'Flipping the Bird', or 'the Finger' as it is also known (among other names), is the act of raising one's middle finger upwards while keeping the rest of the fingers bent at the first joint or curled tight into the palm of the hand. For added expression, the participant should extend the arm to its full length and raise slightly above the shoulder line, perform this movement in a one sharp movement to add complete indignation to the gesture. Its name comes from the way the hand forms the shape of an upward-turned bird, but its obscenity comes from the way it resembles a phallus. For added effect, one can Dual Wield the gesture in what is sometimes called the "Double Deuce."
To flip someone off is an insult in most of the Western World, and earliest references of it go all the way to Ancient Greek and Roman writings, where it is referred to as digitus impudicus (the "impudent digit"). Often directed to those in authority in an act of defiance, Flipping The Bird is an easy way to get across complicated emotions in one motion. Also used occasionally by people who are being photographed against their will, and want to ensure the resulting image won't be publishable. Frequently used toward another driver while at the wheel.
A known British variation of the gesture is the "two fingers," where the index finger is also raised, otherwise known as "making a V-sign." Distinguished from the (inoffensive) 'victory'/'peace' V Sign by the palm facing inward, away from the target, much as it does for the single-finger equivalent. A popular but apocryphal story about the origin of this version of the gesture involves the 1415 Battle of Agincourt, where the French allegedly boasted they would cut off the bow-fingers of every English longbowman they captured. When the English soundly beat them, they supposedly held up their still-intact fingers at the French in defiance.
A variety of other gestures are considered obscene in various cultures around the world. Notable gestures include "the fig,"* A clenched fist, but with the thumb sticking out between the index and middle fingers, signifying a clitoris, and meaning, well...you know... which is vulgar in France, Greece, and some Near East countries, the bras d'honneur or "arm of honor", * Bending and raising a forearm while resting the other hand in the crook of the bent elbow. which is generally obscene where flipping the bird would be, and the "okay" gesture,note Or rather an identical gesture that actually means "asshole" which is obscene in Turkey and some South American countries.
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In an ad for Wild Turkey Kentucky Bourbon, a group of guys are contemplating whether the woman at the end of the bar likes one of them, when suddenly she flips them off. Apparently not, right? Turns out, in this bar, the finger means "order that person a Wild Turkey on the rocks." As reflected in the tagline, "Give 'em the bird."
Rock does this quite memorably in the second episode of Black Lagoon, flipping off the Extra Order mercs as he pulls his first Crowning Moment of Awesome by having the title ship launched off a ramp and the torpedoes launched to wipe out an attack chopper that was after them.
In an episode of Ranma One Half, when they fight the Gambling King, the King uses it to punctuate his rant/challenge. Then it gets returned to him... by Akane, of all people. It's apparently considered a somewhat milder insult in Japan than in the West; it shows up in anime and manga quite a lot.
Akane did it also in another episode, to Ranma; while hitting himher on the head with her Hyperspace Mallet at the same time.
Ryoga also did it once when talking smack to Ranma.
Then there was the time that Nabiki flipped off Soun. Given that she usually does it with her index finger, this is a non-verbal Precision F-Strike on her part.
And man, Ranma flips off people a lot in the manga.
Ranma: *while flipping Soun off* So yells my "dad," the little French maid!
In One Piece, when Eustass Kid and Trafalgar Law (two of the "11 Supernovas", rookies with huge bounties, including Luffy and Zoro) meet, Kid insults Law, who casually flips him the bird in response. This gesture was omitted in the anime version, but Kid's reaction to it is retained.
After the timeskip, Sanji does this to the crossdressers of Kamabakka Kingdom as a farewell.
In the first chapter of Naruto, we're treated to a flashback panel where Naruto is giving The Double Deuce to Iruka.
The manga features Grimmjow grinning madly while flipping off the reader.
In an episode of the Slam Dunk anime (the scene exists in the manga, but the bird-flipping doesn't), after scoring a bucket through his own individualistic work, Rukawa tells the rest of the team (Akagi included) that he couldn't pass to anyone because they were shaking in their sneakers. Invariably, they all get pissed, and Mitsui flashes the middle finger at the "bastard freshman, trying to give me a lesson".
In chapter 7 of Sensual Phrase Sakuya does this to spite his half brother Ralph, even saying "FUCK YOU!"
Becky from Pani Poni Dash! does this in the first episode. It wouldn't be as jarring if it weren't for the fact that she's an eleven-year-old teacher who did that to her students. She demanded respect as a teacher, and one of the students immediately smacks her on the head for being so disrespectful.
"Look, I don't care if you ask me questions, but please use your brain before you open your mouth. For the love of God, try to think of less boring things to ask. Understand, YOU *flips middle finger* LOW LIFEFORMS?!
Early in Excel♥Saga, when Excel is in prison, another prisoner asks if there's anyone she likes. She attempts to give a shy thumbs-up of "yeah", but accidentally flips her new friend off on the first attempt.
In YuYu Hakusho, Kuwabara begins bashing Yusuke in comparison to his spirit sword vs Yusuke's spirit gun saying the gun is weaker. Yusuke responds with "That depends on which finger I'm using" while flipping Kuwabara off clearly. This was edited out of the Toonami block version.
In an episode of Samurai Champloo called "Baseball Blues", a baseball team from America challenges Mugen and his friends to a baseball game, and a nasty fat player flips them off.
At the start of the episode, when told his ship can't dock in Japan, the admiral of the American fleet announces "FUCK THEM!" (in English) while flipping the bird. It's pixellated.
In the Lucky Channel portion of Lucky Star, Akira does this (though it's sort of hidden) when saying "It's irritating!" in a cheery voice about something Minoru had said.
In episode 3 of Kore wa Zombie desu ka?, Orito flips off Ayumu while challenging him to a round of bowling to see if he can start living in his house along with Yuu, Seraphim, and Haruna.
Orito: If I win, I'll start living in your house today!
Guy Gardner flips off Mr. Terrific and Martian Manhunter as his Power Ring flies to him and lands on his middle finger in Green Lantern: Rebirth. Word Of God confirms it was intentional, as they were surprised that panel got approved.
In Gold Digger, the universe's equivalent of Lara Croft accidentally unleashes a Sealed Evil in a Can, also getting the creature's mind in her head. To take it out, she gets down to its body, then gets it to look at her, thus forcing it to see itself through her eyes, and turning them both to stone. So she decides the last thing either of them will see is her flipping it off.
With Strings Attached: Ringo does this after he puts Sarekyl in a tree, among other instances (both American and UK versions).
Ebony from My Immortal does this in the first chapter when the "preps" stare at her, and several other times throughout the fic, including to Snape and Lupin after they are sent to "St. Mangos" for watching her in the bath.
One of the earliest examples of this in a mainstream film would be The Miracle Woman, a Frank Capra drama made in 1931 (in other words, prior to the implementation of The Hays Code), which has a scene where the chauffeur of Barbara Stanwyck's title character does this to their boss.
The page image comes from the final shot of Crank: High Voltage. As the caption says, main character Chev Chelios finally gets to return the favor after repeated occurrences of, "Fuck you, Chelios!"
In a deleted scene in Avatar, Max Patel cheerfully flips the bird at Parker Selfridge, just before ripping through the command center's windows with a titanic slash cutter, letting in the rogue avatar team.
The first Bring It On film had two examples of this. The first one was when a Toros cheerleader flipped off her ex-boyfriend after they lost a game. The second had the main character's little brother doing it after being taunted for sneaking into the girl's locker room.
Missy does one after a Toros cheerleader mockingly points out that tattoos aren't allowed. She rubs off the "tattoo" with her middle finger.
Bruce Almighty: "Do you like jazz? I like jazz. I especially like the trumpet."
In 8 Mile, Alex and B-Rabbit give each other the Finger cordially.
Ash in Evil Dead 2 gets this from his own demon-possessed severed hand. This was parodied in Return of the Living Dead Part II at the end of the "zombie hand in the car" scene.
Fletcher: (desperate to keep his secretary around) I'll give you the raise!
Gretta: Here's your raise! (flips it to him)
Men in Black features Agent J (Will Smith) doing a similar obfuscated-flip, as Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) responds to the younger agent's questions about advanced Men in Black privileges with "When you grow up." J replies with "Oh...okay", while scratching his head with his middle finger.
In Bean, the biker gave the bird to Mr. Bean while taking a picture of him and giving him a thumbs up from the car. Unaware of the gesture, Mr. Bean gives everyone the bird he passes by.
The first movie of The Naked Gun series has a memorable scene where a driver instructor (played by John Houseman deadpanly instructs his meek girl student, "All right, Stephanie, gently extend your arm. Extend your middle finger. Very good. Well done" in response to a fellow driver angry at her for driving the wrong way on a one-way street. The girl feels truly empowered after this.
In one of the Police Academy movies, a snarky guy flips off a mounted police officer twice, once vertically and again horizontally (i.e. for the officer and the horse he rode in on).
Road Trip had a blind girl giving Seann William Scott's character the bird after he feeds her seeing-eye dog a Slim Jim.
In School of Rock, after finding out that he's being booted from his own band, Jack Black holds up three fingers. "Read between the lines, my friend."
Spaceballs: Barf does this at two guards when he and Lone Starr park at the Spaceball Prison Complex.
Guard: All right, hands up. You're under arrest for illegal parking!
Top Gun had Maverick and Goose tell the story of when they "flipped the bird" at a Soviet pilot (at the beginning of the film). Maverick originally decides to refer to it euphemistically- "improving international relations," until Goose both explains and demonstrates the gesture by flipping off the officers holding the briefing.
Tremors. The protagonists have decided to make a run for the bulldozer so they can make their escape, but they need something to distract the man-eating Graboids away from them. Melvin (an annoying minor character) is nearby.
Earl: Hey, Melvin, you wanna make a buck? Melvin: Aww, eat it! [gives him The Finger]
Undercover Brother. The title character and Sistah Girl are being chased by two security guards in golf carts. The guards try to warn some senior citizens (also in golf carts) to clear out of the way, and one elderly woman gives them The Finger.
Zartan (as the President of the United States): Ah, good to see we have the required crazy in this plan! So, you still have all 10 fingers?
Firefly: Sure do. *waves his fingers toward Zartan's face, then flips him off*
In The Hangover, a little girl flips off Alan on the highway while the gang is on their way to Las Vegas.
In RoboCop (1987), Robo himself offers a version of The Finger when a technician insists that Robocop is not allowed in the computer records room. Granted, it was only a data probe, but its position on Robocop's hand gives it a dual-purpose role.
The Matrix: Agent Smith offers Neo a deal in the interrogation room scene:
Neo: Yeah. That sounds like a really good deal. But I got a better one. How about... I give you the finger... and you give me my phone call?
Agent Smith: Mr. Anderson... you disappoint me.
Neo: You can't scare me with this Gestapo crap. I know my rights. I want my phone call.
Jonathan:(extends middle finger to DDR guard tower) FUCK YOU! (to American guard) Good night. (walks off)
Rush is bookended by Niki Lauda flipping the bird to James Hunt. In the first case it's in anger over being called a chicken, in the second it could almost be considered affectionate, as James had just joked that Niki's burn scars made him look better and Niki's grinning as he does it.
In the film version of Misery, after assorted traumas, Paul does this to Annie through a window. She laughs about him kidding around with her.
The original novella for The Running Man by Richard Bachman ends with the hero presenting the double-deuce to his enemy while performing a suicide attack via jumbo jet, aimed at his enemy's skyscraper headquarters. He had earlier flipped off the camera in an image used to present him to the viewing audience.
Performed by a cleaning robot in The California Voodoo Game, in which the machine has been disguised as a cyborg octopus (long story) and sent to hinder S.J. Waters' crawl through a ventilation duct. The machine has no voice synthesizer, so the Game Master uses this robot's hologram-illusion tentacles to express its defiance after S.J. cripples it in hand-to-pincer combat.
"I can read your mind," he said darkly. "You only have three ideas, and all of them are wrong." "Huh?" Mace nipped up a thumb. "You think being armed and ruthless means you can do whatever you want." He folded his thumb and flipped up his forefinger. "You think nobody will stand up to you when they're naked." He folded that one again and flipped up the next. "And you think you're going to look inside my bag."
And if one needs reminding, the character saying/doing this is played by Samuel L. Jackson.
In Halo: Ghosts of Onyx Kelly flips off a Sentinel drone to distract it while her team sets up an attack.
The most direct reference to it being the V-sign is in Half-Blood Prince, in which Mrs Weasley threatens to jinx Ron's fingers together if she sees him doing it again.
This is almost certainly true in Britain; Of course, given the worldwide release nature of the book and the Darker and Edgier tone of the later books, it's possible that Rowling (or at least the translators) purposely left the gesture up to interpretation so each country's readers could insert their own analogous gesture.
In A Song of Ice and Fire, Arya lists a number of things she's learned in Braavos, including obscene gestures such as "the fig."
In Plum Spooky, Stephanie comments "getting and giving the finger is a way of life in Jersey". She does, however, find it a bit odd to be getting this gesture from a pet monkey she's babysitting.
Several times in the Maximum Ride books, including once when it's used as an Incredibly Lame Pun (and lampshaded as such by Max herself).
In The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar, David, in the middle of helping a group of friends pull a prank on an elderly woman reputed to be a witch, flips her the bird. This results in the woman pronouncing a "curse" on David.
In Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion, the protagonist displays his late father's amputated arm from a pole atop his house, with all the fingers save the middle one tied down, as a gesture of defiance against the union loggers with whom he's feuding.
In Interesting Times, it is mentioned obliquely that the upturned middle finger is the gesture used in demon banishing spells, which Rincewind uses to test his control of an army of clay soldiers: "Seven thousand terracotta middle fingers stabbed toward the ceiling."
In Dogbert's Clues for the Clueless, in which Dogbert offers his own unique take on manners in modern society, he claims that if someone cuts you off in traffic you have the right to run them off the road to their deaths. Illustrated by a little old lady slamming a guy off the road as he tries to cut her off. The little old lady then flips the bird, which is censored by Dogbert who says that it's still considered rude to make the "I'm Number One" gesture afterwards.
In A Yellow Raft In Blue Water, it's Ellen DeMarco's response to one of the Bearpaw Lake workers faking a drowning so he could get her to do mouth-to-mouth on him.
In Myth-inc Link, Skeeve and his friends receive a Finger in the Mail from the Queen of Possiltum. Tananda deduces that it was sent as a message, along the lines of this trope.
Live Action TV
Referenced in MythBusters. While testing the bouncing bullet myth (about a bullet that ricocheted in such a way that it killed the shooter), Adam and Jamie used a cardboard cutout of Jamie to represent the gunman/victim. One of the bullets they fired struck cutout!Jamie, in the words of the narrator, on the finger he "occasionally uses to advise fellow motorists".
There were several occasions on Dead Like Me where characters clearly gave someone else the finger, thanks to the fact that the show was aired on Showtime.
One episode of Flight of the Conchords (possibly called "Racist", since it was the one about the racist shopkeeper) featured the band's American friend teaching them how to "flip the bird".
Brad Sherwood asks something like, "You wanna see me turn my hand all blurry?" He then makes The Finger, which, yes, gets censored by being blurred. Unusual for this show; usually they use a Censor Box.
Another episode had Ryan accidentally banging his head, with Drew joking "How many fingers am I holding up?" Ryan replies with "How about me?", holding up just the one (censor box'd)
There is also a running gag in which all the cast members give the director the finger. (Starts about 0:33 in, NSFW)
A promotional (we think) image for Babylon 5 has the cast flipping off the camera in costume, with Peter Jurasik (Londo) giving both barrels. It can usually be found as an Image Macro with a caption like "Babylon 5 agrees that you're a fucking idiot".
The Snick show Roundhouse pulled one off in its episode about discrimination with the "Race Krispies" sketch. Self-censored (with a cardboard sign): "Hey four-eyes, how many fingers am I holding up?"
There's an episode of Roseanne in which Leon starts making changes to the restaurant when Roseanne isn't there by persuading Nancy and Jackie agree on said changes. Nancy and Jackie inform Roseanne that they all voted in favor of uniforms and breakfast in her absence. Then...
Nancy: We also voted that the restaurant's official bird should be the toucan.
Roseanne: Would you like to see the bird I voted for? (she makes a gesture behind her hand that implies flipping the middle finger)
In Porridge Fletcher is reading off a list of the things he's learned from his time inside, counting them on fingers as he goes. He forgets to add the third finger until Mackay notices it.
Fletch: All right. I'll just tell him three things. One - bide your time. Two - keep your nose clean. And three - don't let the bastards grind you down.
One imprisoned criminal on the short-lived series Hooperman goes the extra mile with this. He not only gives the title police detective the finger, he cuts it off and mails it to him.
Lister and Rimmer give the V-sign a few times on Red Dwarf, and at one point a Skutter (cleaning robot) gives it to Rimmer, which is quite an accomplishment considering their claw only has three digits.
Lister and the Cat treat Arnold to one in 'Better than Life', and Kryten (trying to figure out what he is after thinking he was in a Lotus-Eater Machine while actually being in one) speculates that he'd be the Badass Cop who'd give one to Da Chief.
In Friends, Ross made an alternative gesture for the finger (banging his fists together) as a child so he could do it in front of his parents. Other members of the gang also started using it.
Ben Stein would get away with this on his game show Win Ben Steins Money, scratching his face with his middle finger in the direction of Jimmy Kimmel, whenever he said something humorously insulting to Stein.
As mentioned above, Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer used the two-finger variant as an eloquent response to Xander's accusatory gesturing when they were struck speechless.
Spike pulled off the same gesture to Angel during a flashback to WWII in Season five of Angel, quipping "Heil Hitler".
R. Lee Ermey on Mail Call said that the Marine salute done properly has the index finger and 'social finger' touching the brim of the cap.
An episode of Are You Being Served? involved a few of the British reverse-V variant; it was described to prospective Japanese buyers of the store as the British Workers' Salute. They return the favour after Status Quo Is God is maintained from hijinks, apparently intentional.
In the Criminal Minds episode "Cold Comfort", Garcia is reading horoscopes and Prentiss declares that they are bullshit. Garcia mentions in the horoscope about bout "eliminating this cold front with a simple but affectionate gesture" and Prentiss replies with "I have a simple gesture" and flips them off (the camera angle changes for censorship purposes). The whole video can be seen here.
In one episode of Red Dwarf, a utility robot gives Rimmer the V-sign when Rimmer, playing chess with same, reveals that he stalling until the utility robot has to go back on duty, meaning Rimmer wins by default.
Saturday Night Live had a "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood" sketch where Mr. Robinson put on a puppet show, with finger puppets of poor black people imploring President Reagan to improve the economy. In one of the last scenes of this show, the puppet on Mr. Robinson's middle finger stood alone, and exclaimed, "Mr. President, I think I speak for all black people!"
Also, during the "Celebrity Jeopardy" skits, Connery drew a picture of an extended middle finger for his Final Jeopardy answer.
In Two and a Half Men, after coming home from the hospital, Alan tries to flip off Charlie after he makes a "I Told You So" comment, but can't since his hand in a cast.
Charlie: Aww... you wanna flip me the bird, but the the poor little fellow can't fly.
In Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill told someone that his name was "spelled with two Ls!" while holding up three fingers.
In the Farscape episode "Kansas," Chiana gets the idea that this gesture is a friendly greeting and shows it off to a few people.
In an episode of ER, Doug Ross was treating a young man dying of cystic fibrosis who wanted to enact a DNR. Unfortunately, as he was not yet 18, Doug could not do this, and so, at his mother's bidding, intubated him against his will. As the kid is wheeled off to be admitted to the hospital, he gives Doug the finger in response to the latter's apologies. This was the first time this happened in the show's run, but it made sporadic appearances throughout—Romano flipped off his physical therapist in response to her questions about his motility, and a wrongly arrested, deaf patient flipped off the cops even as they apologized to him (aside from the fact that he was friends with the woman he was wrongly accused of attacking, it's implied the cops leaped to conclusions because she was white and he was black). The amused interpreter declared, "I don't think you need me to translate that one"
Monday Mornings: One patient who was unresponsive and appeared dead reacted when Dr. Robidaux asked him to grab her hand. Dr. Tierney thought that was a reflex and asked him to hold up a finger. He did, and showed a sense of humour as well by holding up the middle finder to the amusement of the whole hospital.
David Cross does this at the end of a Mr. Show sketch in which he's been fired (for the same actions which gets his co-workers promoted) at the camera, which links into the next sketch.
It's a rare episode of The Young Ones when Vyvyan doesn't flip a V to Rick and/or Neil every other scene.
The notorious finger cover◊ of MAD, which many news stands refused to display.
In the "Weird Al" Yankovic video "White & Nerdy" the black gangstas he wishes to hang out with give him the finger (although it is blurred out for censorship reasons).
He does it himself in the video for "Amish Paradise" (and, like in "White & Nerdy," is also blurred out for censorship reasons).
Kevin Rudolf's "Let It Rock":
Now the son's disgraced, he who knew his father.
When he cursed his name, turned and chased the dollar.
But it broke his heart so he stuck his middle finger
I would've given you the finger on my left hand The one you use for a wedding band But now I'm giving you the one in the middle The one that's a little bit longer And I've got another one on my other hand So I can say it even stronger…
Kid Rock's trope page includes a photo of him doing this.
A 1972 Monday Night Football game between the Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers had an incident in which ABC cameras caught several Oilers fans leaving (the putrid Oilers were losing badly to then-AFC powerhouse Oakland). One guy that stayed happened to be caught on camera and, seemingly aware of it, raised the middle digit. This incident also provided commentator Don Meredith's "We're number 1 in the nation" quip.
Similar to this incident, the late newscast for San FranciscoABC station KGO following Super Bowl XIX (won by the hometown 49ers) shows a clip of some Miami Dolphins fans in a hotel to support the defeated Dolphins and one fan on an escalator flips the bird briefly (around the 1:51 mark).
Bud Adams, longtime owner of the Tennessee Titans (and formerly a Houston/Tennessee Oilers) was caught on camera shooting off repeated birds at the other press box - probably at old American Football League rival, Bills' owner Ralph Wilson... with Commissioner Roger Goodell in Adams' press box watching him. Whether this is an example of Brass Balls or What an Idiot (or both) depends on your point of view. Given the fact that Adams was 86 at the time, it might have been a case of just not caring.
Michael Vick actually got in quite a bit of trouble for throwing up a double deuce to a fan in 2006. Of course, the $20,000 fine he paid and the media savaging was only a warm-up act compared to what happened to him the following offseason...
Has cropped up a couple of times in NASCAR. One was in Dale Earnhardt's last race, done rather like an irate driver in traffic (which, in a way, he was), on Kurt Busch. Mike Joy interpreted it as Earnhardt telling Busch, "Kurt, you're number one."
Then, in the 07 November 2010 race at Texas, Kyle Busch did this to a NASCAR official who was enforcing a penalty on him. One (lap penalty) plus one (finger raised) equalled three (lap penalty).
Formula One had a few infamous cases. Heinz-Harald Fretzen did it to Mark Blundell after passing him, and his finger itself was caught on the on-car camera. Johnny Herbert did one on the podium◊.
The grand old all-American pastime of baseball isn't immune to the finger, either. Here's an article detailing the gesture's, er, singular history in the sport.
In Indy Car, at the 2011 New Hampshire Indy 225, a very unpopular decision to restart the race under wet conditions resulted in a crash which took Will Power out of the race. He gave both barrels to the race officials in response. He got a lot of support after that (and his team owner even paid the fine Power was given for the birds).
The Angry Marines (probably NSFW), one of the many Warhammer 40,000 memes, do this all the time to everything and everyone. Just look at the first image.
In productions of the musical Spring Awakening, the final poses of "Totally Fucked" usually involve several characters flipping the bird.
In Escape from Monkey Island, if you have Guybrush examine the appropriate part of the hand-shaped table in the Voodoo Lady's home, he'll remark "Ah, the middle finger. The most communicative of fingers."
The "Sweet Goodbye" achievement in Mirrors Edge. This is achieved by jumping forward, doing a 180 degree turn while in the air and then pressing the attack button in quick succession. This will make Faith flash a V-sign while falling backwards.
Your character can do this in Fable, and in Fable II you can have a sculptor make statues of you doing it.
Daxter gives this to Pecker in Jak 3 after yet another argument between the two, right in front of Jak, the king of Spargus, and an audience (who all gasp in unison). It was censored by showing it off-screen.
In Jak X Pecker gives one to G. T. Blitz, this time censored by Pixellation (justified since it happens on TV).
Dr. Fetus does this pose in the opening video, on the pause screens, and the Dark World loading screen.
Nero flips off Dante in Devil May Cry 4 as he's being absorbed by a huge, animated stone giant.
BloodRayne does this after killing the final boss, after slaughtering Wulf, gives a double bird in the ending, then gives the finger to Severin when he insults her.
Sol Badguy does this as the Respect variation of his taunt, surprisingly enough. International versions censor this to a thumbs-up, making the taunt more "respectful", in a sense.
In zOMG!, the Taunt ring draws aggro from nearby Animated. You flip one bird with three Rage Ranks, and you flip 'em both when you use full Rage. In both cases, the relevant fingers are blurred.
WWE wrestling games naturally have this as an option for taunts.
Jack Cayman of MadWorld has a variation of this, though he replaces "Middle Finger" with "Chainsaw from his arm".
In Ace Attorney Turner Grey flips off the player when he pushes up his glasses in his normal pose. In Japan though, it's not offensive, though it was overlooked in the American translation.
Bayonetta has a blink and you'll miss it moment where she flips off some angel that had just destroyed the road and then uses the finger as an ignition key for a motorbike.
In Gears of War 3 Cole asks politely if one of the stranded have a vessel they could borrow, the response; "Here are the keys to my luxury yacht" while giving him to finger.
In Battlefield 3 you have to perform a quicktime event to kill a rat. If you fail, the rat makes enough noise to interest a guard, who then comes over and shoots you. As your character dies, he manages to flip off the rat.
In The Darkness 2, if you shoot the car coming at you during the scene in the parking garage it explodes, and Jackie does this to the driver as he passes overhead before crashing into the wall and dying. You even get the achievement "The Bird is the Word" for pulling this (easy) stunt off.
Done by a Headbanger to a group of Hairbangers in Brutal Legend after he and his friends join Eddie. IF you have the language censor on, it's covered by a big PMRC sticker.
Later done by Eddie to Doviculus when he attacks his living castle, twice, both times coupled with an And This Is for...:
(after attacking one of the towers) That one was for Ophelia!(flips Doviculus off with one hand)
(after attacking the other tower) And that one was for Lars! (flips Doviculus off with both hands)
In Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Todd does this a lot - even in the pre-fight closeup. Kim does this as well, but only if her hand is behind another character's head; if she's the only player, the expression becomes a thumbs-down.
Pokémon Black 2 and White 2: Not in the game itself, but early concept art for Roxie showed her using her middle finger to do a Eyelid Pull Taunt. Evidently, another member of the art team realized this and had it changed to something completely different.
ThisFuzzy Knights strip (click to page through it), which was posted as a response to the 2005 terrorist bombings on the London Underground and made rather appropriate reference to the origin myth.
In Blip, as K is considering what picture to use for her myspace profile, she realizes that every digital photo she has involves her flipping off the camera. Even the picture where she's nearly unconscious. "Why am I giving the finger all the time?"
Mentioned in You Damn Kid, in which the narrator thinks it's unfair that Dot's friend Sadako was punished for doing this. Sadako has six fingers on each hand, so the finger she raised technically wasn't her middle finger "and therefore not a bad finger".
ThisDominic Deegan strip, done by Rocky the Elemental. Slightly justified in that he can't speak and communicates through gestures.
Later, when Stunt badmouths him when he thinks he's not around, Rocky shoves a single arm up through the soil. Guess the gesture.
Homestuck: Confusingly, John flips off the audience at one point when WV's enthusiastic commands become increasingly rude.
Much later, in his "talk" with Meenah Peixes, Kurloz Makara, who has so far not said a single word or made a single other gesture, flips her the bird when she asks what the "wicked word is these days."
Damara Megido has a special sprite animation for flipping the bird with each hand.
Erisolsprite does this during the Act 6 Part 5 opener. Jake English doesn't seem offended at all.
This pose was later modded as a taunt to replace the "Meet the Medic" taunt. It got so popular that Valve actually increased the price of the MtM taunt because so many people were buying it to replace it.
Lady Gaga flips off Sarah Palin a split second before the battle begins.
At the end od above battle, John Mc Cain flips off the whole world.
Master Chief gives a long one to Leonidas at the end of his rap.
Barack Obama stealthfully does this to Mitt Romney. While commenting on how it would be awkward to have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Lady, he counts off with his middle finger, pinky, and ring finger, in that order.
Bruce Lee shows Clint Eastwood his two-finger push-up. "KUNG F-U!"
Even weirder is that it wasn't digitized on the FX airings of the movie.
They're digitally edited out on the Fox airing so Homer's awkwardly moving his fists up and down, but in the episode where Homer bowls a perfect game, the bullies can be seen flipping the camera off in the background during the news report.
When "E.T.Returns Home" on Robot Chicken he is teased by bullies for only having a single finger glow while they can do the same with all of them. They don't appreciate it when he responds by flipping that one finger.
In Beast Machines, Thrust very clearly flips Optimus Primal the bird. (One imagines the animators only got away with it because Thrust only has 3 fingers on each hand.) Optimus is not amused.
Adventure Time had Tree Trunks offended by a statue making "a rude gesture" in "Five More Short Graybles", only to later find that the statue actually just had Shelby the worm standing vertically on its raised fist. For the sake of the children in the audience, they never actually show the gesture, nor do they explicitly mention raising the middle finger.
Also, in one episode where she goes to get a tattoo, one of the tattoos shown at the parlor is of a hand doing this.
The U.S. Acres episode "Wanted: Wade" has Wade do this when he asks Orson if the tag under his couch is his.
In the pilot of Drawn Together, an irate Foxy raises her (censored) finger to Princess Clara, who is unable to get the message because "Foxy's hand went all blurry."
When captured by North Korea, the crew of the ship USS Pueblo were forced to appear in staged propaganda photos. Each man showed the finger in the photos. When pressed, they claimed it was a Hawaiian Good Luck sign. Unfortunately, North Korea was able to read the foreign press and soon discovered the truth. (This was the same incident in which the skipper signed a "confession" that said things like "We paean the North Korean state. We paean their great leader Kim Il Sung"—which he got away with because the North Koreans couldn't speak English and had to use a dictionary to figure out what the words meant, not realizing that "paean" sounds a lot like "pee on"—and, referring to his ship's entry in to North Korean waters, "pentatration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the act"—the Uniform Code of Military Justice's definition of rape!)
Some people claim Barack Obama did this to Hillary Rodham Clinton during one of the Democratic primary debates in 2008. Others maintain that he was just scratching his nose with his middle finger.
It's worth mentioning that that was his equivalent of Ronald Reagan's "We begin bombing (Russia) in five minutes" remark - meant to be part of sound/video testing, and nothing more.
An equivalent gesture (called in French the bras d'honneur or "Arm of Honor") is bending your right elbow, clenching your right fist and putting your left hand on your right arm's side opposing that of the elbow. The western variant was also imported into Russia from the West after The Great Politics Mess-Up. One can combine the arm with the Finger for emphasis.
On WABC-TV in New York, anchor Roger Grimsby introduced a live broadcast from reporter Mara Wolinsky. Mara had been getting trouble from the cameraman and flipped him off just as the live broadcast started. The camera quickly cut back to Grimsby, who said, "Apparently, Mara knows who's number one in New York."
There was a minor scandal during the last election in Sweden, when the chairman of the Left Party flipped off a leading Conservative during a debate. Luckily, it was not televised. Unluckily, someone had a cellphone camera.
Davao City, Philippines vice mayor Rodrigo Duterte flashed the finger and cussed at critics of his daughter Sara (who was the mayor) following her widely-publicized punching of a trial court sheriff. Source
One Utah homeowner was run through hell by his neighbors for building 18" above the maximum roof height. In response, he put some "abstract art" of "cacti" on the side of his house, in their general direction. You be the judge.◊
Comedian Jackie Mason nearly saw his career destroyed after being accused of having done this during a 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan banned him from appearing on the show again for nearly two years, and only relented after Mason (who vociferously denied having made the gesture, or even being aware of its meaning) initiated a libel suit.
The Keyhole Nebula, part of the Carina Nebula, contains a cloud of gas that looks remarkably like a hand flipping the bird.
A very unusual example involves a fetus showing the digitus impudicus during an ultrasound scan that apparently pissed it off. More on that here.
Canadian Prime MinisterPierre Elliott Trudeau famously gave a group of protesters gathered around his train car in Salmon Arm, BC, the finger, giving rise to the term "Salmon Arm salute" or "Trudeau salute" in already meme-ridden Canadian politics. In fairness to Trudeau, the protesters were yelling anti-French slogans at him (Trudeau was a francophone from Quebec—Montreal to be precise—and his push for bilingualism and multiculturalism was very unpopular in Western Canada at the time).
The notoriously foul-mouthed and short-tempered American politician Rahm Emanuel is missing most of the middle finger on one of his hands from an accident he had as a teenager. In a 2005 charity roast of then-Representative Emanuel, then-Senator Barack Obama joked that this injury "rendered him practically mute."
Older Than They Think: While we don't know whether anyone flipped the bird in ancient Rome, we do have a record from Suetonius of Emperor Caligula, when a certain custom required the Praetorian Guard centurion Cassius Chaerea to kiss his ring, pulling back all but his middle finger and waggling it obscenely to mock Chaerea's manliness. As Christian author Paul L. Maier notes in his book Pontius Pilate, it was "a gesture which has stood the test of time."
During the infamous Max Headroom Broadcast Intrusion, the person pirating the signal freaks out (something he does on several occasions during the broadcast) and gives the camera the finger early on, with a prosthetic lengthening his finger to enhance the effect.
This used to be a common way for celebrities to spoil the shots of bothersome paparazzi, as photos with obscene gestures weren't easily salable. Nowadays, the offending digit just gets photoshopped out.