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Flag Drop

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"I'd like to make one final statement. Kif, c'mere and hold up the flag. And wave it a little, for God's sake."
Zapp Brannigan, Futurama

Where the hero poses in front of (or next to) a prominently shown national flag.

Any sort of overly patriotic (or even generically heroic) speech will have the flag slowly descending into view behind the speaker and some music (usually the Dambusters march, for some reason) slowly rising to match. You can also expect to see it when patriotic heroes are just posing for effect or even rushing to help others.

The use of the American flag this way can become Narm very easily, especially outside the United States. In non-American works, it will almost certainly be a deliberate parody of Eagleland stereotypes.

Largely a subtrope of Patriotic Fervor. Compare Wearing a Flag on Your Head.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • The famous Emanuel Leutze painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” sees a brilliant American flag fluttering in the breeze behind the colorful and bold faces of the colonial army.

  • Steve Martin's "What I Believe" routine, a parody of inspirational speeches, is delivered in front of an American flag. The speech itself includes a few humorously unselfconscious allusions to American hypocrisy.
    I believe the United States should allow all foreigners in this country, provided they can speak our native language... Apache.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman 600: Shane Davis' spread has Diana flying in front of a very large American flag which takes up the entire background.
    • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): Jenny Frison's variant cover for issue 30 puts Diana in full Wonder Woman regalia plus a large sword in front on a large US flag.

    Film — Animated 
  • Recess: School's Out: Puny Gus steps up to lead the Third Street School students in T.J.'s absence in a full-out military uniform, with Vince pulling an American flag backdrop out of nowhere to emphasize the point.
  • Toy Story 2 has Buzz Lightyear give an inspiring speech as a waving flag appears in the background and "The Star-Spangled Banner" plays. This fades into the next scene, where Al has fallen asleep in front of the TV, and the station is playing the national anthem to sign off for the night. Averted in the international version, where the flag is substituted by a spinning globe, with a generic musical theme playing instead of the American anthem.
  • In Turning Red, Mei poses in her giant red panda form in front of a large Canadian flag along with various classmates for pictures.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Malaysian flag in Angel's Project is very prominently displayed in the indoor scenes when Inspector Hu and Siu-Fung asks questions to the local police commissioner.
  • Cliffhanger: When the surviving thrill-seeker parachutes off the cliff to escape Qualen's mooks, his 'chute resembles Finland's flag — probably owing to the director's heritage.
  • Death Race 2000. Thomasina Paine breaks in on a government broadcast to announce the Army of the Resistance is going to shut down the Transcontinental Road Race. She's apparently a distant descendant of Revolutionary War hero Thomas Paine, hence this trope behind her.
  • The Eyes of Tammy Faye: Tammy is singing in a church. Just before shouting "God Bless America!", an American flag drops behing her.
  • The opening scene in Patton where General Patton gives a Rousing Speech to his men just before they go into battle is the Trope Codifier, to the point where most modern examples are parodies of it.
  • Punisher: War Zone. Jigsaw wants an army to take on the Punisher, so says he'll do what Uncle Sam does and recruit from deprived neighbourhoods. Cue Jigsaw standing in front of a projection of the US flag while giving a Rousing Speech to various street gangs, with stirring music and culminating an OH-RAH!
  • Near the end of The Rocketeer, there's a scene where the character stands in front of an American flag and has a spotlight shine on him before a dramatic fiery takeoff. For better or for worse, he's about to go fight some Nazis.
  • Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird opens with Oscar the Grouch singing the "Grouch Anthem" in front of an American flag background.
  • The film Slappy and the Stinkers parodies this trope when, after the kids' mission to rescue a sea lion from the aquarium fails, the school groundskeeper delivers an over-the-top inspirational speech with an American flag unfurling in the background and triumphant music swelling. When he asks the kids if his speech inspired them at all and they reply "no," the flag droops out of sight in the background and the patriotic music deflates.
  • Small Soldiers has Chip Hazzard stroll in front of an American flag... or rather, a jigsaw puzzle of one, since the Commando Elite are all in a toy store at this point. The speech he gives is composed entirely of quotes from famous patriotic speeches.
  • Sheriff Buford T. Justice's retirement speech at the beginning of Smokey and the Bandit 3 is a send-up of the Patton example above.
  • Space Jam also parodies the Patton scene, with Bugs Bunny in a military uniform when he addresses his fellow toons.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy:
    • The final scene of Spider-Man sees Spider-Man accept his role as a hero and leap off of a flag-pole that's on top of a skyscraper. The last thing the audience sees before Spider-Man's face covers the camera is the American flag flowing in the wind. The ending has a lot to do with the film being produced shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
    • In Spider-Man 3, immediately before Spidey springs into action to save New York from Venom and Sandman, he takes a moment to stand impressively in front of a ridiculously large American flag lit by an unknown source of light in the middle of the night.
  • The last heroic deed Superman performs in Superman II, the one he does to seal the deal he's back to his old self, is to fly the American flag straight to the White House.
  • In the color version of the 1902 film Le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon in English) the displayed flag is always a Red-Yellow-Red Spanish flag. This could not have been an accident because Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès was French and every frame of the color version was colored by hand.

  • In Fengshen Yanyi, it is very common for various character to ride alongside a large banner for their faction, with the description in poetry mentioning said massive flag they fight/appear under. Many of those banners or flags are even magical treasures, such as Jiang Ziya's Yellow Apricot Banner and Hong Jin's Banner Gate Hideout.
  • Isaac Asimov's Franchise: (Downplayed Trope because bunting is used rather than the national flag) When published as a novel in 1985, David Shannon's front cover has Muller in the foreground (with three electrodes attached to his head) and a bunting of red, white, and blue as background. The focus of the story is on his part in the American presidential election of 2008, ending on a strongly patriotic note.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One scheme from Better Call Saul sees Saul and his filmmaking crew sneak into an elementary school to use their flag as a backdrop for an ad. When it airs, the narration makes it clear Saul is portraying himself as a patriotic hero that would make a World War II veteran proud.
  • At the end of the Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers, Rivers claims that she was using this platform to announce her retirement, but then, after getting her ass handed to her on the dais, says that comedy needs her, but even more than that, then says, "Drop the fucking flag", and an American flag drops behind her as "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" plays and she says, "America needs Joan Rivers!"
  • In one episode of Frasier, as Frasier was giving an inspirational, quasi-patriotic speech, a giant American flag suddenly dropped in front of the windows of his apartment.
    Niles: How did you do that?
    • It turns out to be an Exploited Trope, although the fact that it coincided with Frasier's speech was accidental: his upstairs Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Cam Winston hung it so as to block Frasier's view, knowing he'd find it nigh-impossible to persuade the Tenants' Association to order it taken down.
  • Played with in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. The Gokaigers are Space Pirates, so their roll call Stock Footage involves the crew's own Jolly Roger-like flag.
  • On a Late Night with Conan O'Brien segment, Conan remarked how, at the time, Britney Spears had visited New York and wasn't seen with her kids. Max Weinberg said he was disgusted, and began a speech directed at Britney about it. The catch was, he wasn't upset with her behavior, but that he didn't get to see her vagina (a reference to Britney getting out of a car without panties). During this faux patriotic speech, a flag dropped behind him in the background.
  • Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been known to appear at press conferences surrounded by as many as ten Australian flags, leading The Weekly with Charlie Pickering host Charlie Pickering to conclude that he awards himself two extra flags every time he believes he's made Australia safer. Charlie then examines a series of gaffes regarding the enquiry into the Martin Place siege, penalising him two flags at a time until there's none left.
    Charlie: Failing to immediately correct the Parliamentary record despite your office knowing Parliament had been misled? You're out of flags, Prime Minister. [The remaining flags are removed in the graphic.] Luckily, he doesn't pay attention to the poles.
  • World's Dumbest... sometimes has Frank Stallone accompanied by the American flag and "The Star-Spangled Banner" whenever he boasts about America being greater than all other countries, especially Russia.

  • Every performance of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" by the Boston Pops orchestra has the maestro (be it Arthur Fiedler, John Williams or Keith Lockhart) pointing up as an American flag drops down during the final chorus.

  • In the musical Chicago, Billy brings on Uncle Sam to drape an American flag behind Roxie during his Chewbacca Defense closing argument. In this case, the use is deeply ironic, contrasting American values of honesty and righteousness against the dishonesty and manipulation of the public that Billy utilizes.

    Video Games 
  • Jax’s victory pose from Mortal Kombat 9 sees him drape an American flag behind him, befitting his history as a veteran.

    Web Animation 
  • While Player gives his speech to convince the other crewmates to vote Mr. Egg out in Among Us Logic, the American flag fades into the background.
  • Red vs. Blue has this happen when Sarge give a Rousing Speech to his comrades (and Grif), complete with anthem. Being RvB, this is quickly lampshaded.
    Donut: Where did that flag come from?
    Grif: Flag? Who gives a fuck about the flag? How about the guy who's singing?

  • In The Illustrated Guide to Law this is occasionally used for ironic effect, as when the narrator proudly announces something that makes U.S. law great, only to have it revealed to be a myth. Example

    Web Video 
  • The Nostalgia Critic made a joke at Michael Jackson's expense a few months after his death and gave a speech on how it's time to move on and laugh with the American flag waving behind him.
  • Zombie Boy from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series has an American flag materialize behind him during an inspirational speech about how zombies need to fight against being replaced by "the infected", at least until he is given a Surprisingly Sudden Death in the middle of it.
  • Mitch Benn sometimes has a Union Jack backdrop to his anti-Brexit videos, partly because he feels he is being patriotic, and partly to troll the sort of Brexiters who react badly to a Remainer using "their" iconography.

    Western Animation 
  • In the French show The Crumpets, in "Supernawak" the American flag is the background when Cordless' superhero form "Gun Gunther" gets introduced.
  • Futurama: Zapp Brannigan does this with the DOOP flag when delivering a speech to defend himself in court.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Parodied in "The Lizard Whisperer", when Ferb makes a Rousing Speech about finding a giant chameleon named Steve, and a truck with a Union Jack painted on the side just happens to pull up behind him.
    • Played straight in "Isabella and the Temple of Sap" - an American flag backdrop appears when the Fireside Girls reach the end of their song.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Collect Her", this happens when Professor Utonium tells Lenny Baxter that a true fan should set the girls free.
  • Recess: While Gus's father tells to his son to not surrender to bullies, citing King Albert I of Belgium's exemple during World War One, Old Glory drops behind Gus's father.
  • Rocko's Modern Life:
  • In "Road Rash", Heffer gives a big speech to Rocko to talk him into a road trip to see Phlegm Rock, and it ends with an American flag appearing behind him. This turns out to be a truck with a flag painted on the side, as the driver was stopping to ask for directions to the O-Town Flag Emporium.
  • In "The Emperor's New Joe", Rocko gives a Rousing Speech about not giving in to peer pressure, because they are no longer in Balzac, but in the US of A. As Rocko continues his speech, various patriotic images appear behind him, starting with the American flag, but also the US Capital Building, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, the Lincoln Memorial, and the US One Dollar Bill as the song "America (My Country Tis of Thee)" plays.
  • The Simpsons: In "Cape Feare", while singing the entire score of H.M.S. Pinafore, Sideshow Bob ends "He is an Englishman" with a Union Jack dropping behind him in the background.
  • In Yogi the Easter Bear, Supreme Commissioner Clarence has one drop behind him with a heavy *thud* while giving a speech to the children attending Jellystone Park's Easter Jamboree on how much he enjoys camping.