troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Just For Fun: How to Survive a War Movie
A list of ways to survive a war film.

  • I will not mention my family, girlfriend or hope for the future.
  • I will only join the Allied forces.
  • I will not be a spy.
  • I will be thin.
  • If I have a Dark and Troubled Past, I will endeavour to keep it secret for as long as possible, (except for a few cryptic remarks or a vague, educational anecdote) especially if the writers are planning on a prequel. No director ever killed off the mysterious character before his/her time.
  • I will not remove my helmet, assuming I wore one in the first place.
  • I will not go crazy. I will take every precaution to avoid going mad, such as regular therapy, calming thoughts, and immediately reporting my condition to my superiors if I seem to be becoming unbalanced.
    • I will avoid being diagnosed as crazy when I report my condition to superiors, since anyone crazy enough to report their condition obviously wishes to avoid death and is therefore sane enough to be sent back to the front.
    • I will not lose my cool in the presence of the enemy. There are no more immediately fatal lines than "YOU WANT A PIECE OF ME?!?" or "I gotta get outta here, man!"
  • I will not, under any circumstances, fall in love or get married while on leave from the front. A foreign mistress in a nearby village is acceptable if I am not a virgin.
    • If I am a virgin, I will endeavor to lose my virginity to a total stranger while on leave. The most dangerous time for a soldier is 1-2 days after losing your virginity.note 
  • I will not, under any circumstances, spend an extended episode contemplating with increasing resolve whether to go back to the front, especially if a good life is awaiting me back home.
    • I will only go back to the front after I've become sick and tired of the hospital. Upon returning from the hospital I will inform others that I didn't miss them, but the food wasn't as good. This will reassure them that I am the Audience Surrogate.
  • I will not invoke Catch-22, especially if I have already revealed I understand it on this page.
  • I will not allow myself to be sent to the hospital for any wound, unless it is something merely incapacitating and obviously non-fatal such as a broken finger. Hospitals are death for people with serious injuries.
  • Small but serious injuries are the most dangerous. If I do get sent to the hospital, I will not wistfully endure my minor internal injuries and reassure my seriously injured bunkmate that "I hope he gets better before I leave".
    • I will scream and holler until my Stoic Woobie bunkmate dies peacefully in his sleep. Only then will I know I am on the road to recovery.
  • I won't serve under any officer promoted due to politics, commission or aptitude, even if he's a good guy. That only means it's a suicide mission intended to test the new Captain's mettle and prove his worth (or not) as a commander, in which case the rest of us will get killed.
    • If I'm assigned under a Lt. Neidermeyer or Captain Queeg, I will kill myself because they are a karmic black hole whose very existence guarantees we will all die. Alternately, especially if their name actually is Neidermeyer, I will frag them at the first opportunity.
  • I will not be a grizzled, opinionated veteran unless it is part of my youthful character arc. The Cool Old Guy always dies in the final reel.
  • I will not be the friend or relative of a major character.
  • I will fight the Final Battle with the least powerful and technologically advanced weapon.
  • I will not try to collect any tokens or souvenirs. ...Unless they can be placed in my breast pocket, or are given to me by beautiful young women or children whose lives I have saved, in which case they may be helpful.
  • If I have a Loyal Animal Companion, such as a dog or pet mouse, I will keep it with me at all times for use as Plot Armor. Under no circumstances will I free it or let a friend take care of it for me. This goes for Prison camps and Action movies too.
  • I will be either the most jaded (but NOT cruel) or the most naive (but NOT idealistic) member of the group, and make sure to "learn" about either the importance of teamwork or the true horror of war by the end.
  • I will not be the poet, or the really smart guy.
  • I will not name my gun. It never helps to get too attached to your weapon. I must remember that this one is mine, but there are many like it.
  • If I am assigned to serve under a fresh-faced, idealistic upper-class twit who considers himself A Father to His Men, I will ask to be transferred before we ship out, to a different service/occupation if necessary.
  • If the sergeant says "I'm not making you go; anyone who wants to can bow out of this with no consequences", I'll bow out of it.
  • If the war involves Humongous Mecha, I will angst as much as I can about the horrors of what I am facing. Also, I will refrain from engaging any enemy mecha that looks slightly different than the usual enemy mechs, or was stolen from our side. And I will stay the hell away from any red ones.
  • I will wait to be conscripted, or, if I absolutely must enlist voluntarily, I will endeavor to be suitably disillusioned by the time the film actually starts. In any case I will NOT be puppyishly enthusiastic about "putting my life on the line for Queen and Country!"
  • Similarly, if I absolutely must enlist voluntarily, I will not lie about my age to do it. I will wait until I have reached the required age.
  • I will not be the youngest member of my squadron, platoon or unit. If I am, I will get a mentor figure as soon as possible.
    • I will make sure that said Mentor Figure is not someone I like or respect, though. That will just get him killed in a more messy or disturbing way.
  • I will not be the oldest member of my squad, platoon or unit. If I am, I will not become a mentor figure to any new recruit.
    • If I am approached by a new recruit in search of a mentor figure, I will point him at someone I won't mind terribly seeing die in a messy or disturbing way.
  • I will not mention to anyone, under any circumstance, that my tour of duty or enlistment is going to be up soon.
  • While it helps to be attractive, I will do my best to not become too beautiful to live. Unless I am a female, in which case I must strive to be the more conventionally attractive of the two main female characters.
  • While a dry, Gallows Humor may help keep my spirits up and endear me to the audience, I will not be the company clown.
  • I will not be the only likeable person in my squad, platoon or unit.
  • I will not develop any tragic homosexual longings for any of my fellow soldiers. We have Fanfic authors for that sort of thing.
    • Unless I am British, in which case it will probably save my life.
  • If I am British, I will try not to be in the same movie as any Americans.
  • If I am British and encounters with Americans are unavoidable, I will be helpful and polite to them, and resist any temptation to complain about their pay, easygoing attitude or ungentlemanly behaviour.
    • However I will not become best friends with any of them.
    • Unless they are women, in which case an affair with one of them may help my chances of survival immensely.
      • ...Unless she has another, more handsome, American admirer, in which case I will beat a hasty retreat.
  • If I am British, encounters with the Americans are unavoidable, and this is a film about the American Revolution (especially if it's produced by an American studio), I will remember that we are still all technically British, and consider switching sides.
    • And if I am in charge of a British force, I will - to the best of my ability - try not to put aside my British Officer and a Gentleman stick, try to look past my prejudice against the Americans' fighting prowess and try to be more competent than my American counterpart - it will not only not get me killed, but I will damn well win, too (or at least come as close to winning as possible).
      • Also, I will look forward to battling the Americans several times throughout the film. I will almost invariably win the first battle - so I'll not fight every other battle like the first one (so my tactics will stay fresh and unpredictable, rendering the Continentals unable to learn from their mistakes), especially the ones in the third act.
  • If I am American (or French) and I am in a movie about the American Revolution (or the Napoleonic Wars) made by a British film studio, I best stay out of the war, period.
    • If I am an American In a film made by a British film studio set during the first years of either of the world wars I will NOT say "We best stay out of the war, period" but will instead move to Canada and join up: It'll save time in the long run and at least I'll look extra heroic and get a quietly-attractive British love interest.
  • If I am British and none of the above applies, I best damn better hope I am not sent to a place that begins with "G" and ends with "-allipoli." If I am Australian, I will either die there or sustain horrific injuries and return home embittered.
    • Likewise if I am British or Commonwealth and this is a WW2 film, Winston Churchill's presence in the same film means we cannot possibly lose. If however this is a WW1 film, it just means we are about to get slaughtered by Turks.
  • If I am Japanese, I will be forced to recognize that, no matter the time period, sub genre, or studio's country of origin, I have about the same chance of survival whether I'm a feudal wars samurai, WWII kamikaze or ultra-futuristic mecha pilot, unless I happen to be a main character (and even then, survival is very iffy)
  • If I am Canadian, I probably won't actually appear onscreen, so I shall be relatively safe. Especially if I'm in Holland.
  • Whatever my social background, I will not have any issues about it, or rise to any goading by my fellow soldiers on the subject.
  • If I have the option to serve alongside an old schoolfriend, I will consider my options carefully. If I have ever wronged my friend or "owe" him in any other way, I will find another regimentnote . If he is better looking than I am, I will find another regiment. If, however, I am unequivocally the better looking, I will fight at his side with confidence.
  • If I am a woman, I will get a pair of glasses to look Hollywood Homely and staunchly support the Allied cause. I will not be a vamp with a heart of gold who has done questionable things to survive in a World Gone Mad.
  • I will never join a tiny army of a colonising western power that is sent to relieve a group of barely-armed, but really spirited natives of their homeland. Especially not if my commander has great hair. At least not as long as I am American instead of Spanish or British.
  • Two Three bits of advice for armies in general:
  • I will not accept a nickname of any kind, unless I am a fighter pilot, and only then if it is something cool and manly and not the name of a less-than-impressive animal, cartoon character or a girl's name.
  • I will try and develop some angsty daddy issues before I go. This is especially true if my father is still in the forces himself. On the other hand, I will not have a fight or some major unresolved issue with him just before going into battle. The issues will be nothing that a short, manly "I've always been proud of you, Son" or "I love you, Dad" won't solve.
  • I will never, ever, grab a flag or standard and charge headlong at the enemy screaming, unless I am in Ankh Morpork during the revolution. Sure, I'll be shot about a dozen times, but it'll be five minutes before I die, it'll be inspiring and memorable and eventually I'll get back up again anyway.
  • I will only write letters if they can also serve as voiceover narration.
    • Under no circumstances, will I write a letter to my mom/girlfriend/wife/brother and put it in my top left shirt pocket.
    • If narrating, I will use phrases like "This was our first time..." and avoid saying things like, "I didn't know it would be my last..."
  • I will have stubble.
    • If I am female, or too young to grow stubble, I will serve the war effort by going into, say, codebreaking— or some other task that takes place in a nice, safe, sheltered rear-area building.
      • Wait, hang on. I'll do that anyway.
  • If I am a German soldier, I will do my utmost never to get promoted into any position of authority; indeed I will try to be comically dimwitted, goofy and cowardly.
    • If I am in a position of authority, I will endeavour to be a Magnificent Bastard who doesn't really agree with Hitler's theories on race anyway, and will probably help smuggle those on his hit list to safety.
      • In other words, I will be Erwin Rommel, without the assassination attempt.
    • Correction, without the failed assassination attempt. You never know if you are in an alternate history story until you try.
      • There will be no assassination attempt. There will only be an assassination. Magnificent Bastards do not accept failure.
  • If I am a German soldier in WWI, I will be Jewish. Dramatic Irony will virtually guarantee my survival.
  • If I am a German soldier in WWII, I will transfer to Stalag 13 immediately.
  • If I am a German soldier in WWIII, I will keep in mind my country's track record during the last two rounds, even though my country will be a member of the Allies.
    • I will endeavor to remain close to an American of as high a rank as possible, always offer to be a liaison officer to said Americans, and offer conservative-sounding advice whenever possible in a heavily-accented English. If no American is around in this sector, chose a Brit. Stay as far away from any French, Italian, or Russians as possible, even if they're on your "side".
  • If it's a Cold War scenario, I will be stationed in Bonn.
    • Clarification: a fallout shelter in Bonn.
  • I will constantly and openly fret about my survival.
  • I will be a Military Maverick who can get away with anything.
  • I will not be General Ripper. If I'm a bomber pilot and I report in some fashion to General Ripper, I will make any and all excuses not to show up for work.
    • I will also make every effort to make sure someone senior bothers to notice he's experiencing acute Sanity Slippage.
    • If all of that fails, and General Ripper orders me to do something suicidally stupid, I will say "Yes Sir!" then find (or create) some excuse for my plane/tank/equipment to break in a manner which immediately provides a reasonably excuse as to why I can't actually comply with said order. Said breakdown will naturally immediately require a trip to the repair depot, which, conveniently enough, will be located somewhere far away from General Ripper.
  • As I hone my persona as a Military Maverick, I will be careful not to tip over into General Ripper or Colonel Kurtz by mistake.
  • I will insist that any mail for me be held until after the war.
  • I will not be the enthusiastic new recruit who's desperate to see some 'real action'. 'Real Action' translates to "people doing deadly things in your direction".
    • I will in fact try not to be in the same platoon as said enthusiastic recruit. They either have a Heroic BSOD at an inconvenient moment when under actual live fire or be dangerously reckless.
  • If I am the smart guy, the poet, am pushing things by having a stutter too, and if I do "go crazy" and have the good fortune to be invalided home to an unusually forward-thinking, sensitively-run psychiatric hospital, which no one is forcing me to leave, I will damn well STAY THERE and survive the war to continue writing poetry, not go back to the front and get killed a week before the end of the war.
  • Being the titular character may not be a guarantee, but it helps, as long as this is not Based on a True Story. Unless, of course the true story's author has the exact same name as my character, and the narrator uses the first person throughout the book.
  • I will not loot anything off of a slain enemy. It will only earn me a karmic end.
  • If I've been a jerk CO throughout the movie, I won't get noble and brave at the end.
  • I will not retreat from battle, unless everybody else is doing it.
  • Should I be forced to retreat I will ensure that I return at the last moment with reinforcements.
  • I will always remember that the enemy is whoever is trying to get me killed.
  • Above all, I will always remember to be Genre Savvy, remember to be the right kind of Genre Savvy and not pick up the Idiot Ball, no matter how tempting it is.
  • If the war is not in my country, I will not enlist, but will be supportive of the troops. That should keep me safely off-camera.
  • I will make sure that most if not all members of my squad are of the same ethnicity as I am. And I will make sure our squad fights only alongside of other squads that also share our ethnicity.
  • Stay In School! That way, if you do get conscripted, you can opt for a career as a surgeon or Army Engineer. Those guys are very rarely seen on the front line in a war movie. Should this fail I will move heaven and earth to avoid being posted with any former classmates and especially not with teaching staff.
  • If I'm injured, I will arrange to be transferred to the 4077th MASH. Once there, I will be as big a jerk as possible and insist I absolutely have to go back out into the field. I will not be a callow youth expecting the doctors to be miracle workers.
    • Furthermore, if I find myself at the 4077th, I will brag about how good I am at killing others and how eager I am to return to filling that function and constantly remind the surgeons that the longer I occupy a hospital bed, the fewer people (especially women, children, and even small animals) will be killed.
    • If I'm not wounded, I'll go visit guys at the unit and spread rumors about how racist I am. Hawkeye will personally arrange to have me shipped home as quickly as possible.
  • I will not be in any landing craft, drop ship, or transport helicopter that's in formation with the main characters' own ship, especially if the target we're going to is heavily defended and no-one of notice is aboard my ship.
  • I will not live in the political or industrial capital areas of any first-world country after 1945. I cannot survive if I die in the prologue.
  • If I am an Axis soldier during WWII and must surrender, I will surrender to the Americans/British/French, not the Russians. If I am Japanese, I will not attempt to surrender. Rather, I will curl up in a ball and whimper and cry like a baby when the Allied force overruns my position, and maintain said attitude while anyone who has a gun is nearby.
    • Likewise if I am an Allied soldier in WWII and must surrender, I will surrender to the Italians. If I am not Russian, surrendering to the Germans is iffy, but survivable. Surrendering to the Japanese is out of the question; it's either maybe die in a Blast Out or almost certainly get executed or sent to a forced-labor camp.
  • If I am a Chinese soldier during WWII, I will desert to British India, a random country in Asia not named Japan or Korea, or the Soviet Union at the first opportunity. Even that last one is preferable to what will happen if the Japanese invade.
    • However, under no circumstances will I flee to Malaysia or Singapore or Burma. note 
  • I will make sure I know what Hollywood Tactics are, and only employ them if my scriptwriter is an idiot or if Mel Gibson is present and on the same side as me. Or both.
  • Unless I have already had lots of screen time, I will never put too much faith in archery. If I am a main character, I should be relatively safe.
  • I will make sure that I don't have something to prove.
  • I will not give The Hero a hard time.
  • I will not be the guy wielding the flame thrower unless the enemies can only engage using melee attacks. Or I'm a Badass and happen to have some damn cool backup
  • If the General comes up with a brilliant plan to end the war by Christmas, I will wish him well and be as far away from that particular operation as possible.
  • I will not have a quirk or skill that endears me to the rest of my unit, like, say, making really good coffee in the coffeepot I carry with me.
  • If the enemy's using demons, gods, or other supernatural soldiers, I damn well better have a sword—the bigger the better or, preferentially, a katana. Magical, if at all possible.
  • I will not fight at the Somme on 1st July 1916, if I want to survive the war. Otherwise, if I end up at the Somme on that infamous day, I'm simply screwed.
    • Even if I'm German.
    • In general, I will try to avoid Passchendaele if I am Canadian, Vimy Ridge if German, and if I am an Australian or a New Zealander, I do my uttermost to stay out of Turkey.
    • I will avoid any named battle on any front in WWI, no matter which side I am on. I will, however, immediately volunteer for any unit being posted to the German/French/Swiss border area. Just protecting our flank, Sir!
  • If I'm a British soldier in a WWI movie, I'll keep my ears open for caroling around Christmas time. Nothing like a football game to lighten the tone of the movie, thus making it less likely to end in a Kill 'em All situation.
  • On the other hand, I will avoid heartwarming and touching cultural exchange with an enemy on the other side of the trenches unless he is about to die. People who do the right thing always die for some reason.
    • Unless that enemy is about to be wiped out by our side or I'm trapped with him behind the lines with him, in which case the enemy will either die in a Heroic Sacrifice to protect me, or I'll have to kill him and end up hanging over his body for the rest of the battle.
  • Under no circumstances will I reach for that butterfly (or anything else) that's just over the top of the trench.
  • If I see a bright red airplane and I am not part of the Central Alliance, I will avoid that airplane at all costs, unless my name happens to be Roy Brown. If my name is Roy Brown, I shall proceed to kick some baronial ass, and then spend the rest of the war in a cushy instructor job.
  • I will not underestimate the practical applications of machine guns. Sadly, if I'm an Allied soldier in either of the two World Wars, my commanding officers will.
  • If I am a drill sergeant, I will make sure I know when to cut my students a bit of slack. There's no sense in becoming a Drill Sergeant Nasty, especially when Vincent D'Onofrio is around.
  • I will make sure I know lots of amusing Sound Off songs. This will lighten the tone of the film, thus making survival more likely for everybody around me.
  • I will remember that nobody ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
  • I will learn some really Rousing Speeches. Ideally, I will have William Shakespeare or Dylan Thomas writing them.
  • Whatever happens I will not let them ship me off to 'Nam because as we all know the Vietnam War was deadlier than both World Wars combined.
  • I will make sure I have all the ammunition I think I will need for any battle, then add as many additional magazines as I can cram into my pockets just in case.
  • I will make sure my weapon is well-maintained and insert a fresh magazine every chance I get.
    • In the event that my weapon jams in the middle of a battle, I will not stop where I am, stand still, and look at my weapon like I've never seen it jam before.
    • I will check the ammunition in my weapon prior to sneaking up behind someone to shoot him. In the event that my weapon does run out of ammunition, I will reload it without pause or duck behind an object.
    • After I've killed some of the enemies' soldiers, if time permits, I will take ammunition from those soldiers. This ammunition may come in handy later in the battle. However, if I didn't see the person die, I will not touch him or anything around him (booby traps).
    • This goes double for grenades, heavy weapons (if I'm supposed to bring them), and gear like gas masks or night vision. Nobody likes being run down because they forgot grenades or blinded for forgetting their snow goggles.
  • I will not turn my back on anyone that I have just shot, stabbed, or thrown from a moving vehicle. This person is probably just faking being dead and is only waiting for the chance to shoot me In the Back.
  • If I am taken prisoner, I will not use my sharp wit and sarcastic sense of humor on my interrogators, especially those who are already angry at me.
    • If I am a British prisoner, particularly if I am an Officer and a Gentleman, I will under no circumstances quote the Geneva Convention to my captors.
  • If I am a sniper who is trying to kill another sniper, I will make sure that the sun is not in front of me so as not to give the other sniper a glare to aim at and therefore shoot me through the eye.
  • I will not share a foxhole with anyone braver or stupider than me.
  • If I am put in command, I will not prematurely gloat at the stupidity of my adversary, nor will I commit myself to any plan that relies on the aforementioned stupidity.
  • I will disregard any advice that goes against good common sense or my training, such as leaving protective gear, special equipment or additional ammunition behind prior to entering battle.
  • If my brother or best friend tells me he's just signed up for the military because there is a war on, even though I may be tempted to join the military myself, I will instead sign up for a stateside job making rifles, bullets, first-aid supplies, or something else that's usually in short supply during a war, but under no circumastances will I sign up on my own. If drafted, I will not request to be transferred to my brother's unit.
  • If I get an ultra-hard badass drill instructor who gets in my face and tells me I can give up right now and go back home to momma, I'll take him up on his offer (and send him a Christmas card every year).
    • Likewise, if a recruiter/doctor/drill sergeant tells me I'm too short/fat/dumb to be a soldier, I'll take his word for it. I won't argue with anyone skilled at identifying someone unfit for the military.
    • I especially won't hide my old football injuries, colorblindness, dyslexia, or phobia(s). These problems will become obvious at exactly the wrong moment, in the worst possible way.
  • If I am in a position of authority, I will make sure I am never particularly evil to anyone, especially guys who already seem to have a screw loose.
  • I will owe money to nearly everyone in the unit and assure them that they will be paid when we get back to the rear. This will surely invoke the, "That guy owes me money," reflex if I am wounded and in need of assistance.
  • I will not accept being referred to as newbie, FNG, greenie, cherry, or lucky.
    • The same goes to accepting the nickname Roach. poor bastard...
      • Same goes for the name "Meat" (especially the name Meat).
  • If I am an Allied POW in WWII, and am transported to an open field, I will try to escape. I will have more chances of surviving than sticking around and being executed via machine gun.
  • I will never talk about my good fortune at being placed in an area that sees no action. I will tell my loved ones back home to refrain from such talk as well. This goes double if I'm stationed in Hawaii.
  • If I witness one or more soldiers committing a war crime, I will not talk about how "you're going to get it when we get to the rear." I will instead say, "I ain't seen nuthin'," even if I am morally opposed to the atrocities I witnessed. Speaking up now will only get me killed.
    • Note that this doesn't preclude ratting them out once we're back at base, preferentially with evidence.
    • If my immediate superior orders me to commit a war crime myself, I will make very certain that I have my weapon trained on him before pointing out that this is an unlawful order. If he declines to take the hint, I will not prevaricate in any way before relieving him of command by force. If it's likely that my chain of command will be unsympathetic if I tell the whole truth in debriefing, but I cannot or will not desert or defect, I will frag him.
  • If I'm assigned to investigate a crime that has already taken place with evidence that is really shady and the command has made it clear to me that they just want the thing to go away, I'll go through the motions and make it go away.
  • When coming up with plans, I will never say things like, "What could possibly go wrong?" as this will only lead to the next scene showing what went wrong.
  • I will pay attention to all safety briefings, language classes, and area familiarity before any mission.
  • If a cease-fire is announced and not everyone believes it, I will not light a lighter or strike a match to prove it because there will likely be someone on the other side who hasn't heard about the cease-fire yet, either.
  • If I'm put in charge of any prisoners, I will not be fooled by their sad stories and will not loosen their restraints no matter how convincing their actions are. Even if he's telling the truth, once his hands are loose, he has a new motive.
    • If a prisoner claims he needs to go to the bathroom, I will keep him covered by at least one rifle at all times. If he complains of being uncomfortable trying to use the bathroom by being stared at, a couple of rounds fired just over his head will take care of it just fine.
    • I will learn to tell the difference between blood and ketchup.
    • While we're on the subject, I won't tighten their restraints because they asked me to.
  • I will not swear, make sexual or scatological references, use racially insensitive terms, or drink alcohol, or make any reference to drug use. I will also try my best to force others to do likewise: if this is a family friendly movie my odds of survival go right up.
  • I will make sure to stay the hell away from anyone named Sgt. Foley, especially if my last name happens to be Ramirez. Come to think of it, I'll just stay the hell away from the US military if it's after the year 2010.
    • More importantly, I shall shoot myself in the foot, arm, or anywhere else that's not the head before accepting the command of Lt. Vasquez. Even if I bleed out because of it, it'll the lesser of two evils...
    • I will also get the hell out of there if I end up in the same unit as Sgt. Roebuck or Sgt. Sullivan.
    • I should also avoid following Sgt. Reznov anywhere (especially if there's a chance that there's a sniper anywhere nearby).
    • However, I will gladly follow Sgt. Redford and his Bad Company into battle, unless I'm a hippy helicopter pilot.
    • If I am not actually Cpt. Price, I will stay as far away from him as humanly possible. Even though I know that low Earth orbit over the other side of the planet may not be far enough.
  • I will not be a traitor.
  • Nor will I fail my Evil Overlord. In fact I will make sure to be useful.
  • If possible, I will request a transfer to Colonel Makepeace's command and/or The Cavalry. Otherwise, I'll volunteer to be the one who Brings News Back or Calls For Aid.
  • Alternatively, I will be a Sociopathic Hero. Then I'll have karma immunity and can brag about my indifference to pain and suffering. I will not be seen inflicting it, though, except on monsters. And I will counsel others not to be like me.
  • I will not be a Death Seeker, however. They are willing to die. If I am a Death Seeker, I will be The Berserker variety. That way I'll have at least a 50/50 chance of surviving any suicidal charge.
  • I will be a Shell-Shocked Veteran, and if possible suffer a Heroic BSOD. This will ensure I live to a ripe old age, provided I don't kill myself (which never happens in film anyhow). If I lose one or more limbs, I must become shell shocked in order to give my continued existence on screen some meaning, because otherwise I won't even die on screen.
  • I will be a Straw Atheist. The film will be dedicated to proving there are no atheists in foxholes through the inspirational deaths of my most devout fellow soldiers, which will fill me with grief as I contemplate why I had to live, and they had to die.
    • Better yet, I will be an agnostic, and discuss my beliefs. Agnostics never die, they just fade away survive to write the book on which the film is based.
  • I will be a Technical Pacifist, but only if I am a jerk or the new guy. The film will be dedicated to proving me wrong by forcing me to look on as everyone else in my company gets slaughtered, until by the time I resolve to lay my life down, it'll be over thanks to The Cavalry, who will fill me with shame as I contemplate why I had to live, and they had to die. Then they will be sent back into the meat grinder and I will be sent back to the journalism corps where I will learn to get over my survival by copious amounts of beer and women.
  • I will not be an Actual Pacifist. They get fragged and become martyr figures, making it an anti-war movie which means everyone else eventually dies as well. If I am an Actual Pacifist and stay home, it's not a war film so I don't have a problem.
  • If my comrade pulls a Leeroy Jenkins, I will say, "Oh my god, he just ran in." I will ask someone to calculate the odds of survival. Then I will sit back and laugh.
  • If I get a small wound, I'll scream and cry that I'm dying and talk about how my life is flashing before my eyes. This will ensure a medic will come over and tell me that I only have a flesh wound.
    • Similarly, I'll make sure I have a can of tomato juice on me at all times. Apparently, that stuff attracts bullets and makes you think you've been shot when you're actually okay, which is good for a laugh in a tense situation.
  • If I am shot in the chest at any time, I will scream, fall back, and writhe around a bit, to attract the attention of any nearby friendly. Said friendly will immediately come over to look to see if I'm OK, and which point, I can then rip open my shirt to reveal the kevlar vest I miraculously was wearing, even thought there was no mention of any such vest at anytime before.
  • If someone offers me a good luck charm, I will refuse it. Likewise for a religious medallion. This will ensure that I'm anonymous enough by the end of the movie that my dead body won't be identifiable by the charm/religious artifact, thereby implying that I lived.
    • However, if the film is at least half over, I will accept said item from a dying comrade we've gotten to know well, if his dying wish is to "make sure this gets to my wife" or similar. But only if we've already survived several run-ins with the enemy.
  • Given the chance to shoot an unarmed or wounded enemy that has just been captured, I will shoot him until he's dead (and stab him a few times to make sure). This will keep me from having to see him shoot me or my friends later in the film.
    • I'll redeem myself by tearfully confessing my crime to my spouse or grandchildren years later, preferably long after everyone has forgotten about whatever war I was in.
  • I will make sure to get everyone to call me JUST by my last name. Everyone who gets called by their rank before their last name seems to get gunned down really quickly. If I must be called by my rank, I will make sure that they also use my last name. Anonymous soldiers die even quicker than named ones.
  • I will marry a princess from another race as soon as possible. This will assure that I will not only survive but will become a monarch and it will be my Redshirts that have to worry about surviving.
  • I will always make sure there is at least one Action Girl in my unit.
    • If there is only one Action Girl in my unit, I will make darned sure she's my girlfriend, or, at least, she desperately (if secretly) wants to be. This insures that she will not only protect me, but radically increases my odds for a Happy Ending or Babies Ever After. If I do die, at least I got some action before I did.
  • I will never dress in field-gray however sensible a color that would seem to be for campaigning in Central Europe.
  • I will not be part of any army with the adjective "Imperial" as part of it's title. (Unless we are facing the Light Brigade.)
  • I will not fight battles with a hot chick with an eyepatch.
    • Or against her.
      • Or anywhere in the same sector as her.
  • I will not seek an alliance with evil crab monsters. It never works out and it's bad for your image.
  • If I am the Evil Overlord's dragon I will pay attention to the Exact Words of prophecy and stay away from females and hobbits. Just in case I will bring a lawyer along to argue that the word "man" includes females and hobbits and hope that keeps me from dying.
  • I will not fight against Belisarius. If I do, I shall be a Rajput or a Kushan.
  • If I am in a movie about The Vietnam War, I will join the Viet Cong. They are almost never seen onscreen, and therefore their chances of survival are dramatically raised. I will not ever join the U.S. Army, unless I am either an adorable mentally retarded man with an amazing talent for avoiding all types of danger or a combat correspondent.
  • If I am part of an attacking force against vastly outnumbered defenders with impossible odds against them, I will ensure that nobody in the defending force is British. If they are, I will either retreat or surrender; victory is impossible.
    • I will, however, make sure I'm with my comrades a few miles away where the larger British force has camped at the base of a convenient mountain.
  • If I am facing down a Tiger tank with rifles and small arms, I will make the deal. What kind of deal? A DEAL, deal!
  • I will leave the movie.
    • If unable to leave the movie, I shall present at the drafting board and prove/convincingly fake medical reasons as to why I am unable to join the army, then convincingly lament how I wish it were not so. Iíll be free go back to my normal routine at home, interact with the soldiers in a minor scene or two (maybe get rescued or sell them something from my shop), and forget about dying in battle like the rest of the cast is bound to do.
    • If still unable to leave the movie, I will insure that my scenes are interesting, but not quite important enough to justify the time spend on them, and thus, insure that my character is left on the cutting room floor, and therefore, I'm not in the movie
  • If I am a woman, I will not make any facetious comments about my spouse coming back from the front to kill me, thereby ensuring my husband's survival.
  • If I am a sniper, I will change my firing position frequently and I will never ever ever sit in a bell tower or any other place with only one way down.
    • Also, when possible I will aim at center of mass.
  • If I am an Aristocratic Austrian Shell-Shocked Veteran married to a Manic Pixie Dream Girl and I am offered command of a Nazi submarine I will stop to win a singing contest before running to Switzerland. Getting the help of my wife's nun buddies will also be a good idea.
  • I will not repeat not ask for an assignment on a giant space station commanded by a Sith Lord. It never works out.
  • I will not try to invade Earth. Ever.
  • I will Never Get Out Of The Boat, Absolutely Goddam Right (even if I'm going all the way).
  • If this is an American Civil War movie, I will:
    • Never ride a horse when near an infantry unit, especially one in (or near) combat
    • Not be a General. On either side. It seldom ends well. Ask to be demoted instead; Colonels seem to survive quite well.
    • Join the US (Union) Navy, making sure I volunteer for blockade duty. It's really boring, but when was the last time you saw a movie about blockade runners?
    • If black, get myself assigned to a general as his manservant. It will conveniently keep me out of battle, and make sure I'm not even important enough to kill off for any reason, if I even make it onscreen, that is.
      • If black, and I can't get assigned to a general, make sure I'm in one of the construction battalions. The work is backbreaking, but nobody ever dies.
    • Make sure not to be in the vanguard when assaulting anything, especially if we have to run across a beach or cross a large expanse of open field.
    • Stay away from any place with a short descriptive nickname, like "The Peach Orchard", "The Angle", or "The Wheatfield". And, of course, anything sounding like Devil's Den.
    • If female and Southern, be a Southern Belle, as you'll likely be in a romantic epic rather than a war movie. Of course, you run the risk of half your friends dying and the love of your life walking out on you at the end, but at least you live.
    • If I'm on the Confederate side, I'll act like a noble gentleman and will definitely not be a supporter of slavery. In fact, I'll act like slavery doesn't even exist. If someone asks me why I'm fighting, I will respond with some vague rhetoric about honor or whatever.
    • I will never, under any circumstances, allow myself to be sent to a Civil War hospital. Even for a broken finger, It'll probably be amputated.

How to Stop the Deus ex MachinaJustForFun/TV Tropes How To GuidesSo You Are A Teenager With Superpowers
Hot Sub-on-Sub ActionMilitary and Warfare TropesHyperspace Arsenal
Horror Movie Death TollsJust for FunHuman Counterpart

alternative title(s): How To Survive A War Movie
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
97666
36