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Time-Compression Montage

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Jamie: We've filled 2 pontoons, it goes about 3 minutes a fill, we've got 48 yet to go.
Narrator: Thanks for the warning, we might go to the time lapse here.
Cue build montage

Also called American Montage. One that shows the passing of a long period of time summed up into a handful of key shots.

Occasionally subverted for comic effect by a reveal that the events depicted are happening, if not in Real Time, at least in a much shorter timeframe than implied.

Hard-Work Montage is a subtrope. See also Time-Passes Montage. For the musical equivalent, see Age-Progression Song.

Has nothing to do with the literal distortion of time plotted by Sorceress Ultimecia. If so, the trope would have been called "Time Kompression Montage" anyways.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Death Note has a particularly memorable one in episode 26, complete with that series' rendition of Dies Irae in the background.
    • In the manga, chapter 97 begins with eight pages of silent panels, covering the passage of two weeks.
  • In Azumanga Daioh, when Sakaki first pets Mr. Tadakichi, she does so for forty-five seconds real-time. As she does, however, we can see the background steadily go from afternoon to dusk, until finally Chiyo asks if they can go to her house (where the rest of their friends are waiting).
  • Almost all of the body swapping between Taki and Mitsuha in Your Name occurs in a couple minutes' worth of scenes with the song Zen Zen Zense by RADWIMPS in the background.
  • Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia:
    • The first six singularities are compressed in episode 0, summarizing Mash's character development as she learns about humanity.
    • Episode 3 compresses several chapters of Fujimaru and Mash working together in Uruk and slowly accruing credit to make themselves worthy of Gilgamesh's time, which is established to be about a month's time in episode 4.
    • Episode 12 compresses down the gate trials in the Underworld to only show the beginning of the trial before cutting right to before the final gate where the team reunites with Gilgamesh and he mocks Ishtar's tiny form.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Lampshaded by the Lemony Narrator in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series:
    "Let's just have a nice little montage showing what happened during the week with music playing, shall we?"
  • Escape from the Moon: The final chapter of the sequel The Mare From the Moon shows various scenes, jumping forward in time between each one and covering up to the end of her sentence on the moon.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Iron Giant. While Hogarth is in the forest trying to get a picture of the title creature, he is seen hiding behind a log waiting for the Giant to appear, goofing off, and finally falling asleep.
  • The Swan Princess opens up with one, the song "This Is My Idea" where Derek and Odette are seen at various points in their childhood (typically fighting or otherwise unhappy with each other) and finally realizing they're in love.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Rocky movies are famous for Training Montages, including the meat-punching run-up-the-stairs bit in the original and in Rocky Balboa, and a Rocky IV montage showing Rocky and Ivan Drago.
    • Rocky III starts with a montage set to the song "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor showing the first three years after Rocky wins the championship title and becoming a world famous celebrity.
  • In the movie In the Line of Fire, potential presidential assassin Mitch Leary goes through the stages of putting on facemask makeup via this trope.
  • Used in The Muppets (2011), in order to speed up the search for the rest of The Muppet Show cast. And by 'used', we mean it's intentionally invoked by the characters in-universe.
  • If You Believe: Four key scenes are used to introduce Susan's life before the movie proper begins: Seven-year-old Suzie, thirteen-year-old Suzie, Susan in her early twenties, and Susan as Peter's wife at twenty-seven. These scenes all happen at Christmas with her family, but they are never truly happy, and each is less happy than the previous one.
  • Jojo Rabbit has one of these set to "Everybody's Got to Live" by Love to bridge the gap of Jojo finding his mother hanged as a traitor in the Fall as the war enters its end stages through the Winter as the Allies get closer and finally to the Spring when they get there.
  • Happens in Snatch., when Cousin Avi travels from New York to London, and again when he returns to New York. Both times, the footage is part of a brief, frenetic montage of the whole trip, including a passport getting stamped and Avi downing a drink on the plane.
  • Occurs several times in Requiem for a Dream to portray drug use.
  • Happens in Shaun of the Dead, compressing Shaun's travel from his place to his girlfriend's in a couple of shots.
  • Coneheads traces Connie's childhood through excerpts of home movies set to Paul Simon's "Kodachrome".
  • After Belle wins her first boxing match in Knockout, one of these documents several more fights and magazine cover appearances as she makes her way up in the boxing world.
  • In The Saddest Music in the World, the passage of the music contest is compressed in a couple of key shots juxtaposed with music sheets as Spinning Papers.
  • Spoofed in Team America: World Police, with a song entitled "We Need A Montage", which explains away the technique as it plays over a montage. "And with every shot show a little improvement; to show it raw would take too long! It's gonna take a montage!"
  • The Christmas That Almost Wasn't: When Santa finally gets to deliver his gifts, after a reprise of "I've Got A Date With Santa."

  • Ultimate Hero has a montage of sorts, with an off-screen reporter getting people to talk about their encounters with Ultimate, the title superhero.

    -Live Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003)'s third season opens with a particularly dark Time Compression montage which compresses 3 months of Cylon occupation, including the loss of Tigh's eye.
  • The final five minutes of Six Feet Under provide quite possibly the best Time Compression montage ever.
  • A Blipvert montage that depicts the beginning of time as we know it through present day serves as the title sequence of The Big Bang Theory.
  • On Top Gear these are generally used to compress films involving long road trips or extensive car maintenance. Sometimes spoofed, when a series of clips is shown suggesting that we are seeing the presenters work for hours, and then a visual clue or a bit of dialogue reveals that only a few minutes have passed.
  • The fifty years that pass while the team are trapped on their spaceship during the series finale of Stargate SG-1 are shown in Time-Compression Montage. (They get undone for every one but one person.)
  • There's a short one in MythQuest, as Alex makes an art model pose all night.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Power of Three", a bored Doctor needs to pass time, so he paints a fence, mows the lawn, and dribbles a football (by his count) over a million times. At the end of the montage, it's still only been an hour.
    • Taken to the extreme in "Heaven Sent", in which a period of four and a half billion years is compressed into a montage of brief clips and the Doctor's running "bird" story.
  • The Law & Order: SVU episode "Manhattan Vigil" starts with a young cop helping a frantic mother put up "missing" posters. Thirteen years pass to a Norah Jones song. The neighborhood decays, the posters are replaced with a mural, the mural is covered by graffiti, and still she waits, seemingly in vain. Then another child vanishes. Cue theme song.

  • Pokémon: The Mew-sical has one as Ash encounters a man who wants to trade his Farfetch'd, captures Squirtle, Charmander, and Bulbasaur, and encounters Team Rocket.

  • Lampshaded in this The Order of the Stick with Elan's deliberately invoked training montage, where Julio Scoundrél trains Elan in front of false backgrounds to create an illusion of time progression.
  • In the 8-Bit Theater strip "Visual Shortcut", Red Mage, having devised a plan to travel the entire world talking to everyone, explains they can travel by montage. The next few panels show them in different towns talking to people, while Black Mage complains that none of this makes sense and how is it happening?
  • Wilde Life: While looking for Clifford here, complete with Alt Text: "'I can't believe they only looked three places,' commented someone who doesn't understand montages.'"
  • In El Goonish Shive, Susan gaining wealth and purity by buying and renting out properties is shown in this way.

    Western Animation 
  • Robot Chicken played this for laughs with the superhero Montage. He has the power to create these by touching his fists together twice and saying "boop boop". Among the things he uses this power for is to build a shed, teach a guy Spanish, travel several miles, and age a guy to near-senility in a matter of a few seconds. Then his arch-nemesis End-Credits Mon comes in and ends the program.
  • South Park ruthlessly makes fun of the sports version in their skiing episode.
    In any sport, if you want to go
    From just a beginner to a pro
    You'll need a montage. (Montage)
    A simple little montage! (Montage)
  • Regular Show will lovingly parody classic eighties montage sequences with the accompanying music of the time, such as "You're The Best Around" or "Everybody's Workin' For The Weekend."
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 234, Kaeloo, Stumpy, and Pretty, encouraged by Mr. Cat, play a cruel prank on Rules which sends her into a state of depression. A montage is then shown of Rules sitting sadly on the ground and ignoring everything around her while the other characters do their own thing, ranging from mundane (such as the main four having a snowball fight) to extreme (such as a full-scale alien invasion of Smileyland).


Video Example(s):


Wolverine & Sabretooth at War

Wolverine and Sabretooth fight in several American wars for over 100 years, demonstrating their immortality and Sabretooth's growing bloodthirstiness.

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Example of:

Main / ExpositionOfImmortality

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