Sometimes it's a case of one person asking how the victim is, and the other person just sadly shakes their head no. Or they look down. In rare cases, the bearer of the news might even give the recipient an item of the deceased.
Sometimes this doesn't work, and the person has to lay it out.
Frequently preceded by Breaking Bad News Gently.
See a video with many scenes of this being said at the Huffington Post.
- Ojamajo Doremi: Niasho''episode 12. Near the end when Non-chan's mother comes to see Doremi, she tells her that "she couldn't make it". Cue one of the biggest Tear Jerkers of the series.
- In a late episode of X1999, Karen and Yuto kill each other, while Satsuki struggles with the Beast and is eventually killed by it, too. As Yuto lies dying by the fountain, he remembers making a promise with Satsuki earlier and says with a faint smile: "It seems tonight, I won't make it for tea..."
- In Fullmetal Alchemist when Hughes dies, he apologizes to his family while trying to reach a phone for not being able to make it home.
- In episode 7 of Attack on Titan, Action Girl Mikasa asks one of her Childhood Friends, Armin where the other one, Eren, is during the Battle of Trost. Suffering from Survivor's Guilt and Despair Event Horizon, he doesn't say anything at first, but the tears streaming down his eyes clue her in on Eren's fate. He gets better.
- Search the IMDb.
- In the movie Airport, it's used exactly as it means: someone failed to do something.
Demerest: When I'm flying over 200,000 pounds of 707 I want a runway that's mighty long, and mighty dry.Bakersfeld: It'll be dry all right, but not very long.Demerest: What's that supposed to mean?Bakersfeld: Runway 29 is closed. A jockey from your flight 45 tried to take a shortcut across the field. And he didn't make it.Demerest: What are you doing about it?Bakersfeld: Well, when the snow melts in April, we'll get it out.
- In The Avengers, Nick Fury says that "they called it" in reference to Coulson's death, although this lack of specificity, later revelation of some related lies, and the fact that the audience is not clearly shown this moment has caused a lot of fans to doubt it. It is later revealed that Coulson did die, but was put into the TAHITI resurrection program by Fury without telling the Avengers.
- Dante's Peak
Harry: Where's Paul?Grant: He didn't make it.
- Used interestingly in The Fifth Element: towards the end, when they're in the temple, David says quietly to himself "We're not gonna make it" and sighs, unwittingly activating the 'air' stone (by breathing on it), which leads to their figuring out how to work the rest of the stones and saving the world.
- In Hell Fighters, After Chance Buckman ends up in a hospital from an industrial accident, Joe tells Jack Lomax how he had Greg fly up to Wyoming to pick up Chance's daughter so she can see Chance, he knows the accident could be fatal but doesn't want to say the word. "Suppose Chance... suppose... suppose he... suppose it doesn't look like he's gonna make it."
- Independence Day:
Whitmore's daughter: Is Mommy sleeping now?Whitmore: Yeah... Mommy's sleeping.
- Laconic version from Jaws:
Hooper: Quint?Brody': ...No.
- Serenity (made all the more devastating by the fact that it's Zoe invoking the trope.)
Kaylee: Wait...Wash! Where's Wash?Zoe: (Wash's wife) He ain't comin'.Said as she quietly and carefully loads a shotgun, one shell at a time.
- Speed has a particularly dark variant.
(Jack answers his phone, thinking it's his partner)
Jack: Harry! Tell me good news, man.
Howard Payne: Oh, I'm sorry, Jack. He didn't make it.
- In 300, Dilios returns to Sparta with a necklace belonging to Leonidas, which is given to Queen Gorgo. No words are spoken.
Tron: Where's Ram?Flynn: He didn't make it.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers has a strange example because that scene was filmed before the script was totally ironed out, the director wasn't sure what actually did happen to Aragorn, so he decided to keep the dialogue vague to save time:
Eowyn: Where is Lord Aragorn?Gimli: He fell.
- Which, funnily enough, turned out to be literal: Aragorn went over a cliff and was presumed dead.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Eddie does this when telling Roger the story of how his brother Teddy got killed by a 'Toon.
- Used for nearly every death in the H.I.V.E. Series, although "he/she isn't coming" is used in book four for Otto and book six for Lucy. The phrase is used verbatim by Penny in book eight when referring to Tom.
- In the novel Jurassic Park, Grant asks about the ultimate fate of Ian Malcolm, who was badly injured when the T-Rex escaped. The character being asked only shakes his head. He got better and showed up in a later novel, stating that rumors of his demise were grossly exaggerated.
King: Where's Baselton?Dodgson: He didn't make it.King: What do you mean?Dodgson: I mean he didn't fucking make it!
- The standard line is used in the sequel, The Lost World, after the antagonists' attempt to steal a T-Rex egg goes very badly for one of the trio:
- In Jamie McFarlane's Parley (Privateer Tales Book 3) whenever her daughter Ada mentions the death of Adele Chen, she always says "she didn't make it."
- In Smallville, a nurse tells Clark that Chloe didn't make it. The grief causes him to lose control of his super hearing, and he picked up her cries for help after she woke up in the morgue.
- Rolf Harris's Animal Hospital. "He didn't make it through the night." (Although he probably didn't say it as much as impressionists did.)
- On Arrested Development, George Sr.'s doctor tells the family that he's "gone" and that "he just got away from us". It turns out that he meant George just escaped through the window. It became a running joke how the family is never sure how to interpret anything the doctor says.
- Home Improvement: When Tim told Jill about her father's heart attack.
- Also on Will & Grace, when Will tells Grace about his father's heart attack after his mother calls.
- Power Rangers Time Force episode "The End of Time: Part 2": Alex talking about Wes' death.
- Also in Power Rangers RPM, when Scott had to report to his dad/commanding officer that his brother died: "Eagle One is down, sir... He's gone."
- On Nash Bridges, "He didn't make it, Nash" is practically Harvey Leek's Catchphrase as he says it any time he has to report someone's death. Some notable instances:
- One episode has Evan reporting someone's death by saying it. We then cut to Harvey whose face says Hey, That's My Line!.
- In the sixth season, Harvey and Rachel come upon a suspect bleeding out. Fortunately, Rachel uses her medical training to save his life and Harvey tells her "I think he's going to make it."
- Notably, he last says it when Evan dies.
- Lost, said word-for-word by Jack when informing the survivors of Arzt's death.
- In the final episode of Stargate Atlantis:
Sheppard: Where's Ronon?(Lorne sadly looks down)Teyla: ...I'm sorry, John.
- In the second episode of the seventh and last season of Burn Notice, after the wall explodes and Michael is carrying out a woman that was being held hostage by the Russian FSB, Jesse, not knowing that Michael's CIA handler Strong sacrificed himself to allow Michael to rescue the woman, asks Michael where Strong is. Michael simply admits what he knew when Strong all but told him that he would go on a suicide mission so that Michael could get the woman out, "He didn't make it."
- Rucks of Bastion delivers a long string of them; as the Kid wanders through a village, Rucks gives the name of every ashen corpse they walk by, before adding "...didn't make it".
- If you screw up, this is what you'll get to hear from Joker regarding some of your team (if not your ENTIRE team) after the Final Battle in Mass Effect 2.
- The straightest example is if you send a non-loyal party member to accompany your just-rescued crew back to the Normandy. You don't see any scene of their death, but EDI will inform you that they didn't make it and sacrificed themselves to protect the non-combatants. Similarly, if you don't send anyone to accompany them, you're told there were no survivors.
- In the first Mass Effect, one of your party members does the nonverbal version after the Final Boss (before Shepard emerges unharmed).
- In Halo: Reach this is how Noble Six tells Kat about Jorge's death.
- In Sonic Adventure 2, right after the end of the True Final Boss, Sonic returns to the space station alone, where everyone else was waiting. Rouge notices this and hesitantly asks, "Shadow...?". Sonic just shakes his head and brings Shadow's bracelet to Rouge to tell her what happened.
- In World in Conflict, a private gets sniped in a cutscene. Directly after the scene, this phrase is used about him.
- In Gears of War 3, Markus almost directly quotes this trope when referring to Dom's absence. "Dom... Dom didn't make it."
- In the Team Fortress 2 comic Blood Brothers this is how Zepheniah is informed his wife has died in childbirth.
- Disney's Hercules. Herc sees Megara lying there, and doesn't ask. But Phil looks up at him sadly and shakes his head anyway to confirm his fears.
- In the "Mater the Greater" short of Pixar's Cars Toons, Mater is relating the jump over Carburetor Canyon done by Lightning McQueen — who also happens to be who Mater is speaking to. When McQueen asks what happened, Mater gives a "didn't make it" look before leaving, followed by the two forklifts from his story who look sadly at McQueen as well. Obviously Played for Laughs given the circumstances.
- This is Early Cuyler's casual reaction to using his son's eggs for target practice.
- In medicine, this phrase is actually discouraged. It is better for a physician, nurse, or paramedic to use "dead" or "has died" in order to make sure there is no confusion and to not give the family false hope.