Film — Animated
- In Finding Nemo, Marlin tells Dory, "Look! A shiny thing!" Somewhat of a subversion in that he wanted her to come with him, but it effectively distracted her from her insistence that they should go through the big scary crevasse instead of through the clear blue water over the top with all the jellyfish.
- In Igor, when Igor's newly created monster disappears:
Brain: Uh, Igor, where did the monster go?Igor: (looking around worriedly) I don't know, Brain.Scamper: Might I suggest... (dramatic music) looking behind you!!(Igor and Brain look, see nothing there, and look back at Scamper.)Scamper: It was just a suggestion.
- Example from Toy Story:
Buzz: You're mocking me, aren't you?
Woody: Oh, no, no, no no... (points) Buzz look, an alien!
Buzz: (spins) Where?!
Woody proceeds to laugh at Buzz
- In Bolt, Mittens tries to threaten Bolt into letting her go with a Styrofoam packing peanut (Bolt has become convinced Styrofoam is what made him lose his "powers"). Bolt distracts Mittens long enough to disarm her by looking over her shoulder and saying "...That's a weird place to put a piano."
- Up had Russell shouting "Squirrel" when about to be gunned down by several dogs, exploiting the dog's weaknesses about squirrels earlier. The dogs easily fall for the trick. Not only does Russell escape unharmed, but the dogs are so focused on trying to attack the squirrel they ended up smashing into each other and taking themselves out.
- In A Bug's Life Francis flies up to P.T. Flea and shouts, "Hey, P.T.! Look! Money!" P.T. instantly turns, and is webbed up by Rosie. This was a little redundant, as it wasn't really much use as a distraction; the trick could have been pulled without the line. But it was damn funny.
- Used when The Lorax first encounters the Once-ler:
Lorax: Did you chop down this tree?
Once-ler: Uh, no... Who did it? (gasps) What's that? (points)
The Lorax looks away. The Once-ler drops his axe on a small barbaloot.
Once-ler: I think he did it.
- Oliver & Company: Dodger pulls this on Tito so he can pounce on him, starting a fight.
"Hey, Tito, look!"
- In Disney's Tarzan, a baby baboon steals some pages from Jane's sketchbook, and she gets the last one back by distracting him with "Oh look, bananas!"
- In Zootopia, Judy confronts Nick about tricking her into supporting one of his cons, and Nick uses this to distract her.
Judy: I stood up for you, and you lied to me! You liar!
Nick: It's called a hustle, sweetheart. And I'm not a liar, he is. (points, runs when Judy turns to look)
- In Kung Fu Panda 3
- Shifu does this as part of his demonstrating the Dramatic Exit. He points behind Po, who looks behind himself, while Shifu hippy-toesen out of the room, in plain-view of the Furious Five. When Po looks back to see a now-gone Shifu, he is floored at Shifu's capabilities.
- Po uses this against Big Bad Kai. The distraction is so Po can jump on him and take Kai with him to the Spirit world to save his friends and family.
Films — Live-Action
- Top Secret! has a subversion of the second variant: During a train-top battle one of the combatants ends up ducking for a bridge... Only for the east-german soldier to hit the bridge and raze it completely while remaining unfazed.
- Hillary tries this on Sergeant Kruger but he's too fast for her.
- Marty McFly used this against several generations of Tannens throughout the Back to the Future trilogy. It only failed once, with Griff in 2015. He did turn and look, but was still able to block Marty's punch.
- For example, in Back to the Future Part II, just as Biff was about to kill Marty, Marty says, "Well Biff, you're forgetting one thing. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?" Biff falls for it.
- Whenever Marty is required to distract ANYONE in the 2010 Back to the Future video game by Telltale, he'll ALWAYS use this phrase.
- In The Princess Bride, Vizzini pulls this trick on the Man in Black so he can switch cups of wine in a battle of wits, but dies anyway, because TMIB had poisoned both cups, having built up an immunity to the poison beforehand. Whether the trick actually worked or TMIB just played along is unclear.
- Jijii from Ichi the Killer manages to disarm and kill Takayama after the latter proclaims "Ichi isn't here to help you, now." and Jijii nonchalantly replies "What do you mean? He's right behind you," then swiftly takes advantage of Takayama nervously looking over his shoulder.
- Like pretty much everything else, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure took this to ludicrous extremes: Bill shouted "Look, it's the Goodyear Blimp!" in a Wild West town. They fall for it, of course, but the funnier part is that the heroes are dense enough to try it in the first place.
- And in the sequel they're able to fool the Grim Reaper himself by telling him his shoelace is untied, which distracts him long enough for them to "Melvin" him and run for it.
- In Hudson Hawk, George Kaplan tried to use this on Eddie (HH's real name). Kaplan: "Good God! What's that?" Hawk: "You don't expect me to fall for that old gag." Kaplan: "Shucks, I guess not." Eddie is then knocked unconscious.
- In the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the character of Pike escapes from some none-too-bright vampires by pointing and saying "Look! Air!"
- James Bond pulls this off in Casino Royale (2006): While struggling over a knife with one of the bad guys, Bond glances over his shoulder, and the distraction is enough for him to wrest control of the knife and kill the bad guy.
- Villainous example: In Freddy vs. Jason, Kia is busy taunting Freddy to distract him from the heroes, keeping out of his reach, when he suddenly points behind her. She turns around and spots... Jason standing two feet away, who promptly swats her and sends her flying until she hits a tree with a crunch that causes even Freddy to grimace.
- Last Action Hero: Schwarza is carrying a body away from a funeral, and in order to jump with him from the top of the building, distracts people by pointing and saying "Look! Elephant!".
- Speed plays a similar beat, with Traven and Payne on top of a speeding subway train. Traven ducks, Payne gets his head knocked off.
- Fletch: The title character stumbles on an Angry Guard Dog while snooping around a construction site at night. He distracts the beast by shouting, "Look, defenseless babies!"
- Land of the Dead: Thinking that Cholo is about to destroy Fiddler's Green, Kaufman tries to get himself (and millions of dollars in duffel bags) to safety. On his way out a high ranking associate runs into him and starts asking questions about the bags. Kaufman suddenly acts like he's seen a zombie or something, shouts "get down" and when the poor guy ducks, Kaufman shoves him down to the floor and shoots him in the head. And what happens just as Kaufman goes to holster the gun? Why, Riley calls and tells him that Cholo's been captured.
Associate: "What's in the bags?"Kaufman: "Money."Associate: "Whose money?"Kaufman: "Watch out! Get down, quick! "BANG!Kaufman: "Our money."
- Used in Dogma where the anti-abortion protesters are distracted, "Holy shit, it's the Pope!".
- Total Recall (1990): HAHAHAHA! You think this is the real Quaid? It is! (mows them down)
- Done several times in Midnight Run (1988) as a distraction. The last time it doesn't work, only there really is someone behind him.
- They Call Me Bruce parodies the When You Snatch the Pebble scene in Kung Fu with this. Bruce, challenged to do the same trick by his father, replies that there's a large bird hovering over him. His father laughs at the idea that he could fooled by such a simple trick, whereupon said bird promptly poops on his head, enabling Bruce to snatch away the stone.
- During Rebecca's job interview with Luke in Confessions of a Shopaholic, she shouts "What's that behind you?!" to distract him from asking further questions about her knowing Finnish (which, of course, she lied about on her resume).
- Mirrormask - 'Look, an idiot!' 'Where?'
- Beetlejuice: While sitting in the afterlife waiting room with a witch doctor, Beetlejuice says "There goes Elvis! Yo, King!" When the witch doctor turns to look, Beetlejuice snatches his number so he can go next. What makes the gag even funnier is that there are literally millions of dead souls in the waiting room, and Beetlejuice's number that he wants to switch has an absurd number of digits in it.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark:
- Just before starting the fight with the Nazi Giant Mook mechanic by the plane, Indy suddenly looks down at the ground and acts as though he's distracted by something he sees there. When the mechanic looks down too, Indy launches a surprise attack, but the mechanic does a No-Sell.
- Then the unvoiced variant comes into play when Indy frantically scrambles to get away from the spinning plane propeller. The mook doesn't get the hint and turn around to see what's happening until it's already too late.
- The Guns of Navarone: When Brown confronts a German sailor on the small boat, the sailor tries this on him. It only works for a moment, then Brown knifes him.
- Up the Creek: After Bob McGraw (Tim Matheson) is caught in a girl's hotel room by her (ex)boyfriend & the boyfriend's sidekick, he uses this. "Look the Goodyear Blimp." They look. "Smart, real smart"
- In Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Chance managed to retrieve some fish from some bear cubs. However while bragging about his victory, Sassy and Shadow are getting very worried and then Shadow shouts for Chance to look behind him before fleeing. A subversion, because she was actually trying to warn him, as there was a mother bear approaching Chance and was not too happy with Chance for the latter scaring her cubs up a tree. Luckily, Chance managed to escape, although just barely.
- The main character of The Invention of Lying, being literally the only person in the world capable of telling a lie, uses this to cheat at roulette in a casino.
- Specifically, he shouts "look at that unusual thing!" and everyone in the casino does.
- In Murder Ahoy, the villain has disarmed Miss Marple while her friend Mr. Stringer has gone off on an errand. Just as the villain is about to kill her, she suddenly looks past him and she speaks to Mr. Stringer as if he is standing right behind the villain. This is the cue for the villain to turn around and look, but instead of doing so he smugly tells Mrs. Marple that he isn't going to fall for THAT old trick ... whereupon he gets hit over the head by Mr. Stringer, who really IS standing behind him.
- The trope is also used in Batman Begins... kind of. When a criminal ambushes Rachel Dawes, she threatens him with using her tazer which she always carries. The criminal then flees, (although not because she was carrying a tazer, contrary to what she thought) he fled because his partner in crime who stalked her off the train (presumably as some sort of hit job for Falcone) is ambushed by Batman and then beaten down. Rachel then turns around after gloating a bit just in time to see Batman, and instinctively shoots the tazer at him only for it to have little, if any, effect. Luckily, Batman just happened to be on her side, supplying her with incriminating photos of a Judge to blackmail him into essentially giving Falcone imprisonment.
Selina: He's right behind you.Henchman: Who? (he turns and sees...)Batman: ME! [takes him out]
- A variation occurred in Return of the Jedi: During the battle above the Sarlacc Pit, Chewbacca attempts to warn Han Solo that Boba Fett is nearby and aiming at Luke. Han Solo (who is temporarily blind due to the events of his undergoing freezing in a block of Carbonite in the previous film) panics and asks where Boba Fett is and turns around. He then (accidentally) activates Boba Fett's jetpack while turning around in a frenzy with his pole, resulting in Boba Fett flying smack into the side of Jabba's barge and right into the Sarlacc pit.
- Naked Gun 33 1/3 The Final Insult: "Look, George Hamilton!"
- Wayne's World. When the camera tries to get a comment from Garth, he says, "I don't really have anything to say right now." He then points to a place behind the camera, saying "What's that?!" The camera swings around, revealing nothing, and then swings back to where Garth is scooting away.
- Roger attempts to trick the crazy Saul in The Old Dark House (1932) by pointing at nothing and telling him that Morgan, his supposed guardian, has come to get him. Saul quickly retorts by throwing his knife at him and beating him up with a chair.
- An Invoked Trope in Captain America: The First Avenger. The propaganda stage show Steve Rogers is made to do has a man dressed as Adolf Hitler sneaking up behind Roger as he pitches to the audience why they should buy war bonds. As excited children point out the danger, Rogers always turns just in time to knock out Hitler with a punch (that is always blatantly pulled short).
- During the Traintop Battle in The Wolverine, Logan and a mook have to keep dodging arches using each other as visual cues when to duck or jump. Wolverine eventually tricks the mook into doing the wrong one. Splat.
- Mad Max: Fury Road. When told by Furiosa to look behind him, Max pulls one of the Five Wives close and put a gun to her head before turning to look. It turns out there really is another gang approaching them.
- Towards the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock arrives in Engineering to repair the warp drive, where Dr. McCoy immediately stops him. So, Spock asks how an incapacitated Scotty is doing, and as McCoy turns to Scotty, Spock nerve-pinches him, then mind-melds with McCoy, cryptically saying "Remember", before working on repairs.
- In the short 2014 comedy The Gunfighter, the Narrator gives away everything that's going to happen, including that the Gunfighter's opponent was about to try the old "look behind you" trick.
Tommy Henderson: Come on, Johnny, again with the "look behind you?" What were you going to say was behind him this time?Johnny Henderson: Errr...nothing.Narrator: ...Johnny lied. He was going to say "a bear".Tommy Henderson: A bear, Johnny? In a saloon?