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I Will Tear Your Arms Off

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Man Ray, SpongeBob SquarePants, "Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy III"

A specific form of Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon in which a character is so consumed by rage that he threatens to rip someone's limbs off with his bare hands. The delivery of the line tends to be either Large Ham or Dramatic Deadpan, depending on the character.

The threat is very rarely carried out, at least on screen. If the character is actually capable of this kind of violence, he may mention having once done this as a casual aside. If it is carried out and the victim is a recurring character, he will usually get better. Bonus points if the attacker starts beating the victim with their own severed arms. May overlap with Comedic Sociopathy and Bloody Hilarious.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Ghorgor Bey plays a personalized version of "She loves me, she loves me not" with the evil lord responsible for the death or imprisonment of many of his traveling circus friends. Since Ghorgor is a half-ogre who uses beer barrels as mugs, it's far more effective (and ends with the man's head).
    I hate you not... anymore!
  • Happens frequently to Doctor Octopus from Spider-Man. Usually goes like this:
    Superhero: I hope you're ready to lose those arms.
    Ock: Insolent fool! My tentacles are constructed with [whatever 'indestructible' metal he's building his arms with this month] plating! You could not even hope to scratch them!
    Superhero: I wasn't talking about the metal ones.
  • Quicksilver is a speedster, so in Avengers: The Children's Crusade, Hulkling threatens to rip Quicksilver's legs off if he talks Wiccan into doing anything stupid.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Fiction 
  • The Night Unfurls: In Chapter 7 of the remastered version, Kyril calmly threatens Chloe this to discipline her, and to dissuade her from pulling a dagger to do something stupid.
    Kyril: I sincerely hope you don't try anything. Unless you would like me to relieve you of your hands...
  • Humorously, in Pom Pom's Eleven, after they discover a robot in the stash that Homeschool Winner had taken to them, Strong Bad attempts to make it tear Homeschool Winner limb from nonexistent limb. Unfortunately, it ends up shutting down before it can do so.

    Film — Animated 
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, when Gobber tells the recruits that he lost his leg and hand to a dragon, Snotlout says, "I'll avenge your beautiful hand. And your beautiful foot. I'll cut the legs off every dragon I see. With my face."
  • During the song "I Wanna Be Like You" from The Jungle Book, when Baloo and Bagheera are trying to rescue Mowgli from King Louie and the apes, Baloo actually tells himself, "I'm gonna tear him limb to limb..."
  • In Home on the Range, Mrs. Calloway fends off an amorous steer's offer of protection from Alameda Slim thusly: "You have exactly ten seconds to remove your hoof before I snap it off at the knee."

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, during the Halloween scene, Greg and Rowley go trick-or-treating in a bad neighborhood and are antagonized by a trio of teens. When they try to escape while threatening the teens with a brush cutter and a leaf blower, Greg loses control of the brush cutter and accidentally chips the paint off of their truck, causing the leader of the teens to threaten Greg that he's going to rip off his arms and punch him with his own fists.
  • Heartbreak Ridge. The Swede introduces himself to Clint Eastwood's character by flatly stating that he's going to "rip off your head and shit down your neck" (a reference to Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's threat to Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket). Clint, of course, has other ideas.
  • In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, two of the Trolls get Thorin's company to surrender when they get ahold of Bilbo and threaten to dismember him.
    William: Lay down your arms, or we'll rip his off!
  • Judge Dredd: Rico's ABC robot is holding Judge Hershey by the neck. When Dredd refuses to join Rico's plan to take over the city, Rico threatens to have the robot rip her arms and legs off.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: The Black Knight still wants a piece of King Arthur, even after he's had both his arms and both his legs cut off during an ensuing battle with Arthur:
    Black Knight: You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what's coming to you! I'll bite your legs off!
  • The Princess Bride: Inigo and Fezzik need to get into a castle.
    Westley: Give us the gate key.
    Yellin: I have no gate key.
    Inigo: Fezzik, tear his arms off.
    Yellin: Oh, you mean this gate key [pulls it out].
  • Star Wars: In A New Hope, Chewbacca wails, Han Solo translates.
    Chewbacca: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh!
    C-3PO: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can't help you.
    Han Solo: Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.
    C-3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
    Han Solo: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.
    Chewbacca: Grrf. [complete with smug smile and crossed arms]
    C-3PO: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, Artoo: Let the Wookiee win.
  • In Solo, we see that the threat isn't Hyperbole in the least, as during a fight between him, Han and some mooks, he actually goes and rips one mook's arms off.
  • Varsity Blues: Billy Bob threatens to do this to Coach Kilmer if he gives his teammate a pain-deadening shot of cortisone instead of taking him off the field. "If that needle goes anywhere near Wendell's leg, I swear to God on my mother's grave I will rip your arms off and beat you to death with them!"
  • In The Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion threatens to do this as he and the others plan to raid the Witch's castle to save Dorothy.
    Cowardly Lion: Wicked witch, or no wicked witch, guards or no guards, I'll tear 'em apart!

  • Adrian Mole: In the lesser-known Adrian Mole and the Small Amphibians, Adrian's mother asks him in a letter what he will wear for her wedding to Martin Muffett, adding "If you turn up in that mangy duffle coat, I will tear your head from your shoulders".
  • This trope is made Older Than Print by Beowulf; Beowulf tears Grendel's arm off while locked in a pure test of strength with the monster. He then displays it as a trophy over the door.
  • Discworld:
    • In Wyrd Sisters, troll mobster and Loan Shark Chrysoprase is said to "have people's limbs torn off" if they don't pay him back in a timely manner.
    • A recurring theme in prejudice against orcs in Unseen Academicals is that they rip people's limbs off. Mr Nutt very calmly asks an Angry Mob if they'd like him to start.
  • Not played for laughs at all in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Hagrid recounts how he met Sirius Black the night of the Potters' murder, and he says that if he had known his role in their deaths, he'd have torn Sirius limb from limb. Hagrid is a half-giant, so he means it, and can follow up on it.
  • Happens a few times in the Redwall series, often followed up with a threat to feed the removed body parts to the victim. On at least one occasion said threat is made by a badger, and they quite easily could follow up on it.
  • In one of the action-adventure novels by Jerry Ahern, a history teacher has his family murdered in a terrorist school shooting and falls into depression. His friend, who lost his family as well, prefers a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    "Those people are history! You know all about history, don't you? I'm going to rip their damn heads off!"
    "Shooting them's neater."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: In "Belonging", Cordelia finally gets an acting gig, only to find she's just expected to smile vacuously in a bikini. After seeing how Cordelia is being patronized by the Smug Snake director, an infuriated Angel offers to rip his head off, pointing out that as he has Super-Strength, he can do that literally.
  • "I'll rip your bloody arms off!" was the catch phrase of Aunty Jack of the Australian cult comedy series The Aunty Jack Show.
  • Blackadder tells Percy in "Potato" to leave or "I'll cut your head off, scoop out the insides and give it to your mother as a vase."
  • Blake's 7:
    • From "Cygnus Alpha":
      Arco: Are you going to shut your mouth, or have I got to do it for you?
      Gan: Only if you're lying down, 'cause if you touch him again, I'm going to break your arms and legs off.
    • In "City at the Edge of the World", Vila threatens an (absent) Tarrant with this gem:
      "I'll get you for this, Tarrant! I'll rip off your arm and beat you to death with the wet end!"
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Shadow", Riley Finn catches Spike in Buffy's bedroom, sniffing her clothing.
    Riley: What are you doing here?
    Spike: What, me? I was um... uh... what are you doing here?
    Riley: Looking for the girl who's gonna rip your arms off when she finds out you were in her bedroom.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Caves of Androzani", Sharaz Jek threatens to have the Doctor's arms slowly ripped out by androids if he doesn't tell him what he wants to know. Unusually for this trope, the androids start making good on this threat before the Doctor gives in.
  • Farscape: Chiana doesn't like being groped by Rygel in "Bone to be Wild".
    "If your hand is still there in one microt, I'll snap it off and use it as a good luck charm."
  • Father Ted: "And Crilly if you try to bullshit me like that again, I will rip off your arms."
  • The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret : "Give me my money, or I will rip off your arm and stuff it down your cock-hole."
  • Spoofed in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Teenage Crime Wave" when the movie's Failure Hero tries to intimidate the villain.
    Ben: [growling] Someday I'd like to take you apart.
    Servo: [also growling] Put your legs where your arms are supposed to be, and vice versa.
  • Ziva of NCIS threatens a nerd who gropes her:
    Remove your hand or I will rip your arm off and beat you to death with it.
    • Suffice to say, you don't want to piss her off cause she is very well capable of following through with the threat, being a former Israeli assassin and all.
  • The Prisoner (1967): In "The Girl Who Was Death", Number Six (or the lead in his bedtime story) pursues his quarry through an amusement park, breaking up a fashion shoot a couple of times. The photographer is not at all amused: "'Ere, wot's yer game, Sherlock Holmes?! You'll never pick up yer teeth with a broken arm! I'll tear off yer leg an' I'll beat you over the 'ead with it!"
  • Roseanne: Darlene threatens a date attempting a Yawn and Reach with this. Combined with implied Groin Attack.
    Darlene: "Any part of you that touches me, you're not getting back."
  • Star Trek:


    Video Games 
  • Done literally in LEGO Star Wars II by Chewbacca. Given that it is LEGO, it is more humorous than horrific.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: "Sten, tear his arms off."
  • One of Jax's Fatalities in Mortal Kombat II, also used in 4, the 2011 reboot (combined with his head crush Fatality) and X once his classic outfit is purchased.
    • Liu Kang borrows it in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, and then proceeds to beat his opponent to death with the arms.
    • Baraka also has a number of finishers that involve chopping his opponent's arms off.
    • Sheeva gets in on the act in the 2011 reboot. One of her fatalities is tearing her opponents arms out of the socket, beating them to death with them, and then applauding with them!
  • Fallout: New Vegas: In the Dead Money DLC, you and the other team members wear explosive collars rigged to go off if any of the others die. If you explain this to dissuade God (a hulking Nightkin) from killing you, he says he could just tear off your limbs and leave you on the ground, since he could probably get out of range before you bleed to death. Even after he joins you, he'll casually mention tearing off your arm and wear it around his neck.

  • Dumbing of Age: RA Ruth Lessick has a way of getting dormies to come to the floor meetings....
  • The reason why Matilda of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures was exiled.
  • Girl Genius: Dr. Sun threatens to do this to his patient Bangladesh Dupree, and then make her eat them. He's probably at least physically capable of doing it, too.
    Giant Rabbit: Ha! Foolish human! I need no weapons!
    Agatha: ... I didn't say anything about weapons.
    Giant Rabbit: AAAGH! MY ARMS!

    Web Original 
  • Preston Stormer threatens to do this to the DJ Mak Megahertz in one of the Hero Factory podcasts. It's implied that he carried out the threat, too, but Mak's a robot, so he gets repaired.
  • One of X-Ray & Vav's enemies the Mad King takes the threat to a whole new level in his debut episode.
    Mad King: I'm going to tear off your arms and use them to applaud your demise!

    Western Animation 
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III", Man Ray threatens to do this to SpongeBob if the latter doesn't release him. Of course, since SpongeBob is capable of regenerating arms, this isn't as big of a threat to him as it could have been. Later in the episode as he tries to pass as a reformed villain, he makes the same threat to Patrick when the latter's stupidity made the task of returning a wallet to him like a good person impossible to accomplish (Patrick doesn't even think it's his wallet, despite his ID being in it).
    • In "Born Again Krabs", Mr. Krabs suffers a near-death experience and is ordered by the Flying Dutchman to always be generous and never cheap or risk spending an eternity in Davy Jones' Locker. Mr. Krabs follows the Dutchman's orders, but as a result, he is unable to pay the bills that keep the Krusty Krab in business, and when he realizes it's not a dream, he goes back to his penny-pinching ways. When Mr. Krabs spots a fish picking up a penny, he threatens to tear his arm off unless he lets it go, which prompts the appearance of the Dutchman. Squidward lampshades this when Mr. Krabs is at the Dutchman's mercy.
      Mr. Krabs: I'm not cheap, I'm generous!
      Squidward: You almost tore a man's arm off for a penny.
      Mr. Krabs: Thanks, Squidward, I knew I could count on you.
  • In The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "Sven Hoek", this is one of the threats Ren gives Stimpy and Sven for messing up the house.
  • One episode of Regular Show had Rigby and Mordecai scribble various complicated mathematical equations all over the kitchen counter as a result of them being hallucinated by special drink that makes you smarter, and when Benson finds out all about this, he scolds the two into erasing all the "graffiti" on the counter or else he will tear their limbs off.
  • Adventure Time's protagonist Finn had his right arm literally ripped off at the start of Season 6, with his own father being responsible. Finn's response to this? Build a Star Scraper so tall it penetrates the outer atmosphere, find him (currently in space), forcefully rip his right arm off, and REATTACH IT TO HIS OWN ARM-STUB.
  • In a variation, Captain Greedy would always threaten to boil Ruff and Reddy in oil.

    Real Life 
  • "I'll rip your legs out of your ass!" is a common saying/threat in Poland.


Video Example(s):


Patrick's Wallet

During the "returning the wallet" lesson, Patrick insists his wallet is not his, much to Man Ray's annoyance. The next lesson involves helping Patrick with a heavy package, which he frequently drops on Man Ray's foot. When Man Ray asks what's in the heavy box, Patrick says it's his wallets.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (32 votes)

Example of:

Main / BrickJoke

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