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Molotov Cocktail

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"I'm telling you, Molotov cocktails work. Any time I had a problem, and I threw a Molotov cocktail, boom! Right away, I had a different problem."
Jason Mendoza, The Good Place

AKA petrol bomb or people's grenade, a simple Improvised Weapon originating from Spain for all your asymmetric warfare needs. Brilliant in its simplicity: a glass bottle full of gasoline (or very high-proof alcohol, and even turpentine in some cases), and a burning rag on the bottleneck, thrown at the enemy. The bottle breaks on impact and spreads its flammable contents, the still-burning rag hits the liquid, and presto, your target's on fire.

The Molotov cocktail is named for Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister who is historically infamous for signing a clandestine non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany in 1939; when Finland (which had been ceded to the Soviets under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) began to suffer Soviet bombing runs at the start of the Winter War, Molotov claimed they were not 'bombs', but food and supply drops, causing the Finnish soldiers to facetiously dub their hand-made petrol explosives 'Molotov cocktails', to go with the 'Molotov breadbaskets' the Soviets were dropping. (This also means if you see the term "Molotov cocktail" used in media set before about 1940, it's Artistic License – History. This happens surprisingly often.)

In Video Games, the effect of the heat is usually ignored. May be shown to be a bottle of alcohol with a flaming handkerchief stuffed inside.

It's also common to be an Improvised Weapon by raiding a local bar or liquor cabinet. But it should be noted that only the highest proof drinks would be of any effectiveness. So actual cocktail drinks wouldn't work, only harder alcohol like vodka or rum (and these will only bring grief to the most lightly clothed of foes).

For the self-propelled, upscaled version, see Molotov Truck.

Popular in guerrilla warfare, protests, and riots. Common way to Kill It with Fire.

For a person who uses this and other handheld explosives or incendiaries as a weapon of choice, see Throw Down the Bomblet. Compare Bizarre Beverage Use for when they use the liquid in the bottle for ulterior motives.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City: An angry mob uses them while attempting to storm Shadow Hill during the "Confession" arc.
  • Hack/Slash: In Hatchet/Slash, Cassie uses a Molotov cocktail to set fire to slasher Vincent Crowley in an attempt to Kill It with Fire.
  • Jonah Hex: In "Weird Western Tales'' #31, the McCandless gang try to burn Jonah and the sheriff out of the sheriff's house with a barrage of kerosene bombs. Jonah and sheriff turn the tables of them, first of all by shooting the bottles while the gang members are holding them, and them flinging some of the remaining bombs at other gang members and shooting them while they are in the air.
  • The Maze Agency: In "The Return of Jack the Ripper...?", the killer uses a petrol bomb as a distraction when they attempt to kill Gabe.
  • Savage sees the British resistance use them on occasion. One guy wonders why his are ineffective when his buddy points out that he's made them with diesel instead.
  • Transmetropolitan: We see some of these used during the riots towards the end.
  • V for Vendetta: In chapter "The Land of Do-As-You-Please" as the government loses its grip on power, we see people preparing petrol bombs while raging about the Finger executing looters.

  • Lenny Henry relates an anecdote from his chilhood. "My dad never fixed the lights in the cellar, which is why I was reading down there in the near dark. So I improvised. I got an old milk bottle, filled it with parafin (this is a true story) put some old newspaper in the top ... and lit it. I called it a lamp. I think older, wiser people might have called it a molotov cocktail."

    Fan Works 
  • Beyond the Borders When trapped in a bar with some Heartless, Rachel decides to assemble a Molotov from some vodka and a rag to take them out. Despite being "an anarchist, kind of", she initially has difficulty remembering how to do this. It just sets the whole bar on fire, leaving her worse off than before.
  • In Mother of Invention, Applejack uses a bottle of high-proof alcohol in this way to drive a monster off.
  • In The Night Unfurls, both Kyril and Soren have Molotovs under their disposal. For the latter, they're useful for starting a fire at a cathedral to burn it down.

    Films — Animation 
  • 9: A man uses one against a War Machine in a flashback sequence. It fails and he dies in a just offscreen hail of machine-gun bullets.
  • Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade: Molotovs are the weapon of choice for rioters in the series, with the plot of the movie kicking off when the main character hesitates in shooting a schoolgirl who was smuggling some to a protest.
  • In The Simpsons Movie, Barney tries to throw one of these at Moe, but he catches it and hurls it back at him.
  • Sky Blue: Goliath uses a couple on Ecoban soldiers.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 8 Million Ways to Die. Faced with a Hostage for MacGuffin situation, Scudder threatens to burn up the drugs the villains want with some Molotov cocktails he's pre-prepared if they don't set their hostage free.
    Scudder: I've got these babies down here—Molotov cocktails, man! I made them myself with soap and gasoline; this shit's gonna stuck to ya like napalm!
  • In 10 Cloverfield Lane, Michelle uses one to take down an alien ship that is trying to kill her.
  • In 1408 John Cusack throws a Molotov (alcohol version) across the hotel room he's in to finally "kill" the room after remembering seeing this graffiti on the wall: "Burn Me Alive".
  • In 28 Days Later, Selena fights off the infected with Molotovs.
  • The Korean war movie 71: Into the Fire had a scene where the titular 71 student soldiers try to hold off a North Korean assault by combining empty glass bottles with fuel tanks retrieved from capturing North Korean enemy supplies to create this kind of weapons.
  • In Bad Day at Black Rock, John J. Macreedy improvises one during the final fight, using his tie as the fuse.
  • In Blacula, Thomas and Peters use oil lamps as makeshift Molotov cocktails during the fight in the warehouse; killing multiple vampires by throwing the lamps at them to set them alight. Weirdly the lamps burst immediately into flame when they shatter on the vampires, despite not being lit when thrown. Maybe vampires are self-igniting?
  • In Blastfighter, Sharp attacks the hunters with Molotov cocktails to give Connie to make it to the river.
  • Bloody Mama: During a shootout, Fred throws one at a car. Law enforcement agents dive out of the way before the car explodes.
  • In A Bronx Tale, C's friends attack a store in a black neighborhood with molotov cocktails. As they drive off, one of the black residents picks up one of the bottles and throws it at their car. It ignites the rest of the bottles they had brought, and they get incinerated.
  • In Brute Force, the prisoners use one to attack the guards in order to escape.
  • In Critters Charlie uses this to destroy the Crite's spaceship.
  • In The Darkest Hour, a few characters use these to drive the aliens back.
  • In Day of the Evil Gun, Warfield uses a kerosene lantern as an improvised Molotov cocktail to set fire to ammo boxes in the Apache camp.
  • During the final assault in Death Rides a Horse, two of Walcott's Bandito's toss firebombs through the windows of the building where Bill and Ryan are holed to drive them out into the open.
  • In Dogma Serendipity starts to make a Molotov Cocktail when they are being attacked by the Golgothan. She ends up not needing to use it.
  • In Escape from New York, a cabbie lights a Molotov and throws it at approaching Crazies. It explodes in front of them, stopping them.
  • In Fair Game, Jessica uses a Molotov cocktail to light up 'the Beast' after she tricks Sunny into driving into a pit.
  • What starts the fire that (supposedly) kills Freddy as seen in the flashback scenes of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.
  • Hobo With a Shotgun: When the homeless are being hunted down, one of the hunters finds a woman and her baby hiding in a dumpster and kills them with a Molotov cocktail.
  • In the Korean film The Host (2006), one character has a whole bag of Molotov Cocktails, using one cocktail to light the next.
  • In Hostage, Mars uses numerous of these to take down the mansion with him.
  • In The Island (1980), Maynard uses a Molotov cocktail to ignite the Powder Trail he uses to blow up the magazine.
  • In Is Paris Burning?, a 1966 movie about World War II, Frédéric Joliot-Curie makes some Molotov cocktails for the French Resistance. Like a good physicist, he uses gasoline, not alcohol.
  • Molotov cocktails made from boat petrol and wine bottles are utilized in the final scene of Killers on Wheels. The protagonist uses these weapons to roast at least two punks alive by throwing it on a narrow balcony.
  • In Knives Out, the killer uses one to torch the medical examiner's office and destroy the remaining evidence.
  • Little Dead Rotting Hood: In the climax of the movie, one of the townsfolk lights and throws a molotov cocktail at The Denmother.
  • In The Locals, Grant makes one out a bottle of vodka and a strip torn from his spare shirt that he uses to light a bonfire in the middle of the road.
  • In Logan Lucky, Clyde uses a bottle of high-proof booze and his bartender's rag (borrowing a light from a customer) to torch Max Chilblain's car in the parking lot of the bar.
  • In Lone Hero, King blasts Pablo out of the building in the ghost town where he has taken cover by tossing a Molotov cocktail through the window.
  • In Mikey, the title character does this to kill his dad and burn down the house after turning on all the gas in the house.
  • During the attack on the Vulnerable Convoy in Mr. Majestyk, a Molotov cocktail is hurled under one the escorting police cars.
  • Murphy's War (1971). The title character constructs a larger version of this trope as aircraft bombs in a failed attempt to destroy the U-Boat.
  • Used in the original Night of the Living Dead (1968) to ward off the zombies during an escape attempt. In theory, this was a very practical strategy, since this type of zombie fears fire. How it turns out when executed is another story...
  • In October Sky the protagonist uses a Molotov to torch his launch site after being arrested for starting a forest fire. Poignant since he only had the alcohol to make rocket fuel in the first place.
  • Prairie Fever: When the wagon is being pursued by James and Earl, Preston gets Abigale and Blue to tear strips off their skirts, and passes his precious case of whiskey to Lettie, who stuffs the strips into the bottles and lights them; turning entire box into one giant Molotov cocktail. The box is then hurled out the back of the wagon where it explodes in a fireball that spooks outlaws' horses.
  • Red Hill: In flashback, Old Bill is seen using one to set fire to Jimmy's home as they attempt a Fiery Cover Up.
  • In Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Joseph uses a Molotov cocktail to destroy the car his wife was driving when she ran over their son.
  • The Roadwarrior: Used in the climactic chase scene. Despite initial success against their pursuers, the disabled mechanic drops one and sets himself on fire. Although he's protected by his leather gauntlets and eventually puts the fire out, another character is killed coming to his aid, and the mechanic is killed trying to retrieve her body.
  • Rogue (2020): When the mercenaries are cornered in the shed where the hostages are being held, the jihadists use Molotov cocktails to set fire to it in an attempt to burn them out.
  • In Robin Hood (2018), Tuck equips the rioters in Nottingham with firebombs that they use against the sheriff's guards.
  • One of these was made in Shaun of the Dead... and its wielder was incapacitated before he could even try to use it.
  • Sucker Punch: The eventual use of the 'fire'. Babydoll and Sweet Pea start a fire in the brothel/asylum to distract everyone while they escape.
  • Sudden Impact starts with Harry Callahan in his car being pursued by armed thugs. At one point they throw a Molotov into his car, but he manages to throw it back at them.
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Mildred uses several to firebomb the police station.
  • Timber Falls: During the final fight, Sheryl converts a jar of moonshine into a Molotov cocktail that she uses to turn Deacon into a Man on Fire.
  • In A View to a Kill, Max Zorin sets fire to the San Francisco City Hall by using molotov cocktails everywhere.
  • In The Warriors The Warriors use one to blow up a car to ward away an opposing gang.
  • In the Watchmen movie, a protester in the '77 riots throws a Molotov at Archie, and Comedian jumps down and starts shooting people.
  • in Wrong Turn, Chris uses several Molotov cocktails to set fire to the cannibals' shack before he rams it with the ranger's truck.

  • Used in Changes, book 12 of The Dresden Files, by two of Harry's enemies. They don't succeed in killing him, but his apartment building is completely destroyed. (Including his lab with the wicked cool 'voodoo doll of the entire city', dammit!)
  • In Deathworld 2, Jason uses these, except that this is far in the future and they are known as 'molotails'.
  • In Dragon Queen, the old man uses one of these to burn down a tavern.
  • Mavis in The Eye of the Pyramid refers to George Dorn to as someone who jacks off to a diagram of a molotov cocktail.
  • In the Discworld novel Night Watch by Terry Pratchett, after Vimes and some of his men search the Secret Police headquarters, they put a couple Molotov cocktails through the windows of the building.
  • Parker uses a Molotov cocktail to firebomb a gas station to create a distraction for a bank robbery at the start of Flashfire.
  • Steal This Book and Freedom Fighters Guide, the former a guide for the counterculture, the latter a CIA-funded pamphlet both feature directions to how to create and use Molotov cocktails.
  • In Swarm on the Somme, they're known as "Teddy Tonics" or "Roosevelt Rums", due to first being devised by Teddy Roosevelt to use against the Grex invasion in California.
  • The Timeline-191 Alternate History series by Harry Turtledove has them called Featherston Fizzes, named after the Confederate Hitler analogue Jake Featherston, as they're first used by Confederate resistance fighters in parts of the CSA occupied by the USA after World War I.
  • Used here and there in The Tomorrow Series, essentially a story about a gang of geurilla fighters. Cocktails are mentioned as being used whenever the group needs some Stuff Blowing Up.
  • In the Underdogs novel Tooth and Nail, Mark turns a whisky bottle into a Molotov cocktail, which he throws at a tank full of clones. The tank is surprisingly undamaged, but the clones all die, by either asphyxiation or burning.
  • The technothriller novel Vortex by Larry Bond features South African partisans fighting against a Soviet-backed invasion with souped-up Molotov Cocktails using soap flakes to convert the gasoline into a sticky napalm-like substance.
  • Unsurprisingly, these appear in Antti Tuuri's The Winter War, although the narrator calls them just incendiary bottles in the story.
  • Young Sherlock Holmes: In Death Cloud, the thug Clem uses oil lanterns as makeshift Molotov cocktails. He uses one to burn down the warehouse, and another when he attempts to torch Matty's narrowboat (with Matty and Sherlock on board). Fittingly, Sherlock uses one at the end of the novel to trigger a dust explosion in the fort.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Passion", used as the opening gambit in Giles's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Angelus.
    • The games also have them, except it's living hellfire. Faith comments on whether they come in six pack.
  • Burn Notice had Fiona use these to ward off thugs in the third episode. She needed some type of weapon and improvised with a liquor cabinet.
  • CSI: NY: The perp in season 7's "Food for Thought" uses one to blow up a food truck in an attempt to eliminate some competition. Of course, the owner is killed in the blast.
  • Cutthroat Kitchen used this as a sabotage - a chef was only able to use some 151 rum ignited via blowtorch as their sole heat source. (They could pour the alcohol into a tray first.)
  • These are part of the makeshift arsenal that Warmington's sea platoon has in the early episodes of Dad's Army.
  • In Deadliest Warrior, this was one of the weapons selected to represent The Mafia in the Mafia vs Yakuza episode. The tests showed it capable of engulfing a car in flames within seconds, though it proved to be ineffective in the actual five on five battle, garnering only two kills out of a thousand computer simulations.
  • In the Doctor Who serial "The Seeds of Doom", Psycho for Hire Scorby creates some Molotov cocktails to use against the Kyrnoid, a Man-Eating Plant.
  • Due South episode "Gift of the Wheelman."
    Fraser: [jumps down from above, surprising Porter, who whips out a Molotov Cocktail and a lighter]
  • The F.B.I.: In "The Forest of the Night", a religious community is being extorted. When one of the house on the community is torched, Erskine and Jim find the remains of a Molotov cocktail at the scene.
  • FBI: Most Wanted: In "Incendiary", Binh uses homemade incendiary bombs incorporating homemade napalm as weapons that the team describes as "Molotov cocktail-like".
  • The Good Place: In a flashback in Season One's "Jason Mendoza", Jason uses one to torch DJ Acidcat's speedboat. He uses this skill again to help the gang out of a jam at the end of Season Two. Chidi notes that Jason can put one together impossibly fast, and the demons have learned to anticipate that Jason will, absent any better ideas, throw a Molotov. Jason is almost always absent any better ideas.
  • Justified: Boyd uses one to torch a meth lab in "Hammer".
  • In the season 1 finale of Lost, Michael's raft is blown up by a Molotov. We don't know the name of the Other who threw it, so she is known on Lostpedia as "Molotov Woman."
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Left for Dead", the murderer attempts to kill one victim by firebombing her house with a Molotov cocktail. The attempt fails, but only just, and the victim is hospitalized.
  • In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Meets the Godfather," after talking with a rival gang (asian in origin) on a tip from a U.S. Mint employee. Monk sits down in exhaustion when he tried to get the gang leader to settle for 100 pushups but failed. Then a molotov cocktail is thrown inside the gym and the gang is forced to evacuate alongside Monk and Sharona. Monk is later blamed by this by the FBI agent in charge of the investigation.
  • Motive: One is used to torch Angie's precious car in "Frampton Comes Alive".
  • Murdoch Mysteries: The killer uses one to start a fire in the brothel as a distraction while he commits a murder in "The Green Muse".
  • The Musketeers: In an episode, Athos and Aramis takes refuge from assassins that are after the queen in a monastery. The nuns living there brew strong spirits for a living, and during the assault they uses them in bottles as makeshift grenades (as well as a beehive).
  • MythBusters used one of these on a ship to conclude the busted "Archimedes Death Ray" and proved that the cocktail can still be a dud if it isn't given proper conditions to spread out. It required a second cocktail and a strong wind to be effective.
  • New Tricks:
    • In "Painting on Loan", Jerry and Brian throw a Molotov cocktail while experimenting to work how a fire might have been started. Jerry comments on how he has always wanted to do this. The fire investigator conducting their demo points out that while a Molotov looks dramatic, it's actually not a very reliable way of starting a fire.
    • A suspect uses one to try to torch the lock-up they think holds evidence against them in "Romans Ruined". However, it was a trap and UCOS was waiting for them.
  • The Punisher (2017). In "Trouble The Water", two mooks are about to throw a molotov cocktail to burn down the police station that Frank Castle is in, but Frank breaks the bottle with a rifle bullet just after they light the fuse, burning the two men alive.
  • Review with Myles Barlow: In the episode where Myles roadtests acceptance by joining a biker gang, he uses a Molotov cocktail to burn down the headquarters of a rival gang.
  • Jim Rockford of The Rockford Files once used a Molotov cocktail to torch the Criminal of the Week's getaway car.
  • Used in Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby, not literally but in a memorable scene when Steve asks Mr Gormsby, "Did you teach 5F to make Molotov cocktails?" Gormsby replies, "Of course! How else can they fully understand the Russian Revolution?"
  • Stranger Things, "The Piggyback": Knowing that fire is a weakness of things from the Upside Down, the scrappy teens arm themselves with homemade Molotov cocktails in order to try and kill Vecna. Slow motion is used when they are thrown for added effect.
  • The episode "Swan Song" of Supernatural had Castiel use a Holy Fire Molotov to torch Michael. Lucifer however was not pleased with this.
  • Third Watch episode "Spanking the Monkey." A pyromaniac throws a Molotov into a nightclub.
  • In the episode "Burning House of Love" of True Blood, three rednecks use molotovs to torch the house where three vampires are resting for the day.
  • In the original miniseries V (1983), little old Ruby throws a Molotov into a Visitor craft, saying, "This one's for Abraham," her friend whom the Visitors killed.
  • Vera: Used as a murder weapon in "The Ghost Position" where the killer throws three petrol bombs into a house.
  • In the BBC mini-series of The War of the Worlds (2019), Frederick makes up some with lamp oil, but he's only got two matches to light them. It makes no difference as while he scores a direct hit on a Martian, the flames have little immediate effect and he's killed. The Martian succumbs from its wounds, but only later.
  • On Walker, Texas Ranger, this is a pretty common weapon for gangbangers and terrorists:
  • Randy's house in The Wire got torched by two thugs armed with Molotovs after he had told the police details about a gang killing.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena invents the Molotov cocktail in the episode "Warrior...Princess".
  • In The Young Ones, Vyvyan uses one of these to shut Rik and Neil up.
    Vyvyan: It's funny, but being ill makes me lose my usual tolerant and easygoing approach to communal living (lobs it across the landing, into the other's bedroom).

  • The Bruisers "Molotov"
  • Chumbawamba's "Rebel Code" as per the liner notes, is about "Two revolutionary inventions from Finland ... the molotov cocktail and the Linux computer operating system" and "It must be the cold weather. or the Vodka."
    Changing everything that they were taught: alcohol and fire and ones and naughts. Something in the water and the bones — rebel code.
  • The Coup "Pork and Beef"
    If you got beef with the C-O-P's, throw a Molotov at the P-I-G's
  • Dead Prez "Police State"
    I throw a Molotov cocktail at the precinct, you know how we think
  • Guns N' Roses "Nightrain"
    I got a Molotov cocktail with a match to go
    I smoke my cigarette with style
  • Green Day "Peacemaker"
    Well, this is a stand-off, a Molotov cocktail's on the house
    You thought I was a write-off, you better think again.
  • Don Henley "All She Wants To Do is Dance"
    The Molotov Cocktail is the local drink, and all she wants to do is dance, dance
    Mix 'em up right in the kitchen sink, and all she wants to do is dance...
  • The Offspring's song "Hand Grenades" is about these, going so far as to have the lyrics describe how to make one.
    Let's make hand grenades, hours of fun in a little jar!
    Let's make hand grenades, try one out on your neighbor's car!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has bottles of Alchemist's Fire, which ignites upon being exposed to air.
  • They get their own special rules in GURPS. They're very powerful for improvised weapons but also extremely unreliable.
  • In Paranoia, Bouncy Bubble Beverage cans explode if you shake them hard enough, which comes in handy if you don't have clearance to use real grenades.
  • They appear in Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution as a throwing weapon and cause lingering fire damage, in addition to the initial explosion.
  • Earlier versions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay featured these - under the name of "incendiaries" - in expansions (equivalent supplements haven't yet been released for the current edition). They have the potential to cause a splash effect and cause extremely high damage over time which ignores armour, but they're very unreliable; if you miss, there's a very good chance you'll hit an ally or bystander, burn down a building, or drop it at your own feet, where it breaks...

    Video Games 
  • Alone in the Dark (2008) emphasizes improvised fire-based weapons, like aerosol can flamethrowers and Molotovs.
  • ANNIE: Last Hope have petrol bombs you can collect to use against zombies. Each throw leaves behind some flames that deals additional damage.
  • In Arcanum Molotovs are the first item that can be made by the explosives discipline and are, unless you cross-train with electricity, the only damaging explosive until the end of the tree.
  • Zeke, a kind of a Mook in Batman Doom who looks like a fat trucker with a big beard, uses these. In the PC version, the Molotovs they throw are actually pretty harmless due to their short range - as long as you keep your distance and don't walk into a fresh Molotov still burning on the ground (they disappear after about a second), you're safe. In the original Mac version they instead create a much larger and more dangerous grid of flames.
  • BioShock has an enemy, the Nitro Splicers, who throw either Molotov cocktails or tin can bombs depending on where you encounter them. You can also make your own by using the Incinerate plasmid on a bottle of alcohol and then Telekinesis to throw it at an enemy, though it's a huge waste of EVE.
  • Bloodborne: Firebombs are some of the most common consumable items that the Hunter comes across, providing an easy way to set ablaze the very flammable beasts that plague Yharnam. They also come in a variety that is designed to be thrown backwards over the shoulder to give pursuing opponents a nasty surprise. Weirdly, they're actually called Molotov Cocktails despite the game's fictional setting.
  • In Bloons Tower Defense 6, Gwendolin's level 3 ability, called "Cocktail of Fire" is this.
  • Brink!: One of the soldier's default abilities, it's mainly used for knocking over groups of enemies.
  • C-dogs, the sequel to the freeware DOS game Cyberdogs by Ronny Wester, has Molotovs as a selectable weapon. They cannot bounce, but the flames that spread will do incredible damage to anything that they touch.
  • Call of Duty: World at War:
    • The Russians' secondary grenade weapons are these. They're pretty damn effective too.
    • They are also available in multiplayer. But their slow travel speed after throwing, exploding on impact (thus, you usually need to you to expose yourself to make sure you can hit something with them, while frag grenades can be instead cooked and thrown around corners with less risk), generally only killing with a near-direct hit - makes them unpopular there.
    • Black Ops used this in the Vorkuta mission in the campaign. Its sequel has them as an optional weapon in Mission 4.
    • Molotov Cocktails returns as Multiplayer weapons in WWII, Modern Warfare (2019), Black Ops Cold War, Vanguard and Modern Warfare II.
  • Captain Commando: The Marbin enemies can occasionally attack by throwing petrol bombs on you. Get hit and your character undergoes the same animation as mooks being torched by the flamethrower weapon.
  • The Holy Water in the Castlevania games operate in a very similar manner to Molotov cocktails, where, upon the holy water container breaking from the impact, it causes a fire.
  • Command & Conquer Generals: the GLA has the unit "Angry Mob," which is initially equipped with pistols and rocks, but can be upgraded to wield AK's and Molotovs. Effective against buildings.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Russian Conscripts can switch between AK's and Molotovs to alternate between anti-infantry and anti-garrison warfare. Uprising gives the Union an even more efficient version via Mortar Cycles, which do horrible things to infantry (especially in large numbers).
  • Counter Strike Global Offensive adds these to the series's grenade arsenal. It starts a fire that lasts about 10 seconds once it hits the ground (and only the ground; it just bounces off walls), damaging and slowing down whoever walks through it. It's used mostly for the sake of area denial, but can be put out by a smoke grenade. The weapon is exclusive to the Terrorist side, but Counter-Terrorists have incendiary grenades that function identically. Humorously, despite consisting of gasoline mixed with high-proof alcohol in a glass bottle, and a hastily-added rag on top, it costs $400 (and used to be more than twice that!). Of course this is for balance purposes, but it does make people wonder if the Terrorists either got a bad deal on their Molotovs, or are secretly connoisseurs, using well-aged alcohol to fight against the enemy.
  • Molotovs are the grenades of choice in Darkwood, capable of setting up a wall of flames for area denial, kill most creatures on a direct hit from burn damage, or just destroying furniture and doors blocking your way. They can be crafted with gasoline or alcohol.
  • Dead Man's Hand has the alcohol variant, called "Whisky Bombs" which leaves behind a flaming puddle wherever it hits. The trappers you face in one stage uses them on you, and later you can collect Whisky Bombs from them for yourself.
  • In Dead Rising, Paul Carson is a psychopathic arsonist who has a seemingly infinite supply of these. When Frank defeats him, Paul drops a molotov on himself. If Frank chooses to save him with a fire extinguisher, Paul will pull a Heel–Face Turn and give Frank his collection of molotovs.
  • In Dead Rising 2, Chuck and Frank can make a molotov if they have whiskey and a newspaper. In Off the Record, the looters and the evil Chuck Greene use them as weapons.
  • Near the climax of Disco Elysium if your character has both a bottle of incredibly strong alcohol and has kept his horrid tie that keeps talking to him, said tie will encourage him to stuff it into the bottle, which will come in handy in the upcoming "Tribunal".
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: Characters can craft a firestorm grenade by filling a bottle with oil and adding a fuse. For bonus points, it can be upgraded to Necrofire. As Flavor Text describes a bottle full of oil:
    A fine vintage, especially for a craft arsonist.
  • Enter the Gungeon, the Molotov is an active item, and is the starter item for the Convict. It works exactly as expected, launching a molotov cocktail that sets a large circular area on fire, and recharges with damage dealt.
  • Fallout: Molotov cocktails appear in the series as a type of grenade, subject to all the uselessness of that class of weapon. These were supposed to appear in Fallout 3, but due to engine limitations, they weren't implemented. Fallout: New Vegas reintroduces the Molotov as 'fire bombs' with the Honest Hearts add-on, where they behave strangely; they don't explode on impact, much like regular hand grenades, and apparently they deal plasma damage, gooifying Mooks on death, instead of incinerating them with fire damage like they should. Fallout 4 brings them back, where they serve as cheaper alternatives to grenades.
  • Far Cry 2 has possibly the most effective ones seen in a video game. If the wind is going when you throw one... your enemies will be greeted by a literal firewall, due to the fact that the game features very realistic fire propagation. In dry, grassy Savannah areas, they're great, but in lush jungle areas, or immediately after rainfall they're next to useless. Good as a distraction, while you sneak somewhere since the enemy AI is programmed to respond to fire as a greater immediate threat than you are.
    • And again in Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4. There's even a class of enemy Mooks that specialize in Molotov throwing and are set alight when you shoot them in the chest.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Thrown by the red Holly Woodsnote  in Final Fight. The flames linger for a few seconds and deal full damage if run into.
  • They can be crafted in The Forest by combining a bottle of booze and a piece of cloth. They're the easiest way to light up an enemy at range, but can take some practice to aim.
  • Freedom Fighters (2003) has Molotovs that are often better than the grenades: they're a guaranteed kill and the enemy doesn't have a chance to run away.
  • The Godfather: The Game has them. Notable in that if you decide not to use them, you put the bottle back inside your Hammerspace shirt. While the rag is still on fire.
  • The Goonies II video game had these as one of your character's weapons.
  • Grand Theft Auto likes Molotovs too.
    • In Grand Theft Auto 2, Molotovs somehow function more like a grenade but with a (presumably) much shorter time fuse compared to the actual version. The former is far more popular with players compared to the latter for this reason.
    • In Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, molotovs are throwables that burst into a wide area of effect on impact and leave a large flame that lingers for a while. Anything that touches said flame gets ignited. Molotovs are thrown in a fixed arc controlled purely by how long the player controls the Fire button.
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features molotovs that behave mostly like in previous 3D titles; the exception is that the fire can and does spread, meaning a single molotov can create a huge firestorm. They're key to one mission where you're ordered to burn a house down, and much later on, rioting pedestrians throw molotovs at others, including at you. However, despite these prevalent appearances, Molotovs are only found in three or four spots across the entire state map, discounting the weapons stash you get from spraying all 100 gang tags in Los Santos.
    • Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars allows you to make your own.
    • As is typical of the game, Grand Theft Auto IV takes a more realistic approach. The actual fire caused by the weapon is contained to a pretty small pool; in order to effectively light a person or vehicle, you have to score a direct hit. Fortunately, molotovs and other throwables can be free-aimed for precise throws.
  • Grim Dawn: Called Blackwater Cocktails, they're available to Demolitionists at an early level. They have a very good line of upgrades, boosting them with extra potency, Hellfire and weakening enemies due to sheer dint of burning, adding up to each cocktail being a little pack of pure Hell that not only does heavy damage, but softens creatures a lot for even heavier ordnance.
  • The protagonist in Gun can use "whiskey bombs," which are basically whiskey bottles with flaming bits of rag in the tops. Given that you also drink whiskey to regain health, it's a bit worrisome.
  • Hell Let Loose adds this weapon in Update 13, as a weapon for the Soviet Support and Assault class. They can be used to either clear enclosed spaces, flush enemies out of hiding spots, and of course burn them to death.
  • A little known game called Iron Grip: Warlord used them as weapons. The heat flare was spectacular. And the damage dealt was usually a one-shot kill.
  • Usable in a weapon in Jagged Alliance 2; high-proof alcohol is sold in any number of bars, and rags are Commonplace Rare but comparatively easy to acquire (knife + t-shirt). They make for very effective area-denial weapons, particularly as the explosion is roughly comparable to that of a mini-grenade, and the flaming puddle burns for four or five turns straight.
  • The Last of Us sees Joel crafting his own Molotov cocktails using, naturally, rags and alcohol. As a weapon, they're initially troublesome (flames will kill human enemies as well as Infected, but in the meantime they're on fire, and fire spreads) but work very well against Bloaters by burning away their fungal armor. Amusingly, Joel ignites the cocktails when he equips them, and will calmly stuff the lit bomb back into his pocket when putting them away.
  • In the Left 4 Dead games, molotovs are a monster of many bites since zombies are Made of Incendium. When they hit the ground, they create a massive pool of flame that can stop horde rushes dead in their tracks (common infected are instantly killed), can flush out those pesky specials, and slow downnote  and eventually kill both witches and tanks.
  • Creating one of these using a paper bag and a bottle of hair tonic is part of the solution to the last puzzle in Leisure Suit Larry 2: Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places). Just remember to be very careful with your syntax.
  • These can be made in LISA at fuel generators if you have empty bottles on hand. Useful against Joy Mutants and large groups of enemies, as they do heavy damage to all enemies in a battle and inflict the Burning status.
  • In Marvel Puzzle Quest, the 3-star Punisher has an ability called "Molotov Cocktail". When used, it turns a red block into a Countdown block and once the counter resets, it damages the target currently in front and will keep doing so until either the Punisher is defeated or the block is destroyed.
  • Mass Effect: Though you don't ever actually get to use it yourself, ryncol (the krogan liquor of choice) is apparently volatile enough that it will spontaneously combust on its own when thrown at something. In the Citadel DLC, Grunt sets fire to a C-Sec car with one. Then he steals the car (while it's still on fire, yes. He'd drunk some of it y'see).
  • Max Payne uses Molotovs on many an occasion as more common, impact-fused alternatives to grenades.
  • Medal of Honor: Underground has these as "Petrol Bombs".
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Snake can acquire these (although they are referenced by their more technical name, "petrol bomb"), mostly during Act 1. While you can also obtain and use standard incendiary grenades, which have more power, Molotovs trade the power for increased range, although damaging explosives in general seem useless in the game in harder difficulties.
  • In Metal Slug, Molotovs can be picked up in certain stages under the alternate name "Fire Bomb". They often appear at opportune moments where you're about to run into several crowded groups of infantry.
  • Mob Enforcer, set in Prohibition-Era Chicago, have petrol bombs you can collect and use to destroy enemy hideouts during raids.
  • In Myth - The Fallen Lords, dwarves throw these. They make excellent weapons against the slow-moving Thrall (undead warriors), as well as can set off other explosives. However, they are unreliable, especially in rain or snow, do friendly fire, have a tendency to bounce off things and sometimes roll back towards the thrower, and are generally affected by the detailed physics, so might be unexpectedly tossed in a new direction - sometimes very strongly - by other explosions nearby, before blowing up. They aren't exactly molotovs, being explosive but not setting things on fire and often referenced as being filled with powder.
  • In The Nameless Mod characters with a high demolitions skill (useless in the base game) can make Molotov cocktails out of alcohol (also uselessnote ) and various chemicals.
  • Oddworld: In Soulstorm, you can craft Brewnades from Soulstorm Brew bottles (a non-alcoholic but very flammable drink), anti-viral wipes for the cloth and lighter for the flame. It's the second most lethal improvised weapon in the game, second only to the improvised flamethrower.
  • One of the weapons available in Odium. They work similarly to grenades though they do less damage, but more than make up for it by setting your opponent on fire for three turns.
  • Operator's Side, a.k.a Lifeline'': you need one to get past the first boss. But first, you have to find the ingredients for it... and, more importantly, suggest it to Rio during a cutscene conversation. Good luck pronouncing it in a way that the verbal recognition software understands!
  • In PAYDAY 2 these are a usable weapon introduced in the "The Butcher's BBQ Pack" DLC.
  • Persona 5: The protagonist has this as one of the many infiltration tools that Morgana teaches them to make. It deals set Fire damage to one enemy.
  • Appears in Postal 2, where it can be sometimes found in the hands of Al Qaeda-like terrorists.
  • Project Zomboid: One of the weapons you can craft in the game is the molotov, using a bottle, a cloth rag and a flammable fluid. It's an efficient way to dispose of hordes and make sure they don't get back up, but if you do it in an urban area, expect most buildings to also catch fire.
  • In Psychonauts, it turns out that Boyd Cooper, a.k.a. the Milkman, one of the inmates in the insane asylum area, was brought in after using a Molotov to burn down the department store where he used to work as a security guard as payback for firing him. After a dive into his mind to get him to remember a... job he had to do to make him open the asylum gate, well, he goes in carrying a basket of bottles, and...
    Raz: Hey, is that milk regular kind, or the exploding dream kind?
    Boyd: It's fortified with what the world wants! What the world deserves! note 
  • Red Faction allows the player to unscrew the fuel tank for the flamethrower and use it as a makeshift Molotov.
  • Resident Evil:
  • Fire Bottles from Red Dead Revolver, Red Dead Redemption and its prequel are basically Molotov Cocktails in all but name.
  • The Saints Row games all feature them as a throwable weapon. The throwing range, area of effect, and damage are usually upgradable. As with the GTA example above, once the player unlocks the ability to be fireproof, they can be used very effectively with little risk.
  • Sharpshooter 3D has petrol bombs you can use, by combining the frequently-avaiable beer bottles with a cloth rag and lighter. Score a hit and mooks will turn into a Man on Fire.
  • The Fan Prequel Space Quest: 0 had this as a solution to one of the puzzles. Towel, lighter, and half a bottle of Coldsaurian Brandy, an extremely strong, extremely disgusting liquor.
  • In the first mission of Starcraft II Wings Of Liberty if you destroy all of the Dominion holo-boards the prisoners you release will revolt with these as their weapon of choice. Their Molotov cocktails are extremely effective against buildings.
  • Sunset Riders have you battling the Smith Brothers, a pair of Mad Bomber siblings gleefully spamming exploding projectiles everywhere. One of them use regular bombs, while the other uses Molotov Cocktails which leaves behind a burning fire that can further damage you, and is therefore the more difficult opponent.
  • You can make them in Terraria, although you'll need to craft the other key components of it first (a torch for the light, silk for the rag that helps to bear the fire from the torch, brewed ale for the fuel, and glass for the containers). It is easily the strongest of the pre-Hardmode consumable weapons.
  • In WarCraft 2, the self-destruct icon for the goblin sapper unit depicts a lit Molotov.
  • A staple in Worms, useful for creating flaming pits of death. Their flames are unique in that barring worm damage, their flames stay between turns instead of burning out in a matter of seconds, ensuring the pit stays flaming for a good while.
  • In Yakuza: Dead Souls, molotov cockails can be found in SDF supply caches or bought from vendors. The pool of flames will ignite and kill basic zombies, but tougher enemies may shrug it off. Certain zombies carry molotov cocktails to throw at the player. If shot while winding up, they'll drop the grenade and potentially set other zombies on fire.

    Web Comics 
  • Lotta Svärd: Women of War takes place in Finland during World War II, and features a chapter where the girls are making firebombs for the war effort, and Tyyne explains to Taimi the origin of the term "Molotov cocktail" (given that it had just recently been coined).

    Web Video 
  • World War II: The series discussed the story of their namesake and their use as employed by the Finnish against the Soviets, with special mention to their effectiveness in exploiting a vulnerability in the T-26 tank.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • First introduced to Europe during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, it also saw use in the '37-45 Second Sino-Japanese War. It was a weapon of desperation, used by poorly-equipped infantry against armoured cars and tanks (in urban combat, such as at Shanghai and Changsha).
  • These received a definitive name in the 1940 'Winter War' between Finland and the Soviet Union. See, the Soviets had been bombing Finnish cities, but Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov insisted that the USSR was just airdropping "food aid" to the starving Finns. The Finns, in a fit of Gallows Humor, started calling the bombs "Molotov bread-baskets", and then started calling the glass firebombs they lobbed at the Soviet ground forces "Molotov cocktails"—"a drink to go with the meal!" Significantly, the Finnish Molotov cocktails were originally filled with high-proof denatured alcohol manufactured by the state liquor monopoly Alko (which still exists), and were equipped with a slow match bound to the outside rather than a burning rag for more reliable ignition. They were primarily utilized by throwing them at Soviet tanks' exhaust ports, forcing the crew to evacuate from the noxious fumes filling up their vehicle... well, aside from the reportedly rare times the flaming mixture managed to cook off the main gun's ammunition.
    • While the Finns would continue to use them throughout World War II, these weapons were also used by their adversaries, the Red Army and Soviet Partisans, against the Germans and their allies. The Polish Home Army would also utilize them against the occupying Germans.
    • Most Molotov cocktails employed by regular armed forces were upgraded significantly from just having gasoline as an active ingredient because while gasoline is easy to ignite, its high vapor pressure causes it to burn off quickly before penetrating inside a vehicle. Three-quarters gasoline to one-quarter diesel or engine oil was the officially recommended formula for the British Home Guard, and more sophisticated models used various jellied-fuel formulae that were eventually developed into napalm. Some even used mixtures of sulfur, phosphorus, and flammable metals that could ignite on contact and burn at temperatures in the thousands of degrees. The traditional rag-in-the-bottleneck fuse was also replaced with storm matches in factory-made versions, as seen here.
    • The Ukrainian National Guard tweeted out instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails (aka Bandera smoothies after wartime nationalist leader Stepan Bandera) during the 2022 Russian invasion.
  • Note that these weapons are generally useless on most modern Main Battle Tanks, which are designed to keep flaming liquids from seeping into critical spaces. This goes double for the American M1 Abrams, whose gas-turbine enginenote  runs so hot already that a Molotov wouldn't affect it. Light tanks and Armoured Personnel Carriers are not universally indifferent to their charms, however.
    • Note that one is effectively forcing the tank-commander to choose between killing the engine, potentially allowing you to bring something bigger (like an anti-tank rocket-launcher) to bear on the vehicle's weak spots and disable/destroy it, or to retreat and risk engine failure. Even though tanks never operate alone, the latter is still a safer bet in most cases. Even if the molotov cocktail poses little direct threat to a buttoned-up tank, the presence of them on the battlefield could force vehicle commanders to duck inside and close the hatches, reducing their ability to spot more dangerous threats.
    • One side-effect that is often overlooked, especially with petrol bombs that have some kind of gelling agent like polystyrene, is that it gives off a lot of smoke. Even if it doesn't burn through the tank, it can obscure the vision of its operators more effectively than a standard smokescreen.
  • Used extensively by the freedom fighters during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and the Prague Spring of 1968.
  • One of these was used on Edinburgh's Princes Street (the main thoroughfare) by the notorious "Capital City Service" football hooligan firm, against the Aberdeen Casuals. The Casuals, hitherto known as one of the hardest firms in Scotland, turned and ran. Unfortunately for the CCS, this also marked the time when the law got really interested in football hooliganism, and organized hooliganism has been dying a slow death ever since.
  • The jellied petroleum (or napalm) variant was pretty much the only anti-tank weapon the Bosnian Army had in its early months- bonus points for getting a slightly charred tank for yourself after it cools off.
  • A scaled-up version was used during World War II: Drop Tanks (externally-attached fuel tanks that could be discarded in-flight) were filled with jellied gasoline, then attached to an incendiary charge. These were then used as an Improvised Weapon when American personnel were short on bombs during the early pitched battles of the war (the preferred tactic was to drop them on unarmored Japanese supply ships and troop ships).


Video Example(s):


Vs. Vecna

Robin lights and throws a Molotov at Vecna to weaken him.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / MolotovCocktail

Media sources: