch of alligators. After moving a few inches, the canoe is revealed to be securely tied to the shore.
The car chase at the beginning of Quantum Of Solace ends when James Bond pulls out a machine gun and blasts the bad guys off a cliff. We had not seen this gun in the movie before Bond uses it... but we do see him with the gun at the end of Casino Royale, in a scene that takes place about an hour before Solace begins.
Another bizarre example is Q's "Ultra-high frequency single-digit sonic agitator unit" in Die Another Day. It's a ring that can shatter any glass. That's it. Bond uses it twice, once to escape the bad guys, and another to rescue Jinx.
At the beginning of The Man with the Golden Gun, we see a wax figure of Bond in the villain's funhouse. At the end of the film, Bond takes the place of the dummy and is able to catch the villain off guard and kill him.
Not involving Q, but a really horrible one. In For Your Eyes Only Bond and Melina are taking a SCUBA diving break when, for no good reason at all, she takes her tanks off and ascends sharing Bond's mouthpiece. Later the two are being dragged back and forth over coral by the villain, Bond breaks the rope used to pull them, and they dive to the exact spot where they had previously left Melina's tanks. Lame!
James Bond examples other than Q Branch devices: In Goldfinger, the giant laser is first used as a threat to execute Bond. It is later used to cut through the outer door of Fort Knox.
Looper has telekinesis, which is introduced early and dismissed as not being that big of a deal besides cheap parlor tricks. Cid, the future Rainmaker, turns out to have the power to make people explode with it, crush vehicles, and flatten entire areas. Foreshadowed by his mother hiding in an old safe when Cid gets angry.
Moonraker has three of them, including two of Q's devices.
Q gives Bond a wrist-activated dart gun that he uses to escape the gravity trainer and shoot Drax near the end.
Dr. Goodhead's "poison pen" (standard CIA equipment). Bond takes it in Venice and later uses to kill the python in the jungle.
When Bond meets Q at the Brazilian temporary HQ, one of Q's men is firing a laser rifle that's later used by the U.S space Marines assaulting Drax's orbiting station.
Ferguson's hacking skills allow him to hack and shut down the ABC during the Final Battle.
There's also the signal flare feature on the Judges' gun that Dredd demonstrates to the cadets, and later uses to distract Rico before throwing him off the Statue of Liberty.
Jumper has one. Griffin makes a passing mention of how much the average jumper can jump with. About twelve minutes before the end of the film, that knowledge comes in handy to the main character.
A couple in the Jurassic Park movie; a considerable number in the second novel; the most egregious being Kelly's gymnastics in the second film. The frog DNA is the most consistent one across the literature and film.
The model of the raptor voice box in the third film is one of the most straight-forward examples of this trope in any of the films.
From the first film: When Dr. Grant is trying to intimidate the child who mocked the raptor, he mentions that he'll be attacked not by the one he sees in front of him, but by the one to the side that he doesn't see. The raptors later set up this exact trap to kill Muldoon.
Played straight in Kick-Ass. Half-way through the film, the bodyguard steals a bazooka off of a wall of guns. It's used in the final scene of the movie to kill the Big Bad.
Viciously lampshaded by Narrator!Harry in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: "Ooo-kay... I apologize, that was a terrible scene. It's like, why was that in the movie? Gee, do you think it'll come back later, maybe? I hate it when movies do that. TV's on, talking about the new power plant — hm, I wonder where the big climax will happen."
Lethal Weapon 2 features Chekhov's Nailgun. Sgt. Murtaugh is having his house expanded, and as he and Riggs go into the construction area, they hear a noise like a shot going off, hit the deck and pull out their pistols. It turns out that the construction worker was using a nail gun. "Don't you use a hammer?" "What's a hammer?" Later in the movie, Murtaugh is at home alone when he's attacked. He leads his attacker into the construction area, and uses the nail gun to kill him with one nail to the head— and then kill a second enemy with three to the chest. "Nailed 'em both."
A fairly subtle one in The Long Kiss Goodnight. Samantha Caine slips a matchbook into her daughter's sling, so that she can keep a candle lit while her mother's away. Once Sam has her memory back and is Charly Baltimore, she and her daughter are Locked in a Freezer, where the matches (along with some gasoline) allow her to blow up the freezer door and escape.
There's a slightly more obvious one, if only because the setup and the payoff occur closer to each other. When Samantha and Mitch are driving away with Waldman, he tells them that he carries three guns on him, including one in his crotch since males are reluctant to check that area while frisking. A few scenes later, Samantha sees Waldman's drowned corpse while she is being tortured, reaches into his pants, and pulls out that third gun. A rare case where the Chekhov's Gun is a literal gun.
In Mad Max 2, an early scene establishes that Max has an anti-tampering mechanism that self-destructs his car in the event someone tries to steal it (as a way to show how Properly Paranoid he's become). This later saves Max's life, as the thugs who ambush him and kill his dog inadvertently activate the device and blow themselves up.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome has an extra-delayed-fire Chekhov's Gun. In the first movie he's a cop with the Main Force Patrol. By the second movie the MFP has ceased to exist and is never mentioned, he even loses his cop car halfway through it. In the third movie he's set to battle the gigantic Blaster. Blaster is rendered helpless by Max's MFP police whistle, since Blaster has a Weaksauce Weakness against high pitched noises.
The Man Who Knew Too Much: The main character's wife is an ex-professional singer. Early in the film, she sings a duet with their son and he sings and whistles along. In the end, her powerful scream averts an assassination and her singing helps locate their son when he starts whistling along.
Maverick. Early in the movie Maverick practices being able to tell which card he drew out of a deck without looking at it, and mentions that the trick had never worked. Near the end he must do the same thing to win the $500,000 poker championship.
Medicine Man has a doctor in the rainforest where he believes he has found a cure for cancer in the local tribe's sugar supply after realising that the tribe had a very low cancer rate. He figures out that the tribe uses a particular plant for all of their food but he can't reproduce the cure himself. However he didn't consider that the supply could be contaminated and also ignores their liking for sugar coated ants.
The flying saucers from the first MIB meeting in 1961, converted into towers at Flushing.
The little red button in the LTD.
K orders J to fasten his seat belt before they go for a drive, and J lectures him about being polite. Just after K has J push the little red button he says "And you might want to put on a seat belt".
Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Halfway through the film, a historian appears to summarize the next part of the plot and is murdered. Later, Arthur, Sir Bedevere, and Sir Lancelot are stopped on their quest and arrested for his murder.
Originally they had more modern scenes planned, but ultimately focused on the grail quest for the most part. It's funnier because it comes out of nowhere, anyhow.
Also, on the scene where they have to answer questions in order to cross the bridge, Arthur knows about swallows due to the first scene.
Moonrise Kingdom: Suzy's lefty scissors seem pretty innocuous when they are first recorded in Sam's inventory.
Muppet Treasure Island: Gonzo's odd decision to keep starfish in his pants come in handy when they battle against the pirates. If people count, the fact that Statler and Waldorf are the animated, talking figureheads of the Hispaniola also counts.
And in The Muppets, there's a scene in which Gonzo gets his fingers stuck in a bowling ball while trying to bowl a pin off Jack Black's head. They're still stuck until the last couple seconds of the movie, when the ball flies off and beans the Big Bad, giving him a brain injury and changing his personality, prompting him to sell Muppet Studios back to the Muppets.
My Cousin Vinny is loaded with examples, from Lisa's ever-present camera and her extensive knowledge of automobiles to the story of Judge Malloy and the diner cook's brief explanation of how grits are cooked.
In Mystery Men, Dr. Heller's Tornado-in-a-Can was intended to be a Chekhov's Gun but ended up as a deleted scene. Rather than throw The Bowler's bowling ball into Casanova Frankenstein's machine to destroy it, they were going to throw a Tornado-in-a-Can into it in the alternate version. The effect for this can still however be seen in the theatrical release; just after they toss the bowling ball in and it does its damage you can see the green swirling smoke coming out of the hole.
Several in Mystery Team: Duncan's slingshot, the firecracker, Jason being "The Master of Disguise" and Eric, just to name a few. Subverted with Duncan and Charlie's "skills"
In The Naked Gun 2 and 1/2, Frank uses a police tank to crash though a house, a gated community, and a zoo. Much later, Frank wrestles Quentin Habsburg till Quentin accidentally falls out of a window. He plummets several stories before landing on a canopy and bouncing to the ground unscathed . . . where he is then mauled by a lion presumably from the zoo.
In a movie like this one its surprising they actually set that gag up as opposed to just having it randomly happen for no reason.
The missing drone mentioned at the beginning. It was captured by La Résistance, but it's intended use to carry a nuke to the Tet ends up sadly subverted.
The Bubble Ship and the drones using voice recognition to identify Jack. The latter comes in use when Jack first rescues Julia from the crashed "Odyssey" (since they're programmed to not shoot him). As for the former... as Jack discovers, all that it's necessary to use another clone's ship is to change the Tech operator number you say for ID, which comes in handy because he needs to use it to save Julia's life after she's accidentally shot.
The "Odyssey"'s flight recorder. And its nuclear reactor core.
The Scav communications equipment that Jack deactivates on the ruins of the Empire State Building. And the building itself.
The fact that the drones can track Jack's DNA comes back to bite the ass of La Résistance during the final act.
When Jack first reports about finding Julia to Mission Control, Sally says that she would be interested in meeting her. during the Trojan Prisoner gambit, Jack mentions this back to Sally to be allowed into the ship.
When Jack first starts checking the wreckage of the crashed "Odyssey", he opens a Human Popsicle capsule which is empty, and when the Scavs La Résistance arrive, you can see them taking that capsule. It becomes pretty important later on as the capsule Julia goes in thinking she and Jack will do the Trojan Prisoner gambit and Jack then transports to his cabin, where she will be safe. The capsule is labeled "J. Harper"—it belonged to her (real) husband.
A minor one: when Jack first disables the communications equipment on the Empire State, he takes a gorilla plushie that was on the room and puts it among his collection of scavenged stuff. Julia's child is seen playing with it on the movie's epilogue.
In the animated movie Once Upon a Forest, early on in the movie the animals are told by their teacher that a certain part of the forest is off limits, but says that the reason why is "not today's lesson". Pan across to reveal a trap. This is promptly forgotten...until the very end of the movie, when Edgar the Mole gets caught in it while trying to evade some humans doing cleanup after the gas damaged the forest. One of them frees Edgar, smashes the trap, throws it in the garbage bag, and proves to the animals that perhaps (contrary to dire warnings throughout the movie) humans aren't exclusively destructive monsters. Not bad as environmentalist messages go.
The Opposite Of Sex: Dedee is shown packing a gun, and helpfully informs the audience, "This is foreshadowing. Duh!". And despite the fact that she toys with being an Unreliable Narrator, it does get used later on. Twice.
Our Man Flint. Early in the movie Flint is woken up from suspended animation by his watch. Later on when Flint is apparently dead, the watch wakes him up again - he was just in suspended animation.
Subverted in Outbreak. The soldiers begin rounding up infectees in the quarantined small town, and we get to see only one woman say a tearful goodbye to her family. We follow her for a few minutes while they take a blood sample during her initial medical exam. There is even a close up of the phial, labeled "Sample 612". In a later scene, we see a scientist examining blood slides:
Scientist: "Sample 607: Infected. 608: Infected. 609: Infected. * Frustrated sigh* They can't all be infected. 610... Infected. 611...Infected. 612... Damn! Still infected!"
Ofelia's red shoes in Pan's Labyrinth are forgotten about halfway through the film, only to suddenly reappear at the end. They don't really do anything, they are just a part of the elaborate system of clues that let the viewer know the truth about what happens—red shoes are associated with The Fair Folk, as is Ofelia's all-green outfit, for that matter.
The bottle of sleeping medicine Ofelia's mother was given would count. At first, it seems completely unnecessary since Ofelia helps her mother to get better with the mandrake root. At the end of the movie though, she uses it to drug her stepfather and escape with her brother.
Mercedes' belt on her robe early on is revealed to have a hidden compartment where she stores her kitchen knife. The camera focused on it for too long for it to not be of any importance. As it turns out, later she is tied to a chair by the Big Bad, and when his back is turned, she retrieves the knife, cuts herself free, and in a Crowning Moment of Awesome slices open his cheek before making her escape.
Happens twice in Papillon. First on the boat to French Guiana, where Papillon displays his pocket knife, which later is used by Papillon to defend Louis from two robbers. Later, when Papillon, Louis and Clusiot have escaped their captivity, Papillon is shown putting an axe in the back of his pants. The same axe is later used to kill an officer.
In Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Pee-Wee buys several strange items at the magic shop at the beginning of the movie, including a boomerang bowtie. However, it is only used in a deleted scene, whereas most of the other items do get used in the movie.
Subverted early in the first Pirates of the Caribbean — a decorative shield-and-swords hangs over a fireplace in the governor's mansion in the grand swashbuckling fashion. When Elizabeth later goes to draw one of the swords to defend herself against invading pirates, she ends up pulling the whole thing down off the wall by accident — the swords are firmly attached to the shield and won't come loose.
It's played straight in the same movie: Norrington mocks Jack's pistol (with only one shot) and compass (that's apparently broken); the pistol has symbolic importance and the compass proves important not only to the first movie but to the sequels as well.
An interesting one comes in the form of the sword Will forged for Norrington. At the end of the third film, Will is killed with this sword.
Ragetti's wooden eye seems to just be comic relief, until it turns out to be one of the Pieces of Eight.
But the ultimate example, as far as the time between when we are shown the gun and when it is fired, are the barrel-pin hinges commonly used in jail cells of the period. In the first film, Will shows Jack how simple it is to unseat these hinges, thereby opening a jail cell door. In the third film, Jack recognizes that the hinges on the brig of the Flying Dutchman to be barrel-pin hinges, and is thus able to escape with ease because of Will's explanation from the first film.
The President's Analyst is soon being pursued by intelligence agents of every country out to capture him. In New York's Chinatown, an agent chasing him gets stuck in a phone booth which has a logo reading "TPC", which shows up several other places, like on a maintenance truck in suburbia and a wheelbarrow on the White House lawn - late in the movie, the analyst gets stuck in a phone booth which is pulled up and hauled off, with him in it, to the headquarters of TPC - The Phone Company.
Prometheus makes a point of showing the audience a rather pricey Automated Surgical Unit that can perform almost any kind of emergency surgery, including complex operations which is later used by Shaw to perform an emergency cesarean on herself, after having been infected by Holloway.
Repo Men, which begins in media res, shows Jude Law's character using a typewriter. Shortly after the film catches up to this scene, said typewriter is used to crush someone's skull.
Every single one of Professor Keenbean's inventions in the 1994 Richie Rich film.
Near the opening of the John Wayne movie Rio Bravo, Sheriff Chance directs an incoming wagon train to park outside of town (and near the Big Bad's land) because its cargo contains dynamite he wants away from the jailhouse. Naturally, at the end of the movie, the big shootout happens in the same location.
In the 1963 movie The Sadist one of the characters is scared by a snake skin she mistook for a rattlesnake, this doesn't have any significance till later towards the end where the main villain of the movie is killed by falling into a pit full of rattlesnakes.
In Salt starring Angelina Jolie, there was a brief scene where she took some venom from a spider, putting it into a needle. We find out that she used it to temporarily render the Russian Prime Minister unconscious and paralyzed, giving the illusion that she shot and killed him.
The wild boar tooth fitted with an LED that Frank gives to his son Josh in Sanctum. With no other light source, Josh uses the special torch to light his way as he swims to freedom at the end of the film.
In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, after the battle with the Katayanagi Twins, Scott picks up an extra life, which would be used at the end when he is killed by Gideon.
Teased and subverted in Secret Honor. At the start of the movie, former President Richard Nixon takes out a pistol in his study and makes sure that it's loaded. By the end, he's waved it around a bit, but not fired it.
Serenity. Captain Mal orders Jayne not to take any grenades when they go to rob the payroll shipment. During the robbery the Reavers attack and Jayne sarcastically points out how nice it would be to have grenades available. Late in the movie the Reavers attack again and Mal asks Jayne if he brought any grenades. Jayne just pulls open his coat and shows him the grenades he's wearing.
Janye's comment that it "sure would be nice to have some grenades" is a hybrid lampshade/inversion at the time.
The music conservatory in A Song Is Born contains Chekhov's Drum. Early in the film, the drum falls while the professors are playing The Anvil Chorus. Later, they get the idea to literally get the drop on one of the mooks by making it resonate and fall again.
The A Series of Unfortunate Events movie does this in a kind of creepy way. In the Wide Window segment, Aunt Josephine explains her various paranoias about using household appliances. As unrealistic as these fears sound at the time, they all happen for real when the house starts to fall off the cliff.
Some of these include a doorknob that could shatter into a thousand pieces (which it did by becoming super-heated), a fridge that could fall on someone (nearly falling on the siblings as the house began to tumble) and the radiator, which might explode. Her fear of the Lake Lachrymose and the Lachrymose leeches can also count, too, because she ends up falling in the lake and getting eaten by them.
The series also had a tendency to introduce the strange things in the various settings, having them be useful or significant later. Usually this was out of necessity (Violet using things like the crabs in the Orphan Shack to make a gadget they needed), but other things like horseradish, the Incredibly Dangerous Viper, the Quagmire's notebooks, the Snow Scout masks, and the harpoon all are significant later in their books (or the entire series).
Subverted in Se7en. All through the movie we get to see Detective Summerset show exceptional skill with a switchblade, particularly with throwing it. At one point, his partner, Detective Mills even calls attention to the fact that he even has one on him at all. However, he gets almost no practical use out of it unless you count opening boxes and cutting evidence tape.
A perfect example of Chekhov's Gun can be found in Shaun of the Dead. While getting drunk in the Winchester, Shaun and Ed discuss whether the gun behind the counter is real. Later, while dealing with a rather unexpected zombie problem, they discover that the gun is in fact genuine.
The 2010 Sherlock Holmes- everything in the chemistry lab turns out to be important in some way. Details would be spoilerific.
In fact, both films have a vast arsenal of guns, from the glaringly obvious to the sublt and seemingly one-shot ones. One of the most prominent examples in the second movie is Mycroft's oxygen breather that Holmes handles before the climax.
Signs has a few: Merrill's bat, Bo's abandoned glasses of water, and, arguably, Morgan's asthma.
Which was precisely the point of the movie. Everything happens for a reason.
The 2004 Hong Kong film Silver Hawk (no, no relation to these guys) has the titular heroine's Love Interest, a cop who's ironically chasing her masked alter ego, displaying a very weird martial arts stance that dates back to their childhood days in martial arts training (shown via flashbacks): he'd raise his arms above his head, then bring them down slowly to his sides with the hands still pointing upward, while sucking in his stomach and making growling noises—only to frequently get punched in the face for his trouble. Turns out it's a core-strengthening stance that allows him to take a Megaton Punch from the Big Bad's cybernetic fist with no ill-effects.
"Skyfall" - much like Live and Let Die, Bond receives a gun with a palm-scanner that only he can fire. When an enemy gets his hands on it, Bond just says "Good luck with that" and leaves him to get dragged off by a komodo dragon. Then there's the knives from the siege at the climax...
Subverted in Slither. A grenade is shown in the police station's gun cabinet, and a minor character explains what it's doing there. The main character goes back for it, planning to use it to blow up the Big Bad. During the climax, the Big Bad knocks it out of his hand, twice, and it finally explodes uselessly in a swimming pool.
It counts as a subversion because the item failed to be useful. However, the movie has an actual example of the trope - Kylie's nails. They're discussed during dinner with her family for some reason, later they save her by being able to stab the worm and pull it out of her mouth.
Actually the whole movie is built on Chekhov's Guns, though some of them might be considered inversions.
An interesting subversion is in Snake Eyes, where the huge ball that has been lying on the ground for most of the movie doesn't roll over anyone (read: Gary Sinise). However, this was only because test audiences didn't like the originally-planned ending in which it does roll over Sinise.
In one scene in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Dr Eggman lets off a missile in the shape of a tortoise; it moves so slowly that it is of very little use to him in the fight. At the end of the film, after Eggman's clone of Sonic is destroyed, he announces that he still has Sonic's DNA and he can make another clone; at this point the tortoise re-enters shot and explodes, destroying the data disk.
In The Spanish Prisoner, there are usually groups of camera-wielding Japanese tourists in the background, and their presence is noted by the characters. At the end, the protagonist is on a ferry with two villains about to kill him. He appeals to the only other passengers, two of the ubiquitous tourists. They're actually US Marshals, have been staking him out the whole time, and arrest the villains. Virtually everything in the movie is a Chekhov's Gun. Watch it five times and you'll still be noticing new ones.
Subverted slightly in Speed Racer. Speed is presented with the modified Mach 5, with 7 different gadgets for him to use. While 6 of them come in handy, the last one is never used, apparently only being included because it was there in the original anime version.
The last one remaining unused is fitting, since it was very rarely used in the show and often didn't work right.
In Spy Game, Agent Nathan Muir receives a framed award for his service, signed by the Director himself. At the climax of the film, he breaks it open and uses the signature to forge a directive.
Subverted in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country which the opening lines are (now) Captain Sulu dictating the Captain's Log that his ship USS Excelsior has just completed cataloging gaseous and planetary anomalies in the Beta Quadrant. But, at the end of the film Uhura mentions that the USS Enterprise also just happens to be carrying a load of equipment for cataloging gaseous anomalies which turns out to be handy in tracking and destroying the Big Bad.
Shatner purportedly complained that Kirk and the Enterprise wouldn’t need to be saved. So, late in filming the gaseous cataloging equipment was swapped from the Excelsior to the Enterprise. So, in effect- at the start of the film Chekhov’s gun is mentioned to be on the Excelsior. At the end of the film an exact duplicate is fired from the Enterprise.
Star Trek Into Darkness has one very near the end where Khan's blood is injected on a dead tribble so we can "see what happens". Obviously, when Kirk gets radiationed to death in the core, guess what's coming...
One might also argue that this gun is placed at the beginning with the comotose girl.
The ground-to-air missile in Southland Tales. Also all that other stuff that made no sense.
In Stay Tuned, Roy's fencing swords from Junior College (mentioned early in the movie) are used to save his life in the climax, when he needs a sword to fight Mr. Spike.
In the Will Ferrell movie Stranger Than Fiction his actions are being dictated by a writer controlling his life. The author mentions his watch repeatedly throughout the film. It turns out that the writer intended to have him be hit by a bus, breaking the watch and having a shard of the face cut through an artery and killing him, due to him accidentally having his watch set early. The writer, upon learning that she's killing a real man, rewrites the ending so that the fragment of the watch sticks in the artery, stopping him from death by watch. It makes the ending less ironic than the ending she planned, but oh-so-heartwarming.
In Straw Dogs, David and Amy Sumner get trapped in their own house surrounded by Charlie Venner and his boys. While setting traps, they quickly set a bear trap. After David uses many other objects and tactics he ends up in a fist fight with David who is the only one left moving. After Charlie has nearly killed David but doesn't kill him which is his intention Why Isn't It Attacking?, he proceeds to mock Amy, only for David to (expectedly) kill him with the bear trap that they spent so long earlier preparing.
In Sunset Boulevard - the swimming pool. The following is not even a spoiler, technically, but: the audience knows from the start that the victim is found dead in the swimming pool, and attention is drawn to the swimming pool throughout the film - the victim even goes so far as to obligingly turn on the pool lights, really to make his own death scene play better for the cameras! - and STILL it is a surprise ending...
In Super Mario Bros., a Bob-omb is activated near the end and walks around harmlessly for a long time, only to come to rest and explode under the Big Bad at the climax.
The Bob-omb was actually introduced earlier and wasn't shown again until that point.
In Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny the main character has to exercise to do "cock pushups", which comes in handy later on.
John Connor has a laptop computer that determines ATM PINs. It comes in handy later on when he needs to open a safe with an ATM style locking system.
When the protagonists need to steal a car the Terminator rips open the steering column in order to start the engine. John pulls down the sun blind and a set of keys drops down. John asks the Terminator "Are we learning yet?" Later on when the Terminator is trying to steal the SWAT van he's about to use force again, remembers what he learned earlier and pulls down the sun blind. The van's keys fall down.
Relatively early in the film, we are informed that Ahnold runs on a pair of nuclear power cells that violently explode if damaged; the one he discards after a firefight explodes with enough force to create a mushroom cloud. At the end of the film, he takes out his other one, stuffs it into the T-X's mouth and uppercuts the T-X, crushing the cell between its jaws. Boom.
Terminator Salvation details a method for crippling the T-600s. It too comes in handy later on.
A few pop up in Thor. Earlier, Darcy took a picture of Thor. The picture would be used later on a falsified ID. Also, Loki taunting Heimdall over secret passages that even Heimdall wasn't aware of would come to use when Loki uses those passages to escape death and arrive to Earth.
In To Catch a Thief, one of the members of the heist team keeps saying that a compartment in the trunk is too obvious, it's even his catchphrase for a good portion. The villain finds it. ..and the other heist teammate looks at him, he winks. He put in another compartment and didn't tell anyone. Also, the fact that a more major character sells bootleg videos isn't ever really important, but is worth mentioning: All the people who joined in the heist were picked by looking at which movies they bought.
The hologram wristwatch that Quaid finds in the briefcase is later used to defeat some of Cohaagen's troops.
The drilling machine appears twice while Benny is driving Quaid to the Last Resort. Later on several break into rebel headquarters and Benny tries to kill Quaid using one.
In Training Day, Hoyt comes across two drug addicts trying to rape a teenage girl. He fights them off, and later picks up the girl's wallet. Later in the movie, Alonzo hires some gangbangers to kill Hoyt. They are about to execute him when they find the girl's wallet in his pocket. The girl he saved was the cousin of one of the gangbangers, and they let him go.
The second Transformers movie does this in reverse, with the more significant use coming before the minor appearance. Part of the plan for getting into a museum involved tasers; Sam's college roommate, who was dragged along more or less by accident, showed his incompetence by shocking himself with one and becoming completely paralyzed. The tasers were then forgotten. Later, the same roommate was freaking out in the back of the car, and wouldn't stop until he was shocked into unconsciousness.
The first had an example that perfectly fits the Chekhov heading quote: the camera shows a motorcycle in the ground. 5 minutes later, Capt. Lennox rides it to attack a Decepticon.
And the glasses Sam tries to auction off on ebay.
As an example of Chekhov's Hobby, it is stated that Mikaela had a criminal record for helping her dad steal cars. In The Climax, she uses this knowledge to hotwire a tow truck when Bumblebee is seriously injured.
The flamethrower that Cody was testing early in Tropic Thunder was really helpful against the enemy in the final action scene.
to a lesser extent the Tivo box used to stop the RPG round aimed at the helecopter.
From Wolfgang Petersen's Troy: Briseis's virginity. Established early for the sole purpose of ensuring that Brad Pitt takes it later.
In Turner And Hooch, attention is drawn to the fact that Turner always buckles his seat belt and refuses to start his car unless all of his passengers are also buckled up. This comes in handy when a crook takes him hostage while in the passenger seat. Turner rams the car into a lamp post, causing the crook to fly out of the windshield because he didn't buckle up.
Two Hands combines a Chekhov's gun and a Chekhov's gunman - both are literal, but the gunman uses a different gun. A gun fails to fire twice, first in the middle of the film and then again at the end, because the thug it belongs to put it through the wash. The first time allows the protagonist to escape execution by Pando's men. The second time it costs the thug his life when the boy from early in the film guns down Pando and his men.
In the Zombie Apocalypsecomedy-western flick Undead or Alive, a Native American woman named Sue remembers a legend stating that the zombification curse can be removed by consuming the living flesh of the person who placed it in the first place. Since that person, her uncle, is dead, this information is brushed off as useless. Once the other two protagonists become infected near the end, however, it comes into play as they realize that Sue herself would count as her uncle's "still living flesh." This doesn't turn out so well for Sue.
The 2005 action-comedy flick Underclassman has the main character (played by Nick Cannon), a young undercover cop at a preppy private school, taking after-school language lessons from the school's Spanish teacher (played by Roselyn Sanchez of Without A Trace fame). This later comes in handy during the final confrontation with the Big Bad, who's got said teacher in a tense hostage situation when the protagonist informs her in Spanish that the bullets in his gun are rubber bullets and that they'll sting, following which he shoots her to free her from the Big Bad's grasp.
In the introduction there's file footage of James Brown. Later on James Brown appears As Himself, but turns out to be Undercover Brother in disguise.
When Undercover Brother first drives his car we see the two black pool balls hanging from the rear-view mirror. This sets up the later joke where Undercover Brother refers to his "big, black, fuzzy balls".
Several times during the movie Undercover Brother tells people "Don't touch the 'fro" (his Afro hairdo). This anticipates his Berserk Button being set off later on by Mr. Feather cutting off part of his hair.
In Van Helsing, in the scene where Carl shows Van Helsing his diverse gadgets one is a small glass globe with some weird things inside that produces sun-like light. This comes in handy when they have to escape from hordes of vampires in the masquerade ball.
Waiting: There's a part where Ramirez is showing Mitch the rules and general "moves" in "The Game". The last move he lists is treated like somewhat of a Limit Break by him as he talks about it before the scene cuts to something else before we see what it entails. Guess what Mitch uses in his Crowning Moment of Awesome.
In Walking Tall, the main character returns to his hometown after some time away in the military, only to learn that the local saw-mill—the town's primary source of income when he was young—has been shut down, with a casino now bringing in revenue for the citizens. Of course, he gradually learns that drugs are being peddled out of the casino, but he's basically told that nothing can be done about it because the casino's money-making capacity is the only thing keeping the town going since the mill's closure. It's revealed that the mill itself is where the Big Bad has his main drug base—that's why he had it shut down.
In Warlock, Kassandra is diabetic and used a syringe to inject herself with insulin. At the end of the film she uses it to inject the warlock with salt water which is fatal to witches.
In Wayne's World Wayne and Garth meet up with a security guard after coming out the stage exit during a rock concert, and this guard just so happens to have a lot of information about the big-wig record producer's travel itinerary, including the fact he drives everywhere in his expensive limo with a big satellite dish right on top. Lampshaded by Wayne when Garth figures out a way to use this to further the plot.
We Were Soldiers has Chekhov's Gatling Gun: Lt.Col. Moore first meets his new battalion's officer in a hangar where they've just been checking out an M134 Minigun... weapons which play a prominent role in the movie's climactic Gunship Rescue moment.
A very literal example in the Bill Murray film, What About Bob?. Near the end of the first act, the psychologist main character has a rifle on the mantle for an interview photo op, but takes it off in favor of a bust. At the climax, he holds Bill Murray's character up with it. The only the thing keeping this from being a perfect Chekhov's Gun is that the rifle isn't actually fired.
In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, during the scene where Eddy visits the scene of Marvin Acme's murder, some of the cops on the site are seen fooling around with a portable hole and a mallet with a spring-loaded boxing glove in it. Both these props come in handy during Eddy's confrontation with Judge Doom at the end of the movie.
Also a more explicit example that has some crossover with MacGuffin in the recurring love letter that is actually the will written in invisible ink.
The emphasis on laughs could count.
Judge Doom: Have you forgotten what happened last time? If you don't stop that laughing, you're going to end up dead just like your idiot hyena cousins!
Averted, at least partially by accident, in Willow. As Willow Ufgood sets off on his quest, the leader of his village gives him three magic acorns which can turn what he throws them at to stone. However, throughout the entirety of the movie he attempts to use only two of them, missing a troll with one and hitting Bavmorda with the other only for her to overcome the stone transformation with her own magic. According to Warwick Davis's DVD commentary track the third acorn * was* used—in a deleted scene. Making the whole acorn thing * ding dong sound* entirely pointless.
The 1940 Kay Keyser comedy You'll Find Out has two — early on after Keyser's big band has arrived at the Spooky Mansion that they've been hired to play at for an heiress' 21st birthday (unbeknownst to her, when she turns 21, her Wealthy Dowager aunt is going to turn her entire fortune over to the young lady), Kay and his band manager are looking at the museum pieces in the mansion. Amongst them is a Malaysian blowgun coated with an instant-kill poison and that leaves an imperceptible mark on the victim. It's not a shock when the weapon turns up used in a failed attempt to kill the heiress. Later, a quack seance is sealed by Tesla Coils which are shown to be instantly destructive of anything that comes between them. At the climax of the film, Peter Lorre, playing one of the villains, maneuvers two of the coils so that they will kill the heiress. He's stopped before he can turn the device on again.
In Zoom, it's mentioned that if Mr. Zoom still had his powers, he could create a vortex that would negate the gamma rays' effects, turning his brother back to the good.
The gun in Desert Heat comes in the form of a fighter jets that always fly by at the same time each day.
This list of examples has been alphabetized. Please add your example in the proper place. Thanks!