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"Wanted!" Poster

Go To
Cain: You want me?
RoboCop: Dead or alive.
Cain: One of us must die.
RoboCop: Dead, then.

Posters hanging on every second wall, typically featuring some or all of the following:

  • A big fat "WANTED" headline on top.
  • The name and a picture of the outlaw or gang that is wanted.
  • The reward, in local currency.
  • A physical description of the wanted individual(s). May end with a warning that the subject is "dangerous" or "armed".
  • For which crime they're wanted. Comedic versions will usually list Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking, be a really long list of crimes, or both.
  • Can sometimes have "Dead or Alive" as the bottom line. For some cases, targets are worth more if they are brought in alive. Comedic versions may add "(Preferably Dead)", or offer more for the quarry dead than alive.

A Truth in Television trope that is Older Than Feudalism, as such publications have existed before the printing press despite their common association with westerns. In modern settings, they're almost exclusively seen in post offices, as the FBI still uses these.

One common idea is for a character to see their own poster and do one of a few things:

Even more bonus points if, after seeing his own face on a Wanted poster, the outlaw stands next to the poster and adopts a pose exactly like the picture on the poster (deliberately or not).

For a Bounty Hunter otherwise, seeing a poster means he has a new game to chase for. They will often dramatically tear down the poster rather than leave it up.

See also Facial Composite Failure.

Like the Face on a Milk Carton trope, it may also be Played for Laughs, such as having the creator of a show make a Creator Cameo in the wanted poster. Generally, this is not what a character wants to see when they're in a Fugitive Arc. These are to be expected for a character who is The Most Wanted.


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  • A 1960 magazine ad was framed as one of these, with a model brandishing a revolver against a background of unpainted clapboards: "I dreamed I was WANTED in my Maidenform bra." The copy continued with itemized information on the undergarment's "Name," "Reward" ("Just wearing it!"), "Distinguishing characteristics," "Physical description," and its "Last seen" place ("In stores everywhere. Looking ravishing."). (Alluded to in Mad Men, as the fictional ad agency on which the show is centred is competing with this ad In-Universe.)

  • Bread Barbershop: In "Bully Pie", the thug pie has a wanted poster of him in the town. He shows shock at the fact that he's wanted for a reward of one million dollars, complaining that he's worth more than that.
  • Happy Heroes: One episode of Season 11 features Starshadow and Moondance on wanted posters. Hilariously enough, the picture on Starshadow's poster is a selfie.
  • Several episodes of Lamput feature the eponymous character on wanted posters. One episode has Lamput find a wanted poster of him and write "REWARD $$$" on the bottom of it, causing Fat Doc and Slim Doc to fight over who should get the money for turning him in.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Mighty Little Defenders episode 35, General Wolf has his wolf soldiers place wanted posters for several wolves he has deemed traitors everywhere. He overdoes it by not only having one single wall covered with a large amount of posters, but having birds fly in the sky to drop the posters all over the ground.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Black Lagoon, one-shot villain Masahiro Takenaka is shown to have a wanted poster at Japanese police stations, for his actions in the Japanese Red Army Faction.
  • The various incarnations of Captain Harlock regularly appear on wanted posters, with the reward typically being a year's supply of energy capsules. Fellow pirates Tochiro and Emeraldas often get their own posters, and the series Endless Orbit SSX takes its subtitle from the serial numbers of the three bounties.
  • Cowboy Bebop's Show Within a Show, Big Shot, advertises criminals and fugitives with larges bounties on their heads. As stated in the show, Bounty Hunters must capture them alive if they want to receive payment.
  • In Dragonar Academy, Avdocha the Executioner has a wanted poster, but since it used a sketch based on second-hand descriptions, it mistakenly portrays her as a tall, well-endowed woman, while she really looks like a little girl.
  • Flame Of The Alpen Rose: When Jeudi and Lundi escape the Count, he puts up posters with their names and faces, promising a hefty reward to whoever brings them to him. You'll have to know French to understand them (since the anime takes place in Switzerland), and it promises a reward of 1000 Swiss Francs to whoever turns them in.
  • As a foreshadowing of later events, an early episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has one scene showing a row of wanted posters of people who committed crimes against the State Military — they are sketches of Yoki, Scar, and Greed. Yoki's is interesting in that Brotherhood cut out the incident from the manga where he was defeated by the Elrics, and he's instead only introduced once he's on the run.
  • Hello! Sandybell: In one episode, Mark becomes a wanted criminal after stealing a bike (to chase some thieves who ran off with his paintings), and Sandybell and Ricky are shocked to see his mugshot in the local newspapers. He's acquitted shortly afterwards.
  • There's one warning about the famous Gentleman Thief Phoenix in Honey Honey, apparently in Japanese in the middle of Austria. The warning is also only useful to the Princess, because he's after her ring, the Smile of the Amazon. Apparently everyone in back alleys need to know, too.
  • In Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, Flip proudly shows off his wanted poster to Nemo, demonstrating his Fame Through Infamy.
    Nemo: Say, what are you wanted for?
    Flip: For having fun.
  • Lupin III: World's Most Wanted used the Wanted Poster layout as the cover art for each of the volumes. Sometimes fans have made wanted posters of the four thieves, as well.
    • Lupin III: Episode 0: First Contact: Zenigata walks past a few wanted posters of stern looking criminals, only for the last one to be of Lupin, grinning and pulling a "V for Victory" sign.
  • In Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story, some of Felicia's former teammates put up a wanted poster for her in Mitama's office after her reckless actions cause problems for them.
  • In Makai Senki Disgaea, there is a bounty of 10,000,000 Hell on Laharl's head.
    Laharl: Ten millions?
    Etna: (faking it, as she's the one responsible) Amazing! That's my prince!
    Laharl: That's all they think my life is worth? (angrily destroys the poster)
  • Mazinger Z: In episode 51 Baron Ashura put up wanted posters offering one million yens for the head of Kouji.
  • One Piece: The World Government manufactures and distributes these daily via newspaper routes.
    • Naturally, the posters usually say Dead or Alive. At one point, the Straw Hats' cook, Sanji gets one that says "Only Alive" which confuses the crew greatly. This was ordered by Sanji's family, who are very powerful politically as they needed Sanji for a political marriage. When that fell through, along with a bounty increase, his went back to being "Dead or Alive".
    • Another odd instance was with Sanji's first wanted poster following the Enies Lobby arc, as it didn't have a photograph for him (due to the camera lens being left on), so it uses a hilariously bad artist sketch. This turns out to have consequences when a random citizen that precisely resembles the sketch is driven to a life of crime due to the mixup and swears revenge on Sanji over it. This ends up a double consequence as it later turns out the crappy drawing was also keeping Sanji from being immediately found by his real family when they were looking for him.
    • Many pirates consider a high bounty as a mark of prestige and a measure of their Power Levels. The current highest bounty revealed thus far belonged to "Gold" Roger, the King of the Pirates, at over 5,564,800,000 belly, though no longer active due to his death.
    • However, a bounty's amount really represents how much the World Government considers them a threat, which can lead to some wild disparities:
      • Chopper, who is a powerful fighter, is given a bounty of 50 berries after destroying a Marine base because they thought he was a pet. Later he gets a new poster and an increase to 100 berries, because the Marines still believe him to be a mere mascot.
      • Meanwhile Buggy the Clown is very weak as a fighter but has a massive bounty due to being credited for organizing a prison break and going toe-to-toe with Navy Enforcer Dracule Mihawk (he just happened to be completely immune to Mihawk's fighting style and spent the whole fight running away) as well as being a former member of the Pirate King's crew and an associate of one of the Four Emperors, the strongest pirates in the world.
      • Robin accrued a bounty of 79 millions berries before she was even ten. Not out of any destructive potential on her part, but because she's the only woman able to read Poneglyphs and uncover the real history of the Void Century, which the World Government absolutely wants to keep hidden.
      • Blackbeard is noted to have had a bounty of 0 before his promotion to Warlord, because he deliberately laid low and hid his capabilities before putting his plan in motion.
      • Jewelry Bonney, despite being only ten years old when she got her first bounty accrued a bounty surpassing the hundred millions. Not because they are that great of a fighter or a danger, but because keeping them prisoner was the main threat the World Government had to keep Bartholomew Kuma under control.
    • Much later on, after the dissolution of the Seven Warlords system during the Levely, Crocodile, Mihawk, and Buggy found an organization known as Cross Guild that pulls a Russian Reversal by putting out bounties on Marines, with the three Admirals and Garp all being worth three billion apiece.
    • A few kingdoms have issued bounties backed only by the local government; the Fishman Island arc revealed the island's government had put out a wanted poster for Vander Decken IX, but marked with "Danger" rather than "Dead or Alive", and with no given bounty oon the poster (and retracted after his arrest at the end of the arc). In the Dressrosa arc, Donquixote Doflamingo also issued bounties on his enemies, exclusive to Dressrosa, with bounties of one to five stars (equal to one hundred million berries per star); these were rendered invalid once he was defeated. Wano, which is unaffiliated with the World Government, also has its own wanted posters.
  • Parallel Paradise: These are made for Youta and Lumi when in the capital city. In a variation, the parallel world never developed writing (due to all the humans dying at age 21) so the poster is entirely in pictograms.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • During the FRLG arc in Pokémon Adventures, Red, Green and Blue are wanted by Team Rocket, who threatens to destroy the Sevii Islands if they don't surrender.
    • Gold hands the police a horrible artist sketch of the thief from Professor Elm's lab. A little later, Silver (the thief in question) had a complete Face Fault when he saw the sketch on the wanted poster.
    • In their debut episode of the anime, before they hit Villain Decay, Jessie and James of Team Rocket were seen on one of these. Their only complaint was the unflattering pictures.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: There are wanted posters of each of the Seven Deadly Sins, but they look nothing like them. Their leader Meliodas casually displays the posters in his own bar and nobody recognizes them.
  • Vash in Trigun appears on one, with a bounty of $$60,000,000,000—that's sixty billion double dollars. In the third act, the Bernadelli Insurance Company uses its political capital to remove the bounty and declare Vash a living "Act of God"the poster that flashes in the credits then changes to show a warning that if you see Vash, you should just run for your life.
  • In World Conquest Zvezda Plot, wanted posters are eventually issued for the Zvezda members. The posters all feature poorly-drawn illustrations that look nothing like them.

    Card Games 
  • The Garbage Pail Kids trading cards had gag posters on the backs of the cards for normal folks the collectors likely knew. For instance, one of them stated, "BARBER: Wanted for Running a Clip Joint. Also wanted for: Cutting your hair the way he wants to, lying about saying 'This won't hurt,' and performing brain surgery without a license."

    Comic Books 
  • The covers of all issues of Gargoyles: Bad Guys, a Gargoyles spin off, features wanted posters of the characters.
  • In a gag of the Dutch comic Gilles de Geus, robber Gilles has to get into the city to get groceries, but wanted posters of him are hanging all around the city gate. He goes to great lengths to get into the city while avoid getting recognized, but all results fail. Fortunately for him, by the time he gives up and the guards at the gate finally manage to compare the picture on the poster with his face, an unnamed person has already vandalised the poster so the guards don't recognize Gilles and allow him entrance to the city.
  • Often used in Lucky Luke for gags, especially with the Daltons. Notably in Daisy Town, the posters of the brothers are shown throughout their childhood and teens until adulthood, with the reward money for their capture steadily increasing — except for Averell Dalton, which keeps being $7.
    • The picture on the wanted poster for "Shorty Dalton" showed a ten-gallon hat and a pair of eyes peeking over the bottom of the picture frame.
    • In their first appearance, before the Daltons became The Dreaded and replaced their more famous cousins after undergoing Training from Hell, their Wanted posters read as such:
      Joe: 1$
      Jack: 50c
      William: Art object made from plaster.
      Averell: Not Wanted.
  • The early comic issues of MAD often used these as background gags:
    • "Mole" (#2) had a reward of 20,000 rubles posted for Josef Stalin, "WANTED DEAD!"
    • "Dragged Net" (#3): "Wanted Alive! Marilyn Monroe"
    • "Sane" (#10), a Western parody, had a wanted poster in Yiddish.
    • "Mickey Rodent" (#19) had a poster for a "horse thief" known as Black Booty who "is armed with a colt," showing two bandit-masked equine faces.
  • The Man With No Name uses one to lampshade the fact that the comic's Blondie looks nothing like Clint Eastwood, with a character commenting on "these new Wanted posters which show how he's changed his appearance".
  • Mickey Mouse nemesis Black Pete had several of those in one episode and kept ripping them.
  • Green Lantern (1941): On the cover of issue 12 Green Lantern and Doiby Dickles are looking at a wanted poster for the Gambler posted up on the wall while the Gambler's distinctive shadow, with gun drawn, is cast on them from behind.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The cover of Issue 25 shows Diana with the wanted posters for three villains including the Mask spread out on her desk while she listens to the trio attempt to sneak up behind her.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Runaways has a cover featuring the main characters on a wanted poster.
    • This infamous and endlessly homaged X-Men cover (X-Men #141).
    • Edge of Spider-Verse (2023): On her return to her native universe, Spinstress fails to notice there are several of her about the place, though they do take a lot of artistic license, which comes in handy when Kraven the Huntsman comes looking for her, and refuses to believe she is who she says she is. After all, she doesn't look like her poster.
  • Wanted posters for Tintin can be seen in Tintin: The Blue Lotus and for Tintin and Haddock in Tintin: The Red Sea Sharks. In Tintin: The Broken Ear, Alonzo and Ramon are mentioned together on a wanted poster after they desert from the Banana Republic's army.
  • Star Wars:
    • Kanan: Caleb Dume is pictured cornered in his tattered Padawan robes, with his saber out, in front of his Empire-issued wanted poster and partially hiding the amount of the price on his head on the cover of Issue #2.
    • Star Wars Legends:
      • The Mandatory Retirement arc from X-Wing Rogue Squadron has Wedge being teased about getting marriage proposals in the mail. His friend says it's because he looks handsome on the wanted posters, and Wedge says they just want the reward.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side: One Wild West strip showed a $5,000 reward posted for a chicken as The Drifter rides in with said chicken's lifeless body draped over his horse.
  • Hägar the Horrible is upset to see a wanted poster of himself, but not because he's wanted; rather, it's because they made his nose too big.
  • In one Knights of the Dinner Table story, Bob and Dave are annoyed at the low prices on their Cattlepunk characters' heads, and start committing increasingly outrageous crimes to rectify the situation. This backfires when the rewards get so big that Brian and Sara decide to turn them in and collect.

    Fan Works 
  • In Dungeon Keeper Ami, Keeper Mercury's human associates become enemies of the state by accepting to work for a keeper. Snyder even gets chased by a group of bounty hunters, because their faces are now being put in wanted posters.
  • In the Outlaw Star fanfic A Fistful of Dragonite the hell raisin’ McDougal brothers have one in Heiphong. As is typical of this trope, the subtitle naturally reads: "Dead or Alive"
  • These wanted posters for the notorious Harry Potter and his criminal associates, after Lord Voldemort has taken over.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures and W.I.T.C.H. crossover Kage, each of the Knights of Vengeance gets a wanted poster to be spread throughout Meridian. Jade's poster depicts her face as it is when the Queen of the Shadowkhan is controlling her body (which has happened only twice so far).
  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, two tourists on extended backpacking trips tend to keep the local printing industry rather busy with this task wherever they go. Mariella Smith-Rhodes and Rivka ben-Divorah, whose backpacks also contain useful mementos of their recent education at the Assassins' Guild School, especially prize the souvenir one from the Untied States of Aceria that shows their faces and the logo "WANTED! DEAD OR DEADER!"
  • The Palaververse: The Strangest of These: Troubleshoes has been called "Wanted: Severely Reprimanded or Alive", as a reference to a Wanted poster.
  • This Bites!: Much like in its parent series, the Straw Hats see having their own posters as something to brag about, even making bets on who gets the bigger bounties. Then Cross finds his and learns that his and Soundbite's combined bounty reaches 1.5 billion beris, on par with the Four Emperors.
  • The Weaver Option:
    • Taylor's forces review the bulletins for the pirate captains of Pavia while preparing to raid the system, with the rewards including several trillion Throne gelts and multiple planets. Sliscus, the effective leader of the pirate captains, is also the 92nd Most Wanted Being in the galaxy.
    • During the razing of Commorragh, the bulletins for several major bounties in the city are displayed during point of view transitions. Most notable is the poster for Lelith Hesperax, which is actually revised after the battle. Instead of suggesting appropriate backup (a Primarch and their entire Legion), the bulletin now simply stated "Flee on Sight".

    Films — Animation 
  • The FBI sends these around in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America; people keep recognizing them and calling the cops, but the kids are so stupidly unpredictable that they keep walking right out of the dragnet.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever has these after Greg and Rowley accidentally damaged a snowplow's blade with their snowball.
  • There's one in Flushed Away, with a badly drawn picture of Roddy and a reward from Spike.
  • Nimona: In the trailer, Nimona first learns of Ballister from his holographic wanted poster after he is framed for the queen's murder.
  • The main characters are introduced in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish like this. For Perrito, he is introduced with an Unwanted Poster. The wolf bounty hunter doesn't get one, however. His character is special.
  • The Rescuers Down Under: A wanted poster of McLeach can be seen shortly before he makes his debut.
  • This is how we're introduced to the protagonists of The Road to El Dorado, establishing their status as partners in crime.
  • Robin Hood (1973) has this declaring Robin an enemy to the crown for his rebellion against Prince John's corrupt regime. Maid Marian has one pinned up inside her wardrobe that she moons over like a poster of a rock star, as it the only way of having a picture of her old flame before he became an outlaw.
  • Shrek gets a few of these in the first film.
  • The Simpsons Movie uses the "capture a third party" variant.
  • Tangled has Flynn's wanted posters as a Running Gag, namely their inability to depict his nose correctly. In the Creative Closing Credits, Flynn is replaced with the film's screenwriter, Dan Fogelman.
  • One of these appears in The Wrong Trousers for Feathers McGraw, though since he's disguised as a chicken when he commits crimes, nobody makes the connection. Not even Gromit. (At least not initially.)
  • Toy Story opens with a shot of a little cardboard Western town made of cardboard made by Andy, which includes a poster of Mr. Potato Head as "One-Eyed Bart".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs has Buster cheerfully show the audience a wanted poster featuring himself, and only objecting to the nickname they use, "The Misanthrope". He doesn't hate mankind, he's just resigned himself to the fact that pretty much all of them are going to be wicked from now until Judgment Day.
  • In Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Billy the Kid hits on a couple of girls by showing them his wanted poster.
  • Breakheart Pass: In Myrtle, Rev. Peabody shows Marshal Pearce Deakin's wanted poster, ensuring Deakin's arrest.
  • The Blue Iguana opens with Vince getting a phone call about bail-jumping kidnapper Louie Sparks. As he answers it, the camera pans over a poster on his table offering a $5000 reward for Sparks' capture.
  • Charlie Chaplin films:
    • The Kid, the owner of the night shelter identifies the Tramp and the kid when noticing the Wanted ad in the newspaper.
    • In The Pilgrim, this is how the movie establishes that Charlie is an escaped convict on the run.
    • Prior to the climax of Modern Times, his love interest appears on one with crimes detailing vagrancy and burglary. (The later done to feed her father and sisters.) This gives the Tramp a choice between her and success - he chooses her.
  • Chisum: Bounty hunter Dan Nodeen sorts through wanted posters in the sheriff's office.
  • In The Cocoanuts, Silent Sam (Harpo Marx) has a copy of his wanted poster ("Wanted for Jaywalking") attached to the inside of his coat.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: Edgin and Holga naturally gets a wanted poster after they escape from prison a few seconds before their pardon was announced. Later they pretend they've been let free for "good behavior", but Forge Fitzwilliam pulls out the poster and show it to Edgin's daughter Kira to convince her that her father had been lying from the moment he showed up.
  • In For a Few Dollars More, the first villain we see added two zeros on his own wanted poster, claiming it wasn't anywhere near enough. Colonel Mortimer takes down the poster and slides it under the door of the room the wanted man is alleged to be in. When several bullets are fired through the door in response, he knows he's got the right address.
  • The Fugitive (1972) opens with a shot of two such posters depicting the two main characters, a pair of notorious bank robbers. Then cuts to the duo in the middle of a holdup, cue opening credits.
  • In The Goat, Buster Keaton spots a huge wall-sized Wanted poster of himself, and disguises it by pinning a woman's fur on it as a moustache.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly features a wanted post for Tuco (the Ugly) emblazoned with a humorously anachronistic high-res photograph of the outlaw.
  • In The Good, The Bad, The Weird, the Good, a Bounty Hunter checks out wanted posters early in the film, and there's a scene where the Weird complains about the relatively low bounty on his head. Gets an interesting call back in The Stinger during the credits showing that the Bad was killed off, as his poster is crossed out and taken down. The Weird gets a new poster with a much higher bounty, in light of his crimes during the film and revealed status as a Retired Monster. He's then briefly shown traveling on the road and having made a cool Evil Costume Switch.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, there are wanted posters for the many escaped Death Eaters, such as this one for Bellatrix Lestrange. Note that these Death Eaters escaped about midway through the events of the previous film but these posters are only just seeing the light of day because the previous regime was more focused on its smear campaign against Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore.
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort and his Death Eaters have taken over, so the above posters are gone, but now there is a new poster - "Harry Potter - Undesirable No. 1" stating that there is a 10,000 galleon price on his head and that failure to report a sighting of him will result in imprisonment.
  • Early in the first Jaka Sembung, the titular character escapes from some mines owned by the Dutch colonizers, and a subsequent scene his face is on one such poster displayed in a town square.
  • Jane Got a Gun: Several posters giving rewards for the members of the Bishop gang have been posted, which Jane sees. After she kills the gang along with Dan, Jane takes down these posters then collects their rewards.
  • In L: change the WorLd, after Maki runs away the bio-terrorist group ringleader, K, goes on TV and declares Maki to be a medical patient with a deadly virus who must be detained at all costs. This, along with the wanted posters plastered absolutely everywhere, makes it very difficult for Maki and the others to move—especially since K is an acclaimed scientist, so no one doubts the story.
  • After the Action Prologue of The Long Chase where Hitman with a Heart protagonist Kou-ying kills a corrupt magistrate and barely escapes with his life, in the next scene (after the film's titles) the city is plastered with Kou-ying's face on wanted posters, necessitating him to flee the city into the countryside.
  • In Minority Report, fugitive Anderton's face appears on a newspaper frontpage leading to one passenger at the subway to give him a suspicious look.
  • In The Naked Spur, bounty hunter Howie Kemp is using a wanted poster in his chase after a fugitive murderer. He tears off the bottom part, which advertises a $5000 reward, and gets two other men to help him by letting them think he's a lawman. After they catch the bad guy, said bad guy reveals his own copy of the wanted poster, which includes the reward, leading the other two men to demand their shares.
  • In Napoléon (1927), Pascal Paoli has notes put up in Corsica promising a reward of 500 pounds to whomever brings in Napoléon Bonaparte dead or alive (without any picture of him, sadly).
  • Oath Of Death have the trio of blood brothers falling apart when the oldest of them, Ma, betrays his siblings Xiang and Jin. He managed to get Xiang killed, but Jin escapes only to find wanted posters of himself plastered all over the town Ma is now ruling as a governor, necessitating Jin to disfigure himself with a hot poker to avoid detection.
  • Louie, the taciturn truck driver in Our Daily Bread, is a fugitive convict, as he reveals by showing his own wanted poster. He winds up turning himself in so the commune can collect the $500 reward and buy food to tide themselves over until the harvest.
  • The Professionals. After his revolutionaries seize a government train, Jesus Raza sees several wanted posters fixed to the side of a railcar. One of them has his face with an advertised reward of a quarter million pesos, so he takes it as a souvenir.
  • The Quick and the Dead. You can see wanted posters for some of the contestants in the Quick Draw competition in the saloon. Given that Herod is implied to be running an Outlaw Town, they were likely put up by the wanted men concerned.
  • In Rio Lobo the character of John Wayne visits his local sheriff's office, which has posters of Hondo, a character Wayne played 18 years earlier.
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: During the movie, there's a shot of a wanted poster for Robin Hood (with his name as "Robin of the Hood"). It's a "dead or alive" version, with the reward being 1,000 gold coins.
  • Shanghai Affairs: The hero, Tong Shan was subjected to a Frame-Up courtesy of his Evil Mentor and suspected to be part of an organization that abducts children for harvesting their organs. After a daring escape from the police, a Wanted Poster of the hero appears in a public square.
  • In Shanghai Noon, Chon Wang and Roy O'Bannon find wanted posters for themselves. Roy is annoyed at how much larger the reward is offered for Chon Wang, as he's just a "sidekick", and Chon is annoyed that the poster calls him the "The Shanghai Kid", while he's not from Shanghai.
  • Six Reasons Why: The Entrepreneur has a wanted poster for The Criminal in his pack that he uses to convince The nomad of his story.
  • Sneakers: Martin Bishop runs a tiger team testing security systems, but he turns down a job offered by the National Security Agency because he doesn't work for the government. We find out why when one of the NSA agents calls him "Brice" as he leaves, slipping Martin a wanted poster for the hacking job we saw being committed by a young Martin Brice (nee Bishop) during The '60s at the start of the movie.
  • While on a Clear My Name mission in Talk of the Town, Cary Grant winds up standing next to his own wanted poster in a Boston post office. He's not worried, saying that no one will recognize him because the poster "doesn't catch the spirit."
  • There was a 1992 German film Die Terroristen! about some political radicals whose efforts to commit an act of terror fail due to their own ineptitude. Regardless of this, at the end of the movie they get photos of themselves and stick them on a Wanted poster for genuine terrorists.
  • The Three Stooges had variants of this in some of their shorts:
    Wanted for Vagrancy
    Reward: 50 Cents Each
    3 for a Dollar
  • In Tiger Bay, Gillie is identified by her mugshot in the newspapers.
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction has rouge CIA taskforce Cemetery Wind use an Iraq War inspired playing card version when hunting down the remaining Cybertronians still hiding on Earth.
  • Whispering Smith: When the Barton brothers force the station agent at Coyote Creek to stop the train ,the agent looks at the three men, and then at the wanted poster on the wall, and realises the faces are the same.
  • The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap had a film poster showing pictures the three stars in this format:
    WANTED: Bud (Alkali) Abbott — shoots first...runs afterwards!
    WANTED: Lou (Killer) Costello — trigger-shy sheriff!
    WANTED: Marjorie (Calamity) Main — the pistol-packin' "Ma Kettle!"
  • In Wrongfully Accused, the hero, Ryan Harrison, comes across his own Wanted poster in a fishing shop. He quickly scribbles a ridiculously long beard, an oversized pair of glasses and a comically small bowler hat on it. Shortly afterward, the sheriff arrests a man with a long beard, wearing an oversized pair of glasses and a comically small bowler hat.
  • In Zachariah, there's posters for the Crackers, with the value per head declining from $150 to $25 due to the Crackers' ineptitude, and later for Job Cain.
  • In When Taekwondo Strikes, the government prints posters offering $500, more than most people make in a year, for information on Li's resistance group. One follower gives into greed and snitches.

  • At one point in Animal Farm, Napoleon puts a bounty on Snowball's head and promises a reward of "Animal Hero, Second Class" and half a bushel of apples for dead, a full bushel for alive.
  • A Running Gag in the The Belgariad and The Malloreon is Silk appearing on wanted posters. He generally reacts with disdain, though he has occasionally felt flattered by high reward offers. Beldin also gets this treatment in Mallorea courtesy of Urvon, a disciple of Torak that he has a long-standing vendetta against — involving a smoking hot hook and the latter's guts. Beldin comments that the sketch and description were actually pretty good, but the reward was a joke.
  • Burglar Bill: When Burglar Bill returns the policeman's helmet through the police station window, his own "Wanted" poster is on the wall.
  • The moving one of Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • The Last Of The Untouchables, by Oscar Fraley and Paul Robsky. One of The Untouchables is working undercover and runs into a criminal he's arrested on a previous occasion. Fortunately he's posing as a bank robber, so when the criminal thinks he looks familar, he's just told that he must have seen his wanted poster if he ever entered a post office.
  • Lolita: After kidnapping and sexually molesting Dolores Haze, Humbert Humbert walks into a post office and sees various posters for these crimes. He thinks that if his story is ever made into a movie, they should dissolve one of these posters to his own face. The 1997 movie adaptation obliges (albeit in a Deleted Scene) when Jeremy Irons imagines his own face on a poster, wanted for violations of the Mann Act (transportation of females across state lines for immoral purposes).
  • In The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the kingdom is flooded with posters announcing that the (allegedly) dangerously insane king has escaped from his confinement, and offering a large reward for his capture dead or alive. The hero is dragged into the plot because he coincidentally resembles the description on the posters.
  • Max & the Midknights: The Tower of Time: Max's twin sister Mary has a wanted poster thanks to her and Perrin stealing food to get by. Because they're twins, this ends up posing a problem for Max as well, since people may (and in one case, did) mistake her for her sister.
  • In the novelization for Planescape: Torment, The Nameless One and Morte find a wanted poster for TNO while going through Sigil. Fortunately, TNO's Paper-Thin Disguise (consisting mostly of an extremely hideous wig) is sufficient to keep him from being immediately identified because the poster is only seen by a Modron, a race that's so Literal-Minded that the minor difference between the image on the poster and TNO is enough to fool it.
  • In The Spirit Thief, wanted posters are practically the Arc Symbol, as Eli's life goal is to have a bounty of one million standards on his head and he uses the posters to check how high it is.
  • Whateley Universe: In "Dissonance (Part 1)", a "wanted poster" for the missing Sara Waite is mentioned as being "on the wall in Crystal Hall".
  • In Where's Wally? in Hollywood, "The Wild, Wild West" has two wanted posters on the jailhouse wall, with "$10,000" under one face and "10 cents" under the other.
  • In The Witchlands, the Carawen outposts usually have a full wall of these, as modern monks make money mostly on bounty hunting. The most outstanding of those posters is for the Big Bad.
  • Trail of Glory features one, but deconstructs the whole concept of "dead or alive". The actual professional bounty hunter tells The Watson that "dead or alive" means "alive", because if you just bring in a head, the client will look at it and say "Nope, wrong guy," and that's assuming the head hasn't deteriorated so far as to be impossible to identify.
  • Hoshi and the Red City Circuit: After Hoshi is falsely accused of collaborating with the Roccini Gang, a digipage is made offering 500cs for her capture alive.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 31 Minutos Guaripolo has one in "Oestelandia" as the Professor Guaripolus, because he was a con artist.
  • A Western-themed episode of The Benny Hill Show had a few Wanted posters. One is about a man wanted for arson, who promptly torches the poster.
  • El Chapulín Colorado once helped a western town to post wanted posters with the criminal's face and the inscription "Lo Queremos Vivo o Muerto - Mucho Cuidado". (Roughly "Wanted Dead or Alive - Caution") When confronted by the criminal Chapulin tried to appease him by ripping a piece of the poster so it's red "Lo Queremos Mucho" (Very Wanted)
    • Another episode spoofed it with a scene in which Ramón Valdes portrays The Pink Panther as a Sheriff in a Western movie, placing a wanted poster of a criminal. He runs into the guy who clearly is not amused. He starts changing some stuff on the poster, such as adding a pair of glasses and a beard to the guy's face in the poster, which also appear in the real guy's face. The scene ends with the Pink Panther pulling out a gun and shooting the poster. You can figure out what happens then.
  • Dead Man's Gun: In "The Bounty Hunter", shopkeeper and wannabe Bounty Hunter Raymond Jakes keeps a sheath of wanted posters in the drawer of his shop counter.
  • Farscape uses "wanted beacons", which show holograms of the criminals (usually Moya's crew) with narration explaining the reward for turning them in. During the first season Aeryn finds one that contains a hidden message from Commander Crais offering her amnesty if she turns in the rest of the crew. Aeryn knows that the promised "honorable retirement" actually means being executed and doesn't take the offer.
    Hologram: An unprecedented reward is offered for information leading— (Chiana advances recording) —dead or alive, five million currency pledges rests on the Nebari Chiana, who was last seen— (shuts chip off)
    Chiana: They're everywhere. In every bar, every port, every ship that can fly. We had nowhere to go but here, and all because of you [Crichton].
    Rygel: (smugly) I'm worth seven million. That's frelling with her head, too. (Chiana hits him)
  • Frontier (2016): In season 2 Declan Harp has a bounty of 200 pounds placed on his head, attracting various bounty hunters to Fort James.
  • The Goodies. Bigfoot (Tim Brooke-Taylor with a right foot that's swelled up to enormous size) is wandering around the Canadian Rockies making anyone who sees his foot Die Laughing. Eventually a reward is put out for the monster, but even the man putting up the poster (which just shows an enormous foot instead of Tim's face) dies laughing at the sight of it.
  • Commonly show up in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, as the Evil Empire has put out a bounty for the crew. The reward on each member goes up every few episodes — Butt-Monkey Don Dogoier always has the lowest amount. And during the end of the run, the reward for capturing Marvelous skyrockets to a crazy amount. How? How does UNLIMITED REWARD sound? They've pissed off the Empire when that bounty went up.
  • One will occasionally turn up in Kung Fu (1972): Caine is wanted by the Chinese government for killing the Emperor's Nephew. "$10,000 Alive, $5,000 Dead." A likeness of Caine is drawn on the posters, along with drawings of his forearm tiger-and-dragon tattoos/brands.
  • Rita Repulsa's Wanted Poster is seen in the Angel Grove PD building in an episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. (Most writing on it is too small to read.)
  • In an episode of Mr. Belvedere, Wesley takes a printing class at school, and plays a lot of hilarious jokes after doing so, including making a gag one of Mr. Belvedere for the crime of "Grand Theft: Jelly Donuts".
  • One Piece (2023) carries this over from its source material and even having a Running Gag when a character's wanted poster will fly on screen to introduce them before they either slash, crumple, or push it away. In a deviation from the manga, the Seven Warlords of the Sea (big name pirates granted amnesty for their crimes in exchange for working with the government) are shown to have posters of their own, though it's specifically listed that their bounties have been cancelled.
  • Pair of Kings: Brady's criminal alter ego "Scirocco" had his picture in a wanted poster reading "Barely Alive".
  • In a 1971 sketch on Sesame Street, some townspeople in a saloon try to determine if Cookie Monster is "The Great Cookie Thief" by comparing his appearance to a wanted poster. He initially manages to fool them by drawing a mustache on the poster while they aren't looking, but his identity ultimately discovered when stolen cookies fall out of his hat.
  • Seventeen Moments of Spring: Kat is a wanted criminal at large in Berlin after escaping her Nazi jailers. She finds herself in a police station in episode 11 trying to get a call to her spymaster, Stirlitz. She is horrified to see a wanted poster of her on a desk at the station half-buried under desk litter.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation. In "A Fistful of Datas", the villain of a holodeck Western jokes that he'll punish whoever drew his Wanted poster. "I'm ten times uglier than that, ain't I?"
  • Honorable Mention: One of Dom Jolly's Trigger Happy TV pranks was to get a random passerby to do something embarrassing for him, and then walk away, leaving them on (hidden) camera looking confused. He'd do it standing under a giant billboard with a picture of himself, and the words "Don't Trust This Man".
  • Person of Interest. A variation in "The Devil's Share". In the opening montage, we see Harold Finch walking past a row of newsstands all showing the same picture of rogue police officer Patrick Simmons. John Reese and Sameen Shaw are then shown roughing up criminal associates of Simmons while brandishing the same picture in their faces.
  • Halo (2022). A reward poster of Kwan Ha is projected on the walls on Madrigal, as the local warlord attempts to eliminate this last survivor of the Ha family.

  • "Wanted: Dead Or Alive" by Bon Jovi.
  • The cover of the P.D.Q. Bach album Oedipus Tex & Other Choral Calamities has the black-and-white mugshot of the composer on a tattered yellowing sheet, with "WANTED" above the album title.

    Music Videos 

  • In the classical myth of Cupid and Psyche, after losing Cupid, Psyche spends some time as a wandering fugitive. Unable to find Psyche, Venus asks Mercury to distribute a proclamation for Psyche's capture along with a description of the girl. The proclamation has a warning against anyone who tries to harbor Psyche, and says that any information leading to her capture will be rewarded with "seven sweet kisses of Venus and one more sweetly honeyed from the touch of her loving tongue."


  • Played with in Cactus Canyon, which features a "Help Wanted" recruitment poster listing the requirements for a new Sheriff.
  • Foo Fighters (2023): The Overlord's regime employs a futuristic variant, displaying holographic "wanted" signs bearing the likeness of frontman/La Résistance member Dave Grohl.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Mick Foley had a variation made for his Cactus Jack T-shirts. Someone had scratched the 'alive' part out of the Wanted: Dead or Alive bit.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show:
    • The segment "Bear on Patrol" always had these pinned on the wall of the police station, featuring members of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
    • Including this masterpiece in the Wilbur&Orville Wright episode: "We got this one," showing frontal of perp "now we only need HIM and HIM!" showing the same perp in left and right view
  • The famous "Great Cookie Thief" sketch on Sesame Street also involves the "defaced poster" variant.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Dungeon magazine #45 adventure "Rudwilla's Stew". The villain Orlec Blacktooth has a wanted poster that says his mother Herra Blacktooth has a bounty of 50 mulugands (gold coins) on her head.
    • Dungeon #54 adventure "The Fiends of Tethyr" has the players find the bones of a criminal (devoured by vicious raptor dinosaurs) in a cave; a wanted poster of him is found with his belongings, which he kept as a souvenir, offering a reward for his capture or proof of his death. (The poster describes his sword, which is also there, so the PCs can claim the reward if they're willing to travel to the kingdom offering the reward; this serves as a hook for any other adventure the DM wants to run.)

  • Cats features a poster reading "MACAVITY: WANTED FOR EVERYTHING." Making the line about how "he always has an alibi" an Informed Attribute, but then everything about Macavity seems to be, except for the part where he's evil.
  • In The Girl of the Golden West, a Wells-Fargo poster on the door of the Polka Saloon lists a $5000 reward for Ramerrez. It doesn't help anyone to identify him when he walks in.
  • The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny opens with a wanted poster for Fatty, Begbick and Trinity Moses.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In 1866: A Mount & Blade Western, there is such a poster in each large town. It triggers some bounty hunting quests and tells why the man has been wanted, sometimes in a humourous way ("raping the horses and riding off on the women"). Note that the quest is completed whether the target is killed or captured alive.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: In Skopp City, Ann can pick up a wanted poster for Eric Marcom, a convicted felon who recently escaped from prison. At Harbor Town, Marcom appears as one of the Optional Bosses at the fighting arena, where defeating him will earn a reward once Ann reports his location in Skopp City.
  • The Assassin's Creed franchise has incorporated this as a recurring mechanic in its games, popping them up whenever you start performing evil (or impressive) acts. Ezio, Connor, Edward, and others can then tear them down to become anonymous again. They can also become anonymous by bribing town criers and killing bad-mouthing politicians in broad daylight.
  • The Bard occasionally finds wanted posters of himself in The Bard's Tale. Incredulously, he somehow has the gall to sell them back somewhere, because they're worth money just like any other collectible.
  • The Bathhouse: You see a couple of wanted posters in the neighbourhood with a 300 yen reward for the criminal... who's face is obscured by shadow, meaning that you can't see it.
  • BioShock Infinite: In the basement beneath the Good Time Club there are three wanted posters on a wall: Labor Agitator ($1,000 reward, Dead or Alive), Vox Anarchist ($5,000 reward, Dead or Alive), and Daisy Fitzroy (Leader of the Vox Populi, $30,000).
  • BlazBlue: Ragna the Bloodedge, being a wanted criminal, had a wanted poster. Unfortunately, in his own words, the artist just drew him in a style of Gonk that it's near impossible to realize the guy in the poster is the same as Ragna. And yet, somehow, Orie can identify him immediately with just that poster.
  • Borderlands series: With a list of crimes and a bounty, for each game:
    • The first game, Borderlands. Its protagonists have a bounty of a million dollars each, except for Brick, whose bounty is $99,999,999.99. Someone has also handwritten "Another million for that annoying bird" underneath Mordecai's bounty.
    • The sequel, Borderlands 2. Its protagonists have bounties in the tens of billions. Their crimes range from Assassination (Zer0), War Crimes (Axton), or Excess Adorability (Gaige). Salvador's list of crimes is so long that a second sheet of paper has to be stapled to the bottom of his poster to contain them all, and one of Krieg's DLC heads actually has him wear his own poster as a mask. They also all have serial numbers, which becomes funny when Zer0's serial number is just "000-000-000-000-HSP". Lilith also has a wanted poster, but it... doesn't show her face.
    • Comes up in Tales from the Borderlands. When the con artist Fiona has to talk her way past a bouncer outside a bar, the bouncer notices her face on a nearby Wanted poster. The bouncer's illiterate and has no idea what the poster actually says, so you can choose a few different ways for Fiona to talk her way out—for example, by claiming that poster's the VIP list.
  • Bounty of One: Four wanted posters are used during the character selection screen, one for each player, with a shot of the selected characters face on them. In-game, they appear at the corners of the screen, one for each player, with the bounty underneath them being the player's current score.
  • Card City Nights: In the Dark Alley, a 20.000 bounty is offered for a Lemon with some sort of stick, referring to Jenny Lemon and her cheese slicer.
  • Crystal Story: Rita the evil witch, gets one in the first game, advertising the 100,000 G reward, with a picture of her, as seen in the Start Screen, and when Hiro brings the poster to Mercenary Inc, to offer a job.
  • In the arcade version of Double Dragon, wanted posters of the game's bosses can be seen in Mission 1 and Mission 3. The award for Machine Gun Willy, the final boss, is $100,000, ten times more than the other bosses (who are only worth $10,000 each).
  • Dead Man's Hand depicts members of The Nine on a series of posters in the opening scene. Later, posters depicting each boss will appear on the loading screen before the following boss fight.
  • During the fourth Detectives United game, after James escapes from jail, he spots the sheriff of Restville hanging up wanted posters with his picture on them. The posters identify him as a dangerous criminal. James is anything but a criminal - he's actually there conducting an investigation - but the powers that be want him behind bars because the town is kept under the effects of a hallucinogen, and James is inexplicably resistant to it. They want him locked up because they can't control him.
  • Dynamite Dux has several of these in the Texas level, each showing a cat-looking thing.
  • Far Cry 5 has these of the deputy, accusing you of being a sinner. These are always updated immediately; take a moment to change from your hunting camos to a biker chick tank top will have the poster do likewise. Also note that three of the available skins are that of the Seeds themselves, which means that you can end up making the game put up posters accusing Joseph's (the Big Bad) own family.
  • In Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, upon the party's arrival in Under Junon, the mayor, Rhonda, pulls up a screen on a computer pad with a wanted message for Avalanche, showing images of Barret, Biggs, Wedge, Jessie and Tifa, listing a 100,000 gil reward for each of them. She then pulls up a separate screen indicating that Aerith is wanted, specifically alive, and that there is a 500,000 gil reward for her. She then tells them she knows how to keep her mouth shut.
  • Gunfighter: The Legend of Jesse James: Wanted posters can be seen throughout each level, and shooting them nets Jesse an extra Continue.
  • Gunsmoke shows a wanted poster before each round, though the relevant text is displayed beside it rather than on it.
  • In a meta example, the developer for Hydroneer put a wanted poster for Let's Game It Out in front of the furniture store due to Josh's habit of exploiting glitches to steal a king's ransom worth of goods from the shops in his videos.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit had "KILL this rabbit" posters out for the title character.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land has wanted posters of Kirby in some levels, crudely-drawn pictures of him with a purple "X" over him. They grant rewards when destroyed, most notably some being missions that rescue Waddle Dees when completed.
  • In League of Legends, one of the promotional images for Jinx, the Loose Cannon took the form of this. Her crimes on the poster include "Murder, Unprovoked Assault, Disturbing the Peace, Public Indecency, Murder Again, Inauthorized Property Recoloration, Unflattering Impersonation of an Officer, Reckless Hexplosive Detonation, Destruction of the Peace, Really Petty Larceny, Exorbitant Weapon Size, Some More Murders, Inciting Mass Hysteria, Making Fun of the Peace, Aggravated Jaywalking, and Forging of Official Wanted Posters."
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • A Link to the Past: After rescuing Princess Zelda from the castle dungeon, signs in Kakariko village show a (very pixellated) sketch of Link's face, claiming he kidnapped the princess and urging civilians to call for soldiers if they spot him. There's no reward specified though. There is a reward, however, on another sign that can only be seen at the start of the game: A royal bounty of 100 rupees for help in finding the missing maidens.
    • Four Swords Adventures: The four Links are shown wanted on a poster when examining field signs.
    • Phantom Hourglass: Tingle appears on a wanted poster at Mercay Tavern.
    • Tears of the Kingdom: At a few locations in Lookout Landing, a missing persons poster shows the likenesses of Link and Zelda. On the enemy side, Yiga clan hideouts also contain portraits of Link, though these are a bit... biased.
  • Sundown Kid in Live A Live. He actually put the bounty on his own head so someone would take his life.
  • In Luck be a Landlord, one of the items you can get a Wanted Poster, which multiplies the value of Thieves by 3.5, and since their value goes up with every spin, they have even bigger bounties on their heads when the Bounty Hunter, General Zaroff, or a Banana Peel destroys them.
  • My Time at Sandrock features wanted posters of the bandit Logan. The poster even has a bandana covering Logan's face- but only because Unsuur, deputy-in-training, can't draw the lower halves of faces (or hands). Sheriff Justice advises you to "use your imagination" if you come across Logan without his mask.
  • Mercenaries features a similar concept; a Deck of 52 North Korean officials, in an homage to the Iraq War version in Real Life. The dictator is the Ace of Spades, naturally.
  • A staple of the Metal Max series; players generally collect quests from bounty boards containing a bunch of these.
  • Guybrush gets his very own in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, which is continually updated as your list of crimes keeps growing. Altering it is part of solving a puzzle.
  • One of Erron Black's intros in Mortal Kombat 11 has him looking at a wanted poster of his foe. Every character gets a unique wanted poster, and a different prize; for example, Sub-Zero is worth $5,000,000, Cetrion is worth $999,999,999, and Johnny Cage is worth $500.
  • In Nefarious, wanted posters of Crow can be seen in the background of the first stage.
  • In No Umbrellas Allowed, AVAC posts Wanted posters of the four people who went missing in the CARI fire: Sangsu Ahn, Bok Bae, Jisu Cha, and Yong Do, all with huge bounties on their heads. Even if "Bob" has a beard while the missing people are clean-shaven, the Blackmailer can tell that he's one of them. According to him, appearance and memory can change, but habits never do, and it was through "Bob"'s actions that the Blackmailer knew his true identity. He then threatens to report "Bob" to AVAC if he doesn't pay the bounty to him.
  • Persona:
    • In Persona 3, a few wanted posters are displayed in the police station inside the Paulownia Mall. Elizabeth wonders if they're related to the suppression requests she gives out.
    • In Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, after Kamoshidaman, the boss of the first labyrinth of the same name, captures Makoto and Haru, he puts out wanted posters for the other six Phantom Thieves - Joker, Ryuji, Ann, Yusuke, Futaba and Akechi.
  • Red Dead Redemption has wanted posters indicating bounties that the player can claim.
  • Riot Zone begins each and every stage with a "WANTED!" poster of the level's boss(es). Your character then performs a Stab the Picture and the stage begins proper.
  • In the credits of Samurai Western, the main cast and their respective VAs are depicted on various wanted posters.
  • Having a bounty on your head is apparently something of a status symbol for Skies of Arcadia's Air Pirates. At one point you see a poster that clearly has the viewpoint character on it, but no-one acknowledges this.
  • In the intro for Skullgirls, each of the playable characters is shown in what appears to be a movie poster... except for Ms. Fortune, who has a wanted poster.
  • Sly Cooper and his band of thieves are always shown to be on wanted posters throughout the series.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog video kiddie ride Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car, the Attract Mode shows Sonic driving a police car around a signpost that flips around to reveal a 100 yen reward for Dr. Eggman.
  • Speculative Fiction: Inside the bank is a wanted poster for an infamous robber named Two-Handed Bart, promising a cash reward. The man handling loans happens to look like him, but missing a few details. If you give the man the clothes he needs to resemble Two-Handed Bart, you can call the guards to have him arrested, then show one guard the poster to prove that you were the one who turned him in.
  • In Spelunky, "Wanted" posters appear in shops a level after you commit a crime to a shopkeeper. When you're declared innocent (don't kill shopkeeper nor steal from him for another few levels), they disappear.
  • In Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, you can scan enemies/random civilians to see if any of them have bounty and associated wanted poster that describes why there is a bounty on their head. Most of the targets are wanted dead or alive, usually if you managed to catch them alive yielding a higher bounty. A few are wanted exclusively alive, a few you need to kill. One target who is wanted dead or alive weirdly has a higher bounty if you kill him rather than capture him.
  • Appears at the start of every Sunset Riders stage to show the boss for that level, as an homage to its Spaghetti Western roots.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Sunshine: Mario (or actually a doppelganger) is wanted for graffiti, and these are found all over Delfino Plaza. You can spray them and coins pop out.
    • Mario Party:
      • Mario Party 2: Bowser is on one of these in Western Land, complete with cowboy hat and pistol, under the name 'Bowser the Brash'.
      • Mario Party 4: At the start of the minigame The Long Claw Of The Law, a poster shows a mook that is being prosecuted. The players have then to use special extendable claws to grab specimens of that mook when they're looking out the buildings' doors (which open a close, thus requiring good timing with the claws' grabs). Whoever grabs three specimens wins; if nobody manages to do so after 60 seconds, the minigame ends in a draw.
      • Mario Party DS: In the minigame Peek-a-Boo, the characters are looking for a specific type of Boo that is shown in a Wanted picture above the minigame's map. Thus, only the Boos showing the features that match those in that picture should be touched (with the stylus) once found. If a wrong Boo is touched by any character, it'll fly at that player's screen before moving on. One player has a greater visibility, while the other three have a smaller one each but are part of a team. If the solo player finds and touches more Boos from the wanted variety by the time no more of them are left, then they'll win; if the rival trio finds and touches more instead, then they'll win. If five minutes pass and not all wanted Boos were caught, whichever side got more wins; but if the amount is the same in both sides, the minigame ends in a tie.
    • Paper Mario 64: At the end of Mount Rugged, Mario will be stopped by a vulture names Buzzar, who will open up a wanted poster that shows him. However, Buzzar isn’t exactly sure, and the poster doesn’t seem to be colored in, so the player can answer "Luigi" and skip fighting him. Answering "Mario" or "Peach" will cause Buzzar to attack.
    • Luigi's Mansion 3 has numerous wanted posters of Luigi scattered about the hotel. You can suck them up with the Poltergust G-00 for cash.
  • Tales Series games like to do this. The depictions on the posters usually aren't very good.
    • In Tales of Symphonia, Lloyd ends up being hunted by the Desians, who want his special Exsphere. He ends up seeing poorly drawn wanted posters in several towns across Sylvarant.
      Lloyd: Am I this ugly?
    • In Tales of Vesperia, Yuri ends up on a wanted poster after breaking out of jail and leaving Zaphias with Estelle (who turns out to be a princess). While not explicitly pointed out, it's also very poorly drawn.
  • A patently absurd one appears in the Engineer Update in Team Fortress 2, issued by the War Department of the United States government for John "Tower of Hats" Booth. It depicts a Dastardly Whiplash version of John Wilkes Booth covered in a ridiculous number of hats as his 'last known photo.' His photo for 'what he might look like today' simply adds another hat atop the half-dozen already worn by Booth without changing any other features.
  • Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy begins each stage with such a poster depicting the stage's boss, and the bounty imposed on them, which your titular bounty hunters then sets off to capture.
  • In the canceled Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, Thrall learns about Grom Hellscream by finding a wanted poster for him in Durnholde.
  • In World of Warcraft, wanted posters act as quest givers, and the quests usually involve killing a boss and bringing something from them to an NPC as proof of their death.
  • Since XCOM is La Résistance against the Vichy Earth in XCOM2, all of your soldiers have their faces on holographic wanted posters; these are usually your highest-ranking soldiers. Place your soldiers next to them and they'll even react to them (as was demonstrated in the E3 Demo), the reaction probably depending on their attitude (a customizable cosmetic soldier trait changing the way they speak).
    • On top of that, you can even make your own full-scale Wanted Posters with the Photobooth system added in the War of the Chosen expansion. These posters will then be seeded around your mission sites.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Nia (who had just defected from the criminal organization Torna) took offense to the wanted poster of her that was posted on the notice board in Torigoth, because it made her look more animalistic than the Little Bit Beastly she is (which her companion Dromarch attributes to the artist merging their appearances). Pretty much everyone else maintained that it was a good likeness.
  • In Ys IX: Monstrum Nox all playable characters, the titular Monstrums, have "Wanted" posters, issued by Hieroglyph Knights. The Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition contains a copy of each. They are actually very accurate, and the only reason they don't work is that Monstrums are Henshin Heroes, and show up on the streets only in civilian forms. Adol also has a poster, separate from his Crimson King persona, and he's actually captured early in the game based on its descripton. Curiously, out of these posters the biggest bounty is placed not on The Hero, but rather on Hawk, who's less of a threat than Adol, but gives the Knights more immediate trouble.
  • Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure makes clever use of this trope: it's shown as a sort of ranking screen, as you do great acts of piracy/solve puzzles, the bounty goes up, and the fidelity of the sketch on the poster increases, starting from wildly inaccurate (not to mention looking like a six-year-old drew them) and ending at a dead ringer, then going on to photographs of increasing clarity.

    Web Animation 
  • The Deadpool vs. Deathstroke episode of DEATH BATTLE! has both characters looking at wanted posters of each other. Deadpool complains because the reward for his opponent is 10 dollars higher than his, which is already sitting pretty at $5,000,000. Then again, it is Deadpool.
    • A similar circumstance happens in the later Roronoa Zoro vs. Erza Scarlet episode; with Erza coming in holding a Wanted poster with Zoro's face on it, using it to recognize him, and then trying to apprehend him and claim his bounty on the basis of him being a notorious pirate.
  • In the pilot of Knights of All Realms, Captain Patchface has a shrine to the Pirate Hag, the object of his affections, in his quarters. It features her wanted poster, listing her as being wanted for "every crime" with the promised reward for her capture being "a royal title(she's really that bad)".
  • The Madness Combat protagonists each have one with bits of Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Hank is wanted for distorting reality, felony evasion, public urination and crime.
    • Sanford is wanted for murder, telling lies, torturing, kidnapping, conspiring, arson and for being ugly.
    • Deimos is wanted for murder, lying, thievery, conspiring, betraying the cause, and for being a smoker.
  • In Shrapnel’s miniseries', wanted posters can be seen in the background of various places. In the second episode of KILL CONTRACT, the plot gets kicked off in earnest when Reznya intervenes in a encounter between some roblox characters and a Ugandan knuckles, having been looking for the four robloxians after grabbing a copy of their wanted poster.

    Web Comics 
  • A Bruno the Bandit storyline had Bruno redesigning his own wanted poster.
  • Castoff, where Vector is wanted for "high treason" (Arianna calls that bullshit - long story, but she's most probably right), along with everyone he collects along the way. Since the authorities have learned their planned route, "Wanted" posters await the party's arrival in two towns so far.

    Web Videos 
  • For some reason, the Yellow Guy from Don't Hug Me I'm Scared has a wanted poster when the main characters time travel to the Victorian era.
  • Mandela Catalogue: The Mandela Catalogue Vol.2 opens with a poster showing Adam Murray and Jonah Marshall to be wanted by the FBI. The poster disappears, barring their photos, and text underneath reveals them to be Victims 3 and 4.
  • Pirates SMP:
    • Krow's introductory sequence of the series depicts a torn one of Kuervo, who's apparently been on the run from the Armada of Naya for the past three years for then-unspecified reasons, and wanted alive for equally unstated reasons.
    • Played for Laughs on Day 89 when Eloise paints one of Martyn after he steals the Power Crystal of the Sun God, but ends up drawing him in a "yassified" anime style with over-exaggerated makeup and Bambi eyes.

    Western Animation 
  • The 9th Life of Sherman Phelps: Ronald is putting up one in "Candy Bandit" to catch the titular crook.
  • Amphibia: The Newtopian army has put out a bounty on Grime for deserting his post following the destruction of Toad Tower.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has about six of them (Aang, Jeong Jeong, Chey, the Blue Spirit, Iroh and Zuko). Oddly, they never made one for any of Aang's friends.
    • Toph got one for her antics in "The Runaway". She couldn't see it, of course, but she keeps it anyway.
  • Batman Beyond: The episode "Shriek" briefly revisits some abandoned buildings Bruce remembers from his youth, including the old police station where a wanted poster for the Joker still hangs on a wall.
  • Betty Boop: In "The Bum Bandit", Bimbo is cast as a robber. He finds a wanted poster of himself that reads, "REWARD BIMBO - DEAD OR ALIVE". Annoyed, he shoots a hole through it.
  • Bounty Hamster. Having already tired of her inept Bounty Hunter in the first episode, Cassie resolves to find her Disappeared Dad herself. She puts up a wanted poster, only to realize she's pasted it on the side of a Rock Monster instead of a wall. Then it turns out the alien language on the poster has been incorrectly translated, describing her father as an intergalactic Big Bad wanted dead or alive (and offering Cassie as the Standard Hero Reward). Cassie and Marion have to chase down and stop the swarm of bounty hunters who have taken up the offer.
  • Centaurworld: In the episode "Holes: Part 3" Wanted posters of Glendale can be seen in all tunnels of the underground, depicting her with tattoos, piercing and a muscular built she displayed the last time the herd visited the holes. This time around she's in her regular appearance, but spends the episode in hiding anyway.
  • In The Crumpets episode "Combien on t'aime pas trop", the gang plaster wanted posters of their missing friend Larry on cars and even on the Crumpets' house, including one giant copy covering most of the house. Because they don't have a good picture of Larry, Cordless attempted a digital facial composite stitching the pictures they have, resulting in Larry having a blurry and pixelated portrait in the poster.
  • The Danny Phantom episode "Boxed Up Fury" begins with The Box Ghost reading the bounties for Wulf, Vortex and Undergrowth - one, two and three million dollars respectively - and assuming his must be even higher. He's not happy to find that his poster reads "Not Wanted - $2.50 or best offer".
  • The Donald Duck cartoon "Donald's Crime" has him trying to tear away his wanted poster, but reveals another poster underneath with a higher price on his head. Donald keeps tearing off until the zeros go past the poster and into infinity.
  • The Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "A Merry Chase" starts off with Chesty the Bulldog and Dimwit putting up Wanted posters of the two magpies.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 88, Stumpy, Quack Quack and Mr. Cat, who are dangerous bandits in this episode, see "WANTED" posters of themselves with rewards: 5000 dollars for Mr. Cat, 6500 dollars for Quack Quack, and 33 cents for Stumpy.
  • Kim Possible has mug shots of Dr. Drakken and Shego on the inside of her locker door, though we never really get a good look at the pictures.
  • Looney Tunes
    • "Drip-Along Daffy" has villain Nasty Canasta standing in front of his own wanted poster (which says, ""$5,000,000 REWARD (DEAD)" and "RUSTLER, BANDIT, SQUARE DANCE CALLER"), then stepping away from it in a memorable reveal.
    • The same gag is done in "Bonanza Bunny" with Blacque Jacque Shellacque. (This poster lists Blacque's crimes as claim-jumping, pogo-sticking, and again Square-dance calling, but the poster here at least says "Dead or Alive").
    • "Rebel Rabbit" has Bugs Bunny looking at a series of bounty posters on various nuisance animals. All of them are significant amounts (for the time) until he gets to "Rabbits" - who get a bounty of just 2 cents. The rest of the cartoon is him committing crimes to prove rabbits can be more trouble than any other animal. It works.
    • Bugs also had wanted posters of himself in "Fresh Hare", and apparently doodled on them (one with a drawn mustache and stuck-out tongue, another resembling Adolf Hitler.
    • In the Wartime Cartoon "Confusions of a Nutzy Spy", one of the wanted posters is of a pin-up girl with no crime alleged, but a note attached saying "and you ain't kiddin', brother!" and signed "U.S. Army."
    • "Robin Hood Daffy" opens with wanted posters of Robin plastered everywhere. Even so, Friar Tuck (Porky Pig) still doesn't buy in to him being Robin.
  • Megas XLR: The episode "Universal Remote" starts with the Monster of the Week, Skalgar, seeing his own wanted poster and being outraged at the low reward that is offered for him.
  • A Mickey Mouse cartoon, "Two-Gun Mickey", featured Pete's wanted poster. The reward was $1,000 (dead) or $100 (alive).
    • Wanted posters of Pete also appeared in "Two-Gun Goofy" and "The Lone Chipmunks" (with Chip 'n' Dale).
  • The Mr. Bean series once had this, with a Criminal Doppelgänger involved. Here's the image.
  • The My Life as a Teenage Robot TV movie "Escape from Cluster Prime" features a poster of Jenny reading "Wanted — Plugged or Unplugged".
  • Appears in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "A Bird In The Hoof", after Princess Celestia's pet bird Philomena goes missing. Since Philomena doesn't want to be caught (long story), she sneaks around drawing mustaches on the posters.
  • The Owl House:
    • Due to her refusal to join a coven (and multiple accounts of petty theft), Eda is the most wanted woman on the Boiling Isles and posters with her bounty can often be seen in the background in public places. Given that she believes that Cool People Rebel Against Authority, she keeps a blown up version of the poster hanging in her living room like it was a trophy.
    • Her apprentice Luz also gets her own poster after she's banned from the school grounds of Hexside. Eda has a copy of it right next to her own.
      That's my girl! ... Ah, baby's first "Wanted!" Poster.
    • Early in Season 2, Luz gets another poster along with Willow and Gus after Amity's parents have them expelled.
    • Later on in Season 2, Luz gets an actual "Wanted" poster, as do Hooty and Lilith, when the Emperor is looking to capture them all as well as Eda.
  • The Patrick Star Show: In "Nitwit Neighborhood News", One-Shot Character Tony Tuna's face is plastered on posters and billboards. Patrick still can't tell he's a criminal.
  • In Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, posters are put up of Kris Kringle throughout Sombertown, decrying him as "the terrible toymaker". To avoid being found out, Kris lets his beard grow.
  • Examples of this trope from The Simpsons:
    • In "Radioactive Man", when Milhouse disappears due to the stress of playing Fallout Boy, a wanted poster is issued. Below his picture is "Dead or Alive", with "Dead" crossed out.
    • In "Homer Simpson in: Kidney Trouble", a visit to an old west tourist attraction includes Bart showing Marge a poster saying Homer is wanted for lewd behavior. Marge thinks it's cute and asks if he got that from the souvenir shop, but Bart points out that a security guard is actually handing them out to other patrons as they speak.
    • Parodied in the Treehouse of Horror XXVI segment "Wanted: Dead, Then Alive": in the title screen, the word "Wanted:" appears, followed by the blood that spells out "DEAD", before finishing the title in normal letters.
    • In the "Simpsons Tall Tales" segment spoofing Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (featuring Nelson Muntz portraying the title character), Huck sees a wanted poster of himself for running away from a Shotgun Wedding earlier on. Tom Sawyer (Bart Simpson) then sees another wanted poster next to it and exclaims, "Double dang!" This poster depicts Sawyer exposing his ass and says he's wanted "for moonshining".
  • Tex Avery MGM Cartoons: Two such gags involving the Wolf were removed from re-releases due to them having dated references to wartime rationing.
    • In Dumb-Hounded, during a newspaper montage after the Wolf escape from prison, one headline promises a reward of $5,000 or one pound of coffee.
    • In Wild and Woolfy, the opening credits ends with a shot of a poster for the outlaw Wolf, which promises a reward of $5,000 or one "C" book.
  • Time Squad: In "Billy The Baby", the main characters end up on wanted posters while trying to assist Billy the Kid in becoming a feared outlaw instead of a joke. Tuddrussel thinks his is awesome, since he was assumed to be the leader and given the name "Red Eye" Tuddrussel (because of the red visor he wears as part of his uniform). Larry and Otto, who weren't even asked what their names were, were signifigantly less happy with their outlaw names; "Metal Man Mc Gil" and "Shorts 4-Eyes" respectively.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: When the McDonaldland gang are in the Wild West and trying to run from an angry mob trying to capture Hamburglar in "Have Time, Will Travel", they come across a wanted poster of Hamburglar's great-great-grandfather Henry H. Burglar II, who resembles Hamburglar with a mustache, making Ronald and friends realize that Hamburglar was mistaken for his Wild West ancestor.
  • In a Wander over Yonder episode, Wander and Sylvia have one that says "Wanted: For making Lord Hater look totally stupid!!! And other punishable-by-death type stuff."
  • Wacky Races: In "The Dopey Dakota Derby," Dick Dastardly finds a wanted poster of outlaw Deadweed Dick, who poses an unlikely resemblance to Dastardly. He impersonates Deadweed in an effort (unsuccessful, of course) to chase off the other racers.
  • Woody Woodpecker cartoons have a lot of fun with these:
    • In one cartoon, Woody passes by a poster detailing the villain in the episode. "Yuck!" he says, "who'd want that?"
    • In another, Woody passes by a group of funny Wanted Posters outside a sheriff's office: Buffalo Bill (a man with a buffalo's face), Bat Masterson (a guy with bat wings hanging upside-down), Wyatt Urp (the face on the poster burps), and Wild Bill Hiccup (the face on the poster hiccups).

    Real Life 
  • Variant: For the second Iraq war, the US Military issued a deck of cards with 52 mini-wanted posters for various Iraqi baddies.
  • In at least one instance in Great Britain, a police Identikit profile of the wanted man for a serious crime was broadcast on the TV investigation show Crimewatch UK, which led to a wholly innocent person being repeatedly fingered for the crime by members of the public, as he looked so much like the wanted criminal. The show had to broadcast an apology and a declaration that this person had no connection whatsoever with the crime. Apparently this sort of thing happens a lot.
  • The rise of social media has led to various individuals having photographs of them shared in connection with alleged offenses, usually with regard to child sex offenses or those who have committed acts of vandalism or animal cruelty. As above, in many of these cases, perfectly innocent people have been accused.


Video Example(s):


The Organization

When the organization discovers Yellow being associated with Alan, the mercenaries prepare to hunt down Yellow, giving us a nice tour of the building itself in one shot.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheOner

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