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We All Die Someday

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When you're immortal, it just takes longer.
"In the end, the worm conquers all."
Atticus Thorn, The Haunted Mansion

A Stock Phrase that acknowledges our own mortality. Good guys, bad guys, and everybody in between will one day have to recognise that none of us will live forever — at this level of reality, at least. Even those who do may have pangs of regret because of this trope. If villains say this line, it could be their reason for their disregard of life in general. If it's a hero, expect them to be the more cynical, disillusioned type. If either of them are the Anti-Nihilist, then the phrase becomes more optismistic, i.e. "we all die someday, so be awesome today!" Depending on where we fall on the sliding scale, we may get a "but not today" rebuttal, or a "but not forever" rebuttal for works that hold to the existence of an afterlife.

Truth in Television by current medical standards.

See also We Are as Mayflies, Don't Fear the Reaper, Not Afraid to Die and Life Will Kill You. Compare Who Wants to Live Forever?. Do not confuse with Kill 'Em All. A work may invoke this trope in a Deadly Distant Finale.


Contrast Living Forever Is Awesome and Immortality Seeker.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • This is the power of Baraggan Louisenbairn from Bleach. Because nothing lasts forever, everything affected by his Respira ends up rotting away. However, Hachi realizes he is no exception and uses his own power against him.
  • Eventually turns out to be the central theme of Chrono Crusade. No matter what, your death will come, whether you are prepared for it or not. By the end, all the major characters besides Satella, Fiore, and Shader are long dead, and the former two only got lucky because Shader found their crystallized bodies and broke them out 75 years later; eventually, they will die too, and Satella wants to make the most of the life she has.
  • When Seiya's doctor of a father in Nurse Angel Ririka SOS eats magical cookies that make the person lethargic and lazy, he refuses to do his job. He states that since everyone will die someday, there is no point in curing people of their ailments.
  • A variation happens in the Alabasta arc in One Piece: During an argument between Vivi and Luffy, the latter harshly (but correctly) points out that "people die", and that hoping everyone involved in a war will survive is naive.
  • Discussed by Akagi's titular character in the manga's final dialogue. Akagi recognizes that he's lived as long as he has mostly by being incredibly lucky and that anyone could die an undignified and unpredictable death pretty much at any moment. This is why his personal philosophy is that Living Is More Than Surviving; if death is inevitable and unpredictable, making the most of what you call your 'life' is paramount even if it might lead to that life being shortened.
    • The manga Akagi is a prequel to, Ten, shows that Akagi holds to this decades later. When faced with a terminal illness, Akagi meets the people closest to him one last time, ensuring they all find closure, and then ends his own life with no worries or regrets. He knew death would come at some point, and when the time came, met it on his own terms.

    Comic Books 
  • Played for Laughs in this Dilbert strip. The only accurate prediction a would-be swami can offer is that "eventually, you will die...".
  • Appears as one of the tomes of magic Sunset Shimmer studies in the 2012 My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW) annual.
  • In the X-Men, during the classic Brood arc in the early 80s, after the X-Men were facing certain death from being infested with Brood eggs, Colossus tried to console Kitty Pryde after a nightmare, and makes a similar speech, at one point reminding Kitty, "We are all dying from the moment we are born, indeed from the moment of our conception...Our lives are finite things."
  • The final spoken line of the Spaghetti Western miniseries Blaze of Glory: The Last Ride of the Western Heroes, provided by the Rawhide Kid:
    "Men die. Every single one of us. That's a fact and that's our fate."
    • The last page also gives us "Only the legends are forever."
  • In The Black Ring, this is how Death of the Endless responds to Luthor ranting about how Death Is Cheap. Resurrection may happen every now and then, but ultimately she will be the one closing shop on the universe and everyone in it. So it doesn't really matter.
  • The Sandman: One comic sees the death of both a man who'd been around since the Ice Age and a baby only a few weeks old. Both protest that they still had so much to do, but Death tells them they got the same as everyone else: a lifetime.
  • A 1940s The Flash comic involves the following exchange:
    Tell me where the Carbridge Diamond is or you die!
    Nerts to that racket! I'm going to die someday anyway!
    Well, let's make it today — I love shooting people!
    (falling, shot) For heaven's sake — I thought he was kidding!

    Fan Works 
  • In Obscuro, Kurama gives a speech to Naruto about this when they are in the skeleton basement of the Driftwood Cathedral.
  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse): This is the explicit reason Barry gives to Eobard when refusing his offer to go back in time and save his mother. Having lost other loved ones in the forms of Shado and, at one point, Slade, and then forced to join the League of Assassins alongside Oliver and Kara, Barry is far more familiar with death than he is in canon, having long since accepted it as another facet of life. As Barry explicitly points out, preventing Nora's murder would change nothing in the long run; she would still die, just later than she originally did, either by old age or disease or even an accident. All he would be getting by stopping past!Eobard is more time with her — and as much as he would like that, he won't have it at the risk of everything he still has and has gained since then.
  • Frankie explains this to Mac in I Spoke as a Child. He's old enough to understand it but he doesn't like to think of it. She also explains that imaginary friends die when their creators die.
  • This pops up in the Azumanga Daioh fic Control when Yukari speaks with her subconscious in a dream sequence. Her subconscious only tells her things she already knows:
    Yukari: "Am I gonna die?"
    Yukari's Subconscious: "Yep."
    Yukari: "Right now?"
    Yukari's Subconscious: "Probably not."
    Yukari: "Hm…"

    Films — Animated 
  • In Transformers: The Movie, Galvatron tries to coax Hot Rod out of hiding:
    Galvatron: Come out, Autobot. We all must die some time!
    Hot Rod: Not today, Galvatron! (Punches Galvatron)
  • In The Iron Giant when Hogarth is trying to console the Giant after the deer incident.
    Giant: You die?
    Hogarth: Well, yes, someday.
    Giant: I die?
    Hogarth: I don't know. You're made of metal, but you have feelings, and you think about things, and that means you have a soul. And souls don't die.
  • In Rango, the burrowing owl chorus keep insisting that Rango is going to die; then, at the end of the story, when he's still very much alive, they say that everyone dies eventually.
  • In Coco, Hector nonchalantly says that everyone ends up Deader Than Dead eventually. People are only able to live in the afterlife if their picture is left on a family shrine. Sooner or later, however, everyone gets forgotten and thus disappearing is inevitable.
  • In Frozen II, Kristoff accidentally implies to Anna that he doesn't think they'll survive the adventure. When she gets mad and runs off, Kristoff digs himself deeper and ends up saying they technically will die someday.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Fight Club: "On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."
  • Splinter incorporates this into a Badass Boast in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film.
    Splinter: Death comes for us all, Oroku Saki. But something much worse comes for you. For when you die, it will be without honor.
  • Briefly comes up in The Whole Nine Yards. Bruce Willis has a chat with Matthew Perry about the high suicide rate of dentists, unaware that Perry knows that he is a former mob hitman, and is scared shitless about it. Perry comments that "I may hate my life, but I do NOT want to die." to which Bruce responds "Well, get used to it, 'cuz you're gonna." Beat. Perry looks terrified. "...we're all gonna die someday, y'know?"
  • Return of the Jedi: Luke Skywalker implores that Yoda must not die, causing the old Jedi to respond: "Twilight is upon me and soon night must fall. That is the way of things. The way of the Force."
  • In Kingdom of Heaven, Balian meets his friend the Hospitaller who is riding to join the rest of his order in the hopeless Battle of Hattin.
    Balian: You go to certain death.
    Hospitaller: All death is certain.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Neville Longbottom gives a Rousing Speech which includes the line "People die every day", to convince the defenders of Hogwarts to not give up even after the apparent death of Harry.
  • Blade Runner:
    Gaff: It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Gandalf says something to this effect to comfort Pippin when things look rather dire: "End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path. One that we all must take."
  • Gladiator: Maximus tells Commodus that a late friend once told him "Death smiles at us all. All we can do is smile back." Commodus wonders whether the friend did the same thing at his own death. Maximus replies that Commodus should know since that friend was Marcus Aurelius, Commodus' father whom he killed himself.
  • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, when Logan confronts Xavier on not caring about the mutant genocide in the future, Xavier responds with this trope as a sign of how broken he is.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon ends up joining in the Guardians' taking a stand against Ronan, conceding, "Aw, what the hell, I don't got that long a life span anyway."
    Rocket: Now I'm standing, you happy? Bunch of jackasses. note 
  • The 1947 Film Noir Body and Soul ends with a boxer refusing to fix a prizefight. Making this basic fact of life a Badass Boast:
    "What are you going to do? Kill me? Everybody dies!".
  • Braveheart: "Every man dies, not every man really lives."
  • The Last Samurai: Katsumoto expresses this sentiment when discussing bushido with Capt. Algren.
    Katsumoto: Like these blossoms, we are all dying.
  • Mean Guns: At the end, when only four people are still alive, Vincent Moon opens a briefcase full of guns for a final shoot-out, admitting that There Can Be Only One. When Marcus asks if they're all marked for death, Moon admits that they are — whoever survives, s/he'll be disposed of at some point down the line as well, including Moon himself, so why not go out in style?
  • The Amazing Spider-Man: Rajit Ratha, Norman Osborn's Mouth of Sauron, insists that Doctor Connors start testing regeneration serum on humans. When Connors insists that they're nowhere near that stage yet, Ratha points out that Osborn will die if they don't.
    Connors: People die. Even Norman Osborn.
  • Troy: Briseis is threatening to kill Achilles.
    Achilles: "Everyone dies. Today, or fifty years from now. What difference does it make?"

  • Looking beyond humanity, Augustine argues in his Confessions that worshipping or loving anything in the place of God is futile, since all things in life are finite and passing parts of the larger whole. To center life around any finite thing would be like stopping someone from finishing their sentence just to hear one random syllable spoken: the part loses its meaning if it isn't part of the whole.
  • This really sinks in for the main character at the end of Dandelion Wine.
  • Discworld:
    • It is repeatedly stated that eventually, Death will meet everyone. Particularly, this exchange between Vimes and Lu Tze in Night Watch. Leads to a No Sympathy moment from the sweeper.
      Vimes: I've been talking to people who are going to die today. Do you know how that feels?
      Lu Tze: Er, yes. Everyone you talk to is going to die. Everyone I talk to is going to die. Everybody dies.
    • In Lords and Ladies between Ponder Stibbons and the Librarian:
      Ponder: Graveyards are full of people who rushed in bravely but unwisely.
      The Librarian: Ook. note 
    • In Eric, a demon travels to the end of the universe and speaks to Death.
      Astfgl: Have you seen anyone?
      Death: Everyone.
      Astfgl: I mean have you seen anyone recently.
      Death: It's been very quiet.
    • During a conversation with Rincewind in The Last Continent, Death observes that Rincewind will certainly die, which Rincewind initially interprets as Death meaning Rincewind will be executed tomorrow, but Death later clarifies that he just meant that everyone dies eventually and he's actually looking forward to observing Rincewind's escape from the cell he's currently in.
    • And even more directly, in Carpe Jugulum:
      Granny Weatherwax: Am I dyin'?
      Death: Yes.
      Granny Weatherwax: Will I die?
      Death: Yes.
      Granny Weatherwax: But from your point of view, everyone is dying and everyone will die, right?
      Death: Yes.
      Granny Weatherwax: So you aren't actually bein' a lot of help, strictly speakin'.
    • Delves into Arc Words in Small Gods
      Great God Om: "In a hundred years, we'll all be dead." note 
    • In Hogfather, Susan tries to scare off Teatime with the threat of her grandfather coming after him. Teatime points out that everyone encounters Death eventually.
  • In Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk says this.
    "On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Transcedence, that everyone will die is central to the conflict; Sophotechs in the Solar System are planning for the heat death of the universe, culminating in the death of everything, so that it will be peaceful. The Silent Oecumene, on the other hand, considers this to be as peaceful as the grave, and calls for struggle if it's needed for there to be life.
  • Harry Potter's ability to acknowledge this is what often gives him the advantage in his confrontations against Voldemort. J. K. Rowling has even said that the inevitability of death and the need for individuals to accept this fact is the Central Theme of the entire series. This was directly addressed in the final book, where it is the moral of "The Tale of the Three Brothers", the story from which the legend of the titular Deathly Hallows come from.
  • In Herodotus' The Histories (5th century BC) account of the Persian War, Xerxes looks over his army and comments that in a hundred years, every single man there will be dead. Older Than Feudalism.
  • The Abhorsens in The Old Kingdom combat necromancers, who raise up the dead to be servants to their will, but they have the exact same magic at their disposal. In contrast, Sabriel's father reminds her that "Everyone and everything has a time to die" — and it is essential for an Abhorsen to remember this, in order for them to meet their death, and other deaths which they would rather undo, with grace.
  • In Pact, the Riddling Sphinx Isadora brings up this point when discussing with Blake Thorburn. He objects to her informing him, that she is going to kill him by arguing that he is already destined to die.
    All deaths are inevitable. Even immortal things will perish eventually. Why would you ever murder someone, knowing they’ll die eventually? That’s a rhetorical question, no need for an answer.
  • The Saga of the Jomsvikings: One of the Jomsvikings about to be executed is asked how he feels about dying. The man replies that everyone has to die and therefore, there is no reason for him to break the law of the Jomsvikings, which is, to never show fear of anything, including death.
    "Poorly would I remember the laws of the Jomsvikings if I shrank from death or spoke words of fear. Death comes to every man."
  • The Saga of the Volsungs: Dying, the dragon Fafnir warns Sigurd that his hoard will bring about the death of everyone that owns it. Sigurd replies that since everyone has to die, and it is better to live rich than poor, he will take the hoard anyway.
  • Seven Years in Tibet: The Buddhists are shown celebrating the impermanence of all things with statues made of butter and elaborate sand pictures. This is true to life.
  • Sharpe: In Sharpe's Sword, Patrick Harper is wounded in battle and asks the priest if he is going to die. The Priest says yes; he is, and Harper says that he wishes he had married his long-term partner Ramona with whom he has a child out of wedlock. The Priest then does the quick version of wedding vows with Harper lying on the ground (do you? do you? you're married) and then tells Harper to stand up and kiss the bride. When Harper says he thought he was going to die, the priest responds:
    "We're all going to die, my son."
  • Comes up a few times in Shatterpoint, especially in regards to Mace's (admittedly rather unsuccessful) attempts to save lives. The most prominent use is after Kar Vastor, who had previously been on Mace's side, runs off to do his own thing, killing one of Mace's loyal companions in the process.
    Nick: You know, Kar saved her life. (reloads his pistol, then holsters it) Temporarily.
    Mace: It's always temporary.
    • This is in Call-Back to an earlier exchange, concerning a handful of war refugees (whose parents had been, ironically, killed by Kar Vastor):
    Nick: What are those kids doing here? What happened to them?
    Mace: I saved their lives. (sighs) Temporarily.
    Nick: Huh. Always is.
    Beat. Mace looks at him, not understanding.
    Nick: When you save someone's life. It's always temporary.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The equivalent to the Latin Memento mori is the Valyrian saying Valar morghulis, meaning "All men must die". The traditional reply, by the way, is Valar Dohaeris ("All men must serve").
    • Syrio has his own motto which also invokes this trope more passively: "There is only one god, and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: Not today."
  • Comes up in Troy Rising when Comet has a chat with one of the local AI's about the way they deliberately suppress part of their hyperintelligence to avoid knowing things they know they mustn't know. Such as, for example, the way that each and every one of their human friends will eventually die. Thinking about stuff like that would be too depressing even for an AI, and talking about it would depress the humans even more.
  • Implied in a catchphrase of H. P. Lovecraft concerning the long-term future of the world and its dormant immortals. "That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die." The only exceptions to mortality in his vision are the Old Ones, who are neither dead nor alive; described by Lovecraft as eternally "dead and dreaming". For the Old Ones, the words “death” and “sleep” are interchangeable.
  • In chapter 17 of Stray, Pufftail learns that everyone dies. Despite being an adult, he assumed that "the Great Stillness" only occurred to the unlucky. He refuses to believe that death is unavoidable.
  • Near the end of Alien in a Small Town, Paul makes a remark to this effect to Thrym, who has achieved a kind of immortality at the expense of his humanity.
    "And there’ll always be time to go back. I don’t get old. I can’t die any more!" Thrym said.
    "You will eventually," Paul said. “Everyone dies eventually. It will just take a lot longer for you, is all. The universe itself is mortal."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Adam Ruins Everything: "Adam Ruins Death" was all about this trope, even having a monologue dedicated to this at the beginning.
  • One episode of Another Period has Beatrice realizing that everyone dies, including herself. She thought that she was an exception.
  • On Babylon 5, Minbari wisdom puts it thusly:
    Lennier: Everyone dies, Delenn. All that matters is when, how, and if it is with honor.
  • Played for Dramatic Irony in the final episode of Blake's 7 when all the main characters die shortly after this conversation.
    Vila: Sooner or later we're going to drop into one of these holes in the ground and never come out.
    Avon: Sooner or later, everyone does that, Vila.
  • Used in Doctor Who, and sometimes subverted with the "not today" response.
    • "The End of the World":
      The Doctor: Everything has its time and everything dies.
    • "Tooth and Claw": Queen Victoria mentions the legend that anyone who possesses the Koh-i-Noor diamond must surely die. The Tenth Doctor points out that's true of anything if you take a long enough view.
    • "Forest of the Dead":
      River Song: Everybody knows that everybody dies, and nobody knows it like the Doctor. But not every day. Not today.
    • "The End of Time": The Tenth Doctor tells Wilf he is going to die. Wilf points out that so is he, someday, to which the Doctor replies "Don't you dare!"
    • "A Christmas Carol":
      Amy: Nobody has to die.
      Kazran: Everybody has to die.
      Amy: Not today.
    • "The Impossible Astronaut": River and the Ponds have just seen the Doctor appear to die. While they discuss it in the (past Doctor's) TARDIS, Amy says "He's still going to die." River replies with "We're all going to do that." Rory adds that "We're not all going to arrange our own wake and invite ourselves."
    • In the prologue to the premiere of Series 9, Ohila warns the Twelfth Doctor that fulfilling an old, old enemy's request for a meeting will result in his destruction. He is ready to die for good though — entrusting his last will and testament to her, to be sent to another — and replies "You could say the same of being born."
    • "Hell Bent": Clara says to Ashildr: "We all face the Raven in the end. That is the deal," protesting that she isn't scared of death.
    • "The Ghost Monument": Yaz asks the Doctor if they're going to die. The Doctor says they all are, someday, but not today. "Not if I've got anything to do with it."
  • Full House: The Season 7 episode "The Last Dance" has this as one of the aesops for Michelle; Jesse is also reminded of this. This, after Jesse's grandfather, Iorgos "Papouli" Katsopolis (Jack Kruschen), dies in the guest room while in San Francisco to visit Jesse and the Tanners. Michelle is in strong denial, and Jesse helps her cope by not only (gently) reinforcing the trope, but that they have many good memories to reflect on.
  • Game of Thrones:
  • On Lost, this is Christian Shepherd's response to his son, Jack's realization that he has died.
    Christian: Everyone dies sometime, kiddo. Some of them before you, some...long after you.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Lister:
      Yeah, well, everyone dies. You're born, and you die. The bit in the middle's called life, and that's still to come!
    • The holographic (and dead) Rimmer travels back in time to warn his living counterpart:
      Rimmer: I've come to warn you, in three million years you'll be dead!
      Past Rimmer: Will I really?
  • Robin of Sherwood has this exchange:
    Marian: [frightened] Are we going to die?
    Robin: [smiling] Everybody dies.
    Marian: [not in the mood] That's not what I asked!
  • Scrubs - In an early episode, this is why Dr Cox tells J.D that he can't work in medicine if he is afraid of death. This prompts an Imagine Spot of Death beating J.D at Connect Four.
    Cox: You gotta accept the fact that everything we do here, everything, is a stall. We're just trying to keep the game going, that's it. But ultimately, it always ends up the same way.
  • The seaQuest DSV episode "Give Me Liberté" has this exchange:
    Bridger: People are dying.
    Peche: That's what people do, they die. The only things that survive are pain and guilt.
  • Sesame Street: In the "Goodbye, Mr. Hooper" episode, the adults make note of this and that someday he too will die and that such is part of the life cycle. In the tag scene, where a young couple with a baby are passing by, Big Bird remarks about the cycle of life: "Here today, gone tomorrow!"
  • The "The Great Game" episode of Sherlock, between Sherlock and Moriarty, though in this case to demonstrate how psychotic the latter is.
    Sherlock: People have died.
    Moriarty: That's what people do!
  • In Smallville, done subtly when Clark indirectly says his greatest fear is to be left completely alone. Chloe says she wants to promise that she would always be there for him, but fears it is not a promise that she could keep.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In "A Matter of Time", a historian from the 26th century comes to watch what happens during a crisis on the Enterprise back in the 24th. Picard wants him to tell him what the future says happened, but he's reluctant. But probably not for the reason he claims to be, as it later turns out.
      Rasmussen: You must see that if I were to influence you, everything in this sector, in this quadrant of the galaxy could change. History, my history, would unfold in a way other than it already has. Now what possible incentive could anyone offer me to allow that to happen?
      Picard: I have two choices. Either way, one version of history or another will wend its way forward. The history you know or another one. Now who is to say which is better? What I do know is here, today, one way, millions of lives could be saved. Now isn't that incentive enough?
      Rasmussen: Everyone dies, Captain. It's just a question of when. All of those people down there died years before I was born. All of you up here, as well. So you see, I can't get quite as worked up as you over the fate of some colonists who, for me, have been dead a very, very long time.
    • In "Tapestry", Q offers Picard a chance to avoid the incident that got him stabbed through the heart, which was replaced with an artificial one that is now failing:
      Q: It's two days before your unfortunate encounter with a Nausicaan sword. You have that long to make whatever changes you wish. If you can avoid getting stabbed through the heart this time, which I doubt, I will take you back to what you think of as the present. And you can go on with your life with a real heart.
      Picard: Then I won't die?
      Q: (sarcastically) Of course you'll die. It'll just be at a later time.
  • This is a common refrain on the show Vikings, somewhat unsurprisingly considering that nearly all the main characters are, well, vikings. In the show's first massed battle, The Lancer/The Dragon Rollo speaks a war chant that concludes with this, which is cheerfully taken up by some of the other combatants as well.
    Rollo: Up onto the overturned keel
    Clamber, with a heart of steel
    Cold is the ocean's spray
    And your death is on its way
    With maidens you have had your way
    Rollo, Lagertha, Leif: Each must die some day!

  • "Brothers in Arms" by Dire Straits (and the cover by Celtic Thunder) features a brief line with a mortally wounded soldier saying goodbye to his comrades and acknowledging death's inevitability.
  • "Atlantic City" by Bruce Springsteen, has the chorus "Everything dies, baby that's a fact. But maybe everything that dies, someday comes back." Haunting given that the song is implied to be about a man down on his luck, who is about to take a job as a hitman.
  • The TUNNG song "Hands" ends three of its six verses with variations on the phrase
    "It's okay, we're all going to end up dead and gone."
  • The Flaming Lips song "Do You Realize??" contains the line, "Do you realize....that everyone you know someday will die."
  • Used darkly in Avenged Sevenfold's "A Little Piece Of Heaven". The protagonist murders his girlfriend and notes that "Everybody's gotta die sometime". She comes back as a zombie, kills him, and repeats the line. They both repeat the line after they get married and go on a killing spree.
  • Lana Del Rey's single "Born To Die" (and the whole damn album of the same name, too) is based around this trope. Makes sense if you think about it...
  • "Memento Mori", by Flyleaf. The story behind the entire album revolves around living in a way that you'll be ready to die.
  • "This Is the Life" by "Weird Al" Yankovic.
    You're dead for a real long time/You just can't prevent it
    So if money can't buy happiness/I guess I'll have to rent it
  • "No One Lives Forever" by Oingo Boingo.
  • Tom Waits gives us "Dirt in the Ground" from Bone Machine. "All Stripped Down" from the same album could also be read this way, i.e. "all stripped down to a skeleton."
  • "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel has a more positive outlook on this trope; sure, we'll all die one day, but life is too beautiful to let that get you down.
  • Abbey Road Studios doorman Gerry O'Driscoll said that this is why he's not afraid to die during one of the spoken word segments of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon
    And I am not frightened of dying. Any time will do, I don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There's no reason for it – you've got to go some time.
  • Awolnation's "Kill Your Heroes":
    I say kill your heroes and fly, fly, baby don't cry.
    Don't you cry 'cause everybody will die.
    Everyday we must go, go, baby don't go.
    Don't you worry, we love you more than you know.
  • Bob Dylan's "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)".
    He not busy being born is busy dying.
  • Billy Joel's "Lullabye," which is an attempt to explain death to his young daughter.
    Someday we'll all be gone, but lullabies go on and on...
  • Fall Out Boy's "Death Valley" contains the lyrics:
    We're gonna die, it's just a matter of time.
    Hard times come, good times go...
    I'm either gone in an instant or here 'til the bitter end.
    I, I never know.
  • "Mannen i den vita hatten" by Kent has this line repeated several times towards the end: "Vi ska alla en gång dö" (We all will die eventually).
  • Modest Mouse utilizes this trope in multiple songs and across albums:
    Dehydrate back into minerals,
    A lifelong walk to the same exact spot.
    Carbon's anniversary, the parting of the sensory.
    ...Someday you will die and somehow something's gonna steal your carbon...
    • "Lives" from "The Moon & Antarctica":
    It's hard to remember, it’s hard to remember
    We're alive for the first time
    It's hard to remember, it's hard to remember
    We're alive for the last time
    It's hard to remember, it’s hard to remember
    To live before you die
    It's hard to remember, it’s hard to remember
    That our lives are such a short time
    It's hard to remember, it’s hard to remember
    When it takes such a long time
    • From the album "Strangers to Ourselves", the song "Be Brave" is about death and facing the afterlife, if there is one:
    Well the Earth doesn't care and we hardly even matter,
    We're just a bit more piss to push out its full bladder.
    And as our bodies break down into all their rocky little bits,
    Piled up under mountains of dirt and silt and still the world it don't give a shit.
    But, be brave, be brave, be brave, be brave, be brave.
  • Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into The Dark":
    Love of mine, someday you will die..
    But I'll be close behind, I'll follow you into the dark.
  • The acoustic punk rock band Corporate Hearts uses this trope in their song, "Grave Motivation".
    We run faster past the graveyard
    But not for fear of the living dead
    Driven by motivation
    Reminded of the fact that time runs out, and life ends
  • Chuck Berry's "Pass Away" resembles the Book of Ecclesiastes with lyrics such as:
    Fighting furiously on a battlefield, once a javelin pierced his shield
    Soldiers with a loud lament bore him bleeding to his tent
    Groaning from his tortured side, "Pain is hard to bear", he cried
    "Oh, but with patience day by day, even this shall pass away"
    Sick and sore with cancer; weak and tired and old, just minutes yet to go to pass the gates o' gold
    Spake he with his dying breath, "Life is done, so what is death?"
    Then in answer to the king fell a sunbeam on his ring
    Reflecting words he failed to say: "Even this shall pass away"
  • The Doors "Five to One"
    No one here gets out alive
  • "Life's Gonna Suck When You Grow Up" by Dennis Leary is a cheery song about telling children how Growing Up Sucks. It ends with noting that you'll die eventually.
  • A Perfect Circle's "The Outsider" is from the POV of someone who doesn't understand his friend's drug addiction. He doesn't understand why they're being self-destructive or how to help them. The line "What's your hurry? Everyone will have his day to die!" portrays this sort of viewpoint.
  • Florence + the Machine's "My Boy Builds Coffins" has this message. It's about a coffin maker. He makes coffins for everyone, from the richest royalty to the poorest beggars. He's even built himself a coffin and one for the singer. The song also mentions "One of these days he'll make one for you".
  • "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult is about not fearing death and its inevitability:
    40,000 men and women every day (like Romeo and Juliet)
    40,000 men and women every day (redefine happiness)
    Another 40,000 coming every day (we can be like they are)
    Come on baby, don't fear the reaper
  • The Paper Kites' song "Willow Tree March" mentions this in its chorus. The song is about living life to the fullest:
    And we all still die
    Oh, we all still die
    What will you leave behind?
    Oh, we all still die
  • Delain:
    • "Danse Macabre" uses a variation of this Stock Phrase and a "but not today" rebuttal:
      Let the earth cover me
      Angels will call for me
      But in time
      Not tonight
    • "To Live Is To Die."
      Life will pass / Like a flash
  • "Dance In The Graveyards" by Delta Rae deals with the inevitability of death and says that it won't stop us from dancing in joy before or even after we die.
  • "The Score" by Amaranthe:
    We all die
    The goal isn't to live forever
    The goal is to create something that will

  • The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam often touches on this:
    Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and the best
    That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
    Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
    And one by one crept silently to Rest.

    And we, that now make merry in the Room
    They left, and Summer dresses in new Bloom,
    Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
    Descend, ourselves to make a Couch—for whom?
  • The last stanza of "Hávamál", a collection of Old Norse poems included in the Codex Regius, says:
    Cattle die,
    kinsmen die
    you yourself die;
    I know one thing
    which never dies:
    the judgment of a dead man's life.

    Stand-Up Comedy 

  • A variation occurs in Hamlet: Everyone's father dies, so stop whining, Hamlet. It's been a whole month. You're ruining our wedding preparations.
    • Played straight in Act 5 Scene 1, during the "Alas Poor Yorick" speech:
    "Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come; make her laugh at that."
  • In Tsukiuta's second play Yumemigusa (Sakura), Arata spins this at Aoi during their first scene together, discussing Arata's illness. Arata isn't afraid to die, but Aoi won't accept losing his friend.
  • In the last act of The Insect Play, titled "Death and Life," the Audience Surrogate watches all the moths die. He wonders what life is to them if they all depart from it so quickly. The next moment he is dying himself.
  • Beetlejuice has a song called "The Whole 'Being Dead' Thing," in which BJ directly addresses the audience, saying, yes, he's dead, yes, this is a show about death, and yes, everyone will die someday, and, no, there's absolutely nothing anyone can do about it — so get used to it.
    God, I hope you're ready for a show about death.

    Video Games 
  • This is used during a "The Reason You Suck" Speech in Tales of Xillia. The Big Bad, Gaius, is also an Anti-Villain who wants to gather all the world's strongest weapons because Gaius feels that, as king of Auj Oule, he has a duty to protect his weakest citizens. When he says this in a Motive Rant, Milla asks him an Armor-Piercing Question: since Gaius will inevitably die one day, how can he be sure that the next person who becomes king of Auj Oule will have the same ideals that he does and use those weapons in the same way? Gaius, apparently having not thought of that, is left speechless.
  • Wynne, the elderly Enchanter in Dragon Age: Origins (and the oldest member of your Player Party, except the golem Shale), is very acutely aware of her own mortality... and embraces it. It doesn't mean that she will just drop dead on you anytime soon, however. It is much later revealed that she is practically Living on Borrowed Time, having already effectively died long ago but kept alive via a benevolent case of Demonic Possession.
  • Acknowledged in Grim Fandango.
    "We may have years. We may have hours. But in the end, we push up flowers."
  • Memento mori ("Remember you will die"; see the Real Life example below) is the Arc Phrase of Persona 3. Appropriate, given the game ends with the protagonist's death.
  • Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward also repeatedly invokes the phrase memento mori, if only so the player doesn't forget that the characters' lives and deaths will depend on how the player reacts to a series of Sadistic Choices.
    • VLR also features the similar phrase tu fui ego eris on a gravestone, translated to what I was, you are, what I am, you will be, essentially meaning I am dead, but was once alive, you are alive, but will die someday.
  • In Battle Realms, a discussion between Zymeth, a Really 700 Years Old Evil Sorcerer, and the mysterious ninja who aids him leads to this.
    Zymeth: Some of my people don't care for you.
    Ninja: People die.
    Zymeth: Some...
    Ninja: All.
  • Dark Souls II: This is Grave Warden Agdayne's attitude about death. "Countless souls rest here in peace. Some were rich, others poor. Some bright, some dull, but now they're all just dead. [...] Death is equitable. Accepting. Eventually, we all shall enter her embrace."
  • Pod 153 from NieR: Automata sums it up neatly during Ending E.
    Pod 153: Everything that lives is designed to end. They are perpetually trapped in a never-ending spiral of life and death. is all about the struggle within this cycle. This is what "we" believe.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: One of the villains is looking for the Divine Source specifically so she can cure her own terminal illness. When she finally has the treasure in her hands, Lara tries to convince her to give it back by arguing that death is inevitable.
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Lamar Davis has a very self-destructive behavior as a gangster and gets himself into all sorts of life-or-death situations that his friend Franklin has to bail him out. Lamar is aware of this, but seems resigned to this lifestyle and sees nothing wrong - If people want to come after him, that's fine - it's the way the game of life is played and he isn't going to lose sleep over it.
    "Nigga's want me dead, be dead themselves. I ain't gonna overreact to shit."
  • In a specific week in Long Live the Queen, Elodie is advised by her father Joslyn that a keythong, a golden cat-like beast with spikes and a beak, has been sighted outside of the Old Forest and that the disappearance of several subjects from his duchy are thought to have been related to its presence. Elodie's suggestion to send hunters after it is essentially met with this trope, which will always increase Elodie's 'Depressed' mood by one stage. A surprisingly harsh response on his part, considering how recently Queen Fidelia (his wife and her mother) had died...
    Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: The traditional policy on stray beasts is to hope that they return to the forest and stay there. Hunters are no match for such creatures. You would only make it angry and waste more lives.
    Elodie, Crown Princess: So... we just let it eat people?
    Joslyn: Everyone dies in the end.
    Elodie: ...
  • This is Zuo Ci's "Trouble" quote in Dynasty Warriors 5.
    Zuo Ci: We all must perish someday...
  • Used rather frighteningly in Planescape: Torment by Coaxmetal, the massive Iron Golem in the siege tower. He's the Ultimate Blacksmith who forges weapons for the forces of entropy to unmake reality.
  • This is the Central Theme of the Black Mages subplot in Final Fantasy IX. The Black Mages are a race of Artificial Humans resembling living dolls with a lifespan of only about 1 year. One of them, Vivi, is a main character, and this is one of many revelations that he struggles with throughout the game, and while other Mages bargain with the villain in hopes he will extend their lifespan, it turns out there is nothing that can stop it. Ultimately, Vivi concludes that he and the others around him should make the best of the time they have. He even invokes this trope by name against the Final Boss if you select your team so that he gets selected as leader.
    Vivi: We're all gonna stop some day, but not today! Let's go, guys!


    Web Original 
  • One asdfmovie skit relies on this.
    Guy 1 (Points gun) You're gonna die!
    Guy 2 We're all gonna die.
    (Guy 1 contemplates this, then solemnly puts down gun).
  • The second episode of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared ends with Tony the Clock singing "Don't worry, I'm sure you'll be fine. But eventually everyone runs out of time." after causing the characters to experience themselves aging and then melting.
  • Whateley Universe: From Whilst Any Speaks: Chapter 4:
    Aunghadhail: All things end.
  • "All Things Must Die" from RWBY is a dual meaning Image Song for both Cinder and Raven. In Cinder's case, it's how she actively wants to kill everything, but in Social Darwinist Raven's case, it's in this meaning.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Played for dark humour when Bart and Lisa are trapped in a terrible summer camp.
      Lisa: ...Bart, I think I'm going to die!
      Bart: We're all going to die, Lisa.
      Lisa: I meant soon!
      Bart: So did I.
    • There was a weird example of this in the episode "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish" when Homer thought he was dying:
      Dr. Hibbert: Now, a little death anxiety is normal. You can expect to go through five stages. The first is denial.
      Homer: No way! Because I'm not dying!
      Hibbert: The second is anger.
      Homer (furious): Why you little!
      Hibbert: After that comes fear.
      Homer (panicked): What's after fear? What's after fear?
      Hibbert: Bargaining.
      Homer: Doc, you gotta get me out of this! I'll make it worth your while!
      Hibbert: Finally, acceptance.
      Homer (much calmer): Well, we all gotta go sometime.
      Hibbert: Mr. Simpson, your progress astounds me.
  • In one Bugs Bunny short, Bugs says "Never take life too seriously. You'll never get out of it alive!"
  • The Tick: The Tick, of all people, didn't actually comprehend that people can die; there was a weird disconnect in his mind that "only dead people die" so he had to have it explained to him that everyone dies.
    Tick: Everyone?
    Arthur: Yes, Tick.
    Tick: ...potatoes?
    Arthur: Even potatoes.
    Arthur: *sad nod*
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Gift of the Card", Star buys Marco an enchanted gift card, but are informed that if Marco doesn't buy anything before it expires, they will both die. When they start to panic, the clerk mocks them for it, saying everybody dies eventually.
  • The Milo Murphy's Law episode "Family Vacation" has this exchange:
    Mr. Brulee: We're going to die!
    Milo: Only eventually.
  • Unsupervised has the episode "Fire", where the main characters are trapped in a burning building during the climax. After their initial escape attempt fails, Russ, the resident Butt-Monkey, calmly says "Oh well, we all gonna die". In his case, it's more understandable than usual considering how utterly shitty his life is.
  • In The Smurfs episode "Squeaky", Papa Smurf tries to comfort Smurfette over the loss of her pet mouse by telling her that death is a natural part of life. Smurfette doesn't want to hear that and so runs away from the village until the Smurfs come and rescue her.
  • Hilda: It's mentioned that ghosts are largely unconcerned with the loved ones they leave behind for this reason. After all, they'll die too sooner or later.
  • Over the Garden Wall has a recurring motif of premature death, so of course this comes up. The town of Pottsfield is revealed to be populated by the dead. At the end of the episode, they have a harvest festival and invite Greg and Wirt to join the party.
    Enoch: What a wonderful harvest. And what about you? Are you sure you want to leave?
    Wirt: Me? Yes!
    Enoch: Oh, well. You'll join us someday.
  • Invoked by Henry Winkler in Season 2 of BoJack Horseman.
    Winkler: There's no shame in dying for nothing. That's why most people die.
  • Infinity Train: Tulip gets angry at One-One for saying that she'd die if her number went to 0. He sarcastically replies with "It would be surprising if you never died".
  • Glitch Techs: When Mitch contracts nano-flu, his boss casually dismisses him as unavailable for a mission because he's "dying, apparently."
    Mitch: I'm dying?!
    BITT: Technically, all humans are dying!

    Real Life 
  • The oft-quoted Latin phrase Memento mori (literally, "remember [the fact of] death") is usually translated as "Remember your mortality", "Remember you must die", or "Remember you will die". Its usage dates back to the time of antiquity; when a Roman general was given a Triumph (victory parade), a slave was assigned to speak these words to him to remind him that even if at the moment he might be treated like one, the victorious general is not a god, and will die like everyone else some day.
  • Invoked by John Maynard Keynes: "In the long run we're all dead." The point of this statement is a reminder that the purpose of an economy is to allocate resources to real, living people — failing at this for the sake of the long-term health of the system itself makes the whole thing worthless.
  • Stoicism (the school of philosophy, though the practitioners of which would likely be an example of the trope they named) held that sorrow should not be felt for anything not under one's control. Anaxagoras, a Greek Stoic, was told of his only son's death and simply answered, "I was aware that I had begotten a mortal."
  • A popular headstone poem reads as such:
    Remember me as you pass by,
    As you are now, so once was I,
    As I am now, so you will be,
    Prepare for death and follow me.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Memento Mori



"You're gonna die!" "We're all gonna die."

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Example of:

Main / WeAllDieSomeday

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Main / WeAllDieSomeday