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Screw the War, We're Partying

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We can't fight now, we're down 4-2!

"The heat is on in Saigon
And things are not going well
But still at midnight, the party goes on
A good-bye party in hell".
Miss Saigon, "The Heat Is On in Saigon"

This is The Bible quote in Isaiah 22:13, "let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die", taken to its Logical Extreme.

Soldiers and civilians during war will try to have as much fun as they can during their downtime to block out the horrors of war, to escape the violence, and recapture the feeling of peacetime. But then there are those who take it to a whole other level: the bombardier who turns up with a hangover, the stoned tank commander, aristocrats trying to deny a war is even happening... This one's for the characters who party to keep their upper lip stiff and morale high and the others, on the dark side of the trope, trying to block out the reality of war altogether.

Glamorous Wartime Singer often features, as does Military Moonshiner. Unlike While Rome Burns, this is for characters who are on the receiving end of war and can be a positive way for characters to keep their sanity. This can be emphasized by the partiers being called to duty during the hijinks, and they instantly snap into solid professionalism for the tasks ahead.

Compare Go-Karting with Bowser for when both sides screw the war and party together, and Holiday Ceasefire if a holiday makes the hostilities take a halt. See Apocalypse Anarchy and Screw the Rules, It's the Apocalypse! for a similar reaction to The End of the World as We Know It.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The entirety of Hetalia: Axis Powers applies; it's a giant cast of Nations as People constantly fighting each other and going through endless phases of war and revolution, but regardless, they spend most of their screentime screwing around (figuratively and literally). This is most noticeable in the series' main timeline of World War II.
  • In the Skypiea arc of One Piece, the Straw Hat Pirates drop everything to celebrate their discovery that the city of gold is real and they know where to find it. Their "Pre-Bounty Bash" takes place on the first night of a war between God Eneru's forces and the native Shandians, which they spend the next day taking part in en route to the City.
  • Played for maximum sadness in Saikano, in which the students beg the military to allow them to celebrate the school festival.

    Comic Books 
  • The comic Army @ Love is this trope. After an unsuccessful recruitment campaign, a division called Morale and Motivation markets the army as "Spring Break w/t Guns". Every platoon gets a state-sponsored orgy as well as other perks, even if they're married. Hell, they start giving out medals to soldiers who 'deploy' in the middle of combat! Many military readers have found it deeply offensive.
  • In DMZ, there is an area where both sides of the second US Civil War decide to say screw fighting, get together to party, then both sides return to their bases, lie in all their reports about what is going on, and keep their superiors clueless.
  • In ElfQuest, the night before the Wolfriders and the Go-Backs go into battle against Guttlekraw's trolls, a general orgy ensues among the elves.
  • Lost Girls is set in an Austrian hotel in 1913. Alice, Wendy and Dorothy cocoon themselves inside the hotel with the other patrons, engaging in drug-fueled orgies as the outside world erupts into war.
  • The first arc of Midnighter's series had him travel back in time to kill Hitler. Long story short, he arrives in Berlin shortly after Adolf is about to off himself as Red Army troops are closing in. Arriving at the guards' building, he finds them pissing drunk and getting it on with their girlfriends, one of them claims the staff officers are having a full-blown orgy in the next building.
  • In the Marvel Comics series The Nam the new guy is watching a movie when the Viet Cong launch a mortar attack. The new guy starts to go for cover but is stopped by his buddy, who assures him that they are safe since the enemy are watching the movie too, "Charlie don't get no R&R."
  • This is how some members of Strikeforce: Morituri cope with the reality of their situation — knowing you're going to die within a year makes some people far more reckless than usual.
  • Transformers:
    • In the IDW's Transformers comics, Blurr was a racer, one of the best, and had no interest in joining the war on either side and just said that he was gonna keep partying. However, that didn't happen and he joined the Autobots.
    • Even earlier, Marvel's own Transformers comic had Ratchet comment to a group of college students that he liked partying. He then proceeded to show them a more efficient way of roasting hot dogs. Oddly enough, this trait is mostly absent in later incarnations.
  • Many of Bill Mauldin's Willie and Joe comics feature the characters drinking, often in lieu of fighting.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Diana and her crew are seen enjoying some downtime drinking and watching a crew member put on a magic show while leading a revolution against the slavery practices of the Sangtee Empire.
  • X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Baron Soontir Fel, the best pilot in the Empire since Vader died, defected for a long and complicated list of reasons, including the fact that he and his command had been assigned to the utterly incompetent Admiral Lon Isoto. Isoto tried to make Fel cheat on his wife with a servant girl, had no grasp of tactics and no sense of what a victory was, and just threw orgies around. Fel knew that his command had been assigned there for the express purpose of being killed by the Rebels as part of one of Isard's schemes. With that in mind, he let his pilots attend and enjoy themselves since it would be inhuman to deny them a last pleasure. Fortunately for them, Isoto's assassination at Isard's order meant that they didn't all get killed; if Fel hadn't gotten captured in that battle, he might have put off defecting a little longer.

    Films — Animation 
  • Steven Universe: The Movie: The villain and her Doomsday Device arrive at Beach City the same day that a Sadie Killer and the Suspects concert is scheduled, so Greg drops the cover charge and the city uses the warehouse they're performing in as a shelter. Steven complains that Greg has more important things to do than manage the band right now, but realizes that a rock concert may be a good place to help Pearl snap out of her Identity Amnesia by reminding her of her rebellious side. This works.
    Mayor Nanefua: [to people coming in] Ticket holder or evacuee?

    Sadie: Who's here for the show?!
    [some of the crowd cheers]
    Sadie: Who's here cause it's the end of the world!?
    [more of the crowd cheers]
    Lars: [offscreen] Wait, what?
  • In The Transformers: The Movie, the Autobots are devastated by the death of Ultra Magnus and theft of the matrix.. But it doesn't dampen the mood at all when they start a dance party with the Junkions just a few minutes later.
    • In their defense, it doesn't hurt that the Junkions thought repairing and resurrecting Ultra Magnus (complete with a new coat of polish) was a grand idea for a party game.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Features in Apocalypse Now, with Willard reflecting that "(Charlie's) idea of great R&R was cold rice and a little rat meat." during a USO show. Also the scene in the Director's Cut where the main characters trade their fuel for some private time with Playboy models.
    • The extraordinarily famous scene when Col. Kilgore orders his men to take a village so that they can partake of its surfing beach. Some are even seen out on longboards before the battle has even concluded.
  • In Blood Diamond, a party is held at night in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The very next night, it's the RUF rebels who are partying, as they have just invaded the city during a battle the day before.
  • Buffalo Soldiers centers around a bunch of U.S. soldiers in late 1980s West Germany being bored out of their skulls from the lack of combat. They respond by partying all the time and setting up a drug ring, at least until a hard-ass Sergeant arrives to crack them down.
  • The finale of Carry On Up the Khyber shows the main characters attempting to have a dinner party while their mansion is being bombed all to hell.
  • In Casablanca, Rick's Cafe hosts the Vichy French and the richest of the refugees at Rick's Cafe trying to gamble and drink while the war goes on elsewhere. Then some Nazi Officers and a Czech freedom fighter are thrown into the mix...
    • Even before then, it's played with a bit in that even though Rick's Cafe Americain is a good place to go for a good time, it's also a place where the black market, espionage, and various other schemers go to make contacts, arrange deals and such; even though the party's good, no one's entirely forgotten that there's a war on.
  • The Court Jester: Hawkins dresses up as the Black Fox and performs a musical number during the middle of the rebellion against Roderick to entertain the Black Fox's soldiers. They enjoy the show, although the Black Fox himself doesn't.
  • Das Boot:
    • The first scenes involve the crews from a pair of submarines in the Wolf Pack having a party the night before going back to the Atlantic.
    • Later aboard the submarine, the crew is enjoying themselves after a stressful day. We see one crew member dancing like some sort of tropical girl while the rest of the crew shouted out catcalls and wolf whistles.note 
  • The Dirty Dozen centres on a mission to assassinate several high-ranking Nazis during a country-house party.
    • The Dozen themselves also party with prostitutes at the end of their training. This leads to problems with high command for the major and leads to the "War Games" plot detour.
      • This line:
      "...then you don't deny the fact that on the night of April 14-15, a US Military installation was the scene of a drunken party in which no less than 7 civilian women played an active part!?"
      "Oh yes sir, they played an active part alright."
  • Downfall (2004):
    • Featured when Eva Braun engineers vast parties to distract Adolf Hitler and their friends to avoid the reality of Germany's Defeat. Eva's one attempt at a party above ground near the very end of the war is stopped real quick as a Soviet artillery shell hits too close and blasts dust everywhere.
    • There are additional parties shown, which get progressively bigger and out-of-control as the film goes on. When General Weidling arrives to report to Hitler, only Krebs and Burgdorf are drinking. When Hitler gets ready to kill himself, practically every soldier and staff member has broken out the booze. The building Fegelein is hiding in has lots of drunken Germans and topless women. Fegelein's room also contains several lines of coke on a dresser.
    • Another scene features some soldiers gleefully abandoning their positions with a woman on one arm, and bottle of booze on the other, while small arms fire echoes through the streets of Berlin, and artillery blasts buildings into rubble offscreen.
  • The Russian soldiers in Enemy at the Gates party because they're happy they're alive for another day and may be dead tomorrow. Veterans of the actual battle criticized this scene, saying that they instead spent their downtime sleeping or eating.
  • The First Purge, a prequel to The Purge series, shows that initially, people didn't treat it as a murder holiday. Most people just used the occasion to hold massive block parties and violate noise regulations with impunity, and only a few people actually decided to hurt others. The government, which created the Purge as a Dystopian Edict to Kill the Poor, was so disappointed that they sent death squads into Staten Island to run up the body count, establishing its reputation as a day when people freely killed one another in the streets.
  • When Forrest and his best friend Bubba arrive at their base camp during 'Nam in Forrest Gump, the soldiers there are in the midst of a barbecue as the two of them report to their commanding officer. Bubba then starts talking to Forrest about the potential shrimping industry that could sprout once they'd conquered Vietnam.
  • Full Metal Jacket:
    • In the Vietnamese half of the movie, where the most popular hobbies among soldiers are whoring and comparing body counts.
    • Inverted by the Viet Cong; they launch the Tet Offensive during the Vietnamese New Year to surprise the Americans, who had assumed the party would halt the warring.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Prissy finds Rhett at a party the local prostitutes are giving, either unaware or uncaring that the Yankee soldiers are advancing on Atlanta.
  • Deconstructed in Jarhead. During a Christmas party, Jake Gyllenhaal's character Swoff decides to goof around and get drunk while he's supposed to be on guard duty, so he has another Marine take his place. Said other Marine accidentally burns down a tent, and Swoff suffers the consequences since he was the one who had the guy replace him. This results in a complete mental breakdown.
  • Sgt. Oddball in Kelly's Heroes is a proto-hippie who just wants to have some "fine wine and cheese and soak up some rays" and to avoid 'negative waves'. He's also a tank commander. Who has loudspeakers attached to the tanks in his unit so they can play blare music while they go into battle.
    "We play music on 'em...really loud...It calms us down, y'know?"
  • Played for Laughs in Mars Attacks!. Las Vegas real estate developer Art Land is still holding a meeting with investors for his new casino hotel, even though the Martians are quite clearly flattening the city outside. And downstairs, some people are still playing the slot machines as the Martians are killing everyone.
    "Now, even in times of so-called 'intergalactic emergency,' the people still want to roll them bones!"
  • The premise of M*A*S*H. When not actually performing surgery, the 4077th staff engage in all manner of Wacky Fratboy Hijinx as a way of keeping their sanity amid the horrors and carnage of the war.
  • The infamous scene from The Matrix Reloaded that features the human city of Zion in an all-city rave before the War with the Machines. And you get to see Keanu Reeves's ass. It's supposed to be symbolic of... something.
    • Mocked in the intro to the MTV Movie Awards that year:
      Justin Timberlake: "Where the hell are we?"
      Andy Dick: "You're in Zion, baby!"
      Sean Scott: "What is this place?"
      Andy Dick: "Duh! It's obviously an underground city where the last remaining humans live, and the robots are coming to kill us. Doesn't that just make you want to party?"
  • The title character of Mrs Henderson Presents is very much in favor of this, and a large part of the movie revolves around her fighting to keep her theatre, with its nudie show, open amidst attempts to shut it down in wartime.
  • Paradise Road: The movie opens with the fall of Singapore in WW2 and everyone is having a giant party, despite the encroaching Japanese invasion force. At one point a shell bursts right outside the hotel they are all partying in, and the waitstaff's response is to try and protect the elaborate champagne fountains and stop fleeing people stealing drinks. Both service personnel and civilians are present here, and nobody seems to be taking the threat of invasion seriously. Sadly this is very much based in reality.
  • On display in Paths of Glory, with the aristocrats (generals included) insulated by ballroom festivities.
  • Subverted in Platoon with Sgt. Elias, a stoner with a relativist attitude to war who is still a badass and a more effective commander than his violent rivals. There is a party scene at one point, complete with joints and a "Tracks of My Tears" singalong.
  • In Space Mutiny, the crew of the colony ship Southern Sun decide to celebrate the main character's promotion with a party while in the middle of a mutiny against the ship's commanders. Indeed, the reason that the protagonist was promoted in the first place was to replace the chief of security, who's leading said uprising. Apparently arresting him and his 200 armed conspirators is not a priority. Later, after the ship defeats some Space Pirates, the film immediately cuts to a repeat of the previous partying scene, while the mutiny is still happening.
  • Starship Troopers: Lt. Jean Rasczak brings out a whole set of party favors, including kegs, footballs, and musical instruments, for his soldiers after they run a successful mission, specifically so that they can have some fun. Unfortunately, the festivities have to be cut a little short when they're ordered to move out for another mission.
  • Used in Van Wilder Freshman Year: The third act sees the heroes facing off against the villains in a winner-take-all military version of capture the flag - or at least, it's supposed to. While the villains conduct themselves with military precision, the good guys engage in some Wacky Fratboy Hijinx, throwing a party that's so fun, almost the entire other team defects to partake in it.

  • Most of the lower-ranking soldiers in Catch-22.
  • Discworld:
    • Jingo: Screw the war, we're playing football!
    • Subverted in Unseen Academicals: Screw the football, we're having a war!
  • In the Dragonlance novel 'Dragons of Spring Dawning', the people of Kalaman celebrate their liberation by the Golden General, Laurana, by holding a day-long celebration in her honor, even though the War of the Lance is still raging. The celebration leads to tragedy, since Laurana, who is already physically exhausted from all the battles she has recently fought in and in a bad emotional state over the apparent loss of her Love Interest Tanis Half-Elven to her Arch-Enemy, Kitiara Uth Matar, drinks heavily at the party and is not allowed to leave the celebration until she is dead on her feet. It is then with Laurana in this weakened, highly suggestible condition that she receives a false message from Kitiara about Tanis. The drunk, exhausted Laurana proves an easy mark for Kitiara's manipulation and ends up getting herself captured after blindly walking straight into a rather Obvious Trap.
  • Several instances in The Good Soldier Švejk - indeed the last scene finished before the author Died During Production describes a party thrown by officers of the Švejk's battalion. Only The Neidermeyer Lieutenant Dub attempts to talk about the war, annoying others immensely.
  • Nearly every character in Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.
  • In Sven Hassel's books about the Legion of the Damned, there is invariably a scene where the nothing-to-lose penal soldiers throw a big party, usually doing something like taking over a brothel or a high-class hotel and defending it against all comers, be they German military police, civil authority, or in one extreme case a major Russian attack. Although they may have signed a local truce with the Russians and shared the girls and the booze.
  • In Into The Maelstrom by David Drake and John Lambshead, Allen Allenson turns the course of the Cutter Stream's war of independence by sneak-attacking mercenaries in garrison in the middle of a festival. (This is based on George Washington hitting the Hessians at Trenton during the American Revolution.)
  • In the Left Behind book Glorious Appearing, the people in Petra were like Screw The War, We're Praising The Lord when the Global Community Unity Army has them completely surrounded, outgunned, and ready to overrun the place. Somewhat justified in that God has made them nigh-invulnerable to enemy fire at that point...and also in that Jesus was going to come and turn the entire Global Community army into bird food!
  • The Lord of the Rings: after the fall of Orthanc, Merry and Pippin sit down for a smoke and a very generous meal. Gandalf et al are very surprised when they are greeted not by an army but by two very relaxed hobbits.
  • In Musketeer Space, Dana and the Musketeers end up in the nightclub Dovecote Red the night before they're due to go into battle against the Sun-Kissed. Subverted in that the nightclub trip is actually a cover for them to meet and discuss sensitive information with their superior, and for Athos to sneak off and confront his ex-husband, the alien spy.
  • The morale-boosting version pops up in Faith Of The Fallen, sixth book in the Sword of Truth series, where Kahlan arranges a wedding for Verna and Warren while they've got a brief break from their war with the Imperial Order. The wedding ends up being a double morale boost, as about halfway through the festivities reinforcements show up, adding about 100,000 men to the army's ranks. Not that it helps a whole lot, considering the size of the army they're facing.
  • Marshall Mannerheim's birthday in Väinö Linna's The Unknown Soldier.
  • The good version in the X-Wing Series novels pops up more than once, with the Wraiths taking the time to raise their morale. Runt organized a dance in Iron Fist. Solo Command had the "rebellion of anonymity" on the Mon Remonda; for twenty-four hours, rank became meaningless when off duty and people did a lot of things, including playing sabbac with man-who-looks-like-Commander-Antilles and man-who-looks-like-General-Solo, but can't be, since Antilles and Solo both wore rank insignia, and these people didn't. There's mention of astromech races and the woman who looked like Rogue Squadron's chief mechanic winning a week's pay from the man who looked like Solo's second in command.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the And Then There Were None (2015) miniseries, Vera is given a tot of brandy to settle her nerves after a fright, then the other three survivors simply begin passing the bottle around. Soon after they dig out the dead Marston's stash of cocaine, put on the phonograph, and get blitzed out of their gourds as they dance, laugh over the accusations on the record, and try to party away the mortal terror of being trapped on an island to be murdered one-by-one.
  • Implied and glimpses in Battlestar Galactica (2003). As discipline aboard Galactica starts to break down, we occasionally see the pilots partying and boozing wildly in the pilot common room. Since the pilot roster consists of mixed sexes and Kat accuses Starbuck of sleeping around, they presumably get wilder than just boozing.
  • Referenced in the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth. Baldrick mentions the football match, to which Captain Blackadder fumes over being unfairly penalized.
    Blackadder: Both sides advanced further during one Christmas piss-up than they managed in the next three and a half years.
  • Black Sheep Squadron, where the war in the Pacific is 1/3 fight club, 1/3 drunken frat house party and 1/3 beach vacation at some remote island. With an occasional shootout episode.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "Empty Places", Faith sees this as a way to help the overloaded Potentials, and they chill at the Bronze. Later as everyone prepares for the final battle, they try to ease their tensions through such varied activities as having a wheelchair fight while looting a hospital for medical supplies, playing Dungeons & Dragons, or just having sex.
  • Charité at War: During an air raid in Berlin, Hans von Dohnanyi and his wife turn on the radio and dance, ground-shaking noise and flickering lights be damned. They have gotten so used to the permanent bombings that they might as well share some quality time as a couple while waiting out whether or not they have to die that night.
  • In China Beach, the characters were at an R&R base, so they often had dances, parties, concerts, and generally had a good time when they weren't too occupied with, ya know, killing Viet Cong or saving lives. This took a turn for the dark several times, as the war sometimes got in the way. Probably the worst incidents were the night that fun-loving lifeguard Boonie and two buddies went to a bar in Saigon and one guy who was going home the next day was killed by a Viet Cong agent with a grenade. Then, in a later season, they were all driving to a dance and a Jeep flipped, Boonie underneath. One of the doctors was forced to amputate Boonie's leg below the knee to save him from drowning as flood waters rose.
  • Private Walker from Dad's Army who has avoided the WW2 draft due to a 'corned beef allergy' and spends his time in the home guard playing the black market and chasing women.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Empty Child", the Doctor stumbles into one of these, which quickly gets rerouted to the bomb shelter as another air raid starts.
  • An episode of Foyle's War featured a hotel in the countryside where people lived trying to pretend the war wasn't happening. Not so much partying as "lalala! Can't hear the bombs going off!"
  • Australian comedy series Full Frontal did a skit on Independence Day where the alien invasion occurs on Australia Day instead; a holiday when Aussies are supposed to celebrate the founding of their nation, but usually just bunk off to the beach.
    Jeff Goldblum: Look, there's an alien spaceship hovering over every major city! You gotta contact the Prime Minister.
    Eric Bana as Air Force pilot: Can't, mate. He's in Bali.
    Jeff Goldblum: What about the Minister of Defence?
    Pilot: Noosa.
    Jeff Goldblum: The head of the Army?
    Pilot: Dubbo.
    Jeff Goldblum: What are you saying—that we're completely defenceless?
    Pilot: Mate, come on! It is Australia Day!
    Narrator: The future of the planet was at stake...
    Awesome...err Apathetic Aussie 1: (at the barbie) Want some steak?
    Apathetic Aussie 2: The Army wants us to go fight some aliens!
    Apathetic Aussie 1: Tell them to piss off! It's a long weekend!
  • In Game of Thrones, The first time we see Renly Baratheon in Season 2 is when he's presiding over a melee among his men (and Brienne). This is despite the fact that he has well over 100,000 men and horses (and arms and supplies for all of them) on their way to King's Landing, making their snail's pace journey take even longer. Catelyn Stark makes a scathing backhanded comment towards Renly about it because her own son has been shedding blood in the Riverlands while Renly "plays at war". It's entirely possible that this was why he was dragging his feet; no reason to rush in while the other factions bleed each other white (this was explicit in the books).
  • M*A*S*H again. The commonly invoked trope is the only way the staff has to keep themselves sane amid the pressures of war. However, the instant wounded arrive, the gang would instantly call off the hijinks and get to work.
  • In the docuseries Menudo: Forever Young the titular Boy Band performed in El Salvador while the country was in the middle of a civil war. Yet with everything going on, a ceasefire was invoked so that Menudo could perform.
  • This trope is invoked so often in McHale's Navy that one has to wonder if the sailors will ever get around to (intentionally) contributing to the war effort.
  • When No Reservations went to Beirut they got caught there when Israel started bombing it in 2006. They filmed a scene that evening in a Beirut nightclub where the patrons were living out this trope, with suggestions that similar had happened during the prior war some years back.
  • In the Stargate Atlantis series opening, the heroes just pissed off the Wraith, a race who defeated the freakin' Ancients while they themselves are cut off from Earth and any sort of reinforcements. What do they do? Party with the Athosians.
  • Star Trek:
    • This is the lifestyle of your average Klingon. On the eve of battle, sworn enemies often party together and part company saying, "May you die well!" In TNG's "Redemption, Part II" this is used to show Deliberate Values Dissonance between Federation-raised Worf (for whom war is Serious Business) and his Klingon-raised brother Kurn, who has no problem partying on neutral ground with those who were trying to kill them a short time before.
    • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine there was a 'screw the War, we're playing baseball' episode and a 'screw the War, we're fighting gangsters in the holosuite' episode. The Baseball Episode was an attempt to invoke this trope, as the station was playing host to a number of Federation ships and their crews who'd been rotated away from the frontline of the Dominion War and who badly needed to blow off some steam in a way that didn't involve Bar Brawls or other unfortunate drunken shenanigans. The holodeck episode didn't really have an in-universe justification (beyond "we have nothing better to do after work today"), but served as a badly-needed Breather Episode for the audience, coming as it did in the middle of the Darkest Hour of the show to date.
  • The Supernatural episode "The End", soldiers are seen driving around the devastated ruins of a city in armored cars, bottles of whiskey balanced on the dash and classic rock blaring as they gun down a plague-infected mob. The whole thing exudes a "whole world's going to hell, no reason to not enjoy ourselves" feel.
    Future!Castiel: Why not bang some gongs before the lights go out?
  • In the Torchwood episode "Captain Jack Harkness", Jack and Tosh get sent back in time to 1941 and end up in a dance hall during a German air raid. While the bombs do cause the party to temporarily relocate to the bomb shelter, the Glamorous Wartime Singer continues entertaining, and the party resumes upstairs once they get the all-clear. Most attendees treat it as a normal occurrence and no reason to stop having fun, but others are clearly having issues with the whole mortality thing and are using the party as a cover for their fears.
  • True Blood's depiction of the Iraq war shows Terry Bellefleur and his fellow Marines doing everything that one shouldn't do in war. They pull into town, seek out the local mosque, enter the mosque, and start doing drugs and drinking because the Iraq War was exactly like the Vietnam War. It's just one big party. It results in a Djinn killing them all off one by one years later.
  • Attempted by the protagonists of Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter during their brief reunion, but the party ends very quickly, as they cannot bring themselves to celebrate after the horror they have witnessed.

  • Simon LeBon of Duran Duran famously said in an early interview "We want to be the band to dance to when the bomb drops." This was during the early '80s when the Cold War was undergoing one of its more unstable periods.
  • This seems to be the topic of obscure Hot Chocolate song "Mindless Boogie".
  • The Kaizers Orchestra song "Mr. Kaizer, Hans Constanze og Meg".
  • The song "When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing" by Lana Del Rey portrays an uplifting take on this.
  • "Ceasefire" by Mitch Benn, originally written for The Now Show in 2006 is about the Lebanese having a party because right now nobody's bombing them.
  • This is the main topic of Prince's "1999".
    "Everybody's got a bomb, we could all die anyday
    But before I'll let that happen, I'll dance my life away!"
  • Averted in "Life During Wartime" by Talking Heads.
    This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
    This ain't no fooling around
    No time for dancing, or lovey dovey,
    I ain't got time for that now...
  • If taken more seriously, "Weird Al" Yankovic's " Christmas at Ground Zero" is very much this.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • The Feast of Belshazar while Babylon is under siege by Persians at the end of Book of Daniel, making this trope Older Than Feudalism
  • Alternating partying and battles is a fairly accurate description of the Norse afterlife. If you were lucky enough to die in battle.
  • For the most part, this is an accurate description of the life of Heracles.

  • Big Finish Doctor Who: Terror Firma is mostly based around this. Earth has been conquered by the Daleks, and the few remaining people in London spend their whole time partying while waiting for the inevitable extermination. Or, to be more precise, waiting for the uprising. Turns out the party is just a front.

  • Miss Saigon. Provides the page quote. Despite the raucous atmosphere, the lyrics of the opening song demonstrate that the soldiers are desperate for one last fling, and that the girls are desperate for one last chance to escape Vietnam.
  • The main motif in Aleksis Kivi play Olviretki Schleusingenissa (Ale Tour in Schleusingen), whose milieu is set in the Prussian-Austrian war in 1866. The main characters are Bavarian soldiers, who have joined the Austrian army for free beer. In the end the Bavarians get so blind drunk from ale that they are completely incapable to fight and are captured without a single shot. Nobody dies in the end. The play is said to be a parody of Carl von Clausewitz's On War.
  • In 1776, George Washington's "New Brunswick" dispatch details his soldiers' drunken, disorderly, whoring antics while camped in the New Jersey town. In addition to being Truth in Television, it leads to some of the funniest exchanges in the play.
    Witherspoon: There must be some mistake — I have an aunt who lives in New Brunswick!
    Dickinson: You must tell her to keep up the good work!
    • It's the sarcastic comment that they're going "for the whoring and the drinking" that gets Ben Franklin to go with John Adams and Samuel Chase to go inspect the army!
  • Hope from Urinetown was conceived during one of these parties.
  • In West Side Story, and its 1961 and 2021 film adaptations, both gangs take a break from their war to go to a dance.

    Video Games 
  • At one point in Alan Wake, Alan and Barry stay in a cabin overnight, and can't leave because Dark Is Evil is to be taken literally. Barry finds some moonshine made by the owners, and they proceed to get very drunk.
  • Happens in Dragon Age: Inquisition at the culmination of Varric's sidequest arc, when he invites the Inquisitor and most of the Inner Circle (the Player Party plus advisers) to a card game to take their minds off the ongoing conflict with the Elder One. Given how, in the finest BioWare fashion, the Inner Circle is an extremely Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, Hilarity Ensues.
  • One level of the British campaign of Empire Earth has this, with Wellington reflecting that the nobs are all drinking and partying while he's trying to push back a horde of Frenchmen.
  • Fallout 3: Dukov. The post-apocalyptic ruins of Washington are the site of an epic Stalingrad-esque battle between the Brotherhood of Steel, super mutants, and the Talon Company (later during the plot, the Enclave also throws their hat into the ring). And the retired Russian mercenary just sits in what once was a luxurious hotel, drinks to oblivion, and boinks whores.
  • After the Disc-One Final Dungeon in Final Fantasy V, the party winds up back in Tycoon. Exdeath has broken the second set of crystals, Galuf is recently dead, and Tycoon itself is mourning their king. But since Lenna is back and the long-lost Princess Sarisa (that is, Faris) has turned up alive, they host a grand ball to celebrate.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, you can find Balamb Garden students (effectively paramilitary-in-training) eager to play Triple Triad during the Time Compression. The Time Compression is a staging ground for the Garden to launch the Final Battle at Ultimecia.
    • Earlier on, you can ask the researcher Piet to play Triple Triad while panic is spreading like wildfire throughout the Space Station due to Ultimecia's intervention. He even lampshades your ridiculous request. However, the only window of opportunity to obtain Alexander card is either here or during the aforementioned Time Compression.
    • In fact, no matter what awful things might be going on at any given moment, you can almost always find somebody that is willing to play cards.
    • In a non-cards example, Laguna is introduced during the invasion of Timber, when he's supposed to be fighting in the Galbadian invasion. First, he gets lost, then he grabs the military transport vehicle and heads to Deling City to have a drink and hit on Julia.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII has a city devoted to directing this trope at the apocalypse. Yusnaan is a city of revelry, devoted to spending ageless lives in a dying world joyfully. By the time the game begins, there are thirteen days, tops, until the world begins to fall apart, and the opening fight scene FMV has Lightning walking in on a gala.
  • Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers, as well. Eulmore takes a leaf out of Yusnaan's book and encourages people from far and wide to come to "paradise" to live what remains of their days free of worries... at least in theory. The "free" citizens of Eulmore certainly enjoy the promised ease, but the bonded citizens must actively struggle to satisfy their masters, lest they be eaten by sin eaters or thrown into the waters of the Tempest, and Eulmore does also have an active military trying to coerce the rest of Norvrandt to accept Eulmoran rule.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II has the town of Thors partying after their liberation at night but before the final Civil War takes place which is at Heimdallr capital the next day.
    • Cold Steel IV also has the night before the final battle that takes place at Mishelam Wonderland where the cast are attending an amusement park shortly before Erebonia goes to war against the rest of Western Zemuria. It's also where Rean learns his final S-Craft in the game and becomes a Divine Blade.
  • In Mass Effect 3, when the whole galaxy is locked in a desperate war against the Reapers, you can find lots of military personnel living it up on the Citadel. Joker even lampshades it when you find him there. The soldiers at least have the excuse that they're on shore leave, and are living it up before they return to the war. A war asset even comes from improving the power grid at the local nightclub, allowing soldiers to enjoy their leave just a little bit more.
    • James Vega, one of the new squadmates in the same game, is fond of doing this in between missions. When visiting the Citadel, he usually hangs out with other soldiers in the bar, plays cards with the refugees, or if prodded to accept the N7 promotion, is seen getting a tattoo done.
    • Furthermore, the Citadel DLC is essentially all about this (well, its first half is about investigating an assassination attempt on Shepard, but after the Collectors and Reapers, that particular threat is not taken at all seriously and is quickly snarked through). The rest of the DLC is all about Shepard throwing a wild party for the entire main cast of the series and having fun. The shore leave is justified in-story by the Normandy needing some dry-dock time for repairs... and its crew desperately needing some time to relax and blow off steam from the war.
  • Happens a lot to Swadia in Mount & Blade. Royal feasts are a mechanism for improving morale and loyalty among generals, and since Swadia is usually at war with somebody due to its position on the map (whether it wants to be or not), King Harlaus is constantly throwing them. It can get quite hilarious if multiple nations are in on Curb Stomping them.
  • Justified in NeuroVoider, as the enemy robots were already partying after killing off the human race, by the time you attack them. That being said, some are still communicating with each other by use of emoticons, even after you've destroyed robots right next to them until you get into their line of sight and they notice you.
  • The culminating scenes of the romance arcs in Neverwinter Nights 2, Jade Empire, and all Mass Effect installments occur on the eve of the respective game's final battle. Your Love Interest in Dragon Age: Origins will also invite you to bed on the eve of your confrontation with the Archdemon.
  • In a meta-example for Star Trek Online, the summer event and winter event, parties for the players respectively held on Risa and in a Q-created demiplane, go on regardless of what's going on in the universe at large. This drew complaints against 2015's summer event, given that at the time the entire Alpha and Beta Quadrants were supposedly swept up in a massive war against the Iconians that they were losing badly.
  • Most Suikoden games have a "calm before the storm" night before the final battle. Your army is split between having some very personal moments, and in drunken revelry (sometimes both). Expect the backdrop to be this.
  • In Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius, after successfully defeating a much larger enemy fleet during a key battle, Captain Kayto Shields brings his crew to a beach resort space station for some much-needed shore leave.
  • Super Robot Wars, particularly the Original Generation series often features the heroes having a large feast or party before the final push against the enemy. Notably, the pilots themselves do most of the cooking for it.
  • In Warriors Orochi 3, in between battles, you can hold parties that increase the bonds between your current character and the other characters you unlocked.
  • In World of Warcraft in the Eversong Woods zone, blood elves are trying to hold back the rampaging undead from overrunning their city. Meanwhile, Lord Saltheril is... holding a party, with guests giggling about going to watch the fighting later on. Needless to say, the elves doing the actual fighting are pissed at him.
    • The guests - and Saltheril himself - are intensely creepy. There you are, a stone's throw from the front and closer to the insane looters, and they're...giggling and partying like nothing's wrong. It serves as a very effective symbol of the blood elves' lifestyle, really.
    • The various holidays observed by the Horde and Alliance throughout the year. Both sides (for the most part) take some time off slaying each other and participate in the festivities. The cold war thaws slightly.
    • It also has some basis in real life too. During the American Civil War during the first few battles, civilians on both sides were so excited about the action that they would have picnics on the hillside and watch the fighting.

    Web Videos 
  • In Tankmen, the main characters, Tankman and Steve, encounter two enemy soldiers that have their tank. Since they each hold a DVD for half of the Titanic movie, they all decide to watch the movie together instead of shooting each other's brains out.

    Western Animation 
  • At the end of Season 3 of ReBoot, as the system is crashing (an equivalent of a Planetary/Physical Annihilation for the digital characters), some of the Pirate and Mainframe Binomes get together, throw a rowdy party and get drunk off their asses. Meanwhile, other characters decide it's a good time to conclude their Romance Arcs and make out.
  • Star Wars Resistance: Various pirates and residents of the Colossus spend some time in the first two episodes of season 2 getting drunk and partying at Aunt Z's Tavern, even though the Colossus is on the run from the First Order and in severe danger (it's a Space Station, they launched it back into space). In the former episode, this is even going on in zero-G. The party grinds to a halt when the supply shortages begin, though.

    Real Life 
  • This is exactly what happened at the fall of Singapore (and many other European colonies that were conquered by the Japanese). See the start of the movie Paradise Road and the series Tenko.
  • While the Bolshevik Revolution was going on all throughout Russia, the nobles and high-ranking military officers were partying until the commoners stormed the Hermitage.
  • In the US Navy, if a ship is at sea for more than 90 days at one time, each member of the crew is served two beers (it is otherwise illegal to consume alcohol while a ship is underway).
    • By comparison, in the Royal Navy, the allotment is 2 cans a night, with the option to buy a third in lieu of the traditional grog. Additionally, laws banning sodomy (when they were in effect) made a specific exemption "after 90 days at sea." Hello, Sailor!!
  • A lot of this happened as Berliners waited for the Russians to close in during WWII.
    • Teenagers having sex in various quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) corners became a common feature. One middle-aged female diarist even described walking through the Tiergarten with a companion, with both of them trying to come up with a witty name for it that took into account all the nervous giggling and sighs of pleasure they heard...when she saw her fourteen-year-old son with a lady friend, walking in the other direction and adjusting their clothes. The comedy of the situation is made tragically grim when the motivation for all this randiness is taken into account: German girls wanted to lose their virginity in a consensual sexual act, rather than have their first experience of sex be rape by a drunken and probably violent Red Army soldier.
      • It can also be considered a literal example of 'eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die' given the number of civilian casualties and the fact that most older teenage boys and young men were either conscripted or pressed into paramilitary defense force.
    • In the movie Downfall a mixed crowd of Wehrmacht and SS officers is seen partying in a Berlin posh hotel along with nurses and civilian women; the revelers are depicted as possessed with all the frenzy of doomed people: the Red Army was already encroaching the city and many of the partygoers would have either died defending it or be subject to the Russian mass-rape and torture. The episode is partly inspired by an actual event.
    • In The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer relates how, in the last days of WWII, the low-level staff in Hitler's bunker broke out the booze, put on records, and started dancing after the senior staff had retired for the night. They apparently got so loud and raucous that Hitler himself called to request that they turn down the volume.
      • As he was about to commit suicide, no less. They were ruining his big dramatic moment.
    • This might have started much earlier. In The Other Side of the Hill. written by British historian B.H. Liddell Hart based on interviews with German generals after World War 2, General Blumentritt describes what he found in Paris at the German headquarters there in the immediate aftermath of the plot to assassinate Hitler as a "surreal party." The battles on front were going badly, no one knows who is in charge in Berlin, but all the top German leaders, civilian and military, in France were getting drunk and making merry.
  • The Happy Valley Set in Kenya during WWII. Made infamous by the murder of Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll and the subsequent trial and acquittal of Sir Jock Delves Broughton.
  • The Duke and Duchess of Windsor during his term as Governor of the Bahamas during WWII. In particular, the Duchess was notorious for going on long shopping trips to her nearby native USA. Justified, in a way, given the British Government's fear of their Nazi sympathies, that Edward was sent somewhere far from the fighting where he couldn't do much damage but was still under the command of the King and the Government.
  • The Hippie revolutions.
  • A really bizarre example: The World War I Christmas Truce, in which soldiers on both sides spontaneously took a day off from fighting, in some cases even exchanging gifts and playing soccer with one another.
    • Some of the soldiers. Some of them took the chance to take a closer look at the enemy defences while they were at it. For others... well, there was only one way to find out if the enemy would disobey orders to shoot you if you offered a truce, and not everyone felt like disobeying.
    • The main motivation was that both sides thought that the war was a complete joke motivated by nothing. Generals prepared to discipline soldiers if they'd do it again the next year — but by then, the war was such a depressing boondoggle that all sides realized was for real, no one even attempted it.
    • The Christmas Truce was hardly the only, first, or last example in World War I. In fact, there was a live-and-let-live strategy among soldiers on both sides of the war committed to aiming wide or, in the case of many a Cold Sniper, William Telling a target adjacent to an enemy soldier; if fire came to close apologies were swiftly offered and readily accepted. When the generals got wind of this, they implemented a strategy of random skirmishes that made such orchestrated facades impossible.
  • During the American Civil War, Confederate General George Pickett was off at a fish fry while his men fought the Battle of Five Forks. It didn't end well.
    • In a more optimistic story, a platoon of Union soldiers were invited to a barnhouse party that was nominally being guarded by CSA troops. The only people who reported to care were the Union commanding officers.
  • The original Olympic Games took this to the extreme: soldiers would drop their weapons and travel to Elis (the city-state in which the sanctuary of Olympia was situated) the moment the games were announced — it was not uncommon to shake hands with a guy who was trying to kill you a few weeks ago.
    • The other Panhellenic Games were similar, although they weren't as holy/prestigious as the Olympic Games.
    • Averted in World War I and II, as the Olympics were cancelled for both. The World Cup cancelled its games for the latter (The World Cup wasn't impacted by WWI because it was first held in 1930).
  • According to an interview Robert Duvall did back in the 1990s, this kind of thing happened frequently during the Vietnam War. He did extensive research about the U.S Military and had interviews with current and former service-men, what he learned was that the Air Cavalry division in particular, which his character Kilgore is a Colonel in, actually did do some of the things that they are portrayed doing in the movie Apocalypse Now. He recounted one story that he liked about how one time the Air Cavalry were under fire from the enemy but decided to catch a cow with a net and air-lift it with a helicopter simply so they could have it for a barbeque. Robert Duvall then mentioned that the depiction of soldiers getting high on drugs was accurate as well. All in all, Vietnam wasn't a war that a good majority of U.S. servicemen took seriously.
  • This trope captures a good part of the national character of the Lebanese people. In the early 1970s, when the Israeli Air Force was bombing the crap out of southern Lebanon and occasionally targeting Beirut itself to deal with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, nightclubs, bars, and coffeeshops (the teetotaling equivalent of the other two) still did a brisk business. During the incredibly bloody fifteen-year, three-sided civil war (1975-1990), the scene died down a bit (to say the least), but people still tried to make their own fun under the circumstances (one example can be seen in the film West Beirut). Since then, occasional violence has been a fact of life in Lebanon, but the Lebanese have continued, unfazed, to just make the best of it. The most poignant example is probably the period 2006-2010, when, starting with the Israeli invasion of the south and bombing of Beirut (again), people across the country all said, "eh, screw it, I'm going out;" despite a war between Israel and Hezbollah, armed clashes in the streets, terrorism arising from Palestinian refugee camps across the country, and the occasional assassination, Beirut and other Lebanese cities have seen a construction boom and a proliferation of all kinds of nightlife, and the country's wine and beer industries have seen a sudden uptick. They say that the nightclubs of Beirut were never so packed as in the third and fourth weeks of July 2006 (when Israel was running a bombing campaign against targets across Lebanon).
  • The trope also captures the identity of the Colombian people. They are considered to be unusually charming, cheery, and polite in spite of spending the greater part of the 20th century fighting each other and having rampant generalized violence. If there is actually a problem in Colombia is their tendency of not taking these problems seriously.
    • Perhaps not for nothing is the most famous Colombian outside Colombia a certain Shakira, whose father was Lebanese-Colombian and whose name is Arabic.
  • In Istanbul Intrigues by Barry M Rubin, the author describes high-class joints in neutral İstanbul during World War II where spies, diplomats, exiles, etc would go party while they were taking a break from killing each other, plotting against each other, and generally doing unpleasant things to each other.
  • Along the Gulf Coast in the US, ESPECIALLY Louisiana, people who can't or refuse to evacuate during a hurricane warning will throw hurricane parties.
    • During Hurricane Dennis and Hurricane Ivan, people along the panhandle of Florida were known to go right down to the beach to look at the large waves, only to come home and find out they were close to having gotten hit by tornadoes and/or waterspouts when they were out there.
    • Every time there is a hurricane or a tropical storm passing through South Florida, every news station will absolutely make sure to let the viewer know every. freakin'. time. how little the people from Key West have prepared for the upcoming weather and how every bar is open and handing Pina Coladas and beer to everyone on the eve of the storm.
    • It's quite common for residents of Tornado Alley to do this as well when a big tornado comes through. Are we sensing a Too Dumb to Live pattern here?
  • Comedian Spike Milligan famously laughed and joked his way through WW2. He was part of a jazz quartet that formed when its four members were conscripted to the same artillery unit. Warned of dire retribution if they dared waste shipping space by smuggling their instruments aboard the troop ship taking them to war in North Africa, they did so anyway. Despite dire threats of court-martial and having the instruments tossed overboard. A fortnight into the voyage, a shamefaced Naval officer who'd seen Milligan's band playing on shore made unofficial representation from the captain. If all possible charges were dropped, how much would it cost for Milligan's quartet to play on board ship for officers, diplomats, and their wives travelling to form a civilian administration in occupied north Africa?
    • Milligan was also pursued during the war by the Inland Revenue, chasing undeclared income from band gigs. Having received the letter threatening to jail him for non-payment of tax during a German offensive, with shells and bombs landing all around him, Milligan was not amused. He sent back a not-entirely-accurate resume of having made guest appearances worldwide, playing gigs like "The Retreat" for General Gort's BEF Rhythym Boys (Dunkirk, May 1940) "We Surrender" (Singapore, 1942), with an encore of "Nagasaki" at the request of General Tojo; and other unlikely band freelancing such as "Winter in Moscow" for General von Trimpernblitz, December 1941.
    • And when the German army in Italy capitulated on May 2nd, 1945, Milligan, and his buddy Harry Secombe, remember the victorious British Army's Order Of The Day was All ranks are ordered to get drunk. Milligan helped Royal Engineers rig up a fountain in an Italian village to flow with purloined local wine.
  • Back on the home front, however much we may like to play up the Stiff Upper Lip angle in fiction nowadays, RAF fighter pilots were noted for being unruly boozers when they finally got some leave. Considering the stakes and the death toll, you could hardly blame them.
  • Supposedly, the Battle of Trenton during The American Revolution was won because the Hessians were hungover from Christmas Eve (Bill Fawcett's popular history work How to Lose a Battle titled the chapter on Trenton "The Hangover Heard 'Round the World"). Washington and his officers did figure it into their planning, and it was a major Curb-Stomp Battle (with two Continental casualties and those from hypothermia), so it's not surprising that this is Common Knowledge. In actuality, the Hessians were aware that Washington was up to something and dialed down the festivities; it just didn't make a difference. According to some accounts, the Continental Army had a hell of a party with all that captured booze afterwards.
  • Other disasters can attract this as well; during the 14th and 15th century quite a few people essentially said "Screw the Plague, we're partying." The Decameron uses one such party as its framing story.
    • Something similar seems to have played out at Number 10 back in 2020/21 during that pandemic. It turned out that, on the same day that a masked Queen Elizabeth sat by herself at the sparsely-attended funeral service of her husband, in compliance with the Covid regulations of her Government, there was a rowdy booze-up at Number 10. This and similar stories contributed directly to the resignation of Boris Johnson.
  • In "The Great Adventure: A World War I Soldier's Diary", the MP narrator describes an incident when he was standing a post in a town. Vehicles were moving down the road through the town towards the front lines, until late that evening they began backing up. He waited ten minutes, but nobody was going anywhere, so he walked half a mile up the road (that is, past half a mile's worth of stopped vehicles) to see what the problem was. He found a truck sitting there blocking the road, without any damage and with the engine running. He told the driver to move; the driver responded that an officer had to return before he could, and pointed to a house a short distance away. The narrator went over to the house and found four French officers drinking wine and making jokes. He explained the situation as best he could, and the officer got up and leisurely strolled over to the truck, getting everything moving again after a delay of more than half an hour. The narrator's comment on the whole matter was "Sometimes one stops wondering why the war has lasted this long".
  • Any SCA event. Ever. While there's (hopefully) no real-life danger involved, it's very common for fighting events to be accompanied by feasting and general merriment.
  • When Alaric sacked Rome in 410, the populace was in the Colosseum; it is generally accepted that the opposite would have been the real surprise.
  • This is one of the unsung aspects of Haitian people. During hurricane seasons or other natural disasters, it's not surprising to hear of Haitians setting up their TVs to watch soccer while waist-deep in floodwater.
  • Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Crimea remained a popular destination for Russian holidaymakers. That changed in August when the Ukrainian military managed to hit Russian bases in the peninsula for the first time.


Video Example(s):


Sir Pentious Trying to Confess

During the last night before the Extermination Day battle, Sir Pentious tries to confess his feelings for Cherri, but chickens out at the last second. Luckily, Angel manages to talk him up for her.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / CannotSpitItOut

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