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File:FFVIII SeeD Battle 3585.jpg

Yeah, this? This is just what's happening in the quad.

A Big Badass Battle Sequence isn't just a battle, it's war. This is the battle that makes other battles look like schoolyard scuffles. Expect a high death toll, either shown or implied. The best examples of this trope show not only the battle itself, but the preparations for it and the aftermath. Don't expect it to be pretty.

Bonus points if coupled with Orchestral Bombing. May be the work's Crowning Moment of Awesome as opposed to a single character's.

Note that this trope implies that there are at least two armies fighting each other, as such One-Man Army examples do not fit here.

Compare The War Sequence.

Examples of Big Badass Battle Sequence include:

Anime & Manga


  • The Lord of the Rings films are full of these, mostly in the third.
    • In The Fellowship of the Ring, the battle between the Last Alliance and Mordor in the prologue certainly counts.
    • In The Two Towers, Helm's Deep fills out this role quite nicely.
    • In Return of the King you have the siege of Minas Tirith, the Pelennor fields, and the Black Gate.
  • 13 Assassins has one between the titular assassins and over 200 troops that goes on, unbroken, for over 40 minutes.
  • Avatar - the big fight between the marine corps and the Na'vi.
  • Some batttles in the Pirates of the Caribbean series might count if we limit the 'army size' to two boat-loads of people. The first film has the moonlight battle with the undead. 'At World's End' has the final battle where the Flying Dutchman and the Black Pearl are mast-locked and fighting over a maelstrom.
  • Gettysburg - The film has several.
  • Glory opens with the Army of the Potomac marching to the Battle of Antietam in 1862 along with the Army of Northern Virignia coming to meet them followed by a brief but violent sequence of the battle itself. The climax of the film is the (Second) Assault on Fort Wagner in 1863.
  • Saving Private Ryan begins with the D-Day assaults on Omaha Beach.
  • Serenity had this at the climax when the titular ship brings an army of Reavers against the Alliance.
  • Every Star Wars film contains at least one of these.
    • The Phantom Menace has the space-ground battle of Naboo, between the Trade Federation, the Gungans and the people of Naboo.
    • Attack of the Clones features the Battle of Geonosis.
    • Revenge of the Sith begins with the famous Battle of Coruscant and also contains the Battle of Utapau.
    • A New Hope has the battle of Yavin IV, where the Death Star is destroyed.
    • The Empire Strikes Back has the Battle of Hoth.
    • Return of the Jedi has the Battle of Endor, split between the ground battle in the actual moon, and the space battle with the Imperial armada and the Rebel fleet.
  • The opening credits of X-Men Origins: Wolverine shows the titular character to have participated in many of these.
  • Almost every James Bond movie prior to For Your Eyes Only featured one of these, with armies of hundreds of extras clashing and killing each other off in choreographed battles stretching across an entire huge secret enemy base. Almost no movie after that has, because apparently it makes Bond more heroic to be able to do it all by himself now.
  • Braveheart has 2 major ones. The Battle of Stirling Bridge and the battle of Falkirk, both all kinds of epic.
  • Red Cliff has a total of three:
    • The Battle of Changban at the start of part one
    • The climax battle of part one, when the allied forces lure Cao Cao's vanguard into their Eight Trigrams Formation
    • The Battle of Red Cliff at the climax of part two, which could be considered the biggest and most badass battle in the whole film
  • Part two of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows has the Battle of Hogwarts
  • Alexander has the Battle of Gaugamela towards the opening of the film. The battle in India, later in the film, could also count, albiet to a lesser extent.
  • The Warlords has one relatively early in the film between the Qing and Taiping armies.


  • Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King and Helm's Deep in The Two Towers.
  • The Wheel of Time has tons of these. In the first couple of books there are not that many: the stand at Emonds Field, the battle at Falme and the battle of Cairhien. Then comes Dumais Wells, a battle between three parties which ends by the outright slaughter of one of the parties by male channelers. Only 100k participants though. Several big battles follow and the biggest are yet to come in Tarmon Gai'don.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has had a few so far, the most notable one being the Battle of Blackwater at the end of the second book.
  • The Battle of Chichen Itza in Changes of The Dresden Files. Magical duels, vampires, swords, intervention via possession from what is probably an Archangel (or possibly God himself), freaking Odin, the protagonist's (more than slightly insane) Faerie Godmother, Excalibur, Kusanagi and Durandal all in one place and arguably the most Badass speech in history.

  PossessedMurphy: "False gods! Pretenders! Usurpers of truth! Destroyers of faith, of families, of lives, of children! For your crimes against the Mayans, against the peoples of the world, now will you answer! Your time has come! Face judgment Almighty!"

  • The BloodClan battle in the Warrior Cats book The Darkest Hour. BloodClan, a huge group of city cats (enough to take on around 100 forest cats) with a leader who can kill a Clan leader's nine lives in one blow, gives the forest Clans three days to either leave the forest or meet them in battle. The forest Clans spend the three days weighing their options, training, having medicine cats prepare herbs, and coming up with an escape strategy for the defenseless kits and elders if they fail. All four Clans join together to face BloodClan, and the battle itself lasts about a day.
  • In the novels In Death Ground and The Shiva Option by David Weber and Steve White, there are numerous examples of this trope.
  • The First Battle of Manticore in the Honor Harrington novel Mission of Honor.
  • In the novel "The Armaggedon Inheritance" by David Weber (part of the Empire From the Ashes trilogy), a number of epic space battles take place between the protagonists and the invading alien fleet, which consisted of something like 5 or 6 million enemy warships.

Live Action TV

  • Firefly had its first episode start with showing the ending of the battle in Serenity Valley, which is described as being this.
  • The battle for Camelot in the Merlin episode The Tears of Uther Pendragon, part two.
  • Time Commanders used the Total War game engine to simulate historical battles for the contestants to re-fight (and get walked over by the AI opponent.)
  • Doctor Who has the Battle of Canary Wharf in "Doomsday."
  • First episode in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, we're offered one in form of every single Super Sentai vs the whole Zangyack fleet.
  • Star Trek Deep Space Nine has several during the Dominion War. The First Battle of Deep Space Nine("Call to Arms"), The Second Battle of Deep Space Nine ("Sacrifice of Angels"), The First Battle for the Chin'toka System, The Second Battle of the Chin'toka System the Battle for Cardassia ("What You Leave Behind")
  • Stargate SG 1 had the Battle of Dakara at the end of Season 8, and Stargate Atlantis had the Battle of Asuras.
    • Also, the Battle of Antarctica at the end of SG-1's 7th season.

Mythology and Religion

  • The Final Battle in Mahabharata, in which all warriors of Pandava fights all warriors of Kaurava. Imagine if all the battle-capable people of India goes to battle, and you get a pretty close approximation. All super powers are set loose, no quarters are asked, no quarters are given. This makes this trope Older Than Feudalism.

Tabletop Games

  • Minatures games, such as Warhammer and Warhammer 40K are another good example of this trope. It can be taken to ridiculous extremes even, if players decide in a casual game to have 'no point limit' for building their army.
    • For bonus points, 40K also features the "Epic" side-series. As the name implies, it's built around truly massive battles, so instead of having 10-30 individual troop units and maybe a vehicle or two or three, mid-size infantry platoons and small tank formations are individual units, superheavy tanks roam freely, oh and this is the scale where Titans (the largest of which stand 130-170 scale feet tall) start stomping their enemies. Literally.
    • Whenever players use Apocalypse rule, you can expect this. The larger battles may take over an hour to do a single turn (whereas a more traditional 2000 point battle may take as much as 10-15 mins per turn, if that).
  • This is also the purpose of mass combat systems.
  • Likewise, there's the ever popular game of Risk. The goal of that game? World conquest!

Video Games

  • Multiplayer maps in most FPS games are at least trying to invoke this.
  • The Final Fantasy series loves these.
    • Final Fantasy VII has the Weapon Raid on Junon.
    • Final Fantasy VIII gives us the Siege of Dollet, in which the part the player sees begins with their boats charging onto the beach.
      • Another Final Fantasy VIII example is the Battle of the Gardens (part of which is this trope's page image), wherein the Galbadian Army and the SeeD forces of Balamb clash in one of the most memorable conflicts of the game.
    • Final Fantasy IX also joins the fray, with the Siege of Cleyra, the Iifa Tree battle, and when Bahamut attacks Alexandria.
    • Final Fantasy XII is bookended with these. The first features the Archadian invasion of Nabudis and Dalmasca, while the second shows an air battle between the Sky Fortress Bahamut against Marquis Ondore's air fleet.
    • Final Fantasy XIII begins with a revolt of the purge victims against PSICOM in the depths of Cocoon.
  • Fire Emblem has an entire archetype of levels like this, at least one per game. 7 May have the best, with you controlling less than 20 elite soldiers, fighting an army of just over 100.
  • The Total War series is built around this entire concept, with you being in control of the battle and sending thousands of individual troops into combat.
  • The Dawn of War series has plenty of these, the best examples probably being the first game's intro cinematic and the trailer to the second game.
  • Strategy war games like the Command and Conquer series and clones of it may possibly count, with you controlling one faction/army while the other(s) is controlled by a computer/friend. You can also use fluffy logic to decide that these battles really are epic in the game world. A single soldier on screen may actually be 100 within the game world. Imagine those minor 'skirmish' games of yours now.
    • In the case of Command and Conquer Tiberium, it's mentioned in supplementary material that the EVA Heads-Up Display depicts squads of soldiers as units. So every time you create "one" Rocket Infantry, you're in fact creating a squad of ten or so.
  • Lego Universe. Both in game and out. The intro has Crowning Music of Awesome and the preparations for combat even. Sadly, it skip over the actual battle, but we're pretty sure it was epic.
    • More so when you realize that those spiders and horsemen are elite enemies, and the dragons tend to be bosses.
  • Mass Effect 1 features the Battle of the Citadel.
  • Knights of the Old Republic has a couple.
    • The first game has the Revolt on Kashyyk and Battle of the Star Forge.
    • The second game has the Civil War on Iziz and the Battle of Telos.
  • Heavenly Sword ends with one of these.
  • The final battle in Fallout: New Vegas, with the NCR facing off against Caesar's Legion. Depending on your actions, you'll either support one of the two or support a third party.
  • Neverwinter Nights has the Neverwinter-Luskan War. Hordes of the Underdark adds the Valsharess War, with your by-now epic-level character leading the defenders.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 has the Shadow War, which takes up the majority of Act III and prominently includes The Siege of Crossroad Keep. Mask of the Betrayer adds the invasion of the Fugue Plane.
  • Dragon Age Origins has the Battles of Ostagar and Denerim against the Darkspawn, and Redcliffe against Undead.
    • Its {{Dragon Age II sequel}} ends with the destruction of the Chantry and the Battle of Kirkwall in its aftermath, which is also stated to be only the first battle of the Mage-Templar War.
  • X3: Terran Conflict: The Second Battle of Aldrin during the Aldrin Expansion plot, with a Terran warfleet and the Player Character pushing the Xenon out of the Terrans' former colonies.
  • The invasion of Char in Starcraft II Wings of Liberty.

Western Animation

Web Original