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Quotes / Downer Ending

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"Stories like these don't have happy endings."

Film — Live-Action

"Empire had the better ending. I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader's his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that's what life is, a series of down endings. All Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets."
Dante Hicks, Clerks

''"We cannot let this be... THE END."'note 

"They say that 'evil prevails when good men fail to act.' What they ought to say is, "evil prevails.'"
Yuri Orlov, Lord of War

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
— Det. Walsh, Chinatown, final line of the movie.

"In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe lies a medium-sized star, and one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead."


"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."
George Orwell, closing words, 1984

Greg Heffley: "And whichever way I go from here, it's hard to see this story having a happy ending."

Live-Action TV

Tom Servo: So evil won, grampa?
Mike: Yes, Billy, even your puny soul is doomed.

"He's coming."
Sam Winchester, Supernatural, "Lucifer Rising" (Season 4 Finale)

"And taking a look at the long range forecast, continued snow, darkness, and extreme cold. This is Howard Handupme. Goodnight. [Beat.] Goodbye."
Dinosaurs (final line of the series)


"When you reach the part where the heartaches come
The hero would be me
But heroes often fail
And you won't read that book again
Because the ending's just too hard to take"
Gordon Lightfoot, If You Could Read My Mind

Tabletop Games

"The Antediluvians destroy the world in their struggle, and drain all life to fuel their quests for godhood. All of humanity dies. All the animals die. All the plants die. Everything in the sea dies. Only the characters are left, the last dwellers on a planet as barren as the moon. They have nothing left to feed on, except each other, and then — a torpor that never ends, or the mercy of the sun. For extra irony, let the death-struggles of the Antediluvians propel the characters to the ancient site of Eden, now blasted and dead like the rest of the world. What do the characters do? When all hope has failed, when they have lost everything, when there is nothing left to achieve — what then? What do the characters choose as their final actions before they too meet their end?"
— "And the Rest Is Silence" ending of Vampire: The Masquerade: Gehenna

"The Wyrm's victory is the world's ruin. Life continues, but horribly changed: a land covered with toxin-resistant weeds and dead trees, vermin and pests where larger animals have died, humans scrabbling, stealing, murdering and eating each other to live, or worse still, serving the Wyrm-Lords openly for their daily 'bread'. If the troupe's characters live to see this horror, make it obvious that this is not simply a 'regime change.' It is the death of Gaia, and the corruption of all upon Her corpse to the service of hate and filth."
Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Apocalypse

"When all is said and done, the world writhes in the throes of Descent, damnation seemingly everlasting. Magic still lives, though the numbers of its practitioners are much diminished, save for the Fallen. Demons, dark spirits and Unspeakable Horrors from Beyond walk the Earth with impunity, and some lord over scattered enclaves of miserable survivors as dread taskmasters and cruel barons. The Fallen revel in what they have wrought and settle in to enjoy an eternity of ruling over a helpless human race largely reduced to Iron Age civilization and subject to depredations unknown since the worst excess of the priests of the demon-gods of the ancient world.
If the characters have done well, then some manner of resistance lives on, surviving another day to bring the fight to the Aswadim once more and topple them, so that the centuries-long (at least) process of driving out the dark can begin anew. For now, however, it is enough to know that the End has come and gone, and Ascension has proven to be a lie, a feast of ashes supped upon in sorrow by a failed human race."
—"Judgement", Mage: The Ascension — Ascension

It happened so fast. That’s somehow the worst part. Thousands of years of human civilization and millions of years of evolution and biodiversity, all wiped out in a matter of days. And it’s our fault. When people talked about humanity destroying the Earth, I never took it quite so... literally.
There’s nothing left. I was lucky enough to make it to Antarctica, to one of the scientific outposts. But this is no kind of life. It’s just as barren here, but everything is covered in ice instead of that grey dust. At least I have a chance, though. The people left behind — there’s no way they’re still alive. Then again, maybe they’re the lucky ones. Being eaten by robots takes only moments. It’s probably better than starving to death....
—"Nanopocalypse — Post-Apocalypse," The End of the World: Revolt of the Machines

Video Game

"Sorry, we're all outta happy endings today! We only have ones that end with horrible beatings."

"I was kind of hoping for a happy ending."
"Sarcastic" Hawke, near the end of the game right after everything starts blowing up, Dragon Age II

The nameless tombstone of The Boss, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Hope Estheim: Noel? But why...? You were safe, everything was fine.
Noel Kreiss: The future changed. It changed. If you change the future, you change the past. The effects ripple outwards, up and down the timeline. The seeress is forced to see it all.
Hope Estheim: You mean Serah... she saw this vision?
Noel Kreiss: Yes. And it killed her. Serah. She knew the risk. If we altered the future, she knew what would happen; that her life could be in danger. But she still chose to save it. I wanted to protect her... I thought I had. I thought she was safe.

"Nobody said this was going to be a happy story."

Web Original

"And that's how the show that had captivated America one year earlier ended — not with a delicious cherry pie, but with blood running down a defeated Cooper's smiling face."

"Oh, jeez, what a total downer!"
Coach Z, Homestar Runner, "Homestarloween Party"

"I went through all that torture just to be given the middle-finger salute?!"
The Angry Video Game Nerd, reviewing Kid Kool and getting the worst ending.

Western Animation

"What did you expect from an opera? A happy ending?"

"Zis ending stinks!"
Fifi La Fume, Tiny Toon Adventures, "Out of Odor"

"That was the saddest story ever!"

"Sometimes, there are no happy endings."
Batman to Robin in the end of Growing Pains

"There's nothing we can do now. It's over. It's over."

"Oh no... it's started."
Rob, The Amazing World of Gumball (final line of the series)

Real Life

"There's nothing on Earth like really nailing the last line of a big book. You have 200 pages to tickle their fancy, and seven words to break their heart.”
Alex de Campi

"People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don't like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy."

"Life's a bitch. And then you die."
Don Carpenter

"A grand opera cannot have a happy ending — unless you consider it a happy ending when all the characters are too dead to sing any longer. Some do."
Katharine Dayton, "Gypsies, Nobles, Peasants, Etc."

"Sad ending, isn't it?"

"I think there's a great potential in horror fiction that isn't easily available to realistic fiction. This is the potential to portray our worst nightmares, both private and public, as we approach death through the decay of our bodies. And then to leave it at that—no happy endings, no apologias, no excuses, no redemption, no escape."


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