Down to the Last Match

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Last matches.jpg

When fictional characters desperately need to light something with a match, they will likely find only three or so remaining in the matchbook or box. All but the last will be duds or blow out, and the last will probably do its share of flickering but stay lit.

Not to be confused with Down to the Last Play, which is still a similar trope. See also Going by the Matchbook, Tentative Light, One Bullet Left.

Examples of Down to the Last Match include:
  • The Fifth Element
  • There's a brain teaser about this, which was used in Professor Layton and the Curious Village but has appeared elsewhere: "You are stuck in a remote cabin in the woods, with only one match. You see a stove, an oil lamp, a fireplace and a candle in the cabin. What should you light first?" The answer, of course: The match!
  • Sam Vimes of Discworld really wants a cigar. He also realizes that he is running low on matches and will absolutely need a fire to survive. He has a cigar.
  • To Start a Fire by Jack London. The hero fails in the title task.
  • "The Little Match Girl" by Hans Christian Andersen. She still freezes to death.
  • This was done a few times in Looney Tunes.