The Three Stooges short subjects had the trio running away from any/every conflict; from running from the law, a mob, or any random person that they encounter; even when it comes to them not wanting to suffer the consequences.
In The Big Lebowski, Dude does this when he tries to talk to Walter about how he can explain the failed dropoff of bogus ransom money to the titular antagonist and all Walter can think of is his refusal to bowl on Saturday so he can observe the Jewish rest day Shomer Shabbat.
The Big Lebowski also lampshades this humorously:
The Dude: Ah, fuck it. The Big Lebowski: Oh, fuck it! Yes, thats your answer. Thats your answer for everything! Tattoo it on your forehead!
Rhett Butler's last line in Gone with the Wind has at times been called the greatest movie line ever. At the end, he realizes that Scarlet is a horrible woman and he doesn't want anything to do with her and her messed up life.
''"Where shall I go? What shall I do?""
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the San Diego PD and Animal Control do this, coming around the corner in a fleet of vehicles reminiscent of the cavalry coming to save the day....riiight up until the T-Rex shows up and roars at them. ALL of them turn around or go into reverse so fast you can HEAR the collective "Oh Hell No!" going through their heads.
A New Hope: Hero example: Han Solo famously does this after delivering Luke and Leia to the Rebel base. Naturally, he returns to save the day. He also says he's going to do this at the beginning of Empire, saying he'd had enough of running into bounty hunters and wanted to get back to Jabba to pay him, but the Imperials attack the base before he's able to leave, forcing him to get involved with the film's conflict instead. Strangely, if you go by the Expanded Universe (which Disney has disavowed in preparation for the sequels), Han and Chewbacca have been hiding out with the Alliance for three years, and have given up on trying to patch things up with Jabba (they were robbed by pirates while on their way to Jabba's palace just after the Battle of Yavin, and knew that Jabba wouldn't accept that as an excuse). To suggest that Han and Chewie had not caught the Rebellion bug by then, or at the very least had not developed affectionate feelings for Luke and Leia, is stretching credibility a little too far.
Han has an earlier example in A New Hope. While aboard the Deathstar he's charging a stormtrooper, but promptly does an about face when they turn a corner and come face to face with a large group.
Return of the Jedi: After the Endor shield array is destroyed, with the destruction of Executor and the death of the Emperor, every Imperial soldier aboard the Death Star begins to flee the doomed battle station.
The Force Awakens: Two Stormtroopers round a corner to find Kylo Ren hacking apart a room with his lightsaber while having a temper tantrum after Rey escapes. They immediately back up and turn around, deciding they want no part in what's going on right now.
Finn's initial goal upon defecting from the First Order isn't to join the good guys, but to get as far away from his previous bosses as he can.
At the climax of the same film, when Starkiller Base is beginning to self-destruct from the damage caused by the Resistance attack, First Order officers start abandoning their posts in droves, ignoring orders from their superiors to stay where they are. One points out that even General Hux has already fled, so why shouldn't they? (In fact, Hux had gone to confer with Supreme Leader Snoke, who orders a Villain: Exit, Stage Left.)
Also from the same movie, Rey finds the lightsaber that once belonged to both Anakin and Luke Skywalker in a basement in Maz Kanata's castle — when she touches it, she has an extremely harrowing Force-vision, experiencing Luke's trauma from his first fight with Vader, and several other painful memories, including what is probably her own worst memory: the moment she was left behind on Jakku. THEN Maz turns up, tells her plainly that the people who left her on Jakku are never coming back for her, and she should move on and look ahead for her "belonging" by embracing the Force, joining the fight and taking the old lightsaber. Rey is horrified at this — she ends up fleeing from Maz's castle and into the woods in terror.
Rey: [angry and scared] I'm never touching that thing again. I don't want any part of this!
One really extreme example: A guy in a police helicopter in T2 saw the T-1000 in liquid metal form come flowing into the seat next to him and tell him to Get Out!. He got out. They were at least 40 feet up in the air. Even probable death was preferable to staying in the chopper with that metallic guy.
The Reverend in Blazing Saddles tries to prevent Bart from getting lynched, but the townspeople quickly respond by blasting the Bible right out of his hand.
Reverend: Son... you're on your own.
In Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky, the villain deploys a bunch of mooks in riot gear to stop the title character. He casually punches through the shield, through the armor, and out the back of the leader mook. The others quickly reconsider their line of work and retreat.
Tank Girl. While the Rippers are taking apart the guards inside Water & Power, Sergeant Small says "Screw this, man," and takes off. He's later killed by Jet Girl in revenge for the sexual harassment he put her through when she was a prisoner.
In Tombstone, when the stage coach rolls up with the recently-killed actor, the actress in the coach Shames the Mob by pointing out that he only wanted to make their lives better by performing on stage. One of the Mooks, Jason Priestley as Deputy Billy Breckinridge, decides that this has gone too far, saying "We have to have some law and order", and quits the Cowboys. This echoes earlier in the film, when another mook, McMasters, is disgusted by how the Cowboys had targeted the Earp brothers' wives, even going so far as to inform Wyatt Earp that he'll join him for whatever he needs. He joins Creek Johnson and Texas Jack Vermillion to form the posse led by Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday that kills many of his former comrades.
Transformers: Starscream, toward the end of the second movie, reminds Megatron that "sometimes, cowards do survive," just before they Exit Stage Left.
He also says something to this effect in Transformers: War for Cybertron.
He also does this wordlessly in the first movie, when the credits cut to a scene of him fleeing the battle. He wasn't even there for the second half of it.
This happens in The Running Man. Evil TV show host Damien's huge bodyguard, Sven, is supposed to fight a final battle against Arnold Schwarzenegger. But Damien's been verbally abusing Sven the entire movie, so Sven decides to just walk away, leaving Arnold to crush the helpless Damien.
Kill Bill when the bride cuts off Sophie's arm in the house of Blue Leaves the staff and customers quickly evacuate
Bison and Dee Jay are watching the former's plans collapse on a screen. When Bison makes a speech about facing the possibility of defeat together "with the stoicism of the true warrior," Dee Jay quietly gets the hell out of dodge in the background.
Pirate: Ain't you... Peter Pan: Peter Pan? Pirate:(immediately drops his sword and jumps out the window)
Also, "What about Smee? Smee's me... WHAT ABOUT ME?!" Well, Smee was ordered to "do something intelligent..."
In The Mummy (1999), at the battle over Hamunaptra, Rick O'Connell's superior officer drops his sword and rides away when an angry horde of Tuareg horsemen are charging his company. Beni turns to Rick and says, "You just got promoted."
About a minute later, Beni follows suit, screaming "WAIT FOR ME!"
Towards the end, Rick faces off against a group of mummies and gives a loud scream. The mummies screams even louder. Rick promptly goes "Uh uh!" and runs away.
So much for the Foreign Legion's time-honored tradition of never running away or surrendering.
In The Matrix, after Neo takes out Smith, Agents Brown and Jones look at each other for a moment and wordlessly agree to bolt.
¡Three Amigos!. During the battle at the climax of the movie, most of El Guapo's men take off and desert him, leaving him to be killed by the villagers.
Tim Burton's Batman (1989). Batman has just finished wiping out several of the Joker's mooks. Bob, The Dragon to the Joker, appears holding a knife. When Batman makes a Bring It gesture to him (beckoning with his index finger), Bob drops the knife and runs away.
Towards the end of Batman Returns, as plan after plan is foiled by Batman and everything is collapsing around him, the Penguin looks around to realize that he doesn't have many mooks left, and the ones that are still there all seem to be quietly sneaking towards the exits. Moments later, he tries to get out of there himself, but Batman intercepts him.
Non-battle version in Barefoot in the Park. After Paul and Corie find Corie's mother in bed with their neighbor Victor, Corie reacts with horror. Instead of trying to comfort his wife, Paul decides that he has had enough craziness and leaves.
Kick-Ass subverts this. A Mook facing the four foot tall whirlwind of destruction named Hit-Girl shouts a stronger version of the first two words. *beat* "I'm getting the bazooka!"
Zatoichi (in at least one of his many adventures) is attacked by three mooks and kills two of them. The one in the rear plays dead and Ichi is briefly puzzled; he knows how many feet he heard, and how many bodies he sliced. Ichi then gestures impatiently for the surviving mook to get up, and he duly runs away.
Bellatrix as soon as Dumbledore shows up in the Ministry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This is mostly due to circumstances changing; in the book Dumbledore brings the statues to life and one of them keeps Bellatrix trapped there.
After the Ministry attack, Fudge is said to have resigned in disgrace. This is in contrast to the books where he stays on for a couple more months, before he's unanimously sacked by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the Malfoys flee the instant Harry reveals himself to be alive. Since they've been prominent supporters of Voldemort and Narcissa had lied to Voldemort about Harry being dead, it's pretty obvious why they didn't want to stick around to see who won.Hell, half of the assembled Death Eaters teleport away when Harry "comes back to life". It's actually kind of impressive.
After being shot in the leg the first time he dealt with Machete, a mook who sees him coming back hands him his gun, yells, "I quit!", and walks away. Machete allows him to leave peacefully.
The Turkish entrenched riflemen in The Lighthorsemen decide on this when they realise the charging Horsemen aren't going to stop.
Another non-battle example: in Nothing but Trouble, this is Chris' reaction upon seeing, in a news segment, that JP Alvin not only survived the destruction of Valkenvania, but also he announces that he and his family are planning to visit his "grandson-in-law". Chris literally runs out of the apartment, complete with an Impact Silhouette, along with footsteps being heard.
In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, both Mordant and Goldar bail on Ivan Ooze at different points; Mordant isn't present after the activation of the Ecto-Morphicon Titans and Goldar flies off, saying "I'm out of here!", when Ivan fuses with Hornitor to battle the Ninja Megazord.
In one of the outtakes of The Avengers, the scene is Bruce Banner regarding the Leviathan, calmly Hulking out, and pounding its face into the pavement. Instead, Mark Ruffalo turns to the other Avengers, cries "DUDES, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN!", and girly-runs off into the distance, while everyone else cracks up.
In Iron Man 3 a random Mook, realizing he's the last one that Tony Stark has yet to shoot or incapacitate, says "Honestly, I hate working here, they are so weird", drops his gun, and scrams.
Done by Skurge at the climax of Thor: Ragnarok, who hides amongst a crowd of refugees when a battle is clearly not going his side's way. Soon after, when the escape of the refugees is threatened, he has a change of heart and a full-fledged HeelFace Turn, jumping back into the fray and pulling a Heroic Sacrifice.
During the chaotic final battle in Guardians of the Galaxy, villain Ronan's unenthusiastic accomplice Nebula decides she's had enough, steals a spacecraft and bails.
Captain Marvel: Ronan the Accuser sees Captain Marvel destroy all of his missiles, the fighters deployed to kill her, and one of the big ships. Then as she's prepared to attack Ronan's ship too, he orders a retreat but hopes to come back for her someday.
In Dogma, Loki and Bartleby have spent the entire movie to a certain point attempting to get to a church so they can get back to Heaven. However, as they do, Bartleby comes to realize that God's always favored the humans over the Angels and that they'll never be able to be fully forgiven for their menial transgressions. So, he decides tokill humanity to get back home. Loki recognizes the talk and doesn't want any part of it, attempting to get back to Wisconsin, only for Bartleby to strongarm him into staying with him.
Sir Robin's minstrel: Brave Sir Robin ran away./Bravely ran away away./When danger reared its ugly head,/He bravely turned his tail and fled./Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about/And gallantly he chickened out./Bravely taking to his feet,/He beat a very brave retreat.
In North, this is North's reaction towards the Amish.
North: Floor it! *cue plane leaving*
Quigley Down Under: Three of Marston's men flee the ranch the night before the final battle.
Meet The Browns: Joe pretends to be a fragile man so the police would leave him alone, as he's the passenger and they were after the driver... you got it after the car chase. Once he's out of the range, Joe drops the oxygen tank and cane before making a run for it while Madea is left dealing with the cop.
Into the Storm (2009): When Churchill proudly declares (to an uproar of applause) that Britain will fight no matter the cost, Halifax gets up and leaves the room quietly. Incidentally, this is his last scene in the movie.
Stryker wastes no time getting himself out of Alkali Lake's base after Wolverine/Weapon X gets loose.
After Apocalypse is obliterated by Jean Grey unleashing the Phoenix, Psylocke beats a hasty retreat once she recovers, and slinks away from the site of the battle.
In Deadpool 2, Wade is wandering the X-Mansion and complaining again how there are never any other X-Men around. Unbeknownst to him, as he's saying that, Professor X, Beast, Quicksilver, Storm, Nightcrawler and Cyclops are right behind him and Beast quickly runs up to shut the door behind him, effectively pulling this trope on Wade.
At the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, after the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchmanobliterate the HMS Endeavour, along with Beckett, the entire East India Trading Company armada turns around and gets the hell out of there despite their numerical superiority.
TRON. After Tron effortlessly defeats several of Sark's guards on the Solar Sailor Simulation, the last guard throws his electrified weapon over the side and then jumps off himself.
Subverted in Braveheart at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. The Scottish forces are outnumbered three to one by the English forces which scares some of the Scots enough to leave the field, which in turn prompts William Wallace to deliver his Dare to Be Badass speech that sparks new confidence amongst the Scots. Moments later he exploits the trope, as his battle plan is for the cavalry under the command of the nobles to pretend to flee after a volley or two from the English archers, but in reality the Scottish cavalry simply circles around the field of battle out of sight and performs a devastating flanking attack on the English.
K2: Siren of the Himalayas: The climbers tell how some people, once they get to base camp and are faced with the towering mountains themselves, decide they want out right then and there.
In The Nice Guys, March and Healy travel to an airport hotel to look for clues, only to discover John Boy engaged in a shoot-out there. They silently and quickly leave before anyone notices they had arrived.
In the 2010 remake of True Grit, the doctor for Chaney's outlaw gang escapes on horseback when the final shootout starts, and is not seen again.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe: At the first sign of supernatural goings on, Tommy tells his son and fellow coroner, "Let's get the fuck outta here," and they attempt to abandon their family morgue.
In the Jake Gyllenhaal film Bubble Boy, this is Jimmy's reaction when Slim's bikers, the sideshow freaks, and the Bright & Shinies get into a brawl over him, where he grabs a cab he meant to take before they all showed up.
The Princess Bride: When Inigo confronts Rugen and reveals why he's been searching for him, Rugen pauses briefly as he appraises the situation, then rightfully freaks out and runs in the opposite direction as fast as he physically can. Unfortunately for him, Inigo is faster and catches up.
In the first movie, when Micheal comes across Hayes heavily bitten body who, with his dying breath, tells him where Donna is. Yorga's two vampire brides, one of whom is his former friend Erica, charge into the room to attack him. Micheal stands his ground, swinging his stick at them as they try to close in to no avail. Eventually he raises his stake threateningly, Erica doesn't move, but her fellow bride snarls, turns and runs back the way they came in.
Later in the movie, Micheal manages to kill Yorga and goes to collect Donna. They watch Yorga crumble to dust and turn to leave only to be confronted by Erica and the unnamed red-headed bride, who're still vampires despite their master being dead. Micheal and Donna rush down the opposite end of a stairwell with the brides doubling back to meet them in the center. Micheal however pulls out a cross to which Erica, who was near enough to attack, shrinks back and wheels behind her fellow bride as Micheal forces the two back, with both cringing every time Micheal thrust the cross at them. The red-head does manage to switch the positions once they're at the bottom of the stairwell, with both ultimately retreating into a nearby room, figuring their blood isn't worth dealing with a holy symbol.
In the second, two cops named Madden and O'Connor join Baldwin in searching Yorga's mansion for Cynthia. The two split from him to cover more ground, running right into Yorga's dozen numbered brides. They try to question them, but when the women wordlessly keep advancing on them they realize what a huge mistake they've made, back up and soon run for it. This becomes especially obvious when they meet up with Baldwin in a hallway and the brides suddenly appear from multiple doorway to continue the chase. The two cops open fire on the two front brides, only for them to hardly react to the bullets (since they're already dead after all) as they keep coming.
O'Connor: What're we running for? Maddan: Cause we're scared!
In Sweet Country, a black farmhand kills a white land-owner and goes on the run into the wilderness, pursued by a posse led by the Inspector Javert. As the going gets tougher (and especially after one member of the posse is killed), the posse members one by one decide that they've had enough and head back to civilisation, until there's only Sergeant Fletcher pushing forward on his own. After he nearly dies and is saved by the man he's hunting, he turns back too.
Jack Reacher is confronted by five thugs outside a bar, but tells them that he only has to fight three of them, as the last two will take to their heels after seeing what Reacher can do. He's right, though he has to punch the last attacker a few times in the groin to encourage them to do so.
In The War Wagon, two of Pierce's underlings attempt to do this when they realize that they are trapped in a runaway wagon with no driver and no backup. One of them opens the door and prepares to bail out when Pierce pulls a gun on him. After a brief argument, Pierce shoots him for cowardice.
In April Showers, Jason bails on an interview when he realises that the TV network cares more about getting a good story than helping him find out who the dead girl he carried out of the school was.
Life Blood: After Dan escapes from the gas station, he flags down Deputy Felix's cruiser and tells him what has happened. Felix is less than convinced (unsurprising since Dan is babbling about vampires), but tells Dan to get in and they'll go to the station and investigate. Dan yells no way and takes off running down the road. As a result, he becomes one of the few characters to survive the film.
Johnny Reno: Somewhere after Yates' plan has evolved from lynching Joe Conners into emptying the town and murdering a U.S. Marshal, Tomkins decides this is too far gone for him and jumps on a horse and rides out of town. Unfortunately, he rides straight into the arms of a waiting Indian band.
In Time has Timekeeper Raymond Leon's partner, Jaeger, resigning from being a Timekeeper in the end of the film, leaving his gun on the way out.
Female Timekeeper: What do we do, sir? Jaeger: Go home.
In King of Thieves, Carl gets cold feet after Brian walks away. When Terry tells him to decide if he is in or out, Carl decides he is out and runs away.
Terror in a Texas Town: When Sheriff Stoner discovers McNeil's body, he decides that things in Prairie City are about to get unhealthy for him. He grabs all of the money McNeil had dropped and scarpers.
Kaz does this in Beyond the Lights when Noni decides to leave Mexico with her mother and continue to release her album. He knows that nothing has changed and that Noni will soon be back to where she was (i.e. feeling like she's "suffocating in the middle of the street and no one can see me dying!"). Fortunately, the two ultimately end up back together after Noni finds the courage to stand up to Macy and her record label and seek treatment for her depression.
Susanna from Rain Man does this when she gets fed up with Charlie of only using Raymond just to get his share of his inheritance. That doesn't stop her from making a reappearance to Las Vegas, where at that time Charlie has changed his ways towards Raymond.
In The Initiation, Beth gets sick of all of the crap Megan is piling on the pledges, and quits the sorority without undergoing the final initiation: an act which probably saves her life.
In Hellboy (2019), the moment Nimue regains her full power, a veritable army of dark creatures crawls from the shadows to witness their queen's return, followed by her whipping them into a frenzy with a hammy new-era-speech. Then Hellboy announces his presence by blasting half of Nimue's head off. Cue every single monster getting the hell outta Dodge instantly, leaving Nimue and Gruagach to fend for themselves.
In Dead Birds, Todd attempts to take a horse and leave the house once he finds out what went on there. Once he finds them dismembered and eviscerated, he makes a run for it through the field. Too bad he doesn't make it.
Frankenstein Created Woman: After his two companions are murdered, Johann decides that his best course of action is to flee the village and he boards the next coach out of town. Unfortunately for him, Christina has foreseen this and is waiting for him on board the coach.
Wild Horse Phantom: When Tom expresses reservations about the plan, Dagget tells him he's free to return to prison if he wants. Tom decides to take him up on the offer and rides off. Daggett then shoots him in In the Back.
Husk: When Brian refuses to leave without Natalie, Chris hot-wires the one working vehicle and drives off through the cornfield.
In Primal, the ship's crew decide that being trapped on a disabled freighter with a heavily armed psycho and a bunch of wild animals is not worth it and steal one of the lifeboats and abandon ship, leaving the named characters to resolve the plot.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Just as the Manson family members are about to assault Rick's house at the climax, Flowerchild (Lisa Kasabian) tricks Tex into giving her his car keys under the pretense of retrieving her knife from the locked car. She then jumps in the car and speeds off, clearly having lost her nerve to through with the murdering.
The battle sequences in The Lord of the Rings were animated using a system called MASSIVE, which equips each actor in large crowds with a very rudimentary AI. In early iterations of some scenes, soldiers on the outskirts of the battle appeared to think better of the attack and headed for the hills. Ascribed by many at the time to A.I. Is a Crapshoot, Word of God is that it was a simple programming bug.
Revenge (2017): The moment Richard returns to his villa after Stan and Dimi have been killed by Jen, he calls his helicopter pilot for an immediate pickup, which is scheduled to arrive 30 minutes later. Fortunately, Jen catches up with him before he can escape her vengeance.
In the first Jackass movie, in the sketch "The Burglars", Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera fall through the ceiling of an office building while dressed as burglars. The instant they land, one of the office workers gets out of his chair, runs out the door, and gets about five blocks away before someone finally tells him what happened.
The Beatles pull this in A Hard Day's Night when their road manager Shake orders them to stay in their hotel room and answer their fan mail. (An unused line had John saying "When the swine's away, the piglets will play!")
In the biopicSaint Laurent, Yves Saint Laurent's long time romantic/business partner Pierre puts up with Yves's diva antics, drug addictions, dalliances with other men, para-romantic friendships with women and works to keep their business afloat. But when Yves's tries to kill him in his sleep, he finally packs his bags and leaves.
At the end of North Dallas Forty, Phil Elliott, the long-abused veteran who gave his all for a team desperate to see him gone as soon as possible, reaches his breaking point upon being suspended without pay, pending a hearing, for possession of hard drugs. He flat-out tells the executives they can consider him banned from the sport for life already, because he's had it with the constant ingratitude he'd been getting in his later years with the North Dallas Bulls.