Follow TV Tropes


Five-Finger Fillet

Go To
Oh, I have all my fingers, the knife goes chop, chop, chop, if I miss the spaces in between, my fingers will come off...

Bronn: There's a Braavosi knife game I can teach you.
Tyrion: Does it involve loss of fingers?
Bronn: Only if you lose.

The Five Finger Fillet is when a character places their hand palm-down on a table, spreads their fingers, and begins stabbing between them with a knife, trying to go as fast as possible without hurting themselves. Screwing this up, which gets easier as the "game" goes on, can certainly result in fingore.

This can be a way to establish a character as a hardened criminal or a Psycho Knife Nut, or just generally badass. However, if the work is farther to the silly side on the Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness, it's more likely to be done by a character who doesn't fit the usual stereotypes, playing the contrast for humor.

The game is also called "the knife game", "nerve", "stabscotch", and "bishop".



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Baccano!: Claire Stanfield does this for fun with Chic's scissors in "Drugs & Dominoes".
  • Parasyte: When Shinichi first tries to confirm whether his right hand has been taken over by an alien, he places his palm on the table and prepares to stab a knife between his fingers, reasoning that it will dodge of its own volition if it isn't his. That's how he meets his parasite, Migi.

    Fan Works 
  • Live a Hero (MHA): Izuku demonstrates this in one chapter, at Kirisima's request. The rest of his classmates respond with a Mass "Oh, Crap!".
    Iida: [wide-eyed] Wait, you’re not going to—
    Izuku: [singing] Oh, I have all my fingers—
    Iida: NO, NONONONO.
    Izuku: —The knife goes chop chop chop—
    Izuku: —If I miss the spaces in between my fingers will come off—
    Izuku: Oh, chopchopchopchopchpochopchop I’m picking up the speed—
    Iida: MIDORIYA NO!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aliens: Bishop does this with his hand over Hudson's to demonstrate his superhuman reflexes. Leads to his Robotic Reveal. And was done for real by Lance Henriksen, meaning the Establishing Character Moment for Hudson is Bill Paxton actually screaming his lungs off.
  • Jeph is seen doing this in a flashback scene in Drowning Mona. In the present day, he's missing his entire hand although he lost it in a different way.
  • In The Hangover Part II Teddy lost his right ring finger attempting this; it was then claimed by a drug-dealing monkey. Fuckin' Bangkok.
  • The young hitchhiker in Knife in the Water does this, intimidating the middle-aged man that picked him up.
  • Subverted in Knucklebones; the summoned demon does this to Travis and deliberately mutilates his hand in the process, dismissively observing that it was never very good at that.
  • In Populaire, Louis Echard does this to himself in order to convince his ex-girlfriend to give piano Lessons to Rose Pamphyle. He is later seen bandaging his hand with the help of Rose.
  • Surviving Picasso: As in Real Life, Picasso becomes attracted to Dora Maar when she cuts her fingers doing this.
  • In Ted, Ted does this with a guy and eventually stabs the man's hand.
    Ted: Well, you never shoulda trusted me, I'm on drugs!
  • Discussed in The World's End. Andy has a scar on his middle finger from a failed attempt to re-enact the scene from Aliens, which he reveals to prove that unlike Bishop, he is not a robot.

  • Fighting Fantasy has a couple:
    • In City of Thieves you can be challenged by a brigand in a tavern to play this game. You lose 5 Gold coins if you accidentally stab yourself, and if you win you gain a Silver Bracelet that can repel giant insects.
    • Winning this game against your sworn rival, Fang-Zen of Jitar, is a must if you were even to complete the gamebook, Deathmoor. Fail this game or pass up the challenge (which happens really early in the book) and you'll lose an essential item rendering your quest unwinnable.

  • A variation occurs in Neverwhere. Mr. Croup places his hand against a wall and throws several razor blades at it, landing in the spaces in between. Mr. Vandemar is unimpressed with the fact that he missed all his fingers.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire. The Ironborn have a game in which they catch an axe thrown at them. This has a tendency to result in missing fingers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Boardwalk Empire, Jimmy expertly plays the game with his old trenchknife in "Family Limitation", establishing him as a Psycho Knife Nut who's still not over the war. Capone's unfamiliarity with the game tips Jimmy off that he wasn't really in the war.
  • A sketch by Brazilian comedy group Casseta & Planeta had a prison inmate doing this with himself, and then demonstrating on another who asked. The other's fingers are notably skinnier afterwards.
  • Eerie, Indiana: In "Heart on a Chain", Devon does this in the classroom. When Marshall tells him to slow down, Devon replies, "Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse." After Devon's heart is transplanted into her body, Melanie does the five finger fillet herself in the World O' Stuff and uses the same phrase.
  • The unaired pilot of Fearless has a bad guy do this to Gaia, in order to get some reaction out of her. Presumably fear, but this is Gaia we're on about.
  • In Inside No. 9 episode "The Bill", the game used to settle the bill when things really escalate out of control. Namedropped along with a number of other names the game goes by.
  • Great News: Played for Laughs when a drunk Carol, who is 60 years old, does this at the office party in "Snowmageddon of the Century".
  • The IT Crowd has Moss do this with a screwdriver in one episode with surprising skill, while connected to a machine that measures stress levels.
    Moss: The needle is flipping out!
  • In New Girl, Nick recalls a time when one of his old girlfriends did this to his hand. He wasn't pleased about it one bit.
  • In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in the opening episode of Red Dwarf, Chen can be seen doing this (badly) with a pen.
  • In the BBC documentary series Simon Schama's Power of Art, Pablo Picasso meets his future mistress Dora Maar when she cuts her fingers doing this.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena does this to a con man in order to make him fess up about a con on one of her friends. The speed of which she did it is beyond that of any normal human being.

    Video Games 
  • One of Fuse's unlockable banner poses in Apex Legends has him apparently playing this with his own hand - only for him to finish the act by revealing that the hand actually belonged to a very nervous-looking Mirage.
  • In the thief's guild in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood a thief plays this at one of the bar tables. Sometimes he wins and admires his hand and other times he loses and licks his wound.
  • A hidden minigame in Full Throttle
  • One of the minigames in Later Alligator is a three-fingered variation of this that plays like a "Simon Says" Mini-Game. In the first round, the player character and Bobby Blue Eyes use spoons, and in the second round, the player character switches to a knife. In round three, the player character uses a scary-looking combat knife, which unnerves Bobby to the point his first move in round four was hitting his finger with the spoon, making the player automatically win after they put a Band-Aid on his "fingey".
  • One of Mileena's special moves Mortal Kombat 11 has her do it with her sai while putting her hand on the opponent's face.
  • It's a Simon-says mini-game in Rage (2011).
  • Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption II offer this as an optional Rhythm Game, complete with wagers. While it is possible to miss and accidentally stab a finger, the worst that happens is there's a new spot of blood on top of the already-dried bloodstains, but the player character's fingers are none the worse for wear afterwards.
  • Manhunter: New York has a variation of this, where you and an informant toss knives in between each other's fingers. The informant goes first to demonstrate, then you have to do likewise to get a clue out of them. If you miss, then the informant crushes your skull.
  • The Sniper and Assassin in Super Monday Night Combat have this as one of their taunts. The Assassin uses her iconic dagger, while the Sniper uses a sub-machine gun. While doing a one-hand-stand. And while spinning.
  • In Chapter 4 of Tales of Monkey Island, a minor character can be seen doing this at a local bar.
  • Roxanne does this in the menu screen of Trials of the Blood Dragon.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a villager can be seen doing this in the Tavern at White Orchard.
  • One of the minigames in Work Time Fun.
  • A subquest in Yakuza 0 has Majima hook up a man looking for a counterfeit necklace with a Chinese forger. Unfortunately, the forger forgot to tell his Triad associates about the deal, so when the man arrives at his office, they wind up doing this to him until Majima intervenes.

    Web Animation 
  • Eltorro64Rus: This kicks off Scout's Amazing Adventures, where Scout attempts this on himself with a Spy-cicle after chugging some Bonk. It doesn't end well.
  • In one of the Dolan True Stories videos of the Planet Dolan channel, one of the rednecks used this trope as a distraction while his friends pilfered two of the beer kegs from a party.

    Web Comics 
  • Spoofed in this Camp Weedonwantcha strip.
  • In Cwen's Quest, one of the new villains shows off by performing this on a fairy.
  • In Gnoph, Abbey injures her fingers doing this and laments that she used to be able to do it perfectly.
  • In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things the Commander plays this game with Robert. Robert loses.
    Commander: Look, Jones, I gotta take this guy to the ER, you might not wanna wait up.
    Jones: Okay! Have fun trying not to marry him!
    Robert: You think it'll help preserve it if I put the finger in whiskey?
  • Marilith: When Dim and Vics are introduced, Vics stabs himself while doing this.

    Web Videos 
  • Rusty Cage's Knife Game Song (full version) has gone viral and was followed by many copycats singing the song while playing the game.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, a candy person is seen doing this with a spoon.
  • Beavis can be seen briefly doing this in an episode of Beavis and Butt-Head. Naturally, he ends up poking himself.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Be Careful What You Fish For", one of the kids at Stewie's horrible daycare center does this and some other kids bet on whether or not he can pull it off.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "The Last Mabelcorn", a gnome is seen playing it with an acorn instead of a knife.
  • One episode of King of the Hill brings up the game, with a prison inmate saying that he doesn't know what it's called. Peggy suggests the name "Stab Scotch".
  • Rico can be seen doing this in the Madagascar short The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper, with the visual gag that, as a penguin, it's really more of a one-flipper fillet. Skipper tells him to stop as this is inappropriate behavior for the dinner table, so he grudgingly does, but takes a moment to rub his flipper over the serrated edge of the knife when he makes sure no-one is looking.
  • Samurai Jack: Occurs in the episode "Jack versus Mad Jack".
  • Homer attempts this in one episode of The Simpsons, and manages to stab his fingers every single time.
    Marge: Homer! No knife games on the kitchen table!
    Homer: It didn't hit your precious table.
  • An episode of SpongeBob SquarePants has one fish doing this to another fish. The first fish ends up going faster and faster while the fish holding his hand out starts sweating bullets. Eventually, he lands on a finger, although he acts like he won whatever they were doing.
  • In Stressed Eric, a man in the hospital queue does this with his hand resting on his thigh. He seems quite happy to repeatedly stab his thigh but screams in pain when he misses and hits his finger.


Video Example(s):


Chainmail For The Hand

Ravi does this to demonstrate the oyster shucking gloves to Liv.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / FiveFingerFillet

Media sources: