troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Crucified Hero Shot

"And you stare at me in your Jesus Christ pose
Arms held out like you've been carrying a load"
Soundgarden, "Jesus Christ Pose"

It's very common for a character who just performed a Heroic Sacrifice to be lying with their arms outstretched like the crucified Jesus. The "person with outstretched arms symbolically representing Christ" pose is so deeply ingrained into modern culture that anytime we see a character in that pose, we tend to assume the director was going for this trope, even when it's obvious from the context of the scene that he or she wasn't.

Tends to provoke the joke "[character] died for your sins!"

A Sub-Trope of Rule of Symbolism (unless an example is Faux Symbolism).

Compare:


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Lilith, that Angel NERV was holding captive in their Elaborate Underground Base, as well as EVA Unit 01, in the End of Evangelion feature film.
  • Mazinger Z: It happened several times to several characters: Kouji, his little brother, his friend Boss and Boss's gang... Baron Ashura seemed loving the trope. It also happened in Great Mazinger. Occassionally both series featured the Humongous Mecha themselves being crucificed. And in the Mazinger Z vs Devilman movie, Devilman himself.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! was liberally sprinkled with shots of characters bound to crosses, from Seto Kaiba to Yami's Dark Magician.
  • Happens in the second season of Sailor Moon. When Rubeus captures the Inner Seishi, he keeps them partially tucked inside crystal crosses.
    • A rather unconventional example occurs in the R movie, in which Fiore kind of crucifies Sailor Moon (who has sacrificed herself to save her friends and the Earth), except he himself acts like the cross and holds her in place with long, tentacle-like tree roots while subjecting her to a mix of Electric Torture, Life Energy stealing and a "The Reason You Suck" Speech
    • In an episode of Sailor Moon S, Hotaru is also bound to a cross and attacked by legions of demonic hands in a nightmare sequence.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Greed is tied to a stone crucifix before he's killed. In the American translation, Viz alters the stone wreckage into a circular shape to avoid religious complications.
    • In Ch. 101 Bradley pins Roy on his back with his arms outstretched, and swords driven through his hands to pin him to the ground. And they're trying to make him into a "sacrifice" for their giant transmutation circle. Yup, no symbolism here...
    • When Al trades his soul back for Ed's arm so Ed can fight, effectively sacrificing himself. He's lying on his back when he transmutes, so when the armor body's arms fall limp, they are conveniently splayed out to the sides in keeping with the symbolism. When this occurs, Ed is also pinned to a rock by Father in this pose. He breaks out of it when his arm returns. Best not to hurt Edward Elric's little brother.
    • A rare villainous example: just after Heinkel has bitten him, Kimblee is shown flat on his back on the ground with outstretched arms.
  • In X1999, several characters are subjected to the crucified hero shot in different circumstances, in some cases building up to a Heroic Sacrifice. The most infamous example is Kotori, who is 'crucified' before being horribly murdered by her brother in two of the three continuities (manga and TV series) plus the X Japan promotional video (which follows the manga.)
  • In the opening sequence of Ef A Tale Of Melodies, Yuu is seen in this pose, pierced by what appears to be many spears, struggling to pull out the nails that bind his hands to the wall. Only in the final version of the opening in the series finale does he manage to do this.
  • In Pokemon Mewtwo Returns, Mewtwo offers himself up to Giovanni in order to save the other pokemon from being captured and brainwashed. Giovanni's machine then lifts him up and paralyzes him in what is blatantly a crucifixion position.
    • Pokemon Best Wishes Season 2 brought us Meloetta in nearly the exact same position in order to activate the Undersea Temple, this time offering herself to keep Ash from being crushed by a cube of energy Team Rocket took him prisoner in.
    • Ash himself does this after Mew and Mewtwo accidently Zap him with energy in The First Movie before collapsing and dying. Ironically in the second movie, he finds out he is the The Chosen One.
  • In the manga version of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, upon storming Michel's mountain lair, the mermaids are suddenly trapped upon crosses. Kaito and Rihito run in to free them after the latter convinces the former to stop sulking about not having been able to save Michal. Like most of the manga's objectionable scenes, this is nowhere in the anime.
  • In the Devil May Cry anime, Dante is briefly crucified by the Big Bad in the demon world. However, he is too badass to stay there for long.
  • Parodied in Puni Puni Poemi, Poemi finds her parents crucified and manages to actually knock down the crosses, leading her to repeat the shot, with über-dramatic sound effects to boot. Extra points for the scene taking place Against the Setting Sun.
    • Nabeshin is the Mary-Sue Messiah. He died for the sins of your transparent self-insertion fanfic.
  • No fewer than three characters in D.Gray-Man have been crucified by the villains, although one might have just been tied up in that position, and one was nailed to a clock. General Yeeger was crucified as a message to the heroes.
  • Nao does this to Natsuki in Mai-HiME, tying her up in an arms-outstretched pose within her CHILD to use as bait for Shizuru.
  • In Bleach, when Rukia is about to be executed by the Sogyoku, she's held up in a position similar to crucifixion. And this is just before she was to be stabbed by what used to be a spear.
  • In the manga of Naruto, Kakashi is pinned to a cross while Itachi tortures him with the Mangekyo Sharingan. In the anime, it's just a square of wall.
    • There also a bit of a gruesome image in a flashback of the the manga near Haku arc when the reader sees Kaiza tied to a cross with his arms cut off. In the edited version it's just a pole and his arm have just been severely beaten.
    • Shikamaru is also forced into this position by another Genjutsu fighter, and has to watch his arms melt down to the bone. He gets better.
  • A common splash image of Death Note shows Light Yagami in a messianic pose of this sort. However, he's a Dark Messiah at best.
  • In an early episode of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Trowa takes on this pose for a knife-throwing stunt. In a later episode, when he attempts to self-detonate his gundam, Catherine flashes back to this scene; as it fades out, there's a brief moment where it looks as if Trowa really is crucified.
  • The final episode of Code Geass R2. Not strictly a Crucifixion, but Lelouch's blood forms a sort-of bloody carpet as he falls down a platform with his arms open after being stabbed by Suzaku (as Zero) to finish their Thanatos Gambit.
    • There's a red band of paint too, so double the cross imagery.
  • The title character of Video Girl Ai ends up strapped in this position by cable and other video equipment after being forced back into the Video world, as punishment for having fallen in love with Youta. The scene is so powerful and dramatic, the publisher reportedly pleaded with Masakazu Katsura to draw some underwear on Ai to lessen the Fanservice (as she was entirely naked in the original print.) In the animated version, this is the final, climactic scene.
  • Tsukune is subjected to this in Rosario + Vampire as punishment after being discovered to be a human.
  • After being detained by the D-Reaper, Beelzebumon is positioned this way in Digimon Tamers.
    • Not only him, but Juri, the person Beelzebumon was trying to save, after being Mind Raped repeatedly for several days by the D-Reaper because she saw him kill her partner, powered (probably as a converter, not a generator) the Eldritch Abomination , gets the pleasure of being trapped, crushed and crucified twice with big power cables while getting (judging by her screaming) mind raped further for another week and at the same time desperatly trying to save a friend, who also gets crushed in front of her. Did I mention that the D-Reaper tries to both burn and drown her? And that she comes out of it better that when she entered? Miss badass Asuka from Eva is thrown into a coma after five minutes of similar, if not lighter treatment, even if her problems have a different source.
      • Starting with episode 34 (violent), skipping to ep's 47 (section of the mind rape), ep 49 is when both of them are crushed with glowing cables and she screams (and is possibly mind raped further), and in ep's 50 and 51 unless it was edited by the dub (like fox kids) is where the previously mentioned happens.
  • Ranma ½: The Cloud Cuckoolander Principal Kuno captured Akane and placed her in this predicament offscreen just to blackmail Ranma. He didn't count on Akane breaking free almost immediately and kicking him in the face.
  • Trigun takes its inspiration from a different part of the Crucifixion account: as Wolfwood dies, he walks into a church carrying his large, cross-shaped gun and eventually falls to one knee under its weight, and a profile silhouette cements his pose quite clearly. This was a direct allusion, since he was a priest.
    • The standard pose is also used, though in an unusual fashion. Rem does this in flashback when she tries to talk down Law after he snaps. We see it again in similar circumstances with Meryl holding the pose.
  • Last Exile, the last episode, Alex Rowe. Tortured to death (sort of), he ends up looking more-or-less crucified. Held in place by thorns.
    • And in the sequel, ''Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing", Princess Liliana is shown crucified in the OP, but whether it's symbolic or representative of a later scene isn't clear yet.
  • Akagi gets subjected to one of these. It's symbolic for a game of mahjong.
  • Vita in Episode 9 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's is suspended in mid-air in this position when she's captured by the Mysterious Protectors and executed in front of Hayate.
  • A scene in the D.N.Angel anime had Satoshi in a feathery transformation scene, hanging from nothing in this postion.
  • One of the rare cases where it's explicitly used as Cold-Blooded Torture, the Meakashi-hen chapter of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni sees Shion put Satoko up on a cross and then repeatedly stab her in the arms. Remind you of anything?
  • At one point in the Chrono Crusade anime, Chrono charges at the Big Bad but an explosion sends him flying backwards, in slow motion, with his arms outspread. When he lands on the ground, he's buried under rubble from the building he was in—including a steel, cross-shaped beam marking the spot where he's buried.
    • There's also a promo art piece for the anime that shows Joshua bound to a cross, and a scene in the manga where Chrono is kept in a cross-like restraining device when the Order imprisons him.
  • Sora in .hack//SIGN when he once again switches sides, to the good guys this time, and gets trapped by the big bad. Which he was not expecting. Things didn't go so well for him for awhile after that.
  • Syaoran is very temporarily crucified by some cute bunny rabbits in this panel of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle in preparation for being eaten/burned at the stake/sacrificed to a demon god. Not surprisingly, they don't go through with it after they learn he can speak.
  • Shakugan no Shana: Happened to Shana at one point, but that was probably a matter of convenience for the villain in question.
  • In Legend of Zelda: Four Sword Adventures (the manga), Vio is crucified and almost burned by Dark after his Heel Face Turn.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has Nia, during her captivity time at the hands of the anti-spirals.
    • Briefly happens to Simon, when the Gurren Lagann is pinned to the wall by Lazengann's tendrils.
  • Optimus Prime in Transformers Armada takes this pose when he intercepts the Hydra Cannon's blast, giving his own life to save Earth.
  • In the final TV episode of Uta Kata, Ichika is crucified to a mirror (although the crystals which are used in place of nails don't actually pierce her hands until she tries to free herself).
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei likes to put characters in this pose in its openings and endings, probably just to confuse us.
  • Eureka Seven: Nirvash gets one in the last episode.
  • Kanashimi No Belladonna ends with Jeanne being burned on a cross-shaped stake.
  • Episode 11 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica gives both Madoka and Homura one as Kyubey explains why Madoka holds such a huge potential as a magical girl or Messianic ArchetypeHomura is causing Madoka to bear more misfortune as Homura keeps on trying to save Madoka in different timelines, which causes Madoka's potential as a magical girl to increase.
  • Genesis of Aquarion: the Shadow Angels have a thing for actual crucifixion. Apollonius was nailed up twelve millennia back, and in the same episode but 12000 years on Aquarion itself gets pinned to the ground with arms outstretched. In both cases, bits were torn off while getting out of said pose - Apollonius deliberately tore off his wings so he could protect Celiane, and his reincarnation ripped off Solar Aquarion's arms and used the arm components of Vector Luna as a substitute.
  • In the anime adaptation of Blue Exorcist, Rin gets chained to a cross while people chant about the wood of Jesus' cross in the background. And then they almost kill him and open a portal to Gehenna.
  • In the manga of Deadman Wonderland this trope is referred to by name when the leader of The Forgeries refers to this trope by name while crucifying Ganta on a nearby wall... bonus points: the spikes used for the crucifixion are drops of blood, while the pain is really only inside Ganta's mind, as the Forgery's special power is, apparently, Mind Rape.
  • In Saint Beast, Shin is actually crucified by Zeus as punishment for stealing Pandora's box (in attempt to save the human world from chaos). Being an angel, he survives, which might make it even worse.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories manga, Marluxia has thorny vines hold Namine this way.
  • In Casshern Sins, Casshern usually gets one when he allows someone to try to kill him.

    Comic Book 
  • Brian Bolland's cover for Animal Man #5 (written by Grant Morrison). The story inside? The Coyote Gospel.
  • The cover to the Sinestro Corps War special has a semi-crucifixion for all the Earth Lanterns and Kilowog.
  • Mediocre Crisis Crossover Marvel: The End had its bad guy, the very difficult name to remember Ankhatamanatotep or something, energy blast an assembly of superheroes and proceeded to put them on floating crosses around New York city.
  • Mister Miracle usually incorporates this into his escape artist's act, being strapped to a cross-shaped platform before being shot at, blow up, etc.
  • Chuck Austen's "Holy Wars" arc for X-Men opened with young mutants crucified on the Xavier Institute lawn.
    • Angel on the cover of X-men 169. The Morlocks had him crucified for most of the book.
    • Earlier than that, Angel got crucified by the Marauders in the Morlock tunnels.
      • Plus, Wolverine got crucified by the Reavers at one point.
  • Superman's first appearance in Kingdom Come is obviously an homage to the cover of Superman #1, but it's also a bit of a Crucified Hero Shot, especially if you note the nails in his pocket. Word of God from Alex Ross is that this was intentional.
  • The classic Green Lantern/Green Arrow #89 features an environmental activist named Joshua who is trying to stop an evil corporation. And just in case that's too subtle, this is the cover.
    • They do the same to Hal and Ollie. Turns out when you make a hobby out of drawing a longbow on a regular basis for years and years, you develop really, really strong muscles in your arms. Ollie breaks free and releases Hal, but by the time he does so the asthmatic Joshua has died..
  • The Invisibles has plenty of these, but a particularly significant one occurs when Dane McGowan (aka "Jack Frost") is floating in space during his "alien abduction" (contact w/Barbelith). A disembodied voice comments that this imagery was chosen for Dane because of his lapsed-Catholic background.
  • Jon Osterman has this pose as he is being disintegrated in Watchmen, then pulls a similar pose when reborn as Dr. Manhattan.
  • In Doctor Strange's first confrontation with Shuma-Gorath, the Eldritch Abomination was attempting to enter the world through the mind of the Ancient One, Strange's teacher in magic. Shuma showed Strange that his master was picturing him hanging with his arms outstretched, as a sign that he thought Strange would be killed.
  • BIONICLE: In the infamous Matoro Death scene, the hero assumes this pose temporarily.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Incredibles, Bob Parr is being held in Syndrome's secret lab. The thing is, he is held suspended in a holding unit that floats in midair, with his feet in one iron ball and his hands held out on either side in their own iron balls. When he learns that his entire family has been killed, he hangs his head in defeat. Add that to the fact that he's the savior of the world, being a superhero and all...
  • Esmeralda at the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, shortly after Quasimodo unties her from an execution pyre and is carried to the top of the cathedral nearby.
    Quasimodo:(repeatedly)SANCTUARY!!!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ripley in Alien³, during her Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Cool Hand Luke has the title character assume one of these at the conclusion of the egg-eating contest.
  • The Matrix, curiously, as more of the movie series' religious allusions trended to Buddhism than Christianity.
  • GoldenEye: Curiously, Xenia Onatopp, the evil Combat Sadomasochist, ends up dying stuck in a tree in this manner. Though the heroes' reaction quickly destroys any thought of comparison.
  • The main character from the film 300. Crucifixion was popular back then. According to Herodotus, Xerxes was so angry that he had old Leo's corpse beheaded and nailed to a piece of wood.
  • Gladiator has Commodus subjecting the protagonist's wife and little boy to this horrible fate (and after having the wife gangraped, no less).
  • Every survivor of the slave revolt in Spartacus was also crucified. And yes, their real-life counterparts were too.
    • More a case of Shown Their Work, since crucifixion was just the go-to execution method for common criminals in the ancient Roman Empire; the significant symbolism of being nailed to a cross didn't come about until after Christ was crucified on one.
  • Spidey, in the train scene of Spider-Man 2. He doesn't die, or even come close, but the feeling is the same.
  • Superman Returns: The falling-from-orbit scene. Further driving the Christ metaphor is his also getting stabbed in his side with a piece of Kryptonite in a prior scene. While one of Lex Luthor's Mooks holds him up with his arms outstretched, even. The movie doesn't specify that he convalesces for three days in the hospital afterwards before reviving, but it can easily be inferred.
    • Richard Donner started it in the first movie, way back in '78:
    Jor-El: They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son.
  • Man of Steel continues the Superman tradition,
    • A shirtless Clark floats underwater with his arms extended, after the oil rig he's on collapses.
    • On leaving the Kryptonian ship, he floats out through a hole in the wall in this pose.
  • In Bloodlust (featured in an episode of MST3K), the evil man-hunting Big Bad gets impaled (through the hands) on a spiked rack (with arms outstretched) by one of his dying henchmen. Which inspires this comment from Tom Servo:
    Servo: So, why this symbolism? Did Christ hunt people on deserted islands?
  • Sgt. Elias (Willem Dafoe) in Platoon. Since this became the main poster/video box/DVD cover image, this rather builds up expectations of the film. The closing narration doesn't help. The image is a homage to the famous 1968 photograph by Art Greenspon.
  • Tropic Thunder takes the piss out of the the famous Platoon scene. The hero of the fictitious Vietnam War movie gets shot while maintaining the pose for an absurdly long time. The scene is later echoed when the actor playing the hero has to run from an angry mob.
  • This is actually done early on in It's a Wonderful Life. If you're looking for it, it's so obvious: when the angels 'pause' George's life, he's standing with his arms held up and out in the pose.
  • Charlton Heston in The Omega Man pulls a crucifixion death pose in the final scene of the film, and Vincent Price is speared to death at the foot of a cross in The Last Man on Earth. Despite both being adaptations of I Am Legend, which does not employ this trope, the two films share little else in common.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin, the movie version, uses this trope to show Tom's heroic sacrifice.
  • For some completely inexplicable reason, the villain Bullseye gets this in the movie Daredevil. It comes complete with wounds on the hands that resemble stigmata, and the entire fight scene takes place in a church.
    • He's Irish, isn't he? To Brits, that tends to imply Catholicism- not sure if the director was aware of that.
  • In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, this is the Silver Surfer's pose during the sacrifice made to defeat (or possibly repel) Galactus.
  • El Topo uses this motif, which in its case is a Justified Trope because the movie is, among other things, a Deconstruction of the Messianic Archetype.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982): Conan was crucified on the Tree of Woe. The scene was inspired by the opening scene of the Robert E. Howard story, "A Witch Shall Be Born," which had him crucified on an actual cross.
  • Eric Draven from The Crow was held up in a Crucified Hero Shot by his murderers before being blown out the window. One year later, upon returning from the dead to avenge himself and his girlfriend, he goes into one of these as he takes every bullet Top Dollar's gang has to offer in the boardroom. His powers have made him bulletproof, and so this doesn't stop him for long.
  • In the Sylvester Stallone gangster (not gangsta) comedy Oscar, Stallone's character ends up feeling very fatigued with everything that's gone wrong up to that point. He sighs, leans back, and drapes his arms across the mantlepiece behind him, horizontally. There's a little bit of Christian imagery in prior scenes, too...
  • In The Shawshank Redemption, when Andy is held over a building, he throws his arms out in a pretty obvious cross pose.
  • The last half-hour of Braveheart is devoted to this trope.
  • A non-sacrificial example appears in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, when the "four captains / bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage."
  • Carrie's mother, in her final scene, was impaled against a doorframe in a picture-perfect imitation of the Christ-on-the-Cross that she locked Carrie in with at her first period. Kind of a subversion, as the statue in the closet was actually Saint Sebastian (note the arrows), not Jesus Christ.
  • Dead Man Walking: Though he sure is no hero — just a criminal victim — Matthew Poncelet gets one of them when he's being executed.
    • That was not deliberate on the part of the filmmakers. It was a Shown Their Work - the gurneys used in lethal injections really are shaped like that.
  • Clint Eastwood's character, at the end of Gran Torino.
  • In To End All Wars, one of the leading Christian POWs is killed by crucifixion. The movie is based on an autobiography and the man really was martyred.
  • The Killer features one of these after the title character is shot in the back during the big church shootout.
  • In The Day of the Locust, Donald Sutherland's character briefly adopts this pose during the scene where the mob is attacking him.
  • The Mission opens with one of these combined with an Inevitable Waterfall. Justified in that the missionary being martyred was intentionally given a death resembling Christ's by the group rejecting him and his message.
  • The Lawnmower Man had this; Pierce Brosnan's character shows up in cyberspace, and Job first says "I am God here", and then handwaves Brosnan's avatar into a crucifixion pose. Rather a pity they couldn't have done the same to the film's director.
  • In Terminator Salvation, Sam Worthington's character is suspended on cross-shaped devices twice.
  • The Merchant of Venice: In the Al Pacino film version, during the court scene, Antonio repeatedly consigns himself to death, and then is stripped of his clothes, strapped down with his arms outstretched, and then waits helplessly while Shylock, a Jew, is about to kill him. For bonus points, Antonio is wearing a large crucifix around his neck. Real subtle, director. So much for modern interpretations of the play making Shylock less of a Card-Carrying Villain.
  • The 2000 Jesus Christ Superstar has Judas, of all people, strike this pose shortly before hanging himself.
  • 2009's Solomon Kane movie has Solomon crucified... and then he forces himself dramatically off it in the most ridiculous fashion.
  • Towards the end of Whistle Down the Wind, the fugitive who has spent most of the film being mistaken for Jesus by a number of English schoolchildren is captured and searched by the police for weapons - he stands backlit on a hilltop with his arms held out at shoulder height while this takes place.
  • Avatar: In the extended cut of the James Cameron's film, Jake, before leaving earth, gets into a bar fight trying to protect a woman from her abusive boyfriend, and is subsequently kicked out the back door. He lies on the ground in the Jesus pose for a few minutes.
  • Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome: Max is seen by the children as the Second Coming of Captain Walker, complete with a Max-as-Walker picture of him spread out in crucified form carrying the children away upon himself. This is before Max almost kills himself helping the children get to their Promised Land with the help of an antagonistic airplane pilot.
  • John Lennon, in the film The Killing of John Lennon, is shown, after being shot, in a slow-mo, freeze-frame shot, in a pose that makes you think of crucifixion almost immediately. Could be deliberate or not.
  • Max California dies this way in 8 MM, after being shot to death with a crossbow while strapped to a torture rack.
  • As in the comic, John Osterman stretches his arms out as he is being disintegrated in Watchmen, then slowly raises his arms into this pose when reborn.
  • X-Men:
    • Inverted in X-Men: First Class. This happens twice (once to Emma Frost and again with Sebastian Shaw) and neither of them are heroes.
    • In The Wolverine, after Wolverine becomes a Human Pincushion, he strikes this pose, mostly because all the tethers attached to the arrows are forcing him into it.
  • Officer Murphy aka Robocop gets actually quite a few shots.
  • In The Seventh Seal, the girl accused of being a witch is tied up with her arms spread out.
  • Celia's corpse floating in a flooded subway station at the end of Atonement.
  • A shot of Will on the train in Good Will Hunting. Kind of a headscratcher.
  • Tom Cruise does this during the climbing scene - i.e. the first sequence - of Mission: Impossible II. Afterwards the main character Ethan Hunt becomes an unstoppable demigod rather than the secret agent he was in the first movie. It's not a surprise that the second one is also the less valored of the saga...
  • At the end of The Avengers, Tony gets one of these as he falls helplessly with his arms outstretched, unconscious and with his suit out of power, after sacrificing himself to save New York by flying a nuke into space.
  • In Scream 2, Derek is tied up, and later killed, in this position.
  • Subverted in The Mist, as Mrs. Carmody ends up shot in the head and falls to the floor, arms outstretched. Bonus points for the "halo" of blood.note 
  • In Daybreakers, the last shot of Frankie is of him lying on the floor, his legs straight and arms outstretched after sacrificing himself holding back his former comrades so that Audrey and Edward could get away.
  • Gandalf adopts this pose in The Lord of the Rings when pulled off the bridge by the falling Balrog.
  • Even Hannibal Lecter gets in on the action in Film/Hannibal when captured by Mason Verger and about to be fed to his pigs, he's strapped to a gurney in this pose.
  • Pacific Rim: Gipsy Danger does this just before it blows up the Breach
  • In Machete, the title character's brother, a priest, is nailed to the cross in the church he works at by the villains while they interrogate him.
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire uses Katniss being lifted out of the arena to do one.
  • In Into The Wild, after the protagonist gets his first taste of Nature Is Not Nice when he botches the meat of his first big kill, he is seen floating in the river in the Jesus pose completely naked.

     Fine Arts 

    Literature 
  • In Neverwhere, the Marquis de Carabais is crucified. He gets better.
  • The Robert E. Howard story, "A Witch Shall Be Born", had Conan the Barbarian crucified on an actual cross by Constantius, the villain's Dragon. He gets better, and at the story, he returns the favor to Constantius, whom he states is far better at inflicting pain than enduring it like Conan can.
  • In Guy Gavriel Kay's series, The Fionavar Tapestry, Paul voluntarily gets tied to the World Tree for three days and three nights. He comes back as Pwyll 'twice born'
  • Les Misérables: " Enjolras, pierced by eight bullets, remained backed up against the wall as if the bullets had nailed him there. Except that his head was tilted."
  • In The Six Sacred Stones, Jack is crucified by his own father. He gets better, obviously.
  • Inverted in the Warhammer 40,000: Night Lords novel Blood Reaver. There is indeed a hero being crucified, flayed and partially eaten alive, but the torturers are the Villain Protagonists.
  • Dream of the Rood has this, what with it being about how awesome the Crucifixion was.
  • In the novel Native Son by Richard Wright, the main character, Bigger, has a dream of being crucified.
  • In "The Old Man and the Sea", Santiago gets home from the epic battle with the enormous fish, and trudges up the hill carrying the mast of his sailboat. He then collapses on his bed on his back with his arms outstretched, and his hands mangled by the fishing line. Anvilicious much, Papa Hemingway?
  • The Power of Five: Matt, when the Old Ones torture him. He even gets a barbed wire necklace in imitation of the Crown of Thorns.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Charlie Stubbs in Coronation Street.
  • Smallville, after a depowered Clark is fatally shot.
    • And in the pilot episode, when he's Kryptonited and strung up as the "scarecrow".
    • And then again in the episode 'Salvation' after being stabbed by Blue Kryptonite whilst falling from a great height.
  • This is inverted in Battlestar Galactica, where it's Gaius Baltar, the villain, who's seen at least once a season in a Christlike pose. In the third season, it's even somewhat of an inside joke, as actor James Callis was playing Pilate in a movie and had grown a full beard and long hair (explained in the show by throwing Baltar in prison).
    • And in the very next season, his side is pierced by a lance piece of shrapnel.
  • Captain Jack from Doctor Who strikes a Jesus Christ Pose when it's time for him to die. Later, after being resurrected, he gets shot again (he's Immune to Bullets, so he survives) and strikes another Jesus Christ Pose. He has no real need to the second time, perhaps he just enjoys it.
    • The Doctor Who/Torchwood team love this. Jack casts his arms wide and screams in agony as the Abaddon (yep, "Hell", or "Death" or "The Devil") drains the life force out of him leaving him apparently dead for days before he gets up and says "I forgive you" to the man who betrayed him. He also pulled this pose the first time he died and on several times since, and may just be found of using it. Martha Jones gets strapped to a cross-shaped bed while being medically tortured... it goes on and on and on and on, and unbelievably on.
    • In the Doctor Who Made-for-TV Movie, the Master straps the Doctor into a regeneration-syphoning machine in the Jesus pose. Then he drives a nasty looking circle of electrodes into his head, which may or may not have been intended to resemble the Crown of Thorns. Ironically, this all occurred after he'd woken up in the morgue and cast off his burial shroud...
    • Since the Ninth Doctor's regeneration at the end of the first season of the revival, this is the pose Time Lords strike when regenerating. Yes, even The Master.
  • Spike does this in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Restless" during a photo-shoot. It's just one of many 'badass' poses he does, but it's significant in terms of Whedon's crazy long foreshadowing. He makes his Heroic Sacrifice three seasons later!
    • He does this again in the episode "Beneath You," having completely lost it due to the weight of his new soul, he drapes himself over a church cross.
    • Buffy herself does this both times she dies. The first time, she's found facedown in water, her arms floating out from her sides. The white dress also seemed to paint the scene as a Virgin Sacrifice. The second time, her dive into the deadly portal has a definite cross shape to it. Both times, she comes back to life to save the world from evil.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess. Justified in that crucifixion was used at the time. The Romans weren't all that nice...
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles had Chromartie's final shootout take place in a church, firing at people on both sides of him. At one point it was also shot to show the cross silhouette clearly. Probably not a coincidence, as the show has been talking a lot about religion in second season.
  • In Jekyll, Hyde does this in the last episode, posing on the edge of a roof right before he throws himself off. He survives, though. Somehow. Later in the episode he does make a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In Heroes, Sylar gets to play the part of sadomasochistic electrocution Jesus in one episode. Earlier, he used Isaac's own paintbrushes to impale him to the ground before cutting off his head.
    • Sylar also gets crucified with a nail gun by Peter in The Fifth Stage. The episode features also a subversion of this trope: Nathan plummets to his death in the standard pose, but then he starts grinning and morphs into Sylar while he is falling.
      • And then later Matt buries Sylar in the basement, after which he busts out of his "tomb" before he and his buddy Peter go to save the day.
  • For someone who's supposedly the Antichrist, Sam Winchester sure does get crucified a lot. There were a couple bonuses to some of these, like when he's getting his legs beaten with a baseball bat (a common way to speed up the process in Ancient Rome) and when he gets stabbed in the side by a torturer.
    • The pose is resurrected in Swan Song when he's about to throw himself into hell.
  • In Neverwhere Croup and Vandemar crucify the Marquis. He's hardly the hero, though.
  • Ben at the end of Carnivàle is lying like this as the carnies carry him through the cornfield.
  • In Season 6 of LOST, Sayid "dies" by being drowned and his body is carried out of the water with his arms oustrecthed in the Jesus pose. He is later resurrected ala Jesus himself.
    • How about Jack Shepherd in the End. He gets mortally wounded by the Monster with a stab wound in his side.
  • In The Prisoner Number Six takes a pretty vicious beating near the end of the episode "Free For All;" the guys who beat him up then hold him up with his arms outstretched and present him, defeated, to Number Two.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon does this in paintball, invoking this trope as well as the iconic scene from Platoon (see above). "Geology is not a real science!"
  • In Sherlock, Sherlock holds his arms up in this position just before jumping.
  • In Vikings, Athelstan is actually crucified. And whipped, and crowned with thorns, and a soldier is interrupted seconds from stabbing him with a spear, in a full recreation of the Biblical account.

    Music 
  • The Soundgarden song quoted atop this page is Chris Cornell calling out the excessive exploitation of this pose.
  • Deliberately invoked in-universe by the vagrant from Toto's "Stranger In Town" video, when he's arrested after his encounter with some children who'd mistaken him for Jesus because of his long hair. Rather than disillusion them, he assumes this pose before being handcuffed.
  • Creed abused the hell out of this trope, the "Higher" video being the worst offender.
  • In the DVD performance of !HERO: The Rock Opera, the main character's body draped over a street sign.
  • Michael Jackson loved posing with Christ-style outstretched arms as far back as the Bad tour and his live performances of "Man in the Mirror", as seen in Moonwalker. Presumably this was for Faux Symbolism purposes, but then there's his performance of "Earth Song" at the 1996 BRIT Awards, which has a drawn-out ending in which he strips off his costume to reveal he's wearing all-white underneath and strikes this pose, while most of the once-suffering chorus of kids and adults around him lose their rags in favor of pretty duds, and embraces and kisses him in turn. He even kisses a rabbi's forehead. When Jarvis Cocker decided to crash the stage (albeit earlier in the number) during the live broadcast, he got arrested for it, but only Jackson and his fans were unwilling to concede that it was Actually Pretty Funny, given what Jackson was up to.

    Theatre 
  • Invoked quite often (and deliberately) with Liù in productions of Puccini's opera Turandot.
  • Billy Budd the opera likes this trope too.
  • Yuri Grigorovich's production of Khachaturian's ballet Spartacus has Spartacus crucified on the soldiers' spears in the end. Not a case of simply following history but invoked deliberately, as Spartacus is seen as a Messianic Archetype through the whole story.
  • The Les Misérables musical faithfully adhered this from the book. After the final battle the barricade turns around you see Enjolras with his arms outstretched in a cross.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • ECW wrestler The Sandman was crucified by Raven. Raven led an attack on Sandman, which ended with him being tied to an actual cross and given a crown of barbed wire. This all took place after Sandman reconciled with his brainwashed son minutes before. It also ended up being one of the most controversial moments in ECW's history.
    • Among those who were offended was a pre-WWE Kurt Angle, who was invited by ECW to work a program with Taz.
      • Which meant Angle went to work for WWF/WWE, which ... um, had the Undertaker treat a few of his opponents (and at least once being treated himself) to something very similar. Calling it a 'symbol' doesn't really remove the crucifixion imagery, guys.
      • As bad as that was, Angle came in after Taker left to recoup, and when he returned he played himself as a biker badass. Later, when trying to be as offensive as he could be, Angle said he would want to make Jesus tap out.
      • Most of Taker's crucified victims were conscious and it was more of an elaborate way of humiliating and scaring them. Raven and his gang beat the crap out of the Sandman and carried his unconscious body from the ring.
  • Shawn Michaels did this as part of his entrance.
  • Bray Wyatt often does this after beating an opponent.

    Video Games 
  • KOS-MOS inXenosaga, although physically fine, evidently has her soul bound to a slab by cables, as seen by the party when diving into her memories.
  • Used a few times in the Sakura Wars franchise. In the first game Maria is captured and crucified, in the second game every member of the team except the girl you're leading with (who at this point is almost assuredly the one you'll end up with), is captured and put into crystaline crucifixes. It shows up a few other times aside with the next game, with Reni and Orihime hanging from a double sided giant floating cross Erica the novitiate nun, and more. But then Christian symbolism is really embedded into the Sakura Wars franchise... And used in a way where it seems the creator knows what he's doing.
  • Crono in Chrono Trigger — although it was because the pose used was his magic-use pose, which already looked like the "Jesus pose". This was made more blatant in the remake's anime version of the cutscene.
    • The fact that his energy source in the original Japanese was "Holy" rather than lightning just adds to the Faux Symbolism value.
  • Right before the final boss in The World Ends with You , Joshua assumes a crucifixion pose after being struck by Kitaniji's attack and is absorbed into his Noise form. Not surprising since the rest of the game depicts him as a parallel to Jesus. He also uses a crucifixion pose when performing his Jesus Beam attack.
  • Devil May Cry. Dante seems to have a habit of dropping into a crucified pose when impaled by a sword.
  • In Xenogears, there is an infamous scene where the heroes' Humongous Mecha are crucified at the top of a mountain with the sun setting behind them - creating an unintentionally hilarious moment if your party contains the Team Pet, Chuchu. This led to the Memetic Mutation "Chu-chu died for your sins."
    • And that's without the Fridge Logic of the characters in the cockpits of their Humongous Mecha acting as if they are in physical pain, and the obvious question "Why not just get out?".
  • The intro of Persona 3 includes a brief shot of Shinjiro Aragaki in this pose. It's repeated when he's shot to death midway through the game.
    • Takaya also does this when he's finally defeated. Although he's a villain, it's still oddly appropriate, considering how Jesus-esque he looks. The fact that he's also the leader of an apocalyptic cult is just a coincidence.
    • Finally, the SEES members, barring Koromaru and Aigis are actually crucified at one point. They get better.
    • And once more, when the Main Character sacrifices himself to save the world, his soul becomes a statue and gets plastered onto an enormous seal, with his arms outstretched and with bindings of barbed wire. As if his ultimate persona being called Messiah wasn't a big enough hint.
    • In Persona2, after Jun's mother becomes a Masquerade executive and his father commits suicide starting the whole chain of events, they are seen crucified during the ending.
  • Played with in Final Fantasy X, where Seymour, resident Dark Messiah, ends up in one of these after his first death.
  • In Project Justice, either Hinata Wakaba (in the Taiyo students route with Kyosuke) or Kyoko Minazuki (in the Taiyou/Justice teachers route) end tied up like this right before Kurow, Yurika and Momo face the teams in the Hopeless Boss Fight. In the case of Hinata, she's rescued by Roy and Tiffany; in Kyoko's, Hayato fights "Vatsu" alone to give Hideo time to get her down from there.
  • The final boss of Skies of Arcadia has a special attack that makes a member of the party use their strongest special on their teammates. The crucified pose briefly shows up combined with People Puppet strings.
  • There's a crucified villain shot in Silent Hill 4.
  • Abe's Oddysee has the hero receive painful scars on the backs of his hands which convey mystical powers and allow him to become the saviour of his people. Everything is narrated in verse, and the line "With hand-scars complete" has Abe standing with his arms held out for no real reason other than Rule of Faux Symbolism. Oh yeah, and he already died and came back to life. In a cutscene, not all those other times.
  • Tassadar, in the final cutscene of StarCraft (not Brood War), adopts a modified Crucified Hero Pose as he unleashes his last blast of psionic energy against the Overmind and channels it through the Gantrithor. He would have gone all the way, one imagines, but he had to keep his footing stable, and Protoss legs really aren't designed for it.
  • Solid Snake throwing himself off the George Washington Bridge, outlined in rain, invisible, long-haired, nude-looking and backed by an ecstatic chorale, at the start of Metal Gear Solid 2. He wasn't dying, but considering he'd abandoned his dream of having a normal life and family in the name of his 'duty to the world', it's a sacrifice.
  • One of Yoriko's super moves in Arcana Heart has her evil staff, Mike, strapping her into this position while he force-feeds her the life force of her opponent whom he had so generously placed in the center of a ceremonial pentacle he had prepared.
  • In Baten Kaitos, during the arc where you play as Xelha, you are separated from the rest of your party and must go off to save them. Each individual character you rescue is found hanging not on a cross, per se, but a giant "Y". One may wonder if the creators were attempting to subvert this trope.
    • And in the Japanese version of Origins, after turning into an afterling and being captured by the Machina Vanguard Sagi is attached to a cross. In the American version it was changed to a rectangle, but he's still hanging in a crucified position.
  • In one of the later levels of Second Sight, Pieter, one of the Zener Children, takes this pose when fighting off the Russian mercenaries with his telekinetic powers. He's also levitating.
  • Wild ARMs 2: Ashley's friends are bound to crosses and would have been executed as terrorists had Deus ex Machina not happened and Ashley's Superpowered Evil Side decided to come out to play.
  • In .hack//Infection, Skeith pins his victims up to his staff before Data Draining them. This is better seen when Skeith Data Drains Orca in the very beginning of the game. Played straight in the Japanese version, and some of the anime where Skeith's staff is in the shape of a Celtic cross instead of the "Q" shape.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, Squall gets chained to a wall in this pose and subjected to Electric Torture during the disc 2 prison sequence.
  • Subverted in Dragon Age: Origins. King Cailan deluded himself into thinking he was the Messianic Archetype who'd end the Blight once and for all... he was wrong. When the Warden returns to Ostagar, you come across his body, stripped of all his armour and mockingly posed in a crucified shot. The Archdemon seems to have purposely directed the horde to do this for nothing more than its own amusement at the sheer irony.
  • The Overlord DLC in Mass Effect 2 has an enormous (extremely spoiler-ridden example. When Shepard finally discovers David Archer, he is hung up in some kind of diagnostic equipment in a distinctly crucifix-like pose; arms out to either side, feet together, and head lifted toward heaven. But the analogy goes even further than the pose itself. He also has some sort of metal ring bolted into his head which strongly resembles a crown of thorns, and he has a number of probes that pierce his wrist and arms, much like the nails in Christ's hands and feet. He is also either naked or nearly naked, as Jesus is said to have been when he was crucified.
    • This happens to Legion in the third game; when you find him/it, the Reapers tied him up in the crucifix position and have been using him as a source of energy/communications array. He cries out for you to help him, implying if not outright stating that this was done against his will, despite the Geth allying with the Reapers.
  • One cutscene in Valis IV shows Valna tied to a cross.
  • The not-yet Arbiter in Halo 2 is held in this position when he is branded with the Mark of Shame.
  • This is how Chihiro Fujisaki's lifeless body is found in Danganronpa. In a cruel subversion, the kid's corpse was NOT arranged like that by the killer, but by someone else.
  • In Sonic 2006, when Shadow comes to the future and sees his future counterpart having been captured and held in stasis, the counterpart is being held in this position. It only adds to the general 'First Coming of Christ' vibe Shadow gives off (while Silver gives off the vibe of 'Second Coming of Christ').

    Web Comics 
  • In M9 Girls!, Any is restrained in a medical table that pretty much resembles a cross, when she receives the radiation treatment that will save her life and give her Cosmic Powers.

    Web Original 

     Western Animation  

    Other 
  • This happens to Keanu Reeves's characters so often one suspects it's somehow written into his contract.

    Real Life 
  • Benjamin West's 18th century portrait of the death of General Wolfe (who was killed at the moment of his triumph in the capture of Quebec) makes use of strong "Christ taken down from the cross" imagery, with the Union Flag as the cross. The Union Flag had two different crosses on it, so...
  • According to Christian tradition, St. Peter and several other Roman martyrs condemned to crucifixion defied this; they didn't consider themselves worthy to be compared to Jesus and thus requested crucifixion in unusual poses (St. Peter upside-down for example).
  • During the US occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934 there was a rebel leader named Charlemagne Péralte who was eventually killed by the US marines. They then took this picture of him to spread the word that he was dead.
  • A photograph taken by a war correspondent in Central America during The Eighties of a wounded man carried by his compatriots had this look, especially as the wounded man had a beard like those used in pictures of Jesus Christ.
  • During the Cristero War in Mexico, Bl. Fr. Miguel Pro was sentenced to execution by firing squad by the anti-religious regime in place at the time. They had brought in a photographer to depict what they believed would be a priest dying like any condemned criminal for propaganda purposes. However, just as the order to fire was given, Pro thrust out his arms to deliberately mirror Christ on the cross and shouted out "Viva Cristo Rey!" ("Long live Christ the King!") It is that moment that the photographer committed to film.
  • Boris Yaro's photograph of Robert Kennedy, after the latter was shot


    Art SubjectsThe Hecate Sisters
Curse of BabelBiblical MotifsDavid Versus Goliath
Cradling Your KillStock PosesCry into Chest
Away In A MangerJesusGo and Sin No More
Color MotifSymbolismDying for Symbolism
PlatoonImageSource/Live-Action FilmsSociopathic Soldier

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
132314
0