Big Badass Battle Sequence
"Far from shore, a Pacific WarA Big Badass Battle Sequence isn't just a battle, it's war. This is the battle that makes other battles look like schoolyard scuffles. Expect a high death toll, either shown or implied. The best examples of this trope show not only the battle itself, but the preparations for it and the aftermath. Don't expect it to be pretty. Bonus points if coupled with Orchestral Bombing. May be the work's Crowning Moment of Awesome as opposed to a single character's. Note that this trope implies that there are at least two armies fighting each other, and as such One-Man Army examples do not fit here. Can overlap with Parallel Conflict Sequence, if multiple such sequences are part of one full-scale battle. Compare The War Sequence.
bombs are falling from the skies
It's a bomb-run day, it's the Naval Way,
A blood-red sun is on the rise!"
bombs are falling from the skies
It's a bomb-run day, it's the Naval Way,
A blood-red sun is on the rise!"
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Anime & Manga
- The final battle of Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer. Humanity defends Earth from an alien race that has them outnumbered ten thousand to one.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED the final three episodes, focuses on a Mêlée à Trois. The Three Ship Alliance trying to stop ZAFT and Earth Forces from destroying each other.
- The Marineford Arc of One Piece plays out as this, pitting one of the four most powerful pirates in the world, his crew of approximately 1600, and his 40 or so allied crews against the entire military force of the World Government (containing, aside from uncountable Mooks and a slew of Super Power Lottery winners, a trio of Nigh Invulnerable One-Man Army Hero Killers), as well as five of their hired pirate dogs the Seven Warlords of the Sea, each monstrously powerful in their own right. Then, to add even more to the chaos, factor in the Blackbeard Pirates showing up at the very end to witness Whitebeard's death, and then wage war against the Marines themselves. Luffy's exploits during the battle are particularly epic. And nothing hammers in the "big" part of the trope like the fact that nearly every page of the arc is a two-page spread.
- The battle at Seireden between the Flame Hazes and Crimson Denizens lead by the Snake of the Festival in the final season of Shakugan no Shana was a multi-episode epic and all-out war fought on several fronts, with Paratrooper Flame Haze and siege warfare. The battle in Misaki City that takes place not long afterwards definitely qualifies as well.
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross and The Movie version of it has a famous gigantic and climactic battle against the Zentrans during which Lynn Minmay sings.
- By the two-third segment of Zero 2 A Revision, Umbradevimon and Demon and their armies decided to invade Odaiba at the same time, resulting in an epic clash between Devimon's 1 million army, Demon and his Black Generals, and the citizens of Odaiba, causing an event known as the Odaiba war. Unfortunately, due to the efforts of Umbradevimon and Demon independently creating Davis's corrupted half as Darkheart, the Digidestined are unable to directly assist Odaiba in repelling the invaders, being continuously pursued and absorbed by the corrupted Digidestined of miracles until the very last segments of the story.
- There's a few major battles in What Lies Beyond the Walls, but the biggest one so far has been the invasion of Tearmann, which was so chaotic that it lasted two entire chapters and killed off quite a few Mauve Shirts.
- The Lord of the Rings films are full of these, mostly in the third.
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, the battle between the Last Alliance and Mordor in the prologue certainly counts.
- In The Two Towers, Helm's Deep fills out this role quite nicely.
- In Return of the King you have the siege of Minas Tirith, the Pelennor fields, and the Black Gate.
- 13 Assassins has one between the eponymous assassins and over 200 troops that goes on, unbroken, for over 40 minutes.
- Avatar - the big fight between the mercenaries and the Na'vi.
- Chimes at Midnight has one of the best of all time in the gritty, muddy, chaotic Battle of Shrewsbury, a sequence that is even more amazing when one considers the microscopic budget Orson Welles was working with.
- Some batttles in the Pirates of the Caribbean series might count if we limit the 'army size' to two boat-loads of people. The first film has the moonlight battle with the undead. 'At World's End' has the final battle where the Flying Dutchman and the Black Pearl are mast-locked and fighting over a maelstrom.
- Gettysburg - The film has several.
- Glory opens with the Army of the Potomac marching to the Battle of Antietam in 1862 along with the Army of Northern Virignia coming to meet them followed by a brief but violent sequence of the battle itself. The climax of the film is the (Second) Assault on Fort Wagner in 1863.
- Saving Private Ryan begins with the D-Day assaults on Omaha Beach.
- Serenity had this at the climax when the titular ship brings an army of Reavers against the Alliance.
- Every Star Wars film contains at least one of these.
- The Phantom Menace has the space-ground battle of Naboo, between the Trade Federation, the Gungans, Padme's attack on the palace, the duel between, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and Darth Maul, and the attack on the Trade Federation command ship.
- Attack of the Clones features the Battle of Geonosis.
- Revenge of the Sith begins with the famous Battle of Coruscant and also contains the Battle of Utapau.
- A New Hope has the battle of Yavin IV, where the Death Star is destroyed.
- The Empire Strikes Back has the Battle of Hoth.
- Return of the Jedi has the Battle of Endor, split between the ground battle in the actual moon, and the space battle with the Imperial armada and the Rebel fleet.
- The opening credits of X-Men Origins: Wolverine shows the titular character to have participated in many of these.
- Almost every James Bond movie prior to For Your Eyes Only featured one of these, with armies of hundreds of extras clashing and killing each other off in choreographed battles stretching across an entire huge secret enemy base. Almost no movie after that has, because apparently it makes Bond more heroic to be able to do it all by himself now.
- Braveheart has two major ones. The Battle of Stirling Bridge and the battle of Falkirk, both all kinds of epic.
- Red Cliff has a total of three:
- The Battle of Changban at the start of part one
- The climax battle of part one, when the allied forces lure Cao Cao's vanguard into their Eight Trigrams Formation
- The Battle of Red Cliff at the climax of part two, which could be considered the biggest and most badass battle in the whole film
- Part two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has the Battle of Hogwarts
- Alexander has the Battle of Gaugamela towards the opening of the film. The battle in India, later in the film, could also count, albeit to a lesser extent.
- The Warlords has one relatively early in the film between the Qing and Taiping armies.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe the battle of the Narnians against the White Witch's army. Also features Crowning Music of Awesome.
- The Dark Knight Rises features Batman and the police officers of Gotham fighting against Bane and his soldiers at the climax.
- The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has a climatic battle with the Dragon Emperor and his Terracotta army fighting against the main heroes and a couple thousand resurrected laborers who were buried under the Great Wall.
- In Tolkien's Legendarium:
- Harry Potter has a few of these
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix's "Battle of the Department of Mystery" which features about a dozen or so per side.
- From Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince there's "Battle of the Astronomy Tower" with about a couple of dozen per side.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows features the "Battle of Hogwarts" between the defenders of Hogwarts and Voldemort's Death Eaters. The defenders are mentioned to have lost fifty-five dead—more than the total number of combatants in any previous fight—and shocking given the Wizarding World's tendency for less-lethal spells. With most of the students and teachers, dozens of parents, and the centaurs and house-elves, there were easily hundreds of fighters. The battle also raged for hours, beginning at midnight, with a one-hour break, and Voldemort's final defeat came at dawn.
- Also "The Battle Of The Seven Potters" could count.
- The Wheel of Time has tons of these. In the first couple of books there are not that many: the stand at Emonds Field, the battle at Falme and the battle of Cairhien. Then comes Dumais Wells, a battle between three parties which ends by the outright slaughter of one of the parties by male channelers. Only 100k participants though. Several big battles follow and the biggest in the series come in Book 14, including a three-front battle to start with that takes weeks at least, and ending with the two-pronged Last Battle itself, which includes every single army in the entire world except for the Land of Madmen, and takes approximately a third of the entire book, being almost entirely one chapter that is two hundred and two pages long. The battle itself takes days, with some looks behind the front lines to see how people handle such an extended conflict, even resting or getting food to eat while battles rage.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has had a few so far, the most notable one being the Battle of Blackwater at the end of the second book.
- Its television adaptation, Game of Thrones, hasn't been able to have near as many due to time and budget constraints. That said, the two big battles that it does depict, Blackwater and the Battle of Castle Black, each have an entire episode devoted to them. The show eventually added one that was not depicted in the books, Hardhome, which is unique in that it comes completely out of nowhere, catching both the protagonists and the audience completely flat-footed.
- The Battle of Chichen Itza in Changes of The Dresden Files. Magical duels, vampires, swords, intervention via possession from what is probably an Archangel (or possibly God himself), freaking Odin, the protagonist's (more than slightly insane) Faerie Godmother, Excalibur, Kusanagi and Durandal all in one place and arguably the most Bad Ass speech in history. And it's not even the series' Grand Finale.
PossessedMurphy: "False gods! Pretenders! Usurpers of truth! Destroyers of faith, of families, of lives, of children! For your crimes against the Mayans, against the peoples of the world, now will you answer! Your time has come! Face judgment Almighty!"
- The BloodClan battle in the Warrior Cats book The Darkest Hour. BloodClan, a huge group of city cats (enough to take on around 100 forest cats) with a leader who can kill a Clan leader's nine lives in one blow, gives the forest Clans three days to either leave the forest or meet them in battle. The forest Clans spend the three days weighing their options, training, having medicine cats prepare herbs, and coming up with an escape strategy for the defenseless kits and elders if they fail. All four Clans join together to face BloodClan, and the battle itself lasts about a day.
- That's nothing compared to what happens in the fourth series' last book. Basically, the cat versions of Heaven and Hell start fighting an epic war on Earth, and dozens of cats both living and dead kick ass. That one book alone has more Crowning Moments Of Awesome to its name than any preceding it.
- In the novels In Death Ground and The Shiva Option by David Weber and Steve White, there are numerous examples of this trope.
- The First Battle of Manticore in the Mission of Honor.
- In the novel The Armageddon Inheritance by David Weber, a number of epic space battles take place between the protagonists and the invading alien fleet, which consisted of something like 5 or 6 million enemy warships.
- The Icelandic Sagas have several fine descriptions of climactic battles:
- The Battle of Vo Mimbre and Thull Mardu in The Belgariad by David Eddings.
- The Battle of Seattle in The Leonard Regime.
- Italian writer Emilio Salgari (of Sandokan fame) loved them, and strived to put at least one in most of his novels. His crowning achievement is the novel The King of the Sea (of the Sandokan series) with its three battle sequences (a desperate running battle fought by Tremal Naik and a group of Tigers of Mompracem led by Yanez against thousand of Dayaks, a naval battle between the King of the Sea and a Royal Navy warship, and the desperate battle of the King of the Sea against five warships), but he wrote dozens of them, including a revisitation of the Battle of Lepanto (Il Leone di Damasco) and one of Little Bighorn (La Scotennatrice.
- The Reynard Cycle: The Baron of Maleperduys features the Battle of the Samara and the siege of Maleperduys.
- Defender of the Crown opens with one that ends the war between Calvaria and Arcasia.
- A Real Life (embellished?) one in the finale of The Knights of the Cross, since it's a historical novel.
Live Action TV
- Firefly had its first episode start with showing the ending of the battle in Serenity Valley, which is described as being this.
- The battle for Camelot in the Merlin episode The Tears of Uther Pendragon, part two.
- Time Commanders used the Rome: Total War game engine to simulate historical battles for the contestants to re-fight (and get walked over by the AI opponent.)
- Doctor Who has the Battle of Canary Wharf in "Doomsday."
- First episode in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, we're offered one in form of every single Super Sentai vs the whole Zangyack fleet.
- Kamen Rider X Super Sentai Superhero Taisen plans to top that sequence; the writers even submitted the film to the Guinness World Records for the largest number of suit actors for a single battle.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has several during the Dominion War that are on a completely different level to any of the previous trek series. The First Battle of Deep Space Nine ("Way of the Warrior"), The Second Battle of Deep Space Nine ("Call to Arms"), Operation Return ("Sacrifice of Angels"), The First and Second Battles of Chin'toka, and the Battle of Cardassia ("What You Leave Behind"). Even the early battles with mere dozens of ships are larger than anything else in Trek history including the Borg attacks on Earth from TNG & First Contact, while the later battles during the Dominion War include ships in the thousands!
- Stargate SG-1
- Stargate Atlantis had the Battle of Asuras.
- And, arguably, the Siege of Atlantis
- Power Rangers in Space has the Rangers and the rebelling citizens of Angel Grove fighting against the U.A.E. in the final episode.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer features the battle between Buffy and the potentials against the First Evil's Uber Vamps in the center of the Hellmouth for its series finale.
- The 100 ends its first season with a big battle between the Grounder army and the 100.
Mythology and Religion
- The Final Battle in Mahabharata, in which all warriors of Pandava fights all warriors of Kaurava. Imagine if all the battle-capable people of India goes to battle, and you get a pretty close approximation. All super powers are set loose, no quarters are asked, no quarters are given. This makes this trope Older Than Feudalism.
- The First (Tuatha Dé Danann vs. Fir Bolg) and the Second (Tuatha Dé Danann vs. Fomor) Battle of Magh Tuireadh in The Battle of Magh Tuireadh, from Irish Mythology.
- The Final Conflict between Satan, the First Beast, the Anti Christ, and most of the corrupted legions of our Crapsack World, against Michael, all the Angels, and God. So terrifying, that Earth has to be replaced because the former one is bombed back to before the Big Bang.
- In Realms of Hyrule, you have the Battle of Kakariko in which around nineteen different players joined together with almost the entirety of Hyrule's military in order to route the undead and reclaim Kakariko.
- Minatures games, such as Warhammer and Warhammer 40K are another good example of this trope. It can be taken to ridiculous extremes even, if players decide in a casual game to have 'no point limit' for building their army.
- For bonus points, 40K also features the "Epic" side-series. As the name implies, it's built around truly massive battles, so instead of having 10-30 individual troop units and maybe a vehicle or two or three, mid-size infantry platoons and small tank formations are individual units, superheavy tanks roam freely, oh and this is the scale where Titans (the largest of which stand 130-170 scale feet tall) start stomping their enemies. Literally.
- Whenever players use Apocalypse rule, you can expect this. The larger battles may take over an hour to do a single turn (whereas a more traditional 2000 point battle may take as much as 10-15 mins per turn, if that).
- This is also the purpose of mass combat systems.
- Likewise, there's the ever popular game of Risk. The goal of that game? World conquest!
- Multiplayer maps in most FPS games are at least trying to invoke this.
- The Final Fantasy series loves these.
- Final Fantasy VII has the Weapon Raid on Junon.
- Final Fantasy VIII gives us the Siege of Dollet, in which the part the player sees begins with their boats charging onto the beach.
- Another Final Fantasy VIII example is the Battle of the Gardens (part of which is this trope's page image), wherein the Galbadian Army and the SeeD forces of Balamb clash in one of the most memorable conflicts of the game.
- Final Fantasy IX also joins the fray, with the Siege of Cleyra, the Iifa Tree battle, and when Bahamut attacks Alexandria.
- Final Fantasy XII is bookended with these. The first features the Archadian invasion of Nabudis and Dalmasca, while the second shows an air battle between the Sky Fortress Bahamut against Marquis Ondore's air fleet.
- Final Fantasy XIII begins with a revolt of the purge victims against PSICOM in the depths of Cocoon.
- Final Fantasy Type-0 comes and goes radical with this. The opening war in Rubrum on Chapter 1 is just the first example. Then we get the Battle of Judecca as the main example in Chapter 5, where an airship fleet fights a population of dragons. And almost immediately after, in Chapter 6, Lady Caetuna summoning the humongous Alexander on the Empire's border and mopping both sides of the conflict on a single beam.
- Fire Emblem has an entire archetype of levels like this, at least one per game.
- The Total War series is built around this entire concept, with you being in control of the battle and sending thousands of individual troops into combat.
- The Dawn of War series has plenty of these, the best examples probably being the first game's intro cinematic and the trailer to the second game.
- Strategy war games like the Command & Conquer series and clones of it may possibly count, with you controlling one faction/army while the other(s) is controlled by a computer/friend. You can also use fluffy logic to decide that these battles really are epic in the game world. A single soldier on screen may actually be 100 within the game world. Imagine those minor 'skirmish' games of yours now.
- Lego Universe. Both in game and out. The intro has Crowning Musicof Awesome and the preparations for combat even. Sadly, it skip over the actual battle, but we're pretty sure it was epic.
- More so when you realize that those spiders and horsemen are elite enemies, and the dragons tend to be bosses.
- Mass Effect 1 features the Battle of the Citadel.
- Knights of the Old Republic has a couple.
- The first game has the Revolt on Kashyyk and Battle of the Star Forge.
- Who are almost opposite of each-other: Kashyyk is a small skirmish (Czerka only has a small outpost on the planet) kept on-planet where the player character is directly involved in fighting the battle, while the Battle of the Star Forge is a big honking fleet engagement between large portions of the Sith and Republic navies where the player character is infiltrating the Star Forge.
- The second game has the Civil War on Iziz and the Battle of Telos.
- The first game has the Revolt on Kashyyk and Battle of the Star Forge.
- Heavenly Sword ends with one of these.
- The final battle in Fallout: New Vegas, with the NCR facing off against Caesar's Legion. Depending on your actions, you'll either support one of the two or support a third party.
- For a little extra context: depending on your choices, you can roll into the battle for Hoover Dam with an elite unit of Brotherhood of Steel paladins joining you in the first stages, the Boomers shelling the other side with howitzers and flying a bomber over the battlefield, the Enclave remnants taking to the battlefield, the Great Khans throwing their lot in if you didn't convince them to leave the Mojave, and two factions will even give you ARMOURED ROBOT INFANTRY... and it shows through NPC dialogue. They're damn glad to see the backup you brought along with you.
- Video Game/Fallout3 also has one of these as its climax, when the Brotherhood of Steel finally attacks the Enclave. Especially its newest recruit, and we're not talking about the Lone Wanderer here ...
- Neverwinter Nights has the Neverwinter-Luskan War. Hordes of the Underdark adds the Valsharess War, with your by-now epic-level character leading the defenders.
- Neverwinter Nights 2 has the Shadow War, which takes up the majority of Act III and prominently includes The Siege of Crossroad Keep. Mask of the Betrayer adds the invasion of the Fugue Plane.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has several during the civil war, including Whiterun, and depending on what side you choose, Windhelm or Solitude.
- Dragon Age: Origins has the Battles of Ostagar and Denerim against the Darkspawn, and Redcliffe against undead.
- Its sequel ends with the destruction of the Chantry and the Battle of Kirkwall in its aftermath, which is also stated to be only the first battle of the Mage-Templar War.
- The third game has the siege of Adamant Fortress, where the Inquisition assaults the fort due to the Grey Wardens being under Corypheus' influence.
- X3: Terran Conflict: The Second Battle of Aldrin during the Aldrin Expansion plot, with a Terran warfleet and the Player Character pushing the Xenon out of the Terrans' former colonies.
- Massive battles happen randomly in X3: Albion Prelude, what with the Guilt-Free Extermination War going on between the Earth State and Argon Federation; in the border sectors between Terran and Argon space, it's not uncommon to see dozen of mile long capital ships duking it out. The player can accept missions from either government to participate in these raids.
- The invasion of Char in Starcraft II Wings of Liberty.
- In the expansion, Heart of the Swarm, the invasion of Korhal.
- The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings starts with a massive siege battle against one of the King's bastard sons, and they only get bigger from there.
- Mount & Blade battles are supposed to get very large, which, varying on your settings, can display over well over 100 to even 500 or more men with mods.
- In The Gamers Alliance, several big battles have taken place during the war, most notably the Battle of Folsworth Woods and the Battle of Vanna.
- The Salvation War has many, but probably the best would be Michael vs Yahweh, with in-universe Orchestral Bombing, including the theme from the Dam Busters and Holst's Mars.
- Worm primarily has fights that span, at most, one or two chapters, with each chapter changing the situation as the antagonist either moves into a new stage or the protagonists achieve a lasting victory. Then there's the Extermination arc, wherein Leviathan attacks the city and spends six chapters slaughtering hero and villain alike before finally being driven off.
- The battle against Scion has multiple campaigns and spans multiple arcs.
- The Battle of Nancy, and possibly the entire Juillet Lorrain leading up to it, in The Dead Skunk.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has a few, what with it being about a hundred year war and all, but the one which would probably fit best would be The Day of Black Sun battle. A small guerilla army with submarines, tanks, and a combination of benders and Bad Ass Normal warriors take on the Fire Nation troops.
- The conclusion of the Season 5 Teen Titans storyline which pits the Titans and all their allies going up against the Brotherhood of Evil.
- The Grand Finale to Justice League Unlimited featured an alliance between the Justice League and the Legion, with the two teams going up against Darkseid and his invading forces all over the earth.
- Leroy & Stitch features this as Lilo, Stitch, all the reformed experiments, and Gantu take on wave after wave of Leroy clones, the Evil Counterpart to Stitch.
- The Grand Finale to The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! features nearly every hero in the series teaming up to stop Galactus.