This is a song meant to emphasize how far the characters have come along and/or how much has happened in a story or series. Often placed before, during, or after an unusually significant event in the story or series.
While it seems to make the most sense to use in the context of a long series or the like, it can work in a relatively short work such as a movie so long as the events referred to are spread out throughout it.
May or may not include a Fully Automatic Clip Show portraying said previous events.
- The "Adventures in Unova" arc of Pokémon has the following in its theme song...
It's the next chapter, the ultimate goal
Ready for battle, brave and bold
I know we're gonna make it, we will find a way
We've come so far, we've fought so hard to get where we are
We belong together, it's always you and me, Pokémon...
- Disney is full of these:
Muses: He was a no one,
- Beauty and the Beast has "Something There", in which the two main characters remark on how their view of each other has changed.
- "Zero to Hero" in Hercules discusses how Hercules went Exactly What It Says on the Tin during the story.
A zero, zero.
Now he's a hotshot,
He's a hero!
Rapunzel and Eugene: And at last I see the light!
- Enchanted has "So Close", a diegetic song sung at the ball before the big confrontation.
- In Tangled when Rapunzel and Eugene finally get to see the floating lights, they also realize how shallow their former lives were and how strong their feelings are for each other as they sing "At Last I See the Light".
And it's like the fog has lifted.
And at last I see the light!
And it's like the sky is new.
And it's warm, and real, and bright.
And the world has somehow shifted...
All at once, everything is different,
now that I see you.
Moana: I've delivered us to where we are.
- In the Moana song "I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)" when comforting Moana during her Heroic BSoD, her grandmother asks her to remember who she is and sings "Moana, you've come so far", which triggers this.
I have journeyed farther.
I am everything I've learned and more.
Elsa: Show yourself!
- Frozen II has "Some Things Never Change", which discusses the Character Development of Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf since the events of the first movie.
- "Show Yourself" is one for Elsa on how she's grown into her powers.
I'm no longer trembling.
Here I am,
I've come so far!
- The film The Land Before Time had the song 'If We Hold On Together' with its line "You've come so far, don't throw it away..."
- The Spongebob Squarepants Movie has "Now That We're Men", when SpongeBob and Patrick finally pass through the monster-filled trench...and the monsters are singing with them.
- "Finally," the finale from Finale, is one for the full cast, as they sing about their lives as they all walk to their deaths.
- The powerful "I Know Where I've Been" is about the continuing fight against prejudice as much as it is about the progress of the characters and plot.
- Interestingly, another song called "Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)" was written for the 2007 film adaptation. However, unlike "I Know Where I've Been," it lacks the narrative significance typically associated with this trope, as it is played over the credits rather than as part of the film. (Some productions of the play, including NBC's telecast, have the cast sing it during the Curtain Call.)
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch has "Wig in a Box" where Hedwig looks back on everything that's made her "the woman I've become".
- "It Takes Two" from Into the Woods has the Baker and his wife singing about how their quest has helped them develop character.
Baker: Can't we just pursue our lives with our children and our wives?
- "Ever After" reflects on how each character started, and the rewards or comeuppances they have reaped by the end of the first act.
- "So Happy" has the main cast reflecting on what their lives were like before their wishes came true, and how content they are now each is living their dreams.
- "No More" is a darker version as the baker reflects on the challenges he's faced throughout the show leading to his wife's death, wishing they would go away.
'Till that happy day arrives, how do you ignore
All the witches, all the curses,
All the wolves, all the lies, the false hopes, the goodbyes, the reverses,
All the wondering what even worse is still in store?
All the children...
All the giants...
- Les Misérables has "Who Am I?" (Valjean contemplating revealing his identity and ruining his reputation after working for it for so long) and "A Little Fall Of Rain" (Eponine being in Marius' arms, but not in the way anyone expected).
- Seussical either has one such song, or has multiple songs that apply to different characters. "All for You" is one, relating the sheer hell Gertrude has gone through to get to Horton. However, everything mentioned in the song happened off stage.
- Played straight in Don't Say It, the final episode of the tenth season of Red vs. Blue, with "Now That We've Come So Far". All too fitting considering this was the end of a major story arc, tying together several major plot lines such as clearing up why Church/Alpha was sent to Blood Gulch(and subsequently revealing that Agent Florida is Captain Flowers), and the complete shutdown of Project Freelancer, after the director ties up the last few loose ends and then proceeds to (presumably) commit suicide.
- The My Little Pony: Equestria Girls special Forgotten Friendship opens with a song, "We've Come So Far", in the context of how the main characters' friendships have strengthened over the course of the films and digital series, and how they've made for great memories for the upcoming yearbook.
- The finale of season three of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic brings us the song simply known as "Celestia's Ballad," where Celestia sings about how Twilight has come such a long way in the context of telling her it's time to fulfil her destiny.
- Season three of Reboot ends with a large-scale Gilbert and Sullivan-style musical number that summarizes the entire series up to that point.
- The extended version of the Steven Universe title theme, "We Are The Crystal Gems" is this. It begins with a young Steven singing his cute, naive lyrics from the pilot ("We win the fight, then go out for pizzas!"), before sequencing through Steven's childhood, a montage of significant moments from season 1, before blasting into a new, upbeat opening sequence which highlights all the character development the main cast has gone through.
Garnet: I will fight for the place where I'm free/ To live together and exist as me!
Pearl: I will fight in the name of Rose Quartz/ and everything that she believed in!
Amethyst: I will fight for the world I was made in/ The Earth is everything I've ever known!
Steven: I will fight to be everything/ That everyone wants me to be when I'm grown!
All: The odds are against us, it won't be easy, but we're not gonna do it alone!
Steven: Here we are in the future.
- Steven Universe: The Movie has the song "Happily Ever After" which serves as both a recap of all the principal character's backstories and development and their delight in putting it all behind them. It even features the lyrics "I can't believe we've come so far". The song is remade into the opening for the Sequel/Epilogue series Steven Universe Future.
Here we are in the future, and it's bright.
Nothing to fear, no one to fight.
I can't believe we've come so far.
Happily ever after, here we are!