Follow TV Tropes


One Last Smoke

Go To
The real reason smoking kills.note 

So you've got a character who's dying. They had a good run, and now that they're being let go you want a way to give them that one, perfect send-off that will cement them in the viewers' minds for the rest of the series to come. Not just a few words will do, but something defining to their character that can be done by their character.

What would be more fitting that to have them do the habit they've been doing all series long, but give this one the most flair? Usually the object in question will be just out of reach, leaving a nearby comrade to hand them the item of importance as a dramatic good bye. If no such comrade is nearby, it's Bittersweet Ending. If they're not mortally wounded and can still stand, there'll probably be a One Liner involved or even a smile.

This Trope is also traditionally used when a condemned person is about to be Shot at Dawn (offered by whoever is commanding the firing squad), in which case hope for survival (usually via rescue) still exists, as it functions as a small delay.

The object itself can manifest as many things: a book they were always reading ("Hmm, last page..."), a picture of a loved one ("At least I got to see your face..."), or some kind of music player with a simple tune to encourage the mood of the scene ("I always hated this song...").

Most often though, it's a cigarette, because Smoking Is Cool. This comes with the bonus of being able to see the character's final breath, and the added symbolism of the cigarette dying out. A character who has previously quit smoking may take this opportunity to smoke their Last Unsmoked Cigarette. The character's foe may even help them light it as part of a Dying Truce. Since smoking is especially infamous for the long-term health problems it causes, this can also imply that the character has accepted that such concerns are no longer relevant.

Clever heroes will often use this as a diversion by taking advantage of the villain's vain pity to escape certain doom. Naturally, this is listed on item 14 of The Evil Overlord List.

Under most cases, the character must be Killed Off for Real for the trope to be played straight. Examples involving the character's survival are a subversion. Compare with the much more time-friendly The Last Dance and Prisoner's Last Meal for type of final indulgence. See also Last Request.

As a Death Trope, SPOILERS AHOY!


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kato Yue does this in the Angel Sanctuary manga. He stands at heaven's gate to complete one of the many Heroic Sacrifices of the series, but not before he lights up one last time.
  • In The Animatrix segment "A Detective Story," the titular detective Ash does this when faced with the conclusion of "the case to end all cases." He does this while holding a team of Agents at gunpoint, and it seems that they decline from shooting him simply because they recognize the trope for what it is.
  • In Attack on Titan, one Survey corps member is exhausted, badly wounded, and no longer has any weapons or gasoline to power his gear, and he's surrounded by Titans. He spots a bottle of wine he planned to drink later and is delighted to be able to have one last drink. He has a breakdown when he finds out the bottle is empty (because the wine was used to clean someone's wound earlier) and demands to know who drank it all while a Titan grabs him.
  • Shogo Kawada asks Noriko to light him one last cigarette as he lies dying in Battle Royale.
  • In Birdie Wing, after Eve's final success in Nafrece, Rose Aleon patiently waits to be offed while having one last cigarette. The hitman unfortunately doesn't even let her finish it.
  • In Case Closed, Jinpei Matsuda did this as he chose to sacrifice himself to give hints about a hidden and very dangerous time bomb, rather than disarming the bomb he was locked with and letting the other to go off. He even snarked to himself a little since the place he was in had a "no smoking" sign.
  • In the last episode of Ceres, Celestial Legend, Kagami stays behind on the ship while everyone else escapes, smoking. The actual last thing he does before the ship explodes and sinks is take out the pictures of Ceres that he always kept with him since childhood.
  • Cowboy Bebop: In "Black Dog Serenade", Jet's former partner asks for a cigarette before his death. His last words are, "I couldn't quit smoking after all."
  • Subverted in Darker than Black as he's dying following a Heroic Sacrifice, November 11 lights up as per his usual Power at a Price. However, given that he hates smoking, he decides that he can forgo this just once and throws the cigarette away, and it is put out by his blood.
    • Also subverted with Huang who is convinced to stop smoking and take care of his health shortly before he dies. It's unclear whether or not Hei knew he was dying at the time he gave this advice.
  • Asuma Sarutobi in Naruto.
  • In Death Note, Mello's companion Matt subverts: this he had no idea he was going to die and just happened to have a cigarette in his mouth. Although it's a wonder he could keep a cigarette in his mouth while being gunned down.
  • In Fate/Apocrypha, near the end, when Mordred and Kairi are both mortally wounded, they share a cigarette. Hilariously, since Mordred had never smoked before, she coughs and says it was disgusting, but the two grin before dying.
  • In Hellsing, Walter is already smoking while the room around him burns down. He knows he's failed to do the only thing he really wanted to do, he knows he's done for and he accepts it. Just before the flames engulf him, he smiles, says goodbye to Integra and flicks his last cigarette into the fire.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Takamichi's master Gateau; asked his student for one last cigarette before he passed away from a still unexplained injury.
  • Sanji of One Piece when he was defeated by Ghin. But it was actually a deliberate subversion, because he spat the glowing cigarette back into Ghin's face to distract him and evaded his final blow, continuing the fight.
  • Lee Linho From R.O.D the TV, coupled with Redemption Equals Death.
  • Argument could be made that Saito from Rurouni Kenshin does this (or rather, subverts it by not dying) right before his apparent death. at the end of the Juppongatana Arc.
  • Occurs in the Trigun anime and manga. In the anime Wolfwood prepares one last cigarette as he's dying, inhales once, and then drops it when he remembers Milly playfully scolding him for smoking. In the manga, he dies as he and Vash are smoking together after the ids of Wolfwood's Orphanage of Love are sent to safety.
  • In Wolf's Rain Hubb tries to smoke a cigar as he's dying. It's meaningful because his ex-wife Cher, who had just fallen in love with him again, had always wanted him to be "manlier".

    Comic Books 
  • Blacksad: Blacksad offers a dying Mook a cigarette in Somewhere Within The Shadows. The mook happens to be a non-smoker, and instead spends his last moments giving crucial information so that Blacksad can kill the boss who ordered the mook's death.
  • In The Books of Magic, while visiting the future in which the boy lead has become the Antichrist, the characters encounter a dying John Constantine fallen in battle, and he gets the kid to light him a last cigarette. Does not turn a hair at the arch-enemy appearing as the kid he was back when they first met, just provides exposition, smokes, and has an Obi-Wan Moment.
  • Parodied in one Sturmtruppen strip: cigarettes aren't avaible because the Colonnel is trying to stop smoking, so he has to chew bubblegum instead.
  • Paperinik New Adventures: After betraying the Evronian Empire, scientist Ghortan crashes on Earth and is found by Paperinik. However, he has lost his tank which contains the emotional energy his species use as nourishment. Knowing he has little time left,he made a last request:
    Do you have a good book?

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Tinder Box by Hans Christian Andersen has the solder escape death by asking for One Last Smoke - the titular magic tinder box is able to make three monstrous dogs appear and save him.
  • One Jewish folktale involves a kabaalist who had captured Satan and had him in chains. The devil asked for some snuff, and the hero took pity on him and agreed. The devil proceded to light the snuff on fire and use it to break his chains. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Live Action 
  • The 2008 BBC adaptation of The 39 Steps played with this: The hero looks like he's about to get shot, and asks if he can have a smoke. The German spies holding him captive say no. He then eyes up the cigarette smoking in the ashtray, looking like he's going to do something with it. He doesn't.
  • In the 1982 Australian/Taiwanese movie Attack Force Z, a member of a World War II commando force is wounded while landing on a Japanese-occupied island. After exchanging overly casual banter and a cigarette the commander shoots him, so he won't be captured and give away the mission under torture.
  • When Two-Face falls to his death in Batman Forever, he still holds out his hand for his silver dollar to fall into.
  • At the end of The Cabin in the Woods, Dana and Marty share a last joint before the apocalypse that they willfully allowed to happen.
  • In Cold Turkey, Dr. Proctor has been gut shot, and begs for a last cigarette before he dies. Problem is, all the residents of the town signed a pledge not to smoke, and it doesn't expire for five minutes, and if anyone smokes before the deadline, the town will lose 25 million dollars. He points out he won't last 5 minutes, but nobody will break the agreement by giving him a cigarette.
  • Played with in Colossus: The Forbin Project. The CIA chief is about to light up when the Red Alert goes off. Realising there's no point running from a nuclear explosion, he just waits for the inevitable.
  • Constantine (2005) played with the trope by having John try for a smoke after his death, but being unable to light the cigarette because he'd hit the tendons while slitting his wrists.
    John: Coffin nail.
    Lucifer: Very fitting, John.
  • This used in The Core, with the guy who'd been taping his observations the whole time. He started to smoke and use the recorder, then realized that nobody was ever going to get the recorder (duh), laughed and threw it away. He died cool.
    Zimsky: [looks at the recorder he was talking into] What the fuck am I doing? [tosses the recorder aside and starts laughing as the nuke next to him powers up]
  • The Crow — Officer Albrecht is badly wounded, and Eric helps him light a cigarette, repeating the same line ("Those things'll kill you") he said when he first saw Albrecht smoke. Subverted—it's a near thing, but Albrecht survives.
  • Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze: Captain Seas invites Doc and the Fabulous Five for dinner on his yacht. He then announces that it's going to be their last meal, and the waiters all produce guns. "And you sir, enjoy your last cigarette." The hero in question then fires a laser beam from his cigarette lighter that knocks out the overhead light.
  • In Double Indemnity Walter Neff, after revealing all his crimes to his mentor Keys, pathetically tries 'making a run for the border' with a mortal gunshot would he acquired earlier in the film. When he collapses in the hallway he fumbles around trying to find a match for a cigarette (as Keys himself had done for most of the film) and in a role-reversal it is now Keys who stoically produces and lights the match for him.
  • After the infamous "Hitler Rants" scene in Downfall, Hitler's generals wordlessly partake in one, pausing only briefly to take cover from incoming mortar fire. Most of them commit suicide shortly thereafter.
  • Eastern Condors: As the mortally wounded Ciggy stages his You Shall Not Pass! Last Stand at the bridge, he lights his last cigarette from the overheated barrel of the machine gun as he waits for the enemy's final charge.
  • Parodied in Ernest Goes to Jail. As he's about to be executed, Ernest is offered a blindfold or cigarette.
    "No, I'm afraid of the dark, and cigarettes will kill 'ya."
  • The girl Snake meets in "Chock full o'Nuts" played by Season Hubley in Escape from New York receives a "real one" after asking Snake for a smoke (making the correct assumption that he just got in). She gets pulled through the floor and killed unceremoniously by the Crazies shortly after.
  • Zigzagged in a very complicated way in the 1998 film Fallen. The main character, played by Denzel Washington, is cornered in a remote cabin by the villain, a body-hopping demon possessing the body of his best friend. Denzel shoots him and in the process dooms himself, since as soon as the guy dies the demon will be free to possess the protagonist himself. Denzel takes a last smoke as the villain dies in front of him... only to reveal that he has poisoned the cigarettes, leaving the demon nowhere to run since there are no other humans close enough for him to possess. Death by One Last Smoke! Except the villain gets away and the hero doesn't. So it really was his last smoke.
  • In Fantômas se déchaîne, commissioner Juve managed to kill three guards and escape by asking for one last cigar, and offering some to two of said guards: Those cigars hid single-shot guns...
  • Gallipoli has some prime examples of this where soldiers who are about to be ordered into an attack on the Turks, light and hand out cigarettes to their mates, probably to calm their nerves before a fight. This is especially seen towards the end of Gallipoli where the ANZACs are about to charge over their trenches to the Turkish trenches with nothing but a bayonet and no bullets, supposedly so that they can stab the Turks to death when they get there. This doesn't (and I repeat doesn't) go All According to Plan. In fact, the only successful thing about the whole Gallipoli campaign is the evacuation. Nobody died.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Blondie a.k.a. the Good gives some dying young soldier a drag from his cigar. It is not some special request, though; merely something nice you can easily do for a dying person you do not know personally.
  • In Heathers, J.D. lights up right before he goes boom.
  • In Independence Day before Hiller (Will Smith) and Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) blow up the Alien mothership, they both smoke cigars because they think they're going to die anyways.
  • Marcel lights up one last cigarette in Inglourious Basterds right before he uses it to light up the flammable film and burn the theater and everyone in it down, likely sacrificing himself in the process.
    • "There's a special rung in hell reserved for people who waste good scotch."
  • Like just about everything else, Played for Laughs in the original version of The In-Laws - at the climax, when Vince and Sheldon are about to be executed by a firing squad, Vince asks General Garcia for a cigarette for himself and Sheldon, partly to calm Sheldon down - since he's going into hysterics - and partly to stall for time, as The Cavalry, in the form of the CIA, hasn't shown up yet. Eventually, the exasperated general gives both of them cigarettes, only for Sheldon, who's blindfolded, to spit the cigarette out and say, "I don't smoke."
  • Used for Schmuck Bait by James Bond.
    Blofeld: The firing power inside my crater is enough to annihilate a small army. You can watch it all on TV. It's the last program you're likely to see.
    Bond: Well, if I'm gonna be forced to watch television, may I smoke?
    Blofeld: Yes. Give him his cigarettes. It won't be the nicotine that kills you, Mr. Bond.
    • In the comedy Casino Royale (1967), Woody Allen as Jimmy Bond has a last cigarette in front of a Latin American firing squad ("I'm gonna give it up any day now"). Naturally it's an impact bomb he throws at the squad. He climbs the wall laughing in triumph and lands on the other front of another firing squad.
  • In Legion (1998), our introduction to the protagonist has him waiting in his cell on a Prison Spaceship for execution, smoking a cigarette. It's not a courtesy as when the guards arrive to drag him off, they tell him there's no smoking in the incineration chamber and order him to hand over his stash. He jabs the lit cigarette into the guard and tries to escape instead.
  • Defied at the end of Lethal Weapon 2: Riggs is shot up pretty badly and asks Murtaugh to get his cigarettes out of his pocket then tells him to throw them away. Those things'll kill ya.
  • The Magnificent Seven (2016): In the final battle, Josh Faraday attempts to charge Bogue's position, but gets shot multiple times, collapsing to his knees right in front of Bogue's men. Mortally wounded, he requests, and is given a cigarette, which he uses to light a stick of dynamite he's holding, destroying Bogue's Gatling gun.
  • Appears in The Mask, of all movies. And it's done between the Big Bad and one of his henchmen.
  • Midway (2019): Bruno Gaido and his pilot are captured by the crew of a Japanese destroyer. When asked which ship he came from, with the caveat that they otherwise intend to kill him, Bruno asks for a cigarette. He's given one, apparently under the belief that he intends to talk, but he tells them to fuck off instead and is thrown overboard tied to an anchor.
  • Mrs. Doubtfire: At the beginning of the movie, Daniel is making voices for a cartoon where a cat who's about to eat a bird decides to give his "snack" a cigarette. The bird accepts the offer.
  • In The Naked Jungle, two workers are given cigars before their "hanging." After they receive a last-minute reprieve, they are seen happily puffing away.
  • Resident Evil Film Series:
    • Carlos's Heroic Sacrifice finishes with him finding a cigarette and lighting up while the camera pans out, showing his vehicle surrounded by zombies.
    • And in Resident Evil: Retribution, we have Barry lighting up a cigar right before he gets killed.
  • In the play and movie The Seven Year Itch, one Dream Sequence has Richard asking his wife for a cigarette after she shoots him, and she denies him this out of wifely concern for his health.
  • Played straight in a surprisingly touching moment at the end of Shaun of the Dead, when Shaun leaves Ed to be eaten by zombies, placing a cigarette in his mouth and lighting it for him. Played with a moment later with a fart joke.
  • Subverted in The Shawshank Redemption when Tommy (unknowingly) accepts his last cigarette from Norton. It is the stubbing out of Norton's cigarette (rather than Tommy's) that is symbolic, as this is his signal for the sniper to shoot Tommy.
  • Sophie, her brother, and their friend share a last smoke before they're all beheaded in Sophie Scholl: The Final Days.
  • In The Thing (1982), MacReady and Childs are the only survivors, though Mac has doubts as to whether Childs is human or not. However, Mac is too exhausted to do anything even if Childs is a Thing, and Childs (assuming he's still human) is in no condition to fight either. So they both calmly accept that they will soon freeze to death. While they wait, Childs takes one last gulp of Mac's whiskey.
  • Used as a delaying tactic in a short from The Three Stooges. The boys are granted one last smoke, whereupon Curly pulls out a cigar the size of a horse's leg. (The firing squad falls asleep before the stogie can be finished.)
  • The (in)famous Sicilian Scene in True Romance; when Dennis Hopper's character realizes that the only way to avoid torture (followed by a possible disclosure of his son's location) was to provoke the consigkiere into killing him on the spot, he finally asks for a cigarette (even though initially he refused when he was offered one).
  • Used as a method of suicide in The Two Jakes, because the man concerned is in a house that's flooded with crude oil.
  • The Usual Suspects starts with a heavily wounded Dean Keaton approached by Keyser Soze, who, despite being a monster, patiently waits for Keaton to enjoy his last drags before shooting him dead.

  • In Ai no Kusabi Star-Crossed Lovers Iason Mink and Riki share a Last Kiss in the form of touching their cigarettes together before dying in an explosion.
  • In All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul and his unit are concerned when they receive Edamer cheese in their rations. They know that the cheese is given to soldiers who are about to enter heavy combat which they likely won't survive. They feel even more apprehensive when they are offered liquor too.
  • In Discworld, executions have been referred to as something along the lines of "a short cigarette in the sunlight". They give you a nice white wall to stand up against, too.
  • The scene in Matthew Reilly's Ice Station where the British soldiers are about to kill Schofield by lowering him headfirst into a pool of killer whales. The commander gives him a last request- "A blindfold? Cigarette? Shot of brandy?" and Schofield makes a last minute plan, opts for the cigarette, and uses it to set fire to the detonator cord entwined in his handcuffs, and then he escapes, kills them all and becomes a legend for killing all the bad guys and blowing everything up, classic Scarecrow style.
  • The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton. The protagonist has a party trick where he smokes a cigarette while holding it in a psychic hand. He's captured by an organlegger who's fascinated by Gil's Psychic Powers and asks for a demonstration from the physically-bound Gil before he's cut up for body parts. So Gil takes the lit cigarette and jams it into his own eye destroying the valuable cornea. The organlegger rushes over to stop him whereupon Gil then uses his psychic hand to crush the man's heart.
  • In "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", Mitty is leaning against a wall smoking a cigarette, then enters a Dream Sequence where a firing squad is ready to execute him.
  • Averted in a Ukrainian short story about a Cossack being tried by the Poles. As he is facing the gallows, the judge offers him a last request. However, instead of a smoke, the man asks that he be allowed to dance a hopak (Cossack dance). Everybody is confused and begs him to opt for a smoke instead. Turns out, it's a trick. As he is finishing his dance with a big jump, the boards that have been cut the night before give way, and he falls into a freshly-dug tunnel, his escape having been planned by the fellow Cossacks.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played with in series 3 of 24. Ryan Chappelle, who has been marked for death by terrorist Stephen Saunders, tries to sneak out of CTU headquarters. He claims it's to smoke a cigarette — and even produces a pack as proof — but later admits he was going to try to run to escape his fate.
  • The Avengers (1960s). In "The Living Dead", John Steed is about to be executed and shows himself to be a Quintessential British Gentleman by not only declining a cigarette, but lighting one for the commander of the Firing Squad, who is more nervous than Steed.
  • On The A-Team episode "One More Time", Face was about to be put in front of a firing squad by the bad guys. He asked for a last cigarette, which they oblige. Hannibal and the others manage to puncture a hole in a nearby gas tank, Face spits out the cigarette, igniting the gas and beginning the team's breakout.
  • Inverted in Band of Brothers, Captain Speirs gives a bunch of German prisoners one last cigarette before he (supposedly) kills them all. Speirs giving them cigarettes is shown, but he is not shown killing them. It's possible someone else did that. The other soldiers don't seem to care that he killed prisoners, but are rattled that he gave them all cigarettes first, as it makes his action seem particularly cold-blooded.
    • Apparently aware of the rumors of this circulating Easy company, Spiers occasionally amuses himself by offering the other soldiers cigarettes. They understandably react with terror.
  • Appears on Battlestar Galactica at the end of the Mutiny arc. After the mutiny fails, Felix Gaeta is seen smoking a cigar and having a friendly conversation with Gaius Baltar, talking about the aspirations he had while growing up. In the next shot, he is facing a firing squad.
  • The script for the final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer includes a (never filmed) scene in which Giles and Robin Wood share a "hand rolled cigarette" before the final battle.
  • In the series finale of Burn Notice, Madeline Westen has a last cigarette while she blows up the house with after the bad guy's minions storm it. She smoked like a chimney in previous seasons, but this is the only time she smoked in the seventh and final season.
  • Subverted in The Cape: the mentor, having been shot saving The Cape's life, talks about how he's cold, and how he always hoped he'd have something profound to say... but that all he can think of is that he really wants a drink... then he realizes he's not as mortally wounded as he thought, and shrugs it off.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Doctor Dances", Captain Jack Harkness has this as his final contingency plan for when he is absolutely and inescapably going to die, except it's a last martini rather than a cigarette. He tries to use it at the end of the episode, but he gets saved by the Doctor at the last minute.
  • Spoofed in an early episode of Friends, in which Joey is preparing for an audition in which the character practices this trope; he coughs after one smoke, and Chandler shows him the ropes, leading to a relapse in his addiction.
  • Get Smart
    • In "Viva Smart", Max is about to be shot by a Banana Republic firing squad.
      Max: May I have a last cigarette?
      Dictator: Of course, it is the tradition.
      Max: (takes out ridiculously-long cigarette) It might take a while.
    • In "Island of the Darned", Max and 99 are about to be shot by the villain, so ask for this trope as there's a hidden bomb in one of their cigarettes. Unfortunately it's in a cigarette pack full of them. Cue the villain waiting impatiently as our heroes light one cigarette after another, until they find the right one.
    • In "Spy, Spy, Birdie" the Villain of the Week is sensitive to loud noises. He's planning to Kill All Humans with his silent explosive, so Max asks for a last cigarette, then jumps him when he flinches at the noise of the striker.
  • On Highlander: The Series, when Hugh Fitzcairn is captured by The Hunters, he asks if he gets a last request prior to his beheading. When the lead Hunter gruffly demands to know what it is, Hugh asks for "a last smoke of my pipe." The Hunter considers it for a moment before denying him, though this buys Duncan the last few moments he needs to get to the scene and rescue his friend.
  • Colt in Justified, finding himself facing off with Friendly Sniper Tim Gutterson, pulls out his pack of cigarettes and lights one up before raising his gun.
    Colt: Maybe I'll quit tomorrow... I guess I'll quit today.
  • Eliot and Hardison use this excuse during one episode of Leverage while held at gunpoint at an anti-IRS camp. It was later used as a fuse for a makeshift bomb.
    • Hardison claims that this trope is required by the Geneva Convention for all captured combatants about to be executed. Eliot plays along and points out that, if they're really to be treated as combatants, than the militia has to let them smoke.
  • In the second season of Life On Mars, Sam Tyler escapes death by asking for one last cigarette. He doesn't smoke, using the distraction to effect an escape.
  • Beautifully and wordlessly evoked in the episode of Mad Men where Pete follows through on his threat to tell Bert Cooper what he knows about Don's past (that he deserted the army during the Korean War by switching dog tags with the real, dead Don Draper). As Cooper slowly gets up from his desk and walks around to where Pete and Don are standing, Don, expecting the worst at this point, faces straight ahead and lights a cigarette while waiting for the proverbial axe to fall. It falls on Pete.
  • Everybody Smokes in Peaky Blinders. When Tommy's about to be killed, he asks for a last smoke. The request is granted.
  • Scrubs has the terminal patient of the week asking for one last beer. He originally wanted a last smoke, but was turned down. Chuckling, he asked what the doctors thought would happen. JD commented that it could ignite the nearby oxygen tank, resulting in a huge explosion.
  • A variation in the pilot of Something is Out There. Jack Breslin finds his police partner dying, but he wants Jack to light up instead, as Jack's girlfriend has been harping on about him quitting. "I just want to see you do what you want...and then throw the damn things away before they kill ya."
  • Super Sentai:
  • Star Trek:
    • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, there are two examples in "Our Man Bashir", a James Bond spoof.
      • The villain Falcon (the image of Chief O'Brien) grants agent Komoninoff (Kira) and Bashir one last kiss before he shoots them. Bashir proceeds to remove her earring while they kiss and tosses it to the floor to make it explode, distracting Falcon and his minions long enough to knock them out and escape.
      • Bashir and Garak are strapped to a giant laser. Bashir's last request is for Dr. Honey Bare (Jadzia Dax's body) to let her hair down. The holodeck has turned her into a mousy scientist, so she's very shy, but she does it. This is enough seduction for her to slip him the key. Quoth Garak: "Kiss the girl; get the key. They never taught me that in the Obsidian Order."
    • At the end of the Season 2 finale of Star Trek: Picard, Guinan tells Picard that Christopher Rios, who chose to remain in the 21st century, met his end being fatally wounded in a bar fight in Morocco over medical supplies. His last breath was into one of his trademark cigars.
      Guinan: So he died like he lived.

    Public Service Announcement 
  • Yleisradio, the Finnish public radio company, aired an anti-tobacco PSA where a man was about to be executed by a firing squad. The commander of the squad proceeds to offer a cigarette to the condemned, who turns it down, having quit smoking last week.

  • The Visit: When the townspeople unanimously vote to murder Alfred Ill for money, Alfred asks for and receives a cigarette — an expensive one, that had been bought on credit — and stamps the butt out as he goes to his death.

    Video Games 
  • Subverted in two ways in the flash game Armed With Wings 2. After his defeat, Smoking Martillo requests to finish his final cigarette, and is consequently executed by the main character. Probably a wise decision, considering he fights with smoke from his cigarettes. He is later resurrected, along with the other generals you killed.
  • In Assassin's Creed III, Charles Lee is badly wounded by Connor and stumbles his way into a tavern. Connor, also wounded, follows him inside and finds him having one last drink. Connor wordlessly joins Charles and lets him finish his drink and accepts a swig after Charles passes the bottle to him, right before finishing him off.
  • The Left 4 Dead comic "The Sacrifice" has Bill do this just as he's about to be attacked by three tanks. Word of God says that he killed all three tanks before dying.
  • Jacket from Hotline Miami has a non-fatal one of these after he murders the Grandfather. It's revealed in the second game that Jacket was a hardcore chain-smoker while he was in the Special Forces, with one flashback scene showing him literally surrounded by burnt cigarette butts. As mentioned prior, he briefly returns to the habit after finally accomplishing his vendetta.
  • Both subverted, double subverted and played straight in Metal Gear Solid 4: Snake is about to kill himself, so he has a last smoke, however, it then turns out that he doesn't need to. However, he quits smoking afterwards, so it was technically still his last. Played straight with Big Boss during the ending, however.
    • "No, thanks. Those things'll kill ya." -Snake, after five games of dodging bullets, tanks, and super-villains.
    • Played completely straight in Metal Gear Solid, however: When Sniper Wolf lies dying in the snow after the second fight with her, she asks Otacon to hand her her sniper rifle, and she dies holding it against her chest.
  • Variation with subversion: In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the apparently dying Bobbery wants one last sip of his prized Chuckola Cola vintage. (In the Japanese version, it's red wine called "Vintage Red.") You trek all over the island to fetch it for him. When you finally bring him the bottle, he takes one sip, and promptly... falls asleep. At which point, your partner gets annoyed that he put you through all that trouble, and orders you to conk him awake. (On the plus side, this is where Bobbery officially joins your party.)
  • It's only alluded to, but at the end of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations, coffee addict Godot drinks one last cup of coffee before being sent to prison for murder, possibly facing execution.
    Godot: How many cups of darkness have I drank over the years? Even I don't know. The only thing I do know is... Right now, this one here is the greatest cup I think I've ever had. Don't you think so... Phoenix Wright?
    Phoenix: [also drinking coffee] Yeah, I think you're right.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles 4, this is how Raz spends his final moments, staring down the approaching Imperials wearing a smile, chomping on an unlit cigarette while asking them "Hey. You got a light?" The last thing the rest of the squad hear over the com is the sound of gunfire. Interestingly, the episode in the game's storybook interface refers to this cutscene as "An Unlit Cigarette."
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, after having been beaten by Shulk and co., Dickson lights one last cigar after calling it quits since A) he doesn't want to give them the satisfaction of delivering the finishing blow and B) he doesn't want Shulk to see his father figure die.
  • In Resident Evil 4 (Remake), Luis Sera quietly dies after having taken some drags.

  • A Cyanide and Happiness strip has a dying soldier ask a fellow soldier for a light for one last smoke. The response? "Why? You quitting? I'm so proud of you!"
  • In Team Fortress 2, Spy asks Classic Sniper for one in order to stall for time so his Sniper can come rescue him.
  • Unsounded: Horace was left behind by his unit after his leg was badly broken, and lit up his pipe for a smoke before trying to move through the building they were infiltrating. He ends up killed in short order.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Near the end of the questionably canon American Dad! episode "Rapture's Delight'', Stan, dying from a gunshot wound, lights up one last cigar before the bomb he and Jesus set explodes.
  • Danger Mouse averts it, the titular perilous rodent turns down the offer of a final cigarette, calling it a filthy habit.
  • From Duckman, Cornfed pulls this one in "A Civil War" after he's cornered by the mastermind in the episode's insurance-fraud plot. It doubles as a Brick Joke since earlier in the episode, he displayed enough skill with origami to turn a matchbook into a miniature medieval castle: this time he turned it into a pair of nun-chucks.
    "You win, Heiny. One last smoke?"
    [handing over the matches]"You know, smoking can be deadly."
  • This can be seen often in Looney Tunes for dramatic (and of course, funny) effect seeing as the characters could never conceivably die.
  • The Simpsons: Patty and Selma, when Springfield was nearly hit by a comet. Subverted, seeing as they all survived.
    "We did it. We beat cancer."
  • Tom and Jerry has a few examples:
    • In the cartoon "Texas Tom" at the ending, thinking the bull will kill him, Tom puts on a blindfold and smokes a cigarette.
    • Similarly, in "The Duck Doctor", Tom fires a shot from his shotgun that severs a rope keeping an anvil held aloft in the air, which begins to plummet. After frantically attempting to dodge the falling anvil, Tom accepts his fate, digs a shallow grave for himself, and takes a cigarette out of Hammerspace for one last puff. Cue the anvil smashing into his head right on schedule, causing his body to fall backwards into the grave, the dirt he'd shoveled aside falling neatly on top of him. The anvil itself lands a second later at the head of the grave (complete with silly sound effect), serving as an impromptu gravestone.
    • In some of Tom's cartoons, he gives Jerry a cigarette to smoke thinking he'll kill him, but Tom is the one who gets hit.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: Men were usually given cigarettes before being executed by firing squad.
    • In UK, convicts who were to be hanged were given one last shot of brandy seconds before taken to the gallows.
  • In Incredible Victory, Walter Lord tells of some Japanese Officers who actually did this at the Battle of Midway. Some survived.
  • During World War II, Kamikaze pilots drank sake before a mission.
    • They were not the only ones: Reds With Rockets had an official regulation to give each soldier a 100 ml glass of vodka before each attack. When you think back about the Soviet casualties during the Second World War...
      • More to the point, as Iron Man has put it: who in their right mind would climb into one of those things sober?
  • Benjamin Guggenheim and his valet were last seen smoking cigars and drinking brandy as the Titanic sank.
    • Not only them, but the young bellboys of the Titanic (aged 14-16) were reported to have spent the last hours of their lives joking with passengers and smoking cigarettes, which was forbidden under usual circumstances. Sadly, not one of them survived.
  • The term "Dutch courage" for an encouraging drink refers to this trope. Dutch soldiers in the 17th century were served one last glass of gin before they were sent to mission.
  • A version of this is done in hospice care. Briefly, hospice care takes over when curative medical treatment for a serious illness is no longer possible and comfort for the dying is all that remains. Once a person enters hospice care, no further attempt to cure their disease is made, but all attempts at treating secondary conditions and providing comfort are fair game, including providing things a patient should normally not get. Cigarettes themselves are hit and miss in hospice; they're a fire hazard and there are usually oxygen tanks nearby.
  • Averted with the spy Richard Sorge, executed by the Japanese during World War 2. He was offered the traditional tea and cakes, but requested a cigarette which was refused by the prison governor because it was against regulations.
  • The cigarette snail Conus geographus is a species of highly-venomous cone snail that gets its common name because it's allegedly so toxic that if one stings you, you've only got time for a last smoke before you expire. In reality, though it is extremely dangerous and medical aid should be sought immediately, the venom still takes several hours to kill an adult human.
  • In early March 2023 during the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Russian soldiers filmed their execution of a Ukrainian army POW and it went viral. He smoked a cigarette right before being shot dead.

"Smoke 'em if you got 'em, boys."


Video Example(s):


This is good, isn't it?

Slowly dying from the FOXDIE, Big Boss pulls out one of his cigars after having a last conversation with Solid Snake.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / OneLastSmoke

Media sources: