The heroes have finally found the MacGuffin. After so much effort and YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle, they're going to return it, use it, or whatever they were supposed to do with it.

Then somebody breaks it, [[DiabolusExMachina making the]] [[ShaggyDogStory whole endeavour pointless.]]

A particularly frustrating form of a DiabolusExMachina. The other characters' reactions usually range from shock to an anger burst. Double points if the MacGuffin can NEVER be replaced.
In a story where TheGoodGuysAlwaysWin, if the villain gets their hands on the MacGuffin, it's either taken from them or this happens.

This usually happens during the middle of the series, not during a GrandFinale which would change the course of who wins. Often used in a ShaggyDogStory.

Contrast DismantledMacGuffin, where the MacGuffin is not broken, but is meant to be put back together. Often leads to NoMacGuffinNoWinner. This only refers to objects, so [[ThePresidentsDaughter The President's Daughter]] (obviously) does not count.

[[AC:{{Anime}} And {{Manga}}]]
* ''{{Manga/Naruto}}'': In an anime filler story one well-placed fart dashes all the immense effort invested into securing a legendary bug that was supposed to track Sasuke from the residual smell on some of his possessions.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'': The main story kicks off when Kagome shoots an arrow at a bird-shaped {{youkai}} that had stolen the Shikon Jewel. The arrow hits both the creature and the jewel, resulting in a DismantledMacGuffin and a quest to recover all the shards to restore the jewel back to its completed whole.
* In ''Manga/TokyoMewMew'', the MacGuffin, Mew Aqua, is supposedly broken on multiple occasions. Subverted, as Mew Aqua does not break, and the Mew Aqua they thought they broke is not real.

[[AC: FanWorks]]
* In the ''FanFic/TheFifthAct'' Cloud accidentally breaks the extra vials carrying the [[{{Panacea}} spring water]] when he fought the Grand Horn with Zack, losing Genesis's chance to cure Angeal's degeneration quickly.
** The entire plot is kicked off when Cloud accidentally breaks a mastered Time materia.

* A minor one in ''Film/{{Apollo 13}}''. When the astronauts' carbon dioxide is getting too high and they discover the filters won't fit, Mission Control [[{{Macgyvering}} macgyvers]] a solution, which includes using a spare urine bag. Which leads to this exchange:
-->'''Fred Haise:''' Shit, I tore it. \\
'''Jack Swigert:''' Shit. \\
'''Fred Haise:''' Houston, what do we do if we rip the bag? Can we tape it? \\
'''Andy (CAPCOM - WHITE):''' They just tore the bag. \\
'''Technician ([[FacePalm facepalming]]):''' Oh, no.
** Thankfully, they have another one, and use that instead.
* In ''BedknobsAndBroomsticks'', the characters have retrieved the Star of Astaroth, imprinted with the words for the Substituary Locomotion. But as they arrive home, they find the star has disintegrated during the journey. [[ShaggyDogStory And it turned out to be unnecessary]], as one of the kid's storybooks had an illustration of the star, and more importantly, the words to the spell.
* In Disney's ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}'', Lady Tremaine trips up the servant carrying the glass slipper, causing it to break. [[DoubleSubvertedTrope Luckily, Cinderella had the other one.]]
* [[ZigzaggedTrope Zigzagged]] on ''CloudyWithAChanceOfMeatballs'' with the FLDSMDFR kill code. As they fly to stop it, Flint almost drops the flash drive with the code, saying "[[TemptingFate Can you imagine if I dropped this?]]" The window then breaks and the drive gets sucked out. After much difficulty, Flint gets his father to e-mail him the code to his cell phone. He plugs it to the FLDSMDFR, activates it, and... it turns out his dad sent the wrong file!
* A humorous example; in ''WesternAnimation/IceAge'', the gang spends a whole scene trying to get a watermelon from a "cult" of dodos so they can feed it to the baby they're protecting. After a hilarious slow-motion sequence, Sid the Sloth finally manages to retrieve it from the onslaught of birds......only to spike it into the ground like a football, shattering it.
* Played straight in ''Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen'' with the Matrix of leadership, but then inverted.

* In ''[[Literature/TheBooksOfEmber The Diamond Of Darkhold]]'', [[spoiler:Doon throws the diamond of Darkhold at a pack of wolves to save Lina. The diamond hits the rock that Lina is standing on and shatters into hundreds of pieces. Luckily, The diamond is only a sample. There are exactly one thousand diamonds in a hidden room in the cave. The diamonds are ancient technology that turns solar power into electricity]].
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'', the record of the prophecy Voldemort tricks Harry into stealing from the ministry is shattered as Harry and his friends try to make their escape from the ministry, pursued by Voldemort's minions.
* In ''Literature/{{Beowulf}}'', Beowulf puts so much force behind Naegling, that he shatters it. Woops.

* After ''[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy]]'' dies the second time, the Scoobies find a one-of-a-kind sacred urn that will let them resurrect her. Demons interrupt their spell, and the urn gets dropped and broken, but it turns out [[SubvertedTrope the resurrection was completed moments before that.]]

* In ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty'', the Vault Hunter breaks the last part of Captain Blade's compass when breaking open the chest in which Herbert stored it ("[[{{Understatement}} Whoops]]"). Fortunately, Herbert knows how to fix it.
* In too many [[PointAndClickGame point-and-click games to name them all]], there is always a moment where you use an important item and it somehow breaks, forcing you to fix it before using it again.

* ''WesternAnimation/TazMania'': Taz does this to he golf trophy at the end of "Return of the Road to Taz-Mania Strikes Back".
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': In the pilot two-parter, the main characters recover the Elements of Harmony only for the villain to snatch them away and smash them to bits.