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"Bang!" Flag Gun

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Not recommended for the Driven to Suicide.

The Joker: All right, Batman, you either hand over the bag, or this pony will get a bullet to the head! (points gun at Apple Bloom)
Batman: What do you mean, "bullet"? Do you mean that thing that once you pull the trigger it says "bang"? That stuff's getting old, man!
The Joker: (laughs) You think this is one of my toy guns? (fires warning shot) Now hand over the bag or else she gets it!

A notorious joke weapon responsible for the failure of countless suicide attempts, suicide pranks, mugs and murders. When the trigger is pulled, the gun barrel emits a large flag saying "BANG!"

If the person holding the gun assumed the gun was real, expect an Oh, Crap! moment. Thus this weapon often works for stick-ups.

The title is a take on BFG.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Haunter in the original Pokémon series had one in the episode "Haunter vs. Kadabra", as part of his array of practical jokes.
  • In the color spread at the beginning of the third tankobon volume of Sailor Moon, Sailor Venus is holding a small "Bang!" Flag Sword.
  • Chapter 284 of Food Wars! has a variation: in the first stage of the Blue, the chefs have to prepare a dish that satisfies an senile old man, a retired soldier. After rejecting a few dishes without even tasting them, he finally tries one, and pulls out a revolver on the chef... only to fire a rain of country flags (including the USA, the United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil, Canada) and shout "PASSED!"
  • The first chapter of Magic Kaito has the titular character using a variant with a flag that says "Aoko wears white panties." Aoko is not amused.

    Asian Animation 
  • In one episode of Andy Pirki, Andy and Pirki receive a box of prank items and use them on an unsuspecting dinosaur. Among the items from the kit they use on him is a gun which shoots out a little flag with "BANG!" printed on it.

    Comic Books 
  • Used often by The Joker. You can never be sure what kind of gun The Joker is pointing at you until he pulls the trigger. And even if it's a "BANG!" Flag Gun, you can't be sure if he's not going to kill you with it anyway.
    • One comic has him using the "BANG!" Flag Gun to kill a henchman. First the flag pops out, causing the henchman to think the Joker is playing a prank on him. Then the flag gets fired like a speargun, killing the henchman.
    • Variation in The Killing Joke: The Joker finds he is out of bullets when his gun produces a flag saying "CLICK CLICK CLICK".
    • At the end of Andrew Helfer's prose story "On the Wire" from The Further Adventures of the Joker anthology, the Joker, despondent over having failed to drive a lonely woman on a chat line to suicide, glumly decides there's only one thing to do. He points a gun at his head and pulls the trigger, releasing a BANG flag. That cheers him up.
    • He also uses it as a weapon in an issue of Birds of Prey, where he shows it off to an unruly henchman, holds it right up to their eye and says "Wanna see?" before pulling the trigger.
    • He uses one for his Fatality Move in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. He whips out the gun and fires it at his victim, causing them to jump and then act exasperated. He then pulls a real gun while the victim is reacting and shoots them with it.
  • On a Deadpool cover by Dave Johnson, Deadpool points an autoloader at the reader with a pointed "Bang!" flag coming out of it. In the background, a number of Faceless Goons lie on the floor, Bang flags embedded in their heads.
  • New Warriors. A BANG Flag Gun was used by the prosecutor to send the telekinetic Vance Astrovik to prison. His grabbing the smoke -of- the gun with his mind was used to prove he didn't have to be fatally damaging in defense from his father's abuse. The fact the prosecuter made everyone think she was trying to kill Vance didn't seem to actually matter to the judge. Prison ensued.
  • The Invisibles: Used to kill one of the Big Bads in a variant of Your Mind Makes It Real.
  • In a Superman comic book story from the early 1990s, shortly after the Toyman had killed Cat Grant's son, she visits him in jail and makes it look like she was going to kill him with a real gun that she smuggled inside. As it turns out, it was merely a BANG flag gun, as all she really wanted to do was to make the Toyman scared of her.
  • Harley Quinn emulated the Joker with her own BANG! flag, but with a twist. While fighting a traitorous henchwoman, Harley shoots the wall with a stick that rolls out a flag reading "BOOM!". Her enemy mocks Harley, saying she got the word wrong since it should read "BANG!". Turns out she got it right, because just then the cap on the stick pops away showing it was a stick of dynamite. "BOOM!" indeed.

    Comic Strips 
  • MAD:
    • When MAD did a parody of Joseph Wambaugh's cop novel The New Centurions, one of the cops shot himself just before his scheduled retirement. Another cop said it must be because he felt he'd have nothing to live for after retiring, but it turned out he'd just mistakenly used a real pistol instead of the flag gun.
    • Another one from MAD has a world courtesy of Don Martin, where these guns are used instead of real guns. Highlights include a silenced version (the flag says "thwip" in really small letters), a Chinese version, (the flag's "bang" is written in Chinese), and an aircraft-mounted version (multiple bang flags)
    • And the one where a toymaker at a practical joke company shows one off to his boss who, unamused, makes a sign reading "aargh ya got me pal! (flop)" come out of his mouth. Followed by "You're Fired" coming from his ears.
  • In the Modesty Blaise arc "The Grim Joker", the Grim Joker trio plan to leave Willie hanging from his pub sign dressed as a clown holding a bang-flag gun that reads "Ho Ho Ho".
  • The Far Side had one cartoon featuring aliens with a ray gun equivalent of this trope, with "ZZZ!" written on the flag.
  • Exaggerated in a Beetle Bailey strip where Beetle and Killer fire a "Bang!" flag cannon to mess with General Halftrack.
  • In Sturmtruppen, a "Bang!" flag howitzer appears as a result of the army having run out of ammo.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Joker uses this on Vicki Vale in Batman (1989), naturally. Which elicits one of Kim Basinger's zillion screams in that film.
  • The Mask scares off some mooks with two handfuls of guns (all of which turn out to be of these type), while doing a Dirty Harry impersonation to boot.
  • Diamonds Are Forever: In a deleted scene available on the CD, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd kill Shady Tree with a "BANG!" Flag Gun that also shoots a real bullet.
    Albert Wint: Shady Tree... Shady, we just adored your act.
    Charles Kidd: What taste... style.
    Albert Wint: And we have a few suggestions.
    Shady Tree: Critics and material I don't need; I haven't changed my act in 40 years!
    (Mr. Kidd pulls out a water gun flower)
    Charles Kidd: Ah, but this one's surefire...
    Shady Tree: That's the oldest Godda
    Albert Wint: And this one... will kill you.
    (Mr. Wint puts a gun to Tree's head; the BANG Flag Gun pops out reading BANG! You're Dead!)
    Shady Tree: Come on, fellas. The popping gun and the squirting flower routine? You gotta be kidding m
    (Mr. Wint empties a live bullet into Tree's brain)
    Charles Kidd: Two's company, Mr. Wint...
    Albert Wint: And Tree was a crowd, Mr. Kidd.
    (James Bond continues toward Tree's dressing room as Albert R. Saxby intercepts Wint and Kidd on departure)
    Albert R. Saxby: Hold it! Don't go in there. We didn't get the real diamonds, so we need Tree... alive.
    Charles Kidd: That's most annoying...
  • In The Cannonball Run, Roger Moore's character pulls one (that looks like a Walther PPK) on his mother.
  • Sleeper. Woody Allen's character threatens the Leader's nose with such a gun.
  • In Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, De Nomolos tries to shoot Bill and Ted with a futuristic energy weapon that instead produces a flag saying "WYLD STALLYNS RULES."
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has a scene where a disgruntled husband pulls a shotgun on his wife and umbrella.
  • Problem Child: While chasing down Marty and Junior at the circus, Ben fires at the former with (what he doesn't know to be) one. ...Like a circus would keep the real thing around where someone can find it.
  • Max Manus. Max appears to be brandishing a pistol, but it's then shown to be an air pistol that shoots sucker darts. This is Rule of Symbolism in the early days of La Résistance when Max and his colleagues are portrayed as amateurish youngsters who are still inexperienced in what will turn out to be a ruthless underground war.

  • This appears in an illustration in the second of Arthur Bloch's three Murphy's Law books, as the "Academiology" chapter head.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A "BANG!" flag shotgun appears in a music video made by Rachel in Glee.
  • An invention exchange in Mystery Science Theater 3000 has this trope combined with Bigger Stick. The BANG gun leads to the BANG uzi, BANG knife, BANG harpoon gun, BANG nun-chucks, and finally BANG dynamite.
  • During one 1990 Tournament of Champs episode of the Game Show Classic Concentration a bang flag appeared in a puzzle being fired by a clown through his ears in order to get the solution 'Bangor, Maine'.
  • It appears in at least one episode of The Monkees.
  • Turns up in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: In the episode "Wild West Part 1", Bulk and Skull's ancestors attempt to rob a stagecoach, even firing on the "White Stranger" when he arrives to assist... only for their revolvers to turn out to be trick ones.
  • I Love Lucy features one in its fourth episode, "Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her". Ricky is preparing stuff for one of his shows and one of the items is a "Bang" flag gun that Lucy thinks is a real gun, finally culminating in Ricky "shooting" Lucy, showing her that it is a prop.
  • One episode of Hogan's Heroes has the guys sabotage a flak battery and topped it off with BANG flags when the Nazis try to bring down the Allied planes.
  • In The Drew Carey Show Mr. Wick decides to get an extra laugh out of firing Johnson. He hands him a crossbow and says that he's fired unless Johnson can shoot an apple off of his head. When Johnson pulls the trigger, a flag that says "You're Fired" drops down from the arrow. When Johnson shifts the the crossbow in his hand to be able to read the flag better he hits the trigger again firing the arrow and hitting Mr. Wick in the um... goodybag.
  • Hawkeye and Trapper secretly replace Frank's gun with one of these in the "Five O'Clock Charlie" episode of M*A*S*H. Good thing too, because when it was discharged it was pointing at Colonel Blake's head.
  • An episode of El Chapulín Colorado uses a variation with a Time Bomb instead. During the second half of the episode, Chapulin, (who is in small size) tries to carry the bomb to the window to dispose of it. He manages to reach the window but with only 5 seconds left, and he's ready for the explosion... only for a small "PUM" flag to pop out of it, and the episode ends.
  • In keeping with his comedy-themed MO, supervillain the Comedian carries one in The Amazing Extraordinary Friends.
  • Supernatural. In "Hunteri Heroici", the Mystery of the Week involves Toon Physics. Dean tries to shoot the villain responsible, only for this trope to occur. Then the effect wears off, but the villain draws his own gun which is now working properly...
  • A Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch has a flasher (who we see from the rear) opening his raincoat at various women who pass by him. When he sees he's on camera, he turns to it and opens his raincoat showing him fully clothed with a sign that says "BOO!" hanging around his neck.
  • Due South has a flag gun appear in the episode Flashback.

  • Used in the music video for Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels."
  • Lady Gaga does this in the video clip "Judas", with a lipstick instead of the flag.
  • Used by Eminem in this picture from his Encore era. One version of the album's back cover also shows him doing this.
  • The KISS album Love Gun had a cardboard version of one of those inside the LP sleeve.
  • Snoop Dogg's remix video of BadBadNotGood's song "Lavender" features a clown world in which Snoop fires a flag gun at Ronald Klump (a clown version of Donald Trump). The scene was controversial because the gun looks pretty real.

    Pro Wrestling 

  • In the musical Celebration, Mr. Rich tries to kill himself by shooting himself in the head with a pistol, which produces a "BANG" flag when he pulls the trigger. Not one easily deterred by failure, Mr. Rich next tries to stab himself with a rubber knife and then tries to hang himself with a frayed noose.


    Video Games 
  • The Sheriff Mecha in MechQuest has a pistol that fires real bullets but sometimes shoots a flag out instead.
  • Mortal Kombat:
  • Used in Day of the Tentacle by a suicidal hotel guest who puts it to his head and pulls the trigger. The flag comes shooting harmlessly out his ear, causing him to lament "I can't even do THIS right." Could be horrific under the right circumstances, but it's all Played for Laughs.
  • LEGO Batman:
    • Joker again: in the final cutscene, Joker's thrown into jail again and looks ready to shoot himself in despair before we find it's one of these joke guns. (You read that right: Joker put a gun to his head in a LEGO game.)
    • In Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, the Joker uses a BANG! Flag Missile in the Legion of Doom's raid on the Watchtower.
  • Skullgirls: Peacock's "Bang!" special move has her pull out a revolver and shoot a flag out of it. This move is actually quite useful, as it causes enemies to stagger.
  • In Marvel's Super Hero Squad Online, multiple characters use these for their hero emotes, including War Machine, Deadpool, and Hawkeye, who does this with a bow and a trick arrow which produces a "Twang!" flag.
  • Plok gets one in his game in the form of the cowboy powerup outfit, found exactly once. As could be expected, it's largely useless, having a pitifully short range and a very slow firing rate. The primary reason the powerup is where it is in the first place is virtue of the fact that collecting any powerup outfit restores Plok's limbs if they're currently on a hanger somewhere else.
  • One type of enemy uses these in one of the stages in World of Illusion. They do, however, cause real damage.
  • If you fail Wonder-Green's intro quick-time event in The Wonderful 101, his rifle pops a flag decorated with a film clapper board with "CUT!" scrawled on it before he unceremoniously falls like a rock.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • In "Harlequinade", Harley Quinn, finally fed up with the Joker, pulls a tommy gun on him; Batman elects not to intervene. The Joker tells her she doesn't have the guts to pull the trigger. She does: "Ratta Tat Tat." She cringes with anticipated retribution, but the Joker, after a moment of cynical calculation, genuine surprise or both, decides to forgive her, and all is well.
    • At the start of "Harley and Ivy", the Joker asks for the gun to fire at the pursuing Batmobile. Harley hands it to him while she drives, he pulls the trigger... "Bang!"
      Harley: You never said which gun...
    • In "Joker's Favor", a guy tormented by the Joker gets back at him by brandishing another of the Joker-faced bombs seen in the episode, only to laugh at J's terrified face when the bomb "explodes" into a BOOM flag.
  • Discussed in an episode of Family Guy when Quagmire says that he's been having so much sex lately that all that would come out if he tried to masturbate would be a little flag with the word "bang" on it.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In the short "Hare Conditioned", Bugs Bunny fires a rifle at a store manager, but all that comes out is three "Bang" signs in succession. The manager then produces three "Ouch" flags out of his mouth.
    • "Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century" has a variation: Dodgers fires an Ultimatum Gun at Marvin, and the bullet stops short and out comes a flag reading, "Surrender, or be blown into 17,670,002 micro-cells." Marvin fires an Ultimatum Responder Gun, and the bullet stops in front of Dodgers and fires... a second bullet. Dodgers then fires another bullet with the rebuttal "Ouch!"
    • In the short "Now Hear This", a character fires a rifle in the air, and out comes an umbrella.
  • An episode of Teen Titans has Cyborg turned into a bear. He thinks his sonic cannon is usable, but it turns out to be this.
    Cyborg: "Bang"? (looks up and sees he's about to be crushed) Oh dang...
  • In the "Monte Zooma's Treasure" Story Arc of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Boris tries to shoot the heroes with a "squirrel gun" pistol to keep them from stopping the dam from blowing up, but it just produced a "BANG" flag. Natasha realizes that this is due to a reduction of violence on television.
  • The Simpsons:
    • An episode features Mr. Burns trying to amuse himself by shooting Smithers. The bang flag pops out to Burns' dismay, shouting, "Curses! It's jammed!" he smacks it on the side and the flag shoots out and sticks in Smithers. Burns declares it to be "hi-larious".
    • Another episode shows Moe, during a montage of suicide attempts, putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger. A flag that says BANG! comes out of his ear on the other side.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "The Laughing", Dexter uses one when he turns into a were-clown.
  • In the Donald Duck cartoon Duck Pimples, a man fires a gun at Donald, with a red, white and blue flag coming out. For Don the shot is as real as everything else.
  • In an episode of Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero that takes place in a clown world, the race for mayor begins with the retiring mayor firing one of these, which extends to reveal multiple messages, the last of which has a miniature clown standing on it shooting a flag that says "GO".
    Wait for it → Psyche! → Annoyed Yet?I would be → LOL
  • An extreme version appears in The Fairly OddParents episode "Just the Two of Us"; Trixie pilots an Army helicopter and tries to fire a missile at Timmy, but out comes a large flag reading "Missiles sold separately".
  • In The New Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show, Sherman does this with a tank to deliver an envelope to Mr. Peabody.
  • Averted in The Mask episode "Sister Mask." While possessed by the Sister Mask a fake created by Dr. Pretorius, Stanley is forced to invade a military base. At one point, he transforms into a Rambo-type character and fires a big machine-gun into the air. More than a little dismayed that his gun is firing real bullets, he looks at it guiltily and says, "I thought I'd loaded it with the little 'bang' flags."
  • In The Venture Bros. episode "Red Means Stop", during Dr. Venture's Hilariously Abusive Childhood, his uncle played a prank on him where he did a "pull my finger" and got him to pull the pin on a grenade version of this. When Rusty thought the grenade was going to blow up his dog, he jumped on it and the flag went through his kidney.
  • Played for pitch-black laughs in the notorious Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" episode "Ren Seeks Help." As a child, Ren tortures an innocent frog just enough for it to be in excruciating pain, but refuses to kill it so it can suffer even more. The frog appears at the end and picks up Mr. Horse's gun, puts it in his mouth and impales himself with the "BANG!" flag inside it.

    Real Life 
  • While real "Bang" flag guns are easily attainable, they tend to be very cheaply made and not very gunlike in appearance (like so), as opposed to the highly realistic revolver-styled props often seen in fiction. It's not hard to understand why such a prop is so incredibly difficult to find, given the potential for irrevocably deadly and tragic misunderstandings that a realistic prank gun can lead to, but those looking to procure one for stage use may have an easier and cheaper time of it by simply crafting their own out of an existing toy gun.


Video Example(s):


The Joker "Phony and Real Gun"

One of many tools of murder used by the Clown Prince of Crime.

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Example of:

Main / BANGFlagGun

Media sources:

Main / BANGFlagGun