There's No Place Like Home
"East, west — home's best."When a character's major, overriding goal - one that takes priority over all others - is to go home again. "Home" can be as specific as the character's house, or as general as his/her home planet. Usually comes as a result of being Trapped in Another World, going Down the Rabbit Hole, or being a Fish out of Water. Sometimes leads to The Homeward Journey. As a part of a Downer or Bittersweet Ending, the character may find that he/she can't go home again. Or maybe they go home, only to find that it really doesn't feel like home anymore. In a happier variant of that ending, the character can go home but chooses to stay, or discovers a new home that is as good as, or better than the original. If the protagonist is a pet animal, see Tropey Come Home. This is what forms the backbone of Plot #4: Voyage and Return. For a similar concept that follows Plot #1: The Quest, see The Homeward Journey.
open/close all folders
- The heroes' goal in Secret Wars.
- This was the entire raison d'etre of the DC Comics villain Superboy-Prime - to return to his homeworld of Earth-Prime (aka our earth), where super-beings only exist in comic books. (Of course, once he gets there, he discovers that his parents and girlfriend have been following his exploits in those comic books - including the tortures, mutilations, and twelve-digit body-count that he racked up. Not exactly a hugs-and-happiness homecoming.)
- Quoted word-for-word in Gotham City Sirens; Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Catwoman have all gone their separate ways for Christmas, going back to the only places that could even tenuously be called "home" for any of them (Ivy to the rainforest, Catwoman to Wayne Manor, and Harley to her actual birth-home, complete with biological family). They each view these places with different levels of fondness, Ivy loves the forest, Catwoman tenderly reminisces about who used to live in the Manor, and Harley is completely and finally fed up with her family, but they all leave these places and return to their shared apartment to spend the rest of the holiday together since "there's no place like home."
Film - Animated
Film - Live Action
- The Wizard of Oz and the book it was adapted from. In the movie, Dorothy taps her ruby slippers and utters, "There's no place like home!"
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: E.T. arrives on Earth and needs to go back home. He expresses this in his Signature Line "E.T. phone home."
- The ultimate goal of Maximus in Gladiator.
- In Labyrinth, it's rescue Toby, THEN get home.
- Flynn in TRON.
- Heartbreakingly invoked in Forrest Gump. During the Vietnam War, Forrest befriends Bubba, a man who loves to go shrimp fishing and plans on buying a boat to do so once the conflict ends. When Bubba is shot and lies dying in front of Forrest, he says his last words, which reflect what every soldier really thinks about overseas:
Bubba: I wanna go home...
- In Big, Josh, who undergoes an Overnight Age-Up, has this has a twofold goal: first, find the magical fortune-telling machine that transformed him, then get back to his childhood home.
- Nerd joke: "There's no place like 127.0.0.1."note
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz puts Dorothy on The Homeward Journey, but near the end of the book, Glinda tells Dorothy about the Silver Shoes. "All you have to do is to knock the heels together three times and command the shoes to carry you wherever you wish to go." So Dorothy declares her desire, saying, "Take me home to Aunt Em!"
- Dorothy practically uses this trope's exact name during a conversation with the Scarecrow:
Scarecrow: I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas.
Dorothy: That is because you have no brains. No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.
- Dorothy practically uses this trope's exact name during a conversation with the Scarecrow:
- In The Odyssey, the protagonist has been unable to return home to Ithaca for 20 years of warfare and increasingly lonely wandering. Even when the goddess Calypso wants to make him her immortal sex buddy, all he wants is to see his mortal family again.
- Referenced in a well-known sonnet from the collection Les Regrets by Joachim du Bellay (1525-1560), who felt homesick for France while serving as a cardinal's secretary in Rome: "The seat my fathers built pleases me more than the Roman palaces with their bold front, more than hard marble I like the fine shale, more the Gallic Loire than the Latin Tiber, more my little Liré than the Palatine Mount, more than the sea breeze I like the Angevin sweetness." The opening words, Heureux, qui comme Ulysse ("Happy (is he), who like Ulysses") have also been used as as the title of a film starring Fernandel, who takes an old horse to the Camargue to set it free.
- Another Neil Gaiman novel, Neverwhere, also uses this.
- In The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, Ford Prefect uses this as a method of coercion: "In moments of great stress, every life form that exists gives out a tiny subliminal signal. This signal simply communicates an exact and almost pathetic sense of how far that being is from the place of his birth." Ford hits the barman with an "incomprehensible sense of distance" and very much gets his point across.
- This is Bobby Pendragon's original motive upon learning he was a Traveler. This changes about a third of the way through the series.
- A World Without Heroes follows the story of the main character, Jason, who is doing everything in his powers to get home.
- Older Than Dirt: In the Ancient Egyptian Tale of Sinuhe, the main character goes into self-imposed exile from Egypt during a time of political upheaval and ends up settling somewhere in the Levant. He becomes quite wealthy and starts a family, yet unhesitatingly jumps for it when offered the opportunity to return to Egypt. It wasn't just a question of living the rest of his life in a foreign country: being buried by foreigners, using "strange" funeral customs instead of Egyptian mummification and priestly spells, was regarded as an unhappy fate. Or at least, that's the message of what may have been a piece of government propaganda.
- Jonathan Thomas Meriwether (aka "Jon-Tom") spent most of Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series desperately wishing to return to his home dimension. When he finally could, he decided to take some of what he considered the best bits of it and return to his friends and love interest in his adopted dimension.
- Subverted in Piers Anthony's Virtual Mode series, where Colene, who had little to keep her in her home dimension, spent the entire series trying to get to her love interest Darius' dimension.
Live Action Television
- Life On Mars
The Smoke Monster: "I want the one thing that John Locke didn't. I want to go home."
- Aside from the obvious "plane crash survivors wanting to go home" plot (which is resolved halfway through the series), a much more specific form of this trope comes in season 6:
- Ian and Barbara in the first season of Doctor Who.
- Also Jo in Planet of the Daleks. She even turns down a chance to stay with a man in love with her because she wanted Earth.
- Gilligan's Island
- Quantum Leap
- Star Trek: Voyager
- The Fantastic Journey (1977)
- Otherworld (1985), which had a very similar plot to The Fantastic Journey.
- Sliders. Ironically, the group made it back to their own world at the start of Season Two... but they mistakenly thought that they hadn't because the gate was oiled since becoming lost, so they left again.
- In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20), Dean is willing to kill himself to get back to his reality.
- Many Blues traditionals have this as a theme. A well known example is "Sweet Home Chicago" by Robert Johnson from The Complete Recordings, where Johnson asks his sweetheart if she wants to come home with him to Chicago? "I Feel Like Going Home" by Muddy Waters (available on The Anthology (1947-1972)) expresses homesickness.
- "Man Of Constant Sorrow", a traditional about a man who wants to get back home after all the sorrow he experienced while being elsewhere. It was covered by Bob Dylan on his debut Bob Dylan.
- John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads"
Country Roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads
- The Trope Namer is the song "Home! Sweet Home!" from the 1823 opera Clari, (or) the Maid of Milan, in which the singer desires to return home.
Mid pleasures and Palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!
- "Road Ladies" by Frank Zappa from Chunga's Revenge expresses homesickness of rock artists on the road.
- "I'm Going Home" by Arlo Guthrie from Alices Restaurant.
Now my friends it's time to goAnd this love will live to growAnd I want you all to knowI'm going home
- "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd also expresses this feeling. It was written as a retaliation for a song," Alabama", by Neil Young that was critical of their homeplace.
- Breaking Benjamin: The line is featured in and one of the major themes of "Home", a song that is basically a wholesale reference to The Wizard of Oz
- "Guiding Me Home" by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé from their album Barcelona.
Who will find me, take care and side with me?Guide me back safely to my homeWhere I belong, once more
- "Oh Susannah" by Stephen Foster is about a cowboy who came from Alabama "with a banjo on his knee" and is glad to be home again with his sweetheart.
- "Going Home" by The Rolling Stones from their album Aftermath
When you're three thousand miles awayI just never sleep the sameIf I packed my things right nowI could be home in seven hoursI'm goin' home, I'm goin' home
- "Kansas City" by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller is about a man going back home to Kansas City to meet his girl. It was later covered by The Beatles on Beatles For Sale.
- "Back In The USSR" from The Beatles' The White Album, where the protagonist is glad to be back home after a long and terrible flight.
- The traditional "Sloop John B.", covered by The Beach Boys on Pet Sounds, is about a sailor who wants to go home after a long voyage at sea which he considers to be the worst trip he's ever been on.
- "Drivin' Home For Christmas" by Chris Rea is about a man who is drivin' home to his family in time for the holidays and glad to do so.
- "Somehow I'll Find My Way Home" by Jon Anderson (Yes) and Vangelis is a Pep Talk Song expressing the confidence that wherever life may take him he will nevertheless find his way back home.
- "Willesden Green" by The Kinks is a nod to many country songs being about the subject of homesickness.
- "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel also expresses homesickness:
Homeward Bound, I wish I was homeward boundHome, where my thought's escapingHome, where my music's playingHome, where my love lies waiting silently for me
- The Sesame Street song "I Don't Want To Live On The Moon" expresses Ernie's sentiment that he wants to visit all kinds of places in the world, but doesn't want to stay there forever, as he likes his own home the best. The song is also made available on the Greatest Hits Album Sesame Street Platinum All Time Favorites.
- In Leave It To Me!, Goodhue's goal is to get out of Russia and go back to his hometown of Topeka, Kansas.
- The musical adaptation of Big has this as Josh's ultimate goal; he gets briefly sidetracked when he falls in love, but eventually realizes that he's nowhere near ready to be an adult and desperately tries to get back.
- Half the quest in King's Quest IV: The Perils Of Rosella is returning to her kingdom (the other half is finding a magic fruit to cure her father), and you can end the game without actually getting the fruit.
- One of the two driving forces for Sora's gang in Kingdom Hearts. The other is finding their lost friends.
- Pōchi, the heroine of Napple Tale, is Trapped in Another World after a novice Grim Reaper claims her by mistake. She can go home again if she collects missing pieces of herself that escaped when she crossed over, and that, of course, is exactly what she sets out to do.
- After being summoned to another world by magic the only wish of Chael, hero of the third Zenonia is to go home. The problem is he has to find a way back Earth on his own as noone in Midgard seems to know.
- Annyseed desperately wants to be human again. Or at least feel like part of the human race.
- Sul from Kiss Wood is Trapped in Another World and while said world does interest him (as it's a giant jungle and he loves plants) his niece is waiting for him.
- Heroes Of Thantopolis Cyrus is helping Helene because she promised to bring him home.
- Done nicely in Kickassia. After The Nostalgia Critic banishes The Cinema Snob, he finds his room has turned into his old review room with his Catch Phrase echoing when he touches the table. He's far too gone with the need to be in power by this point, but just for a moment you can tell he desperately wants to go home.
- This is one of the Travelers' two major goals in Worm. They are from an alternate reality and want to find a way back. They eventually succeed, except for Noelle, who had become a Tragic Monster and had to be Mercy Killed, and Trickster, who betrayed them and was incarcerated in the Birdcage.