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Orphans Plot Trinket / Live-Action Films

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  • Annie: Annie's half-a-locket. It's supposed to be used to identify her parents, but they've been dead for years, and Ms. Hannigan already has the other half. Even before that is revealed, Grace looks into it and finds out it's mass-produced and thus useless for finding them. Obviously there are older examples, but arguably the Trope Codifier, at least for a certain age group.
  • One of the few things played mostly straight in Spaceballs: Lone Starr's medallion. It apparently proves he's a prince, although it's so obscure only one wise old hermit in the galaxy recognizes it.
  • Will Turner's aztec gold medallion in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
  • An odd variation appears in the film Waterworld. The orphan character doesn't own any trinkets left her by her parents, although she does have that tattoo on her back. She does, however, hum a distinctive tune as she works on her drawings — no one asks her about it, but presumably she doesn't remember where she got it from. At the end of the movie, we come to a house on the only piece of dry land in the film, and the characters find a music box that plays the exact same song. The two skeletons lying on the nearby bed, then, are her parents.
  • Star Wars: "Your father's lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight."
    • Jyn Erso's kyber crystal is a notable aversion, however, as it's not directly relevant to the plot.
  • In the Super Mario Bros. movie, Princess Daisy wears a meteorite fragment around her neck that she never takes off since it was the only thing left with her when she was left in the human world. The meteorite fragment is the one thing Koopa needs to orchestrate his takeover of our world.
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  • In Incendies, Nawal as a teenager gives birth to a baby boy, and her grandmother puts a tattoo on the child's heel so that Nawal will recognise the boy if she finds him later. The point where she does find him is a brain-breaking heart-wrenching moment.
  • Sinbad's medallion in the 1947 film of Sinbad the Sailor.
  • In Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, The Chosen One continues to carry the baby booties he wore when Master Pain/Evil Betty killed his family, mostly so he can wave them at Betty when he confronts him
  • From Pollyanna, the prisms... and maybe the doll. To a lesser extent, the necklace she wears bearing the quote from Abraham Lincoln, which makes the reverend see the error of his ways.
  • The automaton in Hugo and its source novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
  • A high-tech version in Kal-El's Kryptonian memory stick from Man of Steel, which he finds in his transport pod and wears around his neck for 20-odd years before discovering what it's for. Unlike possibly any other OPT in history, it actually contains his father.
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  • In The Search, little Karel the World War II refugee has a knit cap with a ribbon. It turns out he isn't an orphan at all, and his mother is searching for him, but when another boy drowns in a river wearing the cap, the cap is recovered. The cap later convinces Karel's mother that her boy his dead.
  • The blanket that covered baby Moses as he drifted down the river in The Ten Commandments
  • The Virgin Mary statuette that was given to little Anthony Adverse after his mother Maria's Death by Childbirth. Unusually, this pays off in the first act when her father sees the icon and realizes that young Anthony is his grandson.
  • In Samantha: An American Girl Holiday Samantha has a locket with photos of her dead parents inside.
  • In A Little Princess Sara has a locket with a photo of her dead mother inside.
    • When her father is announced dead and she is stripped of her wealth she keeps a few meaningful items. As in the book, she keeps her favourite doll but in the film it seems to be the copy of the Ramayana which is the most meaningful of her trinkets, as Sara's retelling of it, and dreams inspired by it mirror her and her father's own story as he 'comes back to life' and returns to her.
  • In The Kid, the note the Tramp keeps from the mother who left her child behind. Five years later, the note finds its way back to her, setting in motion the reuniting of mother and child.
  • In A Pearl in the Forest, Sendem accidentally leaves a hand-carved necklace with her infant son. She recognizes him years later when she sees a boy wearing the necklace.
  • Tia's Star Case in Escape to Witch Mountain, which contains a hidden map leading to the titular mountain. It is implied that her brother, Tony, had one as well, but lost it when their spacecraft (the two siblings are Human Aliens) crashed into the ocean.
  • Orphans of the Storm: Louise's identity as the Countess's long-lost daughter is confirmed by the locket that the Countess left with the baby before it was taken from her.
  • Curly Sue has an interesting variant in the form of a ring which belonged to the title character's mother. Sue and her adoptive father Bill are homeless, and the ring is stolen by another homeless man early in the film. Later, when Bill is missing, she is unconcerned, asking whether he left a note or a ring; as he left neither, she knows he'll be back, since he won't leave her without first recovering her mother's ring. Near the end of the movie, he does leave both the ring and a note, and she's heartbroken... until she learns that the note says he's in the next room.
  • Spaceballs has Lone Starr's medallion. The ending reveals it to be an artifact confirming his royal heritage, making him a Suddenly Suitable Suitor for Vespa.
  • In SHAZAM! Billy Batson has a small compass that his mother won for him at the fair she lost him in years before. When she manages to track her down, he learns that after she lost him and he was being well tended to by the cops that found him, she allowed for him to go into the foster care system when she realized she was too young to properly raise him. Upon hearing this, he gives her back the compass, and goes back to the foster home.
  • Subverted in the 1923 silent film La Roue. Norma came with a necklace that revealed her name, but Sisif apparently never showed it to her. In fact, she never even finds out that she was adopted.

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