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Money to Throw Away
"What's wrong? Even if it were not a monstrous sin to steal sacred property of Rome, you then ride through the streets on a litter, shouting and singing and broadcasting your theft to all and sundry."
Rome

A character has just acquired a vast sum of money. Maybe he won the lottery, inherited a fortune, or knocked over a bank. Instead of safely investing his newfound wealth, buying something nice, or doing anything even remotely useful with it, he instead goes riding down the street in a car, tossing handfuls of cash at anyone lucky enough to be walking by. Implies the character literally has more money than he knows what to do with.

A variation can happen in a Chase Scene, where a character throws out money for the crowd to block his pursuers.

If the story takes place before the automobile, he may instead be riding in a howdah and throwing out gold coins.

Compare Money to Burn.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Castle of Cagliostro opens with Lupin and Jigen robbing a Monte Carlo casino, only to throw it out onto the highway after they realize every bill they've stolen is counterfeit. It's implied by Jigen that they are still spendable but this is Lupin and Jigen we are talking about.
  • Used by Near to get away from a mob in Death Note. It's mentioned that this used up most of his funds, but it's not really important.
  • There was a Ghost in the Shell villain that used a gun that fired rolls of coins. She was a socialist making a political statement, intending to murder a stock market shark who used most of his profits to surround himself with gold bullion, thus intending to give him an ironic death.
  • Happened in manga and anime of Kochikame. Ryotsu manage to manipulate the bonus payroll system on the computer to give himself a ridiculous amount. Later while he's on pursuit by the police and local store-owners whom he owes money to, he throws some of his cash at the crowd to hold them off.
    • In other chapters, Ryotsu ends up losing his bonus pay or his get-rich-quick vendor profits whenever he gets into an accident which ends up losing his money to a crowd from a high place.
  • In A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun, Mikoto Misaka's signature Railgun attack has her use her electrical powers to propel a coin at several times the speed of sound. Of course, she can use anything made of metal for this, but coins are convenient.
  • In Kill la Kill, Kaneo Takarada's mooks wield machine guns that fire money.

    Comic Books 
  • The Joker does it in a Golden Age Batman story; throwing coins out of the back of a stolen armoured car and causing a horde of kids to run into the street and block the path of the Batmobile.
  • Scrooge McDuck once ran for town treasurer and reluctantly conceded he'd need to spend money to advertise his campaign. He then went to Donald's for suggestions but didn't find anyone there. Fearing someone might steal that money, Scrooge hid it at some vase, failing to realize it wasn't a vase but a tuba, and then left to look for Donald. Donald then returned and decided to play the tuba to advertise Scrooge's campaign, unknowingly throwing away the money. Well, it did bring voters. However, it was never mentioned in any story again.

    Film 
  • The first Batman movie.
    • Admittedly, it wasn't REAL money. It was just a ploy to get the residents of Gotham into the fresh air so the Joker could poison them all.
  • Used to distract the crowd at the club in The Mask.
  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones throws a handful of change at panhandlers mobbing him.
  • In The Three Musketeers (1993), the heroes use this ploy to block pursuers, after discovering a great deal of money in the Cardinal's carriage (which they appropriated).
  • A variant shows up at the end of one short from The Three Stooges, Sing a Song of Six Pants. They go through a wad of $100 bills, then come across a $50. 'Huh, who put that in there?' Shemp crumples it and tosses it aside, with Larry and Moe waving disdainfully. Then they remember what it really is.
  • Octopussy: After a wad of cash saves Bond from a dagger during a Chase Scene, he tosses the damaged dough aside, where it lands in a beggar's bowl. He finally evades his pursuers by throwing the rest of his gambling wins up in the air, causing the crowd to swarm across the road.
  • The title characters of Fun With Dick And Jane also create a distraction by throwing money. From the looks of it, several thousand dollars worth of money. Even their pursuers stop for a cash grab.
  • There's a bit in the movie of Minority Report where a psychic is guiding the main character as he's being pursued. They pass a homeless man, and the psychic says to scatter a few coins in front of him. Our hero does so, the homeless man bends over to pick them up, and their pursuers trip over him.
  • At the end of Reindeer Games, Ben Affleck's robber character puts most of the money he received from the Indian casino heist in the mailboxes of every house on his way to see his parents.
  • Babylon A.D.. Toorop is offered a million dollar cash bribe to abandon the women he's protecting. He's clearly tempted for a moment, then he knocks the bag in the air and uses the subsequent money scramble to escape with his clients.
  • In the 2006 French film The Tiger Brigades, Bonnot the anarchist scatters a sackful of government bonds to watching bystanders and tells them to help themselves. Not because his gang needs it to escape from the robbery they've just committed, but because he wants the officials to know he wasn't after the money, but after the ledger he pocketed - and also because he knows the bonds are actually worthless.
  • In the Louis de Funès movie La Folie des Grandeurs, the Villain Protagonist Don Salluste has just taxed a village dry, mostly in the form of coins and precious metal items. His manservant sabotages the carriage and tells the villagers to follow them, so that when Don Salluste helps himself to "his" share of the taxes and puts them in the back, they fall into the road.
  • In RoboCop 3, McDaggett throws money into the street, forcing RoboCop to stop his car to avoid hitting the children who run up to collect the money.

    Literature 
  • Done very well in the Roald Dahl novella "Henry Sugar", where the title character begins as an Upper-Class Twit but then studies for months and gains the ability to see through playing cards. While initially his interest in the skill was greed, after he breaks the bank at a casino, he starts throwing his winnings off his balcony into the street, realizing it has suddenly become meaningless. At this point, a police officer almost arrests him for creating a public nuisance and scolds him for wasting money that way, providing the impetus for Sugar to devote his life to philanthropy.
  • A hilarious scene from the Ross O Carroll Kelly novels has two young, rich snobs drive to a poor area of Dublin, throw ?10 notes out the window and yell "AFFLUENCE!", laughing at the locals scrambling for the cash.
  • In the book The Magic Christian (and the Film of the Book), incredibly rich Guy Grand builds a giant heated vat which he fills with many $100 bills— and also urine, excrement, and animal blood— and posts a sign saying "Free Money." Lots of people dive in in the movie, and it's implied they do in the book as well.
  • The book (and movies) Brewster's Millions uses this as an interesting plot point.
  • In Use of Weapons the protagonist does this to help establish his cover story/because he thinks it will be fun. We never quite find out.
  • In the Marcus Didius Falco series, Falco and his father are being pressured by All Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks to pay money owed by a deceased member of their family. The Falcos turn up at the loan shark's house banging cymbals and announcing loudly that they intend paying off the money in front of witnesses, then empty the coins onto the street, whereupon the loan sharks have to scramble to pick it up before the neighbours. In another book, it's mentioned how Nero would throw packages to the crowd during games, enjoying the greedy scramble as the audience fought for the prizes within. Two gladiator owners ended up becoming bitter rivals because one of them pushed aside his friend and grabbed the prize, which was the deed for an expensive villa.
  • In the Time Scout book, Wagers of Sin, Skeeter and Marcus need a distraction. It works.
  • In the Mistborn novels, one of the possible Allomantic powers is to throw their weight against that of a metal object at range. If the metal is heavier, or better secured to the ground, the Allomancer is pushed away. If the metal is lighter, or the Allomancer is better secured, the metal gets pushed away. There's a reason Allomancers who only have this power are called Coinshots.
  • In the short story "Journey to the Centre of Chaos" in Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 1, JimGrim creates a distraction in a crowded marketplace by tossing a handful of copper coins into the air and yelling "Gold!".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Jayne Cobb did this before he joined the crew on Firefly, when robbing a magistrate named Higgins. Thing is, he wanted to keep the cash, but after some antiaircraft fire, he had to lose some weight in his skiff, and he'd already tossed his partner overboard. The people in the city under him hailed him as a hero, of course.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Sisko, acting the part of a the "high roller" in a holographic casino heist, starts throwing money into the air in order to distract the mob goons onto the crew.
  • A variant of the chase scene version, in that it's not his money: The Doctor sonics a cash machine to spit out banknotes in order to create a distraction in "The Runaway Bride".
  • Bionic Woman (2007 remake). In "The List" Jaime is doing a Hostage for MacGuffin trade. She ends up hitting the Big Bad with a bag containing $8 million which bursts open, causing enough chaos for them to escape the sniper he's got them under. But they get $4 million back, "which means I got it for half price."
  • Parodied in The IT Crowd. Denham Reynholm wants to impress his associate by displaying a disregard for cash, but lacks any actual money to throw away, so he borrows a £20 note from Roy so he can defenestrate it.
  • In Brazilian soap opera Suave Veneno (Mild Poison), there was a young man who was about to become a millionaire because of a contract to play professional soccer. His father didn't even wait until the money came before throwing away cash. It bit him back when it was revealed the would-be-soccer star had a tumor that destroyed his career, nullifying the contract.
  • In Breaking Bad, Jesse, during a breakdown in which his house basically turned into a crack den, once tossed an armful of cash into the air for drug addicts to fight over. Later on, after he gets even more broken, he follows the exact trope description - throwing his drug money out of a car window, unable to bear what he did getting it.
  • CSI: New York: In "Brooklyn 'Til I Die", a man tosses handfuls of high value gambling chips into the crowd to create a distraction to allow him to escape the casino. This turns out to be part of a role-playing game.
  • Rome. Quintus Pompey and his men turn up at the house of Lucius Vorenus, demanding to know what he's done with the gold taken from Rome's treasury. Vorenus is quite truthfully denying he knows about any gold when Pullo turns up on a litter, dressed in fine clothes and tossing coins in the air. After sizing up the situation, Pullo tosses another handful of gold coins so Pompey's thugs start scrabbling for them, giving Vorenus the chance to pound Pompey's head into the table. When Pullo suggests they take the money and run, Vorenus has to point out that Pullo fullfiling this trope means that all of Rome knows that he has the money, so they'll never get away with it. Pullo then has to hand the gold over to Caesar.
  • In an episode of Southland, two cops have to chase a bank robber who is tossing handfuls of cash out behind him, which complicates the pursuit. It turns out he fully expected to get caught, but wanted to redistribute some the wealth before he was.
  • When Donald Trump bought WWE Raw he showered the crowd with hundred dollar bills.
  • Barney Miller: A man is arrested for throwing money out of his apartment window. He had won the lottery and was sick and tired of all the appeals for money he was getting so he decided to just thow it to the masses. During the same episode Barney is informed that his apartment building is going condo and has to either buy is apartment or move out. The perp tries to give him the money to buy, but Barney can't accept.

    Video Games 
  • SimCity 4 lets you live out this trope by driving down the streets in the mayoral limo, throwing money (straight from the public coffers) to boost your mayor rating.
  • Yoshimitsu (the Soul Series one) does this in some of his endings, but only to cover his escape.
  • Assassin's Creed II uses the Chase Scene variation. You can do this to distract the various peoples of the city, either to distract guards or to block a pursuer's path.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories has a mission where a woman hires you to destroy some armoured cars and the money within. Toni does question the waste before he goes for it though.
  • A variation in Touhou is Komachi, who uses coins as danmaku projectiles - and plenty of them. On one hand, as the immortal Ferrywoman of Gensokyo, she probably has an ample supply. On the other, she hardly ever works to collect them.
  • Samurai in Final Fantasy V can toss coins to deal damage, with higher number of gold thrown boosting damage accordingly. Most players tend to abuse this ability to easily kill the final boss, as by the final battle, they literally have no more need for money.
    • Other Final Fantasy games include a similar ability, though its usefulness varies. (For example, in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, while a Black Magic user can easily hit the initial damage cap at middling levels, Gil Toss fails to scratch 3000 at level 99, which is just sad.)
  • In Persona 4, the confusion status effect has a random chance of making a party member decide to "waste money". Which translates to throwing away a large chunk of your money (complete with an animation which surrounds them with bank notes). Oddly enough, monsters under the effect do the same thing (although not with your money, fortunatly).
  • In The Legend of Zelda for the NES, every use of the bow costs one Rupee. If you run out of Rupees, the bow is useless until you find more.
  • The Pay Day attack in Pokémon, which will net you extra Pokedollars (double or quintuple the user's level per use, depending on the generation) at the end of the battle.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • The episode "Joker's Millions." Hopefully most of the money Mistah J was tossing was the counterfeit stuff King Barlowe had tricked him with.
    • This also happens in "The Terrible Trio," with the wealthy trio throwing out the takings from their latest robbery to slow down the pursuing Batmobile.
  • In the second episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, "Terror on Dinosaur Island", Plastic Man bombards Gorilla Grodd's henchapes with the loot he's swallowed for safekeeping, by punching himself in the stomach and spitting it out.
  • Parodied on The Simpsons: Monty Burns, wanting to become popular, throws silver dollars at passersby, causing a lot of property damage and numerous injuries.
    • This is a parody of John D. Rockefeller who was probably best known in his later life for the practice of giving dimes to children wherever he went... including, canonically, Scrooge McDuck.
      • Scrooge got the coin rather roundabout way, though, and only after some heavy, honest labour.
      • And bringing this full circle, Abe Simpson. "So I ran out of the house with a big washtub and..."
    • Earlier in the same episode beloved billionaire Arthur Fortune tosses out dollars to the people at his mall grand opening
  • In Aladdin, when Aladdin becomes a prince, he throws out gold coins to the poor, since he was poor up until this point. He does this again at the beginning of Return of Jafar, though that wasn't his own money, he had just stolen it from a bunch of thieves.
  • An episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers had a greedy archeologist seeking a magical Egyptian ring that would awaken the Sphinx and reveal a massive treasure trove underneath it. He succeeds, and starts gleefuly pawing through the pile of thousands of diamonds... and one ruby. He says "How'd this get in here?" and throws it away.
  • In Hanna-Barbera's "Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey", there was a story where the King was rather unpopular and one of the title characters suggested throwing money away but the King quickly vetoed the idea.
  • A variation in the Garfield and Friends episode "Crime and Nourishment" where Garfield discovers a world of little green smurf like men who use Italian food as money and eat dollar bills for food. He's being chased by a mob of them and throws away the rest of his lasagna to slow them down.
  • In The Legend of Korra, Verrick tosses money out to distract guards while escaping the Northern Water Tribe.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Patty Hype", SpongeBob and Patrick earn so much money that they open a "Free Money" stand, where fish queue to receive bags of money. "I'm getting back in line!"

    Real Life 
  • A highway robber in 17th century got away from militia soldiers chasing him by throwing some of his coinage behind him. It proved a canny business expense as his pursuers stopped to pluck up the money and he got away.
  • In the 60's Abbie Hoffman and some associates got to the upper floor of the New York Stock Exchange and started throwing dollar bills onto the trading floor. They were trying to start a riot and make a statement about the country's obsession with money. In reality they quickly just got thrown out.

Money to BurnMoney TropesMorally Bankrupt Banker
Money to BurnLuxury TropesMundane Luxury
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