• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Nevermind this particular situation turned into a subversion.[1] It still makes a badass illustration.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

A character does something incredibly brave and is killed, maimed, or otherwise irrevocably harmed doing it.

A bad character who was once good can redeem himself in the last act by Taking the Bullet that was meant for The Hero, thus expunging all his previous evil, avoiding forcing The Hero to arrest or confront him, and avoiding any real life penalties like disgrace and jail. This is like Redemption Equals Death. In this case, the death and redemption come in a single act.

There are essentially three kinds of Heroic Sacrifice:

  • The one at the beginning of the story, which sets the tone for the rest of the tale.
  • The one in the middle of the story, wherein the Heroic Sacrifice leads to new heights of Badass, or new depths of depression, depending on the story. Sometimes both.
  • The one at the end of the story which serves as a Grand Finale, an example of "This character is Too Cool to Live", or the kernel of a Downer Ending or Bittersweet Ending. The "Too Cool to Live" Heroic Sacrifice is the most common type in American movies. Often, The Hero Dies in a heroic sacrifice at the end.

See Taking the Bullet, Self-Destructive Charge, You Shall Not Pass, Take Me Instead!, Someone Has to Die, Sealed Evil in a Duel, and Heroic Suicide for specific types of Heroic Sacrifice. Usually requires that a character be Not Afraid to Die. If the Heroic Sacrifice was pre-planned, it's a Self-Sacrifice Scheme. Often preceded with a Sneaky Departure from the team, or a More Hero Than Thou dispute. A Friend in Need often requires it. Contrast Villain's Dying Grace, when a dying villain decides to save a life. The Doomed Moral Victor fights a battle where the outcome is clear from the beginning. If the character has time to say some last words before dying, they often do so in an Obi-Wan Moment. Often a Dying Moment of Awesome.

Compare and contrast Zero-Approval Gambit (where the hero sacrifices his good name instead of his life), My Death Is Just the Beginning, Senseless Sacrifice, Suicide Mission and Stupid Sacrifice.

This is the Super-Trope to the following tropes:

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Heroic Sacrifice are listed on these subpages:

  1. In a nod to Captain Tsubasa, the kid would've survived by bouncing on his soccer ball.