Dramatic Slip

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

We've all seen it happen. Two or more people are running from something that promises pain and/or death. While they're running, one of the characters trips. For some strange reason, they're almost always incapable of getting up on their own, even if there's no logical reason they shouldn't be able to. The other characters then have to decide whether or not to stop running and go back for them. This can either lead to No Man Left Behind or Screw This, I'm Outta Here from a Dirty Coward.

Compare with I Will Only Slow You Down. Contrast with Broken Heel and Twisted Ankle.

Examples of Dramatic Slip include:

Anime and Manga

  • Bleach: In the very first episode the ghost of a small girl trips while a hollow is chasing her and Ichigo.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho: This happens between Kurama and his friend from the past. Well, actually, it didn't. But this isn't a subversion, so much as it was a villain pretending to be his friend lying about what really happened.

Comic Books

  • In "The Weather Smurf" (the second story of the book "The Astrosmurf"), the Smurfs are trying to return to the Smurf Village during a snowstorm. Brainy Smurf falls, and when another Smurf offers to carry him, he tells "no, let me die here". The Smurf takes his word and leaves him, so a scared Brainy gets up again and keeps running.


  • This happens in Cat-Women of the Moon when Lon trips on the sand, as it's the only way the slow-moving rock creatures could possibly get close enough to menace anyone.
  • Judge Dredd: the part where they're running along the flame-spewing shaft, only for one of them to stumble and immediately yell for the other to help him up.
  • Occurs in Jurassic Park, and then in the sequel as well, where the guy is subsequently stepped on by a T-Rex.
  • Subverted in Eurotrip - one of them falls, says "Go on without me!".... and then, when he realizes nobody's helping him, gets up again and keeps running.
  • In Surf Ninjas, the evil general (played by Leslie Nielson), is knocked down and stepped on by an elephant necessitating cybernetic face and other body parts. However, he has a good three seconds of hammily screaming to the camera during which he easily could have avoided the elephant's foot.


  • Causes the second half of the plot of Thief of Time. Lobsang and Lu-Tze were running to reach the Glass Clock before it struck and would have made it if not for this trope. The stupidity is later lampshaded:

I'm sorry? You were dashing to prevent the end of the world but you stopped to help some old man? You... hero!

Western Animation