A Stock Phrase
used by characters about to or after having done some crazy action, especially if it could result in dying. Very frequently parodied.
One variation is for the character to state a regret other than what might be expected, for example:
- Regretting that the crazy action failed in its goal (but with no regrets about doing it in the first place).
- Regretting that the crazy action didn't accomplish more than it did (again, with no regrets about the action itself). A common version is a villain regretting that he didn't kill as many people as he would have liked.
- Regretting waiting this long to undertake the crazy action (likewise with no regrets about finally doing it).
- Regretting some random trivial thing unrelated to the crazy action.
- Regretting everything. This one is usually used to parody the normal usage of this trope.
- Regretting only that they got caught.
Most of these (except the "regretting everything", obviously) may be part of a Defiant to the End
posture. Any of them could be a "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner
. Compare Worth It
, I Did What I Had to Do
. Can be said by The Unapologetic
if he doesn't regret harming other characters.
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Anime and Manga
- In the Marvel/Wildstorm crossover World War Three, after being defeated by Deathblow and the Thing, the dying Skrull who had replaced Iron Man says "I did what I was ordered to do. I don't regret anything".
- At the end of the Judge Dredd story arc Apocalypse War, the last words of the defeated war marshal Kazan are: "I... regret nothing! I apologise for... nothing!"
- Yelled loudly by Jack of Fables after being kicked in the goolies by a girl whom he has just shagged and then told that he had previously shagged both her sisters.
Films — Live-Action
- The Golden Voyage of Sinbad: instead of following the Big Bad Prince Koura, Sinbad follows and recovers the slave girl Margiana.
Margiana: You followed me instead of Koura? Then he has won the race.
Sinbad: The race perhaps.
Margiana: And the prize?
Sinbad: Not the prize.
Margiana: A crown of untold riches!
Sinbad: I regret nothing.
- In the German film Sophie Scholl, the title character is given an opportunity to save herself from punishment for her anti-Nazi activities, if she gives a statement withdrawing her opposition to Hitler's regime and crimes. She refuses, and is executed.
Investigator Mohr: For the record, I ask you, "Have you, after our conversations, come to the conclusion that your actions together with your brother is to be regarded in the current situation of war as a crime against society and in particular, against our hard fighting troops in the East, and must be harshly condemned?"
Sophie: No, not in my opinion.
Investigator Mohr: You wouldn't betray your brother by admitting your mistake.
Sophie: But I'd betray the idea. I'd do the exact same thing again, because it is not I, but you who has the wrong worldview. I am still of the opinion that I did my best for my people. I don't regret it, and I will accept the consequences.
- Lolita (1997): in a voiceover by Humbert after he leaves Dolores (whose life he has ruined by molesting her) to shoot fellow pedophile Claire Quilty.
Humbert: Ladies and gentleman of the jury. I have to say that I regret all that I did before that last goodbye. But I regret nothing of what came after.
- In Rush, Niki Lauda says he has no regrets after withdrawing from the Japanese Grand Prix because it wasn't safe.
Niki Lauda: No regrets. — Not one.
- In Zombieland, the gang hangs at Bill Murray's house, where they find him dressed as a zombie to blend in. When he tries to prank Columbus and Little Rock, Columbus shoots him in the chest, thinking he was a real zombie. As he lays dying, Little Rock asks him if he has any regrets:
Bill Murray: Garfield, maybe.
(they hit the ground
- Lords and Ladies: Granny Weatherwax (who thinks she's going to die soon) tells her friend Nanny Ogg that she doesn't regret anything. The Queen of the Fairies later tries to convince her she wasted her life, but Granny doesn't buy it.
- Kurt Vonnegut's Timequake features a short story by one of the characters entitled "Bunker Bingo Party," about the last few hours of Hitler's life. Before killing himself, Hitler ponders what his last words should be. He considers "I regret nothing" but it is pointed out to him that Edith Piaf has already made those words famous. He briefly considers "Bingo" but then settles on "I never asked to be born in the first place," and pulls the trigger.
- In Jack Higgins' The Wrath of God, Oliver van Horne helped narrator Emmett Keogh against corrupt police (Keogh had tried to rescue a girl the cops were going to rape). Van Horne machine-gunned the cops, but then he and Keogh were caught and sentenced to death. As he was taken out to be shot (the local authority actually meant to use them to kill off a particularly nasty bandit, and put them through a mock execution to show his power over them), van Horne said, "No regrets, Keogh."
- In Edgar Lee Masters The Spoon River Anthologies, Fiddler Jones states that he had no regrets.
- Several of Robert A. Heinlein's characters (notably Lazarus Long and his vast family) are fond of saying "When the ship lifts all bills are paid. No regrets."
- Édith Piaf's "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" ("No, I don't regret anything").
- Played with in "My Way":
Regrets... I've had a few.
But then again, too few to mention.
- "Headlong Flight" by Rush:
All the treasures
The gold and glory
It didn't always feel that way
I don't regret it
I'll never forget it
I wouldn't trade tomorrow for today
- "Drug Ballad" by Eminem:
If I could take it all back now, I wouldn't
I would have did more shit that people said that I shouldn't
- "A Question of Heaven" by Iced Earth
I did what I thought was right
All for the love of my life
I know it's sad but true
Something is very wrong
Condemned to suffer so long
For a love so true
And in my dying breath
My heart holds no regrets
I wouldn't change a thing
- "Pirate Song" by Alestorm. It begins sounding as though the retired captain singing the song regrets the path his life took, but...
And for what?
It's been many years.
The screams of the vanquished still ring in my ears.
And for what?
I've blood on my hands.
I wait for my place in the halls of the damned!
And if I could go back and make my amends,
I'd make all those mistakes again!
I'd kill every last one of those bastards, my friends!
- Mass Effect:
- The Postal Dude from Postal says this when you have him commit suicide.
- A recorded but unused Scout line from the Team Fortress 2 "Meet the Sandvich" video: "I regret everything! I regret everything I've ever done!"
- Troll batriders in Warcraft will shout "The ends justify the means!" before perishing in a fiery kamikaze attack.
- Last Scenario has Augustus' Famous Last Words:
Augustus: I proved my superiority. I have already won. I regret nothing.
- Metal Gear Solid 3:
- The End has a slightly different choice of words ("I have no regrets") for when you beat him the right way.
- In one of the side videos, he starts doing the creepy old man stalker with EVA, and in the end, when he tries to shoot her for being with other men, she runs him over with her bike, and he says the same thing.
- Disc One Final Boss Jarod's Famous Last Words in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.
Jarod: Gh-ghuahh... I am... sorry for nothing. I regret... nothing. Because I did it my way... You win, Priestess. You must be delighted. Enjoy it while you can... Because... sooner or later... you...
- In Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: Retribution, when the Ork battlewagon boss is destroyed, its pilot states that his only regret is exploding.
- In Borderlands 2, dying psychos will occasionally shout "I regret... nothing!" Of course, they also occasionally shout "I regret EVERYTHING!" instead.
- Assassins Creed III: after a series of encounters throughout the game, Haytham Kenway has a final duel with his son Connor. During the struggle, Connor kills his father, who does not regret his loyalty to the Templars. He even mocks the Redemption Equals Death trope along the way.
- Final Fantasy:
- Yuna from Final Fantasy X tells Tidus "It would be so easy...to let my fate just carry me away...following this same path my whole life through. But I know...I can't. What I do, I do...with no regrets." Granted, she wasn't dying at the time she said that, but then you realize that her journey is supposed to end with her death.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2: Serah reaffirms several times that she'll continue fixing the timeline, full well knowing that it will kill her by the end. When she actually dies, her last words are a simple "Thank you.", and after her death, she appears to Lightning, who realises then that Serah knew the consequences of her actions, and once again reaffirms that "[she has] no regrets... none at all."
- This is a possible dialog choice in The Curse of Monkey Island when Guybrush is forced to walk the plank.
- It's Walky!: Ruth invokes this trope when she dies pushing Danny out of the way of a truck
Ruth:Act with integrity…no regrets!
- The Simpsons:
- In one Halloween special, Mr. Burns is seen in hell, turned into an ugly (well, even uglier) creature, and he says this line.
- Also, we pan over the Very Long Line to see the Itchy & Scratchy Movie, which goes over a drawbridge; the drawbridge opens and one person falls through. As he's falling he calls out the Stock Phrase in question.
- In the Chowder episode "Grubble Gum", Gazpacho declares this once he realizes he's about to be consumed by an ever-growing katamari of grubble gum.
- From the episode "Crimes of the Hot:"
- When That Guy from the '80s dies from boneitis at the end of "Future Stock" his dying words are "My only regret... is that I have... BONEITIS!"
- Zuko on Avatar: The Last Airbender after passing up the opportunity to Heel-Face Turn, resulting in his uncle being imprisoned. Of course, Zuko does regret everything, he's just trying to convince himself otherwise.
You brought this on yourself, you know. We could have returned together. You could have been a hero. You have no right to judge me, uncle. I Did What I Had to Do
in Ba Sing Se, and you're a fool for not joining me!
- From The Legend of Korra, after Kuvira discovers Zhu Li's betrayal:
- Terra on Teen Titans. We find out that she was lying.
Terra: My name is Terra. I have done horrible things. And I have absolutely no regrets.
- Batman: The Animated Series: Batman contemplating his eventual demise in "I Am the Night".
Batman: It might be the Joker, or Two-Face, or just some punk who gets lucky. My decision. No regrets.
- Said twice by Cosmo in one episode of The Fairly OddParents before taking off in an escape pod with Wanda to escape a doomed Earth.
- FXX's 12-day long marathon of The Simpsons in 2014 compared its length to the lifespan of the average butterfly, with a different bump for each day depicting the butterfly going through stages of its life. On the 12th day, its headstone has this written on it.
- The last words of Nathan Hale (American revolutionary who was hanged when caught spying on the British Army): "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country."
- Timothy McVeigh who blew up Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people, said before his execution that his only regret is that he didn't completely level it.
- Serial Killer Carl Panzram made this statement after his arrest: "In my lifetime I have murdered 21 human beings, I have committed thousands of burglaries, robberies, larcenies, arsons and, last but not least, I have committed sodomy on more than 1,000 male human beings. For all these things I am not in the least bit sorry."
- Andrew Jackson once said "I have only two regrets: I didn't shoot Henry Clay and I didn't hang John C. Calhoun."
- It adds something when you know that John C. Calhoun was Andrew Jackson's vice-president.
- From Tallulah Bankhead's autobiography: "The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it. If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner."
- Murderer Thomas Kemp's final words when he was executed in April 2012 were "I regret nothing."
- Nationalist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, after sentenced to prison for killing 77 people apologized... to militant nationalists for not killing more people.
- Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist who assassinated U.S. President William McKinley in 1901 pleaded guilty on his trial and refused to speak to his lawyers. Before his execution, he stated: "I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people – the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime."
- Norman Lamont, a minister in Margaret Thatcher's Government and Chancellor of the Exchequer under John Major, famously replied "Je ne regrette rien" at a press conference in 1993 when asked which of two embarrassing things he regretted more. His reply got laughs from the audience, but it played very poorly on the 6:00 news (a word to aspiring politicians: if you're asked what you regret, and say you regret nothing, the media will pick up on the worst thing you've ever done, and say you don't regret that). He was sacked a while later.
- In 1986, future Vice-President Dick Cheney (who was, at the time, a Wyoming Representative) voted against the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, a bill that called for tough sanctions and travel restrictions South Africa and its leaders, and for the repeal of apartheid laws and release of political prisoners like Nelson Mandela, then leader of the African National Congress. (The vote passed with bipartisan support, and when President Reagan vetoed it, claiming the ANC was a "terrorist organization", it was passed via Congressional override, with Cheney opposing it again, clearly siding with Reagan on the matter.) When Mandela passed away in December of 2013, long after the fall of the apartheid government, having been recognized as a Civil Rights leader after becoming the first black President of South Africa, Cheney said publically, "I don't have any problems at all with the vote I cast 20 years ago." (He did, however, state that Mandela was a "great man" who had "mellowed" in the decade after his release from prison.)
- Upon his release from prison in 2010, "right to die" advocate Jack Kevorkian was asked by John Roberts if he would still be willing to help terminally ill patients end their lives. "Not now," replied Kevorkian. "it wouldn't serve any purpose." Though he said he had "no regrets" on his career as "Dr. Death." "It's my duty," he remarked.
- One of the final entries in the diary of Robert Falcon Scott:
We are weak, writing is difficult, but for my own sake I do not regret this journey, which has shown that Englishmen can endure hardships, help one another, and meet death with as great a fortitude as ever in the past. We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last.