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Dead Hat Shot

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You can't just replace the life and love lost to tragedy like it were an old hat. ...Can you?
"Could you move his hat closer? ...His hat. The hat. People like to see a dead guy's hat."
The Great Bernzini, The Public Eye

When a character apparently ends up dead, there can be a shot of the lone hat (or other clothes or belongings) of theirs.

It may be used to obscure the character's potentially gruesome death. Some other times, however, it can also be used only to show that they Never Found the Body; the wearer may sooner or later show up, likely wondering why everyone is looking at their hat.

See also Empathy Doll Shot, Dead-Hand Shot and Hat Damage. Compare Empty Piles of Clothing, Smoldering Shoes and Alas, Poor Yorick. If a character gets eaten by something, this trope is typically paired with Spit Out a Shoe.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In early episodes of Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day a shot of a sandal floating downstream is sometimes shown when Cute Ghost Girl Menma's death is mentioned.
  • A variation in Chapter 58 of Attack on Titan - While escaping from the anti-human suppression squad along with the rest of the Survey Corps, one of them takes aim at Jean at point blank. The next panel shows a spray of blood and his hat in the air. Thankfully, he survives.
  • In Betterman, after Kaede succumbs to Algernon and causes the mecha she's in to explode, her cracked hair barrette is seen floating away in the water.
  • In New Cutey Honey, when the leader of a criminal gang turns herself into an acid-spewing monster, gets Drunk on the Dark Side, and turns on her gang, dissolving all of them apart from a hat.
  • Used in Digimon Adventure during Wizardmon's Heroic Sacrifice when his hat is flown into the air.
  • Alluded to in Dragon Ball's third episode, where after the Pilaf Gang's seaplane sinks into the ocean, the final shot is of Pilaf's hat rising to the surface (they show up again for episode 6).
    • This trope is indirectly invoked in the Harmony Gold dub: the run ended on episode 5 before the Pilaf Gang could appear again!
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited: When Kaze sacrifices himself to summon the final Gun Dragon, his discarded earring is shown next to Lisa.
  • Done in Fist of the North Star when Kenshiro caused a Villain of The Week to walk into lava, the hat melts into the said lava after the villain explodes into pieces.
  • In the Guyver OVA, a zoanoid douses two cops with acid so as to preserve The Masquerade. The two are dissolved instantly, leaving only one's hat behind. This is made extra confusing as the hat is the only article of clothing to survive, despite very clearly floating atop the acid.
  • In the Haunted Junction anime, the flashback depicting Hanako-chan's death includes her purse falling to the ground after she gets hit by a car.
  • Not a drowning, but in Higurashi: When They Cry when Rena is killed by Takano's men, all we see is her hat flying off with her screaming out her last breath in the background. This is shown to the viewer after the hat (stained with blood) is given to a catatonic Satoko.
  • In Kinnikuman, Robin Mask's fight against Atlantis of the Seven Devil Choujin moves underwater. In the end, the audience sees Robin's helmet come up... carried by Atlantis.
  • Combined with Slippery Swimsuit in an episode of Lupin III where a pushy woman dives into a swimming pool ahead of Fujiko, inadvertently tipping her off that an assassin had filled the pool with acid.
  • In the original cut of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Mu La Flaga's helmet is seen floating in space after his Heroic Sacrifice. The movie adaptation cut that out as he turns out to have been Only Mostly Dead in Destiny.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz: In Heero's flashback, we see him checking the remains after his attempt to blow up a military base ends up destroying a residential district. He goes to check it and finds the corpse of a dog and a teddy bear belonging to a little girl he'd met the day before.
  • Subverted in My Neighbor Totoro, where someone finds what they think is one of Mei's shoes floating in a retention pond after the younger sister runs away from home. Everyone sighs a breath of relief when Satsuki sees it and doesn't recognize it.
  • In One Piece, Sabo's signature hat floats to the surface of the ocean after his boat gets attacked for interfering with a nobleman's arrival. Since this is the last we've seen of Sabo, it's safely assumed that he's dead. Subverted as of Chapter 731, where it is revealed that Sabo is alive. And he has a very similar hat.
  • Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl: The episode "The Needs of Three" (DP151) ended with Hunter J's ship being gunned down by Legendary Pokemon Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf, plummeting into a lake and exploding, killing everyone on board. Just right before the ship explodes, J's glasses, can be seen floating out of one of the damaged windows and rising out of the surface, implying her death. For a series that just straight up avoids death, this villain really has been written out of the show. She really is dead.
    • Used again in the twelth movie when Arceus drops Marcus; Marcus's crown is seen lying on the ledge he falls from. Subverted, as he apparently survived, and is shown farming in the credits.
  • In Rayearth OVA, Ascot's ruined hat flutters to the ground after his Rune God explodes.
  • In Ultimate Muscle Ultimate Choujin Tag Arc, Robin Mask gets a Deja Vu when he and Terry the Kid battle against Lightning and Thunder in the same style of match and the endangered Kevin Mask taking Meat's body part place. When his helmet comes up and is carried by a hand, the people are immediately horrified that they think Lightning is carrying his helmet as he may have killed Robin Mask. It turns out as a subversion... it was Robin Mask who his wearing his son's mask! What really happened that he successfully caught Lighting in his Robin Special and gave his son a device needed to breathe underwater.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time has a non-drowning example; after the buildings fall on them, Yugi finds his Grandpa's bandanna in the rubble, to show that his Grandpa was killed. This being a time travel story, this gets fixed.

  • In the maritime Child Ballad "Sir Patrick Spens," the protagonist and his crew drown in a storm on their voyage to Norway:
    O loth, o loth, the Scots lords were
    To weet their cork-heild schoone;
    Bot lang owre a' the play wer playd,
    Thair hats they swam aboone.note 

    Comic Books 
  • In an issue of Blackhawk, the Blackhawks are attempting to smuggle a young girl out of an enemy country in a submarine when they are attacked by an enemy destroyer. To convince the ship that the sub has been destroyed, they vent oil to create an oil slick and fire some personal items out of the torpedo tube, including the girl's treasured stuffed monkey.
  • In Wynonna Earp: Season Zero, Cowboy Bob is killed by a rocket strike during the bad guy's assault on Bloody Porch. His death is indicated by his cowboy hat lying on a patch of broken ground. Doc picks the hat up and puts it on before he goes out to unleash his righteous fury on the ungodly.
  • In Detective Comics #527, Batman is chasing the Mad Hatter; the latter panics completely and runs onto a pair of train tracks just in time for the oncoming train to mow him down. Batman catches up just in time to find his hat. note 

    Comic Strips 
  • When Secret Agent April Bower thought a woman was following her on a cruise in Judge Parker, there was a panel of the other woman's hat floating behind the ship. Cue The Comics Curmudgeon claiming "CIApril confronted her and stone-cold threw her hat in the water."

    Fan Works 
  • Silver Quill's comic Imani has Clutterstep kidnapped and Made a Slave by a pirate crew. The captain decides to kill him, leading to a scuffle that ultimately blows up the ship. Clutterstep is blasted away and rescued...and when the comic cuts back to the ship's wreckage, we see the captain's hat sinking into the water.
  • In The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, when Cornelius Fudge mysteriously disappears, all that's left in his office is his iconic green bowler.

    Film — Animation 
  • Played with in An American Tail. During the fire at the pier, Fievel gets lost and Bridget finds his hat, which makes her and Tony worry about him even more. The trope is inverted when they present the hat to the Mousekewitzes, which is proof that their son survived going overboard earlier in the film. Fortunately, Fievel is alive, and is found later for a heartwarming ending.
  • In Astro Boy, Dr. Tenma's son is outright vaporized in an explosion caused by a rampaging robot called the Peacekeeper in front of numerous witnesses. Afterwards, Tenma finds only his son's red cap and a hair found within, literally all that is left of him, and immediately mourns his loss.
  • In Big Hero 6, Tadashi's hat falls off as he runs into the burning college to save Professor Callahan. After a large explosion occurs, blowing Hiro away, the scene fades to white and we then see a shot of Tadashi's cap lying on the ground while Hiro is heard frantically shouting for him.
  • BoBoiBoy: The Movie subverts this twice with the titular hero's orange dinosaur cap.
    • After blasting the heroes off a conveyor belt at an abandoned factory, Gaga Naz presumes BoBoiBoy and his friends dead when he sees his hat hanging off a piece of debris. After he leaves, the cap flies off briefly before being caught by BoBoiBoy, who was hiding safely in a hollow space underneath the structure with the others.
    • After Bora Ra strikes his giant hammer down on BoBoiBoy, his hat flies off as a Discretion Shot and it seems that the villain has won. However, Ochobot granted the heroes Eleventh Hour Superpowers moments before with the last of his energy, and a hatless BoBoiBoy scowls as he pushes back against the hammer before continuing the Final Battle.
  • In Brother Bear, we are shown that Kenai's older brother has been killed by his fall from a glacier into the water hundreds of feet below when his hat is found floating.
  • At the very beginning of Cars 2, Finn McMissile actually deploys several fake tires to escape the Lemons' oil rig causing them to think that he has died while escaping into the ocean. However, it's played straight with one of the Pacers on the rig; when McMissile pushes him off the railing, once he falls into the sea, only his wheels remain.
  • Coco:
    • When Ernesto de la Cruz is flattened by the giant bell hanging above him during a concert in 1942, his sombrero flies off and lands on the stairs.
    • Chicharrón's hat is all that remains of him after he fades away from the Final Death.
  • Played with, but ultimately defied, in How to Train Your Dragon 2 when Stoic finds Hiccup's helmet floating in the water after Valka's dragons kidnap him. Rather than believing he's dead, though, he simply uses the helmet to order Skullcrusher to track Hiccup by scent.
  • Appeared in early storyboards for The Incredibles; the reason why the shot of Helen looking down at the sinking plane after it's shot down lingers for so long is because she was originally watching the hat of an old friend (the one she borrowed the plane from in the final cut) turned Mauve Shirt float past.
  • The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning: Near the end of the prologue when Athena gets killed by an out-of-control ship when trying to save the music box, the box itself is all we see of her after the blow.
  • Monsters University: Used metaphorically. After Mike and Sulley escape the summer camp, the camera lingers on the charred remains of Mike's Monsters University cap that Frank McCay gave him, symbolizing the death of his dream to be a scarer.
  • In Disney's Mulan, the helmet of Shang's father is found in the snow after the troop reach a destroyed town.
  • Toward the end of The Pebble and the Penguin, just right before they actually arrive at Drake's island to save Marina, both Hubie and Rocko are chased by orcas. When they finally arrive at Drake's island, Hubie noticed that Rocko's bandanna got washed up onto the island, but not Rocko himself, and as a result, Hubie actually thinks that Rocko was eaten by an orca. It turns out that Rocko survived, and he actually ends up saving both Hubie and Marina when Drake's island falls into the sea.
  • In Disney's adaptation of Peter and the Wolf, the Wolf chases the duck into a tree, and comes out with feathers flying, licking its chops. Subverted when the duck turns up alive at the end.
  • Return to Neverland subverts it: shortly after Peter and Tinkerbell dive into the ocean to rescue Jane from the octopus, Peter's hat is seen bobbing on the surface of the water. This leads to Hook congratulating himself for finally defeating him... until seconds later, Peter emerges holding the sack Jane is inside of and asks Hook if he missed him.
  • In a non-hat variant, it's finding Cody's shredded backpack in a crocodile-infested river that convinces the authorities he's drowned in The Rescuers Down Under.
  • In Disney's Robin Hood (1973), the titular character invokes this (complete with arrow through the hat) to fool Prince John into thinking that he's dead. Nope, not even close.
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Loch Ness Monster: After the Loch Ness Monster attacks a boat full of volunteers for the Highland games in the opening scene, a violin that one volunteer was playing ominously washes ashore, while the volunteer himself is nowhere to be seen. However, later comments make it clear that everyone on the boat survived, indicating he just took longer to swim to shore.
  • At the end of Shrek the Third, Prince Charming is crushed by a tower prop by Dragon after Shrek's friends prevent him from killing the titular ogre, when the tower crushes him, his crown is sent flying through the air and onto the ground, signaling his death.
    • A subversion can be seen with the fairy Godmother in the second movie, when she attempts to blast Shrek and Fiona with a burst of magic, Harold dives in the way of them causing the blast to bounce of his armor and be redirected back at her. She disintegrates into a collection of bubbles while attempting to charge for another attack, with the scene transitioning on her glasses and wand indicating that this is last time she's seen alive.
    • This also shows up at the end of the original after Dragon eats Lord Farquaad, although the crown bouncing to a stop might also be a subversion since he gets eaten on-screen, along with there being a short music bonus video showing him panicking in the belly of the dragon.

  • This is toyed with in, appropriately, Toy Story 3. During his escape from the daycare centre, Woody loses his hat: when the remaining toys discover it, they briefly believe that he has died. It helps that Lotso actively implies it when giving it to them.
  • In Transformers: The Movie, after Galvatron kills Starscream, his crown is the only part that doesn't crumble to dust, and rolls to the ground just in time for Galvatron to crush it underfoot.
  • In Up, this is combined with a kind of grim Trophy Room, as Charles Muntz has killed other explorers and, apparently, kept their aviator helmets on stands as a way of keeping track.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Aliens uses this trope to suggest that Newt is dead after an alien grabs her. Ripley sees her doll's head sinking into the water.
  • In the 1945 film version of And Then There Were None, Blore's demise is indicated by a dead binoculars shot, as the binoculars he was holding are shown lying on the ground.
  • After the Waterfall Shower scene in Angels Revenge, the Angels force the mooks who tried to capture them to submerge themselves in the pond. One of the mooks is wearing a cowboy hat that floats on the surface after he goes under.
  • In The Assassination Bureau, Bostwick and von Pinck see Sonya's fancy hat floating in the canal after telling Muntzof to kill her. They also see Muntzof's body floating nearby, so they assume that Sonya put up a fight and took him down with her. Dragomiloff actually knocked Muntzof into the canal and threw Sonya's hat in the water, and they escaped together in a gondola.
  • It's Chaz's floating hairbrush that convinces Stranz he's drowned in Blades of Glory.
  • Near the end of Cannonball, Zippo is shot in the head and dies, crashing his car and setting off a chain reaction crash. While the cars are crashing into each other, we have a close up on his "Cannonball" cap burning next to the flaming wreckage of his Firebird.
  • A variant in the Coneheads movie when the Garthok devours the victims before Beldar during the feast, their severed cone-shaped heads were spat out.
  • In Backdraft, Stephen and Brian's father's helmet is blown clear of the explosion that kills him; a LIFE magazine photographer gets a picture of Brian holding the helmet, right after his father's death.
  • Happens in one of the "Crocodile" Dundee movies. The victim is a bad guy actually captured by Crocodile Dundee. Dundee leaves the victim's hat torn and floating on the water as if an actual crocodile had attacked. He even bites off a chunk of it to leave the typical bite mark.
  • Dead of Night: When Potter commits suicide by water trap, his flat cap is left floating on the surface of the lake.
  • Death Line: While crawling over the rubble in the collapsed tunnel, Alex finds Manfred's bowler hat abandoned on the rubble. Later Inspector Calhoun finds the bowler and takes it as a sign that Manfred is dead.
  • After Judd is eaten by his pet crocodile Rocky in Eaten Alive! (1976), his prosthetic leg floats to the surface of the croc's pool.
  • Subverted in Father Goose. After the Catherine is destroyed, Eckland's hat is recovered by the girls in the dinghy, followed by Eckland himself about a minute later.
  • In A Fistful of Dynamite, a bandito mocks an I.R.A bomber that he knows just as much explosives. After an explosion, the next — and last — we see of him is his hat floating down.
  • Great White: After Benny is grabbed by the shark and dragged under, a single shoe is shown floating on the surface.
  • Mr. Mehlor's shattered eyeglasses settle on top of a tombstone after he suffers a Moe Greene Special in Hard Rain.
  • The guy in the panama hat (listed in the credits as "Panama Hat") from the opening sequence of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is implied to have died on his exploding freighter off the coast of Portugal when his hat is seen floating in the water near a swimming Indy.
  • Into the Grizzly Maze: When Rowan and Beckett find the spot where Douglass has been attacked by the bear, Beckett picks up Douglass' broken and blood-splattered glasses.
  • Invention for Destruction: After the island is blown up by the Ridiculously Potent Explosive, evil aristocrat Count Artigas' top hat is sown floating on the ocean where the island used to be.
  • In the film version of James and the Giant Peach, Centipede is left behind underwater as he fights off ghost pirates. Spider is about to dive back in to get him when Centipede's hat floats up to the surface. She and the others clearly assume this means he is dead. note 
  • Jason X has Jason's metallic hockey mask float down to the bottom of a lake after he was incinerated in the Earth Two's atmosphere.
  • Krampus: When Howie, Jr, is yanked up the chimney by the Krampus, a single sneaker falls back down to his shocked family.
  • In the opening scene of Lawrence of Arabia, there are goggles hanging from a bush, signifying Lawrence's death in the motorcycle accident.
  • Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent: When Sam and Kelly go searching for Kurt, they find his crushed and bloodstained baseball cap. Sam comments that Kurt never takes that thing off.
  • The end credits of The Longest Day are superimposed over footage of an American helmet laying upside down on a beach.
  • Man in the Attic: After Slade drowns himself in the Thames, the theatre programme from Lily's show floats to the surface.
  • The Man from Laramie: In the burnt out remains of the wagon train, Will finds his brother's burnt and bullet-riddled campaign hat.
  • In Muppet Treasure Island, after Mr. Arrow disappears, his hat is found on deck. This is taken as evidence that he fell overboard and drowned. Actually, he was just testing the lifeboats to see if they were seaworthy. He shows up again at the end.
  • My Girl has a shot of the bee-allergic Thomas Jay Sennett's glasses falling on the ground after he is fatally stung by the Scary Stinging Swarm that he and Vada riled up earlier.
  • Played with in Operation Petticoat. An American sub is being attacked by a friendly destroyer, and attempt to invoke this trope by launching uniforms from their torpedo tubes. When the destroyer doesn't buy it, they launch womens' undergarments instead, and the destroyers' crew quickly realize a Japanese sub wouldn't be carrying any of those.
  • Subverted in Pacific Rim. "Where is my Goddamn shoe!?"
  • Gage's shoe rolling across the road obscures his being hit by a truck in Pet Sematary's 1989 film adaptation.
  • The original Piranha film had a police officer fall into the water during the mass attack near the end. He flails, disappears underwater, and the camera cuts to his hat floating down from the bloody water above through clearer water and onto a carpet of water weeds.
  • The Pit and the Pendulum (1991): When the captain of the guard is killed by the Pendulum of Death, his demise is shown by a shot of his hat: cut in half and splattered with blood.
  • One victim's demise in the hands of Leech Man is made apparent with his hat floating on the surface of swamp in The Return of Swamp Thing.
  • In The Scent Of Mystery, a killer is chasing the good guys in a railroad tunnel; then the train arrives with the good guys leaving the tunnel. The good guys see the killer's flattened hat flying in the air and put their own to their hearts.
  • An example that overlaps with Censored Child Death in Return to a Better Tomorrow, a little girl gets shot in the back of her head by a mobster, but the most we see is her hat falling down next to her dead father.
  • A variation occurs in the film version of A Series of Unfortunate Events: when Aunt Josephine is left to the leeches, her banana peel is shown floating to the surface of the lake.
  • In Stargate, Skaara's friend Nabeh liked to wear one of the soldiers' helmets. When they're running from the gliders later, one of the gliders' blasts hits where Nabeh had been, and we see the helmet bouncing out of the dust cloud as Skaara yells his name. In the novelization, later on in the book, a mostly okay Nabeh triumphantly reclaims his helmet in the usual subversion of this.
  • The discretion shot variety occurs in Superman: The Movie. When Armus finds what's left of his partner, Harry, after Lex remotely pushes him into the path of a train, all we see is the mangled hat Armus picks up—the rest is left below the shot.
  • Tower of London: When Mord stabs the infirm Henry VI at his prayers, his death is marked by his paper crown falling to the floor.
  • Tower of London (1962): When Richard and Sir Ratcliffe murder the young princes in their bed, the camera pans down to show the puppet being held in Prince Richard's hand, which goes limp as he dies. There is then a Match Cut to the same puppet being held in Richard's hand in his chambers as he studies it after the murder.
  • In The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, the dead bandito's "gold hat" is flying around the scene after the execution.
  • The discretion-shot aspect is subverted in Tremors, when Old Fred's hat is found on the ground in his sheep pen ... and his head is found under it.
  • Subverted in The Wages of Fear. After pushing Jo off the wooden ramp with the truck, the only thing Mario finds is Jo's cap. However, soon after we see Jo, the Dirty Coward, climbing up the hill.
  • Wendigo: After the surgeon breaks the news of George's death to Kim, there is a close-up of his bloodstained boots sitting in the middle of the hospital corridor.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the chief weasel Smartass gets kicked in the balls and is sent flying into a vat of Dip. Afterward, his fedora floats down into it.
  • Zack Snyder's Justice League. The leader of the Evil Reactionary terrorists in London wears a black fedora to go with his black suit. Wonder Woman obliterates him with a shockwave clap from her bracers, leaving only his hat to float down to the police outside after the wall is blown out where he was standing.

  • James Bond:
    • In You Only Live Twice, Bond witnesses one man killing himself in the Garden of Death by walking into a fumarole field. Only his top hat is left behind on the surface after he sinks.
    • In Devil May Care, when Dr. Gorner is crushed to death by the paddles of a steamer, only his single white glove that he wore to hide the deformity on his left hand is left on the water's surface.
  • In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, only Ichabod's hat is found, along with a shattered pumpkin, after he is ambushed by the Headless Horseman.
  • Averted in Neal Asher's Gridlinked the psychopathic android Mr. Crane is knocked into a deep river, the idea being that he is very heavy and will sink. This seems to work leaving his signature hat floating on the river. About five seconds later he reaches up, grabs the hat and walks up from the river bed onto the shore.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, Aunt Josephine's lifevest is found in Lake Lachrymose
  • In Star Wars Legends, one of the Expanded Universe novels dealing with Boba Fett's rise to fame is tracking down a Neimoidian. After the guy dies, Boba brings back his hat as proof, because his client says "No Neimoidian would ever part with his hat!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. used this in the pilot.
  • Band of Brothers. When the counterattack at Carentan is routed, a German soldier's death is indicated by his helmet rolling downhill.
  • The Brittas Empire: After Brittas is crushed to death by a falling water tank, the only part of him that can still be seen is his tie sticking out from the water tank.
  • Dad's Army played with this. Having just rescued Private Pike from a bog, the men see Jones' hat sticking out of the mud. Turns out he'd gone off when they weren't looking to find rope.
  • In the Dinotopia miniseries, after Cyrus Crabb is Eaten Alive by a Dunkleosteous, his wooden leg is shown floating to the surface.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Earthshock" combines this with Silent Credits. At the end of the story, Adric is killed when the space freighter on which he is trapped crashes into the prehistoric Earth and explodes, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs. The usual closing credits are replaced by a shot of Adric's badge, which was shattered earlier in the episode when the Doctor used its gold content as a weapon against the Cyber Leader, with no accompanying theme music.
    • "Thin Ice": A Street Urchin is sucked under the ice to be food for the giant serpent chained at the bottom of the Thames. Later, when the Doctor and Bill go diving to investigate, the serpent burps out his hat.
    • "Oxygen" opens with a woman in a spacesuit being killed by the Monster of the Week. Due to a comms failure, her husband is only aware of this when he sees her space helmet drifting past his face.
    • "The Woman Who Fell to Earth": Rahul's death is depicted by showing his crowbar falling to the floor.
  • Mr. Howell faked his death on Gilligan's Island by setting his hat on some quicksand.
  • Horrible Histories: The Tudor version of Thumbelina ends with with Thumbelina travelling to London in search of her prince. However, because this is Tudor era London, the streets are covered in human excrement, and Thumbelina, being just six inches high, sinks and drown. The final shot is her hat floating atop a pool of poo.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim combines this with Gory Discretion Shot; Roshuo uses telekinesis to throw Sid/Armored Rider Sigurd in between two cliff faces and then smash him between them. The camera pans upwards just before Sid is crushed, and then we see his bowler hat go flying away from the cliffs and land near Roshuo.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In "Contract", a gossip columnist is killed by an explosive charge planted in the headrest of his car seat. After the explosion, there is a close-up of his bloodstained fedora lying in the street next to his car.
  • In Lessons for a Perfect Detective Story this is used when Tenkaichi gets blown up at the end of the finale. It's also the first time he's ever without his hat off on screen.
  • In Loki (2021), all that's left behind of Classic Loki after Alioth devours him is his horned helmet lying on the ground, decayed from exposure.
  • The Magician: The death of the first Victim of the Week in "The Illusion of the Fatal Arrow" is shown by the head of an arrow protruding through the back of his chair and his coffee cup hitting the floor.
  • In Les Misérables (2000), Javert walks into the water. Doesn't even jump or dive. And his hat floats off his head. In the novel, and in the 1982 film, he leaves it on the parapet.
  • Monk uses his jacket to fake his death (long story) in order to go undercover and solve the case without the police (who think he's done the deed) on his back.
  • In Seinfeld, Russell Dalrymple, the NBC executive in charge of Jerry's putative series, Jerry, becomes obsessed with Elaine and joins Greenpeace to impress her, only to die at sea during a botched assault on a whaling ship. The scene ends with the Jerry script floating in the ocean, serving neatly as a Dead Hat Shot not only for Russell but for Jerry as well.
  • Sherlock Holmes. A non-fatal version in "The Final Problem", when one of Moriarty's assassins disguised as a carriage driver tries to kill Holmes. Holmes dives for cover and there's a shot of his top hat being crushed under the horses' hooves.
  • An episode of the BBC adaptation of The Silver Chair has a Cliffhanger ending of a shot of Puddleglum's hat under a rock thrown by the giants.
  • Supernatural:
    • In the episode "Hollywood Babylon", a stagehand's trucker's hat falls from the scaffolding on to the movie set to signal his death.
    • In the episode "Hello, Cruel World", the Leviathan possessing Cas finally burn out his vessel. Before the body disintegrates, the Leviathan wade into a lake which will allow them to travel via water to more hosts. The final shot is Cas' trademark trenchcoat, which Dean retrieves.
  • Tales from the Darkside: At the end of "The Odds", the death of a bookie is shown by his pencil rolling off the table and on to the floor.
  • Top Gear and the first Stig's "death", complete with glove left floating on the sea.
  • Yancy Derringer: In "Return to New Orleans", Yancy gets pistol whipped and tossed over the side of a riverboat. His attackers see his hat float to the surface and assume he is dead. However, a few seconds after they move off, Yancy silently surfaces and reclaims his hat.

    Music Video 
  • In the music video for Miserable the members of Lit are getting eaten by a bikini-clad Giant Woman. One member, Jeremy Popoff, tries to hide from her but she quickly finds him and eats him. We then see her spit out one of his shoes which the camera focuses on for a good second or two. These particular shoes were Jeremy's signature clothing item, which is one reason why they received this special moment.

  • In Albert Herring, the prestissimo Heartbeat Soundtrack that continually accompanies the manhunt for Albert comes to a climax when a funereal procession enters, bearing under a white cloth the crushed refuse of Albert's orange-blossom crown. Albert's mother faints upon recognizing it, and a Premature Eulogy ensues.
  • In Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II, after eating Seymour, spits out his glasses.
  • In Britten's opera Peter Grimes, Ellen realised that John, Peter's second apprentice, is dead when his sweater floats ashore.
  • In Wicked, Elphaba's witch hat is left behind after her faked death.

    Video Games 
  • Occurs in Brain Dead 13 in a couple of deaths, including Lance falling into the Spikes of Doom and being eaten by a frog in a maze down one of the wrong paths (though the former is more like a Dead Hat-and-Hair Shot).
  • Breath of Fire IV has an especially tragic, non-water-related version: Mami's bells (which she wears in her hair) serve as this when they fall out of the sky after Fou-lu is hit by a massive Fantastic Nuke. What makes this especially tragic: Mami was in fact the warhead for aforementioned Fantastic Nuke, which is an Evil Weapon that literally operates on the principle Love Hurts. And she was explicitly tortured to insanity and then used as a Human Sacrifice to fire the Fantastic Nuke because she was in love with Fou-lu. Mami was also pretty much (with one solitary other exception) the only person to treat Fou-lu with decency, and aforementioned owners of Fantastic Nuke are the direct descendants of the very empire who summoned Fou-lu in the first place and whom he is technically King in the Mountain of—except that his empire is now The Empire and sees him as an Unwanted Revival, and has spent most of the game going to greater and greater extremes to try to kill their own God-Emperor. It is probably not a shocker that this is The Last Straw that shoves Fou-lu affirmatively into Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds territory.
  • Subverted in Call of Duty: World at War at the end of "Vendetta" when Petrenko must jump into the river to avoid a tank attack: you see Reznov's distinctive fur hat floating in the river in front of you, leaving his fate ambiguous until the next mission when he makes an explosive rescue.
  • If you fall in the water in the Dick Tracy Genesis video game your hat floats to the surface. It also falls off when you die by more violent means.
  • Final Fantasy VIII has a non-hat variation, with the Game Over screen Squall's broken gunblade partially buried in the ground, and a white feather (like those associated with Rinoa) near it.
  • Noble Six's broken helmet in the opening and post-epilogue cutscenes of Halo: Reach. During the epilogue, his/her final moments are shown from the discarded helmet's camera, with his/her head just off-screen.
  • In Hollow Knight's "Dream No More" ending, following the Knight's Heroic Sacrifice to destroy the Radiance, only their broken Vessel mask is left behind.
  • Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom for the NES had Indy vanish in a poof of smoke when killed, leaving only his hat.
  • In Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition game, if you die as Dr. Alan Grant, his iconic hat comes to rest differently depending on how he died. If you die by a standard Dino attack, he falls flat on his back, his hat falling off his head and landing perfectly on his chest. If you are eaten by a T.Rex, only his hat remains on screen as it slowly drifts to the ground. The trope is played straight if Grant falls in water, all that is left is his hat floating on the surface.
  • King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! has a Dummied Out image of Graham's hat over water. This image was recycled for the Fan Remakes of the first two games.
  • Ganondorf apparently kills Midna offscreen near the end of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and shows Link her iconic helm; breaking it for good measure. Of course, she turns up alive.
  • LEGO Chess has a non-lethal version, with the owner of the hat (either the Pirate or Imperial captain, depending on who won or lost) emerging from under the water, hat still on.
  • The Prehistoric Chapter of Live A Live ends with the Kuu Chieftain getting eaten offscreen by Odo, who spits out his crown back onscreen at the heroes. After the boss is defeated and the heroes leave, Zaki pauses and sulks at the crown before joining the others.
  • In the opening to stage 5-3 of Mad Rat Dead, a car crash is heard from offscreen and when Mad Rat goes to investigate, we see a large bloodstain on the crosswalk. The small, child-sized shoe lying beside it is already sobering enough, but as a familiar straw hat floats to the ground, it becomes clear that the victim was the same little girl who saved Mad Rat earlier in the story. Thankfully, it doesn't last.
  • The very last scene of Mega Man Zero 4 is a shot of Zero's damaged helmet in the desert, surrounded by debris from the fallen space station Ragnarok after he destroyed it. Also falls under Never Found the Body.
  • The Game Over screen of the Metal Slug series has this, accompanied with the words drawn in the sand.
  • Happens in some versions of The Oregon Trail if your wagon sinks while crossing a river.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, if the player shoots Javier Escuella off of his horse (using one of the rifles, like a Rolling Block Rifle, and Dead Eye Targeting at the head), his sombrero will get knocked off of his head and flutter down as his body falls off onto the ground. (Though normally his body and sombrero vanish after that shot, the next cutscene shows John carrying Javier's corpse over the shoulder into the jail cell, confirming his death.)
  • In one of the possible endings of The Outer Worlds Reed Tobson will leave Edgewater and brave the wilds on his own out of shame. Two days later, his hat is found on a marauder.
  • Happens to Captain LeFwee in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves after he falls overboard. It is implied that the sharks got him.
  • In the reveal trailer for Ridley in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the space dragon sneaks up on and ambushes Mario, Mega Man and Samus. After he ambushes Mario and stabs him with his tail in a Gory Discretion Shot, Samus turns around to find Mario's hat lying in the ground. Knowing Ridley's sadistic tendencies, it's more than possible that he invoked the trope on purpose.
  • This happens with the first boss in Time Crisis II.
  • During Chapter 6 of Triangle Strategy, Maxwell gets thrown off a bridge after taking a hit from a powerful attack by General Avlora. His hat, Domino Mask, and a pool of blood float in the water where he fell. Eventually, Wolfhort scouts recover his hat and mask, leading the main characters to believe he is dead. On the route where the group decides to not give up Roland to Aesfrost, Roland eventually uses the mask in a Faking the Dead plot. It turns out Maxwell is not dead and can eventually rejoin the party later in the game as an Optional Party Member.
  • In Telltale's Video Game version of The Walking Dead, if you fail to stop the train in episode 3, Duck will turn into a walker and kill Katja and Clementine, which will leave Clementine's hat.
  • The World Ends with You subverts this due to a rare inversion of Never Found the Body. You steal Minamoto's Hat and, it acts as an Infinity +1 Sword; however, his body didn't disappear, meaning he's still as dead as he was for the rest of the game.

  • In Kevin & Kell, Fenton Fuscus once flew out of Lindesfarne Dewclaw's car and rammed himself head-on into a car from N.O.P.E. that was chasing them. A frame in the immediate aftermath showed his glasses on the asphalt, with a panicked Lindesfarne in one lens and the other lens shattered. Subverted, as Fenton ultimately survived, but with one of his wings catastrophically broken.
  • Unsounded: The love hotel hostess with the distinctive tentacle hat is seen looking up as one of Bell's butchers enters the front door. Later her hat can be seen on the ruined desk she was sitting behind when Bastion is walking through the ruins of Ethelmik.

    Web Original 
    • The last shot of "Weiss Schnee vs. Mitsuru Kijiro" has Weiss' iconic Cool Sword Myrtenaster falling to the stone floor in two pieces after the owner was cut down mid-charge.
    • Wario vs. King Dedede ends with a shot of Wario's hat floating through space as a result of him blowing up from his own fart.
    • A shot near the end of "Steven Universe vs. Star Butterfly" shows the former's shattered Gem lying on the sand, after the latter had disintegrated his body.
  • Used in the final shot of the finale of Llamas with Hats after Carl has eliminated all life on Earth, including his best friend, and commits suicide by jumping off a bridge. It's extremely effective as a dramatic tool, especially considering how comical the first half of the series was.
  • In the Dragon Ball Z Abridged take on "Super Android 13", after the titular android is defeated when Goku merges a Spirit Bomb with himself and destroys him in a single hit, his trucker hat is seen flying away from the battlefield.
  • The Blue Shell Incident: After Duck dies, one of his feathers floats down in front of Luigi.

    Western Animation 
  • In Part I of the Batman Beyond episode "The Call", Justice League member Warhawk tries to intercept a missile heading straight for Metropolis, but the missile detonates while he's still on it. Next thing Batman (who was acccompanying Warhawk) knew, Warhawk's helmet was flying through the air and smashing into the Batmobile's windshield. However, Part II reveals that Warhawk never died; it was a remote-controlled drone that was riding the missile.
  • In the penultimate episode of Beast Wars the battle between Depth Charge and Rampage ends with a massive underwater explosion followed by various bits and pieces (most notably one of Depth Charge's wings) floating to the surface in a deliberate send up of this trope.
  • The Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers episode "Seer No Evil" includes a non-drowning variation on this trope. Here, Chip is seemingly crushed by a falling treasure chest and, when Zipper pulls his hat out from under the chest, the other Rangers mourn his apparent death. However, they then discover that Chip survived by diving into a conveniently placed hole in the floorboards.
  • Used against the Hacker in one episode of Cyber Chase (dealing with odds) when the heroes pull a Batman Gambit Roulette on him hoping he'd get sucked into cyberspace after choosing the wrong door.
  • Another variation on this trope occurs in the Defenders of the Earth episode "The Ghost Walks Again", where The Phantom falls into a river after being shot. On finding his belt floating in the water, Jedda immediately fears the worst and, when the Phantom is subsequently declared dead (even though his body has not been found) has to decide if she is ready to take over his duties. However, the Phantom has, in fact, survived and is reunited with his daughter by the episode's conclusion.
  • Invoked and Subverted in the DuckTales (1987) episode "Hero for Hire". When Launchpad crashes his helicopter into a bridge, the Webbed Wonder suit is seen floating in the bay, but Launchpad is still alive.
  • Infinity Train:
    • In "The Ball Pit Car", Atticus's crown clatters to the ground when he is shot by The Conductor.
    • In "The Wasteland", Mirror Tulip is forced to kill Mace to stop him from Taking You with Me, and as she grinds him to death against the wheels of the Infinity Train we hear him screaming in agony as it cuts to Mace's hat floating away in the wind.
  • Looney Tunes: In Speedy Gonzales, a mouse tries to get to the cheese factory without getting captured by Sylvester. He goes and Sylvester eats him offscreen and all that's left of him is his sombrero. Another mouse throws it onto a pile of other discarded sombreros.
  • In the Mighty Max episode "The Maxnificent Seven " Hanuman's helmet rolls toward the heroes after his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • When Luz (temporarily) dies in the Grand Finale of The Owl House, the only thing left behind after she Disappears into Light is the hat from her Azura Halloween costume. Strangely, it shows up back on her head following her revival, even though her spirit clearly didn't have it during her talk with the Titan in the In Between Realm.
  • Samurai Jack, "Episode LII: Jack and the Baby". After Jack cuts off the robotic cowboy ogre's right gun hand, the latter explodes and the only thing left of him is his cowboy hat shown landing on the ground before the angry ogre leader's eyes.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In "The Midnight Zone", the gang finds out that Cassidy died in her Heroic Sacrifice when Scooby (the seal, not the dog) shows them her broken diving helmet.
  • Bart tossing his red baseball cap on to a cardboard box when he ditches the Class Trip to the box factory leads Homer to conclude that he has been made into a box in an episode of The Simpsons (the season five episode "Bart Gets Famous"note .
  • In Star Wars: Clone Wars and The Clone Wars, you can repeatedly see clone helmets floating on water or lying on the ground, since the series' ratings do not allow showing dead owners of those helmets in detail.
    • "Trespass": The Talz leave the helmets of the clone troopers and heads of the battle droids stationed at Republic and Separatist bases on Orto Plutonia on spears as a warning to not return. At the end, Senator Chuchi places the late Chairman Cho's hat on a Talz spear while negotiating peace with Chieftain Thi-Sen.
    • "Counterattack": Echo's helmet flies off when he's caught in an explosion, and the camera cuts to one of these shots as the main characters flee... and since we Never Found the Body because of this trope, Echo was revealed to be alive in the Bad Batch arc.
    • In the Grand Finale, "Victory and Death", one of the final scenes is Ahsoka looking over the mass graves of the 332, including that of Jesse, all marked by their helmets sitting on makeshift pikes. This is a Wham Shot, as the entire legion was Killed Offscreen when the ship they were on crashed earlier.
    • An unproduced script centered around Boba Fett would have ended with a one-on-one shootout between him and Cad Bane. Both bounty hunters fire and Boba is injured, while all we see of Bane is his hat drifting to the ground.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • "The Mystery of Chopper Base": A Red Shirt is killed by the krykna, and all that's left of her is her helmet.
    • "Ghosts of Geonosis": All that's left of Saw Gerrera's team is their helmets, lying in a tunnel. Gerrera himself, however, is fine.
    • A promotional image for "Heroes of Mandalore" at the end of the Rebels Recon "Zero Hour" recap was an image depicting a pile of Mandalorian helmets (including that of Fenn Rau, a Nite Owl, and Clan Wren) covered in dirt and ash, laying strewn across a Mandalorian desert with one helmet even mounted on a pike while pillars of black smoke could be seen in the background.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003):
  • Wander over Yonder:
    • In "The Pet" after Wander stumbles upon an alien who recently devoured the abandoned ship's Captain Tim, it coughs out the ID tag necklace the captain used to wear, which Wander uses to name the alien after the captain.
    • In "The Bot" after Probe-13 (aka Beep-Boop) is blown up to bits by Lord Dominator, all that remains of him is his half of the photobooth pictures he took with Wander, floating somewhere in space.
  • Wing Commander Academy. The episode "The Last One Left" focuses on a pilot who went renegade. We last see him flying a suicidal attack run, and the episode ends with shattered wreckage floating in space including the renegade's destroyed helmet.

    Real Life 
  • A bizarre real life example. In Canada, there was a bizarre string of running shoes washing up on shore, with the feet still in them. They could understand why (ankles are fairly weak, so feet will likely snap off in water, and shoes float), they just had no idea where they were coming from, and why they couldn't find the bodies (which will occasionally float themselves).
  • A Genre Savvy application of this trope: German U-boats in World War II evolved a strategy, when under sustained attack from surface ships, of firing out miscellaneous debris from the torpedo tubes. This included containers full of waste oil that would break and spread on the surface of the water, indicating the ship had taken critical damage from depth charges. Sundry debris was added to enhance the deception, including items of crew clothing and other plausible bits of debris that would float to the surface and indicate the submarine had been sunk. These did indeed include crewmens' headgear, including officers' caps. While the British or American attackers were congratulating themselves on a kill, the sub would simulate an uncontrollable crash dive to fool sonar detection, then go into silent running mode and eventually make its escape.


M. Bison Dies

After he meets his demise at the hands of Ryu in Street Fighter V all that remains of him is his hat.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeadHatShot

Media sources: