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Dramatic Slip

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"I will obtain skill in the use of my legs and feet, so that I can actually run from one place to another without tripping over every shadow, crack, and pebble along my path."

We've all seen it happen. Two or more people are running from something that promises pain and/or death. While they're running, one of the characters trips. For some strange reason, they're almost always incapable of getting up on their own, even if there's no logical reason they shouldn't be able to, though sometimes it is justified by either an injury sustained from said trip or the speed at which the danger is closing in means they can't get up fast enough before the threat catches up with them. The other characters then have to decide whether or not to stop running and go back for them. This can either lead to No Man Left Behind or Screw This, I'm Outta Here from a Dirty Coward.

See also: Go On Without Me.

Contrast: Broken Heel and Twisted Ankle. Help, I'm Stuck! is a similar situation where the character is physically caught on/in something and cannot get free without help at all.

For the worst possible outcome, see Death by Falling Over.

Here is a compilation of "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!" with a lot of examples.


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  • Parodied in this Commercial Switcheroo ad from Sprite, showing a mother and her kids running from a terrifying mascot. She stumbles over a vacuum and falls. Certain to be done for she pleads her children to keep running.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: In the very first episode the ghost of a small girl trips while a Hollow is chasing her because she encountered Ichigo earlier in the day, and it eats her.
  • YuYu Hakusho: This happens between Kurama and his friend from the past. Well, actually, it didn't. But this isn't a subversion, so much as it was a villain pretending to be his friend lying about what really happened.

    Comic Books 
  • The Smurfs: In "The Weather Smurf" (the second story of the book "The Astrosmurf"), the Smurfs are trying to return to the Smurf Village during a snowstorm. Brainy Smurf falls, and when another Smurf offers to carry him, he tells "no, let me die here". The Smurf takes his word and leaves him, so a scared Brainy gets up again and keeps running.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Black Hole. When the giant fiery asteroid crashes through the spaceship and starts rolling towards the protagonists as they race to cross a flimsy looking catwalk in front of it, one of them is seen to stumble before getting up to keep running. It's more effective given that the trope isn't emphasized.
  • The Craft: While on an increasingly uncomfortable date with Chris, Sarah tries to leave and panics when he follows her, tripping and falling down as she runs away. Chris then tries to sexually assault her until she's able to get away.
  • Dune (2021). Paul Atreides stumbles while fleeing a sandworm. Justified as he's not used to running in sand. And even though his mother is fleeing with him, there's no scene where she runs back, helps him to his feet and they flee while Holding Hands — when you have Worm Sign coming up behind you, it's Run or Die. So Paul just gets to his feet and keeps running.
  • Subverted in Euro Trip — one of them falls, says "Go on without me!".... and then, when he realizes nobody's helping him, gets up again and keeps running.
  • Godzilla (1998) has Audrey stumble during the climactic chase scene, and Nick has to climb back down off the fence he was halfway over and go back to help her up. It says quite a bit about the character of Audrey and the film in general that this example doesn't actually stand out too much.
  • Judge Dredd: the part where they're running along the flame-spewing shaft, only for one of them to stumble and immediately yell for the other to help him up.
  • Occurs in Jurassic Park, and then in the sequel as well, where the guy is subsequently stepped on by a T-Rex.
  • While fleeing the dinosaur stampede on Skull Island in King Kong (2005), Carl Denham tumbles over. As the dinosaur onslaught is only a few yards away, Jack Driscoll turns around to quickly help Carl get back on his feet.
  • In the B-Movie Missile to the Moon, an astronaut trips as it's the only way the incredibly slow-moving rock creatures could menace someone.
    Mystery Science Theater 3000: I think you'd have a better chance of being overtaken by an actual rock.
  • In Surf Ninjas, the evil general is knocked down and stepped on by an elephant necessitating cybernetic face and other body parts. However, he has a good three seconds of hammily screaming to the camera during which he easily could have avoided the elephant's foot.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, the Turtles first rescue of April O'Neil involves escaping from the daimyo's castle through the drainage system, resulting in them being deposited into a very muddy bog. Donatello falls on his back, and needs April's help, as he says, "Help! I'm a turtle and I can't get up!"

  • Discworld:
    • Causes the second half of the plot of Thief of Time. Lobsang and Lu-Tze were running to reach the Glass Clock before it struck and would have made it if not for this trope. The stupidity is later lampshaded:
      I'm sorry? You were dashing to prevent the end of the world but you stopped to help some old man? You... hero!
    • During her adventurous youth, Nanny Ogg was often (literally) pursued by young men until she inevitably tripped over a branch and was powerless to escape their lecherous intentions. Since branches were sometimes hard to find, she carried one on her just in case.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Here Come the Brides:
    • In "A Crying Need," Jeremy clears a log jam with dynamite, but trips as he's running away. He makes it far enough that he only gets a concussion.
    • In "The Soldier," Jeremy falls repeatedly because of the shackles on his legs while he's being hunted by Sgt. Todd.
  • Squid Game: In "Red Light, Green Light", players are gunned down if the singing doll catches them moving when they aren't supposed to. When Gi-hun is about to cross the finish line, his foot catches on a dead body, and he falls just as the doll turns around. Fortunately, Ali catches him just in time and holds him steady, saving his life.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Five Doctors", grand daughter Susan twists her ankle by hilariously tripping over a small stone in the middle of an otherwise empty field. It looks every bit as silly as it sounds and had no relevance whatsoever to the plot.

    Video Games 
  • Ao Oni: In version 6, after returning to the rope ladder with Takuro, the monster will have suddenly appeared there to cut off any possible escape. While running away, this happens to Takuro, who also happens to have a Twisted Ankle at the time. You can't go back for him.
  • From Next Door: As Namie is fleeing from the house after she sees the creature for the first time, she trips running out the front door and hits her head on the pavement, falling unconscious.
  • Insanity: While being chased by Shigeki, Kyouko runs into Emiko's old room and trips over, with her hat falling off. Shigeki corners her, but when he sees her without her hat, he notices her resemblance to his late daughter and stops attacking her.
  • Mad Father: Near the end, Aya and Maria try to escape, with the latter having had their leg very badly injured. They fall after a few minutes of Aya's support, before invoking Go On With Out Me. Aya invariably does, but luckily, Maria is well enough to pull a Big Damn Heroes a few minutes later.

    Western Animation 
  • Darkwing Duck advises his companions to "go on without me!" in one episode, with his usual order of Large Ham. He's actually faking out a pursuer, and his next line is "Just kidding."
  • One clip in the opening to Rick and Morty shows the title character running from alien beasts. Rick opens up a portal and jumps inside. Morty trips and the portal disappears before he can stand up. It cuts to the next scene just before the beasts pounce on Morty.

    Real Life 
  • An alternate name for this trope, "I've Fallen, And I Can't Get Up" comes from this iconic advert by American company LifeCall, which produces a keyring-sized device that allows elderly, disabled or vulnerable people to call for help should they become incapacitated in their own home. As of 2020, one of the most common causes of preventable deaths and serious injuries are falls, especially around stairs. Whether you're old or young, it can only take a Dramatic Slip at the wrong time or place to leave you with numerous fractures at the bottom of a flight of stairs, or worse.
  • This can easily happen as panic can easily keep someone from paying attention to their surroundings or ruining their coordination, causing them to trip over things they otherwise wouldn't trip over if they were a little calmer due to their Flight or Fight response causing tunnel vision in their single minded focus on getting away. Hence why the first piece of advice that is usually said to people is to not panic when they find themselves in a crisis.
  • New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones tripped over his own feet after running 80 yards in 2020 against the Philadelphia Eagles, messing up what would have otherwise been an almost guaranteed touchdown. And unfortunately, in American Football, once you're down the play is over even without the opposing team barreling down on you. The Giants did score a touchdown a few plays later but ended up losing the game. Jones later said it happened because he was going faster than he was actually able to run (reports clocked him at over 21 miles per hour), causing his feet to slip on the turf.

Alternative Title(s): Ive Fallen And I Cant Get Up