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Time Passes Montage

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"Yes, after the moon coming up twice, and the sun coming up three times, I have done it."
Dexter, Dexter's Laboratory, "Used Ink"

A montage where the position of the camera typically (although not necessarily, thanks to digital editing) remains the same, in order to emphasize the passage of time. This is a subset of the Time-Compression Montage and usually obtained by the Time Lapse technique.

Common uses will show things like:

A variation of this is a montage showing the pages of an old-fashioned paper almanac of days flipping over rapidly or being ripped off and fluttering away so that the printed numbers and names of the months seem to change in rapid sequence, to showcase how time flies. A common spoof is to reveal that in fact very little time (or at least, not as much as the montage would have implied) has passed. Frequently accompanies a Fast-Forward Mechanic in video games. Compare Age Cut.


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  • Used in a Citroen advert in the UK to show the passage of time from the designing of the first coupé cabriolet to the release of the current model.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Done in Episode 40 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. For bonus points, the camera is situated in front of a window (which cycles through day and night very fast) and in front of an hourglass.
  • Azumanga Daioh has Sakaki petting Chiyo's huge dog for hours and hours and hours as the day turns into afternoon.
  • Animation Runner Kuromi uses "night follows day" scene breaks with a cutesy, chibified sun and moon sweeping over the studio and announcing "Evening", "Morning" and "Animator's Morning (10:00 AM)"

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Black and White: "Funny Money" has a montage where Batman stares down a close-mouthed suspect until he cracks, over what's implied to be a significant amount of time. The suspect shifts uncomfortably from panel to panel, but Batman doesn't move a muscle.
  • Deadpool has a '70s-style team-up between 'Pool and the Heroes for Hire transition to The New '10s via three panels showing their petrified enemy displayed in someone's living room. In each panel, the TV on the foe's right gets replaced with a newer set, each showing progressively more modern programming. Meanwhile, the parrot on his left grows bigger, then becomes replaced with a memorial consisting of a portrait and an urn.
  • Parodied in one issue of The Simpsons where it looks like this is happening, but it's just the cheap calendar Homer bought falling apart.
    Homer: Lousy calendar! The glue never holds up past March!
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The time passage from when Capt. Storm buried his treasure to the present is shown with a panel displaying the chest in the sand, then a couple of Native Americans smoking a pipe there, a colonial era street on the location and finally the walk to the Holliday College bandstand in the "present".

    Fan Works 
  • Guardian has one page of silent panels, with Lulu, Yuna, Wakka, and Chappu each looking a bit older in each one, to show their adolescence on Besaid.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Book of Life, Maria doesn't get one, but Manolo and Joaquin share one that illustrates them growing from boys to men in San Angel.
  • The famous walking-on-a-fallen-log scene in The Lion King (1994). Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa walk along the log as Simba grows older and older. (Timon and Pumbaa seem to stay the same, though.)
  • Ralph Bakshi puts a notable one of these in his animated The Lord of the Rings. "Seventeen years passed in the Shire..." the narrator solemnly informs us. Cue image of the Shire going through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter...repeatedly...and eventually sped up to near strobe-like swiftness.
  • Sing has two — there's a short one showing the line of auditions outside the theater taking all day to shrink, and then near the end, showing the Theater being rebuilt after the big performance.
  • Steven Universe: The Movie:
    • During "Drift Away", the 6,000 years Spinel spent waiting for Pink Diamond pass by rapidly, with the grass growing till it's up to her waist as the abandoned garden deteriorates.
    • At the end, there's a montage of Beach City going through various phases of recovery, eventually ending up mostly back to normal.
  • The song "Strange Things" from Toy Story shows Andy gradually abandoning Woody in favor of Buzz Lightyear.
  • In Turning Red, this is used to show the SkyDome on the day of the 4*Town concert then the night of it.
  • Several decades pass in the first few minutes of Up.
  • Several in WALL•E, though none of these montages provide any clues how much time is passing. They could have taken place in a number of days or even years. The plant EVE was carrying was only starting to dehydrate when it arrived on the Axiom, which would have taken less than a week in real life, but it's possible EVE has a built-in stasis field since the film implies seasons have passed.
  • The beginning of Wreck-It Ralph shows time in the arcade passing as new games are moved in to replace the old, with Ralph's game forming the centerpiece as the popular one that never changes. What really helps sell it is that the Fix-It Felix Jr. machine is sitting right next to a Pac-Man machine, one of the few games you're almost guaranteed to find in any arcade. This also provides justification for why Pac-Man and Clyde appear in the movie and why Clyde seems to be the head of the support group (being among the oldest still around).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Amélie A brief one just before Amélie grows up, showing a teddy bear in the garden through the four seasons.
  • In The Movie Grand Finale of Our Miss Brooks, time passes as Mr. Boynton and Miss Brooks visit a mother and baby elephant at the zoo. The baby elephant grows to be nearly as big as his mother:
    Mr. Boynton: Remember when he was just a baby?
  • Bella has one in one of the Twilight movies. The camera sweeps around her as the window shows the seasonal changes.
  • There is one in Blindness except the camera sweeps through the scene.
  • City of God uses this to show the history of drug-dealing in an apartment.
  • Hitchhiker Massacre: As Sally is walking through the desert, scenes of her doing so fade into each other, showing that time's passing.
  • In The Hudsucker Proxy, during the montage of Norville's invention being made, there are periodic shots of the door of the marketing department as they come up with names for the new product. The secretary in front of the door is reading War and Peace. By the last shot, when they finally come up with a name, she's reading Anna Karenina.
  • Pride & Prejudice (2005), where Lizzy Bennet seems to be sitting on a swing for several months.
  • In the Disney comedy Rocket Man, the main character falls asleep inside a stasis chamber made for a monkey (the monkey has taken the main character's chamber) preceding a montage of space nebulae, before then showing him waking up and finding that he hasn't even been asleep for a whole day (out of the many months of stasis intended).
  • The Time Machine (1960), The Film of the Book of H. G. Wells, the protagonist sees a dummy in the window of a fashion store across the street go through changes of clothes and fashions in rapid succession.
    • In the 2002 remake, one of the most awe-inspiring scenes is when the protagonist is knocked out by an impact as he's leaving the Bad Future and cranks the time machine into full gear. He sleeps as millennia change around him. A new Ice Age forms around him. Ice then melts, and things start growing again.
  • Titanic (1997) invokes this trope by fading the titular ship as it was to its sunken form in the present.
  • In the American version of The Ring we see surveillance footage of Samara in an institution. It doesn't look all that weird until you see the hands on the wall clock spinning and realize she's sitting or standing in one place for a day or more at a time.
  • Hot Fuzz uses close-up shots of Nicholas Angel's cellphone, the bars on the battery status icon slowly depleting, to show the passage of time as he travels from London to Sandford in Gloucestershire.
  • The ending of Gangs of New York uses this to great effect to demonstrate the futility of the various characters' struggles. After Amsterdam gives his final speech about how no one will remember the draft riots, the cemetary he walks away from (overlooking the city) fast-forwards through time, and the city grows in size before finishing with a modern-day version that includes the former twin towers of the World Trade Center.
  • The Red Violin has three of them (given that the movie spans more than 300 years).
    • The collection of Choirboys from the orphanage in Austria who play the violin for 100 years.
    • The Grave Robbing gypsies, who play it for another century before ending up in Frederick Pope's possession.
    • Finally, the violin goes up on sale in a pawnshop where it is displayed for 30 years as the owner ages significantly.
  • Done twice in Things to Come. First, the destruction of war is shown by the evolution of armor, and by a dissolve shot of a dead soldier turning into scraps of rags. Then, the rebuilding of Everytown after the overthrow of the Warlord.
  • In Blood Simple, a shot from Ray's window dissolved from night to day.
  • Notting Hill does this so subtly that you could almost think they randomly tossed a music video of the protagonist walking down the street through a spot of bad weather. And then you realize that the woman holding the baby was pregnant at the beginning of the song, that other woman broke up with the boyfriend she was delirious about three minutes ago...and did that spot of bad weather have a Christmas tree and Santa in the middle of it!? It's actually four different takes that were extremely well planned out and edited together. Go watch and marvel.
  • In Sweet Smell of Success, there is a Match Cut from a nightly view from Hunsecker's balcony onto the streets of New York to the same setting next morning.
  • Citizen Kane has a very famous one, showing Kane and his first wife sitting at breakfast. Each shift into the future has their conversation becoming more and more hostile, until the final scene in which they don't say a word — he reads his newspaper, and she reads a rival newspaper.
  • Beethoven features a montage of the titular dog going from a puppy to a fully grown St. Bernard as Paul Shaffer's cover of "Roll Over Beethoven" plays in the background, all the while highlighting George Newton's frustrations with the dog.
  • The opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey shows an early human throwing a bone in the air, which dissolves to a satellite of a similar shape — several hundred thousand years of time passing.
  • In Danger Diva, more than a year passes in a montage as Devi shows signs of pregnancy and has her child.
  • Little Dead Rotting Hood: Possibly, as we see a still shot of the moon moving across the sky in the movie.
  • The credits of 65 go as far as to show Earth recovering from the asteroid impact. The fiery hellscape changes to the Ice Age period which then flash-forwards into the American prairie, then the montage caps off with modern skyscrapers in the background.

  • Scrooge's visit to the past in A Christmas Carol is a very broad version of this, but the moment when he witnesses his childhood passing in moments is most explicit.
  • Discworld: Terry Pratchett noted in Wyrd Sisters that the hardest part of Time Travel is finding a laboratory opposite a fashion store that would keep the same dummy in its window for years (parodying The Film of the Book The Time Machine (1960)).
  • Mortal Engines: Happens in A Darkling Plain, when Shrike goes into hibernation and watches Tom and Hester decompose.
  • Early in The Rough Patch, we get a montage of Evan's time with his dog, during which the dog grows from a puppy to a grey-muzzled dog.
  • In Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet, Nan gawps out of the same window onto the garden, which quickly shuffles through all the seasons.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used on The Amazing Race when teams are sitting around, waiting for something to open.
  • Battlestar Galactica does it twice. First one is near the end of "Lay Down Your Burdens". After hearing the news of Cloud 9's destruction, President Baltar wearily puts his head over the table and the camera slowly closes up while a song begins to play. Suddenly, there is light coming in from the windows and the camera pans back to reveal that a year has passed and Colonial One is grounded on New Caprica.
    • The second one is after the Fleet settles on our Earth. The shot shows Hera wandering around in an African grassland. She looks up and the camera pans to show a variety of landscapes while the aforementioned music plays. The sequence ends in modern-day New York City and it is revealed that 150,000 years have passed.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Girl Who Died", the alien technology used to revive Ashildr makes her immortal. The episode ends with her against a background of spinning stars as the years flow by. Unusually for this trope, it's the subject's face that indicates the passing of time, from a joyous smile to a cold stern expression.
  • Kamen Rider Kiva is set both in the '80s and the present, and invokes this trope often — one notable scene has a wall in a café, decorated with commemorative annual plates, which suddenly multiply till they cover half the wall as the story shifts to the present.
  • Stargate SG-1's final episode, "Unending", used one of these to reflect the passing of 20 years of the marooned crew of the Odyssey.
  • Happened on The X-Files when Mulder or Scully used Bat Signal to contact Mulder's Mysterious Informants. They had to wait for them to come and time passing was shown by them killing time, for example playing with a basketball or having a nap on a sofa.
    • In a "Groundhog Day" Loop episode called "Monday" the repetitions started in Mulder's hallway when a paperboy was delivering newspapers.
  • The first episode of Modern Love shows a sequence of Maggie exiting the door of her apartment building which has her daughter growing from an infant to a toddle to five years old. Every time, doorman Guzmin is there to watch, showing the bond growing between him and Maggie.

  • Spoofed in Frank Zappa's "Billy The Mountain":
    Time passing!
    January... February...
    1975... 1986...
    March, 1914...

  • Mystery Show has one where Starlee just describes everything that happens as time passes. She also suggests that we picture a calendar with the pages falling off.

    Video Games 
  • Sunset (2015): Whenever Angela begins a task, an exterior shot of the cityscape is shown, accompanied by clouds and the sun moving across the sky.
  • Played for drama in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, when the Ouroboros are imprisoned for a month by N, to deliberately run out the clock on Mio's natural lifespan and drive Noah to the same despair he himself had felt throughout his lifetimes. The phases of the moon are shown to pass as the party struggles against the bars and walls of their cell, and, one by one, they stop trying.

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog shows a seasonal medley of Dr. Horrible getting beat up and humiliated (in the same location) throughout the four seasons.

    Western Animation 
  • A Codename: Kids Next Door ep ("AWARDS") spoofs the Spinning Clock Hands version, where the spinning clock hands turns out to be just Numbuh 4 playing with his watch.
  • Futurama:
    • In "Space Pilot 3000", a montage of Fry's time in cryogenic suspension shows New York City get destroyed by aliens twice.
    • Used to soul crushing effect in "Jurassic Bark", where Fry's dog is seen waiting for him on the curb outside his old workplace for 12 years, until he lies down and dies.
    • Both of these were among the things nodded to in The Movie Bender's Big Score. Both times, a time-traveling Bender was responsible. It also shows that the dog was being watched after by an alternate Fry, then there's when you realize the dog was treated right after all.
    • Also used breathtakingly in the climax of "The Late Philip J. Fry" when Fry, Bender and the professor witness the end and beginning of the universe, when they later go forward in time, moments from earlier episodes taking place in the Planet Express conference room can be seen as they near the present.
  • Spoofed in Hey Arnold!, albeit as only a Time-Compression Montage, with an episode showing Stinky growing a pumpkin.
  • Mickey Mouse (2013): At the very end of "Three-Legged Race" when it was revealed all the teams have cheated, Mickey attempts to finish the race himself without cheating, while trying to get to the finish line dragging the supremely heavy Pete tied to his leg. It ends up taking days, weeks, months, and apparently a whole lifetime before he finally reaches the finish, of which he and everyone else are now senior citizens.
  • One from the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Best Night Ever" as Applejack is waiting for customers to buy her apple treats.
    Applejack: First minute, first sale. Second. Fourth. Sixth. Sixtieth minute, no sales...
  • In the Looney Tunes short Birds Anonymous, Sylvester is trying to go on a bird-free diet and we get a montage of him lying wide-awake in his bed in different positions.
  • The Owl House: The episode "Thanks to Them" features a montage of the Hexsquad living in the human realm for several months. The montage includes them picking out human realm clothes, Luz coming out to her mother and introducing Amity as her girlfriend, Hunter trying to learn more about the Wittebanes, and their attempts to reactivate the portal door.
  • Parodied in Rugrats episode, "Grandpa Moves Out", in which we view a street apparently cycling through various seasons with rain, snow, sunshine and so on. Then Drew comments on the crazy weather they've had this week.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Spoofed in "Two Dozen and One Greyhouds", which parodies of 101 Dalmatians. The family watches as a dog gives birth to Santa's Little Helper's puppies: "22, 23, 24..." [montage] "...25!".
    • Subverted in "Bart's Girlfriend." Bart wants to avoid seeing his bad influence girlfriend, Jessica. He circles many days on his calendar, and it seems that he actually has succeeded... until he draws an X over the first day and declares that he's starting now. Marge walks in and tells him to get ready for Sunday school, where Bart knows Jessica will be.
    • There are two examples in "The Springfield Files", a parody of The X-Files. When Scully taps Homer's knee for reflex in a lab, his knee moves one hour later as was evidenced by moving clock hands and Mulder's emptied coffee cups. Then when Scully decides the case is the most irritating one ever and that they should leave, Mulder agrees, but he apparently rambles on for hours about the paranormal because the sky changes from day to night.
    • In "The Cartridge Family", Homer wants to buy a gun, but is informed about a 5-day waiting period for his background check. Homer spends the entire 5-day waiting period sitting on his lawn, seeing different things he could shoot with a gun, including Flanders (twice), Patty and Selma, a row of ducks, rabbits, and a truck owned by Target (because of the famous bullseye logo on the side) while Tom Petty's "The Waiting" plays.
    • In "Bull-E", Homer is saying sorry to Ned for bullying him over the years by sitting tight in front of the Flanders house as we see the days go by in quick succession.
  • Spoofed in South Park, when Cartman injures himself by attempting to fly off a roof, and is taken to the hospital to recuperate. A voiceover sings, melodramatically: "Seasons change / time passes by / As the weeks become the months become the years...", and when the camera returns to his hospital bed, the doctor informs Cartman that only two days have passed and removes a beard-like face warmer from his face.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • In "Patty Hype", we get a shot of SpongeBob waiting outside his house at the Pretty Patty stand saying "I'm ready!" before jumping several years later to him as a middle-aged man, as a senior citizen, and finally dead with his tombstone in place. It is then revealed to be All Just a Dream.
    • In the episode "Fear of a Krabby Patty", one occurs during the day the Krusty Krab stays open endlessly without any breaks. Doubles as a Hard-Work Montage with SpongeBob working nonstop.
  • Used in the third season mini movie “Battle for the Pride Lands” in The Lion Guard showing the group fighting the outlanders and revealing their teenage models for the first time.


Owl House - Thanks to Them

The intro for "Thanks To Them" serves as one, depicting the Hexsquad's month stay in the Human Realm as well as trying to reactivate the portal to return to the Demon Realm.

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