Clara: There's no way out of this. We're going to die here.
The Doctor: Pass me the vibro-cutters.
Clara: They're in my pocket.
The Doctor: Come on then, pass them to me.
Clara: In my other jacket. At home.
The Doctor: Why have you got two jackets? Is one of them faulty?A character rushes out of the room and a closeup shot reveals they've left their firearm behind, or some other crucial item like a mobile phone or the Amulet of Dependency. Naturally they're going to need that item for the very situation they're about to head into. Bonus points for an Oh, Crap!. Not related to Leave Behind a Pistol. See also We Have Forgotten the Phlebotinum.
— Doctor Who, "The Caretaker"
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Anime & Manga
- Gunslinger Girl. Cyborg girl Triela runs away in tears after realizing her handler went on an assassination mission without her and got wounded in the process. She leaves both her pistol and conditioning medicine behind, and withdrawal symptoms make her too weak to defend herself when she gets grabbed by a couple of Camorra thugs.
- Happens all the time to new Gantz fighters; Gantz provides basic pistols and a strength- and resilience-enhancing cybersuit to all new fighters, but doesn't explain why they're necessary, leading many to leave them behind in the room before being teleported to their first mission unless a veteran manages to convince them to do otherwise. Others take a gun, whose function is largely self-explanatory, and leave behind their suit, which is much more useful despite not looking like much. In the first arc, only Nishi (a veteran who knows what to expect) and Kurono (who observes Nishi doing so) wear their suits, causing them to fare much better than the rest.
- In the second arc, Kurono, not knowing that Gantz teleports its victims away from their daily lives to begin a new mission with very little warning, leaves his suit behind in his closet. Nishi, having more experience, wears his under his clothes at all times.
- V for Vendetta: State Sec Chief Derek Almond confronts V at Dr. Surridge's house when V goes there to kill her, but discovers too late that, while he did bring his gun, he'd left the bullets at home. Doubles as Laser-Guided Karma for him since he'd emptied the clip out earlier so he could threaten his wife with the empty gun.
Films — Animation
- In the Astérix animated movie Asterix vs. Caeser, Asterix has an argument with his best friend Obelix while attending a bath-house in Rome. He storms out while getting dressed, leaving his bottle of magic potion behind accidentally. He does not realize this until he is accosted by two Roman legionnaires, who promptly throw him in jail.
Films — Live-Action
- Invoked in Sherlock Holmes. Watson is furious when Sherlock leaves without his revolver, knowing he did it deliberately so his friend will feel obliged to chase after him.
- The Sure Thing. When Gib and Allison hurriedly leave the hotel room, Allison accidentally leaves her all-important planner (which contains all her money) behind.
- Pulp Fiction. Vincent is waiting at Butch's apartment to kill him if he shows up. While waiting, Vincent needs to go to the bathroom, so he leaves his Ingram MAC-10 on the kitchen counter. While he's in the bathroom, Butch shows up, and uses the Ingram to kill the unarmed Vincent as he leaves the bathroom.
- Left Your Lightsaber Behind is a running gag for Anakin in the Star Wars prequels.
- While on the way to fire off the flares needed to destroy the title giant spider in The Giant Spider Invasion, Dr. Vance forgets the flares and needs to run back to the car and get them. Mike and the Bots immediately call out how dumb this was, since it doesn't add any real tension and only pads out an extra 10 seconds or so of running time.
- In Crocodile Dundee, the titler character leaves his knife behind in the limousine just before he encounters a pimp he'd earlier decked. As things turns ugly, he reachs for it to find it no longer there, and only escapes being killed due to timely intervention by the limo driver.
- Martin pauses, then leaves his gun in the hotel room as he leaves for the reunion in Grosse Pointe Blank — either because he's got a newfound respect for life or because he's in love with Debbie. He ends up having to improvise when the assassin finds him at the reunion.
- Happens in Constantine when Angela leaves the protective amulet John borrowed for her safety in the car along with her jacket. This promptly leads to her getting captured by the heavy.
- Happens in Deadpool. Deadpool leaves the taxi to kill Francis, and realizes he left his duffel bags of guns and bullets behind, leading to him only being able to use his swords.
- In The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Tim Holt takes away the insane Humphrey Bogart's revolver. He returns it only after unloading it. Bogart forgets to reload it and finds himself defenseless at the end.
- Inverted in Lockout: Hock, even when prison regulations insist that he leaves all of his weapons behind, stupidly decides to bring along an ankle-holstered pistol to Hydell's interrogation (and lies about it when asked if he gave all of his guns). This act gives Hydell access to the weaponry needed to stage a mass prison break-out, effectively dooming everybody inside.
- In Masques, this is played with. Aralorn leaves behind her, unbeknownst to her, Anti-Magic sword when she goes off to fight the Big Bad. However, she didn't even know she would need the object, as she thought it was completely mundane and relatively useless. She is called out on it by someone more knowledgeable about magical things.
- The non-fiction book by David Simon, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets mentions that detectives have to remind themselves to take their guns with them, as real life officer-involved shootings are a rare event.
- Subverted in The Silence of the Lambs. When Clarice Starling goes to see Dr. Lecter in Tennessee, she has to turn over her spare reloader for her revolver. When she's discovered and rushed out, she leaves her reloader behind. If you noticed this, then during her final confrontation with Buffalo Bill, you were expecting her to run low (or out) of bullets, look for her reloader and not find it, and have to defeat Buffalo Bill with just One Bullet Left or an empty gun. In fact, she finishes off Buffalo Bill with several shots and then reloads.
- Slightly different example in A Song of Ice and Fire. While a group of people are escaping from Ramsay Bolton, with a plan that requires them to climb down the castle wall with a rope, they get discovered, and one of them decides to pull a Heroic Sacrifice You Shall Not Pass on the guards chasing them to let the others escape. They go ahead and reach the top of the wall... only to realize that the person who stayed behind had the rope. Despite one of them bursting into hysterical laughter at the absurdity of it, this is very much Played for Drama.
- Played with in Mostly Harmless. Tricia Macmillian laments her boring life because a few years back she had the opportunity to go with a guy who was from another planet, but right after she went back for her bag, Zaphod left in his spaceship. She then used the mantra "Never go back for your bag." At the present time, she's running late for an interview as a prestigious anchor for a news program, and when she realizes she left her bag upstairs, doesn't bother to get it, citing her mantra. Later, she returns to her hotel room feeling horrible, having completely blown the interview, and goes straight for her bag, which has her contact lenses inside (without which made it impossible for her to read the teleprompter).
"As she dabbed each tiny plastic cup into her eyes, she reflected that if there was one thing life had taught her, it was that there are some times in which you do not go back for your bag and other times when you do. It had yet to teach her to distinguish between the two types of occasions."
- Discussed in How NOT to Write a Novel as a possible way to handle any situation where a reader might think, "Why doesn't the protagonist just whip out their cell phone and solve the problem with one call?" For example, having a character not have their phone on them because they were woken by a fire alarm and ran out of the house is completely believable.
- Ultraviolet: The protagonist rushes out to meet his Unrequited Love Interest, taking his pistol but forgetting the video camera attachment used to identify vampires. This causes problems when he starts suspecting she's a vampire, but has no means of verifying it.
- In the French-German mini-series Carlos, several French detectives go to question a "Peruvian playboy" photographed with a terrorist courier they've picked up for questioning. One detective goes to get his gun, but his commander tells him not to worry as it's just a routine checkup. Unfortunately the so-called playboy turns out to be the terrorist Carlos the Jackal.
- In the last episode of Blackadder the Third, Prince George is shot dead by the Duke of Wellington after a complicated switcheroo to avoid the prince being shot dead by Wellington. Moments later, the prince reveals that the bullet struck a cigarillo case he was holding over his heart, stopping the bullet. He then finds out that he left the case on his dresser, and promptly drops back dead.
- On Chuck when Sarah goes on a real date with Chuck she leaves her gun behind. They are then quickly captured by Michael Clarke Duncan and a bunch of mooks.
- In the second season of Breaking Bad, when Jesse and Walt are being targeted by the murderous drug lord Tuco, Walt takes Jesse's gun and instructs Jesse to leave town after a brief argument. Jesse, defenseless, is held at gunpoint by Tuco and forced to lure Walt outside his house. Walt leaves the gun behind, something that causes Jesse no end of consternation when he finds out.
- Parasite Eve has Aya go to confront the final boss right before another character would have given her the one weapon that could kill it. Since this character had a habit of giving Aya useless items there was no way for her to know that this one time, it was important.
- Shadowrun on the Sega Genesis has a double dose of this. The first quest in the game is to scrape together 250 nuyen so you can get your brother Michael's stuff out of storage - it may hold some clues as to why Michael was killed in a firefight. Once you get his stuff, you not only find a credstick for 500 nuyen, but also a Doc Wagon wrist band, which summons immediate medical aid once the user's vitals drop to dangerous levels (like during firefights.)
- One of the Treehouse of Horror specials of The Simpsons has a A Nightmare on Elm Street spoof with Groundskeeper Willie as Freddy Krueger. After the Simpsons kids kill the evil Willie in their dreams, they go outside and an alive-and-well Willie gets off a passing bus and approaches them menacingly — only to start chasing after the bus because he says he left his gun on it.
- On The Boondocks, the Freeman family goes to the movies and Huey brings along nunchucks because he expects it to be a disaster. Later on he runs into the ushers while on his way to destroy the movie, and he realizes that he left his nunchucks on the sink after using the bathroom.
- As Mia prepares to head to Centopia in episode 21 of season 1 of Mia and Me, the camera calls attention to the fact that Mia's friendship ring has been left inside one of the gloves she was using while helping out with gardening. Naturally, this ends up causing trouble when Mia gets separated from her friends due to strong winds, since not only does she not have the ring with her, but because she doesn't have it, Yuko and Mo can't use their own rings to find her either.