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Tragic Keepsake / Live-Action Films

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  • Christopher Walken keeps his buddy's watch up his ass in a POW camp in Vietnam for two years so he could give it to (the child) Butch in Pulp Fiction. When the watch is left behind in his apartment, the now adult Butch has to go back and get it, despite the risk.
  • Inigo Montoya of The Princess Bride wields the sword that his father forged for Count Rugen, who killed him after he refused to sell the sword to him at only a tenth of the price that Rugen promised he would pay.
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  • Susan "Curly Sue" from Curly Sue always wears a tin ring that belonged to her late mother until it gets stolen and pawned by one of their roommates at a shelter. Fortunately, Bill manages to get it back and Curly Sue wears it on her first day of school. Among the many trinkets that Curly Sue has in her traveling bag there is a tin box with a vintage paper doll Valentine's Day card, dried flowers and a tattered picture of a woman presumed to be Curly Sue's mother inside.
  • Eric Draven from The Crow wears Shelly's engagement ring on a chain around his neck.
  • Colonel Mortimer from For a Few Dollars More has a pocketwatch given to him by his sister. There's another pocketwatch that once belonged to the sister in question, but was taken by Indio following her suicide as he was raping her.
  • When James Bond went on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the movie Licence to Kill, his keepsake was the cigarette lighter that once belonged to Felix Leiter, the friend he's seeking to avenge. Becomes a Chekhov's Gun when he uses it to set the Big Bad on fire.
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  • Topper Harley from Hot Shots! has his father's eyes. Literally. As in, in a little jewelry case.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, Davy Jones keeps the locket of his love Calypso - the woman who broke his heart.
  • Captain Vidal's pocketwatch in Pan's Labyrinth is a variation of this: the watch belonged to his father who, when he knew was about to die, broke it so it would stop at the exact time of his death, so his son "would know how a brave man dies". However, Vidal had it repaired seemingly out of spite and keeps it with him at all times. When he is later cornered by rebels, he prepares to break the watch so it can be given to his newborn son only to be told that, "He won't even know your name" and unceremoniously shot.
  • Maverick keeps Goose's dogtags in Top Gun
  • In Law Abiding Citizen Clyde keeps his daughter's charm bracelet. The same one she was seen making for her mother at the very beginning of the movie.
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  • In Secondhand Lions, Uncle Hub keeps a photo of his lost beloved Jasmine in the attic.
  • Dr. Serizawa's pocket watch in Godzilla (2014), which originally belonged to his father and was broken in the Hiroshima bombing.
  • Erik's Nazi coin in X-Men: First Class.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy:
    • Peter Quill's Sony Walkman and the mix tape inside it, both of which are mementos from his dead mother. He also received a present from her before she passed away, but doesn't open it until the end of the film. It's another mix tape, "Awesome mix part 2".
    • Rocket Raccoon keeps one of Groot's twigs after the latter is blown up in a Heroic Sacrifice. Said twig regenerates back into a tiny Groot, who will eventually grow back to full size.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ends with Yondu leaving two such things behind. One is a Zune packed with hundreds of similar '80s tunes to Peter Quill's Awesome Mix tapes; the other is his signature Trick Arrow for Kraglin, who needs a little more time to master it. Just ask Drax.
  • Paddington's hat. It used to belong his Uncle Pastuzo.
  • In Unknown (2006), the protagonist carries a lighter with his deceased daughter's name on it.
  • Averted in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. While on the boat to France, Sherlock throws Irene Adler's bloodstained handkerchief overboard so he won't be distracted while investigating the conspiracy of her murderer, Professor Moriarty.
  • There are two in Mr. Holmes. One is the grey glove, which belonged to the woman from Holmes' last case. She committed suicide because while he deduced what she was doing and why, he couldn't make that final leap of emotion to save her. Oddly, it was actually Watson who saved and hid it, possibly to keep Holmes from dwelling on it. The second is the writing desk, having belonged to Watson, who died just a few years after the last case and his estrangement from Holmes.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, the pearl Peeta gave to Katniss serves as this.
  • In John Wick, there are a total of three: the bracelet John's late wife wore, the last video recording he had of her, and not far into the film, Daisy's collar. In the sequel, the destruction of the phone holding the recording is a plot point.
  • The Force Awakens: When Finn and Poe Dameron crash their TIE fighter on Jakku, the only thing Finn can recover from the crash site is Poe's jacket. Finn wears the jacket for the rest of the film. Subverted when he finds out that Poe had actually survived the crash. He tries to give it back, but Poe lets him keep it: it looks good on him.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, after Clark's Heroic Sacrifice, Lois Lane gets the engagement ring he never got the chance to give her. She's wearing the ring during his funeral.
  • In Wonder Woman (2017), Diana's tiara came from her deceased mentor and aunt Antiope. Later, Diana keeps Steve Trevor's watch, which he handed to her before his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Kong: Skull Island:
    • James Conrad carries a lighter that belonged to his deceased father. He trusts Mason Weaver with it, and she is able to use it to blow up a Skullcrawler.
    • Marlow originally used Gunpei's sword as a Weapon Tombstone, but when he finally decides to leave the island, he pulls the sword out of the ground and wields it. He clearly values it, and when he returns home, he keeps it in Gunpei's memory.
  • Deadpool 2:
    • Deadpool keeps the skee-ball token his girlfriend Vanessa gave him on the night of her murder.
    • Cable keeps his daughter's burned teddy bear before traveling back in time. The teddy bear eventually becomes pristine, a sign he succeeded in preventing his family's deaths.
  • Captain America: Civil War. Helmut Zemo has a recording from his answering machine of an innocuous message from his wife, made just before the death of his family.
  • D-Tox: Malloy's fiancée Marie is murdered by the Serial Killer known as the Cop Killer. He then wears her engagement ring on a chain round his neck. After he has killed the Cop Killer, Malloy leaves the ring hanging on the branch of a tree and walks away.
  • Jennifer in Love Story, an atheist, explains to Oliver that the gold cross she wears (on a welded chain so it can't be removed) had belonged to her devout Catholic mother.
  • In Reform School Girls, Lisa has a toy rabbit that belonged to her kid brother (who died as a result of their foster mother locking him in an icebox). She promised him she would keep it safe. Edna sets fire to it in the first of her Kick the Dog moments.
  • In, I, Robot, the lead detective played by Will Smith wears a girl's necklace with the name Sarah on it. In an unusual variation on the trope, he never even met the girl. She was in the car next to him when both of their's went into the river and started filling up with water. He begged the robot who saved him to save her instead, since she was just an innocent child, but instead he left her to die because a healthy grown man was the "logical choice". So he wears her necklace as a reminder not to trust robots, seeing them as being too callous and animatronic to see the value of human life.
  • Accident: The Brain treasures the shattered wristwatch his wife was wearing when she died in a car crash. When his safe is robbed, he thinks the thieves deliberately left the watch behind as a taunt at him. They actually just did not consider it worth taking.
  • In Madhouse (1974), Paul has the pocket watch his fiancee Ellen gave him on the night she was murdered. It is stolen from him and used in an attempt to blackmail him.
  • Bird Box:
    • The Hello Kitty keyring that Malorie gives Girl's biological mother Olympia as a gift, which is passed down to Olympia's daughter when Olympia dies and Girl is born. It apparently serves as a Security Blanket for Girl.
    • Malorie also has Tom's necklace, which he gave to her as a farewell gift before he sacrificed himself to save Malorie and the kids.


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