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Really Dead Montage

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Oh no! They killed off your favorite character! It's all right — this is a TV show, he'll be back next week, right?

Not if the victim was the subject of a Really Dead Montage, he won't. Not if somewhere between the famous last words, the anguished shouts of How Dare You Die on Me! and the uncontrollable sobbing while holding the body, a sad rock or Celtic ballad and two minutes of happy scenes from past episodes starts playing. And especially not if The Character Died with Him! A Really Dead Montage can kill a character far more effectively than the shot to the chest, drop off a cliff, or, in extreme cases, graphic decapitation could ever hope to do. You can Retcon, Hand Wave, Reset Button, or All Just a Dream a character out of just about any kind of messy end, but the Really Dead Montage means Killed Off for Real, no coming back. Especially if they play Kansas' "Dust In The Wind" as it rolls.

Also available in Permanently Put on a Bus flavor, when the character doesn't die but is really, really gone.

For subtlety, this can take the form of a Happier Home Movie, usually filmed up close at an angle for extra creepiness.

The only thing that can override a Really Dead Montage is the First Law of Resurrection — however, considering the authors went to all the trouble of planning a Really Dead Montage in the first place, they probably don't want to invoke the First Law of Resurrection later. If the character returns nonetheless, the Really Dead Montage itself qualifies as a particularly conspicuous Premature Eulogy. Compare My Life Flashed Before My Eyes.

Contrast Obituary Montage, when this is done for several real people who died. See also In Memoriam, a dedication honoring a deceased creator, though one might follow an example of this trope if The Character Died with Him (as in the Paul Walker example at the end of Furious 7).

WARNING: Being about a character's death, unmarked spoilers will follow.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The AIR TV series offers a twist. The flashbacks from the show itself occur during Misuzu's (in)famous last walk towards her mother, to emphasize her "goal"-speech. After she dies there is a montage of past events that did not actually happen, such as Haruko buying the baby chick that Misuzu wanted so badly or walking with her along the beach, things that Haruko wished she would have done while Misuzu was still alive. Cue "Aozora" playing in the background.
  • Aldnoah.Zero has one for Princess Asseylum after being shot dead. It's actually Inaho remembering all the most memorable times he has seen Asseylum. Subverted as the season finale's ending narration states the United Earth military Never Found the Body, and season 2 confirmed she wasn't dead.
  • Parodied in an episode of Animal Yokocho — after Iyo accidentally bisects Kenta while attempting the old sawing-a-protesting-friend-in-half magic trick, she sits reflectively looking out the window and watches an entire Really Dead Montage go by before Kenta has a chance to protest and demand to be put back together.
  • Carnival Phantasm shows a montage of Lancer and Berserker after the latter throws him as a weapon, which he lampshades while he's flying through the air; "WAIT, WAIT WAIT WAIT, WHAT'S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!"
  • CLANNAD: In the anime, you could almost hope Nagisa, and later Ushio, just fell asleep or something, were it not for all the flashbacks.
  • Code Geass:
  • None other than Lelouch receives one as he lies dying in Nunnally's arms. Of course, he was so incredibly devious, fans have hard time believing that even a Really Dead Montage can make him stay dead. One of the He's Just Hiding responses is that montages had occurred before, as a form of Mind Rape resulting from physical contact with an immortal character, though the images involved were usually a mix of the memories and thoughts of more than one individual. This and other highly questionable and skewed interpretations lead to the possible Epileptic Tree that Lelouch might be immortal now too, even though an interview in Mook Animedia (28 Jan. 2009, p.89-90) explicitly denies that fan interpretation and explains that Nunnally saw nothing and her realization had nothing to do with codes or geasses or seeing memories. Nunnally figured out Lelouch's real plan because she can sense when someone is being truthful by touching their hand, as has been shown in past episodes with Suzaku (R2 ep07, R2 ep15) and Alicia Lohmeyer (R2 ep15). Oh, and there is also the argument that several Disney Deaths happened to other characters in the last few episodes but, in all fairness, none of those went through montages, and extrapolation is always very dangerous.
  • Cowboy Bebop plays the trope gorgeously straight well, almost with Spike Spiegel in Episode 5 to the transcending tune of "Green Bird" by Yoko Kanno, complete with an intricate and potent flashback sequence. The Villain of the Week wounds the character harshly enough to warrant his death, and, before the Villain delivers his final blow, the character leaves him with a Dying Moment of Awesome. Only, it isn't... or is it?
  • After L dies in Death Note, the series mourns by spending half an episode reviewing everything that's happened so far. (This is right before a Time Skip, so it was also a very convenient time for a recap.) There's another lingering, montage-y death in the finale.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Shown during the credits of Dragon Ball GT's Distant Finale.
    • Subverted earlier in Dragon Ball Z. After Chiaotzu's Heroic Sacrifice, flashbacks rushed through a stunned Tien's mind, since at that point in the series, once someone was already brought back to life once, that was it. Then came Porunga.
    • This happens in the original Dragon Ball after Goku finds Krillin after he was murdered by Tambourine, one of King Piccolo's sons.
  • Fairy Tail: Jellal gets one coupled with Never Found the Body, and he still came back. Gajeel gets one late into the final arc, but he also came back.
  • Archer in Fate/stay night. There's another one for Saber in the finale. They even changed the ending sequences for those two episodes to the montages, complete with ending themes different from the usual.
  • The Fist of the North Star episode where Rei dies was an entire Really Dead Montage, being a Clip Show.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), little Nina Tucker gets one of these during the end credits after her gruesome death, despite only having been in two episodes.
    • Even more epitomizing this trope, however, is the death of Maes Hughes, a character the viewers were just beginning to really love. It seemed so impossible that he could really be dead that the last five minutes of the episode were spent at his funeral, at his burial, with his mourning friends and family, and the kicker: seeing his ghost waving goodbye at a train station. Just to make it REALLY clear. You can't forget his crying daughter pleading that "He said he has a lot of work to do and if they bury him he can't do it when he wakes up!"
    • Hohenheim gets one in the penultimate episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
  • Fushigi Yuugi:
    • It not only has one of these for Nuriko, it also precedes the death with a montage of him imagining a happy alternative future with Miaka. Then later, there's another for Hotohori. It still doesn't stick, though.
    • Amusingly, Mitsukake, who died around the same time as Hotohori, did not have such a montage. Of course, the heroine didn't particularly seem upset by his death. Neither did most of the audience.
  • The ninja robot Volfogg from King of Braves GaoGaiGar gets one after his fight with Penchinon, then comes back two episodes later. The two characters who do actually die get nothing of the sort.
  • The last episode of Japan Sinks has one for the entire country of Japan. Considering that the entire series concerns it sinking into the sea, it was inevitable.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Jonathan slumps over after being strangled and stabbed multiple times, with Dio taking notice. If that wasn't good enough, the ship the two were on explodes and sinks into the ocean. And if that wasn't good enough, Dio resurfaces a century later with his head attached to Jonathan's body.
    • In Stardust Crusaders, Iggy manages to defeat Pet Shop, but is badly wounded, including having lost one of his front paws, not to mention that he's in the middle of a river. As he sinks he starts having visions of his life as "King of stray dogs", his capture by Avdol and various scenes of his travel across Egypt with the heroes. Subverted. The dog-loving boy Iggy saved from Pet Shop saw him floating in the river and helped him out.
  • Kanon:,
    • The 2006 remake, offers a subversion: Ayu gets the montage, but as we learn in the next episode, when she invokes the power of miracles, both she and everybody else that seemed headed for certain death is Not Quite Dead. Yes, even Makoto.
    • In the original Visual Novel she gets the same after/as part of a damned depressing reveal only for Akiko to casually mention a recent news article one morning not much later saying that a certain girl woke up from her seven year coma.
  • Macross Frontier,
    • Played in with the episode "Goodbye, Sister." Basically, the entire episode consisted of Hot-Blooded, definitely-set-to-die-hot-bloodedly big-brother type Ozma Lee surviving multiple cliched death lead-ups and situations, including fond memories of his adopted younger sister, reconciling with his ex-girlfriend, various musical interludes by the band Fire Bomber, sneaking off to the suspicious enemy base by himself, leading the battle against the Alien Invasion with risky maneuvers and hot-blooded speeches, attending his younger sister's first concert while heavily injured, and even a Shout-Out to a famous character death in Super Dimension Fortress Macross (pineapple cake, anyone?)...and then ending up in the hospital, recuperating but safe.
    • It's later played straight with a small twist in Episode 20: Mikhail, the character who commented on how tragic it would've been for Ozma Lee to have died, gets one while protecting Unlucky Childhood Friend Klan Klein while she lies in a tube - complete with happy smiling face, and an acoustic version of 'Diamond Crevasse', a song about farewells and losing loved ones.
    • Basically, these two characters were created with the intention of using the viewer's knowledge of tropes against them; Ozma is the hotshot big brother-type who tends to die about halfway through this type of story (he very intentionally conjures up the memory of a character who did die in the original SDF Macross) whereas Mikhail is the type of character whose function isn't to die, but to go from a stuck-up jerk to a nice guy thanks to the influence of his True Companions and the love of a good woman. So after leading us by the hand and playing these tropes perfectly straight, the writers flip them at the last moment, with the first surviving and the latter dying tragically just as he was about to shake off his jerkdom.
  • Played straight in the Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro manga, where Sicks is about to kill Detective Sasazuka, and loudly commands his daughter XI to read Sasazuka's mind so she can witness what someone obsessed with revenge will see the moment before they die. He begins to think about his friends and family, his family's murder and the events that lead up to his death, but at the last second chooses to indulge in some happy memories of his allies right before his head is blown off.
  • Lockon Stratos got one before his death in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, which undermined the impact of the death a bit.
  • Monster Rancher gives Allan's Worm and Baku one, as well as Tiger—though the latter was Faking the Dead.
  • My Hero Academia gives one to Mirio's Quirk after he is shot with a Quirk destroying bullet. It shows him working hard to master his Quirk from when he was a little kid to the present. All the while Light of Hope is playing.
  • Episode 17 of My-Otome has one for The Mole. And in the episode immediately afterward, one for royal maid Aoi, right before she sacrifices herself before an angry mob. The latter of which is one of the rare cases where she actually turns out to have survived, and it wasn't just the creator having second thoughts.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto has two of these in quick succession with Neji and Chouji when they were nearing the end of Part 1. Somehow they got better. The same goes for Kakashi. Neji did ultimately die in the manga, but MUCH later.
    • And sorta with Sasuke when he "died" in the Land of Waves.
  • One Piece:
    • Strangely, Usopp gets one of these montages during the Water 7 arc after getting badly beaten up by the Franky Family, despite not only being alive, but also having been confirmed as such by one of the main characters.
    • The Going Merry got a montage set to one of the ending themes as the crew watched it burn.
    • Chapter 574: Ace shields Luffy from Akainu's magma attack and is rewarded with one of these as he dies in his little brother's arms.
  • Himari Takakura gets one in episode 12 Penguindrum. And then it's subverted: in the following episode, she's Back from the Dead.
  • Pokémon:
    • Oddly enough, in an episode titled "Pikachu's Goodbye?" Ash tries to leave his Pikachu behind with a community of wild Pikachu, thinking it's what's best for him. The show goes into a montage complete with sad music. Obviously, despite what looks just like a Really Gone Montage, Pikachu refuses to be left behind and they are back together immediately after the montage ends.
    • This also happens in later seasons, where the female sidekick for the region Ash is visiting is Put on a Bus.
    • And this is also subverted by Ash's Bulbasaur. Though that Pokemon does not appear in future episodes, he is given a notably depressing montage featuring when Ash captures him. However, the subversion comes when it was revealed that the falling rock didn't crush him as thought, but he burrowed underground.
    • The sixth season episode where Ash catches his Treecko features a Really Dead Montage...for a tree. This is doubly weird because Ash sees it.
    • Jessie's Dustox and Ash's Butterfree both had similar "Release" montages showing various things they had done with their respective trainers.
  • In the anime version of The Promised Neverland, Sister Krone is the subject of a flashback to scenes of their time at the orphanage, right before Isabella's trap is sprung, and Krone is murdered by one of the monsters.
  • Invoked in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, in the episode following Tomoe Mami's beheading. Some old-fashioned TV monitors in a witch labyrinth replay the dead character's last few scenes to torment Madoka. Subverted; Mami comes back to life in the last episode.
  • After Suzuri is killed in RideBack, the show's next On the Next segment is turned into a Really Dead Montage instead of containing its usual wacky shenanigans. This only helps to double the Mood Whiplash caused by the calm ending tune which is sandwiched between the two events.
  • Makoto of School Days gets one interspersed with the scenes of him being stabbed to death by Sekai.
  • Subverted in Stellvia of the Universe, where the Humongous Mecha piloted by Shima Katase (incidentally, the main heroine) gets hit with an Earth-shattering (literally, as if the phenomenon reaches the Earth it will cease to exist) wave and seemingly ceases to exist in the penultimate episode — then we are treated to a standard next episode trailer narrated by the sad best friend of the said heroine — and she in nowhere to be seen. The next, final episode starts with a Really Dead Montage lasting several minutes — and yet, right after the opening modified to also be a Really Dead Montage she turns out to be alive (and her Mech unharmed) within the next fifteen seconds.
  • Tenchi in Tokyo has one in the end credits for Sakuya Kumashiro, including a song sung by Mayumi Iizuka, Sakuya's VA.
  • Parodied in Those Who Hunt Elves, where the tank gets one when it runs out of gas. It largely consists of shooting things.
  • The final episodes of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 does this with Yuuki. It shows off a montage of his short life from birth, mainly involving him and his sister Mirai.
  • Subversion: Starscream in Transformers: Armada gets one of these after he is vaporized by Unicron's lightning, but he comes Back from the Dead in Transformers: Energon.
  • In Washio Sumi Is a Hero, Gin gets an outro sequence dedicated to her after she dies in battle.
  • Welcome to the NHK has the Put on a Bus version of this when Yamazaki leaves. He's still a pretty major character for the remaining episodes though, he's just not living next to Satou anymore.
  • Bruno/Antinomy gets one of these in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, after Yusei insists that those memories together make them true companions. Fittingly, he's one of the very few characters in the show to actually stay dead.
  • Spoofed in Beastars when Legoshi starts engaging in a flashback montage after eating Louis's leg... while Louis is casually sitting against a tree a couple of meters away.
    Louis: Are you trying to reduce me to a flashback character? I'm alive, you dumb dog.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, Kalo gets one of these, as he looks at the images and scenes flashing in his soul cube before he dies.

  • Gilbert Gottfried once did a parody of this while host of USA Network's movie-program Up All Night. Early on in one of the movies, the supernatural villain offs a minor comedy-relief character named "Curly" or somesuch. So, during the next commercial break, Gottfried showed a misty music-saturated collection of clips featuring Curly, ending with the standard "smiling head-shot", before fading tastefully to black. It was hilarious.

    Comic Books 
  • The death of Phoenix in the original Dark Phoenix Saga in X-Men, which at the time was supposed to be a real death was immediately followed by an issue giving a montage of the X-Men's entire history. (However, the montage issue was going to have been released even with the original ending where she stays alive.)
  • The Death of Superman concluded with one of these in the form of an in-universe issue of a Newsweek equivalent.
  • X-Men
  • The Title Character's death in Cerebus the Aardvark features one that takes up an entire page.
  • Done in the Batman storyline A Death in the Family. When Batman finds out that Jason Todd, the second Robin, has found his mother, who it turns out is working for The Joker, he rushes to his aid only to arrive in time to see the warehouse he was being held hostage in explode. He then has flashbacks of his first meeting with Jason and all the fun times they had, shortly before he finds Jason's dead body in a pile of debris.

    Fan Works 
  • Subverted in Pretty Cure Heavy Metal, when Cures Burton, Stradlin, Roadie, and Hendrix all die in the final fight at the end of the penultimate episode. The next episode starts with a montage of all four of them from previous episodes. Of course, then they come back to life at the end of the episode. All of them.
  • In the Tamers Forever Series: one of these plays when Rika is grieving over Takato's death.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 


    Live Action TV 
  • Teri Bauer's death at the end of season 1 of 24 is accompanied by flashbacks to their happy family life at the beginning of the season. This was especially notable because due to the show's real-time nature (which was played up more in season 1 than any season since), flashbacks and/or montages are otherwise nonexistent. They rectified this by showing the montage on one half of the screen while the other half continued to show Jack in real-time. It's still the only time the show has escaped Limited Third-Person perspective, though.
  • Used in part two of The 4400's third season opener, when Lily dies.
  • The Adam-12 episode "Elegy for a Pig" opens with one of Malloy's friends on the force getting killed in the line of duty, and most of the rest of the episode is Malloy remembering him in training, on the job, and when Officer Porter earned the Medal of Honor. The final scene is at the funeral.
  • Angel
    • The episode "Shells" ends with one of these for Fred.
    • When Doyle dies in "Hero", you get the home movie version, with Angel and Cordelia watching a commercial Doyle had filmed for Angel Investigations before dying. In something of an Ironic Echo, he's talking about what a hero Angel is but, after his own Heroic Sacrifice, the uncertainty in reading his scripted lines for the commercial makes his recorded dialogue extra poignant as they play it back posthumously:
    Doyle: When the chips are down and you're at the end of your rope, you need someone that you can count on. And that's what you'll find here, someone who'll go all the way, who'll protect you no matter what. So don't lose hope, come on over to our offices and you'll see that there are still heroes in this world. Is that it? Am I done?
  • In Season Four of Arrow, when the "who is in the grave" mystery was resolved as Laurel Lance, many fans didn't believe she was really dead, because several unusual or ambiguous choices in the final scenes suggested He's Just Hiding or Faking the Dead.(And also because the number of dead or "dead" characters coming back had led to Death Is Cheap) The next episode, however, not only featured a funeral, but also flashbacks posthumously featuring the character, as well as heartfelt moments of mourning from the other characters, including ones who had been suspected of colluding on Faking the Dead. This effectively settled the matter... until the The Flash (2014) finale raised the possibility of a Cosmic Retcon, and the actor came back as the Earth-2 version of the character.
  • There's an episode of Beastmaster consisting mostly of Flashbacks of a certain character after she falls into the water during a battle scene at the start of the ep.
  • On Call Me Kat, when Leslie Jordan's character was written out due to the actor's death, the episode ended with a montage of his previous scenes set to a song he recorded with Dolly Parton, with the very fitting title of "Where the Soul Never Dies".
  • Daytime soap operas are known to do this even when the characters aren't dead. This happened during John Black's funeral on Days of Our Lives and he had returned by the following year.
  • Mike Delfino gets this in the final season of Desperate Housewives just before he is shot by a mobster.
  • Doctor Who:
  • In a sad variant, the end of the final episode of sitcom Father Ted features one of these montages for Ted Crilly — not because the character had died, but because the actor, Dermot Morgan, had died the day after filming was completed.
  • Game of Thrones: Subverted at first, then played straight with Stannis: Stannis's actual death is given a Gory Discretion Shot rather than being shown, and for this reason, a number of viewers wondered if Brienne might have spared Stannis for some ineffable reason. Come Season 6, characters from Roose Bolton to Brienne of Tarth mention his death to drive the point home (more for the viewers than the characters) that he really is Deader than Dead.
  • In Heroes, arch-villain Sylar gets one in the graphic novel immediately following the Volume 4 season finale, where Mohinder recounts the history of Sylar's evil and the Heroes' 4-Volume long struggle against him. Of course, this being Sylar, He's Just Hiding. Inside Nathan. And Matt.
  • Highlander. When Tessa dies, we're treated to enough clips to span the entirety of "Dust in the Wind". When Richie eventually dies as well, the exercise is repeated. Other major (good) Immortals, most notably Darius, tend to get montages to the tune of Who Wants To Live Forever.
  • Frustratingly enough, the Australian soap opera Home and Away ended a season with a long-running female character being stabbed and lying in a pool of her own blood, followed by one of these montages, set to the song "Light Surrounding You", stretching right back to the series beginning (the actress had been with the show for twenty years). When the first episode of the next season aired, it turned out that the character wasn't even dead!
  • After Alex Trebek passed away in November 2020, the last episode of Jeopardy! that he taped concluded with a montage of memorable moments in his tenure, accompanied by Hugh Jackman's rendition of "Once Before I Go" from The Boy From Oz, ending in a supercut of Alex telling the audience "So long, everybody."
  • Used in the miniseries The Kennedys, when Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated. The death of his brother the president earlier in the same episode is treated less sentimentally.
  • One appears for Corey in the last episode of LA Ink, shown between him deciding to quit the shop and his final confrontation with Kat. In this case, it's more like a "Really Gone Montage" since no one actually dies, but the effect is the same. Between the nostalgic music and the clips of hugging, "birthday" cake, and the first time he saw Kat's shop, it's pretty clear that he won't be coming back.
  • Mr. Eko's death on Lost was the only one in the series to get one. Notably, although several other main characters really die throughout the series, this character is the only one never shown again in flashbacks/time travel events/flashforward to the afterlife.
  • There is a brief one of these in Magnum, P.I. when Mac dies and Magnum flashes back on all the times he bribed him with rich desserts.
  • The season four finale of The Magicians follows the death of initial series protagonist Quentin Coldwater in this way. In a unique take on what would otherwise be a textbook example (a solemn campfire scene in which all assembled sing a poignant rendition of 'Take on Me' and burn Quentin's personal effects,) the audience watches through the eyes of Quentin. He and Penny view it from the Underworld, unseen by the mourning characters.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "Abyssinia, Henry", in which Henry Blake is killed when the plane taking him home is shot down, ends with a Really Dead Montage of clips of Henry from the preceding seasons, prefaced with the PA voice announcing "M*A*S*H 4077 bids a fond farewell to Lt. Col. Henry Blake."
  • The final episode of the Filipino show May Bukas Pa ("There Is Still A Tomorrow") spent a half hour showing all the Kid Hero's friends mourning and singing sad songs for him. Then he comes back from the dead for no reason than the Virgin Mary (played by the show's producer!) liked him too much.
  • Parodied in Mystery Science Theater 3000. In one episode, TV's Frank has been fired by Dr. Forrester and will soon be kicked out of Deep 13. Mike and the 'bots put together a montage to wish him farewell. Right afterwards, Frank gets himself rehired.
  • An episode of One Foot in the Grave features Margaret very ill in hospital. As Victor watches, she flatlines, prompting a Really Dead Montage. Except, she's not really dead; the montage is interrupted by a nurse banging on the ECG and explaining "It's always doing that."
  • Saturday Night Live did a brilliant parody of TV news as it kept "interrupting" the show covering the assassination of Our Gang star Buckwheat (as played by Eddie Murphy), running footage of his being shot in slow motion over and over. Then, mere seconds after he died, they ran one of these montages (to the Our Gang theme tune), first showing photos of the actual kid, then Murphy's leering grin...and finally the slo-mo shooting again.
  • Sesame Street.
    • Initially averted: When Will Lee died, having played Mr. Hooper for the show's first 13 years, the show chose to address the issue head-on. Big Bird learns about Mr. Hooper's passing and the other characters help him understand what this means. The producers chose not to do a montage or other flashbacks in this particular episode because they felt it might confuse the children to say he's gone forever, then show him on screen a few minutes later.
    • Later in the 1980s, "Really Dead Montages" were used when Big Bird spoke of Mr. Hooper — usually to a newcomer who asked about the picture that hangs next to his nest or about Hooper's Store. Big Bird would explain that his old friend was deceased.
  • The end of The Stand mini-series showed brief clips of the main "good" characters who died during the course of the story.
  • Done on Suddenly Susan when the character Todd dies. Like the Father Ted example above, it was especially tragic because the actor who played Todd had died in real life. Actor David Strickland committed suicide, requiring the show to find a tasteful way to write Todd out of the show. (The relatively joke-light episode revolved around the other characters trying to track down Todd when he didn't show up for work on time. At the end of the episode they learn he'd been in an accident on the way to work. Technically Todd's fate was left ambiguous, but who are we kidding?)
  • Supernatural
    • An interesting version during "Death's Door" in which Bobby dies. The entire episode is him going through his memories in an attempt to escape the Reaper.
    • Charlie also gets one at the beginning of "The Prisoner", as Sam and Dean prepare a hunter's funeral.
  • Parodied in series 4 of That Mitchell and Webb Look, where they decide they need to kill someone off to inject some pathos into the show. They choose the bit player who happens to be reading the Facebook page of his beloved girlfriend — and, post-montage, reveal that they fed him into a wood chipper.
  • Ultraman Geed: Right before the original Ultraman Belial's final death in the franchise we're shown a montage of Belial's past such as his attempt at taking the Plasma Spark, exile from the Land of Light, merge with Rayblood, preparation for the Crisis Impact and killing of Reibatos.
  • Any time someone dies on The Walking Dead (and it happens a lot), its follow-up, The Talking Dead, will typically have such a montage, to close out the episode, and include everyone who died in the episode—those who died and then are rekilled as zombies are, of course, included twice.
  • When Kensington dies in the War of the Worlds (1988) episode "Amongst the Philistines", we are treated to a series of stills of him, mostly from that very episode, as he was a minor character who had a grand total of maybe thirty seconds of screen time in the rest of the series.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • WWE did a pair of these for Eddie Guerrero after his real-life death; one to Johnny Cash's version of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt", and the other to "Here Without You" by 3 Doors Down.
  • WWE also devoted an entire three hour Raw program to Chris Benoit after his then-recent death - perhaps to make it clear that he was really really dead, unlike the Kayfabe death of Vince McMahon several weeks earlier. They would quickly end up regretting this, as the full facts about the tragedy had not yet come in. (It did not air on international broadcasts.)
  • Long before either of them though back when it was the WWF, the WWE devoted an entire episode of RAW to Owen Hart, who died in a horrific accident on the job. For about the length of the show every wrestler broke Kayfabe and fondly remembered the late Owen and culminated when the WWE's biggest name at the time, Steve Austin, stepped into the ring, said nothing and toasted a beer to the thirty foot picture of Owen that had been raised earlier.
  • They did it again for 'Macho Man' Randy Savage.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the game Feng Shui, your character doesn't just drop dead if they fail a death check and are not stabilized in time: "After death, there is a pause in the action for a slow-motion flashback montage featuring the highlights of the character's career as a sad pop ballad unfolds on the soundtrack. (The player should describe this.)"
  • In Magic: The Gathering's War of the Spark story, the card "Heartwarming Redemption" serves as this, showing that yes, Gideon really did give his life to annul Liliana's contract to Nicol Bolas.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy XI treats you to one of these when you either consider giving up on chocobo raising or when your chocobo is so old as to be automatically put out to pasture. More or less of the Put on a Bus variety.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core does this to Zack. It should be moving, but instead it feels ill-placed and tacked-on amidst the brutal, bloody, emotionally-draining death scene which preceded it - a better goodbye than a montage could ever be.
  • Isara's death in Valkyria Chronicles featured a gathering of The Squad around a tombstone, with Rosie singing a new song she promised to sing.
  • Subverted in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Raiden manages to hold back a giant Metal Gear RAY from crushing Snake, but his body is crushed to do it. The sound cuts out except for a soft piano score along with Raiden and Rose's narration from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty about their first date, ending with the lights on Raiden's visor going out. The subversion comes from the fact that Raiden doesn't die; he does lose both of his arms, but he comes back.
  • The arcade version of Double Dragon II didn't have the happy ending featured in the NES version where Marian returns to life. Instead, the ending shows a photograph of Marian with Billy and Jimmy during happier times in which she sheds a single tear that forms the words "The End", which is as close as you can expect for a really dead montage in an arcade game.
  • Valkyrie Profile uses this over and over. It's how you acquire party members: the Valkyrie herself is there when a warrior soul dies and takes the soul into her squad of einherjar.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, right at the end, when one the main characters (Xion) disappears while everyone forgets her, and everything about her stops existing (which won't be explained because the explanation is a bit long), before another of the main characters (Roxas) forgets her, a brief flashback of her turning to him and smiling is shown (about 3 seconds long). After a bit, one of his memories of her and the other protagonist (Axel) of eating ice cream shows up, the three of them having fun. Then the same scene appears again, while Xion fades away.
  • In the end of Mass Effect 3, Commander Shepard must choose one of three endings, all of them seeming to end with his/her death. (Two of them do; the last one features a post-credits scene of him/her waking up in the wreckage of the Citadel.) Either way, as Shepard goes forth to sacrifice him/herself, the player is treated to a flashback of three characters: Joker, Admiral Anderson, and Kaidan, Ashley, or Liara, depending on whom Shepard romanced. The Extended Cut adds more possible flashbacks, including Shepard's love interest from either 2 or 3, and includes a second montage at the end with some of the other characters who died along the way (Thane, Legion, and likely Mordin).
  • The memorial at the end of Halo 3 includes a montage of photos of people killed in the war, including Miranda Keyes and Sgt. Johnson. And Master Chief's callsign (117) etched onto the side of the memorial. The Chief's not dead, but nobody else knows that.
  • The last photo in Fallout 3's ending montage is a portrait of James with the Lone Wanderer as a child. In addition, before Broken Steel is installed, a photo is shown of the LW's liquefied remains if they chose to activate the purifier.
  • At the end of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, the main character receives one when they vanish due to changing the Bad Future you originate from. It includes your partner's memories of meeting and adventuring with you. You get better though.
  • Mother 3 has a brief but effective one after the death of Hinawa, set (of course) to the "Love Theme" that plays during the game's most emotional moments.

  • The final page of the first volume of Our Little Adventure is a montage of nice/funny events with a parody song of When She Loved Me by Sarah McLachlan. This was at the final part of Pauline's funeral.

    Web Original 
  • Parodied in this episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series Fan Vid Gag Dub.
  • Parodied on Homestar Runner in an early Strong Bad Email, trevor the vampire. After Strong Bad believes that Trevor has been killed, he shows the viewer a few of his "favourite Trevor moments". Since he was only made aware of Trevor's existence thirty seconds earlier, however, this consists of little more than replaying everything the viewer just watched. "Oh, Trevor, I pine for you!"
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • When a giant bug that Nappa declared his pet dies, it runs to a series of ridiculously bloomy clips of the bug. Problem is the bug was only there for about a minute, so there isn't that much to show.
    • Cell gets one of these, perhaps justified due to his sheer resilience, right as he's being evaporated by the final attack of the saga. Complete with Cell himself singing My Way as he's killed, going out with some showmanship. His Imperfect version back in Trunks' timeline also gets one, but since he got much less screentime he only gets to "And now, the end is near" before getting evaporated.
    • Future Gohan receives one (consisting of greyscaled shots from his fateful fight with the androids) as Trunks approaches his body.
    • Team Four Star also does this while releasing "dead" Pokemon in their Nuzlocke playthrough, with Ydrib, the first to die, getting a special one mid-battle.
  • There's one on Is It a Good Idea to Microwave This? every time a microwave quits working.
  • The Nostalgia Critic
    • One for Becky the Duck during his Saved by the Bell review, accompanied by the haunting strains of "My Heart Will Go On".
    • Done (relatively) seriously in Suburban Knights, wherein Ma-Ti from Captain Planet dies.
  • Marriland, in his Pokemon Nuzlocke and Wedlocke runs, does this with any of his Pokemon that faint before releasing them for good, giving a quick opinion and highlighting some of the real cinches they pulled. For Platinum onwards, fan art depicting the deceased Pokemon are shown.
  • Invoked twice during Hat Films "Feed The Beast" playthrough both times Smiffy killed one of Trott's pets. The first time when Trott called for the montage, it was played straight; the second time, instead they played a music video for a song about how sad he was and how happy Smiffy was to have killed it (set to "Want You Back (For Good)"). Later defied when Smiffy murders Crystal, one of their NPC prisoners, and Trott angrily shouts that he isn't giving her a montage.
  • While not completely about death (it also included the last attacks used against many important trainers), there was one at the end of Gamingandstuff's Emerald Parlocke for all pokemon that died and how they died.
  • Ruthlessly parodied here in the Walking Tacos Gag Dub of Bakshi's Lord of the Rings, after the death of Gandalf (who we quickly find out, was kind of a Jerkass.)
  • Games Repainted parodies this in their texture hack of Super Mario Sunshine at the end of the game. The cutscene where FLUDD suffers a Disney Death in the original game suddenly changes to a montage of gameplay from Angelo's first stream of the hack, set to "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds and using a heavy washout filter. For extra Black Comedy, unlike the original game, FLUDD is not revealed to have survived in the following cutscene.
  • When Aeirth is killed in Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged, shots of her time with Cloud flash on screen as the White Materia bounces down into the water.
  • The deaths of major characters tend to feature this in A Scotsman in Egypt. The deaths of Edmund and Edward Canmore are followed by a brief glimpse at how their children and loved ones react to the news, and the presumed death of Domnall is followed by an in-universe montage as a spy recaps the survivors' disastrous retreat, fatal attempts at vengeance, and ultimate betrayal to a foreign dignitary.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Amphibia episode "True Colors". After King Andrias drops Sprig out of his Ominous Floating Castle to fall to his death, Anne has a montage of flashbacks to the time they spent together. It's then subverted, as these memories spur Anne on to unlock her Super Mode and start wailing on King Andrias, and while she has him distracted, Marcy is able to swoop down on Joe Sparrow and save Sprig before he hits the ground.
  • The Cleveland Show episode "Gone with the Wind" ends with a montage of Cleveland's deceased ex-wife Loretta from past Family Guy episodes.
  • Happened in the last episode of Cyber Six, complete with an Imaginary Ghost Sitting At Your Table... although it was vague enough that a second season wasn't entirely unfeasible.
  • Parodied on Drawn Together with Toot's remembrance of the 'good times' with the briefly reanimated shriveled corpse of "General Mills".
  • An episode of Family Guy had a New Year's celebration from 1999 into 2000, which parodied the "TCM Remembers" variety of Really Dead Montages by having a clip reel of celebrities who died over the past millennium, such as Joan of Arc.
  • The classic Rankin Bass version of Frosty the Snowman has this after Frosty melts, underscored with a Dark Reprise of the title song. Fortunately, it's only a Disney Death.
  • The Garfield Show special "Long Lost Lyman" featured a non-lethal variant where Odie has to go back to Lyman and Garfield morosely imagines a montage of scenes featuring Odie from previous episodes when facing the possibility of never seeing Odie again. It's ultimately subverted because Odie can't bear to leave Garfield and Lyman allows Odie to continue living with Jon.
  • Parodied excellently in Megas XLR. The episode in which the Big Bad is finally destroyed ends with a montage of memorable moments, mostly from the same episode, entirely accompanied by mournful music and heart-shaped frames around every still. It ends with a shot of the hero and Big Bad with their arms around each other's shoulders and "enemies forever" written in swirly Hallmark Card font above their heads. Of course, he got better.
  • Played with in Metalocalypse, where Season 3 opens with a recap of Charles's supposed death in the previous episode, complete with an in-universe In Memoriam to sell the idea of him being Killed Off for Real only for the episode to end with him returning very much alive. Flashforward to the end of Season 4 and it's actually revealed that he did in fact die during the events of "Dethrelease", so they technically weren't lying with the montage.
  • Ninjago:
    • In the Season 3 finale when Zane sacrifices himself to defeat the Overlord by absorbing the power of the Overlord's armor, Zane flashes back through his memories of his father and the ninja team.
    • In the Season 4 finale, Lloyd learns his father, Garmadon, has to die in order to defeat the Anacondrai army. Lloyd initially leaves in anger and denial, but after remembering various moments from his relationship with Garmadon as their theme musicnote  plays, he accepts this and goes back to be the one to read the spell that banishes him.
  • The Simpsons
    • Done a few times for when a character kicks the bucket. Scratch the "really" part in the "Dial N For Nerder" episode.
    • Towards the end of "Lisa's Sax", as Lisa plays her new saxophone, we see a montage of Lisa playing her original saxophone set to Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street".
  • In the South Park episode "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls", Mr. Hankey dies and we are briefly treated to such a montage, which inexplicably features a shot of the film made to capitalise on Mr. Hankey. Mr. Hankey then got better and unleashes his vengeance on the Sundance festival (but not before getting killed and resurrected again).
  • Star Wars Rebels: After "Twin Suns" aired, in which Darth Maul is finally Killed Off for Real by Obi-Wan Kenobi, the official Star Wars website put one on their front page in order to make it clear to fans that no, he's really not coming back this time.
  • The Superjail! episode "Mr. Grumpy-Pants" ends with a montage of scenes featuring the Littlest Cancer Patient that had died.
  • Terra sort of had one in Teen Titans, with little clips of her time with the Titans throughout the episode in which she died before her actual death. Sort of subverted in that apparently, the Titans will be trying to find a way to make her better, but considering that the series came from a much darker comic and was meant for a younger audience, the creators might have just stuck that in there to lighten the blow. Though it still caused many ten year olds to curl up in a ball and cry for a while.
  • Transformers: Prime played with this one. In a multi-part concurrent arc one episode ends with Bulkhead getting thrown into the base by a blast. During his episode he faces multiple Giant Mook insecticons and even a named one(for reference there is only one unnamed insecticon fighting in the other episodes and it nearly wins a fight with two Autobots), and has to deal with a highly poisonous energon weapon. During the episode as he's having trouble, he has flashbacks to all the battles hes been in and all the memories of his friends. The episode ends with him heavily damaged, poisoned and blasted in the back out on the floor. He's injured for several episodes but survives.
  • In Winx Club, Nabu receives one the episode after his death. It's complete with a sad song and other characters, even Riven, crying over his death.

    Real Life 
  • It's common at funerals to have a collage with pictures of the deceased.
  • Some medical colleges have a slideshow at the end of every year naming and honoring the deceased who donated their bodies to the students at the college.
  • On a mass scale, the AIDS quilt is one of these.
  • Since the early 90's, awards shows such as the Emmys, Oscars and Grammys have done a clip reel of contributors to the craft who have died over the past year, complete with slow music. Nowadays they've roped in known singers like Sarah McLachlan, Queen Latifah and Eddie Vedder to perform nostalgic songs live.
  • Turner Classic Movies does this with little "TCM Remembers" promos whenever an actor, producer or director dies, and at the end of each year they do a longer video recalling many important film people who died over the year. The production company, Sabotage Film Group, is noted for its beautiful work on these memorials and other TCM promos.note 
  • News reports of famous people who have died have footage of the person while they were alive.
  • In a crossover with the film category, as actor Paul Walker died during the making of the 7th The Fast and the Furious movie, the film ends with a montage of some of his character moments in the film, all framed with him driving off into the sunset, in a situation not too dissimilar from the Father Ted and Suddenly Susan examples.
  • One MTV Video Music Awards ceremony parodied modern in memoriam-type clip reels with one showing musicians who were Condemned by History (such as Vanilla Ice), all while Michael Jackson's "Gone Too Soon" played in the background.
  • The third Night of 100 Stars special had one for people who had appeared in either of the first two and had died since then, such as Lucille Ball and James Cagney.


Video Example(s):


Shuri Mourns T'Challa

Alone on a beach with no music, Shuri burns T'Challa's funeral clothes and remembers her brother.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ReallyDeadMontage

Media sources: