Follow TV Tropes


Off-into-the-Distance Ending

Go To

Dipper: Ready to head into the unknown?
Mabel: Nope. Let's do it.

The story ends with The Protagonist(s) traveling away into the distance, while the camera remains in a fixed position. Often symbolizes that the protagonist is leaving behind their old life and about to start a new one. May have a happy mood or a somber one, depending on how much they liked their old life and how willingly they're leaving it.

In any case, it says that this is where they and the audience part company; whatever happens next, the audience will not get to see.

This is often coupled with But Now I Must Go.

A type of Hat-and-Coat Shot, and a Super-Trope to Riding into the Sunset. See also Moving-Away Ending, a subtrope that involves a character moving away from somewhere else.

Compare Ending by Ascending, Door-Closes Ending, Chased Off into the Sunset. Contrast Fly-at-the-Camera Ending.

As this is an Ending Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


    open/close all folders 

  • The Russian short film Ostrov ends with the castaway finally getting off his "Far Side" Island (or what's left of it) with the help of another man, floating on a branch of driftwood, and the two swimming off over the horizon.
  • The 3000 Whys of Blue Cat episode "Will Earth Be Destroyed?" ends with Blue Cat and Feifei flying out into space.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Several stories in Black Jack ended with the titular character wandering away. Sometimes it was in triumph after a job well done, but more often than not it was in grief after failing to save a patient from some unpredictable fate.
  • The ending of Fist of the North Star. After helping Lin and Bat one last time, Kenshiro wanders back into the wastelands with newfound determination. A fitting Bookends to his introduction in the very first chapter.
    Kenshiro: I don't need a name on my grave. If I die, it will be on this desert of endless battles!
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War ends with the now former student council leaving the school while discussing where they'll go for their graduation trip. It also serves as a Bookend, since the story began with Kaguya and Shirogane walking towards the reader.
  • The ending of the finale of Kamisama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama shows Kokoro and her Cocotamas leaving her house and her hometown foreshadowing their appearance in the finale of Kira Kira Happy Hirake Cocotama.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Aladdin ends with Aladdin and Jasmine kissing while the Magic Carpet flies them into the full moon in the distance.
    • Dumbo ends with a shot of the crows waving goodbye to Dumbo while the train he and his mother are on rides into the distance.
    • The Rescuers ends with a shot of Orville flying into the distance carrying Bernard and Bianca off to another rescue mission.
      • The Rescuers Down Under has a subversion of this, with the heroes riding into the night on the back of a giant eagle before cutting to show Wilbur the Albatross still sitting on the eagle's eggs, as he was instructed to do by Bernard while he went off to rescue the others.
    • Disney's Robin Hood (1973) closes with Robin and Maid Marian riding away in a "Just Married" carriage.
    • Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has the newly awakened Snow White riding sidesaddle on Prince Charming's white horse, while he leads them on foot toward his golden palace in the distance.
  • The ending of Ice Age has Manny, Sid and Diego amble away from the camera, content at having returned the human infant to his father.
  • Max Fleischer's Gulliver's Travels ends with Gulliver sailing away from Lilliput on his new ship and disappearing into the mist.
  • Four of the five heroic monsters from Monsters vs. Aliens ride on the back of Insectasaurus into the distance to save Paris, France from a giant snail monster. The scene teases at a Sequel Hook.
  • The Red Turtle ends with the red turtle leaving the beach and swimming off into the distance.
  • We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story ends with Rex the Tyrannosaurus rex walking out of Central Park after telling Buster the bird his backstory.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Animal Factory ends with Earl and Vito walking off into the prison yard casually bantering with each other after Earl's escape attempt fails.
  • August: Osage County: The film adaptation of the play ends with Barbara driving off to wherever presumably never to see her abusive mother ever again.
  • Backstreet Dreams ends with Dean, Stevie, and Shane driving to California, where there's a special school Dean hopes will help Shane. Combined with a Freeze-Frame Ending.
  • Blazing Saddles, like most Western tropes, parodies it by having our heroes ride into the sunset, admitting they've grown bored of protecting a small-ass town... and then take a chauffeured limo the rest of the way.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie) ends with Buffy and Pike roaring off toward the horizon on Pike's motorcycle in a romantic scene as Susanna Hoffs's cover of "We Close Our Eyes" plays.
  • Canyon Passage ends with Logan and Lucy riding out of Jacksonville together, as he leaves town to rebuild his fortune.
  • The Cave of the Yellow Dog: Ends with Nansal and her family packing up the yurt and heading off to new nomadic grazing land, her father having finally agreed to let her keep the dog.
  • A favorite trope of Charlie Chaplin.
    • His early short The Tramp ends with the Tramp walking down a road, away from the camera, after he Did Not Get the Girl. He starts off dejectedly trudging away, but snaps out of it and walks off with his typical cheerful step just in time for the Iris Out.
    • The Circus ends in a similar fashion, with the Tramp, who Did Not Get the Girl and is then left behind by the circus, walking away from a static camera after the last circus truck pulls away. The shot is accompanied by an Iris Out.
    • Modern Times uses this for a surprisingly upbeat ending. The Tramp and the gamin are at the side of the road at dawn, after they were forced to flee from the truant police. The gamin breaks down and cries in despair. Charlie tells her "Buck up! Never say die! We'll get along." After she flashes him a smile, the film ends with the two of them walking arm-in-arm down the road, the Tramp swinging his rattan cane.
  • The Children's Hour ends with Karen walking off alone after Martha's funeral, while everyone else watches from a distance.
  • The Crucified Lovers: Ends with the camera watching the parade as Mohei and Osan are being taken away to be crucified.
  • Driving Miss Daisy: The film version ends with a flashback to Hoke driving Miss Daisy down an Atlanta road when he first came to work for her.
  • The Empire Strikes Back ends with the group broken up, with Han taken prisoner, Lando and Chewie flying off to rescue him, and Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2 keeping Luke company while he recovers from his injuries. Despite this being the heroes' Darkest Hour, the audience is reminded that all is not lost when the last shot of the movie is the regrouped Rebel Fleet, one of the bigger collections of starships and fighters seen in the franchise up to this point, cruising off into the distance while The Force's Leitmotif plays.
  • Equinox Flower by Yasujiro Ozu ends with a shot of Hirayama's train puffing off into the distance, as Hirayama leaves for a conciliatory meeting with his daughter and new son-in-law.
  • Finian's Rainbow: The film ends with Finian departing alone in this fashion, after Sharon weds Woody.
  • Floating Weeds by Yasujiro Ozu ends with a shot of Komajuro and Sumiko's train puffing off into the distance, as they leave the village for a different town in hopes of getting acting work, having reconciled. This film was a remake of A Story of Floating Weeds, also by Ozu, which ended with the exact same shot.
  • In A Face in the Crowd, Lonesome Rhodes' trademark "Lonesome Road" ending of his Show Within the Show has him walking out of the country store and strolling down a road towards the background of the studio set, with guitar in hand, singing "Just a Closer Walk with Thee."
  • Forty Guns ends with Griff and Jessica in a wagon riding out of town on their way to start their new life in California.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Blondie leaves Tuco safe and sound with his share of the gold and rides off into the hills.
  • Good Will Hunting: The last shot is of Will driving to California and the camera just looks down the road into the distance.
  • In both versions of The Getaway, the film concludes with Outlaw Couple Doc and Carol McCoy driving of into Mexico, having successfully eluded both the chasing cops and fellow bad guys.
  • Grandmother's Farm: At the end of the movie, everyone rides off in a white van into the distance... roll credits.
  • A Gunfight ends with Abe riding out of town into the bleak desert. Bud stands staring at him as he goes, and Abe never looks back.
  • The Half-Breed ends with a Maybe Ever After version of this. Eponymous half-white, half-Native American protagonist Lo resolves to go away and find a new home somewhere else, his forest home having burned down. Teresa, the friend that Lo saved from arrest, says she's realized that she's in love with him, and will follow him everywhere and stay with him forever. He walks away, and she follows, and the film ends.
  • The end credits of Henry & Verlin play over a shot of Henry and Verlin walking away from the camera through a field to Verlin's parents' car, where the reunited family drives off together.
  • High Noon ends with the carriage containing the hero and his wife rolling away into the distance. (It's not long after noon, so there's no sunset.)
  • High Plains Drifter ends with The-Man-With-No-Name riding away into The Wild West desert until he disappears; it's a complete reversal of the opening, which showed him appearing seemingly out of nowhere and riding into the corrupt little town.
  • At the end ofHocus Pocus, Thackery Binx takes his sister Emily's hand and they pass through the cemetery gates and walk into the sunrise and the afterlife together.
  • The Legend of Frenchie King ends with the titular outlaw and her gang, now numbering a dozen, riding off into the distant prairie.
  • Mackintosh and T.J. ends with the protagonists' truck driving down the highway, away from the 6666 ranch.
  • Mädchen in Uniform ends with the Sadist Teacher walking away from the camera down a corridor of the boarding school. She is clearly in shock, just having learning that one of her students almost killed herself over the treatment she received.
  • The Man from Laramie ends with Will riding away on his horse, having saved Miss Canady's ranch, and with Vic having been killed by the Apache.
  • Steve in Mommy running away from the guards.
  • My Night at Maud's: The narrator, his wife Francoise, and their son go skipping off into the surf at the beach, symbolizing his acceptance of domesticity (he just had a last meeting with his old flame Maud).
  • Nomadland ends with Fern visiting her now-vacant old home for one last time, selling all her belongings that she's been keeping in a storage unit, and driving off into the wilderness in her van, ready for another year of life on the road.
  • The Nun's Story ends with the protagonist deciding to leave the convent and rejoin the secular world. The camera watches from inside the convent as she walks away.
  • Old People: The movie ends with Aike, Alex, Laura, and Noah all riding off into the distance in a motorboat.
  • Patient Zero (2018) ends with Morgan and Gina riding off into the distance on a motorcycle from the overrun bunker.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl ends with Captain Jack Sparrow sailing off into the distance in search of a new adventure: "Now, bring me that horizon."
  • Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World: Ends with Robert Frost getting into a car and being driven away from the camera, down a narrow country road.
  • Rooster Cogburn: Marshal Cogburn sits still upon his horse during the rolling credits as Eula Goodnight rides ever further into the distance.
  • Safe in Hell ends with Gilda walking towards the gallows with her head held high.
  • The last shot in The Searchers is from inside the house, showing the hero walk away into the distance, then the door closes.
  • The Seventh Seal ends with almost the entire cast being led off by The Grim Reaper in a Dance Of Death across the overcast horizon, seen only by the prophetic Jor.
  • Shane: The But Now I Must Go ending has Shane riding away after defeating the villains, as the little boy who admires him cries "Shane! Come back!"
  • Hannibal Lecter walks away into the crowd at the end of The Silence of the Lambs.
  • Silent Fall ends with Tim and his new parents, Jake and Karen, walking away to go trick-or-treating together.
  • Silent Tongue ends with Prescott and Talbot walking towards the horizon on the seemingly endless prairie; gradually diminishing into specks before the screen fades to black.
  • In Song of the South, Johnny, Ginny, Toby, Uncle Remus walk into the distance with Br'er Rabbit and the cartoon critters as the live-action background gradually changes into an animated one.
  • Sound of the Mountain: Ends with Shingo and his daughter-in-law Kikuko walking away together through the park, after Kikuko has announced that she's getting a divorce and Shingo says he and his wife will be moving away.
  • Straight Time ends with Max - now a fugitive from the police once again - driving off into the desert, as his various mugshots appear on the screen.
  • The final scene of Sweet Smell of Success shows Susan leaving her and J.J.'s apartment and walking off into the streets of New York.
  • Tevya ends with Tevye and his family leaving the village in his milkman's cart, headed out of Ukraine and, eventually, to Israel.
  • The original ending of Thelma & Louise would have concluded not with the Thunderbird flying through the air in mid-arc, but continuing to fall end-over-end into the Canyon. As Slocumb walks away from the canyon's edge in disbelief, the final sequence would have been a static shot of the Thunderbird driving away from the camera towards a distant mountain, as B.B. King's "Better Not Look Down" continues playing. The original ending was intended by the producers to suggest that the duo would keep travelling, even after death.
  • Umberto D: After the Interrupted Suicide, Umberto coaxes Flike back to him. They go walking away from the camera together, as Umberto plays games with his dog.
  • Wanda Nevada combines this with Freeze-Frame Ending. The credits start to roll as Beau and Wanda drive away from the camera in the new car Beau bought with his new fortune. The image freezes when they've almost vanished behind a hill.
  • War and Peace (1956) ends with Pierre and Natasha walking away arm in arm through the grounds of the Rostov estate in Moscow, having found each other again.
  • The surviving gang members of The Warriors head into the sunrise along the beach at Coney Island.
  • The Wasteland (2021): The final shot in the movie is of Diego, after having burned his house to the ground to try and kill the beast, walking off into the distance in a huge field.
  • The last shot of Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? is of Georgie and Dr. Moses skiing off together across a snowy landscape after Georgie's suicide.
  • Yesterday (2004): The last shot has the camera pulling away as Yesterday, who has been showing more obvious signs of AIDS, walks back home after seeing Beauty off for her first day of school.

  • The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford ends with two of the protagonists departing on horseback: "Without any noise, they rode away, and soon were lost to sight." Notably, although the book is in tight-third, and the viewpoint character in the final scene is one of the characters who rides away, on the final sentence the viewpoint changes; there are no other characters there, so there is no sight for the characters to be lost from except that of the audience.
  • In The Dreamside Road, Enoa and Orson get a heroes’ sendoff from the Wintertide Festival. They fly away in the Aesir on their way to search for the Dreamside Road.
  • Frodo, in The Lord of the Rings, inverts the Riding into the Sunset subtrope, with the last line from his point of view being of him sailing toward a far green country under a swift sunrise. The following paragraph then plays it straight from Sam's point of view, as he stands on the shore and watches Frodo's ship disappear into the night.
  • Subverted in Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. At the end, the protagonists ride away around a bend in the road — and then there is one more sentence about what happened to them around the next bend to make the point that just because the story ends here doesn't mean the characters have nothing left to do.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica's Distant Finale ends with HeadGaius and HeadSix hinting that the mythical elements of the series (including the existence of a God) are true before they walk off through the busy streets of modern-day New York.
  • The final episode of CSI ends with Grissom and Sara heading out to sea on Grissom's boat.
  • The series finale of Guiding Light ends with its signature Super Couple Josh and Reva driving off.
  • Many episodes of The Incredible Hulk end with David Banner wandering off into the distance whilst the lonely man theme played on the piano.
  • The pilot of Person of Interest ends with the hero walking off into a crowded street of New York.
  • In the final scene of Veronica Mars, Veronica walks away into the rain, signifying the consequences of the series finale being rather crappy (her Dad's facing charges that could land him serious jail time for protecting her, and their primary opponent for her Dad's old job as Sheriff is a corrupt puppet of the Mafia). As the camera pans out, we get the impression that Veronica is upset not only because she inadvertently got her Dad in trouble, but because she knows she'll never change her ways.

    Music Videos 
  • Miserable ends with the Giant Woman devouring each of her male would-be inamoratos one after the other, then strutting off into the horizon, pleased with her actions.

  • Finale ends this way, with the cast walking off into the distance, to what is implied to be their deaths.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout ends with the player character walking away into the wasteland after being banished from their home Vault by the Overseer.
  • The last game of the Freddi Fish series ends with Freddi and Luther holding fins and swimming to the top of the ocean.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The final scene of the game's ending shows Ilia at the entrance of Ordon Village, watching as Link rides off in the direction of the Faron Woods.
  • Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 both end with the Normandy flying off into space.
  • Medal of Honor: Vanguard ends with Garrett and Slauson running off into the distance, as the camera pans up to show allied forces parachuting in.
    Corporal Garrett: It's up to the ground forces to mop things up from here, the Airborne's job in this war is done.
    Corporal Garrett: What, no wise-ass comment, Slauson?
    Private Slauson: Yeah, I've never seen anything more beautiful either.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War 's Golden Ending has Talion walking into the afterlife to join his family.
  • Tunnel B 1 have this happening in the final cutscene, if you complete the game and exit the tunnel. Turns out the exit is located in the middle of a desert, and your vehicle have built-in jet thrusters where you then take off into the skies and vanish.

    Web Video 
  • Midgar Syndrome (The Final Fantasy House): Zack is shown walking on the snow-covered road away from the titular house in the ending, while text appears on-screen explaining the fates of the various people involved.

    Western Animation 
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • The 1929 short "The Haunted House" ends with Mickey fleeing from the titular house while a living skeleton watches him from an outhouse.
    • The 1931 short "The Castaway" ends with Mickey riding on there back of a sea turtle while waving goodbye to the audience.
    • The 1934 short "Two-Gun Mickey" ends with Mickey and Minnie riding off into the sunset on horseback, with a defeated Pete being towed behind them.
    • The 1941 short "Timber" end with Donald walking down the train racks, towards the sunset, while holding a Bindle Stick.
    • The 1947 short "Straight Shooters" ends with Huey, Dewey and Louie exiting the carnival after outwitting their uncle Donald and taking the candy from his shooting gallery.
    • The 1947 short "Crazy with the Heat" ends with Donald and Goofy riding into the distance on a galloping camel.
    • The 1948 short "Soup's On" ends with an enraged Donald, having grown wise to his nephews' prank on him, chasing them into the moonlight.
    • The 1950 short "Trailer Horn" ends with Donald driving his car (or, rather, what's left of it) into the distance after being outwitted by Chip and Dale.
    • The 1954 short "The Lone Chipmunks" ends with Chip and Dale riding a horse into the distance.
  • Near the end of The Cleveland Show episode "Ain't Nothin' But Mutton Bustin'", Rallo and Junior head homeward by having Junior, who is dressed as a sheep, carry Rallo on his back while he walks all fours and hums "Happy Trails".
  • Futurama's original Grand Finale played with this trope: Fry and Leela don't walk away together, but Fry's crude hologram interpretation of them does, and it indicates that the two may end up together after all.
    • Similarly, the fourth Big Damn Movie "Into the Wild Green Yonder" ends with Fry and Leela having their first kiss as the Planet Express ship escapes from Zapp Brannigan via a wormhole. Coincidentally, this was intended to be another Grand Finale until Comedy Central picked up the show, and started its run where the movie left off.
    Bender: (pulls out a beer bottle from his torso) Into the breach, meatbags. Or not. Whatever.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls", the finale, Dipper and Mabel get on the bus and head back home to California.
    Dipper: Ready to head into the unknown?
    Mabel: Nope. Let's do it.
  • The Legend of Korra ends with Korra and Asami ready to walk into a portal to explore the Spirit Realm together.
  • Tom and Jerry:
    • The short "Professor Tom" ends with Jerry and the kitten walking down the sidewalk, arm in arm, to the melody of "We're Off to See the Wizard".
    • The short "Texas Tom" has Jerry riding Tom like a horse into the distance. It's a complete inversion of how the two began the cartoon.


Video Example(s):


The Chosen Successors

"The Stuff of Dreams" ends with Brittas imagining himself giving a ball of light to his twin sons, who then walk off into the distance.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / OffIntoTheDistanceEnding

Media sources: