->''"[[TropeNamer Right on the tick!]] Amazing! Absolutely amazing!"''
-->-- '''Doc Brown''', ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII''

This trope is all about the association of important plot events with a specific time. This includes times which are linked to folklore, urban legend, or history, but this trope also applies to in-universe examples, ''if'' the time in question is given significance in-universe. Extraordinary events--both good and bad--may happen at a specific time, or that time may serve to remind characters (and the audience) of a significant event which has already happened.

Not all examples of attention paid to the time of day belong here. It's only RightOnTheTick if a) it has already been established in a work that this time is significant; and b) special attention is paid to the passage of time or the proximity of Time X. Such attention can include shots of or descriptions of watches or clock faces, but the significant time can also be indicated by tolling church bells or the chiming of a distant clock. For example, if you're watching a movie in which aliens attack only at 7:07 A.M., and the characters in the film keep watching the clock to see when the aliens will attack, that's an example of RightOnTheTick. If, on the other hand, the aliens' kill happens at a randomly chosen time, and the camera just happens to pan out and show us that Bob became breakfast at precisely 7:07 A.M., that may have dramatic significance, but it's not an example of this trope.

Subversions may include stories in which something which is supposed to happen at X o'clock either does not happen at all or happens at a different time.

Compare RaceAgainstTheClock. Contrast ClockDiscrepancy. See also WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve, a trope specifically about midnight. All examples related to midnight should be listed there rather than here. See also ExactTimeToFailure, which is about relative time rather than absolute. For other references to clocks or time, see StoppedClock or TwentyFourHourTropeClock. For a character who's determined to keep everyone on time, see ClockKing. Despite the name, has nothing to do with ''WesternAnimation/TheTick''.



* ''Manga/DeathNote'': Light is often shown watching the clock or his watch as he waits for the Death Note to take effect- most obviously in the case of Naomi, who fails to die on time, due to giving him a false name.
* ''Anime/GhostStories'': In the sports festival episode, it's predicted that Datto the ghost will kill the runner in the fourth lane at precisely 4:44 (at least in the gag dub). Apparently, this is his usual pattern of attack.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/TheExorcismOfEmilyRose'', 3:00 A.M. functioned as a significant time because of a legend which claims that 3:00 A.M. is the hour when evil has greater power, since it is the opposite of the time when Jesus Christ was believed to have been crucified (3:00 P.M.).
* The TropeNamer is ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII''. The original has the Hill Valley clock tower struck by lightning at precisely 10:04 P.M. on November 12, 1955. Doc then comments how the post office should be as efficient as the weather service in the future. This foreshadows the ending, when right after [[spoiler: the [=DeLorean=] is struck by lightning, a man from 1955 Western Union delivers a letter from 1885 to Marty,]] which was instructed to be delivered not only at an exact time, but at an exact location.
* The first half of ''Film/IndependenceDay'' has Goldblum's character David intercepts a signal that the alien cruisers are preparing to attack all major cities at once at a specific time, identified by a countdown timer. And exactly that happens.
* ''Film/HighNoon'' makes heavy use of this trope, constantly reminding the viewers of how fast the noon hour is approaching.
* In ''Film/DuckSoup,'' President Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) is supposed to turn up when the clock strikes ten. Subverted for laughs as he sneaks in from the back using a fireman's pole.
* In an interesting variation, at one point during the torture of John Cusack's character by the "evil room" in ''Film/FourteenOhEight'', the clock radio starts a 60 minute countdown. The movie ends precisely 60 minutes later, to the second.
* In ''Film/MidnightInParis'', the mysterious TimeTravel vehicle always arrives at a particular street-corner at precisely midnight. Gil ''just'' misses [[spoiler:bringing his fiance Inez along for the ride]] by getting his timing wrong.
* The indie film ''Clockwatchers'' featuring four office temps doing ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.
* ''Film/NickOfTime'' has Gene Watson (played by Creator/JohnnyDepp) [[LeonineContract being forced]] to kill someone within a certain time limit or his [[IHaveYourWife daughter will be killed.]] The entire film takes place in RealTime, with many shots showing clocks or watches with the current time as the film progresses.
* ''Film/CampNowhere'''s titular summer camp has a daily 5:15 flyby from jets stationed at a nearby Air Force base. A minor character mentions that it's missed when it doesn't happen, and its timing later becomes plot-crucial.

* In the urban legend 11:11, this is the time at which a high school couple were killed in a car accident on their way home from the dance. According to the story, all the teens still at the dance paused and noticed that time (without realizing the significance of it)--and now you, the listener, will remember it too.
* In another urban legend, at exactly 20 minutes past the hour, an inexplicable silence will (allegedly) fall over any conversation or crowded room.
* And then there's [[http://www.snopes.com/language/stories/420.asp 420]], as explained by ''{{WebSite/Snopes}}''.

* In ''Literature/OliverTwist'', 8:00 A.M. has special significance because it is the hour when prisoners were executed. Nancy thus pays attention to the chiming of the clock when it strikes eight.
* Dorothy Sayers' ''Busman's Honeymoon'' also references the 8:00 A.M. execution time; at the end of the book, LordPeterWimsey [[spoiler: falls apart at 8 A.M., because he knows that the criminal he helped catch and convict is being executed]].
* Subverted in ''Literature/AChristmasCarol'': Jacob Marley's ghost tells Scrooge that the Three Spirits will arrive at specific times on three consecutive nights. The spirits do show up right on time, except that due to some supernatural time-twisting, all of their visits occur on the SAME night--Christmas Eve--meaning that Scrooge wakes up in time to celebrate Christmas.
* In Creator/JulesVerne's ''AroundTheWorldInEightyDays'', Fogg's bet specifies that he must complete his travels in precisely that amount of time, and that he will lose the bet if he gets back to the club to declare his success even one second later than 5:00 pm on the 80th day, no matter how much earlier than that he got back to London. Time zones come into play in the resolution.
* Played with in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''. In ''Discworld/WitchesAbroad'', the villain is trying to make a Cinderella-type story happen and the witches have to stop it, so one thing Nanny Ogg does is mess with the clock so it strikes midnight at only half past nine.
** In ''Discworld/ReaperMan'', Death knows his replacement the New Death will only attack at midnight - there's no ''reason'' why he couldn't do it earlier, but he's the type to use [[AC:Drama]] like that.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Mash}}'': 5 O'Clock Charlie is the camp's nickname for a North Korean pilot who comes by every day at exactly 5 PM to strafe the camp - or at least he would if he wasn't such a bad shot.
* Some of the music from ''TheDrewCareyShow'' references this trope: In "5 O'Clock World," a guy drudges all day until 5 and then he starts to live, and at the top of the DC version of "Cleveland Rocks" everyone's watching the clock for 5 so they can run out.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode "Frontierland", Dean has to defeat a phoenix in a Wild West gunfight by high noon. ItMakesSenseInContext. This trope is invoked through the use of clocks and watches.
* During the initial retreat in the ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'' reboot, the Cylons caught up with the Colonial fleet every 33 minutes on the nose. By 200+ repeats of this, the crew had set up a timer on the command deck to eye nervously.
* ''Series/KyoryuSentaiZyuranger'': During [[SixthRanger Burai]]'s last two episodes there are several shots focusing on clocks, to emphasize that his [[LivingOnBorrowedTime borrowed time]] is running out. It runs out on precisely the stroke of two, leaving him to die.

* In the song "The Clockmaker's Apprentice" by ClockworkQuartet, [[VillainProtagonist the narrator]] reveals that he has rigged the pocketwatch to [[spoiler: explode, killing the owner]] at precisely 6:00.

* The title of Sarah Kane's play ''4.48 Psychosis'' reportedly derives from the time (4:48AM) when the playwright, in her depressed state, often woke. In the play, the main character says multiple times that she will kill herself at 4:48.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'', the world ends at exactly 6:00 A.M. on the fourth day unless Link does something about it.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TwelveOunceMouse'', the Clock is always frozen at 2:22. One GainaxEnding later, it ticks over to 2:23.
* "One Minute 'Till Three" from ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'' (specifically from the ThreeShorts episode "Best O' Plucky Duck Day") has Plucky [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin waiting for 3:00]] (the dismissal time for school) while Granny is giving the class essays. To make things [[TheChewToy even more agonizing for Plucky]], the clock has a tendency to run backwards.
** And in ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventuresHowISpentMyVacation'' there's a song about waiting for the tick at the start of the movie.
* In ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest'', the entire class is waiting for the bell to ring and is intently watching the clock's minute hand to reach twelve. When the bell rings, Johnny screams "IT'S SUMMER VACATION!" and the entire class runs out. [[SubvertedTrope The bell, however, was for first period.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' has two examples. "Speed Demon" has Buttercup impatiently eyeing the clock to hit the dismissal time. "Him Diddle Riddle" is unusual in that the entire episode elapses in real time, with the tower clock in downtown ticking off time as the girls race to solve Him's riddles.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'':
** In episode [[Recap/BatmanTheAnimatedSeriesE25TheClockKing "The Clock King"]] this trope is justified. A ScheduleFanatic has been ruined by Mayor Hill for and advice to take his coffee break at 3:15. Exactly 7 years later, the villain prepares a [[ComplexityAddiction complicated]] DeathTrap for Hill and a diversion for the local hero Batman who surely will try to stop him. [[WhyDontYaJustShootHim Why doesnt he just shoot Mayor Hill?]] Because his whole motivation is to be ''on time.'' He ties Hill to the hands of a ClockTower that will crush him at 3:15. ''Hill's death is not enough, it has to be Right On The Tick.''
-->'''The Clock King:''' ...you have an appointment to keep at 3:15 precisely with the grim reaper! (''{{evil laugh}}'')
** [[Recap/BatmanTheAnimatedSeriesE26AppointmentInCrimeAlley "Appointment in Crime Alley"]] has Batman trying to find and defuse explosives that have been set by Roland Dagget to level the old neighborhood at exactly 9:00 while he's speaking at a business meeting.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* At 22:00 sharp, each and every evening, students in the Flogsta student housing in Uppsala, Sweden, go to their windows and out on their balconies and scream and shout at the top of their lungs. This phenomenon is called Flogstavrålet, or the Flogsta scream. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVMeTbuQkjY Listen for yourselves]]. This has been going on since at least the 1970s.