Often times, a Heroic Sacrifice is performed with no fanfare, no comment. Sometimes there's no time for a farewell. Sometimes saying goodbye would mean nobody would let you go. Whatever the reason, there's no goodbye. The hero dies, saves the day, and there is no closure. The viewer might think, "What? They Never Got to Say Goodbye. They died for this and they couldn't even have a last moment with their Love Interest/True Companions/Loyal Animal Companion? What a cheat!"
The Pre-Sacrifice Final Goodbye is what happens when the sacrifice is given more pathos; in their final moments, the hero gets to say goodbye. A final reward and feel-good moment that allows them to die happy, and at least grants their loved ones some closure.
Compare If I Do Not Return, where the Hero's death is not certain and they're asking someone else to pass on a message to their loved one(s) if they die. Also related to Dead Man Writing (where the character leaves a final message behind rather than delivering it in person). Contrast with Planning for the Future Before the End, when the Hero avoids the topic of their death and instead discusses future plans that everyone knows will never happen. See also It Has Been an Honor.
As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.
- Dragon Ball:
- During a brief pause in his losing battle against Majin Buu, Vegeta hugs his son Trunks and tells him that he loves him and Bulma and then promptly knocks Trunks and Goten unconscious to prevent them from attempting to intervene. He also speaks with Piccolo who informs him that he will most likely be going to Hell rather than paradise as Goku did before him. Once Piccolo and Krillin get the boys away, Vegeta goes through with his self-destruction gambit in an attempt to take Fat Buu with him. Just before Vegeta takes his dying breath he gives a heartfelt dedication to Goku.
- And speaking of Goku, he too also delivers a final goodbye his son, though it is downplayed in comparison to the prior example given that time was a factor, before transporting himself and Cell to King Kai's planet to prevent the latter from succeeding in a self-detonation attack to kill billions of people.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa has Ed bid farewell to Al (and Mustang), asking him to say goodbye and thanks to Winry as well, before leaving for the other universe to destroy their side of the portal while having Al stay behind to close their world's side of the portal. Ends up not lasting, since Al sneaks into the other world with him while Mustang does the job for Al.
- Reinforce does this in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, saying goodbye to the rest of the main cast as they sealed her away. She even gets the chance to give Hayate her last request, despite her initially trying to keep Hayate from being present.
- Parodied in the Zombie Apocalypse episode in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. One of the survivors is bitten, and realizing he will soon turn into a zombie, he decides to sacrifice himself to bait the horde and buy time for the others. But his final goodbyes take too long, and he turns into a zombie right as he opens the door to enact his sacrifice.
- In Zatch Bell!, Belgim uses his strongest attack at Dr. Riddles. Kido takes the attack, but his book is burned in the process. Kido continues to distract Belgim and communicates with Dr. Riddles through the book with his heart. He thanks Dr. Riddles for all the fun times and tells him Dr. Riddles is his king. The book glows and Kido asks Dr. Riddles to use the final spell before he disappears. Using the new spell "Mikor Ma Zegaruga", Belgim is defeated and Kido disappears.
- In Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail, Alex Shepherd says their farewells to Hop after stabbing Henry with a spear, preparing to take both of them into the depths of Toluca Lake.
Alex: Goodbye Hop. And thank you.
- In Chapter 122, Son of the Sannin, Maito Gai gets to share a few moments with his students, telling them how proud of them he is, before heading off to do one last stand against Madara Uchiha, using the Eighth Gate to match the latter's power. Despite their sorrow, they accept it needs to be done, and promise they will make sure his sacrifice won't be in vain and he'll be remembered.
- Inside Out: After Bing Bong and Joy attempt to get out of the memory dump using the "rocket" twice and fail both times, Bing Bong tells Joy to try just one more time, because said character thinks it'll work this time. Before the rocket can take off, they jump from it, lightening the load enough for Joy to make it out. By the time Joy realizes what has been done, she's out and said character is still stuck in the dump. The two share some final words before Bing Bong fades away, with said character encouraging her to fix things.
- The Iron Giant. The Giant says farewell to Hogarth before stopping the nuke.
- The Abyss: After Bud uses the experimental liquid-breathing suit to descend to more than 17,000 feet underwater, he succeeds in de-fusing the nuclear warhead. He tells his ex-wife over the radio that he only has five minutes of oxygen left, so he can't possibly make it back alive, and she starts to lose it. His last words to her are "I love you, wife." The aliens do save him, but that was an unexpected development.
- Armageddon (1998): Harry Stamper, in lieu of allowing his daughter's fiancée to die on the asteroid, takes his place, with a final goodbye to Grace before.
- Captain America: The First Avenger: The climax of the film, where Steve crashes the plane to prevent it from reaching its target. He and Peggy have some tearful banter over the radio.
- The Dark Knight Rises: A villainous example; before departing with her minions to ensure the nuclear bomb meant to destroy Gotham detonates, Talia al Ghul gently places a hand on Bane's face and sadly says "Goodbye, my friend". As she leaves, Bane whispers "Goodbye" under his breath and turns his head away to hide the tears.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): When Serizawa is preparing to set off in a mini-submarine into Godzilla's lethally-irradiated lair and manually detonate a nuclear warhead there to revive the dying Godzilla, he exchanges tearful goodbyes with Dr. Chen, Dr. Stanton and Mark Russell. Additionally, when he brings the warhead up to where Godzilla's head is and is just about to detonate it, he removes his helmet and glove and touches the King of the Monsters' snout with his bare hand while saying "Goodbye, old friend" in Japanese.
- Independence Day: Downplayed. The alien ship is about to destroy Area 51 with its primary weapon and all of the attacking jets are out of missiles. Just before pilot Russell Casse performs a kamikaze attack to ram the ship and destroy it, he asks the ground controllers to tell his children that he loves them very much. His son is present in the control room and hears him.
- An entirely wordless but still deeply moving example in Spider-Man 2. Before Dr. Octavius leaves to perform his Heroic Sacrifice, he looks back and shares a sorrowful, determined gaze with his former protege Peter, silently saying goodbye where there was no time for words.
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. After Spock exposes himself to a lethal dose of radiation to save the Enterprise from the detonation of the Genesis Device, he and Captain Kirk have a talk about their friendship with each other.
- Star Trek (2009). The introduction, where Kirk Sr. goes Down With The Ship to ensure that his crew, along with his wife and newborn son, can escape alive. He gets to hear his son's voice and even gets to name him, before dying.
George Kirk: Sweetheart, can you hear me? I love you so much! I love you--
- In Wonder Woman (2017), before Steve Trevor takes down a plane carrying the new mustard gas, he says goodbye to Diana. The audience doesn't actually hear what he says until she remembers it later.
- In Dragon Bones, Ward kisses Oreg on the forehead before killing him. Not as bad as it sounds; Oreg is magically bound to castle Hurog, which is being invaded at the moment. His existence had happy moments, but is overall more of a fate worse than death. He can't even commit suicide, which is why Ward has to do this for him.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, before Harry goes to make his Heroic Sacrifice, he says good-bye in his own way to Ron and Hermione, but doesn't say anything to Ginny because he's afraid he'll change his mind if he does.
- Lady Karen from Necroscope says goodbye to Harry before she blows herself up with Shaithis.
- In Polgara the Sorceress, Polgara is forced to abandon her lover Ontrose as Vo Wacune is burned to the ground, because her own duchy, Erat, will be the next target and she has to protect her subjects. Ontrose reminds her of her responsibilities as a Duchess, and they share a final kiss before parting. Later, Polgara is informed that Ontrose died in battle.
- In The Short Victorious War, Captain Helen Zilwicki is escorting a civilian convoy which includes her husband and daughter when a vastly superior enemy force appears. She nearly skips the chance to say goodbye, because she knows that the rest of the crew also have loved ones they'll never see again and can't call, but her officers convince her that no one will mind, under the circumstances.
- Thebe and the Angry Red Eye is about a space disaster and its aftermath. After the Cool Starship's captain and pilot are killed, the remaining crew members realize they probably won't make it either and record a series of these for their final messages to Earth.
- In The Adventures of Superman episode "The Human Bomb", Jimmy Olsen calls his date Miriam to tell her he loves her and he may not be able to make their next date before trying to save Lois from the Villain of the Week.
- Doyle says goodbye to Angel and Cordelia in Angel before sacrificing himself to turn off the Death Ray. He's later shown to have passed his visions to Cordelia when he kissed her.
- In the final season of Better Call Saul, Nacho Varga realizes that he is a dead man walking, hunted by everyone in the cartel, and the best he can do is handing himself over to Gus' side at the condition that Mike ensures his father's safety after he dies. Before he makes the arrangement, he makes one last call to his father Manuel, telling him he "just wanted to hear his voice" and tearfully says goodbye.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 5 finale, before Buffy sacrifices herself by jumping into the portal, she whsipers her last words to her sister Dawn, and a message for the rest of the team, this being narrated after she dies.
- Doctor Who: In "The End of Time" the 10th Doctor has received a lethal dose of radiation and will shortly regenerate (which he explicitly compares to dying), yet he finds the time to visit all his companions that are still in this reality one more time before he regenerates.
- In the show Riverdale Jughead gets one when he calls Betty to tell her that he loves her before sacrificing himself to the ghoulies. Though it's revealed in the season finale that he's alive.
- Stargate Atlantis: In the Season 1 finale battle John goes to fly a suicide mission but gets a final moment with his co-leader and friend Elizabeth who begs him not to do it. The pair spent the season protecting their city from every horror in the galaxy with only the other to depend on and you can literally see her break when she realizes his death is the only way to save their people. John waits and then...she lets him go. Major tearjerker.
- In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Azati Prime", Captain Archer makes a final speech to his crew before he goes on a Suicide Attack to destroy the Xindi superweapon before it can destroy Earth. Subverted, though, as he gets captured en route and is eventually returned to Enterprise — after he receives the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique and Enterprise gets the crap kicked out of her.
- Eleven from Stranger Things bids farewell to Mike just before she demolishes the Demogorgon. But it is turned away because she survived.
- The Lone Gunmen from The X-Files tell Jimmy and Eve that they should continue to fight for the good and never give up.
- The Aviators song "Requiem for the King" (inspired by Dark Souls II) has the Ivory King bidding his queen a somber farewell as he plans to sacrifice himself to the Chaos in order to save her.
- In the song "Space Oddity" by David Bowie, Major Tom asks Ground Control to "Tell my wife I love her very much."
- In Jasper in Deadland, "The Trade" is a short goodbye song between Jasper and Agnes as he chooses to stay in Deadland so she can return to the Living World.
- In Jesus Christ Superstar (and the Biblical account it was based on) Jesus is disappointed that He can't say good-bye to His disciples because they all fall asleep again every time He wakes them up.
- In Cyberpunk 2077, "Goodbye V, and never stop fighting" are Johnny Silverhand's final words to V, although in his case, he is long dead. This still counts, though, since in said scene, he sacrifices his one shot at a second life that he'd have gained by taking over V's body. However, V can also reverse the scenario and do this for Johnny, if they chose to give up their body after completing "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", the game's unlockable final mission (assumedly if you two have a high enough relationship). Johnny tries to stop V from crossing the bridge multiple times, before he eventually admits that he's scared for them while displaying some very anxious body language. V then offers a handshake goodbye, which Johnny reluctantly accepts. But when V tries to pull away, Johnny refuses to let go at first, holding their hand closer as he looks them in the eyes, before finally releasing it with an absolutely heartbreaking expression on his face. See it here for yourself.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, the Warden is given a chance to say goodbye to their teammates before heading off to battle the Archdemon. Unless certain measures are taken beforehand (having your other Grey Warden party member (Alistair or Loghain die in your stead or concieving a child with Morrigan through her ritual or a strong bond, which will save everyone, even Urthemiel.), the Warden dies during the final battle, as his/her soul and the Archdemon's will destroy each other.
- An additional one happens before the party delivers the killing blow to the Archdemon in the final battle. Alistair (or Loghain, if recruited) and the Warden must decide which of them is to die to neutralize the Archdemon's soul with their own. Whomever is chosen (unless Alistair is romanced, in which case he insists that it be him) gets a final goodbye in before charging the dragon. However, if you took Morrigan's deal or you have a strong bond with her before the battle of Denerim, no such scene takes place and the Warden always delivers the final strike, surviving thanks to the newly-concieved Kieran, who absorbs Urthemiel's soul instead of his father, saving his life in the process.
- Final Fantasy XV: a mid-credits scene shows that Noctis confided in his friends the night before his destined Heroic Sacrifice, made peace with his fate and let them all know how much he loved them.
- In Mass Effect 3, Shepard gets the opportunity to talk to almost all of their past party members just before the last battle in London, and Shepard later gets a heart-to-heart with Anderson as the latter dies from his injuries. The Extended Cut also added a final The Big Damn Kiss between Shepard and their love interest just before the part where Shepard is forced to limp towards the Citadel.
- If certain dialogue options are taken during the final confrontation of Planescape: Torment, the Nameless One gets a chance to speak with his friends one last time and bid them farewell before going to Hell for all eternity to atone for his First Incarnation's horrendous crimes.
- Subverted and Played for Laughs in the end of the Saints Row IV prologue: As the Boss climbs the nuclear missile to disarm it before it gains enough altitude, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" begins to play (in a direct homage to a similar Heroic Sacrifice scene from Armageddon (1998)) as the other Saints take turns to say tearful goodbyes to their leader. Completely unfazed, the Boss tears up the missile and leaps off, crashing through the roof into the Oval Office perfectly unharmed.
- In El Goonish Shive, Pandora gives one right before she uses her forced reset to kill most of the Aberrations on the planet.
- Magick Chicks: Since Faith couldn't save all of her fellow council members from Cerise's spell circle, she elected to at least save her secretary, Sandi. Faith only had enough time to say a few parting words, before she and the others were mass teleported to their Uncertain Doom.
- What Happens in Fear & Hunger 2: Termina - Full Story Analysis briefly mentions, when it gets to the section covering Ending A of Fear & Hunger: Termina, Olivia, Marcoh, O'saa and Abella saying their goodbyes to Levi, Marina, Daan and Karin before the former four venture into the White Bunker... from which they never emerge.
Goodbyes are made and the four venture into the bunker. The vault door clangs shut behind them — it will not open again.
- The Dragon Prince: In "Heart of a Titan", when Queen Sarai decides to go back to save Viren because without him to perform the spell, everything they had done would be worthless, she says goodbye to King Harrow with a simple "I'll see you on the other side."
- In the South Park episode "Die, Hippie, Die", just as they are about to embark on a journey drilling through a dense hippie crowd, Randy Marsh says goodbye to Sharon, Linda Stotch says goodbye to Butters, Chef (the designated sacrificial black man) says goodbye to his women, and Cartman says goodbye to... his stuffed animal, Clyde Frog.