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No One Gets Left Behind

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"We go out together, or we don't go out at all."
Hannibal, The A-Team, "Curtain Call"

Two characters are escaping from something. One of them falls down, breaks a leg and says "Leave me, I Will Only Slow You Down". The other one says, "I won't leave without you!" and takes his wounded friend with him. Possibly even requiring, as soon as they reach some degree of safety, that the wounded character gets evacuated first.

In more hard-pressed situations, the character must stand over the fallen friend and fight off enemies, all the way up to the grim Last Stand. In case of close comrades, such as Blood Brothers, or beloved commanders, this may be done even if the fallen friend is dead and not just wounded, and the heat of battle may make it impossible to tell whether the fallen character had just been wounded or had died. And if the dead character has Royal Blood or Blue Blood, this may have a grim necessity: they need to be able to prove that the character died to ensure that the succession goes smoothly in time of crisis.

This trope is often used to generate drama in a situation that calls for a Heroic Sacrifice. See Shoot the Dog.

Can lead to Antagonist in Mourning when the characters had been hostile to each other before. Extra points if they had just become Fire-Forged Friends.

Savvy villains will exploit this rule to great effect by wounding their enemies, thereby pinning or slowing down their comrades.

If it really is impossible, the wounded soldier may plead for death rather than just being left.

On the other hand, if the wounded soldier can prevent the enemies from chasing his comrades, You Shall Not Pass! may justify leaving him. The soldier will probably insist on volunteering despite his comrades' protests.

When they must Bring News Back, the characters who stay behind often do it to buy the others time to get away. Those who must go on may find it hard to flee while others fight, but generally their sense of duty is up to it.

In many ways, this is Truth in Television, although without the dramatic clichés. Many armed forces units, especially the U.S. Army Rangers, pride themselves on never abandoning a wounded or dead soldier. Others, like the SAS, make a rule to leave wounded men for The Medics.

Often portrayed as a subtrope of Honor Before Reason. In real life, there is a perfectly cold-blooded reason to still do this: people are expensive and difficult to train and replace. Better (and cheaper) the guy with potentially years of experience spends some time in a hospital than you stick some neophyte right out of a rushed training course in to replace him.

Contrasts We Have Reserves and Restricted Rescue Operation.

Has nothing to do with No Child Left Behind.

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, people do extreme things to take their comrades off the field with them. Ling carries his wounded servant Lan Fan out of a battle and has a fight while carrying her - allowing a pretty heinous villain to mock him relentlessly. Roy cauterizes Havoc's wounds (his own as well) to help Havoc get safely out of the battle and to enable himself to go and rescue Al and Hawkeye.
    • This is lampshaded later on when Roy tells two of his men to leave him behind if he gets hurt. They instantly agree. Surprised by their response, tells them that the correct answer is for them to reply "Never! I'd follow you to the depths of hell!" One of the men responds, "Screw that. I've got a family!" While the other says it's stupid to "commit double suicide like that." Roy answers with a knowing smile.
  • God Eater: In episode 1, Lenka refuses to leave behind the guy who tells him to get away so he can live.
  • Averted like hell in every staircase sequence in Saint Seiya — if two or more of Athena's Saints arrive at the battleground with a new opponent, one of them will insist on staying behind to fight, just so the other can press onwards to save the goddess. And then, if the first Saint's Cosmo fades, the other(s) will stop, look back and think about how their friend has just possibly died, and then continue their climb instead of going back to help. Then again, the Saints' utmost priority is to protect Athena, even at the cost of their own lives, so they earnestly believe that continuing the mission is far more important — even if they have to leave everybody behind.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, so much - Kurogane cuts off his own arm to keep Fai from being left behind in the closing world of Celes.
  • This gets averted in the first Ranma ˝ movie, Big Trouble in Nekonron, when Ranma's party fragments a little bit more in every miniboss encounter, as members will stay behind to hold off their own tailor-made opponents.
  • In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Green and Sabrina are handcuffed together and fighting Lorelei. Green is knocked out and Sabrina is hanging on the edge of a cliff. Lorelei suggests that Sabrina save herself by cutting off Green's cuffed hand and letting her drop. Sabrina responds that, even though she and Green were once enemies, they are allies now and that she never abandons an ally.
  • In Naruto this is exemplified by the father of Hatake Kakashi, Hatake Sakumo. While on a critical mission for Konoha during the Third Ninja War, Sakumo given the choice of rescuing his teammates or completing the mission, Sakumo chose to save his team. Unfortunately, the failure of the mission was not well received. While Sakumo prior was respected on the same level or even above the Sannin, the mission's failure caused such catastrophic losses, that he became reviled afterwards. The stress was so extreme that he committed suicide in front of Kakashi. Kakashi from this experience became an ultra-strict rule follower and general jerkass who would also put the mission first. Later Uchiha Obito would naturally adopt this attitude and pass it on to Kakashi. After Obito's death, Kakashi would adopt this to the extreme adopting the directive that he wouldn't let anyone on his team die.
    • Naruto of course has taken this to the extreme doing everything in his power in the second part of the story to bring back Sasuke and save him from himself and his revenge.
  • Parodied in Excel♡Saga. In two episodes, Menchi escapes and makes new friends. Every single friend she meets eventually tells her to go on without them and makes a heroic sacrifice to save Menchi. The final time this happens, the villain says, "What an out-of-character way to die." (Although it turns out that this one character is Not Quite Dead.)
  • Lampshaded and played with in Van Dread. Dita tries pulling one of these when Gascogne gets stuck. Gascogne is more Genre Savvy.
    Gascogne: "This isn't a third rate soap opera! You go and you come back with help and get me!"
  • An interesting variation is done in the Alabasta arc of One Piece: After Luffy defeated Crocodile, he carried both the king of Alabasta and antagonist Miss All-Sunday (AKA: Nico Robin) out of the crumbling room they were in. The latter was wishing for death, but Luffy didn't listen and saved her anyway. She eventually paid him back by joining his crew.
  • In Transformers: Armada, Hot Shot and Wheeljack were in a platoon on Cybertron during a battle with the Decepticons when the two, isolated from the others, were engulfed in an inferno, and Wheeljack was trapped under debris. Hot Shot left him, vowing to get help, but when he reached the other Autobots, his commander forbade him to go back for Wheeljack, because he didn't want to lose more troops. Hot Shot disobeyed him and tried to go back anyway, but by then the flames were too intense and unable to reach Wheeljack, Hot Shot believed his friend had perished. He would discover years later on Earth that he was wrong - that Wheeljack had survived - but it wouldn't be a happy reunion.
  • Don't Meddle with My Daughter!: Seen in chapter 5, when Point Blank ambushes Risa, Kisara, and Jun by shooting down their patrol chopper. Then guns them down as they're trying to get each other to safety. Clara tries to come to their rescue, creating a brief Hope Spot but ends up being gunned down with them. Point Blank continues to fire on her even after she falls unconscious. It takes Athena's intervention to finally make him stop. All four are later seen in the infirmary.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Shun Kurosaki grew up in a war zone where many of his people were captured by the enemy. He gives a big speech that he will never abandon his comrades and will do everything in his power to save them. This extends to his dueling; he has cards that can recover his monsters if his opponent gains control of them.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, when his friends tell him to abandon them for the sake of winning over Alexander the Great, Yugi violently refuses and is adamant to stand by them, even if it means losing.
    • When the gang return from the Capsule Monster world, Alexander's good half hitches a ride with Solomon and attempts to quell his evil side.
  • In the 2015 anime of The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Arslan refused to leave Elam behind, when Elam's horse was shot and Elam was surrounded by Lusitanian soldiers. The fact that Arslan risked his life to save Elam, who was a servant and not an important subordinate, cemented Gieve's respect for him.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • In an anime-only episode, Momo Yaoyorozu is trapped by Saiko Intelli, a student from a rival school, who decides to make sure she won't pass the Provisional Hero Exam as revenge for out-gambitting her. She didn't expect that the others would refuse to take the chance to pass themselves in favor of rescuing Momo and ensure they would all pass the exam.
    • Villainous defied at the end of the Paramount Liberation War arc, where All For One, controlling Shigaraki, orders all the remaining villains to retreat, despite Spinner's protest that they were leaving behind key members, such as Gigantomachia and Mr. Compress, with All For One replying that it's Shigaraki's punishment for his failure. This ends up coming back to bite All For One in the Final Battle as being abandoned to rot despite his Undying Loyalty is enough to break Gigantomachia's Blind Obedience to All For One and turn him against his master.
  • In the anime of Sengoku Basara, Hisahide kidnaps some Date men to force Masamune to give up his six swords. Despite being badly injured earlier and against Kojiro's insistence, Masamune is determined to rescue his men, on the grounds that the Date army can't afford to lose anyone.
  • In The Promised Neverland, at the end of the Goldy Pond arc, the critically injured Oliver and the other seniors volunteer to be abandoned so that the rest can escape quickly without needing to worry about them (and in particular, get Emma proper medical aid). Unsurprisingly, Lucas and the others object and in the end, all of them, including the injured, were able to make it to safety.

    Comic Books 
  • If you're a hero in the Marvel Universe and you're hurt in battle, don't fret, Good Ol' Cap will go through Hell or high water to get you home safe.
  • During the Marvel Comics run of G.I. Joe there was a particularly tragic example where Dusty flashes back to meeting a fellow Joe's family and promising to keep an eye on him. He ends up carrying his friend's dead body for miles through a desert because "he promised."
  • In Gotham City Garage, Big Barda was actually instructed by Granny Goodness to abandon her partners. So she refuses to leave Silver Banshee behind during the chase across the Canyons of Clay because that's what Granny would want her to. She tells Kara to keep driving and goes back to rescue her.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): In the Golden Age Steve Trevor was usually on solo missions or paired up with Diana, but he absolutely refuses to leave anyone behind and on missions to locate captured troops this has gotten him caught and/or injured on multiple occasions.
    • Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman: The main character of "Rescue Angel" earns the call sign "Wonder Woman" for her refusal to leave any men behind after her convoy gets ambushed and insistence on pulling guys out of the line of fire even after she's hit.
  • In Warhammer 40,000 comic book Bloodquest, Leonatos and his men are sent on the titular quest to recover an important relic to the Blood Angels' chapter. While completing their mission is paramount, the group is extremely protective of each other. When a Daemon Prince offers them safe passage through his domain in exchange for their dying companion, they'd rather fight their way out than willingly abandon their brother to darkness. After one of their own members is lost inside a Slaaneshi city of pleasure, one of the others has to be convinced to not go back and storm the place in his search. Finally, after the two surviving members succeed in returning the sword as the third one makes a last stand to ensure their escape, they embark on a new quest to rescue their brother.
  • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: Yahn Rgg messes with Marh-Vell's armor, and he's incapacitated by pain. Hawkeye insists on leaving him behind, but Reed and Sue help him to his feet, with Sue giving Hawkeye a chewing out for his attitude.
  • In Contest Of Champions II, Carol Danvers (by then under the codename Warbird) invokes this trope as the reason why she saved Rogue from the Brood Queen, despite having serious past issues with the former. This leads to a handshake between them.
  • My Boyfriend Is a Monster: Dicey sets out to rescue Jack alone, in spite of the others' protests.
    Baron: "We have a saying in the game. 'Never split the party.'"
    Dicey: "Guys, Jack is my party."
  • Subverted in the Legion of Super-Heroes storyline The Great Darkness Saga. In the first issue, the Legionnaires have just taken a Servant of Darkness down when a dimensional portal opens up, letting another Servant rush into the place. It looks like he's come to rescue his partner, but he grabs the relic she failed to steal and flies back into the portal, alone. To add insult to injury, their Master Darkseid instantly collapses the space warp despite that his defeated Servant was rushing towards it.
  • Star Trek (IDW): When Ambassador Ferris attempts to quote regulations to Kirk in the "Galileo Seven" adaptation, Kirk responds that he's not leaving without his crew.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, Lieutenant Commander Pasternak is set on rescuing one of his men who've been separated from the squad, and being informed that mysterious hostiles who most likely aren't even human are approaching their position doesn't faze his resolve in the slightest.
    • In Abraxas: Empty Fullness, the "eldest" brother who would one day become Ghidorah's middle head refuses to leave his paralyzed youngest brother behind when they're under attack by hostile creatures.
  • A Crown of Stars:
    • This is one of the rules of the Avalon Imperial Army: they never abandon a comrade. Their motto is "Numquam Soli. Semper, Sumus Legio", which means in Latin "Never Alone. Always, We Are Legion".
    • In chapter 75, Misato doesn't manage to find Kensuke after a bomb goes off near him. Asuka tells her to keep looking because they don't leave anyone alone.
      Asuka:"You should have two minutes before the next salvo arrives. Misato, any sign of Aida?"
      Misato:"Nothing. No beacon, no comms, nothing at all. We can't even locate a wreck."
      Asuka:"Keep looking. We don't leave anyone on the battlefield alone. Never alone."
      Misato:"Roger. We'll find him."
  • From Bajor to the Black, Part II: Another ship in the USS Kagoshima's formation is disabled by a parting shot from a dying Borg cube.
    Acting Captain Kanril Eleya: Prophets… T’Shar, drop facing shields and lock onto life signs! Anyone we can bring aboard, get ‘em!
    Petty officer at sensors: Captain, I’m picking up an imminent core breach in the cube! We don’t have time!
    LTJG. Tess Phohl: You’re relieved!
  • In the Shadow of Gods: Chief's attitude towards Cortana, which puzzles Shepard and her companions, since Cortana is an AI, and AIs are regarded with fear and suspicion in the Mass Effect universe.
  • A Voice in the Wilderness:
    • Unusually for Starfleet, actually averted after Bajor's warp drive is crippled and the Damage Control teams can't fix it. Eleya makes plans to evacuate whomever she can in the shuttles, but they can only get about 150 crew of over a thousand out that way. She prioritizes cadets, stable wounded and medical staff, and any pregnant females; everyone else draws lots. Turns out not to be necessary when The Cavalry arrives.
    • Two Vaadwaur ships are damaged during the final fight scene and prepare to go on a suicide run to cover the escape, but Overseer Harn refuses to leave them behind. Eleya gets them to lower their aft shields so she can beam the crews off.
  • In Thousand Shinji, Shinji and his family instill this philosophy in their troops after the War. There are several instances where one of their soldiers refuses to leave a comrade behind, declaring that they NEVER abandon anyone.
  • Subverted in Children of an Elder God. When Rei wants to stay inside the final Eldritch Abomination to control it and protect her friends, they refuse to leave her behind. She insists until they cave.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: When Nakajima and Fuuka manage to secure an aircraft to run away from the Geofront, Fuuka refuses to take off right away because she'll not leave Misato and the remaining pilots behind.
  • A Brighter Dark: When offered possible rescue from Nohrian bandits, Sakura refuses to leave without first ensuring Mozu goes with them, much to her rescuer's annoyance.
  • A Prize for Three Empires: Back when she was a CIA spy, Carol Danvers was captured by enemy agents. Her bosses decided a rescue operation was too risky so they wrote her off. Wolverine and several more partners didn't agree, so they went and got her out.
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening story Golden Threads Tie Us, Laurent gets wounded and tries to talk Severa into leaving him behind, but Severa will not even entertain the notion.
    Laurent: Severa. I don't believe you understand the gravity of the situation. We're not yet far enough up to not be highly vulnerable to enemy Risen. If you assist me with walking, the chances of both of us escaping with our lives decreases substantially.
    Severa: I don't care, and I'm not leaving you behind.
  • Blood Moon: After escaping their cage, Katara makes Hama stay until they've freed all the other waterbender prisoners.
    Katara: But what about the others?
    Hama: We don't have time.
    Katara: We'll make time! We can stop the Fire Nation! We can stop anyone! We'll stop whoever who gets in our way.
  • In the Discworld, The Price of Flight by A.A. Pessimal expands on the canonical fighting in Lancre and the Chalk against The Fair Folk (from The Shepherd's Crown). Scattered mentions of the war with the Gentry having an aerial dimension are expanded into an account of how the Ankh-Morpork City Air Watch played its part as a combat Air Force. People on the ground are absolutely adamant that if an Air Witch is shot down, they will find her and rescue her. or at the very least bring the body back. Olga Romanoff and Kiiki Pekisaalen, who had to crash-land when the power cut out on their broomsticks during an air battle, are appreciative of this.
    • And when strained relationships between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch spill over into what was afterwards called "a regrettable misunderstanding", a Pegasus and three Air Watch members are believed to have been shot down by a surprise attack over a remote part of the Klatchian continent. Lieutenant Irena Politek is boiling with rage and sets up a rescue mission to retrieve two Air Witches and a Feegle. This will carry maximum firepower, just to make the point to the Klatchian Air Force.
  • Rocketship Voyager. Captain Janeway hands herself over to the Caretaker as a specimen for his private archive in exchange for Voyager using the Portal Network to get back to Earth. But that means renegade officer Chakotay is now The Captain, and he has no problem ordering Voyager to return and rescue her. When Janeway rips into her senior officers over the eight crewmen who died as a result, Chakotay cites a comment she made earlier about one of the rules of being The Captain is "never abandon a member of your crew".

    Films — Animated 
  • Early during Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show Ed is bitten on the leg by Rolf, who then attempts to drag him out of the car the Eds are escaping in. Ed tells his friends to go on without him and remember him. Right as Ed finally loses his grip and is pulled out, Double D and Eddy reach out and grab him by both arms and pull him out of Rolf's grip back into the car.
  • G.I. Joe: The Movie: Sgt. Slaughter explicitly lines it out: "It's time you learned we're a team, Red Dog. We all go home or nobody goes home."
  • Lilo & Stitch: The line that was previously quoted on the top of the page was the Pelekai ʻohana's motto, "ʻOhana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind — or forgotten." (Not "no one gets left behind" like many people tend to misquote it as, so it narrowly misses out on Trope Namer status.) In the original film, the titular alien learns the lesson and goes to rather dramatic extremes to make sure that Gantu does not leave Earth with Lilo.
  • Little Angels: The Brightest Christmas: Zeke tells Daniel all about how his father saved his life in "the war" by selfishly carrying him out of danger, despite the risk to his own life.
  • Toy Story:
    • Sarge and his men have this attitude. "A good soldier never leaves a man behind!". And whatever the movie he might be in, what is R. Lee Ermey if not a good soldier?
    • Later, when Woody and Buzz are making their escape from Sid's house, the rocket strapped to his back keeps Buzz from being able to fit under the fence. Though Buzz says "Go on, I'll catch up", Woody jumps down off of the van (where Andy is) and runs back to help Buzz.
  • In the opening of Trolls, King Peppy leads the Trolls on a daring escape through collapsing tunnels. When he hears that a couple Trolls are trapped, he risks his own life to go back for them declaring "No Troll left behind!" Against all odds, he succeeds. In the present, when some of Poppy's friends are captured by Chef, King Peppy decides not to go after them since he's too old to go off on a Roaring Rampage of Rescue. Poppy refuses to abandon them to be eaten and goes after them herself.
  • In Turning Red, Mei's grandma and aunties risk not being able to reseal their panda spirits until the next lunar eclipse in order to help Mei's mother, Ming, seal hers.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: During the Darkest Hour, when Sugar Rush falls to the Cy-Bugs and everyone is trying to escape, Vanellope is found unable to leave the game environment because of her glitching. She remarks I Will Only Slow You Down which only spurs Ralph to attempt a Heroic Sacrifice to save Sugar Rush and Vanellope. Calhoun and Felix likewise stay with her to buy Ralph time.
  • Zootopia: Judy gets her leg ripped up on a tusk while running away from Mayor Bellwether. She tells Nick to leave her and get Doug's Nighthowler pellet gun to the authorities, but he refuses.
    Nick: I'm not gonna leave you behind. That's not happening.
    Judy: I can't walk!
    Nick: Just... we'll think of something.

  • Accurately summed up in the Jimmy Dean song "P.T.-109":
    McMahon the Irishman was burned so badly, he couldn't swim
    "Leave me here. Go on," he said, "'Cause if you don't we'll all be dead"
    The PT skipper couldn't leave him, a man alone to die at sea,
    And with a strap between his teeth, he towed the Irishman through the sea.
  • Averted in "Sonic Attack" by Hawkwind:
    Remember: In the case of sonic attack survival means "Every man for himself". Statistically more people survive if they think only of themselves. Do not attempt to rescue friends, relatives, loved ones. You have only a few seconds to escape. Use those seconds sensibly or you will inevitably die.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Thoroughly justified in Dungeons & Dragons by the escalating costs of the various resurrection spells. Death Is Cheap in D&D, but it's significantly cheaper if you have the body of the character you want to bring back.
  • Thoroughly averted, and possibly subverted, in Warhammer 40,000. The Tau and Eldar are about the only ones who ever try, and the Eldar consider recovering the waystones of the dead good enough consolation for being unable to save the bodies of the living (the fact that Eldar wear them to prevent their souls from being devoured by evil Chaos God of lust may also have something to it).
    • This comes up in Dawn of War III, when Autarch Kyre leaves the waystones of his subordinates behind because he's too eager to get the Spear of Khaine. This is your clue that he is a Bad Boss.
    • Similarly, although the Marines consider it the highest honour to die in battle, they'll fight hard to recover the two progenoid glands from the still-cooling bodies of their battle brothers, as they are necessary to convert new Space Marines. (The way the Chaos forces can use them lends a certain amount of urgency to this.)
      • The Grey Knights, however, will fight as hard as possible to recover their comrades' bodies, not just the glands, so they can lay them to rest on Titan.
    • Also, given the Cargo Cult/Ancestral Weapon nature of technology in the Imperium, the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Space Marines will often insist, and go to sometimes-absurd lengths to ensure that No Tech Gets Left Behind.
      • On the Land Raider page in the codex, it is mentioned that an entire chapter once started a giant war to recover one weapon blown off one of their tanks.
    • There is a scenario in the Black Templars section of the GW website dealing with the recovery of the remains of their Emperor's Champion.
    • Certain Imperial Guard regiments will also make it a point to try and recover their wounded, though they usually don't take unnecessary steps to rescue them if it will cost too many lives. Being the Redshirt Army, the Guardsmen are generally both aware of this fact and expect it.
      • In the 5th Edition Imperial Guard Codex, one of the special characters, Sergeant Lukas Bastonne of the Cadian Shock Troops, earned the highest award a soldier in the Imperium can earn in their lifetime by refusing to leave one of his soldiers behind on a zombie-riddled planet. Of course he had to execute the man because he showed symptoms of the same plague that caused the zombies in the first place, so whether this is a backhanded subversion or not is debatable.
    • The Tyranids do this too, in a sense. When they gather up the biological material from a planet they've conquered, they make sure to get all of it, which includes every single 'Nid that got killed in the attack.
      • Actually they also collect the biomass from most of the survivors too. The greater part of their assault troops are creatures that have no digestive system: they are MEANT to die, should they survive the invasion, and they'll be reprocessed into biomass for later use.
    • The crowning example has to be the Raven Guard, though. They will work for, literally, decades to insure every civilian they can possibly save is saved. Possibly a result of their tearjerker past.
  • GURPS Time Travel: In the "Eternity's Rangers" campaign setting, the titular organization will bring back their dead members for burial. Occasionally subverted, though; an informal punishment for a Ranger who screws up too often is to be abandoned in the past.

  • Girl Genius: Jagerkin do NOT leave their own, or those they consider as good as, behind.
  • Lampshaded in this Goblins strip where Ears thinks Names is asking him to leave him behind and refuses when Names is only looking for a way for Ears to carry him.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, Red realized that something had gotten to her grandmother, but could not leave and abandon her grandmother.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Near the end of the Azure City siege arc, Haley and Belkar volunteer to run out and retrieve the body of one of their party members, Roy. Oh, and this is when a huge enemy army lies between them and escape.
      • Justified in that retrieving Roy's body makes it significantly easier to resurrect him. Plus Belkar at the time couldn't be more than a set distance away from it.
    • Later on, in the Empire of Blood arc, the team gets help from an Allosaurus that Belkar befriended and named Bloodfeast the Extreme-inator, which was later transformed into a lizard. When the team managed to escape, Belkar refused to leave Bloodfeast behind, with Blackwing carrying him after them.
  • Spacetrawler: Captain Nogg has no qualms about abandoning a crew member if that's what it takes to get the rest of his ship away safely. On the other hand, his crew has no qualms about ignoring Nogg when he tells them to abandon their mates.note 

    Web Original 
  • Played with in Open Blue's Back Story, where Executor Altara refuses her Empress' offer to allow her and the rest of the Praetorian Guard to retreat while the latter and the regular army held off The Horde that was slowly defeating their troops. The Empress gets killed, and they end up defeated and having to retreat anyway.
  • RWBY: Ren and Nora both refuse to leave behind their teammates despite their heavy injuries during the Battle of Beacon.
  • ARMA videos from the group Shack Tactical often feature decisions about whether to play this straight or to make the decision that one of their squadmates is too injured or the situation too desperate for the other players to be able to save them. (This comes up fairly often in part because the group intentionally design and play scenarios where the odds are overwhelmingly against them succeeding.) Perhaps the greatest example comes from the end of the video Shooting Gallery, where Dslyecxi and Shacktac's other Ace Pilots are frantically trying to evacuate the last survivors of a platoon that has suffered very heavy casualties. As Dslyecxi lands his helicopter, Kustom, one of the survivors, passes out from his injuries. The Medic tries to drag Kustom to the helicopter, but with dozens of bullets being fired at them every second, and the helicopter now loaded with half a dozen people, (who could be killed at any moment) Dslyecxi orders the medic to leave Kustom and jump into the helicopter to make their escape. Shortly afterward Kustom comes to, and despite enemy fire still being extremely heavy, Beagle (a different pilot) makes a frantic attempt to save Kustom, despite Dslyecxi warning him that they're almost certain to be killed. Beagle's attempt works and he manages to save Kustom. Check out the article Polygon wrote on Shack Tac in general and this mission in particular.
    Dslyecxi: [After collecting the other survivors and leaving Kustom] All right, Beagle, go ahead and break off.
    Beagle: Roger. Is anyone left down there?
    Dslyecxi: [somberly] No one we can help.
    Beagle: Oh my God Dslyecxi, they're still shooting, there's someone prone down there on the beach!
    Dslyecxi: I'm sorry Beagle, we couldn't do anything about it... he couldn't make it onto the helo. ... I'll tell you back at base, you gotta fly back to base with me, okay?
    Beagle: Fuck no I'm not!
    Dslyecxi: Beagle, you cannot do that. You cannot survive that!
    Beagle: Doesn't matter!

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: In the Made-for-TV Movie "Win, Lose & Kaboom!", Jimmy pledges an alliance with April the Gorlock to cancel Intergalactic Showdown forever so Meldar cannot destroy any more planets. After Team Earth wins, Jimmy realizes he cannot break his alliance and reprograms the gang's new AstroCar to fly back to the show and save the other planets.
  • Amphibia: In Season 3's "Fight or Flight", Anne refuses to leave behind the other kill-a-moths after rescuing Domino II and frees them all, granting her resistance an air cavalry for the final battle with Andrias.
  • The Thunder Lizards of Eek! The Cat grudgingly remembered this rule when an obnoxious parody of Mr. T got dragged away by a carnivorous plant. Then one said, "But we don't have to hurry," and they smiled and moseyed.
  • In the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "The Cure", this is discussed by the Thing.
  • Parodied in Futurama:
    Zoidberg: Go on without me!
    Leela: I'm trying!
    [Pan down to show Zoidberg is holding on tight to Leela's legs.]
    Zoidberg: Go on without me faster!
  • The Gargoyles episode "Long Way Till Morning", in which Retired Badass Hudson refuses to leave behind a wounded Goliath even though Demona is after them both and Goliath tells him multiple times to do so.
  • Parodied in the Kim Possible episode "Blush" when Ron refuses to leave the wrecked Wade-bot until the real Wade calls and tells him he's fine.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "The Mean 6" when Pinkie sees Fluttershy crying and Mean Twilight is impatient, Pinkie angrily shouts at her (thinking she's the real Twilight) that she must make sure Fluttershy is okay.
  • Ozzy & Drix has this:
    Ozzy: Go on without me!
    Drix: You mean that?
  • In the children's cartoon Rescue Heroes, Billy Blazes, the chief of his rescue team often states that nobody gets left behind in spite of what disaster they may face. This is attributed to when he was a kid when a fire broke out and he was the only one left in the building, one of the firemen saved him and told him how no one would be left behind no matter how dangerous the situation is save them.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: Right after General Sunder defects to the Great Rebellion, he falls and breaks his leg. He tells the heroes to leave without him, but She-Ra says, "That's not the way we rebels do things."
  • Also parodied in The Simpsons
    Milhouse: I can't keep up, you guys go on ahead...and carry me with you!
    • Also, Homer quotes this trope when he saves a toy soldier using a toy helicopter from Marge's hair.
  • Notably in one episode of The Smurfs, Lazy and a bunch of other Smurfs get trapped in a volcano and work to rebuild a windmill into a helicopter so they could escape. Lazy feels entirely at fault for letting the Smurfs down and trapping them in the volcano, but Smurfette refuses to let him stay behind to perish.
  • Parodied in South Park, "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000". Cartman and his cellmate have escaped from prison. As they flee the guards, the cellmate is injured and says to go on without him. Cartman says "okay" and begins to go. The cellmate indignantly points out that Cartman was supposed to say that he couldn't leave his friend behind.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Jihad". While escaping a lava flow Spock is thrown from the vehicle and Captain Kirk goes back to save him. Spock tells him to go and Kirk says "Not without you."
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • In "Clone Cadets", this is one of the reasons Domino Squad fails their graduation exam. When Commander Colt scolds them about their mistakes, leaving behind a wounded Droidbait seems to be the worst of them.
    • Later on there is another painful aversion of the trope during the battle of Umbara in Season 4 when Rex and the rest of the 501st are stuck with General Ripper Pong Krell, who sacrifices them as cannon fodder. During the battle, the situation eventually becomes so bad that Rex orders field medic Kix to leave many of his wounded brothers for dead instead of risking his life to retrieve them. While Rex only does this to make sure their medic stays alive to prevent even more deaths later, Kix is hit hard after hearing the Captain give such an order.
      Kix: You sound like General Krell…
    • "A Distant Echo": As Rex explains to Anakin, he's lost so many brothers in the war that he's learned to let go of them. Learning that his old friend Echo is likely still alive, however, changes things, which is why he's so determined to rescue him.
      Echo: Rex... you... you came back for me.
      Rex: Yes. Yes, I did.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • In the first episode, Zeb averts this trope by letting Ezra get caught by the Empire while he and the Ghost crew are escaping from an Imperial ship. Later, the crew holds a vote over whether or not they should go back for him, to which Zeb and Sabine vote against due to how dangerous it may be, and Hera, Chopper, and Kanan vote for.
    • In the last few episodes of Season 1, Kanan is captured by the Empire. Hera is urged by Fulcrum to leave him behind because it would be too difficult to break him out and they have to focus on their next mission. The others refuse to give up and secretly attempt to defy her orders. When Hera finds out, Ezra manages to persuade her to defy Fulcrum. This turns out to be the best choice, as it leads to Fulcrum budging and leading a Big Damn Heroes rescue at the end of the Season 1 finale to help them escape from the Empire since it demonstrates to the galaxy that the Empire can be defeated.
    • In Grand Finale "Family Reunion — and Farewell", Ezra disappears to who knows where along with Thrawn and his fleet while saving Lothal. Years later, after the end of the war, Sabine and Ahsoka set off to look for him and bring him home. It's a huge contrast from how she was at the beginning of the series, as described above, especially considering that there's almost nothing that can clue them to Ezra's whereabouts, and as far as anyone knows, Ezra could be dead.
  • Total Drama:
    • Geoff injures his leg during a challenge on Boney Island in "Up the Creek". He tells the Killer Bass to go on without him and without another word, Courtney takes him up on it. However, DJ stops her and resolutely tells her that he won't allow anyone to be left behind. Harold and DJ join forces in carrying Geoff the rest of the trek.
    • Owen gets taken prisoner when the teams infiltrate Area 52 in "The Ex-Files". Alejandro and Duncan couldn't care less, but Tyler ditches the challenge to save Owen. He locates Owen's cell and tries to bash through the door with his bare hands to the rhythm of "Never! Leave! A Man! Behind!" By coincidence, trying to save Owen gets Team CIRRRRH ahead in the challenge and Owen is freed through other means.
    • In "Planes, Trains, and Hot Air Mobiles", Cody plans to leave Drumheller with a cobbled-together hot air balloon. The last part for him to scavenge is something to sit in, so Sierra insists he takes her wheelchair. She bids him farewell, but Cody refuses to leave her behind. Sierra counters that she'll just slow him down, which Cody counters by pointing out he only got this far because of her. Touched, Sierra happily accepts the ride.
    • Throughout the nocturnal challenge in "Finders Creepers", Brick tries to live up to the moral code of never leaving a soldier behind. He is one of the few that escape the giant spider hunting the campers and at first he refuses to continue the challenge without first saving his team. Team captain Jo, however, orders him to move on. This costs the Mutant Maggots the challenge, because one requirement nobody paid attention to was that it didn't matter who solved the treasure hunt first, but which team had the most campers left upon solving it. By coincidence, rather than be voluntarily eliminated, Brick is moved to the Toxic Rats. Grateful for the second chance, he vows never to leave anyone behind again, which fails to impress Chris and comes back to bite him three episodes later.
    • The Toxic Rats can make a clean escape with the statue they had to retrieve in "A Mine Is a Terrible Thing to Waste" when Brick notices that the Mutant Maggots, his former team, are under attack by a mutant gopher and unlikely to escape the mine timely. Having vowed never to leave anyone behind again three episodes earlier, Brick goes back to rescue them and sacrifices his team's statue in the process. While he saves the Maggots, it costs the Rats their victory and he gets voted off. It takes a bit for Brick to accept that doing the right thing doesn't automatically lead to a fitting outcome, but he takes solace when the Maggots come to see him off.
  • In Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race MacArthur firmly follows this rule and will even carry Sanders if she gets worn out. This is touched on in "Bahamarama", where she rescues Josee from an underwater cavern because of a combination of this and The Only One Allowed to Defeat You.
  • The ZhuZhus parodied in "Chunklette's Web" when Nums falls in popcorn, Chunk chase stray kernel shouting "Leave no snack behind!"

    Real Life 
  • Famous and macabre example: when the Chinese army attacked UN forces in Korea in the brutal winter of 1950, they surrounded the elite and famous US 1st Marine Division. Faced with utter annihilation, the division's officers rallied their men by vowing to get everyone out, including the wounded and the dead. Their convoys coming down out of the mountains, depicted in newsreel footage and several movies, reveal how brutal the fighting was and how determined they were to achieve that symbolic goal: their trucks and jeeps are festooned with frozen corpses wrapped in blankets and body bags.
    • This ended up actually having a very fortunate outcome in terms of the war in general. At least two, probably three, Chinese Army Groups were tied up with the Marine Division and were unable to link up in time with their counterparts who were blazing through the U.S. and Korean armies (at least in comparison to the snail crawl that went on with the 1st).
  • World War 2 example: 442nd Infantry Regiment of the United States Army famously rescued the "Lost Battalion" at Biffontaine in southern France. Over a five-day period, from October 26 to October 30, 1944, the 442nd suffered the loss of nearly half of its roster. Over 800 casualties, including 121 dead. While rescuing 211 members of the 36th Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry, which had been surrounded by German forces in the Vosges mountains since October 24. Making it even more striking, the 442nd volunteered for the assignment — and this was a battalion of Japanese-American soldiers, many of whom had been treated horribly by the military and the US government in general.
    • The 442nd were renowned for a truly absurd amount of bravery. They finished the war with more decorations per capita than any unit in American history. Among the awards was an astounding 21 Medals of Honor, one awarded posthumously in 1946 and 20 awarded over 50 years later in 2000.
      • They were also one of the rare regiments that went well over 100% casualty (more soldiers killed and injured than were on the original roster) over the course of the war.
  • The Israeli military takes this to an extreme by trading important prisoners for its soldiers be they dead or alive. For example, captured soldier Gilad Shalit was eventually returned to Israel in exchange for over a thousand prisoners, almost three hundred of whom had been serving life sentences for terrorism offences.
  • After the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing, the rescue workers in the area of the building housing the US Marine Corps Recruiting Office happened to be either active duty or Reserve Marines. The bodies of Captain Randolph Guzman and Sergeant Benjamin Davis were recovered by them, and as they removed the bodies from the scene, everyone fell silent, because (in the words of one witness) "The Marines were bringing out their own." And every year, one Marine officer and one Marine NCO in dress blues leave a wreath at the site.
  • The Spartans' last stand at Thermopylae concluded its last few moments with a handful of soldiers clustered round the body of their dead king, Leonidas, before an arrow storm finally finished them off.
  • In the Battle of Mogadishu (made famous in Black Hawk Down), adhering to this creed resulted in many casualties.
    • Many terrorist organizations are aware of this trope about the U.S and that is of the reasons why the U.S. are normally wary in sending ground troops into a foreign land unless there's no other choice.
  • The 1953 American attempt to summit K2, the second-highest mountain and arguably the most difficult in the world, was frustrated by weather and mountain sickness. The eight-man team attempted to carry one of their number off the mountain, a nearly impossible feat at that altitude. Then a near-disastrous accident left everybody shaken and/or injured. The team decided to camp to recover and consider their options leaving their injured companion, Art Gilkey, secured in his litter to the mountain face but when they came to fetch him he had been swept away, litter and all, by an avalanche he might well have deliberately called down upon himself in a Heroic Sacrifice to save his comrades.
  • Hideaki Akaiwa was at work on March 11th, 2011 when the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami hit his city of Ishinomaki, Japan. His wife of twenty years was trapped in their home under the waves, and rescue workers could not get to her. Rather than just give in to fate, Hideaki somehow managed to get a SCUBA kit and dove into the raging waters of the tsunami to rescue her. Navigating through the waters and dodging numerous obstacles including cars, downed power lines, and houses getting swept away in the current, he managed to find his home and his wife. She was alive, and thanks to Hideaki was rescued. This alone is impressive, but when his mother was declared missing, he did it again and saved her. And for the duration of the disaster, he went out on his bicycle alone with a folding knife, a few bottles of water, his SCUBA gear, and gave help wherever he could. He was named Badass of the Week for that.
  • Medal of Honor recipient Roy P. Benavidez rescued thirteen men from a battalion of North Vietnamese soldiers, including running over to a downed Huey helicopter and physically carrying the crew to another helicopter, and directing airstrikes while his eyes were blinded with the blood pouring into them. Did I mention he was only carrying a knife? He received thirty-seven wounds from bullets, bayonets and grenade blasts in the process, his guts were hanging out, and was placed in a body bag after the battle, and had the strength to spit in the doctor's face when declared a goner. He lived. Here is a condensed summary of the story: video, and here is the Medal of Honor citation.
  • During the Second World War, the Finnish army made a point of this. Turns out it worked really well to scare your opponents. The Finns usually collected their dead during the night. Thus when morning came and the Russians surveyed the battlefield all they found were their own dead soldiers. Not knowing whether you actually killed any of your enemies (or the cold brought them back to life as Knife-wielding sniper-zombies) plays merry hell on their morale.
  • Similar to the above, NVA and VC troops during The Vietnam War did their best to recover their dead, for pragmatic reasons; it spooked their opponents, and frustrated US Generals who were fixated on "body counts".
  • Dov Lopatyn the leader of The Lachwa Ghetto was informed by the Germans that the ghetto was to be liquidated and that the inhabitants would be "deported". They tried to get his cooperation by promising that the members of Judenrat, the ghetto doctor and 30 labourers (whom Lopatyn could choose personally) would be spared. His reply was "Either we all live, or we all die".
  • The US military spends considerable time and effort locating their missing war dead; including those going back to World War II.
  • When US Airways Flight 1549 went down in the Hudson River on January 10, 2009, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger made sure all passengers and crew got into life rafts and walked the plane twice on his own (as it was rapidly filling with water, by the way) to ensure everyone was out before leaving himself. He did not leave the Port Authority facilities until all passengers and crew were accounted for.
  • During the 1453 Siege of Constantinople, Venetian surgeon Niccolò Barbaro described an attack by the Janissaries where they suffered heavy losses, but would not leave their dead behind.
    They found the Turks coming right up under the walls and seeking battle, particularly the Janissaries ... and when one or two of them were killed, at once more Turks came and took away the dead ones ... without caring how near they came to the city walls. Our men shot at them with guns and crossbows, aiming at the Turk who was carrying away his dead countryman, and both of them would fall to the ground dead, and then there came other Turks and took them away, none fearing death, but being willing to let ten of themselves be killed rather than suffer the shame of leaving a single Turkish corpse by the walls.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Leave No Man Behind, No Man Left Behind, No One Left Behind


Boomer Survives

Jasmine, Dylan, and (most importantly) Boomer survive the citywide fireball that destroys Los Angeles.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / OutrunTheFireball

Media sources: