"Never get involved... except when children are crying."
When a town/city faces disaster, there'll be a small child, usually but not always under 10 years of age, that for whatever reason will have become separated from his/her parents. Luckily, someone steps in the way and saves the child before he/she gets hit/shot/whatever.
Not to be confused with the Littlest Cancer Patient
, who is often the focus for (often) an entire episode. A Crying Little Kid is only on screen for a few seconds. Although they both try to make the audience go "Aww, that's sad"
See also: Empathy Doll Shot
Anime / Manga
- This happens twice in Digimon Tamers. In one episode, a toddler has to be rescued from a train that's being attacked by the snake Deva. In another, Musyamon attacks a little girl who pursues her wayward balloon. Don't ever chase your toys into the street, kids.
- Yoshino and Lilamon have to rescue a girl who's fallen on the floor from a Boarmon who's about to stamp on her in episode 21 of Digimon Savers.
- Massively subverted in Eureka Seven, where when the Coral Monsters are attacking a town. Little boy starts to cry, and his mother suffocates him to get him to be quiet. They all die anyways.
- Alice Academy - the penultimate episode has a little boy being threatened by a lion. Sumire scares it out of the way.
- This occurs in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds during Yusei's battle with Aporia - the Duel Lane had been destroyed and their duel had moved onto the city streets. When Aporia launched a direct attack, Yusei noticed a child in the road ahead of them. Fortunately he was able to stop his D-Wheel in time and block the attack, giving them a chance to escape.
- In Rurouni Kenshin, when Yahiko has to fight a crazed Kujiranami to protect Tokyo while Kenshin is having his Heroic BSOD after Kaoru's "death", one of his objectives is to save a crying kid who got separated from his dad during the chaos.
- Kokinchan from Anpanman can be often count as this, but then her crying is just the case being manipulative.
- Namida-chan also does this whenever she feels sad, though it's more justified than Kokinchan's case.
- In Superman: Birthright, during an assault on Metropolis, Superman saves the kid - with a GIANT SUPERMAN SHIELD.
- Batman: No Man's Land: When much of Gotham is destroyed by an earthquake, Poison Ivy actually collects more than a dozen orphaned children and cares for them in the city park, which she has taken over as her private domain. At the end of the arc one of the children is dying, and Poison Ivy gives herself over to the police so that the girl can get medical attention.
- In one of the movie adaptations of The Odyssey, during the fighting in Troy scene, Odysseus spots a little boy crying (or just standing there looking petrified) with blood on his face. Odysseus makes his way to the boy, picks him up and either carries him out of the battle or puts him in the arms of another adult.
- In the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, when Captain Barbosa opens fire on the port, a little boy can be seen crying. A woman pulls him out of the way before he is blown up by the cannon fire.
- Spider-Man Trilogy:
- The first Spider-Man film: at the parade, a gigantic balloon is about to fall on a child. Spider-Man whisks him out of the way just in time. Although said child isn't so much "crying" as he is "standing in place like an idiot." Even Spidey gets a little exasperated at the kid's inability to simply run in any given direction.
Uh, Kid's Mom? Are both your legs broken or something?!
- The second film also does this with Spider-Man rescuing a pair of kids about to be hit by a bus.
- In the original King Kong (1933), while Kong is attacking the native village on Skull Island and the inhabitants are fleeing, there's a brief scene with a small native child who's been left behind. IIRC a woman (probably the mother) rescues the child.
- Star Trek: Generations: During the evacuation to the saucer section, several small children are left behind. Geordi La Forge and a female engineer rescue them.
- A major plot point of the second half of the John Woo movie Hard Boiled involves evacuating the babies of a hospital's maternity ward and getting them to safety once the patients that didn't get killed by the bad guys are evacuated. Tequila's love interest, Teresa Chang, who played a major role in the evacuation of the patients, is placed in charge of getting the kids out of there with the help of the SWAT team, with the bad guys trying to stop them every step of the way. Eventually, every one of the babies are evacuated, but there's just one more baby that she missed, which she charges Tequila himself with the task of saving. And man, does he ever.
- Averted in Titanic. Jack and Rose are trying to find a way out and find a small child. Another man finds them, shouts at them in a language they can't understand, and likewise he doesn't understand their warnings not to go that way because the hall behind that door is flooded...
- Played straight, kind of, with Cal. After his attempt to buy a seat on a lifeboat fails, he finds a crying, abandoned child and gets past the "women and children first" officer by saying "I'm all she has in the world." Done for selfish reasons, of course.
- Played straight in the 1943 Nazi version of Titanic, in which Petersen saves a child that was abandoned in a First Class cabin.
- Willow invoked this, but for Willow's own child, who stood crying in the middle of the village until Willow grabbed her and they made a run for it, getting to safety before the monster dogs could kill them. Strangely enough, this is one of the few versions where the toddler was not carried to safety - both Willow and daughter ran. This, because they're both
midgets little people, and it wasn't possible for him to lift her and run to safety at higher speed than they would both run together.
- A deleted scene from the theatrical release of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace has Nuclear Man create a tornado, only for a girl to get caught up in it, leaving Superman to rescue her. It's much, much, much more Narmy than it sounds.
- The protagonists of The Andromeda Strain discover one of the two alien disease survivors, a small baby, by hearing his crying, and it (the crying, not the baby) turns out to be a plot point.
- The beach shootout from The Killer. Here, the kid does get shot, forcing the title character to grab her and take her to the hospital in an effort to save her. This is the first clue to the Cowboy Cop tracking him that this guy is not like other assassins.
- There is one of these in the 1945 Nazi propaganda film Kolberg: the heroine rescues an adorable child who was separated from his family when their village is shelled by the vicious French.
- In the film Agora, there is a Tear Jerker scene that is also the Moral Event Horizon for the Christians of the story where the Jews of Alexandria are being attacked, and inserted in among scenes of death, destruction, mass murder and rape is a shot mere seconds long of a girl sobbing.
- The scene in Matthew where King Herod orders all the baby boys to be killed. Done heart-wrenchingly with a little boy stumbling around in the streets wailing among all the chaos. But in this case, he doesn't get rescued.
- He isn't crying, but in Iron Man 2 a lone child finds himself in the path of a Hammer Drone and needs to be saved by Tony.
- Played with in War of the Worlds. Tom Cruise's character is distracted by an argument with his son in the middle of a battle, and misses the fact that his daughter has wandered off. An elderly couple (played by the actors who starred in the 1953 The War of the Worlds) try to take her with them, assuming her parents are dead, but fortunately Cruise realises what's happening.
- In Goldfinger, the book, not the movie, the plot is to poison the water supply (rather than spray gas from the air, as in the movie), Bond reaches the city Fort Knox and hears total silence except for babies crying, because they were given milk, not water, to drink.
- In Chris Roberson's Warhammer 40,000 Blood Ravens novel Dawn of War II, one squad happens on two boys searching for their mother. They bring them back all the way. Part way through, one Marine pragmatically suggests leaving them, to have Thaddeus declare that any Marine who says that will be left himself; Thaddeus looks at the boys who are not crying, though they have tear tracks. They realize their mother is almost certainly dead, and want Revenge; when Thaddeus suggests they could be Blood Ravens, they are eager for it.
- It happens in the backstory, but Iron Fist mentions a riot which was "controlled" by means of stormtroopers arriving and opening fire on the crowd. Castin Donn saw a young mother get shot right in front of him and saved her baby before he could get shot or trampled.
- During Galaxy of Fear Tash and Zak give up their seats on an Escape Pod to reunite a mother separated from her two-year-old by a panicking mob.
- In a later book, Tash manages to use The Force to keep a falling rock from hitting another little girl.
- In episode 2 of Kamen Rider Den-O, Ryotaro is forced to eject from the cockpit of Den Liner to pull a little girl out of the way before she gets hit by it. Then in episode 4, a contract holder doesn't make it to a music audition because he sees a little girl crying on the floor having lost her parent(s) and has to take her to the police station. Later when they go back in time, Ryotaro makes Hana take the girl to the police so that the contract holder can get to his audition on time. Then in the third movie a girl ends up kneeling on the ground crying during the fight between the Taros Imagin and Shiro's cronies and is nearly hit by a cart until Ryuutaros yanks her out of the way.
- In episode one of Kamen Rider Decade, Natsumi nearly does this to a boy (and his mother) running away from a fireball...until Wataru stops time.
- Doctor Who:
- The most obvious example is probably the screaming girl in "The Runaway Bride". Stands in front of an incredibly slow-moving electricity weapon and is pushed out of the way just in the nick of time.
- In the serial "Dragonfire", as the villain's forces overrun the planet, there's a shot of a little girl who has lost her mum.
- Subverted in "The Fires of Pompeii", when Donna is trying to warn the Citizens of Pompeii not to go to the beach because they'll die. She grabs a little kid who has been separated from his parents; she tries to tell him how to survive, only for his mother to show up and grab him off Donna before she can impart her life-saving knowledge.
- Also, providing the page quote, in "The Beast Below", the Doctor only starts investigating because he notices a crying girl.
- Not shown on screen, but forms the backstory of Lorna in A Good Man Goes to War. There was a disaster in her home of the Gamma Forest when she was a little girl, and the Doctor found her and helped her escape. Years later she repays the favor, dying to protect his friends from the Headless Monks. The Doctor comforts her as she passes by reminiscing about their first meeting, but it's clear he either doesn't remember her or it hasn't happened for him yet.
- Sort of spoofed in the reality show Who Wants to Be a Superhero?, where one of the very first challenges of the first season is race where the true goal is to help the lost crying child. Those who raced past the little kid to the finish line lost.
- A trailer for Korean tokusatsu Rayforce features one of these.
- One public information film (sort of the British version of Public Service Announcements) about the dangers of drunk driving featured just one close-up shot of a little girl crying while, off-screen, her mother screamed and shouted at her father, who apparently killed a small boy while driving under the influence.
- On Lou Reed's LP Berlin, you can hear a child crying (way up in the mix) throughout the track "The Kids". Could be an effective method of contraception, particularly on "repeat".
- Kyrie and Nero save a crying little kid from an invading demon army at the beginning of Devil May Cry 4.
- Happens after an attack on a Tribal village in Jet Force Gemini, with one of the Tribal kids.
- In the opening scene of Blaze Union, corrupt merchant Norn introduces himself by attempting to kidnap a panicky little girl so as to sell her. Unusually for this trope, the girl in question continues to make appearances in the story, and eventually becomes an important character.
- In the The Prince of Egypt, children are everywhere, crying, ducking and generally miserable, when God sends his wrath against the Egpytians. This is supposed to make us dislike the Pharaoh instead of God, however. After all, it's the Pharaoh's fault (kinda) for not agreeing to release the Hebrews. Inverted in the song "When You Believe" are the reverse scenes which produce even more Tear Jerkering. Count 'em, people: A little girl guiding her Grandmother out from slavery's shadow, children racing around Ethiopian followers, a tiny girl leading giant oxen, a baby girl and her doll on Daddy's head, Moses carrying children on his back, a man lifting his infant into the air and teenage girls dancing together.
- Don't forget that this is the story of a rose-cheeked Hebrew baby and both God and Pharaoh kill first-borns just to prove points.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man Animated Series had a crying little girl whose mother pushed her out of the way, but was still in danger herself. Spidey swung in and saved the mom, then dropped her back in front of her child, sort of inverting the trope.
- Teen Titans - one episode has a villain threatening a child and her mother with his robotic dog until Starfire shoots it out of the way.
- In the mythology-themed "Beethoven's Pastoral" segment of Disney's original Fantasia, as the characters flee a violent thunderstorm a frightened baby unicorn is scooped to safety by one of the female centaurs.
- The opening credits of Wolverine and the X-Men featured a brother and sister getting this whilst being chased by Sentinel Robots. Wolverine rescues them (well he is the titular character).
- An episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold has a pair of kids and their dad nearly get crushed by a falling statue. Luckily Blue Beetle steps in and uses his shield to protect them.
- Another episode has a robot about to stamp on a little girl who was dropped her stuffed bear. Her mother pulls her out of the way just before she's stomped upon.
- X-Men had a entirely straight example with a girl needing to be saved from a falling building, but followed it up with Wolverine exasperatedly saying "this kid's crying...do something" before handing her to Jubilee.
- This is how Simon Petrikov and Marceline met in Adventure Time - he found her crying in the ruins of a city during World War 3.
- One well-known picture of the aftermath of the Rape of Nanking during the Sino-Japanese War showed a crying baby, all alone amid the devastated cityscape.