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Silent Credits
"Sometimes you have to show some depth."
"Do you think we should do that? Kill off Adric, roll the credits over silence?"
"It would certainly stop that bastard saying what the next programme is."
"No, it wouldn't. Nothing would stop that bastard. And even if it stopped the bastard on BBC Two, it'd never stop the bastard on Dave. He doesn't give a shit. As soon as he gets to the poppy bit of Blackadder Goes Forth, he's already split the screen and he's showing highlights of Frankie Boyle's nan-pussy set. In Memory of the Fallen(!)"

Sometimes, if an episode ends on a sad note or a major character is killed off (especially if the actor also died), the credits will roll without any sounds whatsoever, much less the music.

This is ruined whenever a broadcaster's continuity voiceover does a spiel over the credits, so as a result tends to be more effective on DVD releases.


Examples

Anime
  • The 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist had an episode where a character died, and the closing animation was replaced by credits on cards, with a military funeral march.
    • An Eye Catch version of this was done with ''Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: usually a man's voice will say "Fullmetal Alchemist!" in various tones over it. However, when Envy is killed off for good in episode 54, the Eye Catch has no voice over, just a picture of him.
    • This happens several other times with the Eye Catch as well late in the series; Fuu and Buccaneer are two other examples.
    • The 2003 anime had a silent next episode preview for the final episode following Ed's death, up until the very end, when Al yells out "BROTHER!"
  • The first episode of Ga-Rei Zero- ended with the entire cast for that episode dying. The credits roll with only the crackling of a fire.
  • A variant appears in Naruto, after The Third Hokage's death; the end theme plays just the same as normal, but the preview for the next episode is utterly silent, except for Itachi's narration.
  • The last episode of Angel Links, with the silence beginning just beforehand when the feather lands on Meifon. The ending theme, which usually begins playing right before the credits, starts but cuts out completely to indicate Meifon's death.
  • A variant appears in episode 24 of Neon Genesis Evangelion: after Kaworu is killed by Shinji, the credits roll with music alright... but this time, the vocals are missing. And this is the only credits sequence in the entire series without vocals.
    • Another version had the credits song removed from the end of the English voicetrack, resulting in the final credits after Asuka's "how disgusting" line rolling in complete silence. Creepy as hell.
  • GUN×SWORD has one of these right after Ray's death, with only the sound of wind chimes playing in the background.
  • Variation with the Series Finale of Soul Eater, where the title sequence is omitted entirely, with the opening credits silently playing over the opening moments of the Final Battle. The end credits are retained however, with a touching Last Episode Theme Reprise added in.
  • The 1977 Space Battleship Yamato film: The end credits begin with a card stating that Yamato returned to Earth in 2199 and Earth was restored to its original Beauty. It also states the number of crewmembers who died in action. The only background heard during the credits was Yamato's signature engine sound. This was repeated for Yamato: The New Voyage, although despite the loss of Starsha and Mamoru that wasn't a total downwer ending either as they gained baby Sasha, their daughter. But the spoken narration prior to the end credits stated that the Dark Nebula Empire may have been beaten this time, but the rest of them are still out there and planning their next move, though our heroes don't quite know it yet (They will find out in Be Forever Yamato). Final Yamato also has end credits but if one listens carefully, early into the credits, the Yamato theme song can be heard. But the majority of the credits are silent except for the sounds of waves.

Film
  • While Fantasia usually has no opening or closing credits, in the 1990 re-release, end credits were added showing footage of the intermission with altered sound (this was used to make it look like the show was over). After the curtains close (also have no sound effect), the credits continue rolling with no music or sound effects and eventually leads to a black screen (though some versions show the Walt Disney Pictures logo before blacking out).
  • Originally, the second half of the ending credits of La Bamba were shown in silence. later editions added a cover of "Come on, Let's Go"
  • In the infamous 1963 Coleman Francis film The Skydivers, which right after the downer ending has a rather grim end credits sequence with film footage of the various cast members set to complete silence. Is lampshaded by Crow ("Silently, dismally, the credits roll on.") in the show's MST3K episode.
  • Path to 9/11 had no music to its credits on either night of its original TV airing.
  • Partially done in Cloverfield. The credits roll silently for a minute and a half before launching into a large orchestrated piece title "Roar (Cloverfield Overture)".
    • Not entirely. Stomping sounds are faintly heard at least 30 seconds in, which gradually grow into the beginning of said piece.
  • Evita had no music over the end credits, which is unusual since it was based on a Broadway musical. However, later releases have added music.
  • After the track "Lux Aeterna", which started near the end of the movie, finishes, the credits of Requiem for a Dream have no background music for the rest of their duration. Instead, there is a two-minute track of seaside sound effects. Interestingly enough, said "music" is also on the soundtrack.
  • This would have been the case if the original ending of Clerks had been kept. In that ending, which can be seen on the 10th anniversary DVD, Dante is shot and presumably killed by a holdup man just as he is finishing up the day's paperwork. The credits then roll silently with the exception of the beeping sounds of a cash register ... which, with the added context, become surprisingly chilling.
  • The 1964 nuclear thriller Fail Safe featured no music. Credits rolled to the blended sounds of the engines of the Vindicator bombers and the crowd at the bullfight in Gen. Black's dream. These are gradually replaced with the sound of Ambassador Lentov's phone melting as New York City is destroyed. .
  • Bright Star ends with Ben Whishaw reciting Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" over the end credits, with no music.
  • Noise has this. It's really a jarring silence as the whole film's always has noise, even the "quiet" bits of the film aren't quiet, yet the credits are cut to black and complete silence.
  • Beneath The Planet Of The Apes — after Taylor detonates the nuke, Paul Frees narrates as the screen goes white: "In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe, lies a medium-sized star, and one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead." The screen then fades to black, and the credits roll in silence.
    • See also Planet of the Apes, which has one of the most famous silent end credits (except for the sound of waves crashing on the shore) as Taylor realises he's been on Earth all along.
  • Michael Haneke's Caché (AKA Hidden) has no musical score at all. The opening credits are a big block of text over a still scene (it's not until several minutes after they've ended that we get our first clue that this isn't a freeze-frame), and the end credits roll over a silent shot of Pierrot meeting Majid's son.
  • The credits for No Country for Old Men initially appear to be silent with only ambient noise, but said noise gradually evolves into a superbly chilling piece by Carter Burwell.
  • Annie Hall is probably one of the earliest (and best known) films to have silent credits.
  • The White Ribbon has no music or other sounds during the closing credits.
  • The end of the film adaptation to Cabaret features this.
  • The China Syndrome actually had an original score composed for it by Michael Small, but in post-production director James Bridges dropped more and more of it until he finally decided the movie played better with no music at all. Hence no music over the credits.
  • Targets has no musical score at all, and so the credits are an example of this, running over a shot of the murderer Thompson's car sitting abandoned in the otherwise empty drive-in theater parking lot.

Live-Action TV

  • Adam-12: The 1970 episode "Elegy for a Pig," which recounted the life of a police officer killed in action, ended with silent credits in lieu of the usual booming theme song. (The sound effects associated with the "Mark VII Limited" and Universal Studios vanity logos were kept intact.)
  • Adric's death in Doctor Who - the traditional starfield sequence of that time was replaced with a picture of his broken Mathematics badge (which was used to kill a Cyberman). One reviewer said that he never noticed the credits were silent - he was too busy laughing at the death of his most hated character. However, many others have commented that it made the episode more moving, and in recent years the closing of the episode has taken on "Rains of Castamere" significance among Whovians.
  • Grange Hill:
    • The death of Anthony Karamanopolis.
    • And that of Judi Jeffreys (well, not quite silent but with the fading sound of the fire alarm instead of the theme music).
  • The UK children's magazine programme Blue Peter did this whenever the studio pet cat or dog died, as well as when someone associated with the programme died, such as Percy Thrower in 1988.
  • The Downer Ending of Blake's 7 initially concludes this way, although the music fades up halfway through.
  • 24 has its silent clock ticks, mostly done when a major character dies. Most of these however have other sounds over them, there is a train whistle on the silent clock for Ryan Chappelle's death. Only one of these however was completely silent, the one done during the death of Edgar Stiles. Four of them were accompanied by music, which usually made it a Tear Jerker.
  • Farscape, after the apparent deaths of the two lead characters in the Season 4 finale (and, it was believed at the time, the end of the entire series)
  • For a non death-related example, one season finale of House had the music cut off just as House downed another pill. Cut to credits
  • Also unrelated to character death, credits roll free of music (with ambient sound effects) in season 2, episode 7 of Queer as Folk after Michael realizes he can't handle Ben's HIV-positive status.
    • And again in season 5, episode 10 after Babylon is blown up.
  • The final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth concluded with the deaths of the entire main cast, followed by no credits at all, just "BBC" and the year, after the agreement of everyone involved to forgo credit in order to preserve the effect of the ending.
  • The Sopranos did this for Adrianna's death and again in the finale, which ended with a cut to black and silence in the middle of a scene.
  • Six Feet Under, when David survives the carjacking and after Nate's death.
  • Although nobody died, silent credits were used to great effect in Roundhouse. Billy Anykid, when trying to avoid a confrontation calls out "Reprise the theme song and roll the credits" only to have everybody walk away from him in disgust, and the credits role silently as Billy looks around the now empty set.
    • This was done on the episode dealing with gang violence. Rather than a happy, dancing and singing finish, probably due to the seriousness of the subject matter, the credits were preempted by a serious write-up which concluded "Gang Violence is No Joke."
  • Every episode of LOST ends with the show's title accompanied by a percussive sound. However, for some sad endings, such as Sun crying at Jin's grave in "Ji Yeon," the sound is omitted.
    • The Grand Finale omitted the usual percussive sound and ominous end credits music. The network was even smart enough to not play ads or run a voiceover, instead showing images of the plane wreckage and playing the sound of waves lapping at the shore. Which some people interpreted to mean that everyone was dead the whole time, despite repeated Jossings to the contrary.
  • Mike Baldwin's death in Coronation Street was meant to be this, except the continuity announcer talked over it.
    • Until a few years ago, any episode of Corrie which ended with a death would have silent credits. This is no longer possible now that the broadcasters insist on shrinking the credit sequence into a corner of the screen and having the continuity announcer prattle on about what's coming next.
  • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Thaw" has one of the most artfully produced Silent Credits sequences you'll ever see: the surviving members of a civilzation are hooked to an adaptive computer life-support system, which manifests their fears in the form of a sadistic and violent Clown. When Janeway finds a way to access the system without actually entering the simulation, the Clown's reality (and the background audio) starts to fade as the hostages are disconnected one by one. The final exchange of words is beautiful in its simplicity, with the Clown uttering two memorable words: 'I'm afraid'. Janeway's sole response is a haunting, softly-whispered 'I know'.
    • And then the Clown mutters "Drat." as it fades to black.
  • On the final episode of the original version of Family Feud, after host Richard Dawson gave a famously touching farewell address, the closing credits, had no music, just the sound of the audience applauding, and announcer Gene Wood ending the show with "Thank you Richard, and Thank you America!"
  • A rare documentary example occurs in Jacob Bronowski's series The Ascent of Man. In episode 11, with some visual assistance from a fellow Pole, Bronowski contrasts the scientific assertion that knowledge can never be certain with the chilling certainities of political and religious dogma. At the end he gives a moving piece to camera while standing in the preserved Auschwitz concentration camp. The picture then dissolves to the Polish man, then to an earlier photo of the same man - his Auschwitz ID photo. The credits roll in silence.
  • Canada's Worst Driver had Silent Credits when Tom Stagno, brother-in-law to contestant Crystal, was killed in a car crash. Crystal was sent home out of sympathy.
  • The All in the Family episode "Archie is Branded", where a man from the Hebrew Defense League is blown up in his car ends this way.
  • The final episode of the second revival of Crossroads was intended to have Silent Credits, and like the Coronation Street example above, would have had it not been for the continuity announcer.
  • Game of Thrones has these in the episode "The Rains of Castamere," after the deaths of Robb, Talisa and Cat Stark at the Red Wedding.
  • The Newsroom did this in the second season episode "News Night with Will McAvoy", after Will tells Mac that his father has died before airing the Trayvon Martin correction.
  • Like the 1964 film version, the 2000 Made-for-TV Movie of Fail Safe has no music at all from beginning to end.
  • The BBC docudrama Threads, which ends with nearly all the main characters dead from the immediate or long-term effects of nuclear war. More than this, the show features teletype-style captions, accompanied by a characteristic sound. After the bombs fall, knocking out virtually all electronics, the teletype captions are silent.
  • Although the Made-for-TV Movie The UFO Incident does have music, it doesn't play over the end credits.
  • Some episodes of The Walking Dead use either silent credits, or a slower and more emotional piece of music instead of the usual theme, for episodes that feature major deaths and/or emotional developments.

Video Games
  • In Drakengard's final ending, after defeating the Cosmic Horror, the camera shows a shot of Caim and Red, when a missile suddenly appears from the left side of the screen and obliterates them both. Cue Silent Credits on grey sky.
  • Persona 4 pulls a different version. During the Bad Ending, instead of the full credits set to Never More, with a showcase of various game cutscenes, the game shows a sparse white-on-black partial credits roll, set to Corridor, a far quieter, more somber tune.
  • Done in BIT.TRIP FLUX, the final game of the series.
  • Conkers Bad Fur Day ends on a really bad note, after Conker comes to terms that he's now king of a country he doesn't want, surrounded by people he despises, and his girlfriend Berri is dead. The credits are silent save for a few melodramatic keys.
  • Partially done at the end of Red Dead Redemption: after Jack fulfilled his pointless vengeance, the credits roll normally with a melancholic song. After the song ends, they just go on, completely silently.

Web Animation

Web Original

Western Animation
  • South Park:
    • The episode "Free Willzyx" ended with the credits rolling over a shot of the eponymous dead orca whale on the moon and no music at all.
    • The episode "201" also features credits with no music at all. The scene is the same as above, except a dead Tom Cruise can also be seen lying next to the same orca whale.
      • The DVD release oddly adds the regular credits music and cuts back to the regular black background after a while.
    • In the episode "You're Getting Old", the credits are played briefly with silence.
  • The PJs lacked an ending theme, meaning this happened at the end of every episode (you wouldn't know it from the original network airings). This also carried over the logos, even that of Touchstone Television's (which has music on other shows).
  • The Family Guy episode "Brian and Stewie", which was an experimental episode with no music among other things, ended with this, though it was cut out when originally aired on FOX. When it re-aired on [adult swim] a week later, it was left intact.
  • The Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "Sharrock" had the credits (even the Williams Street logo) play in silence to honor the deceased musician Sonny Sharrock.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes had the episode "Michael Korvac", which is dedicated to writer/director Boyd Kirkland who died of a lung infection.

Opening Credits Cast PartyCredits TropesSpecial Thanks
Playing the Heart StringsScore and Music TropesSofter And Slower Cover
The Silent BobSilence TropesSilent Partner
Credits PushbackParatextCommercial Pop-Up
Sickbed SlayingDeath TropesSilent Scapegoat

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