One character is on the run from another, generally the good guy from the bad guy. The pursuer, usually an Implacable Man, has some sort of clairvoyance, super-powers or near-omnipresent surveillance capabilities; this (or a near-identical phrase) is said to the quarry as some kind of intimidation. Of course, the bad guy could lack such super-detecting powers, and merely be using this phrase to try to scare his prey out into the open. (The fact that this so often works is either a sad testament to the supremacy of fear over logic, or else evidence of who is carrying the Idiot Ball today.)
The inversion— "you can hide, but you can't run!"— shows up so frequently that it's almost a separate phrase in itself. This most often appears in super-power examples, where the quarry is far outclassed in a straight fight and literally could not run away fast enough if he were to be spotted.
Add points if it has Nowhere To Run as the sound track for the upcoming chase.
See also You Will Not Evade Me, where you might as well not even bother trying to run, let alone hide.
- Voltron: "You can hide, but I'll find ya!"
- Shampoo in Ranma ½: "You can run, but you can no hide!"
- Also Kuno in a mid-series story. After somehow acquiring a massive powerup that lets him defeat Ranma easily, and a Laser-Guided Amnesia that erased his chivalrous attitude and gave him a more aggressive personality, he traps the female Ranma alone on a deserted island. His delivery of the line isn't Black Comedy Rape as much as it is Values Dissonance, with a Attempted Rape.
- Transformers Cybertron: Jetfire says this while chasing Thundercracker, then adds "Actually, you can't even run!" Cue Thundercracker getting his afterburners kicked for the umpteenth time. Amusing Injuries ensue.
- In the Ocean dub of Dragon Ball Z, Dodoria chases Gohan, Krillin and Dende and shouts out, "You can run, but there's nowhere you can hide!"
- The Warriors did it with "Nowhere To Run" for sound.
- Jester says this to Maverick in Top Gun during a dogfight scene.
- Liar Liar
- Used in the trailer of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, by the Big Bad Diesel 10.
- Used by Ivan Ooze around the climax of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie.
- Wez delivers one of the best examples on film in Mad Max 2 AKAThe Road Warrior
- In Star Trek Into Darkness, Harrison reminds Carol of this in regards to the ability of the Vengeance to catch and fight ships at warp speed.
Harrison: You think you are safe at warp? You are not.
- Forced Vengeance. Chuck Norris' character goes on the run in Hong Kong, but keeps getting attacked out of nowhere by various Triad goons, providing an excuse for many martial arts scenes. He finally finds a place to hide only to get called on the phone there by the Big Bad.
Ramandi: By now you know that my network is inescapable.
- The entire premise of It Follows. Once "It" sets its sight on you, the only option you have is to run away from it, as no matter where you are, "It" WILL find you eventually despite only being able to travel by walking. The best "It's" target can do is put as much distance between them as possible.
- Surreal British sitcom mr don and mr george has an episode entitled "You Can Run, But You Can't Hide Your Legs". The line is used in the episode during a discussion about hiding in a cardboard box. The inverse - "You can hide your legs, but you can't run" - is also used.
- Power Rangers Dino Thunder - Trent (during his Brainwashed and Crazy phase) to Tommy during an ATV chase.
- Supernatural. Sam and Dean are trying to evade Zachariah in Heaven, which he finds quite amusing. Angels can teleport anywhere they want even on Earth.
"You can run but you can't... run".
- An episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit featured a woman who was repeatedly getting raped by the same man. No matter what she did, be it moving to a new state or changing her name, she could not escape him.
- In Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, Kamen Rider Strike says this when he corners Kamen Rider Torque at the end of episode 13, Thrill Of The Hunt.
- A song by Matchbook Romance from the album "Voices," played completely straight. It is noticeably creepy.
- Loveless says this to Jim West in the music video for "Wild Wild West" by Will Smith.
- In the song by Phil Collins, "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven", the lyrics say, "You can run and you can hide, / But I'm not leaving unless you come with me" or "...But I'm not leaving 'til it's all over."
- In the Enrique Iglesias song "Escape", he says that you can run and hide... but you still can't escape his love.
- The song "Hand of Doom" by Manowar has the lyrics "I see the fear you have inside / You can run but never hide"
- Billy Kidman's WWE titantron came with this theme.
- Metal Gear Solid: "Hiding won't help you! I understand the bullets, you see... They go where I tell them to!"
- Resident Evil 5. Wesker puts ham into all his dialogue, including his "You can't hide FOREVER!"
- He never says it (in fact, he can't say anything but "STARS."), but the Nemesis in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis embodies it as the only monster in the series that will follow you from room to room, until you reach a save room... and then he just waits outside for you to come out.
- The Flavor Text for the Boots of Speed in Baldur's Gate uses the inversion: apparently the boots were originally owned by an assassin, who was rather fond of spouting the line as he ran down his quarry before they could actually get to the hiding part.
- A heroic example can occur in the Super Nintendo version of Star Fox when Falco shoots down an enemy fighter, taunting the Venom forces with this line.
- Halo: Covenant enemies will often threaten a hiding player with phrases like "Hiding will not save you" or "You think you can hide from me?"
- BioShock: The "Wader" Splicer occasionally threatens the player with this, as well as a variant - he informs them that they can't hide from God.
- Spoken by Daphne's mother to Dirk during the first stage of Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp.
- Used now and then in Survival of the Fittest, often explicitely. For example, Paris Persphone (sic), being haunted by hallucinations of his victims, hears one of the ghosts call this after him. Another statement with the same intent:
Franco Sebberts: I know you're in here! Might as well come out and spare me the trouble of hunting you down like animals!
- The SCP Foundation: once you see the face of SCP-096 it knows where you are, and nothing on Earth will stop it from getting to you.
- In The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon, Jack can run, but it won't do him any good. He can't even hide by dying.
- Invader Zim: "You can hide, Zim, but you can't... hide!"
- The Simpsons - Homer went for the pun in an Imagine Spot.
Homer (hang-gliding through a wartorn city and shooting people randomly): You can run, but you can't glide!
- In the German dub Homer's line was translated literally which ruined the pun because the German words for "glide" and "hide" don't rhyme or sound similar at all. It became a popular quote anyway due to its exceptional randomness.
- Samurai Jack: "You can run but you cannot hide cause I can smell your blood!"
- Transformers Animated: Bumblebee, being the team speedster, goes for the inversion against Lockdown. "You can hide, but you can't run!" As it turns out, Lockdown doesn't have to do either.
- The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: Victor tells the Were-Rabbit "You can hop but you can't hide!"
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers: "You can run, but you can't hide...not from Captain Pollution!"
- One episode of Gargoyles has Demona trapping Hudson and an injured Goliath in a cemetery, stalking them with a laser rifle. She tells them, "You can run, but you can't hide. In fact, you can't even run."
- Parodied in Rick and Morty: The main characters are running from Scary Terry, a Freddy Krueger parody, who uses this threat on them. Rick decides to try hiding any way, pointing out that Scary Terry is the antagonist, and therefore probably wouldn't give them advice that would actually help them. Morty agrees with the soundness of his logic, and they point out that if hiding does fail, they can always just fall back on "running" again. They manage to successfully hide from Terry for six dream hours before he gives up and goes home in frustation.
- Princess Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender says this almost verbatim to Aang during one of their earliest confrontations after an episode-long pursuit fittingly called "The Chase".
- Biker Mice from Mars: Several villains made this threat to the heroes. It is usually followed by Vinnie asking: "What makes you think we want to do either?".
- Ur-Example: This phrase is said to have been originally coined by the boxer Joe Louis, who stated, "He can run, but he can't hide," in response to hearing that an opponent would attempt to use hit-and-run tactics against him. The opponent was light-heavyweight champion Billy Conn. Louis was right: Conn used his quickness to outpoint Louis for 12 rounds, only to get knocked out in the 13th.
- A variation frequently attributed to snipers is "You can run, but you'll just die tired."