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Age Cut

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What happened in that span of time? Eh; hakuna matata.

A type of Match Cut, often a dissolve, that shows a character aging, sometimes from A Minor Kidroduction. Often, different actors are used for the young and old version of the character. By showing both in the same position and location, it is shown that it is the same person, only older.

One common version of this trope starts with a slow zoom in on a characters eyes, which then cuts to the older version and zooms out. Another is to dissolve from one version to another.

The same technique can be used to start a flashback, in which case the character gets younger. Sister Trope to Picture-Perfect Presentation. Compare Time Passes Montage.


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  • This Toyota ad produced for the 2020 Summer Olympics depicts Olympic gymnast Alexa Moreno as she ages from a toddler leaving daycare to a child practicing gymnastics in her yard to a young adult performing at the games.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In ERASED, a harsh one occurs after Satoru's childhood reunion with Yuuki. The young, smiling face of the 23-year old harshly cuts over to a mugshot of Yuuki's balding, depressed 41-year old death row inmate self from Satoru's timeline.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: The anime's opening includes a montage of short scenes showing Catarina and one of the other members of the cast as children (when the series starts), then cutting to the two of them as teenagers (when Fortune Lover begins), often performing the same activity as their child selves. For example, Sophia's scene has her and Catarina holding a book up over their heads while starting to read it. The book then gets tilted down by the teenage version of the pair. The only one who doesn't get one is Maria, since she doesn't meet the rest of the group until after the Time Skip.

    Comic Strips 
  • Funky Winkerbean used this trick to start off Time Skip II by zooming in on the younger Summer and Les' hands. The next panel showed a teenaged girl's hand holding Les', and the final panel showed a teenaged Summer and a middle-aged Les.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Lady and the Tramp uses a series of dissolves to show Lady growing from a puppy to an adult as she sleeps on the Darlings' bed, both establishing her aging and the Darlings' affection for her (when she first slept there, Mrs. Darling said "Only for tonight"; obviously, they didn't stick to that).
    • Done in The Lion King (1994) during "Hakuna Matata" to demonstrate Simba's aging, as seen in the image header. Parodied in The Lion King 1 ½ where Timon walks across the log and groans, "I'm going to get old walking across this thing".
    • In Tarzan, during the "Son of Man" number, as he jumps into the water from an elephant's back. Another, less obivious one occurs in the final section, where he disappears from view while tree surfing and comes back older.
    • In The Princess and the Frog, the movie opens with a young Tiana running out her bedroom door after being scared by a frog at night. The sun rises, and when the door opens again adult Tiana enters the room.
    • Used in Treasure Planet to transition from the young Jim Hawkins in his bed to the older Jim riding his hoverboard.
    • In Moana, Moana is dancing with her grandmother in the childhood "Where You Are" song, and during the dance the film skips to her as a sixteen year old, finishing the dance.
  • One song sequence in Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation consists of a number of these.
  • In Coco, during the papel picado prologue, there’s a brief scene where young Coco dances across and ages up from a toddler to a young lady.
  • Near the end of Ringing Bell, the wolf actually throws Chirin into a puddle during a test to prove that the lamb will become a fearsome predator like him. When Chirin gets back up, there are two small horns now growing out of his head.
  • Used in The Princess and the Pea when Daria looks at her reflection in a pond.
  • Also used in Quest for Camelot when Kayley looks at her reflection in water.
  • In The Prince of Egypt Moses goes through one of these, shown by his beard growing between pulling on a rope to set up one tent and repeating the action on another. That he still looks so youthful is strange, as in the original Biblical version, Moses spends 40 YEARS in the desert, aging from 40 to 80. In the film version, Moses appears to spend much less time in the desert (approximately 10 to 15 years).
  • In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the opening flashback skips 10 years by showing a young Alex jumping into the air and then cutting to adult Alex landing in the same spot.
  • In Turning Red, when Mei and Ming are walking through the bamboo forest Ming ages from a young teen to an older teen or young adult to her current age while only a minute passes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Son of the Bride starts with a flashback of Rafael, the protagonist, and his best friend Juan Carlos, as kids. It ends with a closeup of Rafael's eyes as he looks at a picture of his mom. Cut thirty-odd years to a closeup of Rafael's eyes as he stares blearily at a TV.
  • As seen at the start of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the scene cuts from young Elizabeth Swann to her older counterpart, where, suddenly, all her freckles have disappeared.
  • This happens with Elrond in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, as he talks to Gandalf about the past. Note that in this case, both Elronds look exactly the same age, despite several thousand years passing. Elves age more slowly than Men.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy's hat momentarily blocks his face for the transition from Young Indy to Adult Indy.
  • In Conan the Barbarian (1982), the Age Cut happens when Conan is working the Wheel of Pain. We first see him as a child slave, then in adolescence and lastly is adulthood, still turning the wheel. This may be the most justifiable use of this trope as he was probably chained to the Wheel the whole time.
  • The ending of Zardoz involves an extended Age Cut of Zed (Sean Connery, in his most pantless role), his wife, and child. Of note is that the child is conceived, born, and ages and leaves over the course of this particular Age Cut. There's a strangely similar extended cut (including child growing up and leaving) with the Talking Heads' Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz (her RL husband) in the "Road to Nowhere" video.
  • The ending of Kung Fu Hustle does something similar between Sing and the Mute girl in their final reunion.
  • Played at the ending of the film Saving Private Ryan. The beginning also seems to be one, since we don't know if the old man is Tom Hanks (Miller) or Matt Damon (Ryan). But it cuts to Miller, and he is Ryan.
  • American Splendor: Happens before the opening credits with the young Harvey Pekar kicking the bag while walking in a miserable mood. It cuts to an adult Pekar still in a miserable mood.
  • Ghost Rider (2007) combines a close up on the eyes with digital morphing. The effect is ultimately bizarre: the two actors have different eye colors (ditto National Treasure). And the generic-looking actor turning into the much more distinctive-looking Nicolas Cage.
  • Titanic (1997):
    • The zoom on eyes version happens to Rose when she is being painted.
    • Also happens to the eponymous ship at the beginning of the film.
  • Martin Scorsese'sThe Departed does this with Colin Sullivan.
    • Raging Bull goes from a fit Jake LaMotta in his 20s to a balding, out-of-shape LaMotta in his 40s.
  • At the beginning of Tommy Boy, exhaust billows from the school bus, covering the screen completely. When the smoke clears away, it shows the grown-up Tommy standing there having missed a smoking commuter bus.
  • This is done at the beginning of Casanova, with a dissolve from the child Giacomo to the adult Casanova, portrayed by Ledger. The little boy actually looks enough like Heath Ledger to be plausible, which isn't always the case.
  • In Matilda, this is done with the eponymous character going through two Age Cuts.
  • Almost Famous showed the 11-year-old protagonist's focus on a spinning record, dissolved to him doodling in class, and pulled back to reveal that he's now 15.
  • In the Robin Hood spinoff Princess of Thieves, we see Robin Hood's young daughter folding the blanket at the bottom of her bed, then we see the same scene with Kiera Knightley in the place of the young girl.
  • City of God has a "flashback/cuts to younger self" example, with the camera spinning around Rocket and stopping when he's a child.
  • Eragon appears to have this, with the young Saphira flying up behind a cloud and the adult Saphira flying down - but it's inexplicably averted, as the film implies that this massive growth happened in real-time, as the scene continues where it left off and the fast growth is not even handwaved.
  • Gypsy has a flickering dissolve during which young June, young Louise (Diane Pace), and the boys are replaced by their older counterparts as they dance (Natalie Wood in Louise's case).
  • The heroine of The Jade Faced Assassin, as a baby, is adopted by a legion of kung-fu fighters who called themselves the "Ten Villains". After deciding to make her a member of the clan, the film then shows a Training Montage of her learning each and every one of the ten skills, firstly as a toddler, then a kid, then a young teen, before finally stopping at age eighteen.
  • Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back began with one of these for its eponymous characters.
  • In The Lovely Bones, there is a scene where a picture of Susie as a toddler is shown which then cuts to a picture of her at fourteen.
  • In Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, the 1981 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, the main character sets her alarm clock and goes to bed. The film cuts to the alarm clock ringing to wake her up — twenty years later.
  • Me, Myself & Irene shows Jim Carrey and his three little sons (by another father) cheerfully watching television on the couch - time goes by and the sons have grown very, very big, making for a tight fit on the couch.
  • In No Time to Die, young Madeleine Swann is trapped and drowning under ice... and the adult Madeleine suddenly comes up from the water, indicating that this was a flashback she was having.
  • Predestination has a series of these at the end, cutting together several previous close-up shots to show the main character's entire personal history in chronological order for the first time.
  • Star Trek (2009), the film cuts away from young Spock sitting with his father on a bench at the end of a corridor. It then cuts to his mother calling him, and he's a young adult.
  • In Thor, we go from young Thor and Loki telling Odin each is ready to be king to a grown Thor's coronation and having Mjolnir passed to him.
  • In Heart and Souls, there's an age cut between the young Thomas Reilly (the main character who is the guardian of four souls trapped from entering the afterlife) and the adult one played by Robert Downey Jr., seamlessly transitioned with the young Thomas putting on a pair of shades.
  • Jean Renoir's 1951 film The River has a sequence with Melanie as a girl dancing and spinning round and around, and cuts to her as a young woman performing the same spinning dance. The spinning motion suggests the passage of time like the cycles of earth, moon, and sun by which time is measured.
  • Ayla in Clan Of The Cave Bear gets exactly the same age cut as in The River: doing a spinning dance as a young girl, then suddenly spinning around as a young woman.
  • One of the most extreme age-cut sequences occurs to Jimmy Page in The Song Remains the Same, where the Hermit has Jimmy's face and rapidly ages in reverse from old man to child to fetus, and then forward again to old man.
  • In i am sam, we cut from Lucy age 3 to Lucy age 6 during shots on a swing in the park.
  • Kings Row has Parris Mitchell, aged 10 or so, hopping over the fence outside his family home. Cut to Bob Cummings as a grown-up Parris hopping over the fence in the other direction.
  • An interesting version in The Cobbler. The opening A Minor Kidroduction ends with little Max watching his father working the stitching machine that produces a loud repetitive sound. Then the scene dissolves into adult Max sitting on a train while the sound the car produces on the tracks matches the sound of the stitching machine.
  • Bicentennial Man: While Little Miss is teaching Andrew how to play a duet on the piano, we jump from her being a child to being an adult. She gives him a kiss on the cheek before leaving.
  • In Black Angel Vol. 1, the six year old Ikko disperses down the escalator at the airport. A 'SIXTEEN YEARS LATER' caption appears on the screen and the now adult Ikko appears coming up the escalator.
  • Gamera the Brave: Kousuke, Toru's father, appears in the opening scene as a child witnessing Gamera's fight against the Gyaos in 1976; after the Gamera's destruction the film transitions into 2006, Kousuke now being an adult and witnessing the same spot where he saw Gamera sacrifice himself.
  • In Cruella, the 12-year old Estella decides to dye her distinctive black and white hair to make herself less identifiable. She applies the dye to her hair and then drops her head out of sight as she bends over the basin. Then the 22-year old (and now redheaded) Estella lifts her head back into shot, indicating the 10 year time jump.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blackadder: In the prologue to "The Foretelling" of the first series, Richard III is seen with his nephews. The camera lingers on the child Richard, Duke of York, before cutting to the adult Richard laughing raucously.
    Voiceover: Richard, Duke of York grew up into a big strong boy. (Cuts to him played by BRIAN BLESSED)
  • Every episode of Cold Case shows one or more two-second Age Cuts of each major player in the case, in conjunction with (though not as part of) a flashback.
  • Used often in Lost flashbacks involving a Timeshifted Actor. Frequently, these flashbacks will begin the episode, and then cut to the character on the island in the present.
  • Subverted in an episode of Scrubs: J.D. is imagining growing old with his girlfriend, and the shot fades into that of them in heavy old-people makeup. They take off the makeup onscreen a few seconds later, and it turns out they just wanted a picture of what they would look like old.
  • How I Met Your Mother subverts this. The main characters wonder if they're going to be waiting around a courthouse forever; it then fades from a shot of them sitting around to a group of similar-looking old people in the same clothing and positions. The characters walk around the corner a second later and complain that the old people took their seats.
  • The Growing Pains opening does this, once the show's been around long enough for the cast to have aged significantly between their introduction and that season (some for three or more distinct stages!).
  • Happens both in The Pacific and Band of Brothers, when the actual veterans memorize their war memories.
  • Played for laughs in Red Dwarf. Two workers in a pub discover someone has abandoned a Doorstop Baby.
    "Oh poor little mite. I wonder what will become of him? Something terrible, no doubt."
    Cut to Lister pulling a hideous face as he brushes his teeth.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. The episode "Timeless" opens with Voyager wrecked on an ice planet, with the Sole Survivors trying to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Chakotay leaves a PADD on Janeway's desk during their private pre-launch dinner; cut to Chakotay finding it frozen into the surface fifteen years later. Also the climatic sequence cuts between Voyager following the Delta Flyer in its ill-fated maiden flight of the new drive system, and the Federation starship Challenger chasing the Delta Flyer in the future, to stop them illegally changing history.
  • Happens in the sixth season finale of Game of Thrones where in a flashback Ned Stark looks into his sister Lyanna's baby's eyes, and it cuts to an adult Jon Snow at Winterfell.
  • In Hercules, we see Hercules as a boy struggling to lift a young horse, then it cuts to Hercules as a man effortlessly lifting the now adult horse.
  • A Very Brady Renovation: The credits take the original grid showing the Brady family, then flip the squares with the kids to show the now-adult actors.note 
  • In the Mini Series Queen (based on the life of Alex Haley's paternal grandmother), 4-year old Queen, played by Raven-Symoné goes up the stairs of a mansion to begin learning to be a lady's maid to the child her mistress is expecting (who is also her half-sister). She comes back downstairs as the now teenaged Queen, played by Halle Berry.
  • Doctor Who.
    • An In-Universe version happens in "Warrior's Gate". The Tharils are enslaved for their time-sensitive abilities, but the Doctor has a vision of a past where he's having a Fancy Dinner with their leader, and it's revealed the Tharils once used their powers to raid other worlds for plunder and slaves. Then axe-wielding Robot Soldiers burst through the doors and start slaughtering the Tharils; an axe slams down into the table in front of the Doctor, who suddenly finds himself at the same table in the present day, with axe and table covered in Cobwebs of Disuse.
    • Played with beautifully at the end of "The Girl Who Died" as a long shot circling Ashildr shows her physical appearance not changing at all, but her expression going from youthful and optimistic, to sad and tired, to world-weary and jaded. She may not be physically aging, but time is visibly taking its toll nonetheless.
  • Used in the opening episode of Blackadder to show Richard III's Cheerful Child nephew growing up into the bombastic, bearded Blood Knight BRIAN BLESSED, King Richard IV.

    Music Videos 
  • Squeeze, in their video for "Hourglass" is seen singing the chorus, cutting from line to line, dressed like infants, schoolboys, teenage punks, adult businessmen, old codgers, and five coffins.
  • The Talking Heads video for "Road To Nowhere" has a sequence involving Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, where they meet, get married, have a child, child grows up, moves on and ending with them as an elderly couple kissing and dancing.
  • Queen's music video for "One Vision" opens with a still from their video for "Bohemian Rhapsody", transitioning to the band members, now older and with shorter hair (except for Brian May) and, in Freddie Mercury's case, sporting a mustache.

  • Data East's Batman pinball features the Joker as both "Young Jack" and "Old Jack" on the playfield.

  • The stage version of this is done in the musicals Damn Yankees and Mame by having the main character sit down to write at a desk with his back to the audience, and dimming the lights for a few moments so the actors can change places. (In Damn Yankees, Joe ends up younger due to his Deal with the Devil.)
  • Ang Huling El Bimbo: When young Joy submits to the new, sleazy lifestyle she was forced into, the stage goes black as an ensemble of crooks and drug dealers circle around her. When the lights come up and the ensemble exits, she emerges as a middle-aged woman, signifying the passage of time.
  • In Shrek: The Musical, the song "I Know It's Today" has Young Fiona walk behind the tower, and Teen Fiona emerges. Then Teen Fiona walks behind the tower, and Adult Fiona emerges. (Finally, Young Fiona and Teen Fiona re-emerge, and all three sing a Solo Trio together.)
  • In Les Misérables, Valjean and young Cosette run offstage. When they reappear "10 years later", Cosette is now in her mid-to-late teens.
  • In the musical adaptation of The Scarlet Sails, Assol the child begins singing "I Will Build a Lighthouse to Reach the Sky", goes offstage while singing... and returns onstage and finishes the song as an adult.
  • The Takarazuka Revue version of Elisabeth has young/preteen Rudolf singing about longing for his mother during Rastlose Jahre, exiting, and re-entering at the end of the song as an adult, holding an incendiary newspaper.

    Video Games 
  • Used in an early cinematic in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, using a closeup on the secret apprentice's eyes.
  • Used in Mother 3 on Lucas, at the beginning of Chapter 4.
  • Used in Overlord II at the end of the prologue. The little Overlad swings his little club. Mid-swing he becomes a fearsome full-grown Overlord and his club becomes a huge axe.
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy's training montage cuts to her as a young woman and newly established Badass.
  • In a manner similar to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End has a scene with a young Nathan Drake grinning, which then cuts to an older Nate grinning as well... Just in time to catch a fist to the face.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • "Critter Sitters," the debut episode of Beetlejuice, has Beetlejuice commenting off-hand he wishes he were an infant, and thanks to his wordplay, he does become an infant. Lydia, who is now consigned to babysitting her own charge, B.J.'s and him, comments "Why don't you grow up?" The toddler Beetlejuice says "Gwow up?" and suddenly becomes fully grown again.
  • "Borrowed Time": From the man's older, grief-stricken face to his face as a boy riding alongside his father in an Old West wagon.
  • This happens to Pebbles in The Flintstone Comedy Hour (later called The Flintstone Comedy Show in syndication) during one of "The Bedrock Rockers'" musical numbers. Specifically, it happens while she's on a swing.
  • Happens on Invader Zim with older teenaged Dib becoming an adult in Zim's simulation.
  • In the The Legend of Korra episode "Welcome to Republic City," four-year old Korra, demonstrating her status as a Child Prodigy, affects an intense expression as she Firebends directly into the camera, obscuring the scene with a burst of flame, which seventeen year-old Korra then disperses, wearing a matching expression.
  • The Lion Guard has one in the third season premiere during the song “We Will Defend”. The gang disappear over a hill as their earlier models and then reappear as what are essentially teenagers.
  • Looney Tunes: Lampshaded in the Daffy Duck short "Nasty Quacks", when a baby Daffy ages along with the narrator's words.
    Daffy: Not so fast, ya crazy!
  • Happens a number of times in Ninjago:
    • Wu twice in "The Hatching" when he flashes back to the Serpentine War era.
    • At the end of the flashback in "Pause and Effect" that explains what happened to Kai and Nya's parents, a shot of the oblivious young Kai and Nya fades back to their present-day selves.
    • Zane and Jay at the end of their flashbacks of when they first met Wu, in "Snake Jaguar" and "How to Build a Dragon" respectively.
    • At the beginning and end of Milton Dyer's flashback recounting Unagami's Start of Darkness in "The Prodigal Father", with the dissolve back to the present day taking place with his reflection in an arcade screen.
  • Popeye, The Ace Of Space has the sailor taken captive by a race of aliens who do experiments on him, one of which is to age him 100 years. Popeye eats some spinach but he eats too much—he regresses all the way to infancy. He spits some spinach out and returns to his regular age (which according to the aliens' device is 40 years old).
  • Done twice in The Simpsons: once for a Couch Gag in which the family ages and changes year by year, until eventually everyone is roboticized, and once at the beginning of "Holidays of Future Passed", framed by the "annual family Christmas photo", until 30 years have passed.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode where Spongebob sells Pretty Patties, he apparently falls asleep and dreams one of these. He shouts to the world, "I'm ready!", and it cross-fades to a middle-aged SpongeBob with a mustache saying "I'm ready!" with a nasally voice, then to an elderly Spongebob who gasps "I'm ready!" as his pineapple house rots away, and finally to a tombstone with the inscription "I'm ready", and an empty patch where his pineapple was.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: "The Last Son Of Krypton" has an example overlapping with Answer Cut. When Jonathan and Martha Kent find the infant Kal-El in his Kryptonian starship, Martha is pondering names for him, including "Christopher" and "Kirk", then says "What do you think of...?", and we skip ahead to him as a teenager when his high school teacher addresses him with "Clark? Clark Kent?".
  • In the ThunderCats (2011) episode "Into the Astral Plane", Broken Ace and The Lancer Tygra is bitterly glowering when a closeup on his face begins a flashback, fading into a smiling, big-eyed, gawky, adorkable adolescent version of himself.


Video Example(s):



Young Madeleine is trapped and drowning under ice...and the adult Madeleine suddenly comes up from the water, indicating that this was a Flashback she was having.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / AgeCut

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