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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. 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 and 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.
  • Yu Yu 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.

     Films — Animated  

     Films — Live-Action  
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Surf Ninjas, the evil general (played by Leslie Nielson), 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

     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.
  • 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 quotes the trope verbatim 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.

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


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