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"Make a man a fire, you keep him warm for a day.
Set a man on fire, you keep him warm for the rest of his life."

The human body is unexpectedly flammable, resulting in characters, particularly Spear Carriers, Red Shirts, Evil Minions, and Dragons being engulfed in flames and walking or running around the scene. Thus ensuring steady work (and a lot of money) for stuntmen.

Generally, this can happen for one of two very different reasons: A man on fire can be portrayed as particularly scary via a scene of someone burning to death due to the primal and visceral nature of such a death (particularly compared to an inanimate object being set on fire), or it can be portrayed as absurd and hilarious with a scene of someone frantically running around while on fire, possibly accompanied by Amusing Injuries in the case of the latter scenario (but not so much with the former).

Rarely will the character even attempt to "stop, drop and roll", a safety technique often taught to kindergartners. The lit victim will always run around in a screaming panic, just causing the flames to get bigger. For added drama or humor (depending on whether the trope is Played for Horror or Played for Laughs), they might alternatively make a run for the nearest balcony to flip over, whereupon they scream as they fall to their death a few metres below.

(This has some Truth in Television in that most amounts of fire don't kill quickly, and burning is one of the more painful ways to get hurt.)

Not to be confused with the Denzel Washington film of the same name, which doesn't feature a literal man on fire. Or with the Human Torch. Or with Burning Man. Or Man on Wire.

For the self-destructive version, see Self-Immolation. For the version that seemingly happens without any kind of external ignition source, see Spontaneous Human Combustion.

Compare with Playing with Fire, Wreathed in Flames (the superpower version of this), and Infernal Retaliation. See also Kill It with Fire and Incendiary Exponent. Contrast Immune to Fire.

NOTE: the folks here at TV Tropes do not condone setting yourself on fire. Because fire hurts. A lot.

Also, due to the risk of death associated with being on fire, be prepared for unmarked spoilers.


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  • In an ad for Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries that takes place at a Luau, one couple's camera stops working, and a man working for the Supervolt battery company dressed in a rabbit costume tries unsuccessfully to get it to work. When the Energizer Bunny shows up and gets the camera to work, the man in the rabbit costume gets blinded by the camera's flash and backs into a tiki torch, which sets his costume on fire. The man runs and screams in pain as E.B. advertises his batteries.
  • In the second ad of The Real Cost's "Little Lungs in a Great Big World" anti-smoking campaign, the main character (a pair of claymation lungs stunted from smoking at a young age, in a world of other lungs) tries to blow out the candles on his birthday cake, but collapses from the effort and is set on fire when he falls on it. When a partygoer tries to spray him with a fire extinguisher, he accidentally blasts him out the apartment window and onto the pavement below.
  • One Wilkins Coffee commercial has Mr. Wilkins set fire to Wontkins when the latter tells him he's been hired by the former to sell Wilkins Coffee.
    Wontkins: Old Man Wilkins just hired me to sell his crummy Wilkins coffee.
    (Mr. Wilkins lights Wontkins on fire.)
    Wilkins: I think he just fired you, too!

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, this is how Hange Zoë meet their demise due to extreme heat emanated by armies of colossal titans burns them to crisp as they buys time for seaplane carrying the heroes to escape the Rumbling.
  • Baccano!:
    • Two gangsters pour gasoline on Szilard's head and then throw a match at it. "We've never set a MAN on fire before!"
    • In 2001, Czeslaw throws himself into a fireplace to burn away some ropes that have been binding him, then walks Out of the Inferno and pushes past his terrified captors, regenerating as he goes.
  • Cells at Work! CODE BLACK: Red Blood Cells which have become glycated (absorbed too much glucose) spontaneously burst into flames, then die from their injuries.
  • Kiyomi Takada and Mello exit Death Note this way. The former is forced into an act of Self-Immolation, and the latter's corpse just happened to be there at the time.
  • Fire Punch: The main plot is set off with a boy with super regenerative powers being set on fire by a special fire that won't burn out til the victim has died. As the boy constantly regenerates, he cannot die and thus becomes permanently on fire. It's still not a fun experience for him though, taking 8 years of burning before he can even move.
  • GTO: The Early Years: Before the events of the series, Akutsu nearly killed Kamishima by burning him to death. Kamishima still has the scars to prove it, and is obsessed with getting revenge. Once Akutsu gets out of prison, he does it again, trapping Kamishima, Ryuji, and Nagisa in a burning room.
    • In the 2020 live-action, Akutsu sets Ryuji on fire, and Masaki's coat while Eikichi is wearing it. Ryuji gets badly burned, but it's a No-Sell to Eikichi.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Narancia Ghirga in Part 5 does this to Formaggio by using his Stand to puncture a car's gas tank, causing it to explode. It doesn't slow him down for long, however.
    • Jolyne Kujo in Part 6 does this to herself order to protect herself from an enemy that steals her body heat.
    • Rai Mamezuku in Part 8 does this to Urban Guerilla and Doremifasolati Do via dousing them in fuel and dropping a lighter down the hole that they had burrowed into. This instantly kills the two.
  • One Piece:
    • When Pearl of the Krieg Pirates has a Minor Injury Overreaction, he sets himself on fire, which apparently was a habit he picked from living in the jungle and needing to scare off predators. Given how the other pirates reacted to this, it's happened numerous times before.
    • This is how Usopp defeats Choo of the Arlong Pirates; First, he hits Choo with a bottle of rum, soaking the fishman in alcohol, then blasts him with a small bomb. Before Choo can reach a nearby pond to douse himself, Usopp wallops him with a hammer.
    • When the Straw Hats are trying to escape from Big Mom in Totto Land, Big Mom merges with Prometheus, a miniature sun she created with her Devil Fruit powers, to become a giant flaming woman. Because Prometheus was her creation, she's unharmed by the flames.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, Makoto Shishio is only defeated when his body temperature rises so much during his fight with Kenshin that Shishio bursts into flame. But that's only after his blood boils and evaporates away.
  • Sakura Gari: This is how Nobuhito Terashima dies. Which happens after he gets his hand crushed and is tossed down a flight of stairs.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In the fifth episode, Weslie uses a torch on Wolffy, who is disguised as a tree. The torch sets his entire body on fire.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: During Knightfall, Batman and Azrael's battle ends up on a bridge when a helicopter crashes there thanks to JP's grappling hook. During the tussle, Batman kicks him off into the water and JP attempts to use his suit's flamethrower to get in one last strike. However, JP is drenched in diesel and he goes up in flames. His suit's so heavily armored that the only thing it does is change the blue on the suit to red.
  • Giant Robot Warrior Maintenance Crew: In one panel, a fire broke out in Herotron's plasma dischargers. One member of the crew can be seen screaming with fire on the top of his head, and the tips of his fingers.
  • Hack/Slash: In Girls Gone Dead, Cassie manages to defeat Laura Lochs by soaking her in high-proof alcohol and igniting her.
  • Hex Wives: When the witches regain knowledge of their powers and break loss of the men's control, one of Becky's first acts is to set fire to her 'husband' Ryan, who goes running off into the distance on fire.
  • Fear Itself: When a heavily enhanced Juggernaut attacks the X-Men, Adam-X is utilized as one of many plans to defeat him. Adam-X has the ability to set people's blood on fire. He does this to the Juggernaut... which does nothing except set him on fire, making him angrier and torching everything in sight for fifteen minutes.
  • The Punisher MAX: The Tyger begins and ends with a man on fire. Also, the arc "The Slavers" ends with one.
  • Rebel Dead Revenge: The devil establishes his mastery over Jezebeau by engulfing her whole body in flames. She doesn't sustain any lasting physical damage, not even to her clothing, but the pain is unbearable, and she quickly submits.
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Horror of Frankenstein: During the fight in the graveyard, Watson sets fire to the monster by flinging his oil lantern at it; causing the monster to flee in panic.
  • In Silverblade, the aged Blackfeather immolates himself in Death Valley in order to be reborn in a rejuvenated form.
  • Superman:
    • Subverted in The Great Phantom Peril. As fighting the Phantom Zone inmates, Superman shoots his eye beams and apparently sets several of them on fire. As they are panicking, another Zoner shouts it is only a visual trick, and Superman is merely burning up the oxygen around them.
    • In The Jungle Line, Clark Kent's clothes catch fire when his car crashes out of the road and starts burning. While stumbling out of the wrecked vehicle, Superman looks like a veritable human torch.
    • In The Phantom Zone, Az-Rel is burned to ashes by his own flames when Nadira's psychic attack causes him to lose control of his elemental powers.
      For a single, shimmering instant, he is beautiful to behold— like a man and a star made one. Then he is gone— consumed by his own flames. The light fades. Only the stench of cauterized flesh remains.
    • "Supergirls Big Brother": Played for laughs. When Jan Danvers tries his newfound power of flight for the first time, Supergirl warns him that he is going too fast and the friction is setting his clothes on fire. Biff just laughs her warning -and the fire- off, since he is now invulnerable and his super-breath can puff the flames out.
  • Swamp Thing: Each Earth elemental begins as a man catching fire (often as a victim of foul play) and his dying body plunging into a swamp, where plants absorb his consciousness and form themselves into a protector of the Green.
  • The Transformers: Punishment: Sandstorm's infernus bullet overloads the target's neurosystems and immolates the target from the inside.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bridge has Gigan going beyond his cybernetic's safety limiters in a do-or-die battle to save his teammates. His power core starts putting out so much heat the radiator fins on his back, which are specifically built to be fireproof and vent off excess heat, get set ablaze.
  • Children of an Elder God: In chapter 1 billions of spiders -whose sizes range from tiny to dog-sized- spawned by a massive, spider-alike Eldritch Abomination are flooding the city. As Shinji and Misato are running from them, Shinji sees a man setting himself on fire to get rid of dozens of spiders were clinging to his body:
    Shinji saw a man setting himself on fire to get dozens of spiders off of him.
  • Emergency!:
    • In the fic "A is Also For Alone", it both happens and is narrowly averted. Chet is kidnapped by a gang out to send a message by killing a fireman. The leader experiments by setting one of his own guys on fire, and the rest of the firemen and the police see the guy come flying out the window on fire when they come to rescue Chet. When they reach where Chet is being held, the leader is dousing Chet with kersoene in preparation to do the same to him. Luckily, they stop him.
    • In Requiem, Chet does end up on fire when a floor collapse pins him under burning beams. This one doesn’t end well.
    • John ends up briefly on fire from some unknown chemicals in "Burnt Offerings". Fortunately he survives.
  • In this Friday the 13th fic, Pamela Voorhees douses Claudette with gasoline, sets her on fire and burns down the cabin that was assigned to her. 24 children are also killed in the blaze.
  • Forward features Jayne pulling pretty much the exact same trick as Dr McNinja below: He dons a Badass Longcoat made of leather, which is fireproof enough to protect him from major harm, soaks it in moonshine and applies a lit match to give himself an edge in hand-to-hand combat. It worked, but his shipmates were understandably a bit peturbed when they found out. Especially Mal, because it was his Badass Longcoat.
  • Kaneo Takarada in Chapter 20 of Natural Selection sets a Two-Star student's uniform on fire using a Nudist Fiber Burner during the battle for Osaka, the student immediately hitting the deck to try and snuff the flames.
  • RWBY: Scars: This is the fate of Jaune Arc, set on fire in combat against Cinder.
  • Spooky: During one Halloween arc, Tombstones gets set on fire because a passing Lightmite knocks a candle over and it lands on his robe.

    Film — Animation 
  • In The Chipmunk Adventure, during the ''Woolly Bully" number, the native chief obliviously sets his headdress on fire multiple times, and has to be doused by a servant.
  • In Hotel Transylvania 2, this happens to Frank, who unfortunately has a deep fear of fire that causes him to freak out and rampage, resulting in him smashing through a camp and spreading the flames to the buildings.
    Griffin: (Running after him) Frank, calm down!
    Murray: (Also chasing after Frank) Stop, drop, and roll! Stop, drop, and roll!
  • The animated feature Justice League: Doom features this as Batman's plan used against Martian Manhunter.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas - for a show-stopper at the movie's start, Jack Skellington, dressed as a pumpkin-headed scarecrow, plays fire-eater and sets himself ablaze, to everyone's delight.
  • In South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Kenny accidentally sets himself on fire while trying to prove to the others that you can ignite a fart.
  • In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, after Mr. Krabs is blasted with King Neptunes' trident, we get this:
    My pants are on fire! Me underwear's on fire! I'm on fire!!
  • In Waking Life, a man ends his disgruntled rant on the human condition by dousing himself with gasoline and tossing a match onto himself, as stoically as a Buddhist monk. Two bystanders watch with mild curiosity on flames rendered by hand-painting the frames of the film.
    "It's time to let my own lack of a voice be heard."

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Some of the infected in 28 Days Later get set ablaze by Molotov cocktails, and keep on running full-speed at their prey.
  • In the near-end of The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Smug Snake Julian Grendel is roasted alive by the splashing a Sambuca Milkshake and the hero flicking a lit cigarette onto him.
  • Parodied in Airplane!, when one passenger, forced to listen to Striker recite his backstory, is so bored that he's seen dousing himself with gasoline, and lighting a match, just before Striker is called to the cockpit. He encourages Striker to go, then blows out the match. As Striker goes to the cockpit, we hear an off-screen explosion.
  • Aliens. The first of the marines to get killed is Private Frost, who fails to Stay Frosty when he's a victim of friendly fire from Dietrich's flamethrower (she instinctively pulls the trigger when a xenomorph jumps out of the wall and grabs her). Things go From Bad to Worse because Frost was carrying the bag of magazines and grenades, which detonate killing another marine and depriving them of the ammunition they need to fight off the aliens.
  • In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the rival news crews get involved in a violent street brawl and right in the middle a man on fire staggers through the scene. It's funny.
    "There were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a man with a trident!"
  • The fate of the Apocalypse film series Dragon Len Parker when he sees that God has supernaturally protected the believers who were put into the incinerator and decides that he will deal with them himself.
  • In The Assassination Bureau, Dragomilov disposes of Popescu, the Romanian assassin by setting him on fire with a mouthful of cognac and the match he was using to light his cigar.
  • A Battle of Wits: One of the key setpieces of the film; allowing the invading army to enter a courtyard, the Mohist then leaps off a platform to trigger a trap that dumps a cascade of crude oil on the enemy soldiers (nearly killing himself in the process, if not for him grabbing a nearby rope before he can land in the courtyard too) instantly setting a platoon of 60 enemies on fire.
  • In Be Cool, Vince Vaughn is set on fire and runs into the shooting of a music video. The director of said video leaves it in the final cut.
  • In Billy Madison during pie baking part of the triathlon competition between Billy and Eric, Eric set the pie and himself on fire with laughing results.
  • In Black Christmas (2019), Kris throws a lamp at the feet of Professor Gelson which ignites the black ooze seeping from the bust of Calvin Hawthorne. This sets fire to him, and the fire soon spreads to the rest of the frat house.
  • In Blacula, Thomas and Peters dispatch several vampires in the warehouse by throwing oil lamps at them that set them alight.
  • The Blue And The Gray, a movie about The American Civil War usually shown in schools, has a Confederate soldier burning alive after his legs have been shot, begging his brother to shoot him.
  • In Brazil, a Man On Fire can be seen during the truck chase sequence.
  • Breakheart Pass: After being shot, the engineer crashes into the firebox and catches on fire before falling out of the locomotive.
  • In Breaking Point (1976), a goon throws a wad of flaming cloth at Peter, causing him to catch fire until Michael pushes him into a river.
  • In The Bride, Frankenstein's hunchbacked assistant Paulus catches fire and suffers a Railing Kill during the explosion in the laboratory.
  • Cropsy both at the start and at the end of The Burning.
  • In The Butchers, the tourists manage to defeat the Zodiac Killer by using a Reusable Lighter Toss to set him alight.
  • In The Car: Road to Revenge, Ash goes up in flames as a result of a Flamethrower Backfire. Later, Talen uses a Reusable Lighter Toss to set the crooked ADA on fire after Daria douses him in medical alcohol.
  • In Con Air, Cyrus casually flicks his lit cigarette into the mix of avgas and gasoline that Francisco Cindino is standing in after the jet crashes into the gas pumps, turning him into a human torch.
  • Happens to a mook in the final shootout of The Corruptor, when Danny shoots a propane tank next to him setting him falling off a catwalk while on fire. Nick, on a lower level, finishes him off with an additional shot.
  • In Crank: High Voltage, Chev Chelios self-immolates as a result of drawing a charge from an electrical transformer, after which he beats the main bad guy to death, throws him into a pool, WALKS AWAY from the water, begins tripping severe balls, makes out with a woman, and then gives you the finger. It is that kind of movie.
  • In The Daisy Chain, Cryan sets a trap for Daisy, planning to burn her to death. Instead, he accidentally sets himself on fire.
  • In Death Spa, Michael's wife committed suicide by dousing herself in gasoline and setting herself alight: an act that repeats itself in Michael's nightmares.
  • The Dry: After being confronted by Aaron and Raco, Scott Whitlam douses himself in petrol and threatens to set himself, the school, and probably the surrounding town alight. He does ignite himself, but is beaten out by Aaron and Raco.
  • Ebola Syndrome: Kai, the main villain, dies in this manner when the police shoots a propane tank right next to him. He gets a few rounds plugged into his body while burning up.
  • In Eden Lake, Brett and his gang tie Jenny and attempt to incinerate her. After she escapes, the put a tyre around Adam's neck and threaten to set fire to him if she doesn't return. She doesn't and they do.
  • In Electra Glide in Blue, Zipper shoots a motorcycle, causing it to burst into flame and crash. It and its rider skid away from each other, both on fire.
  • In Even Lambs Have Teeth, Katie and Sloan soak the Pastor in gasoline and ignite it with a Vapor Trail.
  • In The Expendables "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's character is killed when he is kicked into a flaming ditch, which set him on fire.
  • In The Final Girls, Billy becomes one after being shot with the Arrows on Fire and doused in gasoline. It barely slows him down and he chases the surviving characters into the woods while still on fire.
  • In Freddy vs. Jason, Jason Voorhees is soaked in alcohol and set on fire. All this leads to is a burning, Hockey Mask wearing undead killing machine hacking his way through a cornfield rave, before extinguishing himself by getting sprayed with more alcohol.
  • In the opening robbery of From Dusk Till Dawn, the Gecko brothers set fire to a store clerk who's shooting back at them. The guy pops up from behind the counter and resumes shooting blindly, unable to aim because he's completely sheathed in flame.
  • In The Gatling Gun, the Apaches capture one of the sentries and tie him to a tree before setting him alight in an effort to draw the troopers out from cover. Lt. Malcolm puts a bullet through his brain.
  • Kaiju are not immune to this, as seen in Godzilla: Final Wars: during the climax, Mothra deflects some of Gigan’s laser beams via her scale cloud, but appears to have botched the timing, gets caught up in the resulting explosion, and is seemingly killed. Gigan stops to strike a victory pose, only for the razor disks he fired earlier during the fight to boomerang back around and behead him. However, we’re not finished- cue a Not Quite Dead Mothra charging out of the smoke cloud while on fire from wingtip to wingtip. She proceeds to tackle the now-headless Gigan to the ground, where he explodes, seemingly leading both to a Mutual Kill. However, the post-credit scenes reveal that, unlike most recipients of this trope, Mothra survived both the second explosion and her injuries from the fight.
  • Ghosts of War: The nazis in the simulation, and ISIS in the real world, kill Mr. Helwig by tying him to a chair, dousing him in alcahol, and then setting him on fire.
  • Ghost Town (1988): To his surprise, Billy bursts into flames when Langley shoots him with the vintage ammunition from the sheriff's office.
  • Happens to Sid Vance in The Gravedancers when the pyromaniac ghost sets the entire room ablaze.
  • In Hacksaw Ridge, the American forces make use of flamethrowers, leading to several shots of men in flames running about as well as scenes showing still-burning corpses. Notably, the opening begins In Medias Res by showing burning corpses on the battlefield before flashing back to the main character's early life.
  • In the film Hobgoblins, one character is set on fire after diving onto a grenade — a fragmentary grenade. (Being the sort of movie that it was, the character turned up fine in the next scene, the only consequences of his immolation being a little redness and a sprained ankle.
  • The invisible villain of Hollow Man is set on fire by Elisabeth Shue (having a latex mask doesn't help in that situation...).
  • Human Lanterns: Chao, the Serial Killer main villain, after being cornered, decides to end it right there by setting himself on fire.
  • The Initiation: As a child, Kelly saw her father catch fire, and keeps revisiting this scene in her nightmares.
  • In the Vietnam War documentary In the Year of the Pig, Roger Hilsman recounts the events of Thích Quảng Đức setting himself on fire. (see the Real Life section below).
  • One of the pirates in The Island (1980) has the habit of coating himself in pitch and setting himself on fire before raids to terrify his victims. When Maynard shoots him with a machine gun at the end of the film, he goes up in flames, runs around the aft deck, and then throws himself into the sea.
  • James Bond:
    • From Russia with Love - Bond takes out some SPECTRE henchmen that were pursuing him and Tatiana by using a flare gun to light some leaking gasoline barrels.
    • Diamonds Are Forever - Bond sets Mr. Kidd ablaze by dousing him with high-proof liquor as he carries flaming shishkebabs as a weapon.
    • Licence to Kill- Sanchez is doused in petrol and set alight by Bond.
  • Jane Got a Gun: The Bishop gang finally arrive at Jane's house under cover of darkness and riddle the house with bullets. Dan and Jane fire into the booby-trapped ditch, igniting the kerosene "bombs". Most of the gang are killed; going up like human candles.
  • Kick-Ass. D'Amico's thugs pour petrol over Big Daddy with the intention of torching him live on the internet. Hit Girl interrupts with a Boom, Headshot!, but one of the other mooks lights the petrol so they can see Hit Girl who's shooting at them with Night-Vision Goggles after knocking out the lights. Big Daddy is still able to scream tactical instructions to his daughter while burning to death. Hit Girl is eventually able to smother the fire with her cape, but it's too late.
  • In Kingdom of Heaven, Balian kills his priest half-brother after he takes his dead wife's necklace and cuts her head off due to her being a suicide. Balian then stabs the guy with a sword he's working on, pushing the guy into a fire. The man then gets off the forge and runs around screaming before finally dying after having set the smithy on fire.
  • In King of Thieves, Terry threatens to turn Carl into one by soaking him in petrol and ominously brandishing a box of matches while warning him what might happen if he either tries to claim a share of the loot or tells anyone what he knows. Terry and Danny then shown walking away from Carl's allotment in silence, leaving his fate unclear. Carl is later shown being rounded up by the police with the rest of the gang.
  • In Leo the Last, Jasper runs out of the burning mansion with his coat on fire, yelling "You're burning but you just don't know it!" until Roscoe smothers the fire with a blanket.
  • A nonmilitary flamethrower example occurs in the opening scene of Lethal Weapon 4, when a mook becomes a victim of Flamethrower Backfire.
  • In The Locals, the two bogans turn themselves into this while attempting to refuel their car while smoking.
  • In Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, a man on fire comes bursting out of a pub, with no explanation. It becomes something of a Brick Joke, as later you learn that Rory Breaker had set the man on fire for turning the channel on his football match.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Denethor tries to burn himself alive on the not quite dead Faramir's funerary pyre. He then does the "Stop, Drop and Roll" trick, just not in the right order. It was more like Drop (off a cliff), Roll and Stop.
  • Madhouse (1974): When Toombes loses his mind after Julia is murdered, he carries her corpse on to the Dr. Death set, and then sets the set on fire, before dousing himself in alcohol and setting himself alight. It is actually part of his plan for Faking the Dead.
  • Magnificent Warriors: At the penultimate final battle, a platoon of Japanese soldiers rushes into a farm, intending to kill every member of the local La Résistance hiding there, only to realize the courtyard is booby-trapped with tanks and tanks of gasoline. Cue Ming the Action Girl protagonist hurling a flaming spear into the courtyard setting 30-odd enemy soldiers alight.
  • In Manhattan Melodrama, a crew member of the General Slocum is on fire as he runs out of the cabin before falling into the water.
  • In Manhunter and its remake, Red Dragon, one of the serial killer's victims is set on fire and sent rolling down the street tied to a wheelchair.
  • The Maniac Cop trilogy:
    • The climax to Maniac Cop 2 centers around a deliciously dangerous-looking set of stunts where the villain is set on fire and just keeps on killing everyone anyway, eventually crashing through a wall and falling through the roof of a van, which promptly explodes. The best part is just how long it goes on for - they must have set that poor stuntman on fire about ten times to get that many shots.
    • Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence then takes it to insane levels when the eponymous bad guy ends the film on fire again - during an extended car chase!
  • Man of Steel: Clark when he is saving people from the burning oil rig at the beginning. Though because of who he is, he isn't fazed. Everything but his pants burn off.
  • In The Man Who Could Cheat Death the rapidly aging Dr. Bonnet is set on fire when Madwoman in the Attic Margo throws him an oil lantern at him.
  • Metallica: Through the Never:
    • During a riot scene, a cop is set on fire.
    • When Trip is cornered, he pours gasoline on himself and uses a lighter to set himself on fire. He runs through the mob punching people until cops and rioters knock him to the ground and beat him, still on fire. He wakes up uninjured on the roof of a parking garage.
    • As the band's elaborate stage set collapses around them, an electrical failure sets a stagehand on fire. He runs flaming across the stage until some technicians put him out with fire extinguishers. James Hetfield calls a halt to the show while EMTs tend to him and someone else who was injured.
  • In Nightmare at Noon, Sheriff Hanks gets set on fire by the scientist's goons' flamethrowers, shortly before the poison would have turned him into a killer. He runs around in flames, then throws himself into the goons' van to destroy it.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street:
    • The franchise's villain Freddy Krueger notably died this way before he became a dream-dwelling ghost, being set on fire by an angry lynch mob who wanted justice for the children whom he killed.
    • During the climax of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Freddy Krueger is set on fire (again) by the heroine, Nancy Thompson. Not surprisingly for the undead, Freddy manages to chase Nancy around while still on fire, and get in a final kill (her mother). Even his footprints are flaming as well.
    • In A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, Freddy in Jesse's body once again burns to death in the climax. Jesse is revealed to be alive underneath the destroyed body.
  • In Nothing but the Night, the downwash from the helicopter blows the flames from the bonfire on to Mary Valley, setting her alight and causing her to throw herself off the cliff into the sea.
  • The Odd Angry Shot: After Bung is killed, Harry takes out the machine gun nest with an incendiary grenade. One Viet Cong staggers out on fire. One of the men calls for the others to let him burn 'for Bung', but the lieutenant drops him with a single shot to the head.
  • In the 1970s fantasy-horror film Oily Maniac, the titular villain, a demon born from crude oil, dies in this method after being struck by a flaming rod. Being literally made of oil, he burns up within seconds and keeps roasting for a whole minute before succumbing.
  • Old People: When Laura, Noah, and Ella are climbing into the old servant tunnels to escape the attacking old people and the burning house, they see someone covered in flames screaming and running towards them.
  • In the film Ong-Bak, Tony Jaa's character kicks a man in the face while his legs are on fire. He then puts them out in a barrel of water. (Tony Jaa did his own stunts. Damn.)
  • In Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge, Eric uses a weed burner in a hardware store to turn Harv Posner into a human candle. Posner then stumbles into a display of propane tanks, which explodes and sets fire to Eric.
  • Predator: At least two guerrillas were shown ablaze. One tries to shoot Dillion, who shoots him dead. Later, after he and Dutch shoot a helicopter trying to escape and blow it up, one of the pilots got out screaming before succumbing to the fire.
  • The Princess: One of the mooks is killed through catching on fire, before falling to his death.
  • The fate of Jigsaw from Punisher: War Zone, after being skewered by Frank Castle, who then drops him into a burning fire. Given the victim here, we can actually see the flames eating him up from the inside before bursting out of the stitchings on his face.
  • The Rainbow Experiment: The titular experiment involves waving sticks with different substances on them over a Bunsen burner to create colored flames. When Matty does it, a fireball explodes from the burner due to methanol Matty and his friends put in some of the beakers as a prank, setting Matty on fire. He ends up comatose in the hospital with burns over 50% of his body.
  • Rats: Night of Terror: After one of their group runs afoul of a swarm of rats, Kurt turns his flamethrower on the guy. Probably not the kind of help he was pleading for.
  • Edna catches fire before she topples off the top of the tower during the climax of Reform School Girls.
  • A 90s' exploitation / Cat-III film, Run And Kill, has a scene where an 8-year-old girl is graphically set on fire by the film's main villain, right in front of her father, the latter whom is Forced to Watch. In a moment that borders on Crosses the Line Twice (and many, MANY times over) the kid's badly charred, shrivelled carcass is later picked up and used as a puppet to taunt her father.
    "Daddy, daddy, I'm so black right now, do you still recognize me?"
  • Rush is about the 1976 Formula 1 season, and Niki Lauda's near-fatal crash at Nürburgring is depicted in excruciating detail. We're told that he was trapped for a full minute in a car that was burning at over seven hundred degrees; his burns were so bad that he was given Last Rites almost as soon as he got to the hospital.
  • Near the end of the D-Day scene of Saving Private Ryan, the Allies use a flamethrower on the Nazis. One of the Allied soldiers shouts "Don't shoot! Let 'em burn!"
    • In a moment of Shell-Shock Silence, the hero watches fellow comrades on fire during the battle at Omaha Beach.
    • Later, a German self-propelled gun is hit by a Molotov cocktail, resulting in several men on fire wandering around.
  • In one of the Scary Movie sequels (either three or four), a flaming man appears in the background walking a flaming dog.
  • Serial Mom: Catching Scotty at a local club, Hammerjack's, Beverly sets Scotty aflame onstage in front of a deranged crowd during the set of an all-female band called Camel Lips.
  • Silent Night (2012): Mrs. Jones, Sheriff Cooper, the killer (though he survives) and his father (he isn't as lucky).
  • In Sinners and Saints (2010) the villains conduct interrogations by pouring petrol on their victim, setting them on fire, then putting it out with a fire extinguisher. They then repeat the process.
  • In the film Skybound, when the plane drops below the cloud deck to get a look at conditions on the ground, the occupants view an entire landscape set ablaze, including some bison running in panic with their fur on fire.
  • Smokin' Aces - the team of hillbillies are killing mooks with an automatic shotgun, automatic pistol, SMG, chainsaw and machetes, blood is going everywhere, a man on fire falls over.... wait, why was he on fire? In that entire scene, save for maybe some hand-held flares, there was nothing combustible being used.
  • Snatched (2017): When Emily accidentally kills Morgado's son, he falls backward and knocks a goon into a barbecue, setting him on fire. Unlike most examples, the goon immediately stops, drops, and rolls.
  • During the Standard Starship Scuffle of Star Trek: Insurrection, one Red Shirt in Engineering catches fire. Fortunately for him, Geordi uses his fire extinguisher to save him.
  • Anakin Skywalker, just before his final transformation into Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
  • In Stripped to Kill, the killer douses his first victim in gasoline after pushing her off a bridge and then lights her up just after Det. Cody Sheehan trips over the victim. At the end of the film, Cody soaks the killer with the can of gasoline his was trying to kill her with, and he turns himself into a Roman candle when he fires his gun at her.
  • Strippers Vs. Werewolves: In the climax of the movie, Jeanette tries to kill Ferris by electrocuting him. The sparks from the shock set him on fire as a result.
  • Alec Holland is shown to be caught on fire before diving into the swamp in Swamp Thing.
  • Parodied in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. After wrecking his car, Ricky runs around shouting that he's on fire, except he's really not. To add to the hilarity, his idiot buddy runs up to save him from the non-existent fire.
  • Parodied (sort of) in Team America: World Police, in which all the characters were wooden marionettes, and thus obviously quite capable of burning.
  • Ten Dead Men: Ryan pours petrol over Franklin's sentry from the top of the tower. When the poor mook looks up to see where the liquid is coming from, he sees Ryan toss a lighted match down on top of him.
  • In one memorable scene in the original 1951 The Thing from Another World, the eponymous invader gets doused with gasoline and set ablaze; like the Freddy Krueger example above, he/it continues to run amok. Especially notable in that this was the first time the stunt was attempted for a movie.
  • The Tournament: Joshua uses a Booze Flamethrower to set fire to Miles Slade in the strip club.
  • In The Towering Inferno, a man staggers out of one of the elevators in flames after it stops on the floor the fire is on. There are many other scenes throughout the dramatic portion of the film that depict people on fire and dying of their injuries.
  • Train: When Alex torches the train, Dr. Velislava is standing atop the Vapor Trail and goes up like a Roman candle.
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie: In "Time Out", a Klansman goes on fire after Bill Connor kicks him into a burning cross as he tries to escape.
  • Under Siege 2: Dark Territory: Ryback builds a home-made bomb to destroy the terrorists' high-tech satellite equipment, setting several of them on fire in the process. He uses a flare gun as an Improvised Weapon in the same manner.
  • In Underworld U.S.A., Gus kills Gunther by locking him in his car and setting it of fire.
  • Wong's first onscreen kill in The Untold Story, before the opening credits, is a guy he knocks out, before emptying a keg of gasoline on him and dropping a lighted match.
  • Vampirella: Vampirella disposes of Vlad by throwing a metal stake at his heart. Not to kill him, but so that the rod will attract a lightning strike, which causes him to burst into flames.
  • Abused in Van Helsing. Happens to Dracula at least three times. Several of his dwergi henchmen also catch fire. This was actually a Throw It In as apparently the costumes for the dwergi had an unfortunate tendency to catch fire for real so the crew just decided to run with it.
  • In Watchmen a prisoner is set on fire during the riot scene.
  • In When Evil Calls, the girl who wishes to be hot gets her wish when an Aerosol Flamethrower sets her head on fire.
  • When the Bough Breaks (1994): After some flammable chemicals spill on the killer, Macleah sets him on fire with her lighter. While he blunders around screaming, she flees the room and ties the door shut, giving the two girls he was holding prisoner time to escape before he kicks his way through the door.
  • The Wicker Man (1973). The clue is in the title.
  • Windtalkers has the flamethrower-equipped member of The Squad die this way.
  • The Scarecrow in the movie of The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy's attempt to put him out is what lead's to the Wicked Witch of the West's death.
  • In Young Sherlock Holmes, Holmes kills Mrs. Dribb by blowing one of the thorns from her blow gun into her mouth. This is not only painful, but likely causes her to experience the violent hallucinations; either way she sets herself on fire.
  • The opening slow-motion montage of Zombieland has a scene where zombie on fire, chasing after a fireman.

  • 1408: The way that Mike escapes from the eponymous room is by setting his lucky Hawaiian shirt on fire, and he speculates that the entity dwelling in the room had no interest in absorbing a burned man. Mike needs a few skin grafts but only avoids more serious injury because another guest on the same floor happened to be walking back from the ice machine, and he dumped his bucket of ice onto Mike's burning shirt.
  • A particularly chilling example of this occurs in the 1979 horror novel The Amulet, which shows, during a house fire, a toddler running down the hallway with her hair on fire and her polyester pajamas melted to her body. Her mother, under the influence of the eponymous cursed amulet, is oblivious to any danger.
  • The Brotherhood of the Conch: In The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming, the evil jinn Ifrit attacks a ceremony with lightning bolts. He hits several members of the panicked crowd, setting them on fire.
  • Most of David Edding's works. Burning pitch. Naptha. The residue out of beer. Complete with people running around.
  • Go to Sleep (A Jeff the Killer Rewrite): After covering Jeff with bleach, Randy pours what's left of his vodka can onto Jeff. He then tries to light his cigarette with a match, but much to his horror, it slips and lands on Jeff, who screams as flames nearly engulf him until he crawls to the nearby stream to put them out.
  • Needing to come up with dazzling, memorable, coal-mining-related costumes for Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games, Cinna reasons, "What do we do with coal? We burn it," and dresses them in special black suits that will protect them from the (supposedly fake) flames he covers them in. The results are such a hit with the crowd that several other stylists go for illumination next year in Catching Fire (whether or not it makes sense). This is how Katniss gets the moniker, the Girl on Fire, that stays with her throughout the series.
  • In The Oaken Throne, the villainous squirrel Morwenna meets her end when the rat god Hobb blows fire onto her and she burns to death.
  • Lieutenant Just The One Who Started Fires is set on fire at the end, and, although he remembers to drop and roll, it doesn't work. Because the arsonist was deliberately keeping the flames from going out.
  • Miracle Creek has a gruesome double example. Everyone in the hyperbaric chamber is wearing a helmet, and Henry and TJ's are connected to the oxygen tank that explodes. Henry's head is consumed by fire, while the flame-retardant ring around his neck keeps the rest of his body completely undamaged. TJ's helmet happens to be resting in Kitt's lap, saving him but setting her on fire. Both die on the scene.
  • In the backstory of The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly, Jonathon and his younger brother Charlie O'Reilly were playing with fireworks when their dad suddenly showed up, furious at Jonathan for being so unsafe. Jonathon dropped the Roman candle he was holding, which went off and hit his brother, turning him into a fireball. Their dad tackled his brother and rolled with him to put out the flames while Jonathon ran to call 911. In the burn unit, they had to keep him unconscious for over a week because the pain was so bad. The night before Charlie was supposed to come home from the hospital, Jonathon lay in bed, begging for a way to undo the accident. Brona granted his wish.
  • Rogue: When the Elliotts' meth lab explodes, their six-year-old son Brandon runs out with his T-shirt on fire and melted into his back.
  • Simon Ark: In "The Witch is Dead", Mother Fortune is found burned to death inside her locked trailer with nothing else touched. Spontaneous Human Combustion is suspected, but it is actually murder.
  • Many, many characters in the whole A Song of Ice and Fire series, both historically and currently, especially in A Dance with Dragons; obvious when you consider the name of the book. With "alchemists" and their wildfire, Red Priests and dragons in existence in the world all together with more normal "foragers" scouring the countryside, well... yeah — this happens. One of the most infamous examples is a historical one, however: Aerion "Brightflame" Targaryen quite deliberately did it to himself (rather than the usual Targaryen trick of deliberately doing it to others or to themselves by complete miscalculation) in an egregious example of Alcohol-Induced Idiocy. The important lesson here, kids, is "don't use Greek Fire as a chaser, even if you do have the blood of the dragon in you". No, you will not transform into an actual dragon; ashes, however...
  • The Star Trek novel The Three Minute Universe has a race of brown note beings called Sackers that used special flamethrowers to incinerate a couple of poor redshirts. One barely survived but had trouble reporting what happened since his lips were burned off.
  • In Void City, the vampire Eric has a habit of losing track of the time and getting caught in sunlight, thus causing him to burst into flames. He's powerful enough that it doesn't kill him, but he finds it annoying and embarrassing.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide advised you against using fire to fight the undead, as the only thing worse than a zombie trying to eat you is a burning zombie trying to eat you. The pain of burning "alive" won't register to them, and it takes quite a while for enough of them to burn up to actually hinder their movement and ability to attack you.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Horror Story: Murder House's Larry Harvey was set on fire by his lover's son.
  • Happens frequently on Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though usually the vampires are destroyed by this very quickly unless they have Plot Immunity. In "Redefinition", Angel sets Drusilla and Darla on fire; they last long enough to break open a fire hydrant. Frequently lampshaded by Spike after his himification, as he was determined to travel during the day while hiding under blankets, jackets, and such, thus smoldering in the sun.
  • Boardwalk Empire: When the Sheriff of Tabor Heights wishes Gyp Rosetti good luck, at a time when Gyp is in a particularly bad mood, Gyp douses the Sheriff in gasoline and then burns him alive by dropping a cigarette.
  • In the Breaking Bad episode "Gliding Over All", we're shown a montage of the simultaneous assassinations of all eight of Gus Fring's former employees plus Mike's lawyer currently in jail creepily set to Nat King Cole's "Pick Yourself Up". The last victim, former Lavandería Brillante manager Dennis Markowski, is shown getting doused with flamable liquid and set ablaze inside his cell.
  • The Brittas Empire: Downplayed. In the episode, “Playing With Fire”, Gordon is trying to locate Colin. As he does this, he finds several small fires that were set up by Gavin’s long lost finance Jenny. As he is trying to put them out, the fire spreads onto his leg, causing him to go around partially on fire yelping “Help me! Help me!”.
  • CSI:
    • One episode had a woman who did the Self-Immolation variety and ran down a hill, causing a random stargazer to go up in flames, though the suicide attempt failed and the woman lived.
    • "The Book of Shadows" opens with a student shooting a video in his high school corridor which is interrupted when one of his teachers comes running along the corridor on fire, before falling the ground dead.
    • In "Abra Cadaver," a Stage Magician goes up in flames while performing a trick on stage.
  • CSI: Miami has at least two Corpses of the Week go up in flames in this manner:
    • One man was siphoning high-quality gasoline out of motorboats and selling it for a profit, only to meet his end when a static spark from his phone sets off the gas vapors that have accumulated in his esophagus.
    • Another has two boys attempting to siphon gasoline out of a parking lot, only to be caught by the very irate driver, who douses one boy with gasoline and sets him on fire. The burning man crashes the party next to the parking lot and causes a panic before he dies.
  • CSI: NY: Used in back-to-back episodes in season 3 and again in season 5.
    • In "The Ride In," a man dressed in a cigarette costume dies because he'd been set on fire and, ironically, his outfit wasn't flame-retardant.
    • In the next episode, "Sleight Out of Hand," there is a magician who sets himself on fire as a magic trick. While the magician is performing his trick, a guy several blocks away burns to death from being set on fire. Later, Mac demonstrates the cooling gel used by stunt performers for 'burns' aka setting themselves on fire, slathering it on a sleeve that covered his arm and inviting Danny to ignite it.
      Mac: Come on, what other job lets you set your boss on fire?
      Danny: Sold, but if you go up in flames, I get your office?
    • In the 100th episode, "My Name Is Mac Taylor," a grieving boyfriend turned vigilante murderer tries Self-Immolation in a suicide attempt. He is rushed to the hospital, but his injuries are so severe it is left up in the air whether he will live to stand trial.
  • On The Daily Show/Colbert Report 2008 election night show, Jon and Stephen attempted to see who could come up with the most extreme title sequence. It ended with Jon setting former House majority leader Dick Gephardt on fire... and then blowing him up.
  • Daredevil (2015): This is how Nobu dies, the first time, and by complete accident. What makes it eerie is how he never utters a sound of pain, or even reacts to it, he just keeps trying to kill Matt until his body fails. And come season 2, we learn that he somehow managed to survive.
  • Edgar Hansen on Deadliest Catch set himself and a crab table on fire after doing his "flaming hook" ritual.
  • The Dudesons has a prank involving Jukka and Jarppi waking Jarno up by lighting him on fire.
  • Emergency! has this happen occasionally in some episode... sometimes following an explosion.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Several during the Battle of the Blackwater; Justified due to copious use of wildfire to blow up Stannis's fleet in combination with flaming arrows. One of them causes the normally Blood Knight Hound to flee the battle, as fire is the only thing he's afraid of due to his face being held in the fire as a child by his abusive elder brother.
    • Wights are extremely flammable, with a newly-dead (and therefore not yet desiccated) one bursting into flames immediately on contact with an ordinary torch.
    • Stannis Baratheon burns his daughter Shireen alive as a religious sacrifice, hoping for victory after his army is crippled by Ramsay. It doesn't work.
    • In "The Spoils of War", The Battle of the Blackwater Rush saw Daenerys' first usage of her Dragons in Westeros, and the episode set a televised record for the amount of actual men on actual fire in a single shot. She then followed it up next episode by immolating Randyll and Dickon Tarly when they wouldn't bend the knee to her.
  • Harrow: At the end of "Locus Poenitentiae" ("Place of Penitance"), Francis immobilises Tim and burns him alive.
  • Occurs in the second Horatio Hornblower telefilm when Horatio and Captain Foster are trying to steer a fire ship away from the British fleet. Foster catches some flames on his clothes after he almost falls into the burning hold, but Horatio has the sense to smother it with a blanket. Then another spurt of flame catches Horatio's coat on fire, whereupon Foster gets them both into the water.
  • In the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Burning Beekeeper", Marshall's boss Mr. Cootes is wearing a beekeeping outfit doused in kerosene when he's getting food out of the oven. He runs ablaze out the front door and rolls in the snow to extinguish himself.
  • Inspector George Gently: This is how the Victim of the Week is murdered in "The Burning Man".
  • Jackass: The Human Barbecue and its Spiritual Successor, Up in Flames (which were performed the same day) where Knoxville is burned by flames.
  • The miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream re-creates the infamous accident where Michael Jackson's head was lit on fire during a botched pyrotechnic explosion. The trope is downplayed in the series, as Jackson's hair is only shown smoking after being burned.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Kilgrave makes Luke Cage blow up his own bar in front of Jessica. Luke comes out with scorched clothes, his durable skin saving him from being killed in the explosion.
  • Jonathan Creek: In "Daemon's Roost", the murderous Patrick Tyree meets his end when he is soaked in flammable oil by a centuries old deathtrap, and then ignited by Jonathan and Polly.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Gaim: Episode 32. Being set on fire by Demushu (one of the big villains) doesn't stop Kouta Kazuraba, the title character, from changing into his strongest form yet.
    • Kamen Rider Double has Terui set on fire by the Utopia Dopant in the penultimate episode, although he survives.
  • On one episode of The Late Show with David Letterman, a man on fire briefly ran behind Letterman and into the backstage area during his monologue. Normally you'd assume this was part of the act, but Letterman seemed genuinely surprised, and both he and the camera made a point of ignoring the flaming man, and never even mentioned him (there was no laugh track or anything either).
    • "Man on Fire" was a recurring bit for a while. At one point they "ran out of money to cover the insurance" and the man just ran out as if he was on fire. They even shilled for people to sponsor the Man on Fire. (MoF would yell "Subway! Eat Fresh!" or whatever while on fire).
  • In one episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a rape suspect sets his ex-wife on fire. Making it even more horrifying, this was Based on a True Story. note 
  • London's Burning: A particularly frightening example happens when Blue Watch are responding to a fire in an apartment complex. Just as they're preparing to force the door and send in the BA crew, it crashes open and a burning woman runs out screaming, then falls over the walkway railings and plummets three stories to the ground. Even the veteran firefighters are visibly shocked at the sight.
  • The Longest Day in Chang'an: Several people get engulfed in flames in the aftermath of the first explosion.
  • Lost: Alas, poor Frogurt, who gets hit with a flaming arrow right in the Red Shirt he's wearing in the episode "The Lie."
  • Luke Cage:
    • In the first episode of season 2, Arturo Rey lures Luke into one of his semi trucks, which he then blows up from a distance. Luke walks out of the flaming wreckage, his clothes still visibly burning as he walks up to Arturo, who attempts to shoot him with a Judas shotgun to no effect before Luke just knocks him out. The whole thing is filmed by D.W. Griffifth, who gets Luke to make a Badass Boast for him before sending the footage to YouTube.
    • In "The Main Ingredient," Mariah Dillard and Shades Alvarez kidnap Bushmaster's uncle Paul "Anansi" Mackintosh, take him to his restaurant Gwen's, and after Mariah's men guns down the patrons present at the restaurant, she douses Anansi in Bushmaster rum and sets him on fire. He defiantly shouts at Mariah that she'll burn in hell as he's being barbecued, and then Mariah shoots him in the head out of annoyance at him taking too long to die. The act is disturbing enough that Shades becomes disillusioned with her and they have a falling out in the next episode.
  • An attempt to render harmless a nuclear-warhead-tipped ICBM during an episode of MacGyver results in a fuel explosion and a man on fire. It somehow seems out of place.
  • Miami Vice: In one episode, a man is set on fire when his truck explodes. He runs around screaming until Crockett tackles him and smothers the fire with a blanket.
  • Midnight Caller: The villains of "City of Lost Souls" murder homeless people by dousing them in gasoline and setting them on fire.
  • Motive: In "Purgatory", the killer ties her final victim to a chair and soaks him in gasoline; planning to set him on fire. She manages to do so despite Vega's interference, and Vega is forced grab a fire extinguisher and put him out.
  • The NCIS: Los Angeles episode "Imposters" begins with a burning man running through a beachside restaurant and collapsing on the sand.
  • The Outpost: During her fight with some Prime Order soldiers, Talon knocks one away into a campfire, and he runs off in flames screaming.
  • This is parodied in the opening credits of Police Squad!, with a random, flaming man running by during the shoot-out in the office.
  • The Power (2023): General Miron dies this way, after he was set on fire during the losing battle with the Carpathian rebels.
  • Averted in an episode of Psych, where Shawn and Gus pretend to be stuntmen in order to investigate a famous daredevil's entourage. They wonder what the special suits they have to wear for the new stunt they're testing are for, until someone pulls out a torch and ignites it. The boys panic and immediately call it quits.
  • Resurrection: Ertuğrul:
    • Aykiz Hatun suffers a chilling death at the hands of the Mongols in this manner at the beginning of season 2.
    • Esma/Eftelya uses this trope on a hapless Aleppo woman in season 1, trying to prevent Ertugrul from coming after her by making him believe she committed suicide so he wouldn’t be able to gain any information from her. It works.
  • The monologue of a Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Linda Hamilton had her saying she's not Sarah Connor, with footage of her "former houses" (which promptly explode) and a Man on Fire, whom she calls "her ex-boyfriend".
  • Scrubs had a scene in which Doug accidentally set JD on fire, luckily Turk put it out with a fire extinguisher.
  • Shoestring: In "An Uncertain Circle," Eddie is trapped in a burning beach house. With his clothes on fire, he escapes through a window, runs across the beach, and jumps into the ocean.
  • In one episode of Stargate Atlantis, Sheppard and Lucius Luvin, who happens to have an Ancient shield that makes him invincible, need a plan to distract and defeat some Genii soldiers. One of Lucius' ideas is, "I could set myself on fire." Naturally, Sheppard likes it. Unfortunately, nothing comes of this idea.
  • Taken: In "High Hopes", Bob's Used Cars explodes when everyone present goes insane when the implant is removed from Russell Keys' brain. Dr. Kreutz emerges from the building on fire from head to toe and burns to death in front of Owen's eyes within seconds.
  • Tales from the Crypt episode "'Til Death": During their struggle in the swamp, Logan kicks Maggie on to an oil lantern, causing her dress (and subsequently her) to catch fire.
  • When Top Gear (UK) redesigned Sir Steve Redgrave's garden, during the Ground Force-style fast-forwarding bit a blazing man runs into shot and is put out with a fire blanket. It is never really explained.
    • In another episode, the guys convert a combine harvester into a snowplow... with a flamethrower attachment for melting ice. Guess what happens to a pedestrian during their field test?
  • Vera: In "Young Gods", the Victim of the Week is set on fire when an oil lamp is thrown at him hard enough to chip bone: an act that is witnessed by a group of sixth form students on a retreat.
  • Parodied in one sketch on the comedy-improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, where Wayne Brady played a "superhero" named Thinks Everybody's On Fire Man. At the end, his fellow hero Captain Obvious helpfully noted that he wasn't really on fire.
  • In The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode "The Trenches of Hell", Indy's company is attacked by a German flamethrower unit, resulting in several of Indy's comrades being lit on fire. In an aversion of Flamethrower Backfire, this results in the company retreating, and none of the Germans are immolated in turn by shots to their fuel tanks.

  • The Autopsy song "Charred Remains"
  • Big Black's Kerosene is about one contemplating living the rest of their life in a small town in total boredom. Self-immolation is seen as the cure to that boredom.
  • Not a video, but the lyrics to The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets' "Kill the Chupacabra":
    I'm on fire.
    I'm on fire.
    I am, quite literally...
    ON FIRE!
  • Electric Six's album Fire has a Man on the disco. Could be the hit single "Danger! High Voltage" and its constant refrain of "Fire in the disco!" Or it could be their inexplicable obsession with the word "fire."
  • Brian Eno's "Baby's on Fire".
  • Evile's song "Burned Alive"
  • A Flock of Seagulls' "Burnin' Up".
  • The Hipgnosis cover of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here (1975) album includes a photo of two businessmen, one of whom happens to be on fire, casually shaking hands. This is intended as a visual metaphor for getting burned in the music business.
  • The original album cover to Lynyrd Skynyrd's Street Survivors had the band standing in the middle of an inferno, which gave the illusion of half the band being on fire. Three days after the album's release, the band's flight crashed, killing four bandmates and the two pilots. The band's label subsequently withdrew the cover and replaced it with a different one.
  • The cover of Rage Against the Machine's first album is a well-known photo of Thich Quang Duc (see Real Life folder).
  • Till Lindemann of Rammstein. Aside from his constant fiery antics on stage, the "Du Hast" video has the drummer Christoph Schneider do this as well. The first song on their first album is called "Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?" (for the non-German-speakers, that's "Do you want to see the bed in flames?").
  • Sid Wilson of the band Slipknot has been known to set himself on fire during live shows. He's stopped doing this in recent years for fears of being arrested for attempted suicide. Yes, being arrested is his main fear for his human inferno act.
  • They Might Be Giants' "You're on Fire" note .
    • Also happens in "The Statue Got Me High", both to the narrator and the listener, as it is your turn to hear the stone and then your turn to burn.
  • During the final listening party for Kanye West's tenth album, Donda, West was set on fire as part of the performance for the song "Come to Life" (while wearing an all-black fireproof suit). West walked out onto Chicago's Soldier Field engulfed in flames mid-song, and it was not extinguished until the final note of "Come to Life." Footage of this incident was later reused for the song's official video.
  • Logan Whitehurst's aptly named Ohmygodimonfire.

    Music Videos 

  • In Jersey Jack Pinball's The Wizard of Oz, "Fireball Mode" ends with the Scarecrow on fire from the Wicked Witch's attack.

  • The Magnus Archives: In the episode "First Aid" two patients are brought into the hospital completely covered in burns, but with their clothes somehow unharmed.

    Print Media 
  • In a MAD Magazine parody of Sherlock Holmes, "Shermlock Shomes'" solution to a Locked Room Mystery involves moving all about the room, entering as he believes the murderer did through the chimney, then racing out from the jambs declaring "The roaring fire in the fireplace presented no obstacle since the murderer quietly pushed the logs aside before coming through!" with a maniacal grin and his clothes on fire.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In general, if any wrestler's specialty match is an "inferno match", expect to see them get lit on fire. Usually it will just be a glove or boot but Montel Vontavious Porter proved this is not always true by actually losing to THE inferno match specialist Kane, and taking the burn on his back.
  • When Kane stole The Undertaker's powers, he used Undertaker's power over electricity to light WWF personnel on fire with lightning bolts.
  • Kane (see a pattern?) also set Jim Ross on fire in 2003.
  • Jazz accidentally lit her arch nemesis Wildfire on fire during a Women's Extreme Wrestling flaming table match when she couldn't break the table, despite it presumably being weakened by the fire, causing the referee to just let her pin Wildfire instead and then get her medical treatment. This was later used to set up Straw Misogynist Steve The Sound Guy, who dragged out Pussy Willow and easily put her through the seemingly unbreakable table.
  • At a CZW event, Nick Gage accidentally lit himself on fire while trying to put company owner John Zandig through a flaming board.
  • Threatened in Full Impact Pro, after the Dark City Fight Club defeated Black Market and then drenched them in gasoline.
  • After "returning from the dead", El Mesias decided to take revenge on Cibernético for dumping his casket in a volcano by having El Zorro help him power bomb Cibernético through a flaming table, which caused Cibernético's back and shoulders to catch. While Mesias would go on to become/continue to be one of the biggest stars in Mexico and the Caribbean, his initial stint in the United States did not go over to well due to his use of this trope and Fire Balls getting Wrestling Society X taken off the air.
  • Spike TV has traditionally had some issues with TNA's liberal use of fire, such as when Stevie Richards lit up the monster Abyss.
  • At Elimination Chamber 2010, when Undertaker made his way down to the ring, an accident occurred during his entrance when his pyrotechnics were mistimed, resulting in him being momentarily engulfed in flames, before he quickly took off his smoldering jacket. He was cleared by a ringside doctor to wrestle, however, and was able to compete in the match, being given bottles of water to douse himself with in the meantime.
  • At The Horror Show at Extreme Rules 2020, Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt faced each other in a Swamp Fight. Braun gets attacked by Mooks, but he fights them off and hurls one of them into a bonfire, lighting him up.

  • Survival of the Fittest:
    • Melina Frost is briefly set alight in one scene. By all accounts this results in her looking like Two-Face. - She actually survives this, as the fire is quickly extinguished.
    • Daniel Vaughan in v4 dies by getting a molotov cocktail thrown at him. And Francine Moreau in the same version is killed after a shot from a flare gun lands on her.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The BattleTech RPG Mechwarrior has various man-portable flame weapons which, in defiance of the game's love of rolling for the odds of almost every result, simply assumes that a successful hit with a flame weapon will set someone on fire for a good twenty to thirty seconds at the very least. The ease of flammability is offset by the fact that fire damage was unusually mild in a game with otherwise incredibly lethal damage calculations.
  • Surprisingly, effects that actually set the target on fire tend to be pretty rare in Dungeons & Dragons. In 5th Edition, for example, despite fire being a common form of elemental damage, there are only a few spells that actually ignite the target, most notably the 1st level Paladin spell Searing Smite and the wizard and sorcerer Immolation. Enemies killed by the latter spell burn to ash.
  • Mentioned in one Murphy's Rules strip, in GURPS third edition the combat penalty for fighting whilst on fire was less than that for fighting in total darkness. Allowing characters with sufficient HP to improve their combat ability in the dark by self-immolating to use themselves as a light source.
  • In Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution a person hit with Ignite, Conflagration, or Inferno has to succeed a speed check or they'll catch fire.
  • Malekith, the Witch King of the Dark Elves in Warhammer, stepped into the Flames of Asuryan after killing his rival to the title of Phoenix King to prove that he was totally the rightful king and not The Starscream. The Flames disagreed and roasted him, and he now has to wear enchanted armor to keep himself alive. Since the Flames are magical, the embers still burn in Malekith's wounds, a fact that has been exploited in a number of his defeats over the course of his life (the archmage Teclis, for example, reignited the embers with a simple fire spell when Malekith attempted his most recent invasion of Ulthuan, setting him on fire again).

  • In The Fantasticks, Matt gets set on fire during a Torches and Pitchforks peasant rebellion in the "Round and Round" sequence:
    Luisa: That man—look out; he's burning. My god, he's on fire!
    El Gallo: Keep on dancing.
    Luisa: But he's burning—
    El Gallo: Just put up your mask—then it's pretty.
    Matt: Help! Help!
    (El Gallo raises the mask to her face.)
    Luisa: Oh yes, isn't he beautiful! He's all sort of orange. Red-orange. That's one of my favorite colors!
    Matt: Help!
    Luisa: You look lovely!
  • In Cirque du Soleil's eleventh show, "O", the character named L'Allume slowly becomes this as he reads a newspaper.

    Theme Parks 
  • A common sight at theme park stunt shows. Some examples:
    • Disney Hollywood Studios has "Lights, Motors, Action!" feature a biker who gets shot off his bike and slides through a wall of flame.
    • Universal Studios' Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular stunt show ends with the Deacon being set on fire and falling from the highest platform on the set into the water. The "Slaughterworld" show, as part of its various explicit upgrades during Halloween Horror Nights, had the Deacon's rear set aflame while dancing in a thong. He keeps dancing.

    Video Games 
  • 911 Operator: One of these shows up in a warehouse fire-specific call, to the abject horror of the witnessing caller. You have to supply the correct information on how to help and get emergency services there on time or they'll die horribly.
  • Early on in Anachronox, you're barred from one area by a NOX Guard who informs you that some guy set himself on fire and they're waiting for him to stop. You can see him run around madly while the sociopathic guards do nothing to help him. Hilariously, this is also a Broken Bridge, so unless you further the plot sufficiently, you can come back an hour later and find the guy still running around and being on fire.
  • Apocalypse have flamethrowers as a pickable weapon, who incinerate mooks in a single touch, making them run around while set alight before keeling over.
  • Upon receiving a flamethrower in Army Men: Sarge's Heroes, Sarge gives a content laugh: "Oh-ho-ho, yeah." Also, several times in the games the quote, "I love the smell of burnt plastic in the morning," is used to further the sadistic craving of burning plastic soldiers. The results of the flamethrower are quite satisfying and well worth the reaction: any mook (or Sarge himself) caught in the flames runs around in circles before shriveling up into a blob of goo and fading away (as video game corpses do).
    • And let us not forget Scorch from Army Men: RTS. A plastic soldier very much in love with fire, packing a flamethrower with him everywhere he goes, and one of the more dangerous of Bravo Company, AKA Sarge's Heroes. "Light 'em up!", indeed.
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey offers the player several ways to set enemies aflame, from Arrows on Fire to hitting them with a torch or Flaming Sword. Humans in this game aren't quite as flammable as usual, though; it usually takes multiple hits before the targets actually start burning. When they do, they stop attacking in favor of running around screaming while trying to put the flames out, which is less helpful than it sounds because everything around them including the Player Character is very much Made of Incendium, so the briefest contact with such a human torch is enough to set yourself on fire, too, and being on fire deals a lot more damage than that enemy could've ever inflicted in person. Meanwhile, the amount of damage the enemy recievies is unlikely to total up to more than one or two normal blows from your weapon.
  • In Banjo-Tooie, if you use your fire eggs or Dragon!Kazooie's fire breath on a mook, you can watch him run around ablaze until it stops or you kill him.
  • In the online game Battlefield Heroes, the soldier class has an ability called burning bullets that makes your opponents burst into flame when they're hurt. (But you can put yourself out using a bandage).
  • Battlerite:
    • Ashka's Fire Storm launches a volley of fireballs that apply the Ignite effect, dealing damage over time to enemies.
    • Iva's Rocket X-67 or Flame Thrower apply the Burning Oil effect, but only if she first used her Jet Pack to cover her enemies in oil.
  • Illusion of Gaia has a rather graphic scene in which the mercenary sent after Kara, the Jackal, is lit on fire by a booby trap and burns to death even as he tries to crawl towards his prey.
  • Villagers in Black & White regularly catch fire when the fireball you're idly tossing about gets away from you. When this happens, their status (normally "working", "sleeping" or whatever) becomes "being on fire".
  • In the first episode of Blood, one of the first weapons you acquire is a flare gun that sets its target ablaze when it's weakened enough, which, in the case of humanoid enemies, is a straight example of the trope. The Aerosol Flamethrower in the retail episodes has much the same effect, but works even faster. The sequel has practically the same flare gun, but the enemies stay strangely calm (save for a scant few flinching animations) as they fry to a crisp, and the aerosol is completely absent (its supposed parallel, the bug spray, acts far more like a short-ranged grenade launcher with non-incendiary ammo).
  • Enemies in BioShock and BioShock 2 actually show damage from being set on fire, their skin turning black and red. They also run around and complain about it, before throwing themselves in water. (Which you can then electrify)
  • Borderlands also features incendiary weapons, which have a chance to set enemies on fire.
    • Unfortunately in Borderlands Incendiary weapons and Explosive Barrels can cause the trope to cut both ways. Also, Burning Psychos light themselves on fire when they spot you and are immune to incendiary damage.
    • Krieg, the playable Psycho in Borderlands 2, has the Hellborn skill tree, which focuses on incendiary damage. This tree also has skills that give boosts to various stats while on fire, with the ultimate skill of that tree allowing him to shoot fireballs at enemies who attack him while he is on fire.
  • Brain Dead 13 has one death scene involving a furnace that can pull Lance inside and incinerate him.
  • In Bugsnax it is entirely possible to set yourself on fire via flaming Bugsnax, lava flows, mishandling the Trip Shot, or just carelessly walking through the campfire. As the game has no damage meter or way to actually die, catching fire just means that your character runs around flailing for a few seconds while flames crackle. You can even weaponize this by setting yourself on fire and running into frozen Bugsnax to thaw them out.
  • Call of Duty 2, when the player lands at Pointe du Hoc he is immediately stunned by an artillery shell. In his hazy immobilized state, the player sees an LCVP engulfed in flames with partially burning soldiers fleeing from it. Then, a burning soldier walks calmly out of the ship and down the ramp, collapses to his knees, and falls down.
  • The Citadel has two flamethrowing weapons, the Chaingun's secondary fire and the (disposable) DieselGun, which can set some enemies on fire and causing them to run and scream in agony until they eventually burn to cinders.
  • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn:
    • Any flame tank will turn an enemy soldier into a human torch in less than 1.98 seconds. And sometimes, it will run him over just to be sure. If the tank was destroyed just after shooting, the driver could manage to get out in time, but would still be killed by his own flame jet he fired seconds ago. And if the tank was moving, he could also be ran over by the tank's exploding remains. Sick.
    • In C&C games with flamethrowing infantry their fuel tanks explode violently when they die, damaging nearby units. Any player who tried to build a crowd of them would find that the first death would damage all those around them, then the second or third would invariably cause the whole group to go up screaming like so many human torches, thus proving yet again that Video Game Flamethrowers Suck.
  • In one level of Condemned 2: Bloodshot, you're in a burning factory filled with crazy hobos. Some of them will come running out of the fire, engulfed in flames, and try to give you a burning bear hug before they expire.
  • Dark Messiah lets you inflict this on your enemies by dousing them with oil and then hitting them with either a flaming weapon or a fire spell. Alternatively, you could simply kick or telekinetically push an enemy in to a nearby environmental fire (including ignited oil patches on the ground or other burning enemies). This invariably results in the enemy in question hilariously dancing around before dying.
  • In Dark Souls 2, the pyromancy spell "Immolation" sets whoever casts it on fire. Even the game itself questions why anyone would do this, and declares that someone would have to be pretty desperate. While on fire, anyone near you will take damage... but of course, you will take damage too, because you just set yourself on fire!
  • In the cutscene right after a fight with one of the minibosses in Dead Rising, said miniboss, a teenage Pyromaniac, is shown backing away from Frank shaking like a leaf and holding out a Molotov cocktail and ends up slipping and landing flat on his back, accidentally hurling the projectile into the air. It lands, already burning, on his crotch, and the player has the option to put him out with a nearby fire extinguisher, resulting in a Heel–Face Turn.
  • In the Rail Shooter part of Die Hard Trilogy, people periodically get set on fire by explosions, etc. Shooting them gets you a "Mercy Shot" bonus.
  • Doom³ has zombies on fire.
  • Dragon Age II's Ketojan, a Qunari Saarebas whom Hawke escorts out of Kirkwall, uses his power to set himself on fire to kill himself rather than risk the possibility that he has been corrupted by demons, as is demanded by the Qun.
    • On a lighter note, no pun intended, one of the unnamed apprentices in the Mage origin of Dragon Age: Origins sets himself on fire while practicing fire spells and is immediately put out by his instructor; apparently it happens on a regular basis. Also, an elderly mage signs off on the permission slip for requisitioning a rod of fire and asks that you use it on a templar's pants in return.
  • In Dragon's Crown, anyone hit with with fire damage has a chance of getting set on fire if they're not immune to Burn status. Those set on fire will continuously receive damage until the fire is extinguished.
  • Dwarf Fortress:
    • The dwarves have a special relationship with fire, mostly because they don't register it as a problem they should solve, and so merrily go about their duties and setting the rest of the fortress on fire as well.
    • A famous instance in Boatmurdered in which 'god emperor' Sankis the Beardless snapped and went postal. "OH MY GOD. Sankis is on a bloody rampage! He mauled a baby and a cow, and now, at this very instant, he's beating the Elite Marksdwarf Kadol Lokumad into paste! Does it need mentioning he is on freaking fire!??"
    • Even funnier, they will sometimes, while on fire, go down to get some (highly explosive) booze. No prizes for guessing what happens next.
    • The fire men living in magma are the most literal case of this.
  • Evolva: Use the mucus attack against your enemies, then the flame weapon. Your enemies can do the same thing to you if a mucus and a flame parasite stick together, though. Thankfully, such a situation can only happen at the end of level 11.
  • It's something of a tradition for Fallout games to depict the average human being as kindling in waiting. Flamethrowers in the first and second games give a kill animation fondly referred to among fans as the Burning Bitch Dance, while the later installments by Bethesda have given the various desert-wandering protagonists plenty of ways to demonstrate how flammable people are.
  • Half-Life 2 and its sequels have this as a very convenient way of disposing of zombies - strategically placed gas pipes and a stray bullet equals crispy zombies and headcrabs. The fire doesn't instantly kill them, and zombies don't flee from pain so they'd often keep coming for you, on fire, as the host screams in agony. This can, in fact, do more harm than good for tougher zombies, since not only will their melee attacks give you fire damage now, some, such as the poisonous ones, can survive until the flames die down. The trick works flawlessly against Combine soldiers, however (they'll remain in place trying to bat the flames out), as hard as it may be to pull it off.
  • Halo 3 gives us the canister-like Firebomb Grenades, which if hitting a character, will engulf them in flames, usually resulting in their quick death (unless it's an indirect hit or they have an Overshield).
  • The last form taken by Haunting Ground Big Bad Lorenzo, who can set Fiona on fire with a touch during the game's final chase sequence.
  • If you break the wrong kind of jar in a fight in Jade Empire, you get set on fire. You lose health, but your character is otherwise fine, and you can keep fighting anyway.
  • Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death has Incendinary ammunition for the very purpose of setting things on fire by shooting them. Unlike some of the other types of ammo (Bouncing Bullets?!), it is quite effective, though using it on most civilians is highly frowned upon. Using incendiary rounds on ANYONE not a zombie is considered pure evil. You will quickly be determined to be a rogue judge and hunted down by the SJS.
  • Killer Instinct has Cinder, who (being a literal man on fire) can project flames and toss out exploding bombs to set opponents ablaze.
  • Kingpin: Life of Crime has a flamethrower that sets causes people set on fire to be more susceptible to damage. In other words, set them on fire, then use your normal weapons to quickly kill them. The flames alone don't do that much damage by themselves.
  • Lee Sin of League of Legends did so in his backstory, leaving him as a Handicapped Badass. Also a shout out to Thich Quang Duc in the Real Life section.
    • There's also Brand, a raider from Lokfar who got too close to an imprisoned fire elemental. Said elemental took over his body and now he gleefully lights people on fire in the Fields of Justice.
  • The Legend of Zelda games did a ton of this, what with Lanterns, Fire Rods, Flaming Arrows and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past's Bombos spell. Even more amusing, the flames would usually knock the poor minion across the room/screen and pin it to the wall, burning all the while. In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this can happen to Link, too, whether it be from an enemy's fire attack to approaching the hot parts of Death Mountain.
  • In the Snow Mountain area of LISA, there's an enemy titled "Flaming Man" running around at the top who can be instakilled by throwing a bottle of water at him. The general implication is that he was a still-alive man who underwent cremation.
  • Sharpshooter 3D has a unique animation for enemy mooks killed by fire-based weapons (Molotov cocktails, fireworks, etc), where their entire body will be set ablaze as they run around in circles in panic, before they fall over and die.
  • Something similar happens in one of the early levels of Syphon Filter: an accident in a subway results in several flaming Mooks running screaming at you. Apparently the main character is soaked with gasoline, as the slightest touch from them will also set you alight and kill you.
    • And later averted with the defeat of a flamethrower-touting boss: he simply catches fire and falls over screaming.
  • In Mass Effect, shoot a bad guy with incendiary ammo or the Incinerate power, and appreciate the efficiency of how quickly that ammo burns their body to ash.
  • Mega Man 7 features special enemy attacks that can inflict this upon poor Mega Man, repeatedly damaging him until the fire goes out. The game's requisite fire-based weapon, however, doesn't do the same to the enemies once he gets his hands on it.
    • Except Burst Man and Slash Man.
    • In a romhack of Mega Man 7, Rockman 7 EP, Mega Man and Turbo Man weaponize this with the Self-Burning ability. It has many utilities: it can light up darkened areas, give Mega Man immunity to lava, and boil water when Mega Man's standing in it.
  • In the Mega Man X series, using fire attacks on bosses who are weak to it turns them into this trope. Examples are Chill Penguin, Morph Moth's first form, Frost Walrus, Axle the Red, Bamboo Pandamonium, and Sigma's first form in X4.
  • The Metal Gear franchise has a history of people on fire.
    • In Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, after beating Metal Gear D, Snake is on fire, forcing him to have to dump his entire inventory to put it out. He then has to beat Big Boss by setting him on fire.
    • In Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, after beating the tank, the gunner is thrown from it while on fire. He gets up screaming, and Solid Snake simply punches him in the face, knocking him out.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater features The Fury, who has a flamethrower powered by rocket fuel (as it's tied to his jetpack), and he spends the entire boss battle trying to set Naked Snake on fire. When you defeat him, he's the one on fire instead.
      • Then there's the final battle with Colonel Volgin and the Shagohod. After beating him, Volgin tempts fate by laughing off a thunderstorm, only to be struck by lightning and set on fire in the process.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain features a character literally called the Man on Fire, and he lives up to the reputation with pyrokinesis in addition to his Energy Absorption abilities, as well as constantly being Wreathed in Flames. Turns out he is actually Volgin from Snake Eater as a revived corpse who is Powered By Hate and traded out his Shock and Awe powers.
      • A more mundane form of this trope can be found in Quiet's backstory. She was originally an assassin sent to murder Big Boss after the events of Ground Zeroes, but was set on fire by Ishmael to drive her off. Due to the pain from her burns she took the Parasite Therapy developed by Skull Face to help take the edge off and heal the visible wounds, and she dresses skimpily due to clothing interfering with her Invisibility power and causing her extreme pain from the burns.
  • In the Metal Slug series, using fire-based attacks on enemy soldiers causes them to dance in place before they turn to ash.
  • The Metroid series has the Plasma Beam and the Flamethrower combo.
  • Minecraft: You can set yourself on fire by walking through an open flame or taking a dip in lava. The effect lasts a few seconds, depending on how long you spent in the fire's source, and can be put out immediately by jumping in water. Potions of fire resistance will make you temporarily immune to burning, while fire protection enchantments on your armour will negate some burning damage. Mobs will also burn if they walk into fire (although some are immune, particularly those from the Nether), and animals which drop meat when killed will drop a cooked version of their meat drop if they burn to death.
  • Monster Hunter (PC) has Frankenstein's Monster enemies who can only be killed by two torches. After being struck the second time, it then burns up into a crispy black husk.
  • Happens to those killed by Scorpion's "Toasty!" fatality, moreso in Mortal Kombat 4 where they really would run around flailing their arms about before expiring.
  • One of the Mooks during the Rank 8 level of No More Heroes has the ability to set Travis on fire. If this happens, Travis runs around, slowly burning to death until he can get his hands on an extinguisher.
  • Odium has lighting the monsters on fire (they burn and receive damage for three turns) as one of the most helpful and damaging combat maneouvers. You can begin doing it very quickly, since you find a flamethrower a few combats into the game. There are also Molotov Cocktails and a napalm launcher which ignites foes in a large rectangular radius, as well as leaving flames that ignite anyone who passes through. You can also make a foe flammable by tossing a bottle of gas or alcohol at him, though it requires you to actually set him on fire by using matches or a firearm on them.
  • In the Enhanced Configuration Project Game Mod for Operation Flashpoint, occupants of exploded vehicles will sometimes leap out and run around, on fire and screaming in agony, until they expire or are put out of their misery.
  • Overlord's red minions can do this to enemies, some of which have the courtesy to die panicked shrieking deaths. Explosives thrown or planted by enemies can hit each other for similar effect.
  • Postal 2 gives the player a myriad of ways to set people on fire, including gasoline, napalm, and an aerosol can flamethrower. All are very efficient at setting whole crowds of people on fire, creating mass panic. Extra points to this game for having very realistic looking full-body burns on the victims afterward.
  • Purple features enemies who look like standard onion-head NPCs, except their head is on fire and they can attack and hurt you. Later, there's a (stronger) freezing head variation.
  • Railroad Rampage has carriages loaded with burning coal in several levels, which the player can kick enemy mooks into. Any unfortunate mook will be incinerated and burnt into dust within seconds. Unfortunately, the player might suffer this fate by accident, which will either kill them on the spot or at least reduce most of his health.
  • A riot guard is set on fire in one of the early levels of Red Faction. The player can also do it to enemies with the flamethrower, and watch them run around screaming and catch other mooks on fire.
  • Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis both have burning zombies.
    • Also, both Mr. X and the Nemesis are set ablaze in the game.
  • Return Of The Obra Dinn: One of the Cruel And Unusual Deaths in the game happens when one of the crewmen uses a lantern to set an attacking monster aflame. Unfortunately, this fails to kill it immediately, and when he next attacks, he's impaled by the beast and burns to death along with it.
  • The flamethrower in Return to Castle Wolfenstein does it, though most of the time it takes a bit after the enemy is hit to be set ablaze. Doesn't work on the zombies, which turn into Flame Zombies that can do the same to the player.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game features mooks who run around on fire inside the restaurant segment of level 4 (the one where you fight Roxie). While they are One-Hit-Point Wonder, they hurt Scott on contact. The restaurant also includes giant grills that set players and mooks alike on fire when stepped on.
  • Shantae: Risky's Revenge: Fire magic has a side-effect of setting most enemies ablaze. Enemies on fire will then continuously receive damage until they're dead.
  • In Silent Hill 4: The Room, one of Walter's victims is killed by being set on fire and dies while Henry (the player character) watches. Later, when his ghost returns to attack Henry, he's still on fire.
  • In The Sims series, Sims can catch fire from a stove, oven, toaster or fireplace, as well as through the fireworks and floor mounted decorative flame jets in the second game, and flame traps in the World Adventures expansion in the third. They burn for about thirty seconds then disintegrate into a pile of ash unless the flames get put out first. In the third game, having been on fire and then put out gets them the Singed moodlet until they take a bath or shower, and if they catch fire again while Singed, they die instantly.
  • Torch-carrying slaves and tar-throwing engineers were designed for this purpose in Stronghold. The best part? When a peasant on fire runs into a farm and the fire spreads all around.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy all do this. When Mario hits an enemy with fireballs, it catches fire and dies; when Mario falls into lava or gets hit with fire, he gets launched high into the air, then upon landing grabs his flaming rear end and runs in circles, yelling things like "AAAHothothothothot!" and "MAMA!!!"
    • Mario Party 8: When eaten, the Duelo Candy engulfs its consumer into flames, albeit harmlessly. Then the character moves across the board and, if they reach another character, then they can challenge them to a Duel minigame.
  • Oh, the running, screaming, burning pedestrians in Syndicate and Syndicate Wars. Why else would you pack a flamethrower?
  • The Pyro can do this in Team Fortress 2 - His fire-based weaponry inflicts massive damage, and then leaves the victims to burn for several seconds afterward, inflicting further damage all the while. This results in various reactions, from the Scout wailing "Fire! Fire! Oh, I'm burnin'!", to the Engineer calmly muttering to himself, "I'm burnin' up...", or even the Spy stating matter-of-factly "I appear to have burst into flames."
    • However, other Pyros cannot be set on fire. They take that same (large) amount of direct damage from the flames (subject to the flamer's wonky hit detection), they just don't catch and burn.
    • This is the go-to method of checking for cloaked or disguised spies. Friendlies don't burn; enemy spies will.
  • In Total Carnage, setting fire to certain objects (e.g. vehicles) will turn nearby Mooks into burning men, who charge at you with flaming fists. You're not so lucky — if your superwussy plasticine muscleman touches anything even remotely flaming (like the burning men), you are instant cinders.
  • Running around on fire is required to solve some puzzles in the Wario Land games.
  • In World of Warcraft warlocks and mages can set their enemies on fire for short periods of time.
    • So can many mobs and bosses (if you are not careful) leading to the meme "Don't stand in the fire."
    • In Cataclysm there is a quest in Mount Hyjal to extinguish burning Twilight Cultists who have failed their training test to defeat a fire elemental.
    • Engineers can get the Transporter Malfunction debuff "YOU ARE ON FIRE!!!"
    • A toy sold by vendors during the Midsummer Fire Festival is a set of matches that you can use to do this to yourself.
  • Yandere Simulator:
    • One of the possible means of eliminating a rival, by dumping a bucket of gasoline on them and then tricking them into running into a flame.
    • Stabbing someone with a knife powered by the Flame Demon also has this effect. Dragging six corpses to the summon circle grants Yan-chan the Flame Demon's power, and she can shoot fireballs to set people on fire.
    • This is the canonical way Moeko Rakuyona is eliminated in 1980s Mode. Moeko is a pyromaniac who likes to start fires in a barrel behind the boys' locker room. Ryoba made this backfire on her by putting gasoline in the watering can she uses to put out the fire so she would accidentally burn herself.
  • Zombidle: As Bob the Necromancer and his minions attack structures, said structures start catching fire. When the house finally explodes in a fiery mess, there's a chance that villagers on fire run out of it screaming- and yes, you can click on them to off them and earn extra skulls or even diamonds from it.

    Web Animation 
  • In Arfenhouse Teh Movie Too, an offscreen explosion sets Piakchu on fire.
  • ASDF Movie
    • "Honey, why is the baby on fire?"
    • "Marmite, why does no one like you?" *bursts into flame* "Oh, yeah."
  • Happy Tree Friends:
    • At the end of "Peas in a Pod", when Lumpy's clones replace everyone else in town, one of them is seen on fire.
    • In "Every Litter Bit Hurts", Lumpy attempts to block the exhaust from his truck with a pinecone, which gets launched out of the pipe, catches fire, gets lodged in the back of Pop's head, and sets him on fire.
    • In "As You Wish", Pop's wish from Lumpy is to fix Cub's toy fire engine, but Lumpy sets Cub on fire, causing him to run out into the road where he gets hit by an actual fire engine. He survives, only to get crushed by Lifty and Shifty's van and the giant disco ball that Disco Bear had wished for earlier.
  • Homestar Runner: Trogdor the Burninator enjoys setting peasants on fire. In the Trogdor Flash game and Trogdor!! The Board Game, burninating peasants is a great way to achieve your objectives.
  • Caboose manages to set his combat armor on fire (while wearing it) in the trailer for Red vs. Blue: Recreation.

  • 8-Bit Theater: Red Mage. Regularly, usually because Black Mage 1) is a Heroic Comedic Sociopath who enjoys inflicting pain on the people around him and 2) has a lot of fire spells. He very nearly found a way of actually using it to his benefit, only to be let down by running out of revives.
    Thief: I can't believe he's still on fire.
    Black Mage: Red Mage is the best damn kindling this team ever had!
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
    • Dan McNinja's superior reasoning ability leads him to conclude that the best way to avoid being caught by other ninjas is to set himself on fire. (Granted, the ninjas in question are actually teenagers on a "ninja drug", and therefore are rather reluctant to grab someone on fire.) He does have the advantage of a fireproof ninja suit, though.
    • In a later comic the Big Bad of the same arc (who doesn't need the drug for his ninja skills) admits that setting yourself on fire does prevent ninjas in general (himself included) from catching you... after telling the ninjas who failed to catch Dan to set themselves on fire to prove otherwise.
    • Much, much later, after Dan blows up a group of pirates with a grenade, one intrepid pirate manages to follow them up a ladder into a loft. Dan, Doc, and Mitzi keep their distance, muttering that there's no real way to deal with him because he's on fire.
  • In Champions of Far'aus this happens to Daryl offscreen during the spirit infestation in Garns library, although unusually for the trope we only know it's happening because Skye tells him (also from offscreen);
    Skye: Stop drop and roll Daryl!
  • In Cuanta Vida, Bleu has done this once. And guess what he is the most afraid of?
  • In A Girl and Her Fed, Sparky asks our heroine if she can create a distraction the next day. She manages.
  • In Homestuck, at least three dreamselves are killed by being set on fire: Kanaya's, Aradia's, and Karkat's. Although in Karkat's case, it's not so much the fire that kills him as being right in front of a person causing a massive explosion powered by green fire.
  • In Lethal Doses, a long-gone webcomic, one character (apparently in a conversation quoted verbatim from the artist's real life), posited that the most important thing in life was not being on fire. "No, I'm serious. No matter what you want in life, if I set you on fire, you will want to not be on fire more."
  • In this strip of Loserz, for no apparent reason.
  • In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things the Commander accidentally does this to himself when he lights a cigarette, forgetting how much petroleum-based byproduct is in his hair. Unlike most examples, he's mostly irritated by it and continues to play pool.
  • Ja Wangnan from Tower of God failed a test because he and his teammates were accidentally burnt by fellow teammate Yeon. This was their first meeting and tainted their relationship a bit.

    Web Original 
  • Plonqmas: Plonq manages to set himself on fire, necessitating a trip to the hospital, in "A Plonqmas Tale — 1999". This problem apparently runs in the family, as his mother is described as having set herself ablaze baking a turkey when Plonq was a youngster in "A Plonqmas Tale — 2018".
  • Safenow: If you have set yourself on fire, do not run.
  • In Wink: The Game, the PC Wink can grab torches and toss them on enemies. They catch fire, running around making screaming noises until they disintegrate into ash.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!
    • In "Francine's Flashback", Jeff asks Hayley to come with him to Burning Man and uses a tongue depressor model, a can of gasoline and a match to demonstrate what the burning will look like. Being in close proximity to the burning model, the flames travel up his pants and set him on fire.
      Jeff: [yells and runs around on fire, then stops] Imagine this, but 70 feet tall. [goes back to running]
    • In "Big Trouble in Little Langley", in order to create a diversion, Stan sets Roger on fire. He's then repeatedly extinguished only to immediately combust again, even after being soaked in water. And before lighting him, Stan asks Roger if he's ever seen the movie.
  • In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "T-Shirt of the Living Dead", Santa Claus is set afire by a giant, fire-breathing Easter egg Meatwad summoned with an ancient T-shirt. He survives, but all of his skin burns off and he ends up in a skin graft made of soccer ball lids.
  • One blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene in a gunfight of Beast Wars has a character run by completely engulfed in flames. It's impossible to tell who it is, he never appears again, and it's never so much as even mentioned by another character.
  • In the Beavis and Butt-Head episode "For Better or Verse" Beavis lights his lighter while Butt-Head sprays a can of aerosol into the flames to experiment; as a result, Beavis catches on fire.
  • In season four of Bojack Horseman, Zach Braff is seen attempting to calm a mob of celebrities buried underground due to a fracking-related earthquake using his trademark monologuing from Scrubs. While doing this, he is set on fire by Jessica Biel, who uses his charred corpse for food.
  • In the first episode of The Boondocks, during Huey's dream of him announcing to the guests at a garden party that Jesus was black, Ronald Reagan was the Devil, and the government is lying about 9/11, they all promptly Go Mad from the Revelation. We're not shown how, but right before Huey wakes up, one of the guests is engulfed in fire.
  • Clerks: The Animated Series: The first customer seen catches on fire after running from his burning wrecked car.
  • This has happened to the title character of Dexter's Laboratory a number of times.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "E Peterbus Unum", Peter discovers that his house isn't a part of the US, which makes him his own country, and it inevitably spirals out of control when he claims Joe's pool, ergo he invaded American soil. When Peter is left with Brian as his only supporter, Brian says that he's stuck with him through worse, then it cuts to them on a Ferris wheel where Peter is inexplicably on fire.
    • In "Don't Make Me Over", two people find Meg so ugly that they set themselves on fire and jump out a nearby window.
    • In "Patriot Games", during Stewie's torture of Brian for not paying him, he lights Brian on fire with a flamethrower.
    • In "Airport '07", Peter attempts to make his new pickup truck fly by siphoning fuel from Quagmire's plane before takeoff, causing it to crash. We're later shown a simulation of what would happen if the plane had crashed into a school, causing the kids inside to run out on fire, then the same thing with the kids replaced with bunnies.
    • Early in "New Kidney in Town", Peter, high on Red Bull, gives Chris a few cans and then milks a cow so fast that its udder catches fire. Chris then runs out, pantsless and with his groin on fire.
    • In "Peter's Def Jam", Peter realizes he's gone deaf not when he can't hear Meg's screams as she runs into his room with the sleeve of her Sunday garment on fire, but when he can't hear Garfield on TV.
    • "Internal Affairs" features the fourth chicken fight where Ernie the Giant Chicken sets his own hand (wing?) on fire to attack Peter.
  • In Futurama, one episode had Bender (a robot) on fire, with no explanation whatsoever. After a moment, several members of the crew put him out, and the incident was never brought up again.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • On two occasions, Dracula has spontaneously burst into flames from being out in the sun. Both times, he's failed to notice.
    • In "Prank Phone of Cthulhu", after Grim gives Billy an ominous warning to deter him from using the Phone of Cthulhu, Billy points out that Grim's Fireball Eyeballs haven't gone out. When Grim asks for something to put them out, Billy gives him coffee, then convinces him to relieve the pain with hot sauce, acid, and rocket fuel, the last of which sets most of his head on fire.
  • A running gag on Kaeloo is to have Stumpy and/or Quack Quack get set on fire.
  • In the OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes episode "Everybody Likes Rad?", Enid mentions another famous video where a guy doing a bungee jump got set on fire by a passing dragon. The video went viral solely due to said fire, and now the poor guy has to be on fire all the time to keep his fans. As she's saying this, the guy in question can be seen behind K.O., completely wreathed in flames.
  • Mentioned offhand in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Cheer Up Candace" when Dr. Doofenshmirtz explains to Perry the Platypus how he came up with his latest scheme, which was making an army of Perry clones:
    Doofenshmirtz: You see, it occurred to me that what I should really be doing is fighting fire with fire. And by "fire", I mean "Perry the Platypus". And by "fire", I also mean "Perry the Platypus". It occurred to me while I was on fire.
  • In The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "The Great Outdoors", Stimpy tells Ren to start the campfire, but the problem is he doesn't know how to start a fire. First, he rubs two squirrels together. After a while, he tires of that; eventually, he dumps a can of gasoline into the pit and lights a match and Ren quickly catches on fire.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Pranksters" after feeling sorry for Rocko's grandmother, Heffer ties himself to the rocket he set for her and ignites it, and at one point he crashes into the sun and becomes engulfed in flames.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • A man's telling of why he converted to Judaism reveals that as a child, he accidentally set his church on fire along with his grandfather.
    • A Fraggle Rock sketch has the Fraggles trying to cross a road, but one of them catches fire when they make two cars crash.
    • When Betty Crocker battles Sara Lee, she finishes her off by using an Aerosol Flamethrower to set Lee's head on fire, leaving her yelling in pain with just a flaming Skull for a Head until she gets run over.
    • A sketch based on The Little Match Girl ends with the girl dousing her father with alcohol and using one of the matches he made her sell to set him on fire as he declares "I never dreamed you would learn to use the matches for your own purposes!"
    • In the "Island of Recalled Toys" sketch, one of the toys is one of the old Easy-Bake ovens that would get hot enough to burn the user. While singing, it accidentally sets an Elmo toy (which was recalled because it had Tourettes syndrome) on fire.
    • A sketch based on Sesame Street has this happen to Oscar the Grouch when a group of homeless people start a bonfire in his trash can.
    • In the "MasterChef Celebrity Showdown" sketch, SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the contestants, and has to cook with what he fears most; water. When he accidentally spills some water on himself, fearing he'll drown, he accidentally knocks his pot off the still-lit stove and the flames set him on fire.
      SpongeBob: Aaaah! Fire! It's impossible to put out!
  • Self-inflicted on an episode of Sealab 2021. The crew are camping in the woods, only to discover it full of "Tree-snakes." They realize the snakes are repelled by the light, so they don't come near the campfire. Stormy at once proclaims, "So if we light ourselves on fire, we can go anywhere!" before dousing himself in gasoline and striking a match.
  • The Simpsons:
    • From "Blame it on Lisa":
      "You cannot run from Carnivale, for even running is a kind of dance" "I am on fire, and I dance"
    • In "Brother's Little Helper", from the time Ned and Maude Flanders are performing a skit about fire safety and Ned catches on fire:
      Ned: Aaaaaaugh!
      Maude: Um...stop, drop, and roll, Neddie. (everyone laughs)
      Ned: It's not working! It just spreads the flames!
    • In "Bart Gets an Elephant", after getting stuck in a tar pit and rescued by Stampy the elephant, Barney Gumble thanks him as he lights a cigarette, and due to being covered with tar, he catches on fire. It doesn't seem to bother him much.
    • Then there was "Treehouse of Horror VI", where Groundskeeper Willie walks into a PTA meeting engulfed in flames, then politely takes a seat when they brush him off.
    • At the beginning of "Treehouse of Horror VII", Homer runs around the kitchen after setting himself on fire trying to light a jack-o'-lantern.
    • Yet another opened with Homer trying to throw a piece of flaming firewood at Bart and Lisa, only for it to hit Grampa. He just says that he's still cold.
    • In "Saturdays of Thunder," Martin's space-age racer easily wins the soapbox derby but his drag chute fails to deploy until after he hits a wall. The racer bursts into flame, Martin runs out on fire, and the fire department ignores Martin to douse the racer.
    • In "Lisa the Skeptic" an angry mob sets fire to a robotics laboratory. Robbie the Robot races out screaming "Why? Why was I programmed to feel pain?"
    • In "The Girl Who Slept Too Little", Marge sabotages a dump truck by putting a bobby pin in the piston, causing the truck to flip over and catch fire. The driver comes out on fire but is unphased by his predicament and rants about his wife convincing him to come home from Iraq.
    • "Hungry Hungry Homer":
      Kent Brockman: So, are you calling Homer Simpson a liar?
      Howard K. Duff: Well, we do have this footage of him with his pants on fire.
  • Humorously and accidentally averted in an episode of The Smurfs, when Clumsy splashes water on Papa Smurf and is thanked by him for putting out his beard.
  • In the South Park episode "Chef Goes Nanners", Chef tells the Mayor about when protestors used to set themselves on fire. He then douses a monk in gasoline and sets him aflame.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants, always with Rule of Funny in effect due to the characters being underwater:
    • Early in "Pre-Hibernation Week", SpongeBob and Sandy go sandboarding and Sandy goes fast enough to catch fire. She passes by a backpacker and sets him on fire, causing him to stop, drop, and roll.
    • In a deleted scene from "Just One Bite", Squidward gets doused in gasoline and set on fire by the Krusty Krab security system twice.
    • In "The Fry Cook Games", the torchbearer lighting the fire at the opening of the games has his torch blow out, then he comes back with a relit torch and lights the fire, only to inexplicably burst into flames.
    • In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV", one of SpongeBob's attempts to return a shrunken Squidward to normal size with Mermaid Man's utility belt results in Squidward being set on fire.
    • In "Spy Buddies", when SpongeBob and Patrick follow Plankton down the sidewalk while looking at him through a magnifying glass, he catches fire and puts himself out in a conveniently nearby cup of soda. He almost immediately gets ignited again by the exhaust from SpongeBob and Patrick's jetpack as they fly past him.
    • In "Unreal Estate", SpongeBob is shopping for a new house and several variations of the show's opening play with the available houses replacing his pineapple. The second one shows him coming out of a chili pepper house on fire before Hans (the live-action hand) sprays him with a fire extinguisher.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Landing at Point Rain", the Geonosians set alight by flamethrowers do not die instantly and are shown fleeing and dying before Ki-Adi and the group exit the caves. The horrific spectacle of the burning Geonosians falling out of the sky and crawling from the caves it what alerts Anakin to Ki-Adi's position right before the Republic forces exit.
  • In an episode of The Venture Bros. Brock Samson douses a henchman in gasoline and sets him on fire with a lit cigarette, then puts him out by punching him.
    • Used in another episode where The Incredible Mr. Brisby monologues a little too close to the fireplace. Due to his being in a wheelchair, his legs catch on fire and he screams "I've come aflame again!" as Ling-Ling, his "companda", swats at him and stomps the fire out.
    • Also, Human Torch Expy Cody Impossible, who ignites when exposed to oxygen, has no control over his fire, and feels it every agonizing moment of his life.
    • In "The Family That Slays Together - Part II", henchmen #21 and #24 find a secluded spot to sit out the climactic battle, but they still listen to it over the radio.
      #24: Oh! Oh! Listen to that!
      #21: [shudder] Did you just hear that guy? That guy right there. That guy is on fire, you can totally tell.
  • Charlie from What It's Like Being Alone is constantly on fire for no explicable reason. He tends to accidentally set other things aflame.

    Real Life 
  • In real life, this is a common hazard for crews of tanks and armoured vehicles as well as warships. Battle damage can start fires which sets things in proximity on fire. Like the crew. Here, a British soldier set alight after his IFV was destroyed by Iraqi resistance fighters. He survived.
  • Perhaps the most famous was Thích Quảng Đức, a Buddhist priest who set himself on fire in protest of the South Vietnamese government's mistreatment of the majority Buddhist population in June 1963. Because he notified the press, photographers were on hand to capture on film Duc dousing himself with gasoline, lighting up, and then serenely sit there as he burned to death. His death prompted massive public protests that led to the coup that killed President Diem. Duc's heart remained intact, even after a second cremation to reduce the body to ashes for safe-keeping. The heart was kept and revered as a sacred relic.
  • Richard Pryor set himself on fire while freebasing and ran down the street while ablaze in 1980. In his next big special, he made jokes about it. Although his daughter Rain speculated that this was actually a suicide attempt.
  • Has happened more than once in Formula One and other motorsports. Some fuel sprinkles here, then it catches heat, and BOOM. Jos Verstappen's case is the most recent, but Niki Lauda and especially poor Riccardo Paletti take the cake.
    • The worst is probably that the fire burns invisible if methanol is being used as fuel. In other words you are on fire and no one notices it to come and help you because they don't know you are on fire. Case in point: Rick Mears in the 1981 Indianapolis 500. A spill of methanol fuel caused a fire in the pit stall, one that reached Mears himself. No one realized that Mears was in danger until he suddenly jumped out of his car, running toward the pit wall. Thankfully the driver's fire suit did its job, the fire was promptly doused by the track's fire crew, and Mears and the pit crew escaped the incident without serious injury.
  • The Tunisian ("Jasmine") Revolution of 2010-11 was started when a young man, Mohammed Bouazizi, attempted suicide by fire as a protest against bad conditions in the country (he died later in the hospital). Besides a full-blown revolution in Tunisia, Bouazizi's actions have inspired four copycats in Egypt, where the Mubarak regime fell one month after Bouazizi's death. Other Middle Eastern nations - Jordan, Syria, Algeria, Libya, Bahrain, and Iran - are undergoing mass protests in response to what happened in Tunisia and Egypt.
    • The protests in Libya developed into a full-blown revolution, which overthrew the Libyan government. Given its efficacy in Vietnam in the 60s, and the fact that it resulted in regime change in three countries this year, this makes the present trope seem a very effective form of protest.
    • At least one video has emerged of protestors accidentally setting themselves ablaze with poor Molotov throws.
  • Actually happened in the Vietnam era in the USA. Norman Morrison, a Quaker protester of the war, set himself on fire outside the Pentagon in 1965.
  • Self-immolation also happened in protests against the Chinese government's suppression of Falun Gong.
    • Also frequently done by Tibetans protesting Chinese rule.
    • During the 2019 Hong Kong protests against the Beijing-backed government there, this happened to a 57-year-old man who got into a fierce argument with a bunch of radical protesters armed with Molotov cocktails.
  • Several people committed a suicide by self-immolation as a protest against Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia: Ryszard Siwiec, Jan Palach, Jan Zajíc and Evžen Plocek.
  • Invoked by Hunter S. Thompson, who promised to set Garry Trudeau on fire if the two ever met. Apparently, Thompson wasn't happy with Duke, a Doonesbury character that had been based on him.
  • Troubled WW1 fighter ace "Mick" Mannock gradually became obsessed with the all-too-common fate of the early airman: having the engine, directly in front of the cockpit, set on fire while lacking a parachute. He was sometimes upset by seeing the men he shot down burn to death, and at other times would brag about it: "Flamerinoes - four! Sizzle sizzle wonk!" For himself he started carrying a revolver in the cockpit in case he was shot down, to end himself at the first sign of flames. On 26 July 1918, mere months before the armistice, Mannock caught ground fire which set his engine on fire. His wingman watched him try to maneuver the burning plane, then the rudder movements stopped and it crashed. The body that was found, which was never officially confirmed to be Mannock's, showed no shot wounds.
  • A mouse on fire got some Infernal Retaliation against the man who tossed it in the blaze: it burned his house down.
  • In February 2015, a captured Jordanian pilot was burned alive in an iron cage by the Islamic State.
  • Some Russian Old Believers believing the rule of the Antichrist was about to come occasionaly burned alive to escape Czarist agents.
  • Amusingly, the Chinese character for "Fire" (火) is the one for "Man" (人) with two added dots. Chinese characters are meant to look like the term in question.
  • In Chile, one of the most emblematic human rights violation cases during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet was the "Caso Quemados" ("Burn Alive Case"), which had the military invoking the trope on the photographer Rodrigo Rojas Denegri and the college student Carmen Gloria Quintana after an anti-dictatorship rally in 1986. Rojas died four days later whereas Quintana barely survived but was almost completely disfigured.
  • The Bal des Ardents or Ball of the Burning Men was a notorious incident in medieval France. At a masquerade to celebrate the wedding of a lady-in-waiting, King Charles VI and five nobles decided to perform a dance while dressed as wood savages. The material their costumes were made from was known to be flammable, so naked flames were banned from the ballroom, only for the Duke of Orleans, the King's brother, to bring a torch. One costume caught fire, and quickly spread to the other dancers. The King himself was saved by his fifteen-year-old aunt, who shielded him behind her skirts, while another found refuge in a wine vat. The other four perished. The incident was widely seen to have been the result of stupidity and decadence on the part of King Charles, who was reduced to a ceremonial role from then on, and of deliberate attempted regicide on the part of Orleans, such that his own eventual murder was publicly celebrated.
  • This was often the case with lynchings, which, contrary to popular belief weren't all hangings but often far more horrible things such as mutilation and burning alive all for the entertainment of the mob.
  • The late Michael Jackson barely subverted this during his infamous 1984 Pepsi commercial accident. During the sixth take of filming, the stage pyrotechnics went off too early, lighting his head on fire as he walked down the stairs. Jackson ended up suffering second and third-degree burns on his head, but his brothers and the stage crew managed to put out the fire before it spread to his clothes. The accident was later implied to be the indirect cause of his death, as it sparked off his addiction to prescription meds and painkillers. He was also forced to wear wigs for the rest of his life, as the fire-damaged parts of his scalp never grew their hair back.
  • Domestic violence victim Yvette Cade was set on fire by her abusive ex-husband, just weeks after a judge refused to uphold her restraining order against him. Miraculously, she survived, though she was left badly scarred and with permanent impairments from her injuries.
  • During the height of the Ice Bucket Challenge, idiots everywhere rejoiced when some took it a step further, and invented the 'Fire Challenge'. In this challenge, potential Darwin Awards nominees douse themselves in a flammable liquid, usually lighter fluid, then set themselves on fire... for some reason. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs once the pain sets in within a fraction of a second, and participants have severely injured themselves from the flames, especially because some were dumb enough to not have an extinguisher or water handy, or perhaps even more stupidly, ran away whilst still on fire. Do not try this at home.
  • There's more than a couple Guinness World Records for people being set on fire. Variants for number of people set ablaze, distance run while on fire, with or without oxygen, etc. Because of how dangerous such stunts are, for a while Guinness stopped accepting further applications to break "person on fire" records. With flame retardant techniques advancing in recent years, they've since relaxed this policy, and new records have been set and broken as recently as 2017.
  • Happened during the fire at Bradford City Stadium fire in 1984 when the stadium went up in flames. The broadcast of the match turned to watching the fire as it happened, and one man was caught on camera walking out of the stands with his hair and clothes on fire. People acted quickly to put it out, but he didn’t survive. A police officer was also seen with burning clothes, he did survive.

Alternative Title(s): Woman On Fire


Help Me Tom Cruise!

Ricky Bobby cries out to Jesus, Jewish God, Allah, Tom Cruise (and his witchcraft), and Oprah Winfrey, anyone to help put out the invisible fire!

How well does it match the trope?

4.8 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / EmergencyMultifaithPrayer

Media sources: