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Torches and Pitchforks
aka: Angry Mob

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"Ah, there's no justice like angry mob justice."
Seymour Skinner, The Simpsons, "Bart After Dark"

The standard equipment for any angry mob that goes on a Witch Hunt or sets out to Eat the Rich. The mob may be going after a witch, an evil wizard, a vampire, a Mad Scientist, a perverted person, an Evil Debt Collector, the privileged elite or any other unpopular local figure. If the mob is after the villain, he most probably ends up being Shamed by a Mob. If they're coming after the good guys for one reason or another (like if our heroes are hiding a Reluctant Monster), their best defense is Shaming the Mob or an obstacle that will force them to go one by one, raising the question of, "Who Will Bell the Cat?"

On occasion, however, they feature as the just outbreak of the people against an evil, but legally untouchable, character.

Related to the less focused, but more destructive, Powder Keg Crowd. Malicious Slander may have stirred them up; good luck finding out who, if anyone, is responsible for the rumors (though there may be a Rabble Rouser involved).

Truth in Television, of course; in prior centuries where the vast majority of the people were living in the countryside and couldn't necessarily afford more expensive weapons such as guns and swords, pitchforks (along with scythes and sickles) were inexpensive and quite versatile, and so it became a popular weapon to use in times of rebellion.

Featured and parodied so many times, it's a definite Undead Horse Trope. A common parody is to ask the mob where they got their equipment on such short notice (often revealing it as something ridiculous), or for angry mobs to be judged by the quality of such equipment.

See also Kill It with Fire and Burn the Witch! for its inspiration. A Flame War happens when you take the sentiment behind this and apply it on the Internet. When you've got pitchforks but not torches, see Devil's Pitchfork, Prongs of Poseidon or Gardening-Variety Weapon. If torches and pitchforks are featured in a musical, then an Angry Mob Song is pretty much guaranteed.

Contrast Swords to Plowshares, when peacetime makes people convert their weapons into farming implements or other nonviolent tools.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In one ghost's dream in Bizenghast, Vincent is accused of witchcraft and nearly hung by an angry mob wielding these.
  • In the Black Jack Sealed Chapter "Witch Trial", Black Jack defends a woman from an angry mob accusing her of witchcraft, while trying to operate on her deformed infant son to give him a more normal appearance.
  • Amon: Apocalypse of Devilman has this archetype of people who try to hunt down "Devil Man's girlfriend" and end up killing Miki Makimura and her underaged brother. Devil Man finds them carrying pitches, forks, and Miki's severed head. The rest is predictable.
  • In My-Otome, about a thousand Windbloom refugees form an angry mob to track down Queen Mashiro for allowing their kingdom to fall under the control of the Big Bad. Since they are unable to find her, they settle for one of her court maids who, unfortunately for them, is willing to keep the queen's whereabouts a secret to the very end.
  • Downplayed to brooms instead of torches and pitchforks, but in The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero's Journey, Lock, Shock, and Barrel rob a toy store. The toy store owner gets a sizable mob to hunt them down with this mentality.
  • The angry mob trying to kill Remina in Remina. Many pitchforks, knives, fire axes, and the occasional gun.
  • The first episode of Slayers ends with Lina and Gourry fleeing from villagers wielding these. After Lina prevented a dragon from destroying said village. Destroying the village herself in the process. Ungrateful Bastards.
  • The town where murder is legal in Kino's Journey. The townsfolk are genuinely nice people, but if you try to use that legality to commit murder For the Evulz, the entire townsfolk will come after you with guns, crossbows, knives, and more, before executing you on the spot.
    Old Man: Just because something is legal does not mean it's permitted.
  • Vermeil in Gold: When Alto sees the memories of Vermeil's past, he learns that a plague had swept through Vermeil’s hometown. When they discovered she was a demon, the townsfolk escalated their aggression towards Vermeil and her adopted family, carrying torches and pitchforks. She later finds the bodies of her family hanged and skewered, and in a fit of rage destroyed the town killing everyone in it.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Guess what the members of the mob on the card "Angry Mob" are wielding? For a double bonus, the card artwork is a stylized recreation of a scene from the original Nosferatu.
    • The horror-movie-based setting Innistrad not only has several cards to represent variations on the angry mob but actually has equipment representing a torch and a pitchfork. The torch fends off vampires and can be used to set things on fire. The pitchfork is...very pointy. And a spell named Rally the Peasants that boosts your creatures' power while leaving their toughness as is shows an angry mob forming.
      Rally the Peasants: "If you must go out at night, bring a mob." —Master of the Elgaud Cathars
      Ludevic's Abomination: "After several frustrating experiments, the visionary Ludevic realized he needed to create a monster that fed on torch-wielding mobs."
    • This is the defining trait of the rabidly xenophobic Hive Minded kithkin (pictured above on the card Kithkin Rabble) in MTG's Shadowmoor setting.
  • There's a non-collectible card game by the name of... you guessed it, Torches and Pitchforks, by Green Ronin Publishing. The object? "Your townsfolk have suffered attacks for years but they're not going to take it anymore. Those creepy monsters have haunted the moors long enough and now it's time for you and your mob to do something about it! Arm your townsfolk, fight off the monsters, and don't let those other mobs steal any of your glory."

    Comic Books 
  • In Astro City story "Pastoral", seeing the local superhero overwhelmed by a group of supervillains inspires this in a crowd of Heroic Bystanders who grab whatever's handy to attack. (They buy the hero the moment needed to regroup.)
  • Bat Lash #1 opens with torches and pitchforks wielding mob planning to break down the jail door and lynch Bat Lash.
  • In Batman '66 #19, a mob of torch and pitchfork-wielding Gothamites attempt to hunt down Batman and Robin while under the effect of Professor Ffog's mind-affecting fog.
  • In Hex Wives #1, a Puritan mob bearing torches and pitchforks comes for the witches. Leads to Deadpan Snarker Gabriel's quote (several centuries later):
    "Their magic is Blood Magic. Blood is spilled, and their magic gets stronger. So, yes, by all means, let's keep attacking them with pitchforks."
  • Irredeemable. A farming community witness Qubit using his powers to build them a solar-powered tractor and realise he's one of the superheroes who worked with Plutonian, who's gone rogue and killed millions. They don't have torches (it's daylight) but they do have pitchforks. Qubit is quietly relieved when they accept his explanation that they tried their best to stop Plutonian and he's doing what he can to help out now. However when Survivor turns up and informs them that Qubit threw away a chance to kill Plutonian, things turn ugly. Suvivor prevents the mob from lynching Qubit, but later threatens to tell the entire world what Qubit did if he gets in his way.
  • Prickly City: Winslow, disguised as Senator Kevin the Lost Bunny of the Apocalypse, returns to Prickly City to meet with his constituents. A crowd comes to meet him, with torches and pitchforks.
  • Happens in Steampunk Swimsuit #1 when Dr. Frankensteam's auto-tailor runs amok and starts stripping the clothes off people at the beach. Lampshaded when the Monster asks "Where did they get those torches and pitchforks!?!"
  • Used heroically in Red Sonja: The Forgiving of Monsters. Evil wizard Katharas-ra comes to town hunting Sonja, who is mortally injured. The town assembles a mob to protect the building where she's staying and holds him off long enough for her to get into fighting shape.
  • Parodied in Sam & Max: Freelance Police in "The Tell-Tale Tail", when a group of torch-bearing Scotsmen arrives at the castle where Max is attempting to reanimate his severed tail (don't ask):
    Sam: It's an irate mob of torch-bearing villagers out to destroy anything different, abnormal or misunderstood!
    Scot: Irate? We're not irate! We're here in town for the annual torch maker's convention!
    • Then they make things worse by choosing a particularly inopportune time to try and sell their wares.
  • In Soulsearchers and Company #2, the gypsies gather up torches and pitchforks and go to confront the monster that has been terrorizing their tribe. And then turn tail and run when they catch sight of the actual monster.
  • Ultimate X-Men: The X-Men survive their first fight against Sentinels, but then they are attacked by an angry mob.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Comic Cavalcade: Randy Holcome gathers a crowd to tear their way into the Sheriff station in order to lynch Judy MacGregor for killing his father, and the sheriff for trying to keep her out of their hands. The murder he's acting so upset about is one which he committed himself, he's just happy to convince the township that Judy was responsible and then kill her so that she can't defend herself in a way that spreads blame around.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Giganta rallies the "peasants" to rise up and attack Queen Darla and King Aros' palace while Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor and the Holliday Girls are visiting. When the rebels tie up the Queen to kill her Giganta has them include Wonder Woman with the intent that they're both assassinated.
  • As shown here, Nightcrawler of the X-Men has this as part of his origin story. This is also the metaphorical response many Marvel inhabitants have towards mutants in general.
    • Wolfsbane of the New Mutants got another literal torch-bearing mob after her when her powers manifested, though they had swapped out the pitchforks for shotguns.

    Comic Strips 
  • Bizarro strip for October 27, 2012. Frankenstein's Monster is trapped by a group of peasants wielding these implements, but they burst into derisive laughter when they saw he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts.
  • Dilbert had a series of strips has Dogbert taking over Elbonia. In the final strip, Dilbert sees the people marching on the castle with pitchforks and other tools and he and Dogbert panic and flee; the last panel has one Elbonian turning to another and asking "Did anyone remember to tell the King about the harvest festival today?"
  • Parodied in The Far Side several times; in one strip, the mob is storming the castle, and one man looks down at his torch, which has gone out, to regret buying it from a discount "Torches and Pitchforks Store".

  • The main dramatic arc of BURN THE WITCH (Miraculous Ladybug) revolves around an Akumatized villain named "Witch Hunter" brainwashing the city of Paris into going full Spanish Inquisition/French Revolution on Lila Rossi.
  • Chapter 10 of Leaving Hogwarts is titled Howlers, News Articles and Lynch Mobs]]. In that chapter, Molly and Arthur Weasley organize a torch and pitchfork mob of witches and wizards to pay a visit to Harry's abusive relatives.
  • Medicated: When Wally spots Anne testing out her human form, he runs off to round up a mob of villagers. Subverted when it turns out that they only intended to carefully subdue Anne and return her to the Plantars, since they know she's still the girl they've known for years.
  • At one point in The New Adventures of Invader Zim, the Children of the Bright and Shining Saucer whip torches and pitchforks out of Hammerspace when they realize that Dib and Steve are anti-alien, and start chasing them.
    Dib: Question logic later, run now!
  • Supreme Champion:
    Salazar Slytherin did not want Muggle-borns dead like [Harry] thought. He just did not trust them as the Founders were in a timeline where Muggles were actively hunting witches and wizards, fearing some were spies in order to kill them off. The basilisk was not left in the Chamber to attack students, but rather to protect Hogwarts from the angry waves of Muggles who often ran up to the school with pitchforks and crosses.
  • In Book 3 of The Last Son, when the Fantastic Four and Alison Blaire fail to secure an alliance with Doctor Doom in the prelude to the alien invasion, they run into an angry Latverian mob coming at them. Thankfully, Doom's daughter Siryn steps in and manages to calm them down.
    Human Torch: (sees the aforementioned angry Latverians coming) Oh, great! A perfect end to a perfect day!
    Mr. Fantastic: We'll be okay, Johnny. We just have to stay calm…
    Human Torch: (incredulously) Reed, are you kidding me? Have you even watched any classic horror-movies? The minute the angry mob shows up, it all goes to hell in a handbasket!

    Film — Animated 
  • In the Disney Beauty and the Beast. There was even a song called "The Mob Song"—"We don't like what we don't understand/In fact it scares us."
  • Lampshaded in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, wherein a garden fete stall changes its sign from "Gardening Supplies" to "Angry Mob Supplies". The stallholder cries out:
    Stall Holder: Mob Supplies! Get your Angry Mob Supplies here!
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney), Phoebus incites the crowd gathered to watch Esmeralda's execution into attacking Frollo and his men when Frollo attacks Notre Dame itself. During the ensuing battle, many of the mob are seen wielding pitchforks.
  • NIMONA (2023): There is a brief sequence in the trailer of a young Nimona being attacked by an angry mob with torches and pitchforks.
  • In Paranorman, an angry mob quickly forms when the zombies are discovered. But since the zombies are Not Evil, Just Misunderstood, Norman and his friends have to protect the zombies from the mob. And just to drive the point home, the mob acts more like traditional horror movie zombies while trying to break into the town hall.
  • In the Disney film Pocahontas near the end (during the song 'Savages! Savages!') the invaders pick up torches and pitchforks and decide to attack the natives.
  • Laird gathers the pig peasants and convinces them the heroine, Daria, is to blame for their problems because "She's different" in The Princess and the Pea. The very gullible crowd actually believes him and tries to kill her.
  • Shrek:
    • In the opening scene of the first movie, the ogre is obviously used to angry mobs coming to drive him out of his hut, as he easily scares one of them off, even prompting them at one point, "This is the part where you run away." He later hangs a lampshade on it when speaking to Donkey.
      Shrek: I'm an ogre! You know, 'Grab your torch and pitchfork!' Doesn't that bother you?
    • Lampshaded in the sequel, when Shrek and Fiona step out of their carriage in Far Far Away and are revealed to be ogres. Shrek sees some pitchforks in the crowd and gets nervous, commenting "Let's go before they light the torches."
    • By Shrek Forever After, it is apparently a regular occurrence for citizens to ask for signatures on their pitchforks.
  • In The Simpsons Movie, the people of Springfield go after Homer with torches and pitchforks after finding out Homer was responsible for polluting Lake Springfield. Later in the film, Homer announces he doesn't want to leave Alaska because everyone came after him with torches and pitchforks, "at 4:00 in the afternoon!".
    Marge: It was 7:00 at night!
    Homer: It was during Access Hollywood.
    Marge: Which is on at 4:00 and 7:00.
    Homer: D'oh!

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Judy's revenge-fantasy Imagine Spot from 9 to 5, some of the mob of office workers that pursue Hart through the cubicles with bloodhounds are carrying torches.
  • Poor Jim faced one in the 1939 film, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  • Rob Schneider's The Animal features a torches, pitchforks and shotgun-wielding mob, organized by Sgt. Sisk, starting at 1:40 here. Featuring Norm MacDonald as a guy asking stuff like "when do we get to light our torches" ("When its dark") and other pesky questions:
    Sgt. Sisk: Alright, you! Back of the Mob!
  • Twice in The Black Room the townsfolk form an angry mob and storm the castle to confront Baron Gregor: first when Paul finds Mashka's shawl outside Gregor's room the morning after she disappears, and then again when Gregor is exposed at the wedding and they realise he has murdered Anton.
  • The Bride: When the circus learns Viktor is in town, they rouse the local guards and form a mob to hunt him down: carrying lanterns and variety of makeshift weapons, including pitchforks.
  • Subverted in Cthulhu (2007). When the gay protagonist is wrongly arrested for raping and murdering a boy, he naturally assumes the shouting, the torch-carrying crowd is a lynch mob and desperately holds onto the door of the cell to keep it shut. In the morning, he discovers the crowd (presumably Dagon cultists) have unlocked the cell door, and driven off the police so he can escape.
  • Carried by the townsfolk in Dead in Tombstone when they turn up to drive Red out of town.
  • Dead Again in Tombstone: When Alicia succeeds in getting the citizens of Silver River to join her in opposing Boomer's plan to raise an army of the dead, they march down the street with torches and pitchforks (and a few other agricultural implements).
  • The Devil Commands: After the death of his wife, Seth Marcy whips up the locals into a frenzy and they storm Dr. Blair's mansion just as he is conducting his final experiment.
  • Edward Scissorhands has a mob of suburbanites lighting their flashlights and roaming the neighborhood with sports equipment and gardening tools.
  • In the movie The Elephant Man, there was a brief moment aboard a ship that the eponymous character was on... even though some bad little boys started the trouble.
  • Evilenko: When Evilenko is finally captured and escorted to the courthouse, he has to be transported in an armored vehicle and accompanied by multiple guards to prevent the livid crowds of parents outside from ripping him to shreds before he can even stand trial for his murders.
  • The Flesh and the Fiends: After they murder Daft Jamie, Burke and Hare hunted down by a torch-bearing angry mob roused by Maggie.
  • A rare heroic example in a propaganda film from North Korea, The Flower Girl. The Paes, evil capitalist landowners that oppress the villagers, go too far when they do something nefarious with Sun Hui and then kidnap poor Kotpun. The townspeople rise up, attack the Pae estate, and massacre them. The scene where the villagers are carrying torches through the darkness is one of several beautiful shots in the film.
  • The 1931 film version of Frankenstein features some of the most famous Torches And Pitchforks angry mobs. They are an Unbuilt Trope example since no one has a pitchfork and Dr. Frankenstein himself is one of the leaders.
  • In Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks, the villagers gather torches and pitchforks and march on the caves when they are told that is where the monster is hiding.
  • Fritz Lang's 1936 film Fury has a lynch mob burning down a jailhouse and nearly killing an innocent man (Spencer Tracy) who had been falsely arrested for kidnapping a child. He survives but decides to get revenge on the mob by staying out of the way and letting its members stand trial for his murder, angry at the fact that legally, a murder attempt is only "murder" when successful.
  • Subverted in The Great Race. When Professor Fate's car arrives in Siberia, there are crowds of people holding torches lining the streets, all ominously silent. They don't respond when Fate speaks, but when Maggie DuBois greets them in Russian they throng the car, enthusiastically cheering.
  • In Hobo With a Shotgun, the mob of citizens hunting and killing the homeless are carrying torches and a wide variety of improvised weapons, including pitchforks.
  • At the end of Lady Frankenstein, an old-fashioned torch and pitchfork-wielding mob storms the Frankenstein estate and sets fire to the castle.
  • Matinee. In the fifties B-Movie Show Within a Show MANT! the locals turn up with these, but are understandably reluctant to take on a giant mutant ant doing something severely unpleasant to a woman offscreen.
  • In the silent Metropolis you already have a Lampshade Hanging, with the angry mob of futuristic underground workers replacing pitchforks with wrenches and crowbars, and shouting "Down with the machines!" When the foreman shames the mob by asking them who is protecting their children, they switch gears and decide to "Burn the Witch!!" instead.
  • The mob chanting "Imhotep" in The Mummy (1999) is carrying torches. On the DVD Commentary, director Stephen Sommers acknowledges the appeal of this trope, saying "villagers with torches, it's hard to beat."
  • The Night of the Hunter climaxes with an angry mob forming against Harry Powell.
  • None Shall Escape: After Anna drowns herself, an angry mob shows up at Wilhelm's doorstep. Anna's father wants Wilhelm dead as revenge for the rape and death of his daughter, but father Warecki manages to calm him down until the police arrive shortly thereafter. The mob doesn't disperse right away though, opting instead to... let's say "help escort the prisoner".
  • In the Lon Chaney silent film version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925), the Phantom is rather brutally killed at the end by one of these.
  • Return of the Scarecrow: In the story of how the scarecrow came to be, a mob of people assaulted the witch family in a torch and pitchfork mob.
  • Rigoletto has angry townspeople storming Mr. Ribaldi's mansion during the musically dissonant number "The Melody Within". (Ironically, a song about looking inside the person and not judging by exteriors...)
  • Sharkenstein: After a female farmer finds Sharkenstein attacking her cattle, she chases it off with a shotgun. In her next scene, she's shown to have gathered a bunch of people together to hunt it down. They don't seem to question her telling them that they're going after a shark monster.
  • In Silver Lode, the townspeople gradually descend into a mob looking to kill Ballard as suspicion against him mounts. They would claim to be a posse, but since the person deputizing them was merely Impersonating an Officer, they are not.
  • The ending of the fantasy film, The Snake Prince, where the ungrateful villagers, fearing the titular prince's powers - despite the prince saving their village from a drought - decide to have the prince killed by raiding his lair with sulphur smoke, and attacking him with flung torches, pitchforks, and hatchets.
  • Tombstone. Not pitchforks, but pickaxes. A lynch mob, including miners with pickaxes, appears after Curly Bill kills the town marshal. Wyatt disperses the mob by saying there will be a trial.
  • The unruly mob from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode The Touch of Satan. Both times they appear, they sing "Amazing Grace" which causes Servo to sing (in the same tune)
    Tom Servo: This song / is in / the public domain / That's why / we used / it twice!
  • In Vampire Circus, the villagers of Stetl twice become an angry mob armed with flaming torches and farming implements: once in the prologue to storm the Count's castle, and once at the climax to attack the eponymous circus.
  • The Ukrainian mobs in Volhynia use these, among other tools, to massacre Poles. Truth in Television.
  • In the terrifying climax to Within Our Gates, a black man falsely accused of murder and his wife are hunted down and lynched by a white mob.
  • The Man Who Laughs: When Gwynplaine is escaping the House of Lords he is set upon by a mob wielding pitchforks and torches, and is forced to climb over rooftops to escape them. Although, given the confusion of the many different plot threads at the moment, it's unclear if they're after him, after the escaped criminals, or just really enjoy rioting.
  • When the Frankenstein Monster invades the wine festival in Transylvania 6-5000, Mayor Lepescu yells for torches and the townsfolk are able to immediately produce them.
  • Vaincre ou Mourir: The conscription attempts of the First French Republic result in a massive revolt of peasants in Vendée, who appropriately use their tools as weapons at first, including pitchforks. One such mob goes to seek Charette in his castle to lead them.

  • Creature of Havoc, in which you are the titular monster, have multiple scenarios where you're driven away by villagers armed with torches afraid of you.

  • Three Parts Dead: The protagonist is a necromancer. Her hometown is not so fond of black magic.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of...:
    • Bruce Coville's Book of Monsters: The narrator of Personality Problem complains about being chased by people with these.
    • Bruce Coville's Book of Spine Tinglers: The werewolf in What's A Little Fur Among Friends? mentions that members of her family were chased out of their homes by former friends wielding these when they discovered the family members were werewolves.
  • Both parodied a few times and played straight in Discworld. For example, in Carpe Jugulum, Nanny Ogg gets several of her sons to organize an angry mob to go after Count Magpyr and his family, who have moved into Lancre Castle with the intent of taking over the country. The Count is not impressed and simply steps out to criticize their "angry mob" form (like using large, unwieldy scythes instead of sickles) before siccing his personal army on the mob. But at the climax, a mob takes on the Count — much to the approval of the witches, as you have to kill your own monsters. (They had brought their children, which would teach the children that monsters could be killed.)
    • Maskerade features a brief discussion of angry mob etiquette when a mob goes after the Phantom (apparently, it's torches when chasing monsters, and lanterns when chasing smugglers).
    • Igors working for mad scientists/lords/whatevers have the uncanny ability to have all of their possessions and body parts packed and be halfway out of the village before the peasants can finish distributing these essentials.
    • Otto von Chriek of The Truth cites this as the reason for his "comical vampire" act—if he's weird but amusing, they're less likely to kill him. He also mentions having lost a friend to such a mob.
    • An illustration in The Art of Discworld shows "The Mob"; the crowd of not-necessarily-antagonistic people who treat any interesting event in Ankh-Morpork as a form of street theatre. Two of them are, in fact, holding a torch and a pitchfork - but this being the Morporkian melting pot they are a vampire and an Igor.
  • Played more or less straight in the seventh book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, with a village of puritanical fanatics whose punishment for breaking any of their village laws (which prohibit mechanical devices, books which break the rules, and harming the local crows) is burning at the stake.
  • Esther Friesner's Majyk by Accident has a town that stages these regularly to get around an inconvenient law against making deals with witches. Trying to kill the witch isn't illegal, after all, and if the witch turns out to be too powerful and has to be appeased with trade goods, that's not the mob's fault. And if they find useful herbal remedies of completely unknown origin placed near her cottage, well, it must be their lucky day.
  • In the first book of The Sword of Truth series, a wizard's house is surrounded by the trope mob. Well, the wizard first points out they call him a witch - which is reserved for females, while males are warlocks. Then, he asks them what do they think a warlock can do. Then, after they list increasingly preposterous strengths that they believe him to have, he says that they must be very brave if they go against someone with such powers with... well... you know. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Russian embassy in Tehran is destroyed by an angry mob in the climax of The Death of the Vazir Mukhtar. The mob was organized by Persian religious authorities when a eunuch — a slave and a part of the ruler's Sharia-guaranteed inviolable property — tries to escape to Russia thanks to a clause in a peace treaty signed by the main character. Though they don't really tell all that to the mob; the main character just so happens to be a widely-accepted scapegoat for most everything that goes bad in the country, which to be fair is not entirely divorced from truth, what with his attempts to extract sizable war reparations and all.
  • In Death: This trope is mentioned a few times. Survivor In Death has Eve encouraging Nadine to spin the story of the Swisher family's murders so that the murderers will look like the kind of monsters people chase with "torches and pitchforks". Considering that the murderers killed men, women, and children without a qualm, that assessment is not too far off. New York To Dallas has Commander Whitney tell the prison director to hand over files or he will have a media conference where he will give graphic details of Isaac McQueen's murdering, torturing and raping, and that the prison staff will be lucky if people don't go after them with "torches and pitchforks". Isaac escaped this prison, and the prison staff actually tried to cover it up and withhold this information, so they would deserve this sort of treatment.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Scarlet Citadel", the Succession Crisis brought about a Powder Keg Crowd, but the actual man chosen brings about this. Conan's return puts the cherry on top.
  • Played straight in Shaman Blues — in an old case, a man suspected for multiple child murder was lynched by a mob of victims' parents. He was innocent, and only became suspected because he was a foreigner.
  • In Seanan McGuire's Velveteen vs. The Junior Super Patriots, the amassed crayfish have the mood; all they need is tiny pitchforks and torches to fit the trope exactly.
  • Moiraine in The Wheel of Time talks down one of these mobs, after she saved their village from Trollocs and healed their wounded. It helps that the mayor is on her side and has a lot of authority in the town.
    • Whitecloaks like to incite these against Aes Sedai.
      • A town, later on, sees one of these rampaging through the streets. Up until they meet the heroes coming the other way, who mow a path.
  • In The Witch of Blackbird Pond several of the townspeople who mob together to bring Hannah Tupper to "justice" sports torches.
  • In the P. G. Wodehouse "Mulliner" story "The Truth About George", the eponymous protagonist gets chased off a stopped train by a mob that comes spewing out of the other compartments and the surrounding countryside.
  • Forbidden Sea: After Sadelyn was locked up for a murder she didn't commit, a mob tried to storm the local jail to kill her, which is why she's being transported to another town for a fair trial at the start of Shadow in the Sea.
  • Dragonvarld: When Vengeance is born as an obvious Half-Human Hybrid, the midwife raises an angry mob to kill him, considering him to be the work of the devil.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Amazing Stories episode "Mummy Daddy" a Deep South version of this menaces an actor who is stuck in his mummy costume as he tries to reach the hospital for the birth of his child.
  • Parodied on Austin & Ally, where the shopowners of the mall form one after mistakenly believing Austin to be the mall thief note . According to them, they got the torches and pitchforks at the "Torches and Pitchforks store".
  • Twisted: In an episode of Being Human, Mitchell and George are thought to be pedophiles and an angry mob throws them rotten fruit and breaks their windows. During this, they are shown to be watching an old movie with a classic torches and pitchforks scene.
  • Happens a few times in Cadfael, taking place as it does in medieval Shrewsbury:
    • The Aurifaber wedding party chase the bard Liliwen right into the abbey, where he manages to claim sanctuary just in time to avoid being summarilly hanged for the Aurifaber patriarch's (apparent) death.
    • The people of the Foregate pursue Father Ailnoth to the abbey gates with an air of Tranquil Fury, not chasing him at a run but keeping up a steady chant of "Ailnoth! Ailnoth!" after his offenses against them culminate in driving a well-liked local girl to suicide for becoming pregnant out of wedlock.
    • Local merchants in "St. Peter's Fair" take up torches to protest the disruption in their business and the heavy tax levied by the festival.
  • Stephen Colbert keeps a pitchfork in the Hammerspace under his desk at The Colbert Report, and since he already refers to the Studio Audience as "the mob", it was only a matter of time.
  • On Countdown With Keith Olbermann, the host introduces his nightly "Worst Persons in the World" as of 2010 with the phrase "Get out your 'Pitchforks and Torches'," of which that will be the title of his upcoming book, which will be a compilation of special comments, worst persons, and "Tea Time" segments.
  • Gunsmoke : In the episode, Death Train, an angry mob led by a loudmouth street preacher yelling The End Is Nigh and one of Doc's patients causes this, but, in this case, no pitchforks. They used torches and GUNS.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Sisterhood of Karn in "The Brain of Morbius". They chase the Morbius creature off a cliff, à la Frankenstein.
    • "State of Decay" has an amusing scene where the Doctor persuades the peasants to attack the castle of their tyrannical rulers (actually a spaceship embedded in the ground) with a rousing speech that's paraphrased from the St. Crispin's Day speech in Henry V. A mob scene with torches and pitchforks ensues.
    • "The Witchfinders": At the climax, the Doctor leads a torch-wielding mob up Pendle Hill to defeat the Morax that have taken the King hostage. Since the torches are made from the wood of the tree that served as the lock of the Morax's prison, they are vulnerable to the smoke.
    • In the Big Finish Doctor Who episode "The Sky Man", the Master and his companion Cole Jarnish are on an agrarian planet that is being poisoned due to the Time War. The offworlders are blamed and the locals start threatening violence. Cole is able to bluff a lynch mob into leaving by pretending his gravity suit is Powered Armor. Another mob threatens the Master and are never seen again.
      Rioter: What are you going to do, old man? Tear us limb from limb?
      The Master: Now that's an invitation I could not possibly refuse...
  • Kamen Rider Gaim: The Zawame city population goes into the mob mode against Beat Riders pretty quickly after the Inves Plague appears. They would lynch Kouta and Mai, who came into the hospital to get a medical check-up if a doctor didn´t stop them.
  • The space heroes rally a mob in Romania to attack Castle Drakul in the Lexx episode "Walpurgis Night". They're unsuccessful until they tell the peasants about the pies they can steal from the castle. What follows is a typical torches-and-pitchforks scene (except that Stan is brandishing a mop, because all the torches were taken).
  • Parodied in the first part of a two-part episode in Married... with Children. During a heatwave, the family force Al to buy them a new air conditioner. He buys a clunky German one that blows out the power over the neighborhood when turned on high. While the family observes the blackout, Al comments that at least no one knows they're responsible. Right on cue, the neighborhood instantly accuses the Bundys and comes storming at their door.
    Kelly: Where'd they get those torches and pitchforks so fast?!
  • Parodied in Mystery Science Theater 3000, when Pearl is at first ecstatic about the torch-bearing mob gathered beneath her castle and readies the hot pitch and firebombs, only to learn that they're part of a Minnesota Nice welcoming party. A disappointed Pearl releases the pitch and firebombs anyway.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: A misunderstanding over a notebook full of gossip and rumors leads to Suzie Crabgrass being chased by a mob of students and faculty and having no idea why, equipped with Loomer (her own boyfriend) stealing a pitchfork from a gardener. When they corner her in the stairwell, she stands her ground, calls them out, and snatches the pitchfork from Loomer.
    Suzie: And come on, a pitchfork? [returns it to the gardener]
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Rule of Law", a posse led by Jake Armstrong attempts to lynch the Medusan who killed Jake's brother Matt and two other humans. However, they are stopped by Joshua Finch, the newly arrived Fifth Circuit judge.
  • In the Resident Alien episode "End of the World as We Know It", Asta Twelvetrees tries to comfort the injured alien Harry Vanderspeigle by telling him that there will soon be a whole bunch of people looking for them. Harry has an Imagine Spot of the townsfolk of Patience coming after him with torches and pitchforks. Asta, staring at his increasingly alien body, comments that she can see how it could be a problem.
  • Sorry, I've Got No Head: Whenever the Witchfinder accuses someone of being a witch, and an angry mob of Stuart-era peasants immediately appears and drags the accused off to burn them.
  • The X-Files:
    • In "Syzygy", Scully sees what appears to be a torch-bearing mob in the distance, though when they get close, it's revealed that their torches are of the battery-powered kind and their 'pitchfork' is a single shotgun.
    • In "The Post-Modern Prometheus", the townsfolk are stupid enough to burn down the Monster of the Week's barn.
  • An angry peasant mob drove the Draculas out of Transylvania in Young Dracula. The Count still has nightmares and flashbacks about it.

  • The song "Stakes and Torches (The Uprising of the Peasants)" by artist Voltaire is through the point of view of a "torches and pitchforks" mob ("Stakes and torches, scimitars and bayonets, scythes, pitchforks a sickle with a sharpened edge... ")
  • A torch-wielding mob comes after a wounded angel in the Music Video of Amaranth by Nightwish.
  • Another torch-wielding mob comes after Michael Jackson's hero in his short film Ghosts because he was secretly telling children ghost stories at his creepy mansion, and just because he's different from everybody else.
  • Red Rider's "Lunatic Fringe".
  • Rush's "Witch Hunt".
  • "they came with torches and pitchforks..." from the Titus Andronicus song "No Future part II: The Day After No Future"
  • They Might Be Giants:
    • "Dead":
      Did a large procession wave their torches
      As my head fell in the basket
      And was everybody dancing on the casket?
    • "In Fact":
      In fact it's messier still
      That mess on the loose and leading the mob
      They march with pitchforks and torches now
      They have your old ID disavow
  • "Give Us The Rope" from The Protomen is about Dr. Light being found innocent of Emily's murder, but having already been vilified so much by Wily that he's led out of the courtroom and past an angry lynch mob calling for his death.
    Give us a grave!
    Give us a shovel!
    Give us a marker!
    Give us the doctor!
    Give us the rope!
  • "Altogether Ooky" by Bloodhound Gang.
    I'm going to come to your house on the back of a horse with
    A bunch of villagers carrying torches
    Most of whom dislike monsters like you, girl
  • Felix Mendelssohn (setting a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) uses the heroic variant of the trope in Die erste Walpurgisnacht, in which a community of pagans uses the trope-naming implements, in conjunction with truly epic choral music, to impersonate demons, thus frightening off their Christian oppressors so they can worship in peace.

    Other Sites 
  • SCP Foundation. "Another Sun is a Tale associated with SCP-2975 ("Another Sun"). As Mobile Task Force Sigma-3 moves through a town, it is attacked by cultists literally armed with torches and pitchforks. MTF Sigma-3 manages to avoid the cultists, who eventually fall asleep.

  • Wielded by the mobs in Medieval Madness
  • The audience in Monster Bash is a mob waving torches and pitchforks... along with weed-whackers, hedge trimmers, and other unconventional implements.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This effect is incorporated into Promethean: The Created, which is "Frankenstein's Monster: The RPG." Humans recognize, on some visceral level, that Prometheans shouldn't exist, and suffer "Disquiet" in their presence that eventually turns to violence.
  • Some Clockstoppers in Genius: The Transgression are able to manipulate people into forming angry mobs against hapless Geniuses.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The AD&D 2nd Edition Ravenloft-setting book Van Richten's Guide to the Created has rules for how and why a torch-and-pitchfork angry mob can kill "the created," mostly Frankenstein's monster-esque flesh golems when they're normally immune to damage from non-magical weapons. Part of its damage from fire, and part of it's from the potent symbolic darkness in an act of mob mentality, which appeals to the Dark Powers of Ravenloft, empowering the mob as a result.
    • 1st Edition adventure I6 Ravenloft. One random encounter inside Strahd's castle was with a group of angry villagers brandishing torches and pitchforks.
    • 1st Edition adventure I10 Ravenloft 2: The House on Gryphon Hill. In one of the Alchemist's dreams, he sees a large crowd carrying torches and pitchforks pursuing a man through a graveyard. The crowd catches the man and pounds a stake through his chest. The Alchemist then sees that the man has his own face.
    • White Dwarf magazine adventure "Rescue the Paladin!". If the Player Characters fight the landlord and barman in the hostel, a crowd of angry peasants with torches and pitchforks will gather outside. If the Player Characters try to leave, the peasants will tear them limb from limb. If they don't, the peasants set the hostel on fire.
  • Paranoia:
    • 2E Acute Paranoia supplement adventure "Outland-ISH". After the inhabitants of ISH sector get tired of the nosy Troubleshooters investigating them, they will come after the Troubleshooters with pitchforks.
    • XP supplement The Traitor Manual. Part of the ceremonial garb worn by Frankenstein Destroyers when they hunt and destroy a luckless bot.
  • Call of Cthulhu. Worlds of Cthulhu magazine #3, adventure "Malevolence". After a boy disappears, the force of villagers sent to find him has both torches and pitchforks.
  • These occasionally show up in Warhammer 40,000, mostly in the hive cities. Often led by the completely insane Redemptionist priests (whose unofficial credo is "Burn them all and let the Emperor sort them out"), when they're not being riled up by the local sorcerer of Tzeentch to distract the authorities from the daemon being summoned three levels lower or the genestealer infestation provoking unrest so as to pave the way for the Hive Fleet. Or all three at once.
    • Also common in Warhammer, mainly throughout The Empire and often in the service of the Witch Hunters. Not as a paid, recruited retinue, more as additional manpower for the final "cleansing" once his investigations have turned up the guilty party... or a convenient scapegoat that the mob won't mind burning alive. Whichever.
  • Cubicle 7's Victoriana game supplement Faces in the Smoke Volume One - The Secret Masters. In the Back Story of the Hexenjagers it's noted that "a single witch hunter might rouse an entire village to hunt down a rogue witch with torches and pitchforks".
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The card Kithkin Rabble from Shadowmoor provides the trope picture.
    • There's also Ludevic's Test Subject, which you have to pay mana to if you want to transform it (by turning the card so that its other side faces up)... but if you do, you get a rather large creature and some fun flavor text:
    After several frustrating experiments, the visionary Ludevic realized he needed to create a monster that fed on torch-wielding mobs.
  • An Angry Mob sometimes forms in the Court of Blood environment in Sentinels of the Multiverse, dealing damage to everything but itself (including other angry mobs). If no vampires are in play, they go on to destroy one Environment card, including themselves, implicitly either rampaging around or dispersed by the heroes.

  • In The Music Man, after Charlie shouts to the citizens of River City that they've been conned by Harold Hill, torch-wielding mobs run around the town hunting for him. They ultimately succeed in arresting him, but the talk of Tar and Feathers prove to just talk, and it all turns out well in the end.
  • Wicked has an entire song (albeit the second shortest in the show) about this: "March of the Witch Hunters."
  • In Don Giovanni a mob chases the title character after he attempts to kidnap Zerlina from her wedding. They catch his servant Leporello instead and almost kill him before he convinces them of who he is.
  • The Spongebob Musical: Old Man Jenkins goes around looking for someone to blame for the volcanic eruption, and he ends up attracting an angry mob of Bikini Bottomites when he picks Sandy Cheeks as a scapegoat. They spend much of the rest of the play chasing her around chanting "Blame the squirrel! Blame the squirrel!"

  • There is a company in America called "Accountrements" (famous for products like Devil Ducky, Nunzilla, and historical action figures) who sell an "Angry Mob Playset," complete with little plastic figures of angry villagers armed with torches, pitchforks, guns, and whatever else an angry villager could find. And this is practically a kids' toy...

    Video Games 
  • In the third installment of the Anno Domini series, the population can go nuts for three reasons;
    • either when being roused by a revolutionary,
    • when the taxes get too high,
    • or when your tiny island(s) run out of vital resources, such as clothing, basic nutrition, alcohol, tobacco, or chocolates.
      • Then they will get out their torches, pitchforks, and placards (with nothing written on them) and rampage through your towns, to lapidate statues of yourself, and to burn down all buildings they encounter, including vital public institutions, firms, and their own houses. While the Fire Brigade never intervenes. After the crisis is settled, they start revolting, because vital public institutions, firms, and their own houses(!) are amiss all of a sudden. The higher your population is in the public order, the more they are prone to revolt. While Citizens, Merchants and Aristocrats are the most aggressive, the Pioneers and Settlers are almost always content.
  • In The Battle For Wesnoth, peasants (with only pitchforks, no torches) are the cheapest human unit and thus useful for a Zerg Rush. If they survive enough fights, they can be promoted to soldier units — It Gets Easier.
  • In Bloodborne, the Huntsmen haunt the streets of Yharnam, on the prowl for the elusive "Beast" that are attacking the city. Of course, they're actually a mob of Technically Living Zombies too far gone to realize they're the very beasts they're after. And unlike most examples of this trope, rather than an unstoppable force you can only flee (though they do appear to be much larger and stronger than ordinary humans), they're mooks your Empowered Badass Normal slaughters with their mix of Transforming Weapons and firearms. Some of them literally carry torches and pitchforks, though most prefer other weapons like rifles, swords, axes, pistols, fire bombs, etc.
  • Choice of the Vampire: The citizens of St. Charles blame the railroaded player character for a Morton's Fork regarding an injured child and assemble a mob to run them out of town; if you try to face them, you're inevitably killed. Your manservant even comments on how you're getting your just desserts (if your Karma Meter is low), or on what Ungrateful Bastards the townspeople are (if it's high).
  • In Command & Conquer: Generals, the GLA can summon angry mobs. This being The War on Terror, the mobs are armed with Molotov Cocktails and guns rather than torches and pitchforks. They can later get AK-47s.
  • Darkest Dungeon: The Ancestor faced this at least twice, thanks to his dark experiments and the excavation he was running. The first time, he simply paid some mercenaries to bring their cannon and put an end to it. The second time, they got past the mansion doors and broke in only to find the Ancestor had shot himself by then.
  • This is what happens in Darklands when you expose a Satanic cult. Armed villagers will run to the Voigt's house and try to keep you silent... as a grave.
  • Dragon Age: One of the usual arguments in favor of the Circle and Templar system is that it exists to protect mages (particularly young ones) from being attacked by mobs. There is plenty of debate on this in-universe and out, the common counterargument being that keeping mages at arm's length from the population just perpetuates this attitude.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In series' lore, this is a common reaction by the locals should they find some sort of monster or deviant in their midst. Common targets include vampires, werewolves, necromancers, Daedra worshipers, and many others.
    • In Skyrim, you get to lead an angry torch-wielding mob to a vampire's lair in the sidequest "Laid to Rest"... then the mob (of about five people) chickens out and asks you to go in first. The sole exception is Thonnir, who lost his wife to the vampire and is eager to take his vengeance on the monster.
  • At the beginning of Haunted Legends 5: The Stone Guest an angry mob of torch-wielding citizens who blame local scientist Don Leporello for the disappearance of several orphans burns a straw dummy with a photo of him attached, encouraging the fire to spread to the front of his house.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic II has a mission in the Archibald (the... not-so-good brother) campaign where you are tasked to put down a peasant rebellion against King Archibald roused by agents of Roland (his brother). The accompanying video is, of course, peasants waving torches and pitchforks while burning an effigy of Archibald.
  • In Legacy of Kain, when Kain teleports into the future after killing William the Just, he is confronted by angry mobsters with torches and pitchforks, led by Moebius, who are bent on killing all vampires.
  • In Liberal Crime Squad, this is what you fight against if you decide to raid the radio/cable news station.
  • In the lategame of Long Live the Queen, if her commoner approval is low enough, Elodie looks out of her window to see mobs of angry citizens congregating outside her castle walls, revolting against her rule. If she isn't skilled enough in Lumen or Presence to break them up, she gets killed by them.
  • In a flashback in Maze 2: The Broken Tower a torch-and-pitchfork mob hounds General Menning and his young son out of town after his daughter mysteriously disappears.
  • In Mystery Trackers 8: Nightsville Horror a torch and pitchfork-wielding mob of Willowsville citizens march in a Nightsville resident they believe to be the accomplice of the local bogeyman, the Owl Man.
  • In the bonus chapter of Ominous Objects 2: Phantom Reflection a public meeting notice depicts a mob bearing pitchforks and other farming implements facing the "evil goddess."
  • In Resident Evil 4, Leon finds himself facing Torches And Pitchforks as wielded by Ganados, the townsfolk infected with the Puppeteer Parasite.
  • In The Simpsons Game, Marge's superpower is a megaphone that lets her incite non-police civilians into an angry mob, and the sic them on everything from the police, to busting down walls. Depending on the person you convert, you get torches, pitchforks, clubs, pipes and other things. In her three levels and the hub world in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of the game, you can recruit pretty much all the other recurring characters, the Flanders siblings and Ralph Wiggum as hobbits, and anthropomorphic dogs.
  • Parodied in Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, when Hemlock McGee and the angry mob approach Guybrush and De Singe with torches and pitchforks to summon Guybrush to court. And he has thought there would be ice cream cake, too.
  • In Team Fortress 2, apparently this is still common behavior in Rottenburg, Germany (nearby Stuttgart). For generations, they've been chasing out witches, mad scientists, and the resident family of mad doctors, the Humboldts. Unfortunately for them, the most recent in the Humboldt lineage, The Medic, is a mad scientist and doctor with a knowledge of black magic...and he has a nasty horde of robots on the tail of himself and his team.
  • Mildly subverted in ToeJam & Earl, as one of the grouped earthling enemies is a horde of irate geeks (or "Nerd Herd").
  • In the adventure game Waxworks (1992), when you take on the London level. There's a manhunt out for Jack the Ripper who happens to be your twin brother in this decade. You have to transverse the streets dodging an angry mob wielding torches and pitchforks. If they catch you, its instant death and game over.

    Web Animation 
  • Isabelle Ruins Everything: The short opens with the Mayor's path to Town Hall surrounded by a crowd of angry villagers, bearing torches, shouting and waving signs that say "Proletariat Liberty".


    Web Original 
  • The Cracked article "5 Signs the Townspeople Are About to Turn on You" naturally includes this in the list.
    Pitchforking is almost always a daylight activity, in the same way that torching is not. Any gathering or event where both pitchforks and torches are present should get the hair on your toes standing on end.
  • Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men speculates that "anachronistic vaguely-European torch-wielding peasant mob" is a service you can order from Doctor Doom Latveria, which is why they keep showing up in the origins of various X-Men.

    Western Animation 
  • In Castlevania (2017), this trope is referenced plenty of times, since it's a series about vampires. In the first season, Trevor is chased by a mob wielding these (and later explains that the Belmont family's ancestral estate was subjected to this treatment by the Church inciting peasants), and vampire characters like Carmilla later reference "pitchforks, torches, the usual" when speaking of how people tend to drive them out of cities.
  • Two such incidents happened in Chowder. One was when the catering gang were caught outside in their underpants after their party costumes were accidentally destroyed. Another was a Noodle Incident that resulted from the last time Mung Daal cooked "Tooty Booty Beans".
  • In an early episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, an angry mob drops by at the Bagge's house at an attempt to capture Bigfoot, who Muriel invited for dessert. When Bigfoot is reunited with his mother, a human woman, the mob becomes touched. Of course, Eustace, unmoved by this, straps an ankle bracelet around Bigfoot's ankle, which prompts the angry mob to chase after Eustace instead.
  • Parodied in the Darkwing Duck episode "Monsters R Us". The usual mob of villagers attacks Morgana's family castle, and Darkwing (Actually Darkwolf at this point) scoffs at the idea of "a bunch of yahoos with pitchforks" coming after them. Problem is, this particular mob had tanks, laser rifles and fighter planes at their disposal. Cue Oh, Crap! moment from DW.
  • In DC Super Hero Girls episode The Good, The Bad, and The Bizarre, when Kara has been framed for defacing monuments all over the world everyone, from London to Cairo seem to have a good supply to run her off with.
  • Parodied in an episode of Dilbert, in which an angry mob becomes confused and wields ice cream scoopers and toilet plungers.
    • Another comic has Dilbert and Dogbert fleeing in terror of villagers armed with pitchforks and scythes; as they escape, one villager says "Did anyone remember to tell them about the Harvest Festival?"
    • In the TV show's intro, Ratbert and Catbert are running with a torch and a pitchfork, respectively, for no explicable reason.
  • Dogstar: Carried by the angry mob when they storm the television studio in an attempt to lynch Ramon Ridley. Especially odd as it is set in a futuristic mega-city and they have no reason to have either flaming torches or pitchforks.
  • In The Fairly Oddparents episode "Mother Nature", every time the local weather reporter makes an incorrect forecast, they get run out of town by an angry mob, who come complete with Torches And Pitchforks. note 
    • In the episode "MicroPhony", Vicky disguises as Timmy's identity "Double T" and insults all adults by calling them morons in order to ruin his radio station reputation and make him sound terrible in front of everyone in Dimmsdale. This causes an angry mob of adults to take down Double T.
    • In the episode "The Secret Origins of Denzel Crocker", townspeople out to celebrate young Crocker's birthday get their memories of all the great things he had done for them erased. When they wonder why they're there, they see Crocker on stage and reason that they can't be celebrating anything, so they must be an angry mob out to get him, and out come the Torches And Pitchforks, which they all happened to have tucked away somewhere.
    • In "Which Witch is Which?", Timmy goes back in time to Dimmsdale's founding and finds the town in a perpetual Witch Hunt thanks to phony witch-hunter Alden Bitterroot (who is actually a warlock himself). Pitchforks are pulled out of nowhere with startling regularity.
    • In one episode, Timmy has to jump through several books in pursuit of Tom Sawyer, who's stolen Cosmo's wand. At one point he and Tom end up in Frankenstein right at the "angry mob" scene, and sure enough, there's a mob with torches and pitchforks who head straight for Timmy. To stop them, he alters the book's wording from "the villagers attack" to "the ill attack", and the mob's pitchforks are promptly replaced with IV drips.
    • Dimmsdale is not amused to learn Timmy has snookered them with his Double-T radio station. The angry mob can only be stopped by another trope.
    • "Gentlemen, start your pitchforks!"
  • Parodied in an episode of Father of the Pride, in which an angry mob is formed by characters who were on their way to a luau-style harvest festival. And despite the fact they already have torches and pitchforks, they decide the symbol of mob justice is ... rocks.
  • Forming an angry mob armed with torches and pitchforks to storm the castle is practically the official pastime of the villagers in Frankenstein's Cat.
  • In the Garfield and Friends episode, "The Worst Pizza In the History of Mankind", an angry mob (no pitchforks, but all carry torches) attempts to destroy the pizzeria owned by one of Jon's ancestors and lynch said ancestor for making horrible pizza. The crowd gets routed by the owner's god-awful singing, but his place of business still gets destroyed by a burning pizza in the oven.
  • Get Blake!: In "Get West!", Leonard hands the townsfolk torches and pitchforks to round up Blake for a Showdown at High Noon. The townsfolk don't even bother lighting the torches.
  • In Gravity Falls episode "A Tale of Two Stans", Stan relates how his first business venture, selling a chamois called The Sham-Total ("It's a total sham!") backfired, resulting in this trope. Thankfully, the mob was armed with pitchforks Stan sold them, which fell to pieces the minute they reached his stand.
    "I had made my mark, all right! Unfortunately, so did the shammies. Seems the cheap dye I used only made stains worse. Customers weren't happy. Luckily, they were chasing me with Stanco-brand pitchforks."
  • Grojband: In "Myme Disease", when the citizens of Peaceville discover that their favorite statue performer is actually a statue, they riot and are shown carrying torches and pitchforks.
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy attracts one of these after he creates the tastiest candy ever, and then refuses to make more when he realizes how addictive it is. He flees to a candy shop for safety, only to learn that the now customerless owner called the mob.
    "Rhythmic chanting...that's a bad sign, yeah!"
    • And it happened later in the Halloween Episode when Sheen, Carl, Cindy, Libby, and Hugh were turned into monsters.
  • The Johnny Bravo episode "Frankenbravo," a parody of Bride of Frankenstein, has Johnny chasing after a Cute Monster Girl after accidentally picking up a torch. Carl sees him and happily cheers "HEY, EVERYBODY! Johnny's formed an angry mob! Let's join in!" All of the townspeople grab the typical accoutrements and follow.
  • Used in the Johnny Test episode "Johnny Johnny" where Johnny and Dukey get framed for something the robot versions of themselves did around Porkbelly. The robot versions of Johnny and Dukey caused havoc around the city, resulting in an angry mob chasing the real Johnny and Dukey with torches and pitchforks they got from the torches and pitchforks store.
  • Used (almost to the point of becoming a Running Gag) in the My Gym Partner's a Monkey episode "The Citronella Solution". Lampshaded when Principal Pixiefrog outlines his plan to disarm the angry mob and Mrs. Warthog protests, "But torches and pitchforks are a cartoon riot tradition!"
  • Spoofed in an episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot called "Raggedy Android", Jenny the Android is wearing an exosuit that makes her appear like a freakish Raggedy-Ann-like monster, and some of the locals, thinking it was one of Dr. Wakeman's experiments that had killed her (the good doctor was exhausted after trying to find Jenny!). General panic and chaos ensues, and an angry mob starts chasing her with makeshift pitchforks and torches, which were actually one pitchfork and cotton candy. Ironically, they get exhausted... after running just a few feet from the carnival.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
    • The Season 5 premiere ends with the restored townsfolk chasing down Starlight Glimmer and retrieving the Mane 6's cutie marks as the group has still been drained by her spell and can't even keep up the chase.
    • The episode Appleloosa's Most Wanted has Sheriff Silverstar saying "I called for a meeting, not a mob scene"; two ponies cast away their torch and pitchfork dejectedly... Only to pick them right back up again in the climax.
  • An angry mob, complete with torches and pitchforks (and rolling pins, hoes, and a chair) features in the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Monster of Phineas-n-Ferbenstein."
    • Also done during the Halloween special, "That's the Spirit", with the townsfolk pulling torches and pitchforks out of nowhere to chase down the Werecow. This gets played to the hanging of the lampshade:
      Man: Forget that! (pulls out flaming torch) I say we get him!
      Lady: Yeah! (pulls out a pitchfork) Wait, you brought a torch on our date?
      Man: Hello, pitchfork!
    • In the episode paired with it, "The Curse of Candace", Doof's invention hits a group of marathoners, turning them into an angry mob that ends up chasing Candace (who has become convinced she's now a vampire).
  • In Popeye and Son's episode "There Goes the Neighborhood", Bluto starts one of these against a family of friendly monsters in a clear case of Fantastic Racism.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Collect Her", Lenny Baxter, a geek who has kidnapped the Powerpuffs to add them to his collection of Powerpuff merchandise, finds his apartment building surrounded by an angry mob (some wielding torches) demanding the release of the Powerpuff Girls, and remarks, "Well, paint me green and call me Frankenstein... they're on to me!"
    • In another episode, Buttercup, having stunk up Townsville after refusing to bathe, is run out of town by a mob (led by the Mayor, no less). The scene parodies the usual setting, with a dark forest, Buttercup glancing back anxiously before tripping and cutting herself on a bramble - then she comes to her senses and just flies away.
    • "Halt And Catch Silico" (reboot) has the viral villain Silico spreading lies about the girls over the Internet. The Townsville folk buy into the lies and chase the girls with images of torches and pitchforks on their smartphones.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police both lampshaded and subverted the cliche. Sam immediately identifies a crowd of Scotsmen wielding torches as "An irate mob of torch-bearing villagers out to destroy anything different, unusual or misunderstood!" But then they quickly explain that they're simply in town for the annual torch makers convention and got lost on the way. They still inadvertently frighten away Max's reanimated severed tail, though.
  • In The Secret Saturdays episode "The Kur Guardian", a flashback showing how Fisk joined the Saturdays shows him being hunted by a mob wielding the aforementioned items in their pursuit.
  • Adora is specifically warned by Bow that this would be the reaction if she went out in her horde uniform in the second episode of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. When she ends up stumbling into town while trying to transform into She-Ra again, this is pretty much the reaction she got, just as he warned.
  • Alternately parodied and featured several times on The Simpsons, like the mob that comes after Bart near the end of "The Telltale Head", and the one that goes after Homer after he got them trapped inside a giant glass dome in The Simpsons Movie.
    • The "Angry Mob" approach is also how they do politics. In "Much Apu About Nothing", the town is angry about the "Bear Crisis", so they march on town hall:
      Mayor's Aide: Sir, an unruly mob is here to see you.
      Mayor Quimby: Does it have an appointment?
      Mayor's Aide: (Checks his clipboard) Yes.
      Principal Skinner: (Pops his head in) I phoned ahead!
      • Later that same episode, they march again against high taxes, which were the result of having to fund the "Bear Patrol" that they were campaigning to get during the first march. Quimby is not entirely without the audience's sympathy when he remarks:
      Mayor Quimby: Are these morons getting dumber, or just louder?
      Mayor's Aide: Dumber, sir.
    • The Simpsons uses this trope often. They even have a store selling angry mob supplies during a riot! On another occasion, Quimby yells out Homer is a monster (Long story - involving a lot of plastic surgery) and tells the crowd to get out their pitchforks. Lo and behold, everyone had the foresight to bring theirs along to the ceremony honoring Marge's successful new gym. It seems they always come prepared for some mob mayhem.
    • In the commentary for one episode, one of the directors recalls the following line in a script: "The town riots, more than usual."
    • It's such a widely recurring plot point that the show's wiki has a whole page about it.
      Mayor Quimby: Can't this town go more than one day without a riot?
    • The opening of "Treehouse of Horror XXIV" features an inversion where the classic Universal monsters such as Frankenstein's monster and Count Dracula are the ones carrying pitchforks and torches while chasing after the people of Springfield. Apparently because Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • Parodied and unsuccessfully defied in the South Park episode "Butt Out". Kyle wants to tell the grown-ups the truth to avoid a torches-and-pitchforks confrontation, which ends up happening anyway.
  • Standard riot supplies in Spliced. They even keep a flaming torch in a 'break glass in case of emergency' style glass case.
  • Used several times on SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • The episode "Bubble Buddy" uses this trope... except the mob just holds needles, given that its target is a bubble.
    • In "Wigstruck", Spongebob and Sandy were at the movies, and SpongeBob's wig blocked the screen. SpongeBob made the mistake of saying there was no need to start a riot. Take a wild guess of what happens next?
    • In the episode "Sing a Song of Patrick", an angry mob went after SpongeBob and Patrick, and passed a torches stand (yes, they burn, and yes, they're still underwater), a pitchforks stand, and a... cotton candy stand. After all, as the man said, "You can't go riot without cotton candy!"
    • Also used in the episode "Slide Whistle Stooges" where the angry mob was chasing Squidward for annoying them with slide whistles.
    • There were also two instances of the trope in the episode "Giant Squidward" after the resident curmudgeon is sprayed with plant fertilizer. The second time the mob chased Squidward, it was because he didn't say "bless you" to someone that sneezed!
    • And used in the episode "The Ballad of Filthy Muck" where the angry mob are after SpongeBob and Filthy Muck as they couldn't stand the smell.
  • Although they didn't have torches or pitchforks (except Onion with a baseball bat) in the Steven Universe episode "Political Power" the town of Beach City goes after Mayor Dewey for lying about the power coming back on at sundown. It takes a speech from Steven for the town to see the error of their ways.
  • And Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) was no exception to the rule.
    • It was lampshaded in the debut episode in Hamato Yoshi/Master Splinter's autobiographical story.
    • In "Turtles On Trial", even though they had neither torches or pitchforks, an angry mob chased the Turtles off after the green quartet had caught a couple of jewel thieves.
    • And in the episode, "Splinter No More", after Donatello's creation of a batch of retro-mutagen returns Master Splinter back into Hamato Yoshi began to revert him back to his previous rat form, Splinter is pursued by a frightened mob after his failed attempt to escape down a manhole and into a sewer.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: Pitchforks were typical type of improvised weapon peasants could reasonably expect to have on hand and more controllable than alternatives such as scythes, and burning torches were the only real portable light source before the invention of electricity. So if a mob formed after sunset this combination would not be unusual.
    • Plenty of other agricultural and outdoor tools make for suitable weapons if you know how to use them; in addition to scythes, mentioned above, mattocks, pickaxes, sickles, axes, and for the most modern addition to this list, machetes.
  • Most common Martial Arts weapons are derived from agricultural tools.
  • There's an interesting double-example recorded in the Life of St. Boniface (chapter VIII). It describes how the 8th-century missionary was killed by an angry mob of Pagans in Frisia (after Boniface tried and failed Shaming the Mob). After news of Boniface's martyrdom spread, an angry mob of Christians gathered to kill the Pagans in revenge.
  • In the aftermath of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, several military men and some other people used torches, rifles, guns, swords to clear every theater goers out of the way just as Dr Charles Leale and 6 men were carrying the dying Abraham Lincoln, who was still in his shirt in place as his coat was either on him or wrapped around his body.
  • Used as a rhetorical device in the 2014 Ted talk "Beware fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming." by billionaire Nick Hanauer in which he warns his fellow 0.1%ers that unless they step up and do something to counteract the rapidly rising inequality in US income and wealth distribution, modern-day versions of such mobs are almost guaranteed.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Angry Mob


Tooty Booty Beans

The only thing we know about the last time Mung Daul made Tooty Booty Beans was that it was a day that began hilariously but ended with the catering company running from an angry mob.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / NoodleIncident

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