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Long-Lasting Last Words

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"Funny how he's still talking, I could've sworn I hit a lung. [Vegeta coughs up blood] Oh, there it is."

Long-Lasting Last Words is a trope that occurs when a character's Final Speech lasts an impossibly long time, despite the fact that they have sustained a fatal wound and are supposed to be dying soon.

It is sometimes done intentionally for comedic effect and other times, it's just the writers trying to be dramatic... trying being the key word.

Note that, because the character has usually sustained serious injuries, a lot of pausing, teeth-gritting heavy breathing, and groaning and moaning between every few words is to be expected, and also expect the character to speak in their "shot in the guts" dying voice, and if it's Played for Laughs they will sometimes come back to life after they seemingly died for a few times.

Subtrope of Last Words, parody of Final Speech. See also Talking Is a Free Action. Contrast Inverse Dialogue/Death Rule, when a dying, important character gets several lines of dialogue before kicking it. See Wring Every Last Drop out of Him for deaths that take so long that the audience no longer cares. For other impossible lengths of time tropes, see Longest Pregnancy Ever, and Take Your Time.

Because this is a Death Trope, expect unmarked spoilers ahead. You Have Been Warned.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Code Geass, Shirley Fenette is fatally shot by Rolo and is slowly bleeding to death, yet still has enough energy to tell her beloved Lelouch Lamperouge how she feels in a Final Speech. For realism, she dies mid-sentence as she repeatedly states how it doesn't matter if she were reborn; she'd keep falling for him no matter what. She goes on for almost two whole minutes before succumbing to her injury.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta dies when his heart is pierced by Frieza's Death Beam. However, the former spends his last next minutes telling Goku about his mother planet and who doomed it, and reminding him he's the only Saiyan alive. Frieza comments on how did he say that many words, despite his heart not functioning anymore.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Orga is shot dozens of times, but somehow finds the strength to make a two minute speech before he falls over dead.

    Comic Books 
  • Something like this happening in Amulet: The Stonekeeper. The protagonists' great (maybe insert a couple more greats here) grandfather basically chooses to give a long, drawn-out speech about how they have to protect Yon Magical MacGuffin Stone or the world will be in terrible peril etc. etc. then the lights go off. It was obviously intended to be serious but it just looks silly.
  • Played for Laughs in Avengers Academy when Hercules pretends to be vanquished in a fight, but his pre-passing-out monologue goes on forever.
  • Likewise played for laughs in "The Day the Law Died" storyline of Judge Dredd, where Judge Schmaltz not only has a moderately long death speech (as Griffin lampshades afterwards), but also gets back up even after seemingly dying for a bit more.
    Kelso: Typical of Schmaltz. Always wanted to have the last word!
  • X-Men Red (2022): After getting his heart torn out in Judgment Day, Magneto collapses after Uranos is defeated, but still manages to give a lengthy speech to Ororo before finally dying. And this after she tells him to not give her a soliloquy.

    Films — Animation 
  • Seen in Shrek the Third when Fiona's father "croaks" in the beginning of the movie. Every time it seems like he has died, Puss takes his hat off only to put it back on when the king revealed he hasn't died yet.
  • Parodied in the first Scary Godmother movie by Harry, a very hammy werewolf who is trying to scare children. The joke is that the monsters are trying to convince some bullies that Hannah, the protagonist, is brave and can kill monsters with her flashlight. Harry takes so long to "die," while making a performance worthy of Shatner himself that other characters are openly giving non-verbal signs for him to hurry up.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, the second vampire staked by Buffy spends the rest of the movie writhing around, even to the end credits.
  • Played for Laughs in Deadpool 2, when Deadpool gets shot and lays dying, surrounded by his teammates. He happily lampshades it during his speech, quipping that "It's so hard to go."
  • Master Tang from Kung Pow! Enter the Fist seemingly dies a few times during his dying last words. He lampshades this saying someone is not dead just because the say "aughhcchc" and lolls his head to the side like he died before resuming.
  • Double Indemnity: Protagonist Walter Neff narrates the entire story in flashback while dying from a gunshot wound.
  • Parodied in The Mask, where after a shootout, The Mask stumbles over to the man that shot him, and dramatically enacts several death scenes one after another, while the shooter blubbers. After The Mask "dies", he gets handed an Oscar from an off-screen hand while a miniature audience applauds.
  • It wasn't intended this way but a lot of people took the death of Trinity in The Matrix Revolutions this way, because her Final Speech lasts several minutes, despite her being on death's door — complete with multiple steel rebar spikes completely through her lungs. Breathing, let alone speaking, should be at the bottom of the list at that point.

  • Dave Barry:
    • From Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs:
    "Tell Laura I Love Her," sung by Ray Peterson. This is about a guy who enters a stock-car race so he can buy Laura a wedding ring, and of course, he crashes in a seriously fatal manner, but he still manages to sing "Tell Laura I LO-OVE her! Tell Laura I NEE-ED her!" approximately 153 times before finally shutting up. (I suspect that the ambulance crew turned off the oxygen.)
    • From Dave Barry Does Japan when Dave goes to a kabuki play:
    [A character who lost a sacred relic] stabs himself in the gut, thereby causing a stirring of hope to ripple through the audience as it appears that the play might possibly be coming to an end. But no. If you think this man could whine before, you should see him when he has stabbed himself. He kneels at center stage, holding his gut, and squalls at the audience for fifteen minutes... "Somebody stab him again!" is what I would have yelled, if I knew how in Japanese. Finally he dies, possibly from overacting.
  • Discworld: The death of opera director Salzella in Maskerade goes on, and on, and on for a long time... mostly because he keeps getting back up to rant about some other hare-brained opera cliché he hates. Naturally, he keels over for good in the middle of complaining about this very trope. Of course, the thrust that killed him was stage fighting and delivered to empty space between his arm and torso. He would probably have complained about that, had he noticed.
  • Hector delivers a 500 line monologue in the Iliad after being stabbed in the neck.
  • In Thebe and the Angry Red Eye, Tout is an Intrepid Reporter who corresponds with 58 different school kids as she serves on a Cool Starship. When it's clear that the voyage is destined for disaster and all the astronauts are making Final Speeches to Earth, she insists on saying individual goodbyes to each one of her pen pals.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Tenth Doctor takes the last half-hour of "The End of Time" to die. Justified, as he's holding back from regenerating so that he can visit all his companions one last time before he becomes the Eleventh Doctor.
    • This record was surpassed by the Twelfth Doctor, who was shot by a Cyberman at the end of "The Doctor Falls" and held back his regeneration all the Christmas Episode of "Twice Upon a Time" where he met and teamed-up with his first incarnation. Even his Final Speech at the end of the episode when he finally let himself die to be regenerated lasts like 10 minutes.
  • Referenced in an episode of Law & Order when Lupo and Bernard ask Dr. Rodgers if a victim could have talked before dying from a gunshot.
    Rodgers: You mean like in a movie, when a guy gets shot and gives a whole long speech before he dies?
    Bernard: Yeah. Like that.
    Rodgers: Yes.
    Bernard: Yes?
    Rodgers: Yes. Kline was shot in the torso. Wound like that, if the bullet doesn't hit your heart or a major vessel, while you're bleeding out you could talk for half an hour.
  • There was a Saturday Night Live sketch from the mid-90s that took place at a dinner theater. One of the players, played by Chris Farley, dragged out his death for a very long time, annoying the other actors.

  • Happens in The Adventure Zone when Magic Brian is killed by being kicked into a deep pit - and apparently it is a very deep pit because Griffin voices his increasingly soft yelling for a good minute before he finally goes quiet.

  • "Tell Laura I Love Her" is lampshaded in a scene in the Jukebox Musical From a Jack to a King (a parody of Macbeth set in the early-sixties pre-Beatles British rock 'n' roll scene), where the Duncan analogue is murdered and sings the entire song, with the MacBeth and Lady MacBeth analogues Breaking the Fourth Wall to show their increasing boredom and impatience.
  • The ballet Giselle goes to intermission with a lengthy choreographed death scene guaranteed to make audiences check their watches.
  • Played for Black Comedy in Urinetown, when Bobby Strong is "sent to Urinetown", he manages to give enough last words to make an entire song.
  • William Shakespeare has some notorious examples.
    • One of the most glaring is Antony after his (bungled) suicide in Antony and Cleopatra (forty-one lines spread over two scenes, with lengthy speeches by other characters as well).
    • The death of Mercutio (several fairly long prose speeches) in Romeo and Juliet goes on a bit too.
    • Parodied in A Midsummer Night's Dream. The death scene in the Show Within a Show, an amateur production of Pyramus and Thisbe for the wedding of the Duke of Athens, goes on for quite a while after Pyramus stabs himself in the armpit with a wooden sword.
    • In Othello, Desdemona is able to declare how she was falsely murdered and that her death is her own fault to exonerate Othello in her dying breaths. This is after he asphyxiates her via Vorpal Pillow.
    • Laertes dies fairly quickly after being sliced with a poisoned foil in Hamlet. The titular character gets a fairly lengthy speech before dying of the same poison.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: In the first game, when an enemy is killed, the Animus system makes that every death comes with a final speech that lasts more than the expected. This was averted and even lampshaded in the second game where the enemy killed just says something like "You were expecting a confession?" before dying.
  • EarthBound (1994): Buzz Buzz gives a decent speech about what you should do next as he is dying. And he offers to repeat it.
  • Claves' death speech in Eternal Sonata takes roughly 10 minutes, more than enough time to do a chore or two while she slowly bleeds(?) out.
  • Mikau's song in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is a prime example of this; you push a dying Zora out of the water, he proceeds to plummet in the sand and asks you to listen to his last words... which he does by standing up, taking out his guitar and rocking out his story before he slumps down again and you have to use the Song of Healing on him to aquire his mask. It appears to be played for laughs, but is immediately preceded and followed by somber cutscenes, leading to many very confused players wondering how to react.
    • Similarly, in the predecessor Ocarina of Time, the Great Deku Tree manages to warn Link about Ganondorf, tell him the Creation Myth of Hyrule to explain what's so important about the Triforce, and send him on his way to meet Princess Zelda with the Kokiri Emerald, all during his death throes.
  • Metal Gear:
    • A good number of the bosses (if not all of them), give a long Final Speech where they tell all about their lives, stories and such before dying, even when they were hit in vital points.
    • It's not just the bosses, either. Emma Emmerich is stabbed through the stomach by Vamp in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and manages to hack into a dataframe while bleeding out. It's only when Otacon shows up and Emma can deliver a Dying Declaration of Love that she actually dies.
    • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance takes this to another level, with most of its bosses giving extensive dying monologues while currently in hundreds of pieces.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, if the player is bored by Zeeairee's long ominous final speech, he can snap her neck to skip it.
  • The Sam & Max: Freelance Police episode "The Mob, the Mole, and the Meatball" has Sam pretend to kill Max to maintain the illusion that he's under the boss's mind control. And Max, being a Psychopathic Manchild, drags it out as long as he can, even interrupting the boss when he thinks he's done.
  • Viewtiful Joe 2:
    • The third boss Cameo Leon's death quote isn't just long, but also said very quickly.
    • Frost Tiger outright recites a poem after you deplete his health.
  • Far Cry 5's antagonists are all annoyingly long-winded, but Jacob is particularly annoying in his death scene, going on and on about past wars and fallen empires.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: After defeating Kreia, she lingers long enough to give a Motive Rant, acknowledge her hypocrisy, and give a long explanation as to the eventual fate of Exile's party members before expiring.
  • In Fire Emblem Engage, this often happens with characters' death scenes. For example, the protagonist Alear's mother, Queen Lumera, is fatally wounded at the end of the third chapter, but lingers for about five minutes to give a long Final Speech to her child.

    Visual Novels 
  • Doki Doki Literature Club!: After Yuri kills herself, the player stays with her until she dies... which takes the entire weekend, while she continuously has dialogue full of garbage characters, as if she's trying to have some last words but is too corrupted to say them.
  • In Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth, Haku dies shortly before the end of the game from overusing his power. Despite one arm already having disintegrated from his final attack, he spends a over 20 minutes giving his goodbyes to every individual member of the main cast before the rest of his body succumbs.

  • In How Not to Run a Webcomic, Colby Purcell parodies this trope using the lead characters of his webcomic Lint. The dying Bactine lies with her head in her lover Sangwine's lap and makes a big speech despite (as Sangwine lampshades) having three iron poles in her torso. Then this exchange happens:
    Bactine: Oh, Sangwine! Before I sleep in your embrace at last... I have a dread secret I must tell you...
    Sangwine: JUST DIE, ALREADY!!!
    Bactine: There is a key hidden in the third nook to the right in the back of the den of my father's...
  • Homestuck In the "Game Over" segment, Terezi gives John detailed instructions in how to fix the timeline, then draws a remarkably accurate Chalk Outline before keeling over dead in it.

    Web Original 
  • In the Barats and Bereta video parodying death tropes, the "bad acting bullets" causes several cases of drawn out deaths.
  • Lampshaded in Dragon Ball Z Abridged when partway through Vegeta's Dying Speech, Freeza wonders how he's still talking as he shot Vegeta through the lung.
  • Cao Cao takes so long to set his affairs in order on his deathbed in Farce of the Three Kingdoms that the narrator eventually steps in and makes him get on with it.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in Futurama when the cast fake gender-swapped Bender's soap-opera-style death in order to get her out of marrying Calculon: "Coilette" gives a very long speech before finally "dying."
  • It was spoofed in South Park, where Philip of the Terrance and Philip duo had retired from TV work to do Shakespeare. The boys find him acting out Hamlet and catch the ending seemingly in fast forward. Philip, who plays Hamlet, still needs about 20 seconds to say what he wants before he dies.
  • In The Venture Brothers, a mook thinks he's dying slowly, and guilt trips Brock into staying with him and singing to him until he does die.
  • Looney Tunes serves as the inspiration for the Mask scene listed above; Bugs Bunny has done the parody "long dramatic death scene" bit at least once, followed by him standing up to an applauding crowd and accepting an award.

    Real Life 
  • In 1935, New York Kosher Nostra mobster "Dutch" Schultz lingered for twenty-two hours after being shot in a restaurant men's room. His delirious ramblings were taken down by police officers who hoped that he would say something useful to them, and fascinated several twentieth-century writers.
  • Supposedly, King and High Priest Judah Aristobulus I of Judea died in this manner. After murdering his brother and mothernote , Aristobulus was so overwrought with guilt that he began to vomit out large amounts of blood—blood loss would eventually take his life. Before he died, however, he gave a speech lamenting his fate.Citation 
    Aristobulus: "My lawless deeds, then, were not destined to escape God's mighty eye; swift retribution pursues me for my kinsman's blood. How long, most shameless body, wilt thou detain the soul that is sentenced to a brother's and mother's vengeance? How long shall I make them drop-by-drop libations of my blood? Let them take it all at once, and let heaven cease to mock them with these dribbling offerings of my entrails."