[[quoteright:350:[[Film/SherlockHolmes2009 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dramatic_hand_reach1.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:[[JustifiedTrope Well, when you're about to go up in a massive explosion, warning others away only works from a distance.]]]]-]

Ah yes, the Futile Hand Reach.

You've probably seen it in movies, TV shows, comic books; in fact, probably everywhere.

Usually this happens when a character, (probably a protagonist or his [[SideKick sidekick]]) sees another character about to be stabbed in the back/taken control of by an evil force, fall to their death, etc. he will put his hand out towards the camera/reader, even though he knows it is futile. Often he will [[SayMyName scream the person's name]] and/or [[BigNo "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"]]

It happens quite a lot in action and scifi movies, though shows and movies based on comic books seem to like this trope quite a lot. Also a common Anime Opening trope. It is somewhat common in a fantasy setup with magic or psychic powers to have someone perform this trope straight only for their latent abilities to trigger thus subverting the "futile" part.

Not to be confused with TakeMyHand, although the two ''could'' overlap. Also never a LastGraspAtLife, in which a character grasps in the air right before dying.

See also MilkingTheGiantCow for another [[LargeHam dramatic]] hand gesture.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', Sakura reaches out and runs to the middle of the first fight between Sasuke and Naruto. Those two had their hands out as well, but in their hands were special techniques they were trying to use to fight each other.
* In ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack: Shikkoku no Hana'' Misaki Kirihara ran toward Hei about to enter a portal, screaming [[SecretIdentityIdentity his old identity's]] name and extending an open hand toward him. She looked [[TearJerker very sad and broken]] when he didn't even turn, [[HeIsNotMyBoyfriend however loud]] she may [[DatingCatwoman deny her very personal interest]] at other times. Also a nice contrast with their previous crime scene encounters ending with her [[RecklessGunUsage aiming at his fleeing back but never able to fire even a warning shot]].
* Happens in Manga/{{Bleach}} in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=XgCzOP-QhDE&vq=hd720#t=20 this episode]] [[spoiler: when Ulquiorra and Orihime try [[http://www.mangakong.com/manga/Bleach/353/21 to grab each other's hands]]. [[TearJerker DEFINITELY a tear jerker.]]]]
* An odd variant at the end of ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'', when Ed and Al, in parallel dimensions, both reach toward the sky out train windows while the voiceover shows that they're determined to get back together. Presumably they clench hands when their hands "cross".
* This was used in ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'' by Ogremon before Leomon dies.
* [[TearJerker Played for sadness]] in ''{{Manga/Berserk}}''. After awakening days after the Eclipse, Guts rushes to his lover Casca to attempt to comfort her [[spoiler: as she had been through a truly horrific ordeal of being savagely raped by their former commander and friend Griffith and Guts was helpless in saving her.]] However, the event traumatized Casca so much that [[GoMadFromTheRevelation she went insane]] from a severe case of [[spoiler: [[RapeLeadsToInsanity rape trauma syndrome]]]] and now goes into a panic attack whenever Guts tries to touch her. Appearing to be [[DoesNotLikeMen fearful of all men]] after what had been done to her, Guts attempts to reach out to Casca one last time, but Casca rejects him in fear. This was the last straw for Guts before going through a massive FreakOut.
** Played straight all other times, first during the Eclipse when Guts tries to reach for Griffith before his ascension as a Godhand but fails. This trope is pretty much Guts and Casca's post-Eclipse rescue behavior.
* In the last episode of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', [[spoiler:Homura]] reaches out to [[spoiler:the recently deified Madoka]] like this while she is [[spoiler:dragged out of Madoka's atemporal cosmic dimension and back to Earth. From her perspective, Madoka DisappearsIntoLight]]. It doesn't get much more futile than that.
** A less spoilery version of that scene is depicted in the ending theme.
* In the second opening for ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers'', Nanoha and her daughter Vivio (who had been kidnapped) are shown reaching for each other.
* In a shot noticeably absent from the manga, [[spoiler:Rohan]] of ''[[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure Diamond is Unbreakable]]'' reaches out in the anime just before [[spoiler:he's blown up in Bites The Dust's first loop.]]

* Dane Cook referenced this in one of his comedy monologues (note: the man who was hit by the car survived)
-->"I did try to help this man. As the car was coming towards him I reached out, and I said, 'Ohhhhh... Ohhhhh!' That's all I could think of to say. There's so many things now in retrospect that I would love... I would love to have been like, 'You're about to get struck by a vehicle!' I did not have ''time'' to say, 'You're about to get struck by a vehicle,' so I went with, 'Ohhhhh!' Which is like a concerned moan."

* In an ''ComicBook/XMen''/''ComicBook/TeenTitans'' crossover in a 1980s comic, Cyclops does this towards Jean (in her Dark Phoenix form) as Darkseid takes control of her.
* Subverted in Franchise/{{Batman}}: Under The Red Hood. Jason Todd has just captured Joker and gives Batman a choice. Either he kills Jason to stop him, or he lets him kill the Joker and avenge his death. Jason begins counting down, and just as he's about to shoot Joker, Batman yells out and reaches for him--only to see that he only did so to cover the fact that he was throwing a batarang, knocking Jason down.
* Happened with ComicBook/LexLuthor in the Silver Age shortly before the original Crisis when Lexor was going to explode after an energy blast ricocheted off of Superman striking the device intended to prevent the planet from exploding. He immediately raced to his wife and child and in a truly heart-wrenching scene as his wife cradling his son reaches out to him and he to her and everything explodes just as he's a few feet from her.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In the prologue of ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'', little Anna and Elsa are playing around with [[AnIcePerson Elsa]]'s ice powers and Anna makes a leap that Elsa realizes she'll be unable to save her from, so Elsa futily reaches out and, in a case of distress related PowerIncontinence, accidentally blasts Anna with a frost bolt. This leads their parents to seek out [[AllTrollsAreDifferent the Trolls]] who, [[LoveFreak kind as they are]], not only heal Anna to the greatest extent of their abilities, but also predict that fear of her powers will be Elsa's greatest enemy, causing her parents to isolate her in order to keep her away from those who may fear and harm her, while Elsa rather considers the reason for her isolation to be for the safety of everyone else... And that's the story of how a "futile" little gesture ironically kickstarted the plot of a whole movie.
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2''. Tigress does a Futile Paw Reach as Po is blasted by Lord Shen's cannon. Later it happens again, but [[TakingTheBullet Tigress shoves Po aside in time and takes the impact herself]]. All the heroes are blown into the harbour, and Po swims up to Tigress, who is clinging to wreckage, to check that she's still alive. He gently pushes Tigress out of harms way and swims off to confront Lord Shen's fleet single-handed. Tigress can be seen in the background, [[TearJerker feebly reaching out to stop him]].
* Merida in ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}'', while locked into her room by her father, symbolically reaches from her window towards her mother as the latter flees the castle.
* ''WesternAnimation/InsideOut''. When Riley runs away, Family Island starts collapsing in her mind world. The collateral damage it causes to long term memory leads to Joy and Bing Bong falling into the memory dump while Sadness futilely reaches out to help them.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Luke pulls one on Hoth after Obi-wan appears to him in ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack''.
* In ''Film/BatmanReturns'', Batman's use of this is used by the Penguin to make the populace think that he pushed the Ice Princess off a building to her doom.
* In ''Film/FantasticFourRiseOfTheSilverSurfer'', Reed does this towards Sue after [[spoiler: Sue gets stabbed by Doom. She recovers.]]
* In ''Film/{{Hulk}}'' (the 2003 one), Bruce Banner's mother pulls one of these, not towards Bruce, but towards a [[spoiler: gigantic Gamma mushroom cloud]].
* [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] in ''Film/IronMan2'', when Tony reaches out to Rhodes during the battle with [[spoiler: Crimson Dynamo!Whiplash. He's really trying to signal Rhodey to use a [[ChekhovsSkill Chekhov's Skill]] from a few scenes before.]]
* In ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia'', Lawrence does this towards one of his companions, who just sank into quicksand.
* The page image is from Guy Ritchie's ''Film/SherlockHolmes2009'', but is not quite an example of the trope in that rather than being a futile emotional reaction, it's a rather clear-headed attempt at protecting his colleagues: Watson realises he has triggered a grenade and in the few seconds before it explodes has the presence of mind to remember Holmes and Irene Adler will be on his heels, and turns to warn them with a gesture and a shout to keep back. Holmes promptly obeys the gesture and is therefore standing several meters away from the centre of the explosion when the grenade goes off. If the film was less... muddled... about the effects of what standing at the centre of (several) grenade blasts will do to you, Holmes' distance would have meant the difference between life and death for the detective (and a very practical, but very final act of heroism for a very deceased Watson). Admittedly, a series of further explosions triggered by the first mean ultimitely Holmes is little better off where he is than if he'd run right up to Watson, but Watson wasn't to know that would happen.
** Could be explained in that the explosions seemed more focused on destroying the warehouse they'd just escaped from(which had been used as a refinery for the villain's death gas) and less about killing the heroes.
* In ''Film/SpiderMan3'', the title character does this towards Mary Jane [[spoiler: while being pummeled to death by Sandman and choked by Venom]].
* In ''Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen'', Sam Witwicky does this when Optimus Prime is about to be stabbed by Megatron. And then again at the end of the movie by a dying Sam when the sock full of [[MacGuffin the Matrix of the Primes]] gets torn and the dust flies away. [[spoiler: Optimus, the Matrix, and Sam all get better though.]]
* ''Film/XMenFilmSeriesXMen''
** In ''Film/XMenTheLastStand'', Magneto does this towards Jean after he's been [[spoiler: zapped by the anti-mutant drug]].
** In ''Film/XMenFirstClass'', Erik first manifests his power when he was doing this as a gate closes between him and his parents.
* The titular character in ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'', towards young Hagrid in a PensieveFlashback in which he was shown to have been hiding a monster which he thought was the monster of the chamber.

[[folder: Literature]]
* During ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'' the BigBad starts to fall down a [[BottomlessPits Bottomless Pit]] and Tash [[SaveTheVillain automatically reaches towards him]], but it happens too fast and she's too far away for it to be a TakeMyHand.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': In "Doomsday", the Doctor does this while Rose is about to be dragged into [[VoidBetweenTheWorlds the Void.]]
* In the cliffhanger to [[Recap/TheFlash2014S3E8Invasion Part I]] of the "Invasion" event in the ''Series/{{Arrowverse}}'', several key members of the ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' cast are kidnapped by the Dominators. Barry/The Flash is running towards Oliver/Green Arrow to try and save him, only for the aliens' teleportation beam to beat his SuperSpeed.

[[folder: Manhua]]
* In ''[[Manhua/RavagesOfTime The Ravages of Time]]'', Liaoyuan Huo does this when Xiao Meng kicks him out of the way of incoming enemy spears, taking two in his own side and plummeting to his seeming death. When Xiao Meng is impaled with a thrown spear to prevent him from assassinating Cao Cao and falls off of a roof, he [[CallBack sees Liaoyuan Huo reaching out for him]]... and when he's executed via sword and then a mass of impaling with spears, the final page of the chapter is just covered in spears and Xiao Meng's hand.
** A decade in-story and over a hundred chapters later, when Liaoyuan Huo[[note]]now under the ''nom de guerre'' [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Zhao Yun]][[/note]] is trapped under a myriad of incoming spears that he's just managed to block and parry but nevertheless believes himself about to die under, it's not his life that flashes before his eyes -- it's Xiao Meng reaching for him through the spears.

* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5'', both in the ending of the "Lost in Nightmares" DLC and a flashback in the main game, Chris reaches out his hand and calls "JILL!" as Jill, with the BigBad Wesker, fall to their demise down a seemingly bottomless cliff.
** Another one in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil6''. In the ending of the second chapter of Chris's campaign, Chris reaches out for Finn through the bars of the gate while Finn is transforming into a B.O.W cocoon.
* In ''VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonVsAceAttorney'', in the ending of Chapter 4, [[spoiler:Phoenix reaches out and screams "MAAYYAAAAAA!!" as Maya is dropped down into the raging fire, just like what was done to other convicted witches]].
* In the true ending of ''[[VideoGame/NiGHTSIntoDreams NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams]]'', Will and Helen desperately reach out toward [[spoiler: [=NiGHTS=] as s/he smiles, takes a bow, and DisappearsIntoLight.]]
* Link at the end of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', tries desperately to reach out for [[spoiler: the King of Hyrule, so he can come with him as he rises to the surface. The King, for a moment, extends his hand too, but lowers it, knowing that his place isn't in the world of the living.]]
** He does it again at the end of ''Twilight Princess'', as Midna prepares to sacrifice herself to take out Ganon. She warps him and Zelda to safety before he can get to her.
** Also done in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks Spirit Tracks]]'' by Link, as Zelda's body is carried off by Cole and Staven.
* Just before the ending of ''VideoGame/CrisisCore'', [[spoiler:Cloud starts to wake from his mako addiction]] and reaches his hand out. [[spoiler:Zack]] already has his back turned by then, however, off to face the [[spoiler:Shinra Army that we know from the original game will kill him]]. He manages to catch up after the fighting, though.
* At the very beginning of ''VideoGame/MetroidOtherM'', we are taken back to the battle against Mother Brain at the very end of ''VideoGame/SuperMetroid'', with the Baby Metroid shielding Samus as it uses the life energy it stole to recharge her Power Suit and bring her back from near death. Just as Mother Brain is about to unleash a Hyper Beam, the Baby lets go of Samus and charges forward, taking the entirety of the blast. As Samus enters a SlowMotionFall she reaches her hand up towards the Baby, only to see it explode before her eyes.
* Happens several times in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' where [[TheHero Shepard]] has a recurring nightmare about a little boy s/he failed to save on Earth, and at the end tries to reach the boy as he bursts into flames. Depending on your choices, this can also happen on [[spoiler:Rannoch]] if [[spoiler:you fail to solve the Geth and Quarian's conflict, so Tali is forced to watch as the Migrant Fleet gets blasted out of the sky, and starts to walk off a cliff to her death]]. Cruelly, right then you have a Paragon interrupt where you can reach out, but [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption it doesn't work]].
* ''VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld'' shows Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad all doing this in the opening cutscene in reaction to Bowser kidnapping the Sprixie Princess.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'': Done twice in quick succession during the first chapter when Nora dies; first Snow towards her after she slips from his grasp, and then simultaneously by Hope, Nora's son, who watches this from a distance.
** Serah and Noel in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'' exchange one each when Serah and Mog are [[spoiler:sent hurtling into a random part of the Historia Crux]]. Lightning later does this towards [[spoiler:Serah's spirit sitting on Etro's Throne after she's died]].
** In ''VideoGame/LightningReturnsFinalFantasyXIII'', Lightning desperately tries to grab [[spoiler:Hope]]'s hand as he DisappearsIntoLight.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXV'': [[spoiler:Done brutally after the Leviathan battle wherein Ardyn stabs Luna. Noctis, in a dream sequence, desperately reaches out to Luna as she bids farewell, mere inches from her hand symbolizing how he never quite got to reach her after 12 years.]]
* ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' has Elizabeth silently reaching out for Booker's hand [[spoiler:as the Songbird swoops away with her in its grasp. He reaches back but misses, and both Elizabeth and the Songbird disappear through the hole in the tower. [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome And then Booker gets to his feet and charges right after them]].]]
* {{Invoked|Trope}} in the opening of ''[[VideoGame/FatalFury Garou: Mark of the Wolves]]''. The backstory shows Terry having beaten Geese Howard at the end of ''Real Bout Fatal Fury'', to the point where he's hanging off the balcony at the very top of Geese Tower. Terry reaches out and grabs his hand... and then Geese spitefully yanks his hand away, staring up at an aghast Terry as he willingly falls to his death.

* In ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' Eglamore does this to Antimony when she falls off a bridge, however he actually shouts [[spoiler:[[WrongNameOutburst her mother's name]] by accident.]]
** A symbolic one was shown between Jeanne and her lover when they became separated by the division of the forest and the Court.

* [[Franchise/{{Batman}} The Dark Knight]] himself pulls one of these in ''[[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries Batman: The Animated Series]]'' after Scarecrow throws Barbara Gordon off a building...[[spoiler:[[AllJustADream in a nightmare.]]]]
* Batman does this towards Superman in ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' after he gets shot and killed by Toyman's energy weapon. [[spoiler: Superman is only in the distant future, and comes back just in time to save Earth.]]
* Myra the AdventurerArchaeologist does this with Baloo in the ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'' episode "In Search of Ancient Blunders".