->''"Don't think I'm alive because I'm narrating. Haven't you seen ''Film/SinCity''? ''Film/AmericanBeauty''? ''Film/SunsetBoulevard''?"''
-->-- '''Dave''', ''Film/KickAss''
%% One quote per page, please. Additional quotes can go on the Quotes tab.

Occasionally, in watching a show or film that features a narration in voice over, you find that the narration is ''not'' because the writers got too lazy to show what's happening, but because they want to present you with the odd phenomenon of a deceased character telling you the story. There's no explanation given for why or how this character can tell the story in question, or whom he's telling it to; we don't see him (assuming it's him) as a ghost, or as a character writing or speaking his last words. He's just a very talkative voice that happens to belong to [[PosthumousCharacter a character who doesn't survive the movie]].

Being a {{death trope|s}} and all, there are going to be unmarked spoilers below. You have been warned.

See also DeadAllAlong and DeadToBeginWith.

[[AC:Narrating the events leading up to their death]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* A few ''ComicBook/SinCity'' stories do this.
* Clementine does this in ''ComicBook/BlueIsTheWarmestColour'' through her {{Diary}}.

[[folder: Film]]
* The narrator of the film ''Film/AmericanBeauty'', who comes right out and tells us that we're going to see him die at some point.
* ''Film/SunsetBoulevard'' actually ''starts'' with William Holden's death; he tells us his story in {{Flashback}}.
* ''Film/InBruges'', possibly. It's intentionally not left very clear whether the main character lives or dies, last we see him his is in critical condition begging in narration to live, while everything goes black...
* ''Film/{{Casino}}'':
** Interesting variation. Joe Pesci's character narrates much of the film - not aware that his character is going to get whacked - and the second his character ''does'', the narration gags violently and ends - leaving the audience wondering just who the hell he was talking to.
** Also subverted: [[spoiler:The main character is shown dying in a car bomb at the start of the film, but it is later discovered that he escaped with his life.]]
* Another interesting variation in the movie ''Film/{{Fallen}}''; the narrator isn't dead, but he ''is'' NotHimself.
* Brazilian movie ''Redentor'' opens with the protagonist lying among rubble as he narrates - though you don't know he's dead [[HowWeGotHere until the narrative eventually reaches that scene]]. Considering his ghost emerges from his body shortly later, it avoids the "no explanation given" part.
* Both Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson's characters from ''Film/TheBucketList''.
* Danny Devito's character from ''Film/LAConfidential''.
* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}. The movie starts off with the main character falling to his death, and almost everything after that is his life flashing before his eyes. When the flashbacks catch up to the present, he seems completely willing to die.
-->'''Megamind:''' ''So, this is how it ends. Normally, I'd chalk this up to my last, glorious failure...[[spoiler:but not today!]]"
* Toorop states at the beginning of ''Film/BabylonAD'' that he's going to die, and we see it happen. Flashback to a week earlier. [[spoiler:Subverted as it turns out he's revived after being shot through the heart, and the other two protagonists are killed instead.]]
* Played with in ''Film/ReversalOfFortune''; Sunny Von Bulow isn't dead, but she's in a coma.
* Looper. The audience doesn't find out the trope is in play until the very end though.

* Tie-in novel ''{{Halo}}: The Flood'' features this, mainly as a way for the reader to get information about a battle [[UndeadAuthor that no one actually survived]].
* The whole ''point'', played for laughs, of Creator/ShelSilverstein's poem "True Story."
* In PiersAnthony's ''Bio of a Space Tyrant'' series, which is presented as being the title character's memoirs edited for publication by his daughter, the final chapter of the last book rather unexpectedly ends with his death, which he narrates in detail. This is followed by an afterword by the daughter, which is mostly a WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue but also explains that he did write most of the memoir while he was alive, leaving it off just before he embarked on the journey on which he died, and that after she began editing the manuscript, she found the final chapter on her desk one morning, rather spookily written in her own handwriting...
* The Brazilian novel ''The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas'' (also known in English as ''Epitaph of a Small Winner'') by Creator/MachadoDeAssis, which the protagonist opens by dedicating "to the first worm who eats my corpse". (and [[FollowTheLeader in the trend]] set by ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudiceAndZombies'', received the version ''[[EverythingsDeaderWithZombies Undead Memoirs of Brás Cubas]]'')
* In ''Literature/TheBookOfSkulls'' by Creator/RobertSilverberg, two of the four narrators are dead by the end of the story, yet they still narrate the events leading up to their death, leaving the reader wondering who it is to whom they were actually talking.
* A Russian book ''We were executed in 1942'' is narrated from the point of Soviet soldiers [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin who were executed in 1942]].
* In Creator/NickPerumov's books, '''most''' of the narrating characters die later in the book.
* ''Everybody'' in Edgar Lee Masters' ''Spoon River Anthology'' is dead: each character speaks up from the grave. However, while the characters appear to have some awareness of what's happening immediately on or around their graves, they don't communicate with each other.
* ''TheArtOfRacingInTheRain'' is told by a dog who dies at the end.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Subverted in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' 2-part season finale "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday": Rose Tyler begins each part saying "This is the story of how I died"...only it turns out she was merely trapped in a parallel universe while being declared dead in her own. Since she is separated from the Doctor forever though, this could have [[FauxSymbolism more than one meaning]]...
* Played straight in the final episode of ''Series/DoctorWhoConfidential'', in a section called "River Song's Story" -- River Song sums up the events of her life [[TimeyWimeyBall in the order she experiences them, as opposed to the order the viewers saw them]], up to and including her death. Justified in that her consciousness was subsequently saved in a computer, and it's that version of her narrating the story, post-[[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E9ForestOfTheDead "Forest of the Dead"]]. We see her telling the end of the story at the end of that episode.
* Subverted in an episode of the sitcom ''Series/{{Wings}}''. An episode opens with Joe face down in a pool in a shot intentionally reminiscent of the opening of ''Film/SunsetBoulevard'', with a voiceover from Joe telling us that he's going to show us how he got there. At the end of the episode (Part I of a two-parter where Joe leaves Sandpiper Air and Brian, Lowell and Helen have to figure out how to track him down and convince him to come back) it's revealed that he was face down in the pool because he was setting a new breathholding record at a wild party.
* In the ''Series/TalesFromTheCrypt'' episode "The Man Who Was Death", the protagonist's final narration is heard immediately after his [[DeathByIrony death by electric chair]]. For extra irony, he is telling his imaginary audience that didn't he have his head shaved to prevent it from catching on fire during the execution because he's confident that the governor will grant him a reprieve. Meanwhile, his head is starting to smoulder.

[[folder: Manga and Anime]]
* ''GraveOfTheFireflies''. "September 21st, 1945... That was the night I died."
* At the beginning of ''{{Bokurano}}'' one of the characters is monologuing, presumably having seen the events of the series already. The character is [[spoiler:Waku, who died in the second episode]].

[[folder: Music]]
* The narrator in "Raw Deal" by Music/JudasPriest, a gay man describing the last moments of his life before being murdered by thugs in a bar.
* The narrator in NeilYoung's "Powderfinger" is a young man trying to defend his home in an unnamed war. It's revealed at the end of the song that he's killed before he gets off a single shot.
* The cowboy narrator of "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIHRgisdbeY El Paso]]" by Music/MartyRobbins. The ending is quite heartbreaking.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Uriel Septim in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion''. He even {{lampshades}} his own death.
* Subverted in the opening narration of VideoGame/DiscworldNoir. [[spoiler:Turns out he was NotQuiteDead.]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'': Vanille. [[spoiler:Note that she was in fact put into crystal stasis, which is considered equivalent to death by most people in-game. Doesn't stop her from making an (albeit brief) appearance in the sequel.]]
--> "The thirteen days after we awoke were the beginning... of the end."
* ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'', if the loading screen quotes count as narration. Doesn't matter if it's the main game or either of the Burial at Sea episodes.

* ''Webcomic/SoreThumbs'' lampshades it in [[http://sorethumbs.keenspot.com/d/20050427.html one story arc]], which has a narrator who tells us up front that he's dead and talking to us from Heaven. [[spoiler:We never found out which character he was, and everybody who wasn't a main character wound up dead.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'': [[spoiler: X-9]] in the Tale of X-9 Film-noir episode.
* Similar to the ''Series/{{Wings}}'' example above, the ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' episode "Star Trek" (nothing to do with the Franchise/{{s|tarTrek}}how, for once) starts in the FilmNoir-style with Steve lying facedown in a pool of cherry jello. Steve narrates how he became an accomplished children's book writer by writing a book making fun of Roger. He gets everything he wants, including a giant mansion and a pool of jello. There's also a movie that is going to be filmed based on his book. Then it turns out that the person in the pool was actually an actor who was supposed to be playing Steve in the movie accidentally killed by Roger (he wanted to kill Steve). The episode ends with Stan helping Steve dump the body in a lake. Steve admits this was "kind of a screw to the audience" and apologizes for it.

[[AC:Narrating the events ''following'' their death]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Simon, the SacrificialLamb in ''ComicBook/{{Gear}}'' gets a brief monologue after he dies. Interestingly, the comic shows far more of his personality here than it did when he was alive.
* Johnny Seaview provides a posthumous narration describing [[Series/DoctorWho the Doctor]] investigating his murder in the comic strip "The Deep Hereafter" in ''Magazine/DoctorWhoMagazine''.

* In ''Film/TheGreyZone'', the girl who survived the gas chamber and was executed narrates the results of the Auschwitz uprising.
* In ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'', the ending monologue is given by [[spoiler:Spock]] after his death. Of course, what the audience doesn't know is that he's OnlyMostlyDead.
* Jimmy's brother rises from the ground to give an introductory monologue in ''Film/TwoHands''.

* In ''Literature/{{Galapagos}}'', the entire story is narrated a million years after the fact by the ghost of someone who died back in 1986.
* [[spoiler:Rachel]] in the final ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' book, which was a little weird because the books had previously emphasized the DirectLineToTheAuthor trope, and there wasn't an explanation for how she could continue to record her thoughts [[spoiler:as she died on an enemy spaceship.]]
* Susie Salmon in ''Literature/TheLovelyBones'', who also does a little narration before her death.
* In Creator/DouglasCoupland's ''Girlfriend In A Coma'', Jared - who died of cancer while still in his teens - is the narrator for most of the book, although Richard narrates most of the first part.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Mary-Alice Young, the narrator of ''Series/DesperateHousewives'', died in the opening of the pilot episode.
** ''MachinimaTheStrangerhood'' explicitly parodied this:
--->'''Wade:''' But didn't you, like, die and stuff in the last episode?\\
'''Nikki (voice over):''' "It's called artistic licence, you loser!"

* The song "Passage" by Music/ViennaTeng is told from the point of view of a young woman killed in a car accident as she describes moments from the lives of her loved ones as they move on.
* "Hurt" by Music/NineInchNails, arguably. The fact that only after the character's death can he see how wrong he was is utterly heartbreaking.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* [[spoiler: Martin Septim]] in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]''. Made more weird by the fact that he [[spoiler: turned into a dragon.]]
* In the ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' DLC Honest Hearts, Jed Masterson also does the closing narration, even though he died at the very start of the tale.
** This can also happen with various major characters in the main game and all DLC. ''If'' they die, of course.
** ''Dead Money'' zigzags this; Elijah narrates the ending despite his mandatory death, while the companion characters will only take part in the narration if all of them survive.
* Double subverted (?) in ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime'' where The Prince would say this didn't happen even though he's narrating over his death in game. [[ThatDidntHappen "No, wait, that's not right, I didn't die..."]]
* Some versions of ''Videogame/AloneInTheDark1992'' include a walkthrough written as it was a guide written by Derceto owner after his suicide.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Stinkmeaner from ''TheBoondocks'' narrates several times throughout "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy", even [[InteractiveNarrator interrupting Huey at one point]].

[[AC:Narrating the events both before and after their death]]

* In the beginning of a 1970s British farm safety PSA, a boy playing outside with his friends narrates that his family is preparing a "dinner party". At the end, it's revealed that the "dinner party" is actually his funeral.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Jackie in ''ComicBook/TheDarkness'', who [[UnexplainedRecovery gets better]]. [[spoiler:Twice.]]

* [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/109581/1/i-did-not-want-to-die/i-did-not-want-to-die I Did Not Want To Die]]

* Ed in one of the "Plot-Hole" featurettes on the ''Film/ShaunOfTheDead'' DVD. He gives voice-over narration about how he died and turned into a zombie, but he speaks articulately. He doesn't grunt incomprehensively like his zombie form does at the end of the actual movie.
* In ''TheBucketList'', the opening narration [[spoiler:makes it look like Carter outlives Edward. It's actually the other way around.]]
* In the Russian film ''Zvezda (The Star)'', the captain who sent titular scout unit to their deaths narrates the result of their sacrifice at the end of the film. Then he mentions that he also died later in the war.
* The main action of the much-maligned PIF ''Film/{{Apaches}}'' is intercut with scenes of preparation for a tea party, commented on by the film’s young narrator, Danny. At the end, the party is revealed to be Danny’s funeral wake. "I wish I was there...honest."
* The main character of ''StruckByLightning'' dies in the first scene. The majority of the film is an extended flashback of his life.

* Bibi Chen in ''Saving Fish From Drowning''. She mostly narrates the events after her death, but also flashbacks to her childhood and events some time before her death. She doesn't get around to narrating her own death until the very end of the book, because she herself has no idea how she died.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' is always narrated from the first person, so in ''Ghost Story'' [[spoiler:which takes place after Harry's death in ''Changes'']], Harry Dresden narrates it while dead as a ghost. [[spoiler: He's revived.]]
* In a Poem Within A Book example, "The Legion's Pride", recited by a soldier in ''[[Literature/LordDarcy A Study In Sorcery]]'', is couched as a posthumous declaration by another [[AlternateHistory Anglo-French]] soldier, who'd died during a peacekeeping mission to avert conflict between rival German baronies.
* In an oddly justified example, the story of ''The Children's Hospital'' by Chris Adrian is told by "the recording angel," a being required to observe and record in exact detail TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt and the life of a woman (our protagonist) who will play a key role in it, from her birth to her death. Said recording angel just happens to be what is left of the main protagonist's older brother, who committed suicide as a teenager, several years before the events of the book. In the midst of the story, he occasionally cuts back to a childhood memory of himself and the protagonist, although he never refers to the brother in the first person in these scenes.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The episode "Random Shoes" from ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' does exactly this, with the events after Eugene's death being narrated by Eugene as they are figured out in the present. Massively confusing, but very interesting.
* The murder victims in every episode of ''Series/TheForgotten'' narrate their own identification and the efforts to find their killer.
* Augustus Hill in ''Series/{{Oz}}'' does his [[LemonyNarrator odd narrations]] throughout the series. [[spoiler:He's killed in the Season 5 finale.]]
** Various dead inmates took their turn at narration in the last season.
* The Creator/InvestigationDiscovery series "Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets" uses this as its basic premise: each episode has the victim of a RealLife crime narrating the circumstances surrounding their murder.

[[folder:Manga and Animation]]
* In ''Manga/DeathNote'', L does this in the opening to the second Re-Light Special: "L's Successors".
** [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] in the same special with Watari. He shows up during these segments, but he merely acts as an announcer/human title card. He does not talk about his own death or any other events of the film.
* Well, you can say that in a way, Kirie Goshima of ''Manga/{{Uzumaki}}'' [[FateWorseThanDeath isn't really dead...]]
* In ''Anime/{{Windaria}}'', the story begins at Alan's funeral and is told by him after his soul has left his body.

* "Tonight Is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel" by the Music/BarenakedLadies. Just think about that title for a minute.
* "Long Black Veil", originally by Lefty Frizzell and later covered by Music/TheBand among others, has the singer telling how he came to be hanged, and why a woman secretly mourns for him.
* The narrator in Music/WeirdAlYankovic's "Melody" describes how his obsessive stalking of the eponymous woman finally led him to jump to his death from a sixteenth story window.

* In ''Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World'', Musa's roommate Abdallah died in a ferry accident during his pilgrimage to Mecca, and narrates during scene transitions.
* In ''On a Clear Day You Can See Forever'', Daisy's recollections of her past life as Melinda Welles include a memory of her own funeral.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheTwoThrones'', the rescued Empress of Time is the narrator and dies at the end of the tutorial section of the game, which doesn't prevent her from continuing the narration. Given her mystical nature as the incarnation of Time, it is at least partially justified.
** After the BigBad is defeated, she shows up in the form of the Sands of Time and leaves for another world. Given that she ''is'' the Sands, it makes sense that she was simply trapped inside the BigBad.
* In ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresII's'' Joan of Arc campaign, the main narrator is a French nobleman. In the last mission, where he can be controlled as a hero unit, he states the possibility that he could die in the battle, and if he is killed, he says "It is here... that my tale shall end." After the player wins the mission, he continues narrating regardless of whether he survives or dies, and refers to Joan's being canonized as a saint, which happened in 1920, long after he died.
* May happen in {{Fahrenheit}} [[spoiler: after Lucas dies]] if you make the wrong choice
** [[NonstandardGameOver "...and that's how my story ends"]]
* ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'' includes this line in the opening: "I am Dr. Edward Roivas. I am a clinical psychologist. I am also dead."
* In ''VideoGame/NarutoShippudenUltimateNinjaStormGenerations'', the narrator is Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage, who died fairly early on in the series. He talks about his own funeral too.
* A variation in ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'': Ambassador Spock was thrown into the past of an AlternateUniverse rather than killed, though anyone in the prime universe where the game is set would assume that he has been dead for many years and he certainly would have no knowledge of the goings-on of the game's universe after he left it. Nonetheless, the Ambassador provides substantial narration to explain events that occurred long after he vanished.
* In ''OracleOfTao'', Ambrosia narrates starting with a story from her parents, [[GenerationalSaga then continues after her child is born, up to her daughter's adulthood]] and her death, then talks about her afterlife. Apparently, she's [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall addressing the player]], not anyone in-game.

* The College Humor video "Every Teen Movie Ending" utilizes this trope. After the narrator explains what happened to his friends following graduation, he notes that he really misses them and that it's "too bad I drowned in a pool when I was eight."

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'', Flynn Rider starts out narrating the film with "This is the story of how I died." [[spoiler:He did. But he got better.]]