Final Battle

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    Archers in your arches
    Raise your fingers for one last salute
    And bleed this skyline dry.
    Your history is mine.

    Funeral for a Friend, "History"

    The Fight Scene on steroids, and the perfect climax to the Action Story: The forces of Good and the forces of Evil lock swords one last time. Everything the heroes have fought for hangs on the outcome of this fight. Consequently, the heroes (and sometimes the villains) throw everything they have into winning the Final Battle.

    Often, the battle itself is the object; other times, the battle is merely a diversion: a Supporting Leader leads the army of Good into battle so the real heroes can sneak behind the Army of Evil's back to infiltrate the Supervillain Lair and destroy the Artifact of Doom or engage the Big Bad. Oddly enough, the real heroes' success often coincides with (or even causes) their allies' victory in the larger battle.

    Expect Gondor to call for aid beforehand. Expect The Cavalry or the Big Damn Heroes to make their big damn entrance. Expect someone to say "This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself," or "Leave Him to Me!" (possibly followed by a Foe-Tossing Charge). And above all, expect the HSQ to reach previously unheard-of heights.

    If the story intends to Kill'Em All, this is where most of them will die. If they were already killed, they may get brought back for a Battle Royale With Cheese. For an extra-chaotic battle, make it a Melee a Trois.

    Sometimes a Final Battle is rendered not-so-final by the events of the sequels or later seasons. On the other hand, if it's the grand finale of a particularly long series, the Final Battle can serve as a kind of retrospective; all manner of characters from previous books or seasons will show up to participate, allowing the audience to remember all the many stories that led up to this moment.

    In Video Games, this overlaps with The Very Definitely Final Dungeon and the Final Boss. Not to be confused with Final Fight. The Space Opera relies on the Space Battle, which can include this or show up at the beginning or middle of the show.

    Examples of Final Battle include:

    Anime and Manga

    • Episode 25 (actually the third episode) of the Kujibiki Unbalance OVA makes several references to the upcoming final battle of the Kujibiki tournament to decide the next student council. The episode cuts off just before we hear the actual rules of the battle.
    • The Final Battle on each series of the Mazinger trilogy varies depending on if we are discussing the Go Nagai manga, the anime series or the Gosaku Ota manga:
      • Mazinger Z: Mazinger Z had two battles at the end of the series. At the final of the anime series, the main characters located Dr. Hell's Supervillain Lair at last. Quickly they began to make preparations for the final battle, but Hell used a last scheme to hinder them as he completed his own preparations. Mazinger-Z, Venus A and Boss Borot stormed Hell's Island, supported by the Japanese army, but Dr. Hell sent against them his last Mechanical Beasts. The three Humongous Mecha got severely trashed, but Mazinger-Z could still work. Kouji stormed the base, destroying and blowing up all what he saw. Hell set his Lair to self-destruct and he and Brocken tried to flee on the aerial fortress Guru. However, Mazinger-Z chased them and they faced off for last time on an aerial battle over the ocean. It was subverted, though, since all of it happened in the second-to-last episode, and the narration -and the scenes involving a smug Gorgon- warned the last episode would be NOT a happy day. The events were very different on the Go Nagai manga (Hell attacked first, deploying several dozens of Mechanical Beasts at once to invade Japan. Ashura and Brocken coordinated their squads in the assault, and the Japanese army used Mass-Production Mazingers against Hell. Finally, Kouji and Sayaka fought alone against the Island of Hell, what had transformed into a humongous Humongous Mecha). The Gosaku Ota episodes are similar to the anime, but Gorgon makes his move while Kouji is storming the base. He goads his Warrior Monsters against Mazinger-Z and backstabs Hell when he is distracted before leaving the base. Enraged and dying, Hell pulls a lever. Hell's Island takes off and flies towards the Institute to crash on it. However, Great Mazinger arrives, defeats the Mykene Beasts, fetches a defeated Mazinger-Z and runs away with it. Meanwhile, the battle has altered the course of the island, and it floats upwards, leaving the atmosphere and losing itself in the space...
      • Great Mazinger: In the anime version, Great Marshall of Darkness sent several Warrior Monsters to attack the Photon Energy Research Institute as Demonika -his Cool Airship- stealthily approached the Fortress of Science. Kouji fought a powerful Warrior Beast but Tetsuya (who was irrationally jealous) refused to sortie to help him. Finally he deployed Great Mazinger, and Great Marshall chose that moment to attack. A Warrior Monster attacked Tetsuya as Demonika started bombarding the Fortress. Tetsuya was easily shot down and cut off reinforcements. Dr. Kabuto then commited a Heroic Sacrifice to save him. After retrieving his corpse, Mazinger-Z, Great Mazinger, Venus A and Diana A regrouped and attacked Demonika together, blowing the Mykene army up to Hell. The manga versions are similar, but there is a very important difference in the Gosaku Ota version: Tetsuya commited Heroic Sacrifice, self-detonating Great Mazinger to destroy Demonika and the Mykene army.
      • UFO Robo Grendizer: In the anime version, after his daughter got murdered, King Vega decided he had got it: he had wasted military resources trying take over Earth as planet Vega imploded and everyting he had managed was using up their resources, running out of Robeasts, and losing his commanders, his best soldiers and his daughter. So he ordered his troops to destroy their Space Base to hammer in them the idea of they now had no choice but conquering Earth or die, and he launched a full attack with the remnants of his army. Meanwhile, Duke took off in Grendizer and Kouji, Hikaru and Maria on a new Starship. Both sides fought in the space, between Earth and Moon. The Vegan army was finally destroyed in the final confrontation, and Duke killed King Vega. Go Nagai manga version had no a definite ending, but Gosaku Ota version did it, and the final was very different from the anime series. Let's tell It Got Worse. Like in The End of the World as We Know It worse.
    • Code Geass plays with this trope as when Lelouch uses his army as a diversion while he singlehandedly attacks Cornelia in the last episode of season 1. The playing part comes when Lelouch does win but his army's losing the battle. However, upon closer look, he won the battle, but he did fail his objective, both in knowing who killed Marianne and taking Cornelia hostage.
      • The actual final battle kicked off with a showdown between Suzaku and Kallen, Lelouch and Nunnally of all people, over control of the nuclear death platform Damocles, and ended with Kallen destroying the Lancelot, but having her Guren disabled, and Lelouch victorious, having taken over the world by shedding his principles and wresting control of the nuclear death platform from Nunnaly via Geass. However, (besides Orange-kun) he has won at the price of losing everyone who loved and respected him. The viewer is left wondering how this is really his victory, especially since the world loathes him for the atrocities he has done in the name of "justice"; then the actual conclusion occurs, showing his tear-jerking triumph over the Crapsack World he was born in.
    • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Just. Watch it. The word "epic" comes to mind.
    • Subverted in Super Dimension Fortress Macross where the story continues for 10 more episodes after the final battle, showing the aftermath of the war as well as the fact that all isn't well yet.
      • Macross Frontier's final battle takes place above the Vajra homeworld, which most definitely raised the stakes to fit the bill.
    • The end of Overman King Gainer has the forces of the Yapan Exodus including the mechanics taking on the Overdevil and the Brainwashed and Crazy Gainer, Sara, and Cynthia in battle.
    • For Fullmetal Alchemist, the The Promised Day arc, one that began after a large timeskip during which both sides prepared for the crux of the Big Bad's plan to resolve, appears to be the final Arc. It started at Chapter 84, and has since been rolling up ALL the characters into a giant katamari of awesomeness.
      • The penultimate chapter (107) is even titled "The Final Battle".
    • Neon Genesis Evangelion actually has two, one against the Angels and another against their "true enemies", so to speak. Shinji confronts the Final Angel, his new best friend forever, Kaworu within the Eldritch Location of the Womb of Lilith. Afterwards, SEELE launches its final assault upon NERV without any hesitation and causes one of the most tragic final battles ever.
    • Princess Tutu ends with a Final Battle that involves lots of dancing, ravens, and the occasional sword. Given the rest of the series it's not a surprise, but it's taken to an epic level.
    • Subverted somewhat in the manga finale for Chrono Crusade. There are several important battles and victories leading up to Chrono and Aion's fight in the final two volumes—which covers just two consecutive days. However, when the time comes for the final battle, the perspective cuts away right before the first blows are exchanged, and we're never fully given the details of what happened.
    • Eyeshield 21. Team America vs. Team Japan. They even went into overtime despite the tournament holder's orders. According to the ending, America won.
    • Any Gundam series, ever. From the original all the way to 00 Gundam, each series has concluded with an awesome final battle between the most powerful mobile suits and pilots.
      • Gundam Wing, like many others, gets away with a little title lampshading. The actual Final Battle takes up the last four episodes of the series, and the episode immediately before it begins is actually called "Signs of the Final Battle".
    • The final battle of Inuyasha takes place inside Naraku when he transformed into a giant, floating spider.
    • Dragonball Z's final battle is Goku and Vegeta vs. Kid Buu in Other World.
    • Rurouni Kenshin: The Kenshin Gumi along with Aoshi, Misao and Saitou go to Enishi's island to rescue Kaoru. Once there, it's Aoshi, Yahiko, Sanosuke and Saitou vs. Enishi's four henchmen and, of course, Kenshin vs. Enishi. And before that in the Kyoto Arc, we had Kenshin vs. Shishio for the Final battle of that particular arc.
    • In Yu Yu Hakusho, the final arc is the Three Kings saga, and the last fight the main characters are involved in is Yusuke vs. Yomi in the Demon World Tournament. Yomi wins but loses the fight after that.

    Fan Works

    • Oh-so-averted in With Strings Attached, as the anticlimactic final battle lasts about thirty seconds and is depicted entirely in sound effects. The spellcasters in the warehouse are massively outgunned, having completely underestimated their opposition and been tricked by Paul and George to boot. (The real final battle was John and Ringo's struggle to get into the warehouse in the first place. Afterward, well....)
    • My Little Avengers ends with the Avengers Storming the Castle (literally, as the villains have occupied the royal palace); while Big Mac goes after Loki personally (regaining Thor's powers along the way), the other Avengers seek out their Dark Avenger counterparts (though they make sure to Opponent Switch, so the Dark Avengers can't overpower them, like their previous fight).


    • Star Wars had several. A New Hope had the Battle of Yavin, where the rebels blew up the Death Star. It didn't stick, so Return Of The Jedi had the more definitively final Battle of Endor, where they did it again and got Palpatine, too. (According to the Expanded Universe, this didn't kill the Empire either; it plodded on for several years before surrendering at a Peace Conference.) And in the prequel trilogy, the victory against the Trade Federation at the Battle of Naboo actually ends up playing into Sideous' hand.
    • X-Men 3: The Last Stand and Magneto's attack on the Alcatraz research facility.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl had the battle at Isla de Muerta. At World's End had the battle at Shipwreck Island, with all the pirates of the world against the entire British Armada. (Though only ships we actually see fighting are the Black Pearl, the Flying Dutchman, and Cutler Beckett's ship, darn it.)
    • The battle for Zion in The Matrix Revolutions, with the Zion forces battling the Machines in the Real World and Neo fighting Smith for the final time in the Matrix itself.
    • Hot Fuzz has Angel's return to the village after his fake death. The only living characters that don't end up partaking in the battle are the Sergeants Turner, Mr. Weaver, the London-based characters and a few minor Sandford residents like Mr. Staker.
    • Don Bluth used this trope in nearly every one of his films, between the hero and the villain. Notable examples include The Secret of NIMH, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Rock-a-Doodle, A Troll in Central Park, The Pebble and the Penguin, Anastasia, and Titan A.E..
    • The Avengers. Oh dear God, The Avengers.
    • The 2018 Aquaman film ended on an absolutely epic undersea battle filled with incredible color and awesome action.

    Live-Action TV

    • Stargate SG-1 episode "Reckoning", part 2. SG-1, the Jaffa, and the Tok'ra vs. the Goa'uld and the Replicators as the fate of the Galaxy hangs in the balance. Originally was intended as the Grand Finale.
      • The same applies to the battle of Antarctica in the the two-part episode "Lost City", which was also meant to be a Grand Finale.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has the final Battle of Cardassia in the ep "What You Leave Behind". Klingons, Romulans, and Federation vs. the Dominion and all their allies. Massive ship wrecking ensues.
    • In Doctor Who, the first Uncancelled series finale Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways ends in a Final Battle between the controllers and contestents of the Game Station and the Daleks, and the second, Army of Ghosts/Doomsday in Melee a Trois between the Cybermen, Torchwood and the Daleks.
    • In Kamen Rider Kuuga, the final battle between Yuusuke and the Big Bad goes from a generic tokusatsu final battle, to something a little more realistic: a fist fight in their human forms. It's pretty brutal compared to other final battles in Kamen Rider, with bleeding from both sides and the battle ends not with a finishing move, but with a Double Knockout that lead to a Mutual Kill for the Big Bad.
      • Kamen Rider Ryuki is also a separation from the norm since its Final Battle doesn't even involve its protagonist. Instead, it is Kamen Rider Knight who faces off against Kamen Rider Odin. Besides this deviation, the battle is carried out in total sombriety and Knight only 'wins' when the Big Bad destroys Odin in a fit of rage that ultimately does nothing to prevent the fact that Knight had been dealt a fatal blow and dies moments later after using the Rider War's prize to save his girlfriend.


    • In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn leads Gondor, Rohan, and their allies to fight the armies of Mordor at the Black Gate. Aragorn and the other commanders know full well that they have a very slim chance of actually defeating Sauron's army, and that their actual purpose is to distract Sauron so Frodo can do his job. Once the ring is destroyed, Sauron's will will be broken and his armies will be much easier to defeat.
      • The Battle of the Five Armies that ends The Hobbit is rather odd, in that the good armies—the Dwarves, Humans, and Elves(as well as the eagles later on) -- are Strange Bedfellows who only discover the army of evil—the Orcs and Wargs—as it attacks.
        • Gandalf's warning does give them a short time to prepare.
      • The Scouring of the Shire later in Return of the King (but not in the movie), has Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin leading a rebellion of the hobbits to take back the Shire from the evil men under Saruman's command, culminating in a furious battle that drives the men from the Shire.
    • The Silmarillion is full of this, Nirnaeth Arnedioiad (though not final, both sides build up for a confrontation and the good guys gets wiped to never assemble a credible threat against Morgoth again while Beleriand becomes as dark and edgy as something out of the Norse mythology Tolkien so liked. Then it gets worse... finally the Valar sends Eönwe with the armies of Aman to subdue Morgoth in a cataclysmic battle destroying Beleriand. There are several instances of the valar and Morgoth battling it out before the arrival of The Children of Illuvatar.
      • There was actually a previous final battle with the predecessor of Angband, which destroyed Utumno utterly and defeated Morgoth for the first time. This is also the only one where the Valar acted directly and it's said that the landscape of Arda was shaped by this.
    • Almost every Redwall book culminates in a Final Battle.
    • The last book of The Chronicles of Narnia is actually called The Last Battle, and it really is the last battle before the unmaking of Narnia.
      • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Horse and His Boy also ended in full-blown final battles, at least within the context of the book.
    • The Battle of Hogwarts, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The teachers and students of Hogwarts, plus various relatives, friends, etc, vs Voldemort's assembled forces. So that's two small armies of witches and wizards going at it, along with centaurs, elves, giants, werewolves, Dementors and a colony of giant spiders who see the whole thing as a buffet.
    • Most Nasuverse works end with one. Being multi-path stories, there are generally many variations.
      • Tsukihime may end with Shiki fighting Roa, an enraged Arcueid, the other Shiki, or an inverted Akiha. Kagetsu Tohya's last fight ends with Shiki killing his own personification of death inside his own mind.
      • Fate/stay night's three scenarios lead to radically different Final Battles:
        • Fate ends with Shiro and Saber fighting Kotomine and Gilgamesh, respectively.
        • Unlimited Blade Works has Shiro facing Gilgamesh alone, not to mention the My Name Is Inigo Montoya moment in an earlier battle.
        • In Heaven's Feel, Shirou, with his Deadly Upgrade faces Black Saber, with help from Rider, whilst Rin fights Dark Sakura. After he defeats (and kills) Saber Alter, he then proceeds to free Sakura from Angra Mainyu's control, before then fighting Kotomine and, depending on which ending you get, either projecting and fires Excalibur (before dying from a Heroic RROD), or being saved by Ilya, who shuts down the Grail and gives Shirou a new body.
    • Honor Harrington: At All Costs, Book 11 of the main series was originally going to be the end of the Arc and set the stage for another series a generation later. The Battle at the end of the book was designed as the final battle The Battle of Manticore is the largest battle ever dreamed about, the sheer number of ships being at least an order of magnitude higher than the next largest battle, and the deaths number at over a million for both sides. The number of POW are the same. The plan was in the original vision to kill Honor in the final battle and set the stage for her son to continue the fight 20 years later against the Solarian League. He found away he found more satisfying to continue the plot without killing off the main character. What's worse is this battle, despite the horrors, is not decisive. Honor wins and keeps the Star Empire free, but despite the massive fleet destroyed has no ability to strike back. Her fleet is the only thing protecting the homeworlds, freeing Haven to create a new fleet and try it again.
    • Both Swordof Shannara and the Elfstones of Shannara have the big battle with the majority of the characters on one side trying to survive as long asthey can while the covert mission that is really what matters racing against time.
    • The first Conqueror book, Wolf of the Plains, climaxed with Temujin (AKA Genghis Khan) leading a Chin-backed alliance of Wolves, Olkhun'ut, and Kerait against the united Tartars. The second book, Lords of the Bow, subverted this trope - the Mongols have laid siege to Yenking and are preparing to attack it, but Kokchu persuades Genghis Khan to accept surrender at the last minute.
    • The Star Wars Expanded Universe X-Wing series starts out as the Rebel Alliance's attempt to conquer the galactic capital world Coruscant to put the final death blow to the severely weakened Empire. Which ends in a massive (apparently) Final Battle. But it soon becomes obvious that the imperial administration considered the planet not to be worth defending against a determined attacker and actually planned to lose the battle, while making sure the New Republic would inherit a massive humanitarian disaster.
    • The first Warrior Cats series ended with a massive battle against BloodClan to determine the fate of the forest. The sequels took away its finalness, but another comes at the end of Omen of the Stars.


    • In Norse Mythology, it all comes down to Ragnarok, the Final Battle at the End of the World. First there are three years of war in the world of the mortals, followed by three years of endless winter. Then the Sun and the Moon are caught by Skoll and Hati, the wolves that chase them over the sky, which causes the stars to fall down on earth. As a result, massive earthquakes shake the world and collapse the mountains and flood the land. And then things get worse. Loki's children - the giant wolf Fenrir and the Midgard-Serpent Jörmungandr - escape from their prisons. And in the midst of all this chaos and destruction, Surtr, the King of the fire-giants, arrives from the south with his entire army to attack the gods in Valhalla, while Hrym and his army of common giants arrive with their fleet to join the battle. Soon the frost-giants come also marching from the north. Heimdall blows his horn and the gods attack the giants and monsters, with all the fallen heroes of Valhalla, the Einherjar, pitching in. And then Loki's third child Hel arrives, bringing with her an undead army made of the souls of every single human that has ever died and is not an Einherjar. Odin is killed by Fenrir, who in turn has his head torn in two parts by Odin's son Vidarr. Thor kills Jörmungandr, but dies from his venom. Garm and Tyr kill each other and Freyr is killed by Surtr. Then Loki and Heimdall also kill each other. As the corpses pile up in heaps and the blood gets hip-deep, Surtr decides that defeat is not an option and, being the God of Fire, takes almost everyone with him by blowing himself up in a massive explosion that roasts the entire world.
    • Apocalyptic Jewish and Christian predictions often included Final Battles. The expectations of such battles often influenced the way actual wars were carried out.
      • The Left Behind series books Glorious Appearing and Kingdom Come feature both Final Battles from the book of Revelation, with the Final Final Battle before the Great White Throne judgment taking up only a few pages when God just smokes Satan's entire army into ashes in seconds.


    • The 2008 Bionicle storyline was marketed like this, even being referred to as such in-universe:

    Kopaka: If this is the final battle... let's make it one to remember."

      • It was, however, all a set-up for a Wham! Episode. The 2010 story was probably supposed to be this, but it got severely hampered as the toy line was suddenly ended and the ending was very rushed.


    • The Battle for Hoover Dam in Fallout: New Vegas is the final showdown between the New California Republic and Caesar's Legion. The Courier is the deciding factor, determining not only potential allies and ultimately whether the NCR or the Legion come out as victors or are both defeated by either Mr. House or The Courier him/herself.
      • In an added twist, the Battle of Hoover Dam was actually INVOKED NCR General Oliver wanted: a big final battle to defeat the Legion. Most of the NCR, the Legion, House, Civilians, the Courier, and all the other factions know this is a really really really dumb idea. The only reason the battle actually takes place is because General Oliver moveed 90% of the NCR troops onto the Dam, wouldn't allow for small skirmishes to wear down the Legion numbers, or battles to take back the large swath of land in the South Eastern Mojave that the Legion claimed. Since the Legion knew this was going on, they take advantage of the General's desire for one of these and pulls off simultaneous raids on the other NCR bases in the region with most of the NCR force at the Dam. This ultimately also deconstructs the concept of the end game final battle.
    • Numerous video games have a Final Boss battle; usually, the plot gets resolved by defeating whoever the final boss is. Especially if the plot is resolved by rescuing a Damsel in Distress, such as in Super Mario Bros or The Legend of Zelda.
    • Warcraft 3 has a final battle where the scourge tries to get to the world tree with ever larger waves of their undead warriors and demon heros. The battle was so epic, that it was implemented in World of Warcraft in the caverns of time.
    • The True Demon Ending of Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne ends with you marching towards one. With you as the Anti Christ, leading the Legions of Hell to their Final Battle against YHVH himself.


    • One of these concludes the "Dangerous Days" arc of Sluggy Freelance, with the good guys pulling out every last ally and trump card they've got to take down Hereti Corp.
    • The final story arc of Checkerboard Nightmare, "In Continuum", culminates in a massive final battle—saddled with an inherent risk that even doing something as serious as an "ultimate battle royale with the Unraveled" would worsen Chex's canonitis. Yeah, long story.
    • Coga Suro 's entire fifteenth and final chapter is spent on a Final battle, which essentially comprises of Styx covering half of London with a massive dome, underneath which pretty much everyone gets an on- or- off- panel boss fight.

    Web Originals

    Western Animation

    • Transformers: Beast Wars ended with the two-part "Nemesis", which is essentially one big battle to hold off an ancient warship.
    • The last two episodes of Beast Machines are this; especially the last one with it featuring a 20 minute Optimus Primal vs. Megatron fight...which Megatron says is just to pass the time until his drones finish repairing the Spark chamber so he can reformat Cybertron.
    • Season one of WITCH features the aptly-named episode "The Final Battle", in which the Guardians team up with Caleb and the Rebel army to storm Phobos' castle. Of course, it turned out to be not so final, as there was a second season.
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender actually had four final battles at once. The most important was Aang vs. Ozai which both started first and ended last. There was also Zuko and Katara vs. Azula, Suki, Toph, and Sokka vs. Airships, and Iroh and the White Lotus taking back Ba Sing Se.
    • The fifth season finale of Teen Titans, just before "Things Change", ends with a massive battle between the expanded Teen Titan army and the Brotherhood of Evil.
    • Likewise, Justice League Unlimited ended with the expanded Justice League unexpectedly falling into an Enemy Mine with the Legion to defend Earth from the armies of a resurrected Darkseid.
    • Robot Chicken parodied the Star Wars situation here.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ends season 5 with this. The series comes back as Fast Forward and then Back to the sewers, but the original 2003 series wraps up with all the characters in one huge battle.

    Real Life

    • In history, there are both final battles and pivotal battles, but it's rather rare to see a pivotal final battle. Most final battles are lopsided affairs, and tend to be short, vicious, and winner-kills-all affairs with little hope of even survival for the defender, while the fights that actually matter rarely end up actually ending the conflict on the spot. There are some good examples of some wars that end only on the last note, such as the Battle of Alesia, which very well could have ended with Julius Caesar dead and his conquests rendered nil, but instead ended with the Gallic rebellion crushed.
      • Alesia is a good example, Marius' battles against the Cimbrii and Teutons as well, and another Caesarian battle; Pharsalus where he and Pompeii The Great decided who would be master of Rome. Gaius Octavian ('s general) against Marcus Antonius at Actium is a very good example. A later Roman one, Battle of the Milvian Bridge... Rome had many of those.
        • Also: The Battle of Phillipi was the last hurrah for the Optimate faction. Brutus and Cassius versus Antony and Octavian. This was Antony's Crowning Moment of Awesome. He managed to beat both Cassius and Brutus, while Octavian's forces were overrun by Brutus's in the first phase of the battle.
      • Still, the battle for Berlin was sufficiently epic, bloody, stubborn, featured in a Very Special Final City and signified the downfall of the Nazi regime, so all in all it definitely counts. Although the Final Boss was an anticlimactic one. One would expect power armor and miniguns or terrible occult powers or something, but the bastard simply shot himself! What a spoilsport. Hussein was much more diligent on that account.
      • Salamis, Hastings, half the battles in the Hundred Year War, virtually every naval battle in the Imjin War. Basically, any battle containing either a national leader or a 'lynchpin' commander.
    • Dien Bien Phu anyone?
    • The Battle of Waterloo is a pretty straight example though. Two almost evenly matched armies, with total victory in the war up for grabs.
      • Although that may be seeing things a little optimistic from the French point of view as large parts of the Allied forces (about one third of the Prussian field army and the entire Russian and Austrian armies, for starters) did not even see action before Waterloo in the 1815 campaign.
      • Probably more then a bit optimistic. However it was the last battle of the war and dramatic enough to fit the trope.
    • Arguably, the Battle of Vittorio Veneto in World War I in late October 1918. While there was already movement for peace, matters accelerated because of this battle Two evenly matched armies (Italians with British/French support v. Austria-Hungary), with the fate of Italy and Eastern Europe to be determined. Midway through the battle, though, the Austria-Hungarian Empire begins to fantastically self-destruct behind them, literally splitting their army in half. In less than five days, the battle ends with Italy completing its 70-year unification, and the Empire fragmenting into several smaller nations. In turn, this led the Germans to revolt, and force the other Empire (which swiftly became a republic) to eventually call for armistice that ends the war.
    • Leyte Gulf was the last battle in the epic clash between the US Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was also, depending on how you count such things the biggest naval battle ever. It is also widely believed that it will be the final naval battle ever.
      • It wasn't quite the very last sea battle of the war, but it was the final major battle.
      • Apparently the Japanese navy knew they couldn't win, but asked to go on one last mission to fulfill their duty.
        • They couldn't have flipped the outcome of the war, but they did at least have an outside chance to wreck the Allied amphibious landing. The Pacific War didn't really have a "final decisive battle". Midway was decisive, but the Japanese still had carrier parity for the next year or two of the war. And Guadalcanal wasn't a crushing battle but rather an additional campaign victory achieved by a series of battles that went both ways.
      • Technically it was the final large scale naval battle. There hasn't been a clash of carrier fleets, battleships, battlecruisers, heavy cruisers, light cruisers, and destroyers since World War II.
      • A part of Leyte Gulf, The Battle of Surigao Strait, has the distinction of being the Final Battle ever engaged in between battleships, in the war that saw the end of the battleship as a primary weapons platform, and the cessation of all construction of that class of ship.
    • The Battle of Yorktown in The American Revolution
    • The Battle of Sirte will almost certainly be this in the Libyan Civil War. It is the last holdout for the pro-Gaddafi fighters, after the quick capture of Bani Walid. Not to mention the fact that the Gaddafi fighters are now cornered to a small area of the city, and have been putting up huge resistance in a desperate Last Stand.
    • The Battle of Sardarapat was the deciding battle in the Turkish-Armenian War (basically a sub-war of World War I). The weakened Ottoman Empire was looking to conquer Armenia (newly independent after the Russian Empire collapsed) and extend its territory to the Caspian Sea. Although hugely out-numbered the Armenians fought off the Ottomans using pretty much any citizen who could carry a gun, and this may be the reason Armenia even exists today. But, a few years later, the Soviets took over Armenia anyway and gave most of the land to Turkey.
    1. Until Episode VII, that is.